You go Thelma!

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In the March 27th edition of the Albuquerque Tribune, entertainment columnist and etiquette expert Thelma Domenici addressed a problem near and dear to my heart with her column entitled: “Mind your space during plane trips”.

In it, Thelma discusses some simple rules to consider while traveling on a plane.

They include (using my words, her direct words are in quotes):

• Consider the space allocated to you and be aware of it. Keep bags, limbs, elbows, stinky feet, snacks, fat rolls and other items out of the space belonging to another
• Walk onto the plane with your bag in front of you to avoid wacking the noggins of your fellow passengers already seated
• Be aware of how you dress. What seemed appropriate in the mirror this morning may not “respect the sensitivities of others”. Also go lightly on that Britney Spears perfume…..
• Recognize that not everybody wants to be chatted up by the stranger sitting next to them on the plane…unless both you and they are drunk and then everyone wants to chat.
• Try to keep your little tykes occupied and help them refrain from kicking the seat in front of them…over…and over….and over…and over……
• Also help children refrain from shrieking in a decibel just below what only dogs can hear (ok this bullet is my add on….Thelma didn’t address it. She said we can expect “a child’s excited squeals of delight or the cries that come from pressure changes”…I only ask that my eardrums remain intact).
• “Avoid behavior that is likely to disturb” other passengers. Too numerous to mention, you know who you are.

She’s spot on with her guidelines, but much like our dear Polly Summar’s article in the ABQjournal regarding Tourist Etiquette, I fear Ms. Domenici is also shouting in a hurricane.

She has some wonderful suggestions. In fact, her article should be printed out with boarding passes and made required reading for each person boarding a plane. But that won’t happen. Even if everyone read it, I’ll bet you a day’s pay that the people it’s most aimed at would nod along with it, saying “yeah, that’s true, people should do that”…meanwhile boarding the plane with their too big bag whamming the backs of all heads as they meander down the aisle in their inappropriate outfit, too much perfume and screaming child.

We can ask people to step up to the plate regarding their own behavior. We can ask people be both self aware and conscientious of others. We can ask ’til our faces turn blue, but much like the man Polly talked about who flossed in public, folks are going to continue on blissfully unaware.

I guess at the end of the day, I can only be responsible for myself. My folks raised me to be considerate of others. Always. When I fly, I try…and I grit my teeth at man’s inhumanity to man (and, er…woman). Especially when riding that airline which shall go unnamed, but uses all the grace of a cattle drive to load on their valued passengers. Moo!

As Thelma says on her website (her signature phrase), “Good manners never go out of style.”

Damn, never knew I was so stylish! (insert a wry smile here)

Next on the list of people who are not like you and me…

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Travis Briscoe

Read up on him in the Albuquerque Tribune. I did.

It made me homesick. Real bad.

California, or at least the part of California where I live, the over populated part, isn’t real big on rodeo. I have to say, I miss it. I think about it on a warm summer day…or on Fourth of July. The sights, smells, sounds. I really miss it.

Oh sure, people will jump up and down about how it’s bad for the animals. I can’t say I can entirely disagree….I mean, spurring the sides of a horse and strapping sharp object to a bull’s huevos isn’t exactly dainty treatment. I do actually understand that.

But I was raised watching rodeo. It’s a sport I love. Very few events am I so totally engrossed in every moment of the action. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it kind of sport that inspires gasps and shouts from the crowd. Love it.

Travis is a local guy, from Edgewood, who has made it big on the circuit. And he is all of 19 years old. Nineteen.

In regards to the toughest bull he’s drawn: “‘You never know what he is going to do. I got on him twice, and he gave me a concussion both times.'”

I think about my bad days…the boss was stern, the food in the work cafeteria was bad, it rained puddles so big I can’t get my car out to go home. But my work doesn’t involve me getting concussed with regularity (just, you know, normal cussed), and then going back in to get concussed again.

Travis took some time off from work recently. “I tore two ligaments and chipped some bone off so there was some loose bone floating around in there,” he said.

Ow?

I also took some time off from work recently. I watched Giants Spring Traning Baseball and drank margaritas on the patio at Julio G’s in Scottsdale (the one by the ballpark). There were, you know, some loose brain cells floating around in there, but that’s the extent of the damage.

Travis is competing this weekend at the Ty Murray Invitational at Tingley. (is anyone else as tickled as I am that Tingley Coliseum has a Wiki entry? *giggle* I should file that away for a whole blog entry all to its own….)

