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Happenstance l i fe h ap p e n s • M arch 1 2 , 2 0 10

Montefiore Synagogue at Eighth and Douglas, Douglas School in the back ground. c1928 (City of Las Vegas Museum Collection 76.4.33, used by permission) Story on page 6

From the editor…

Books by F.S. Vander Meer

These books are available in Las Vegas at Tome on the Range Bookstore. Online purchases may be made at Amazon, Xlibris, and Barnes and Noble. Not Just Another Day is a series of daily reflections that celebrate the gift of life. Based on the author’s Christian faith tradition the book uses Bible passages, prayers and readings to capture the common experience of living a life of faith in an ever-changing world. In Future Imperfect conflicting forces control two individuals seeking stability and sanity amid escalating political and environmental chaos. Their lives are fraught with lies, treachery, and an altered environment. In The Ballad of Bawdy McClure short hauler Jake Casey is confronted with the age old question: Who can you trust? From the opening scene in which he finds the body of his murdered friend to the end he is constantly questioning the motives of those closest to him.


hanks for your kind words and encouragement for the first issue of Happenstance. While I would like to believe this little endeavor will get out and about every week, I can’t be sure that will happen, but I’m going to give it my best shot. I hear from some of you that navigating the e-zine is a bit frustrating. I hear you, I had the same problem, that’s why I will continue to send it out as a PDF. While not interactive or ‘magazine’ like, the PDF is easier to open and read. I would make this a printed product but that is pricey as all get out, and while I will accept advertising, I’m not actively selling advertising. My chief reason for doing Happenstance is that it is a way to keep my writing skills sharp and keep me connected to a network that is important to me, my community. So, yes, I’d love to sell you an ad, but I won’t be beating down your door to to do it, however, I may call upon you from time to time to give you a rate sheet. In this issue you will find an article about two of my favorite people, Tito and Mary Chavez. They are celebrating 25 years in business this year and I’m delighted they allowed me to interview them. Everyone thinks they know all there is to know about these two leading and well-respected citizens of Las Vegas. In The little gallery that could… and did, you might learn a thing or two you didn’t know (pages 4-5). The Las Vegas City Museum and Rough Rider Memorial (City’s museum is the heart of the community, pages 6-7) stands out as an excellent example of celebrating the area’s history and cultures. Administrator Lisa Gegick and her staff make good use of space and artifacts. Also check out the review of their fantastic website on page 9. I’m also looking for contributed articles for future publication. I’m particularly interested in history about Las Vegas and the area, as well as articles about the people and activities happening today. I also plan to do articles about local artists of every kind. Please send names of people you would like to hear more about. This week’s Happenstance Kitchen is a pure rip off from my friend, Kathy Allen. Kitchen tips like these are priceless. Enjoy this issue of Happenstance; life happens. —Sharon Vander Meer Send comments, suggestions and criticisms to

Happenstance life happens

Vol 1, No. 2, March 12, 2010

Happenstance is a digital publication of Copyright, Sharon Vander Meer, Vander Meer Books Selected content may be used with appropriate attribution: Sharon Vander Meer, Cover photo: Vintage photo Photos: Sharon Vander Meer; Historical Photos, LV City Museum Some images from: Quotes on page 3: Winning Words, Allen Klein;;

Happenstance • March 12, 2010 • Page 2



ecognition of women’s contributions to the past and the present began in 1978 as Women's History Week in Sonoma County, California. The week including March 8, International Women’s Day, was selected. In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) co-sponsored a joint Congressional resolution proclaiming a national Women's History Week. In 1987, Congress expanded the celebration to a month, and March was declared Women’s History Month. After more than 200 years of American history and eons of world history, I think it was about time. In the early ‘90s, when I was an associate editor at the Las Vegas Optic, in celebration of Women’s History Month I wrote a series of articles about area women. The list included a doctor, banker, forrester, writer, educator and public servant. Each had quite a unique story to tell and I enjoyed the interviews tremendously. What I most enjoyed about writing the articles was gaining a better insight into the passion these women had for whatever they did, and leaning how much they had contributed to the community. They were and continue to be heroes in my view. Prior to the ‘60s women occupied a stereotypical role in society, at least on the surface, but I grew up around a mother who believed she could do anything, and did. Oh,

y t i v i t a re

she had her challenges, a special needs daughter, among them, but she understood at gut level that the only true obstacles were the ones she created for herself. She worked in a nurturing field, around people much like my sister, constrained in life by ailments or mental deficiencies beyond their control. She also worked with clients who had committed a crime, who were incarcerated in the state mental facility rather than in prison. Their cases warranted a second look at their ability to know right from wrong and whether they were mentally stable enough to stand trial. She was a fireplug of a woman, short and broad, who more than once stood toe-to-toe with men twice her size and faced them down. The interesting thing is that many of her clients kept in touch with her after they left the facility. Aside from keeping them in line, as a counselor she gave them a sense of their own worth. She helped them see they were more than their circumstances. She did the same for all of us, encouraging us to see “outside the box” long before the phrase became a cliche. She was and is my hero and my role model. She died a number of years ago, but her legacy remains. She will never be written up in a history book but her history with our family shaped who we are today, and I thank her for it. —Sharon Vander Meer Mona’s daughter



