• A work of Art: Spelling helps with dating

    During a discussion of students’ school performance, I brought up what I thought were salient points about what was expected back in the’50s as compared with today. What’s different? I mentioned that many public schools have dropped cursive writing.

    What’s the big deal? The big deal is that cursive writing must have been invented to speed things up. Rather than composing each letter — and by necessity having to lift the pencil between each letter, as we do in printing — we link letters together by using cursive.

  • Palabras Pinturescas: Never underestimate the intelligence of ranch animals

    As the years fly by for me, I continue to be very surprised at how little I know about so many things I always thought I might be somewhat of an expert in.

  • Just a Thought: What legacy will you leave when you are gone?

    This much I know is true: you have today. That’s it. That is about all I can assure you of.

    God willing, you may have tomorrow and then a tomorrow after that and so on. But there are many out there whose today will be all they have left. We will hear about some of them on the news tonight and read about some later this week in the newspaper.

  • Beth Speaks for Herself: Our New Year’s Resolution Brunch

    Count down to January 1. While most folks take the morning off, I and my like-minded women friends trod through snow and ice carrying fruit salad and coffeecake for our annual New Year’s Resolutions Brunch.

    For a decade we’ve been getting together, although ‘get-together’ is too informal a term. After a glass of prosecco spiked with pomegranate juice, we fill our plates and sit around the coffee table in Peggy’s living room with a blazing fire crackling next to us.

  • Here’s a personal take on a year of newsy columns

    When thinking back on 2015, it’s hard not to get personal. It was a significant year for me as well as for the rest of the world.

    I’ve been writing this column since May 2013. I call it Dispatch New Mexico, though your local newspaper editor might call it something else: “filler” is one word that comes to mind; “brilliant insight” far less often. I started writing it at the same time I launched a statewide news service named the Community News Exchange, or CNEx, which serves mainly small-town newspapers around the state.

  • 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?