Sure wish I could be there this weekend to watch this event and to watch Travis compete.

Here’s to a good ride, cowboy.

Governor Bill Richardson has a sense of humor…almost…

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On Wedneday, March 29, 2007, the Governor of our Fair New Mexico appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

You can watch the clip by clicking here:Now I have to say that to see our Guv on such a big stage is pretty cool. It’s a big step up for our state. Richardson is bringing us to the spotlight.

Are we ready for that?

In all I think it was a decent appearance. Ol’ Bill was kinda, sorta funny, helped immeasurably by Jon Stewart, of course. I’ve seen Jon make politicians look like bigger buffoons, so all in all Richardson did ok. Even got a couple laughs but managed to step on his own best joke which was that his rankings in the Presidential race are below the percentage “margin of error”. Pretty funny, actually. He could have gotten a big laugh from it…oh well.

His shameless plug at the end for his book was both embarrassing and to be expected. He IS a politician after all.

In looking for the Daily Show clip online, I also found this little gem. Not living in New Mexico currently I’ve missed this slice of Madison Avenue fluff.

Seems Bill Richardson kind of has a sense of humor. Or at least he’s trying to……. Who knew?

Oh Polly, not again.

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You know…since moving from New Mexico I’ve read the ABQjournal off and on via the net to keep up on news. Since starting this blog just a few weeks ago, I’ve been reading the ABQjournal much more thoroughly. I’ve now determined something…..one Ms Polly Summar, “journal north” columnist, someone whose work I’m not familiar with and as of today have only read twice, is going to provide A LOT of fodder for this blog.

First off…I want her job…because I far as I can tell, she gets to complain for a living. Sure, I’m doing that here on this blog, but she’s getting *paid*.

Second…dear, dear Polly. You gotta get out of Santa Fe sometimes. There’s a whole bright world out there! I don’t know why you think the world oughta bend to your will…it ain’t gonna happen. I suggest taking some of those over priced Santa Fe yoga classes and get in touch with your Kundalini or something…because, nice lady, you are going to pop a vein if you keep letting all this stuff get to you.

You say you are a baby boomer…I thought the hallmark of the boomers was their “live and let live” demeanor. What happened to you?

Today Polly is on about the younger employees of her office. In the same way I found her to be rather rude about the tourists in her beautiful town, now she’s snubbing the 20-somethings in today’s article, “Don’t Bother Trying To Bond With Office Youths”.

Don’t bother? That implies these people aren’t worth your valuable time. If you walk around with that attitude it’s no wonder people don’t want to “bond” with you.

Who bonds with their coworkers anyway? They are not your friends. They are not there to be your moral support. They are all there to do a job. And so are you. Leave your coworkers alone fer goodness sakes!

I think Polly’s point number 5 chilled me the most:

“It is fine for you to do some things with 20-somethings during the week, like lunch or a quick dinner after work. But don’t go and start inviting them to do things on the weekend. That is both gross and weird. Or maybe it’s just weird. Just don’t do it.”

Oh my god! That’s both gross and weird at ANY age! No one goes around asking coworkers to do things on the weekends unless you have already established that kind of friendship with them, which is rare at work. I don’t hang out with any of my coworkers anywhere other than work. If you go around randomly inviting ANY coworker, regardless of age, to do things on the weekends I can guarantee folks will avoid you like you’ve got a stinging case of the avian flu.

Are you that lonely, Ms Summar, that you are trolling your place of employment for friends? I’ve always, personally, made it a policy to keep work at work and keep personal to personal. It’s a lighter version of “don’t dip your pen in the company ink”. I don’t WANT my coworkers involved in my personal life…because I have to WORK (you know, as a professional) with these folks. I don’t want to have to negotiate a huge contract with someone who knows that I worry about my hair color being too brassy and that I’m confused because last night I cried my eyes out again over something that happened over two years ago.

THAT is not conducive to work.

I think the tone of this whole article is sad. You are doing nothing to improve your situation or the over all situation of “us vs them”. You are making it worse. Much worse.

I remember being a fresh faced kid out of college working at Sandia Labs. The median age at Sandia isn’t exactly “youthful”. I was a fresh faced 23 year old MBA grad and I ran into a lot of curmudgeons who couldn’t be bothered to mess with a “young kid” (they actually called me that). They constantly reminded me that I was young and “didn’t know anything” (they actually said that). It was, actually, pretty demoralizing. I knew there was much to learn from these folks. They had made successful careers and I wanted one too. But they dismissed me much the same as Ms. Summar dismisses the younger employees of her office. And I lost out on a lot because of that attitude.

