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Columns

  • Dead Sea Scrolls fascinate

    Several decades ago, I met a neighbor, a slightly older man, who had studied to become a Trappist monk and spent years  in study, prayer, fasting and living the simple life.

    My friend, Frank, left the monastery after a few years, deciding it wasn’t the life for him, but I was intrigued, nevertheless.

    As I look back, I wonder whether I would have lasted as a Trappist. At the time, in my early teens, I considered life as a monk. To me, monks were men who contemplated, followed  scholarly pursuits, prayed and sought union with God.

  • The danger of stereotyping others

    By Rick Kraft

    Most of our individual makeups are not exclusively black or white. When it comes to our personal beliefs on significant issues we do have some extreme blacks and whites, but mostly we live in a world of grays. Regardless, we are quick to stereotype others, yet don’t like to be stereotyped ourselves.

  • Johnson creates a race against Heinrich

    The former Republican governor of New Mexico ran for president twice as a Libertarian, the second time delivering the most votes ever — over 4 million, or about 3 percent of the popular vote — for his adopted party.

    His tallies didn’t really have a discernable impact on the 2016 presidential election, but he did gain a toehold for a third party on the national stage.

    Now he’s trying to blaze a new trail, as the first Libertarian to be elected to the U.S. Senate. He running to unseat New Mexico’s own Martin Heinrich this November.

  • It’s para-thyroid-doxical

    Is it possible? Is it merely a coincidence that soon after extolling the wonders of green chile (remember: we always end the word with an “e”), the stuff has come back to haunt me.

    Let me explain: Until I came close to my current age, in the 70s, I believed my tummy was ironclad. A belch or two after a meal of green chile I assumed  was merely a mark of good manners. My wife, and before that, my mom, disabused me of that belief and convinced me the eructation after a meal was far from a demonstration of good manners or appreciation of good food.

  • Living through the gift of reading

    The month of August flies by and I note the hummingbirds are now on their way back to the south and warmer climates for the winter. The two cups of nectar I just mixed up and poured into their feeders won’t last long, even with the multitude of high mountain flowers blooming here now. Wow! They surely are tough tiny birds.

    My parents taught sweet brother Bill and me to do more than just goof off or dream our summer away. We were expected to read magazines and books, or course. This was before television days — back in the 1940s, no less.

  • Passing wisdom to the next generation

    “You just don’t understand!” Have you ever heard these words? Have you ever said these words?

    They arise out of a situation where one person is trying to get a predetermined response from another, but is failing to win the other person over. Typically, the person speaking is trying to explain why the other person has a wrong view of the issue being discussed.

    Another way of saying this is the person using this phrase is sharing a world view from his or her life and is not getting the support desired from another.

  • I must have been ‘hung up’

    Is it time to give up? Are people in my field — the world of letters, spelling, punctuation and word choices a bit too “hung up”?

    I use “hung up” because a Highlands student once gave me that label as I returned assignments with a circled misspelling. That brought on a remark from a student, Angie, who said she “just knew” I would flag her word, “aggravated,” possibly “just to be mean.”

  • Simplifying your world by downsizing

    We all have too much stuff. We have things we don’t touch in years that are just taking up space. As a side note, I am writing this column to myself, but I thought I would share with you my advice to me!

    I have a theory. It is called the “Kraft’s Theory of Space.” It will never be as famous as Newton’s Theory of Relativity or Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, but it seems to be a theory that is accurate almost without exception.

  • Writing for laughter and brotherly love

    I always thought I was funnier than my brother. Then I gave him a column in my newspaper and he turns out to be more humorous than I.

    Who woulda thunk it?

    My older brother Don, a psychiatrist who lives in Memphis, Tenn., has been writing a humor column for The Guadalupe County Communicator since December, when I bought the newspaper. And, surprisingly, he’s developed a bit of a following.

    A huge following, my tall-tale-telling brother will undoubtedly say, but I’m trying to keep it real.

  • It’s chile, not chili

    Two area daily newspapers generously touted the (early) arrival of green chile. The Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe New Mexican both had photos of people roasting and eating that delicious stuff.

    So appealing have these articles been that I’m now appealing to our lead reporter to provide equal coverage in the Optic to local pealing and roasting of green chile.