There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly. —Buckminster Fuller

You are placed on this earth to create, not to compete. —Robert Anthony

I saw an angel in a block of marble and I just chiseled ‘til I set him free. —Michelangelo

Many times we will get more ideas and better ideas in two hours of creative loafing than in eight hours at a desk. —Wilfred Peterson

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. —Albert Einstein

For every failure, there's an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour. —Mary Kay Ash

An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come. —Victor Hugo

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I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it. —Terry Pratchett

Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale 'til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music that words make. —Truman Capote

The world is full of wonders and miracles but man takes his little hand and covers his eyes and sees nothing. —Israel Baal Shem

The little gallery that could

“We have people come in the gallery all the time and tell us they remember buying their first piece of jewelry from us off the coffee table in our living room.”


—Mary Chavez

hen Tito Chavez first became interested in jewelry making back in 1969, silver was ninety cents an ounce; now it’s $20 an ounce, which demonstrates just one way life has changed over the years for a man who clearly defines his two roles as a creative individual: one is as a craftsman, the workmanship required to take an idea from concept to reality, and the other is as an artist, the ability to conceive and develop the idea to begin with. That’s apart from all the other roles that fill his life: husband to Mary, dad, granddad, teacher, community leader, health care advocate, and business owner. Not only does he make it all fit together quite nicely he also manages to be a really nice person to know. He and Mary, the face of Tito’s Gallery, the twenty-five year old business they built together, are an integral part of Las Vegas, knocking down barriers between business districts and encouraging an all-out effort to build the econJewelry artist and craftsman Tito Chavez omy of the entire town through cooperation and a focus on civic togetherness. to bring the buying dollar back to town where it can do the Tito spends about as much time working to improve most good. “The Las Vegas First message is spend your the appeal of Las Vegas and promoting other people as he money where your house is,” Tito said. He talked briefly does manning his own store. He is an active member of the about a study done in the state that demonstrated dollars morning Kiwanis Club and the Las Vegas First Independspent within New Mexico could amount to a staggering adent Business Alliance (IBA), and continues to be involved dition to the state coffers through taxes. “The same applies in education through his board position serving the Rio here. We (IBA) believe if each family just spent an extra Gallinas Charter School. He also teaches jewelry making at $100 a year in town it would net enormous tax income for the 7th and 8th grade level at Rio Gallinas, and at the the city. They (city leaders) could use that money for civic United World College. Both Tito and Mary believe in the improvement.” spirit of community. Their gallery on Bridge Street not only Tito and Mary operated a gallery long before they welcomes customers, it is a revolving door of people seekopened their first store in the Daylight Donuts Plaza in ing their counsel, and contributions. 1985. “Ernest and Gloria Martinez made it affordable,” Tito “We don’t usually give money,” Mary said, “We give said. “We wanted to be on the Plaza from the beginning but other kinds of help, which may include store merchandise.” the rents were out of our range at the time.” These items are typically original handTheir first selling space, however, was made jewelry items signed by Tito. Silent the living room of their one hundred year auctions held by organizations like the Roold home on North Gonzales. “We have Q u i ck Fa c ts tary Club, the Citizens’ Committee for Hispeople come in the gallery all the time and Location: 157 Bridge Street toric Preservation, Habitat for Humanity tell us they remember buying their first Contact: Las Vegas, NM 87701 and the Chamber of Commerce have benepiece of jewelry from us off the coffee table Phone: 505 425-3745 fited from the gallery owners’ generosity in our living room,” Mary said. over the years. After two years the gallery moved from Certainly their presence is felt in efforts the Martinez’s location on Hot Springs Happenstance • March 12, 2010 • Page 4