The good news is that my first boss, and the boss that followed, both took me under their respective wings. They are boomer-aged folks, had been at the labs twenty years or better at the time, and they knew they didn’t have to talk to me in the “lingo”. Here’s what they did, Ms. Summar, they talked to me like they would talk to any adult, without regard for my age (hey, there’s a respectful concept!). I formed deep friendships with both of them that last to this day (that was about fifteen years ago). They mentored me and today I can honestly say I owe my quite successful career to them both. I still email with them regularly. They still help me when I’m stuck with a work situation. They still make me laugh. They tell me how much they miss me, and I believe them because I miss them too.

And guess what? Today, I mentor the people in my office they way they mentored me. There is a very bright 21 year old working in my office. I made a reference to a 70’s show, “The Jeffersons”, much like Ms. Summar did with “The Odd Couple” in her article. The young girl of course said “what?”. I laughed, she looked at me odd, and here’s what I did…I said “here’s what I meant….” She got it, because I gave her the benefit of the doubt.

Give people (regardless of age) the benefit of the doubt, Ms. Summar. Please!

Look what you are missing out on. Your elitist attitude is standing in the way of what could be a meaningful mentorship, passing on all you know to those that come after you in your same chosen career. Hey maybe THAT is a place to start, the fact you both chose careers in journalism. By sniffing and snubbing the “youth” (who but a curmudgeon even uses that word anyway?), you lose the chance to pass on all you’ve learned.

You seem to have had a successful career. Why are you keeping it to yourself by imposing all these obstacles?

Dictionary.com (wait, you are familiar with the internet, right?) lists one definition for curmudgeon that fits our friend Ms. Summar to a tee:

“a crusty irascible cantankerous old person full of stubbon ideas”

Maybe *that* is why the “youths” don’t want to hang out with you….

(P.S. I’d actually written a different post for today, but reading Ms. Summar’s article fired me up so much I bumped it for another day.)

Now that’s Rasquache

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I had a pretty good laugh upon reading the ABQjournal this morning. I love our fair New Mexico. As hard as we try to play with the bigs, trumpeting articles like “Santa Fe Named No. 2 for Artists” (never mind my childish potty humor over using “No. 2” in a headline…..) showing we’ve got class, there is always another article to show just how small town we still are.

I’m referring to this article, “Albuquerque May Get Tricky With Red Light Cameras”. I’ve read over the past few weeks the articles discussing the future of the cameras. Lots of folks are understandably unhappy with them. I’ve only given half an eye to those articles because where I live now, the San Francisco Bay Area, red light cameras are prevalent and have been for the better part of the ten years I’ve lived here. I don’t like them anymore than anyone else, but they are just part of life. I’ve been cheering the good fight put on by the folks of New Mexico, but I know it is, in the end, a losing battle.

The article states, “City officials are talking about shutting down the camera operations at some of the most successful intersections but leaving the apparatus in place, making it appear as if the device still works.”

What’s happening there? Not enough funding to run the systems? Or not enough funding to have enough people to review the photos? I understand that is the most time consuming part, having people analyze the photos. The article states that some $6 million has been taken in since the program’s inception in late 2004 (which seems low to me for a two year span given tickets here will run you $280, but what do I know?).

“‘We are coming to a point in the program where you evaluate,’ police spokesman John Walsh said.”

Evaluate what? Money? Effectiveness? They report that accidents are down at the main intersections where this is being used. What’s to evaluate about that?

The best part is that they are TELLING us they are doing it. Those wacky APD folks sure are wily!

Wow.

They don’t outright say it, but the plan to move the cameras to other intersections and leave inoperable shells behind has got to be a cost saving maneuver. For a program that’s taken in over $6M.

That’s like when your kid has a toothache….instead of taking your kid to the dentist, tying a string to a doorknob and yanking that sucker.

That’s like using tin foil for curtains in your house.

That’s like using a wooden cable spool for your dining table.

Fake intersection cameras. Now THAT’S rasquache.

God I love New Mexico. The more we try to big league it, the more our true nature shows. I’m proud to be a New Mexican…….I really am.

I raise bailing wire and duct tape in a salute to Mayor Martin Chavez and the APD for this fabulous traffic accident saving idea.

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