2016 Campaign Starts Wednesday

 A few thoughts on Election Day.

 I do tend to lean toward Republican when forced to make a choice.  However I do consider myself open minded, and will vote for who I feel the best candidate is, regardless of party affiliation.

 I did watch all the debates, have read many of the comments and speeches during this campaign.  For me several things have been a major annoyance, including the following:

 • Campaigning started a full year and a half ago.

 • Imagine what could have been with all the money that was instead spent on campaigning.   USA Today reports that total campaign spending could approach $4 BILLION.

 • Vice President Biden, “if they would get out of the way, and let us do our job”.

 Above all the other dumb comments that were thrown out there, the vice president’s comments were the clincher for me.  When there is known gridlock, it takes a true leader to work through the gridlock to achieve a solution, not a get-out-of-the-way approach.  When everyone is supposed to work together toward a common goal, everyone’s voice should be heard, and everyone should be working toward the conclusion.

 I will not say who I voted for, but I think it is safe to say who I did not.

6 months already?

To the man at the liquor store buying a big bottle of Jack Daniels the other day complaining that he cannot afford food because of the high prices…REALLY?
To the multiple drivers that have cut through parking lots to turn right because they do not want to wait at the traffic light, including the older man that had what looked like his young grandkids in the back seat…REALLY?
And to all of those who think it is acceptable to just take as many papers as you want just because they are there…REALLY?
As we crossed the six-month mark in our time living in Clovis, we have learned a few things about the area. During our time, we have learned:
• Do not go to the grocery store on the 1st or 15th of the month. What a madhouse.
• Chubby Checker can still perform, even if it looks like his jeans are about to split while he is performing.
• While many towns have cats running in the streets loose, here it is dogs, most often Chihuahuas.
• Many of our military personnel at Cannon Air Force Base are extremely-innocent-to-the-world kids.
• It does not rain much here during the day. Despite the ground being thirsty for water, it does not take it in very quickly.
• Rolling right turns at stop lights are happenstance.
• There are many naturally occurring speed bumps.
We had a joke about the difference between people in North Dakota and people in Montana (we were in a border town last). You ask someone from North Dakota how they were doing, they would say “fine.” You ask someone from Montana how they were doing, they said “fine, how are you?” The joke was that North Dakota people only cared about themselves, and did not care to chat with you, while people from Montana at least were willing to make small talk, and were interested in you.
In our time here, it has not been North Dakota. And for that reason alone, we have enjoyed our time in Clovis.

Way to go ABC

There is not much that fazes me. It takes quite a bit to shock me, to make the heart skip a beat anymore.

The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, surprised me. It stunned me, and it shocked me to see it played out live on television.

For a time there I had no idea what was going on in the world around me. It did not help that everyone in my household became violently ill within 24 hours, which in the end turned out to be more of a coincidence than anything else.

If there is still something that is fresh on my mind it is 9/11.

Today on ABC, there was the annual moment of silence at Ground Zero. After this, “Good Morning America” was back on with an interview. Less than five minutes into this interview, there is a cut in with a “breaking news update.”

After years of hearing there may be attacks on 9/11 by terrorists, seeing the screen post a “breaking news update” less than five minutes after the moment of silence, a moment where I am remembering what happened that day in 2001 … my heart started racing.

What was happening, on the same day as this tragic moment 11 years later? Were we under attack again? Did terrorists strike somewhere else? ABC had cut away from Ground Zero just five minutes ago; did something happen in New York again?

No, the breaking news was that the president was honoring 9/11.

It is breaking news that the president was honoring 9/11? Really? You had to make me and many others in this country nervous about a tragic moment in time that was just rekindled in our minds to let us know that the president was honoring 9/11?

It would be breaking news that the president was not honoring 9/11.

ABC: classless, tasteless, and an extremely poor choice to panic people with a “breaking news update” that the president was honoring 9/11.

ABC, you should have had your reporter announce in the middle of his Hollywood actor interview that you were going live to Washington where the president was honoring 9/11.

But you did make me nervous. And that does not happen very often.

