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Columns

  • Work of Art - Things smell all right

    A long-held belief — whether it’s based on myth, practice or even superstition — says that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

    Taking that analogy a step farther, we can then assume that a broken bone actually heals and becomes tougher, or a person who survives a particular illness soon become impervious to that ailment, a kind of immunity.

    It was later in life that I heard many versions of the “makes us stronger” mantra, usually on the football field or at some athletic event.

  • Editor's Note - Throwing a pity party

    Think I’ll throw myself a pity party.  I caught a cold, I’m overworked, I’m gaining weight from my comfort food and I have no company to enjoy my misery with, so I’m in good shape to invite you in as I feel sorry for myself.

    Join me as I lay out some of the reasons why my life sucks:

  • Dulcey Amargo - ‘Tis the season

    Thanksgiving is behind us, and we’re sated and, perhaps, overstuffed, but there’s more “stuff” and nonsense in the works.

    Christmas and New Year’s Day are on people’s minds, and so is the word “holidays.”

    And that they are, but there’s a bone of contention for some people when someone says, Happy Holidays.

    Well, they are holidays, and we want to be happy, but whatever happened to our “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and Mele Kalikimaka,” as my Hawaiian roommate, Betty Ganiko, taught me over 40 years ago? And we mustn’t forget Happy Hanukkah, either!

  • Nuestra Historia - Kistler’s Optic spurred racial divide

    In 1979, a century after Russell A. Kistler founded the Optic, beloved Optic editor Lois Beck wrote of her predecessor: “Kistler had unabashed contempt for all other racial and ethnic groups but his. ‘Mexicans’ were barely tolerated by him, positively not considered ‘Americans’ even after Kearny told them they were. This racial dementia was so much a part of him that he disclosed it unconsciously, as well as deliberately. No, Russell and I didn’t belong in the same century and certainly not in the same town.”

  • Work of Art - Some things don’t mix well

    Time changes things. Or at least, the lack of time changes things by rendering them trite, banal.

    Ever notice when someone utters something while taking off from a red light, or on the way out the door? In my case, in the rush,  I sometimes fail to understand and respond with something all-purpose, like “You’ve got it” or “That’s correct” or “I see what you mean” or “Yes, I agree” or “Good point.”

  • Editor's Note - Mixing water and oil

    The other day I overheard a man and a woman talking about the water situation in Las Vegas.

    The man asked the woman, what if the city runs out of water, and she said she’d move to her family ranch.

    He replied that he’d do the same, then went into some detail as to the water he has on and under his land.

    Then their discussion turned to the problem such a move would cause, including how expensive it would be to get to and from work if living at their ranches.

  • Just a Thought - The wisdom of Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln’s name has been in the news lately with the release of the Steven Spielberg produced  film “Lincoln.” As is portrayed in the movie, President Lincoln led our country through a low point in our history at a time when we killed over 600,000 of our own citizens during our Civil War.  He had to carry the weight of a divided country on his shoulders each day of his presidency.  

  • Nuestra Historia - The dream vanished in frost, hail and drought

    Famed sociologist Clark Knowlton would later observe: “The rosy dreams of the Las Vegas Anglo American businessmen, lawyers and politicians who seized control of the Las Vegas Land Grant, hoping to populate it with thriving Anglo American farming communities, expired in frost, hail, drought, and high transportation costs.”

  • Work of Art - Including the kitchen sink ...

    A comic strip I remember from my childhood showed Dagwood helping Blondie with the Thanksgiving dishes. He broke one, causing Blondie to say, “If you break one more plate, I won’t let you help me with the dishes any more.” And a light bulb went on in Dagwood’s speech balloon.

    Would a Spanish version of the same comic strip have used a slightly different word with a slightly different meaning?

    Let me explain:

  • Editor's Note - Ripple effect

    Note: A version of this column first ran in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sept. 10, four days after Charles McDonald died in North Little Rock, Ark., at age 86.

    One really can’t frame the modern Civil Rights Movement between two specific events. There’s no one day that launched the movement, nor a single moment that brought it to an end.

    For my family, however, events that took place between 1957 and 1968 made all the difference in the world.