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Columns

  • Forests to Faucets: Connecting the dots after the wildfires

    Editor’s note: This is the first of two columns by Egan.

    From the Track, the Pacheco Canyon and the Las Conchas fires in the northern part of the state to the Miller, Quail Ridge, and Ruidoso Downs fires in the state’s southern tier, New Mexico is emerging from its most severe wildfire season ever. Given prevailing climate patterns, it is generally believed that a season like the one we just experienced will be more the norm than an exception.  

  • Work of Art: An internal optometrist

    Is there a chance Americans just don’t read as much as they used to? And if they do, have their reading habits and choice of material changed significantly? And can we count the texting-pecking exchanges on iPhone keyboards as reading?
    I ask this question earnestly. At the moment I don’t have access to data to verify or contradict what I believe. In this case, I’m just asking.

    A Highlands professor I really respect, back in the days when we used to eat dinosaurs, Elmer Schooley, made a believer of me.

  • Publisher's Note: The blame game

    “Some folks hate the whites who hate the blacks who hate the klan; most of us hate anything we don’t understand.”

    — from Kris Kristofferson’s 1972 song “Jesus Was A Capricorn”

    On the far right, the Tea Party has tapped a vein of discontentment by blaming the government for all our problems. And on the far left, the Occupy Wall Street forces have laid the blame at the feet of the big corporations and their greed.

  • Veteran's Perspective: Our real national debt

    Google the term “National Debt” and you will quickly receive the search results for millions of websites.

    Most deal with the very serious issues of government overspending and the accumulation of more than two centuries of federal deficits. Yet very few bring up the biggest national debt of them all — that which America owes to her veterans.

    Today, Veterans Day, marks the perfect opportunity for us to take an historical audit on just how much this nation owes her heroes.

  • Nuestra Historia - El Padre Polaco and his pipe

    We continue our fact-or-fiction series with the tale of the Polish priest who accidentally burned down our first church, when he fell asleep smoking his pipe — so it is said.

    He was Alexander Grzelachowski (gre-law-how-ski), the first parish priest at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, who came to Las Vegas in 1851. Born in Poland when much of that country was part of Russia, he studied for the priesthood in France, and later immigrated to the United States.

  • Work of Art Little has changed

    Several years ago, in the pre-911 era, before we needed to open up our world to the TSA, in the name of Homeland Security, we almost missed our flight to Orlando, Fla.

    Back then, there were none of those interminable lines of people ordered to remove their shoes or subject themselves to touchy-feelie pinching, patting, probing, poking and prodding. So, though my crew arrived too late to check our bags — we needed to tote them all the way to our destination — we were allowed on the plane, even with our bazookas, pipe bombs and jumbo bottles of lotion.

  • Holidays with the Optic

    Time to start thinking about the upcoming holidays — to give thanks, wish for peace on earth and goodwill to all, and maybe get a cool gift or two. Then we’ll turn the corner on a new year, with an adios to the old and hola on the new — hoping and praying for a  tomorrow that will be even better than the days before.

    Here at the Optic, we’re planning several things. First, I’ll provide an overview, then I’ll tell you how you can participate.

    • • •

    Here’s what we have planned:

  • Tiny, Joe, the monkey and the moon

    It was 1976, and Joseph M. Montoya was seeking his third term to the U.S. Senate. The quintessential politician, Montoya was becoming a powerful senator, and had served on the select Senate Watergate Committee which investigated the Nixon White House. (President Richard M. Nixon  resigned from office Aug. 9, 1974, the only president in history to do so.)  

  • Work of Art: 7 billion? On second thought ...

    One of the greatest features of my new toy, my iPad, is the ability to add “apps,” that is, applications that do different things. The one I like but can’t control is named, simply, “Population.”

    It resembles a car odometer. It’s digital, and the columns showing units and tens run fast. Last Friday, the last time I checked before now, the count was 6,9099,587,471. The time was 5:33 p.m. Watching the counter moving, I timed it for exactly one minute, during which the estimated population climbed by 148 people.

  • Publisher's Note: Politics and hiring at Luna

    A few hours before a scheduled Luna Community College Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 20, I heard a rumor that the board was about to remove Pete Campos as president. Some board members were not happy about being left out of certain hiring decisions, I was told, and they had the votes to fire Campos.