Thursday, September 23, 2010

OPINION: Now I’m Verklempt

Magdalena Potluck
By Don Wiltshire

“I’ll give you a topic. . . . Discuss amongst yourselves.”
So went the Saturday Night Live skit Coffee Talk with Mike Myers playing Linda Richman. It was a gentle spoof on his Jewish Mother-in-law and talk show hosts. That was many years ago.
Verklempt is a Jewish word meaning “choked up with emotion to the point of speechlessness.” There are so many Jewish words that can convey what would otherwise take whole paragraphs that it seems a shame not to use them.
I’ve been doing far too much kvetching in my column lately. Kvetch is a Jewish word that means “ to complain about a situation or person in an aggravated manner without offering a solution.”
Here’s one more: schmateh; “a rag or cheap piece of clothing that is so stained or threadbare that you wouldn’t be caught dead in it; also conveying a sense of comfort or familiarity.”
Now let’s use all three in a sentence: “I threw on my schmateh and ran to the meeting where I did so much kvetching that I became verklempt.” Good. How do I know all this stuff? Well, my first wife was Jewish. I enjoy lox, matzah balls, gefilte fish and the usefulness of a good Jewish phrase. Oy veh!
As I said, far too much kvetching lately. I was privileged to attend a reception for Con-gressman Harry Teague at the Santa Terecita Ranch last week. The primary discussion centered on plans for the ranch to become part of a wind power generating cooperative. This is all part of an exciting new concept in power generation. Rather than a large corporation generating power at a massive plant with profits going to Wall Street investors, this involves locally owned wind turbines situated on ranches in the area with the profits going to local owners, investors, workers and suppliers. The only snags in this plan so far are the transmission lines needed to distribute the power. See Keven Groenewold’s discussion in this month’s Enchantment.
This seems to be a clean, renewable energy resource. It sure beats having cooperative nuclear generators in our backyards! Once again, however, we ought to take a good hard look at how all of these wind turbines will affect the environment. Will the cumulative effect of millions of these things slow the Earth’s rotation? What about migrating birds? What about noise? There always seems to be a catch; you just can’t get something for nothing. But there I go kvetching again.
And I only did a little kvetching to Harry Teague about our “water grab” situation. The San Augustin Ranch LLC is only a few miles away from the Santa Terecita Ranch.
The Sierra Club is sponsoring a short (4 mile) hike to the Monticello Box Canyon, south of this area on September 18. Come enjoy the beautiful scenery and the Apache Warm Springs before they dry up. Contact Mary Katherine Ray at 772-5655 or by e-mail at for details of time and meeting place.
The next Water Meeting (Summer Reading Program for Adults) will take place on Wednesday, September 8, 7:00 pm at the Magdalena Public Library. All are welcome! But wait . . . that’s the first night of Rosh Hashanah! Nevertheless, the Friends of the Library and the New Mexico Humanities Council have generously made possible our second Chautauqua speaker. Stefanie Beninato will present her program: Land Grants and Water Rights: Fighting Words in the Twenty-First Century? This presentation addresses the cultural, social, economic and political history of water rights as well as jurisprudence.
Stefanie Beninato earned her JD from the University of California, Berkeley. She has ten years of mediation/arbitration and facilitation experience for private clients and non-profit organizations. She earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of New Mexico, her M.A. in urban history from New York University and her B.A. in history/psychology from the College of New Rochelle, N.Y. She is an active tour guide, teacher, arbitrator, historical researcher and lecturer in New Mexico. Looks to be an interesting evening!
Perhaps we could get her to set up an arbitration between us protesters and Bruno Modena. I’m sure he would be willing to supply all of our water needs . . . . for a price. Are we doomed to repeat the Bolivian Water Riots? Oy. Now I’m really verklempt !
I’ll give you something to do: go sign the two petitions at the Magdalena Library. One is a request to the State Engineer to hold the up-coming hearing locally. The other is a plea to the Village of Magdalena to consider alternatives to the Library heating problem other than cutting back operating hours; things like furnace upgrades, insulation or weatherization. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Happy New Year!

If you have any comments, problems, solutions, upcoming events, Good Mitzvah or Empty Milk Jugs, contact me at mtn_don@yahoo.com.
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