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Columns

  • Where’d those words come from?

    Almost daily, we come across — and many of us even use — familiar expressions that, when you come to think about them, almost  defy explanation.

    As a person who’s made a living by using words, I confess I’m one of the biggest offenders; that is, I often use expression that I feel comfortable with and that I’ve heard before, but sometimes am unable to explain why I used them.

  • What is it that really defines you?

    What is really at the heart of your existence? What do you value that impacts your life on a day-to-day basis? What is it that really defines you?

    We are all basically the same. We have the basic need to stay alive. We experience the same emotions. We desire to have joy in the world we live in.

    We are all different. How we go about the above and other basics is different for each one of us. We independently march to the beat of our own drum.

  • Get in line!

    Recently, I went to a dollar store to buy Java a Fourth of July costume for our Pet Parade. I couldn’t find a thing.

    Not to make the trip completely useless, I grabbed two boxes of Kleenex and went to check out. There was only a short line including a woman whom I thought was behind me until she said, “You have to get in line from over there.” Then she barged ahead. She only had a few items, including The Optic, I am pleased to report.

  • More bad advice — courtesy of the Optic

    Two recent (opinion pieces) in The Optic really caught my attention. The first piece was an op-ed by John Stossell who, along with an economist from George Mason University, urged students to not attend college.

    Yes, you read that right. These two ­— both college graduates themselves, of course — urged students to forego college and get a great job with a strong future with only a high school education. Those kinds of jobs are just so plentiful in 2018, right?

  • NM uranium workers, downwinders finally get a hearing

    Seventy-three years ago this week, the United States detonated the first-ever atomic bomb in New Mexico, in a remote desert location now known as the Trinity Test Site.

    It was a top-secret affair that would lead to the bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. And while this test about 30 miles east of Carrizozo may be only a footnote in world history, for those who lived near the site at the time, it changed their lives forever.

  • No cause to celebrate

    We could almost hear bands playing as we saw the front page of a recent New Mexico newspaper. On Page A1 was a photo of a parent hoisting his over-joyed toddler who was released from one of the cages reserved for offspring of people trying to make it into  U.S. borders.

    It wasn’t exactly an occasion for endless cheers. Let’s not forget that the many children kept in cages were likely to have been traumatized by being forcibly separated from their parents.

  • Changing the world with an orange cone

    It entertained me all afternoon, that single orange cone.

    No one knew just what to do with it. It was just sitting out there in the middle of everything. It didn’t belong there, but everyone who came upon it believed it had a purpose so no one picked it up and moved it. Those who encountered the cone had to determine how to navigate around it because it was there. They had no choice but to recognize it and change their path accordingly. But I am a little ahead of myself.

  • Seeking asylum is not a crime

    In recent years, the U.S. typically welcomed about 1,000,000 legal immigrants, 70,000 refugees and 23,000 asylum seekers per year.

    President Trump’s statements and evolving policies will greatly reduce all these numbers, and threaten the approximately 11 million unauthorized immigrants already living in this country, many for decades.

  • Capitalism, socialism and dishonest debates

    The other day, while on a drive, I did a little radio surfing and bumped into a “Christian” radio network with some no-name talk show host decrying the evils of socialism.

    There’s no such thing as independent thought on such programs. The format was little more than a lecture with commercials, with a few seconds of “conversation” with a caller or two as the host made sure the subject remained focused to his talking points for the day.

  • Downing 74 hot dogs

    How can they do it? How can any person wolf down 74 wieners in the Coney Island competition held each year in the Brooklyn borough of New York

    I ask that question because even the thought of gorging oneself — with wieners or anything else — makes me queasy.

    For the uninitiated, let me explain that there are such hot-dog-eating contests in many places around the country. The best known is at Coney Island.