Year-end thumbs up, thumbs down

    Two new year’s resolutions, made almost a year ago will expire in two days.
    One was to stop supporting credit card companies single-handedly. That resolution has come to a happy ending, our having reduced our debt to about one-fourth of what it was a year ago.
     The second resolution–made also by many of you–was to shed pounds. A little more than a year ago, a column I wrote gave details of my weight, which at the time would have made a sumo wrestler envious: 234 pounds.

     As indicated by the figure below my photo, I didn’t crack the under-200 goal, but came close. Losing almost 30 pounds in a year is commendable.
     The end of the year gives us a chance to look back.
     Apparently a true story concerns a driver who placed her infant in her car seat on top of the car while she loaded groceries, then drove off, only to be honked at by concerned motorists pointing to the cargo on top of the car.
     Well, something like that happened as we made our way to Sapello to attend the Christmas program at Mike Mateo Elementary School. The object–we discovered 15 hours later–was a billfold.
     One of us placed it on top of the car, drove to and from Sapello, and returned home. The next morning the billfold must have remained on top of the car during my four hours at work. I even gassed up the car and considered taking it through a car wash.
     Later, at the SECU drive-up window, a man approached and explained I might be carrying a billfold on top of my car. The billfold is the same color as the car, and had wedged itself under the rack.
     So, to a gentleman who identified himself as Clarence Salazar, thank you.
     And here are a few more of my thumbs-up, thumbs-down awards:
     Thumbs up: To those people who do things for others without expectation of rewards. These are the Habitat for Humanity volunteers, the Salvation Army bell ringers, the volunteers who provide food, drink and companionship to those less fortunate. Las Vegas has its share of good Samaritans, and to attempt to name them all would take volumes.
     Thumbs down: To those who supply themselves with flashlights and other emergency devices, head to disaster areas offering their $1 flashlights for sale for $20.
     Thumbs down: To signs that remain incorrect or out of date–and nobody seems to care. For example, if you’re driving west, you’ll notice the Serf marquee, which contains the single word “coming.” Sometimes it identifies the actual “coming” attraction. Going east, you notice the word “showing,” with the name of the movie.
     Is it really possible for the same movie to be in both stages? Going by that sign, we don’t know whether flicks are coming or showing.
     Thumbs up: To conscientious elected representatives. The San Miguel County commissioners, under the chairmanship of LeRoy Garcia, continue to respond to the public’s concerns and needs, especially during inclement weather.
     During the last sizeable snowfall, even the back streets of our neighborhood, Camp Luna, had been plowed. It used to be that snow got cleared only as far as some politician’s driveway. Under the current commissioners, urgent matters get taken care of quickly. Notice also, the new paving in the area of Los Vigiles.
     Thumbs up: to Henry Rodgers, an excellent observer and student of the written word. He won’t allow errors in Work of Art to go unpunished. About a recent column on the tendency for some people to pronounce the “ch” in Spanish words as “sh,” Henry posited that the effect is probably due to the way French words, such as “chauffeur” and “chauvinist” actually have the “sh” sound. Since French settlers arrived here centuries ago, the connection between the Spanish “ch” and the French “ch” becomes clearer. Interesting theory.
     Thumbs up: To the policy Wal-Mart adopted to open a new checkout station whenever the line contained six or more customers. But read on . . .
     Thumbs down: As thousands can testify, the policy apparently expired years ago.
     Thumbs up: To “Val,” who remains a dedicated and conscientious manager of the transfer station at Camp Luna.
     Thumbs down: Waiting for Santa to come without at least preparing cookies and milk. Members of the City Council are dreaming of a green after-Christmas, by virtue of a referendum they’d like to float to increase revenue.
     Yet, huge solid waste deficits need to be addressed. It’s not as if the council, assuming passage of the referendum, can go on a shopping spree while ignoring the half-million-dollar deficit facing the city.
     City government can’t put all its begs in one ask-it.

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