If I only had clout…

If I had clout …

… there would be traffic lights at Seventh and Sycamore and 14th and Sycamore.
Besides the fact that these are busy intersections, they are also high foot-traffic intersections between the school, softball, the zoo, and the other businesses on Sycamore near Seventh.
The park has traffic lights to the east; maybe it is now time to have traffic lights to the west.
I say this because the first time on Monday I watched westbound traffic on Seventh stopped halfway to Norris.

If I had clout …

… a “Fine for littering” sign would be present somewhere in town.  
To the casual observer, what is the fine? (Or is there a fine?)
If there is a sign in town, please let me know where it is. It would be the first one I have seen.

If I had clout …

… weeds, weeds, weeds would not be allowed.
Not weeds on city streets, weeds on sidewalks and medians, weeds in yards of condemned houses and buildings, weeds IN condemned buildings, not even weeds in yards of houses for sale or rent.
Not exactly a selling point I would think, but maybe I am mistaken on that.  
Maybe there is spirituality, or a worshipping of the weed that I am not aware of.

By the way, do you like your paper rubber banded or in a plastic bag

All that water… and none to drink.

I am sitting behind a car at a traffic light on Prince Street in Clovis. Its license plate expired in 2004. I guess if you are not going to renew your plates, you might as well go in style.

Why bring this up? Because, for me, different things in life trigger different thoughts and ideas.

So as I am sitting at this traffic light, and realizing how hot it is, and the need for water, not just here, but in over half the country, it got me thinking.

Desalinization; why are we not talking about this idea more?

Throw out the usual excuses: cost, and the fact that our politicians cannot agree on anything. I realize everything in government now is a game of chicken to the wire to see who will bend first. But if the government wants to print money for a project, they will print the money to get it done, including government subsidies for water projects.

Need a project to put people to work? How about a waterways project? Think about it.  Glaciers are melting, breaking off, and falling into the ocean. This in turn is causing two things — oceans rising, and desalinizing, or becoming fresher.  

If the water is becoming fresher, does it not make it easier to desalinate for drinking purposes?  

To me personally, there is nothing dumber than being surrounded by water, and saying there is no water to be had. Why not put the rising oceans to work for us?  

Remember, throw out the usual reasons. Is there a third reason?

Use the rivers that lead to the ocean as the way to send water back.

I could see water coming from the Gulf of Mexico, following the Rio Grande back. Desalinization plants along the way, after all they do not need to be right at the Gulf. It could be transported, and then processed.

Illogical? Maybe. Going to happen? Never. Dumb? Personally I do not think dumb at all.

But that is what happens to me when I sit behind a car whose plates expired eight years ago on a hot day.

Steal a newspaper… really?

 I really do not get it.  

Why would anyone think it is acceptable to just grab a bunch of newspapers and only pay for one?

The sign on the newspaper rack does not say 75 cents for all the papers that can be grabbed. It is cool to take them? Does anyone really need them that bad? Has someone been mistreated so much in life that at least this way they can get back at someone by taking as many newspapers as they want?

Or do people really think it is acceptable to take as many papers as they want at one time?

News flash: It is not OK. By taking more, it is stealing.

I find it hard to believe there are so many thieves in Clovis who steal the number of papers they do.  

And they are not stealing because they want the coupons. They steal on other days as well. Is this a cry for help that they want to get caught?

Every day I am here, we are tightening the controls, and the processes. We are narrowing down the times, and the locations of when papers are stolen. Steal from here today, steal from there tomorrow. We are watching the trends of where, and when.

We are watching.

So attention thieves. Every time a newspaper rack is opened, look around. One of our employees may be watching  with a camera, ready to take that picture.

We are closing in, and the thieves will be caught.  Is it really worth it?

Over a newspaper… really?

Do you know your town?

This week we start a new contest called the ABCs of Portales and the ABCs of Clovis.

It should be a fun contest, a great way to see who in the community knows what businesses are in town.  

I would encourage everyone to check it out for the next month in the newspaper.  

I am curious to know how many people can figure out what the business is in their town based on a single letter in the alphabet from a sign around town.

Saturday we drove around Portales looking for the signs for this contest. For the most part this process was not that difficult.  

Some letters are just difficult to find no matter where you go.  Not that many businesses start with an X or a Z.

