• Competition was fierce

    One of my habits  — about which I have mixed feelings — deals with the transfer of money from my person to others’ pockets. I wrote about this at least once before and almost immediately received a churlish email condemning me for making beggars’ situations worse.

    You see, the American way is for people to make their own way, to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, to make hay while the sun shines, and other cliches.

  • It depends on what you are looking for

    “We’re lost, but we are making good time.” We have all been there before. The other extreme is “Stop and smell the roses.” Which category do you fall into the most, racing through life or stopping to enjoy the beauty along the way?

    How often do you miss something in this life because you are running five steps ahead of yourself? I know I do. I wrote this column to myself, but you can read it along with me if you would like to.

  • Countdown to Castañeda Under the Stars

    I hope you are as eager as I am for our exciting weekend at the Castañeda Hotel on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22 and 23, for a Hard Hat Tour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A Harvey Girl will show you the latest improvements at the hotel, and you’ll meet Fred Harvey (aka Bob Mishler). Tickets at $10 may be purchased onsite or online: castanedaunderthestars.com. Some tours will sell out, so I recommend online reservations.

  • 2nd district a battleground for U.S. House takeover

    Presidential midterm elections are typically viewed as a referendum on how Americans view their president midway through their first or second term in office. Midterms have often reconfigured the balance of power in our nation’s capital.

    Remember the first midterm election, in 1994, under Bill Clinton’s reign of presidential power?

    Democrats lost a net 54 seats in the House and eight Senate seats, giving Republicans the majority in both chambers and forcing Clinton to move more toward the center for the remainder of his two terms in office.

  • Dead Sea Scrolls a must-see

    Here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see authentic Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts that include the oldest known biblical documents dating back more than 2,000 years.

    The scrolls have been dramatically presented within a massive exhibit case featuring carefully regulated individual chambers, along with the full English translation.

  • It takes so little to be ‘above average’

    You know good customer service when you see it. I know you do. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a person with education degrees or years of experience to figure this one out.

    You are qualified — right now — to determine the level of customer service.

    There are places you exit from and you say to yourself, “Boy, they did a good job of serving me.” It may be a restaurant, a store, or another business, but when you leave you may feel like you were a very important person or that your presence really didn’t matter.

  • To improve our schools, spend more in classroom

    While the recent Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico decision has understandably received intense interest for its landmark ruling that New Mexico’s public schools are not adequately funded, there has been less attention on another, equally important aspect of the ruling.

    That aspect is the finding that more money will only make a difference for students if it is spent in the classroom. 

  • Straight-party voting stirs up partisanship

    If ever there were an election-year cycle tailor-made for the Democrats in New Mexico, it would be this year.

    The Dems have an excellent shot at taking back the governor’s seat and a decent chance to steal away New Mexico’s only Republican-held congressional seat. Moreover, it’s likely the Dems will retain their majorities in both the state House and Senate and could potentially win every statewide position on the ballot this year.

  • 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.