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Columns

  • Work of Art;: having cake, eating it too

    And why exactly can’t a person have his cake and eat it too? That expression bothered me for years, and I think I have the hang of it now.

    As I alluded to in a column earlier this month, it’s difficult for people to agree on the meanings of terms we toss around, sometimes cavalierly.

    For example, my friend and co-writer Lupita Gonzales says “having an ax to grind” refers to a person seeking a favor. That person carries a dull ax in hopes of getting it sharpened, free of charge.

  • Just a Thought: How to simplify your Christmas season

    Christmas has become a complex time of the year. It has developed too many moving parts. Decorating the house inside and out, Black Friday, buying the right gifts, hiding gifts, wrapping gifts, Christmas cards, maxing out credit cards, cleaning the house or making travel plans, planning meals, and the list goes on and on.

    It has become a season that includes broad emotional swings. High stress over getting everything done that needs to get done followed by a great joy of having family gathered together.

  • Memories much better than gifts

    Editor’s note: The original version of this column was published in 2012 in the Las Vegas Optic. It’s being distributed with permission and has been updated for 2015.

    In terms of pure economics, our biggest national holiday is, of course, Christmas. I read somewhere that Halloween comes in as a strong second, but I’d be surprised if it’s anywhere close to the money we Americans spend for the yuletide.

  • A work of Art: Jump into the Equator?

    In the same way that the Dallas Cowboys are “the team America loves to hate,” my older brother, Severino instilled that feeling in me long before I’d even heard of that pro team from Texas.

    I spent my pre-teens dreaming up diabolical schemes to get even.

  • Just a Thought - John Wooden’s favorite maxims of wisdom

    If you had the opportunity to list out a baker’s dozen of maxims that would be typed up and placed in a time capsule to be opened 25 years after your death and then disseminated through every media source, electronic and paper, so virtually the entire country could learn from your wisdom, what maxims would you write?

  • Palabras Pinturescas: One family tradition is missing, but there are plenty of others

    One of our family traditions is missing. Oh, my! How times have changed. There are no big Christmas catalogs filling up our mailbox anymore. I think our mother would be pleased, however, because the arrival of those catalogs started many a fight between Sweet Brother Bill and me. Yes, both of us worked at hiding them from the other. They were our wish books!

    We had many family traditions growing up in our Valmora hospital complex.

  • A work of Art:The idiocy of idioms

    Being the host family for a couple of Euros, my wife and I have needed to tone down our use of idioms. My dictionary defines an idiom as “a group of words established by usage as having meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.”

    I believe a more acceptable definition would be an expression that on the surface doesn’t make sense. We refer to “carrying out the plan” when there’s no hint of hefting something out of a room. And we speak of fixing breakfast when nobody was aware of anything broken. Except maybe a fast.

  • Another Perspective: Early Holiday Gift for Students

    By Betty Patterson

    New Mexico ushers in this holiday season with one of the best gifts students and educators have received in a long time — passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Passed last week in the U.S. House of Representatives, and this week in the U.S. Senate, ESSA is a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind.

  • Just a Thought - You are responsible for your joy

    I cannot make you happy. I just can’t do it. There are absolutely no words I can write from my computer at this moment that you will read today and that will make you live a joyous life.

    Okay, we’ve got that behind us. Now let me tell you what I’ve found works for me.

    I have met a lot of people. You have met a lot of people. Each one  is programmed differently. There are general patterns of behavior, but there is also a high level of individuality. Each person brings different gift sets, different hang-ups, and different attitudes.

  • Palabras Pinturescas: Holidays a time for a family visit to the farm

    This time of the year, the holiday, festive and visiting, communicating with family member near and far brings back many memories with my family. One Thanksgiving holiday is long time ago is always remembered by three kids.

    Big Boss Jim and I decided it was time, since all three were almost young adults, to meet the Bartley clan, their father’s large and extended family who lived and worked near Fulton, Mo.