June 29, 2012

A primer on the streets of Las Cruces

Generally speaking, I love riding around this town. Things are close and the roads mostly have a nice north/south, east/west configuration. There are two problems though. One is that some streets just end. You think you can get across town or south of town on a road, but it ends somewhere and gives no indication of where to go next. The other problem is the street names or rather multiple named streets. This is what I will address today.

Someone tells you a shop is on Amador. That runs east/west. but around Main Street it splits and becomes Amador and Lohman. In the far west of town, looking for Lohman? You will not find it. Our friend Lou came up with a unique way of dealing with this, he calls the road Lomador. When he says its “on Lomador”, it reminds you of the two-name nature of the road and you adjust accordingly. Lou has a real knack for this sort of thing. At least I thought that he did but it seems that “Lomador” is his wife, Karen's creation. Well done Karen, well done. Once we were having a discussion of what to call the traditional Christmas decoration here, luminaries, a candle in a paper sack. It is called different things in different parts of the state. Not a problem for Lou, he simply calls them candlebaggios and everyone knows just what he means. Yes, Lou did come up with that one.

Across this town, the two name streets phenomenon happens with regularity. There is Spruce and Picacho, one road, two names; there is Missouri Ave. that becomes Boutz Road, there is Alameda Avenue which becomes El Paseo Road, and Three Crosses Avenue which becomes Dona Anna Road after only about ½ mile. This is so confusing for newcomers. Some other examples: Mesquite becomes Esperanza, and University Avenue becomes Dripping Springs Road.

So, I am calling out to my friends Lou and Karen and anyone who reads this and understands the hassle of getting lost, to help correct this street name nightmare by coming up with names that reflect the dual nature of all said roads. I’ll even give you a head start – I am pretty partial to Sprucatcho. I am willing to take on all suggestions but Karen and Lou get the final say.

June 11, 2012

The end of the ALR Semester

I wrote a few weeks back about the ALR, Academy of Learning in Retirement, and how much I had enjoyed the different subjects. Well, we finished our the semester these last few weeks and the topics we a bit more harsh. Four classes on the Narcos in Juarez, Mexico and then 4 more on Torture.

Presented by Molly Molloy, Research Librarian, NMSU; Editor, Translator and Charles Bowden, Award Winning Author, these classes focused on he history and background of the Mexican drug trade and violence, the
hyper-violence in Ciudad, Juarez (and elsewhere in Mexico) from 2008 to the present, the myth and reality of spillover violence from Mexico into the border region of the US, and the human costs of US drug, immigration, trade, economic, and homeland security policies. They presented a short movie clip from a documentary they had worked on, “El Sicario”, which translates to “the Assassin” or the hitman. The talks were chilling as they documented the goings on in Mexico.

We then attended a showing of the movie and left there just shaking our heads in disbelief about what is happening there. This was not a fun class, but very informative indeed. As an additional footnote to all this, we attended the ALR Annual Meeting and had the pleasure of Having Ms. Molloy sit at our table. In just 45 minutes we were able to learn even more about her impressions and theories and what it will take to end the Cartel violence

The class we finished up was titled “Torture and Intelligence in the US War on Terrorism, another very difficult subject with lots of opinions being expressed. This was the first class where I saw people leaving during the lecture because they disagreed with Dr. Gary Kern’s opinions. To sum them up in just 8 words, Bush was a war criminal, so was Cheney. He pulled no punches but also let us know that President Obama does not escape some blame here as he talked about the drones being utilized and ordering the killing of an American citizen. Other topics were: Methods used in the war on terror (special operations, hit lists, the kill/capture option); the assassination of Osama bin Laden; effective and ineffective interrogation techniques; the debate for and against torture in the context of "the struggle for the soul of America".

All in all, a very enjoyable way to spend some time learning

I'm Back.....

Yes, faithful readers (and even some of the casual sort) you may have noticed that the posts here have been rather sporadic and sparse. Retirement has been so much busier then I would have expected. However, I need to write, I want to write and I will write again and get back into my routines. Ahead there will be posts about finishing up the ALR classes, book and restaurant reviews, some more random thoughts and even an update about how I am spending my time these days. Hope you will join me!