I know in the past, some businesses wanted to have their name start with something from the beginning of the alphabet, because it was a way to get noticed first in places like the phone book.

The theory was that people have shorter attention spans, and they are going to pick something from the front of the book as opposed to choosing options through the entire book.  

I do not believe that is so much the case anymore, but if it is an established business that has been around many years, the name of the business is probably not going to start with a letter from the end of the alphabet, such as with a Z.  

I understand if the name of the business is the last name of the person. That is not what I am getting at. I am just referring to a business name in general.

On a side note I would like to give kudos to several of the businesses in Portales. There were some distinctive signs that still stick in my mind from their design. To me that was effective promotion of the business. I will not release their names of course, because they are part of the contest. But to those of you that stick in my mind: nicely done.

Tattoos, and their role in society

I have never been big on tattoos. The reason is simple.
It is not about fading. It is not about “A rose today becomes a dozen over the years,” or anything like that.
Simply what you might like one moment you might not like down the road. And if you do not like it down the road, it is going to cost you.
And to make matters worse, if you had it done after a drinking binge or some other spur of the moment whim, and then you wake up regretting what you have done, then what?
I ran into a guy yesterday, a very nice guy. What struck me was that many of his tattoos were of topless women. He wore a tank top, and clearly visible were his tattoos of topless women.
I typically do not pay too much attention to the detail of tattoos on people, especially those with multiple tattoos on their bodies. To me they tend to blend together and to my eye you tend to lose what the message, or the impression is meant to be.
But in this case it was rather obvious what these tattoos were meant to showcase.
So my question is, and I do not know the answer to this, but should there be a limit of what a person can show skin wise in public?
Should tattoos of topless women be allowed to be publicly displayed? Or is this is the equivalent of taking a pornographic magazine, and opening it up for anyone of all ages to see.
Personally, I am still surprised that someone would have tattoos of topless women on their body. I used to think the reason for tattoos was to project a message. And yes, maybe the message was that he just loves topless women.
If I see this guy again, I am going to have to ask.

Football is coming.

I grew up in Texas, so I know what the passion for football can be like. I was in college during the time of the SMU scandal that shut the program down, went to a college that could not afford football anymore, and saw the outrage with that.

My last few stops have been different. Alaska, Vermont, and North Dakota are not exactly football powerhouses at any level. Sure, they turn prospects out from time to time, but football factories they are not.

So for the last dozen years or so, I have not been firsthand witness to the passion that a community holds for its football program.

Football is coming up in eastern New Mexico, and I am curious as to what is coming up. Is this town passionate like Texas for its football teams? Does the town get painted the school colors on game days?

I see painted murals in businesses, signs around town, apparel at a local grocery store … I have a feeling of what it might be like.

But is it as passionate as what I saw growing up, or is it to a lesser extent?

I have a feeling it is not quite like the hockey towns that I have lived in previously, where football was more of a last rights of fall more than anything else.

If it is what I think it might be around here, I am ready, and I am looking forward to it.

A Day at the Market

 

I just spent my lunch hour at a local grocery store buying the groceries for the next week. In a word: agonizing.
Try buying a box of cereal, or a bag of dog food, or chips, or today it seemed like a multitude of products. I have known that for a couple of years now that in order to control prices to a degree, you are getting less product for that price. For example, you used to buy the 25-pound bag of dog food for say $19.99. Then it became the 20-pound bag.  Now it is the 18-pound bag.
Today at the store it seemed like everywhere you turned, there was less product for a similar price. Maybe this is a way someone thinks they can help reduce obesity in this country.
The second trick I see is to make the sale price just a bit lower than the retail price was the week before.
Today I saw it with chips and cereal (neither of which I purchased today by the way). I saw the price of a particular brand of cereal be “$2 off the retail price of $4.99” when the week before the retail price for that same size box was $3.49.  
A bag of chips that you would find in the snack machine was “on sale” for $1.99.
And do not even get me started on the fact that the box or bag now is closer to 50 percent air.
It is one thing to have something happen to you, and you not know it. It is another to see it happening, feel like everyone is doing it to you, and realizing that you cannot do anything about it other than not buy it.  
Maybe subsistence farming is an option to consider.