… and did

Boulevard to a spot inside what is now the Las Vegas Police if you added them all up there are at least 500 artists in the surrounding area, most of them working in home studios. Department on the Plaza. “But we weren’t in the walking traffic pattern,” Mary said. Being on the Plaza but not quite They need a place to show their work.” He takes pride in showing the work of former students, among them Jessica made it harder for customers to find them. Lanham and Carla Trujillo. “It’s exciting to watch talent deWhen they were squeezed out of that space in about 1993, they were offered a spot in a building on Bridge Street velop,” he said. Tito is creative and innovative as a craftsman/artist, but (across from their present location), which they occupied he has another skill that is critical to a working artisan; he until they purchased the more than 100 year old building has the gift of listening to what a customer wants and conthey currently occupy. “We bought it in 1996 but it was a verting that into a unique design. He has been commisyear before we could move in,” Tito said. The building, sioned by patrons to create matching jewelry items for pieces commonly known as the Hedgecock Building, was built such as necklaces or bracelets, or to take someone else’s viaround 1881 and once served as the Town of Las Vegas sion to reality. He does jewelry repair but his true passion is civic building, which housed the jail. The two remaining creating pieces that will become family heirlooms. cells are quite a tourist draw. For some reason people want Tito estimates that eighty percent of the gallery’s busito have their pictures taken behind those bars. ness comes from locals, but he has an international clientele This progression of locations never slowed down the that he hopes will grow. “We Chavez’s energy, dedication do get people from around to the community, or retail the world in the gallery, but ambitions. our online catalog has “Perseverance,” Tito brought us customers as said. “There have been quite well.” The catalog, at a few businesses that have, has come and gone since we’ve hundreds of pieces available. been in business, but they “It is a growing marketplace,” left for whatever reason.” he said. Despite not making as The Chavez’s gallery is a much profit as they would warm and inviting space, colhave liked to make, they conorful with its array of art and tinue to persevere. The only homey with the feeling that thing that slowed them when you walk in the door down for awhile was Tito’s the owners care that you are heart surgery. In typical there. Mary’s sales style is to Chavez style, after a period welcome you, invite you to of recovery, Tito, with Mary look around and ask if there is by his side, came out anything in particular you are stronger than ever, for which looking for. She is helpful their customers and friends without being intrusive and are grateful. only chatty if you want her to Aside from buyers, Tito’s be. She has a wealth of inforGallery caters to another set mation about the gallery and of customers, the artists the its artists, and about the area. gallery represents. Tito and Mary are a quietly “We represent more than influential force in the life of 50 artists and crafts people,” Las Vegas, focused, caring, Tito said, “and that’s a fracand devoted to conducting tion of the number of artists business with integrity while in this area. People laugh The interior of Tito’s Gallery is warm and inviting, showing to supporting the spirit of comwhen I say this, but what we advantage the more the 50 artists the shop represents. munity. need is more galleries. I think Happenstance • March 12, 2010 • Page 5

City’s museum is the heart of the community The City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Rider Memorial Collection engages visitors in the rich history of the Las Vegas area by collecting, preserving, and presenting objects and themes relating to the region’s unique heritage, to increase our understanding of the link between the past, present and future.


—Museum mission statement

moved into the Las Vegas Municipal Building on Grand o to the museum. If you haven’t been in a Avenue, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project while (or ever) you will be delighted by what built in 1939-40. you find. The City of Las Vegas Museum and Story telling might best describe the museum’s purRough Rider Memorial Collection has been energized by pose. The stories may come in the form of artifacts, exAdministrator Linda Gegick and her staff of one full time hibits, or through the educational programs that have employee and two part time employees. They are impleevolved over time. As a key component of the museum’s menting the innovative vision of what the community mission the educational programs have emerged as a core wants the museum to be. The collections are interesting, feature of what the museum has to professionally staged, and factual offer. in their presentation of the history When Gegick came on board of Las Vegas and the area. six years ago she recognized the Gegick and her team of staff challenges but was energized by the and volunteers have brought the possibilities. museum to life in new and excit“Organization was key,” she ing ways, following up on the said. “If you don’t know where work of previous volunteers and something is without going through staff members, and adding in their file after file, you can’t provide the creativity and ideas. information people are looking for.” The city’s museum board sets A software system designed for mupolicy Gegick said, and the seums has provided a vehicle for Friends of the Museum have incataloging artifacts for easy look up. creased its visibility, “…100 fold. “What used to take days to find, if They help us plan and achieve our we could find it at all, can be lomission.” In recent years more funding cated in less than half a day.” With and resources have been allocated more than 7,500 pieces in inventory to the museum and it has come a and another 500 to 1,000 waiting to long way since it began in 1961. be catalogued, organization is more A period kitchen is one of the three rooms feaThe genesis of the museum came than a strategy; it is a must. tured in La Casita, an exhibit at the City of Las Vegas when the City of Las Vegas was Museum and Rough Rider Memorial Collection. The target visitor to the mugiven the the Rough Rider collecseum is the community and the tion. Previously it had been held area, said Gegick, “…and then everybody else.” Everybody by the wife of one of the original members of the Rough else applies to people who are casual visitors, those passing Rider regiment headed up by Teddy Roosevelt, a flamboythrough town, serious researchers, the merely curious and ant character who would one day become the President of the United States. Many of the volunteers came from New people of all ages who want to learn a little more about the Mexico and a number of them were from the Las Vegas past. area. In the beginning the museum was a fledgling operaThe variety of artifacts is staggering, everything from tion at best, warehousing artifacts and collecting more. an opera hat and gloves (in the Duncan Opera House exThe city expanded the mission of the museum to inhibit), to metal fragments that were intriguing enough to clude regional history that puts into context the Rough PBS History Detectives researchers that they are considering Rider collection. Gegick said the remainder of the permadoing a program segment featuring them. nent collection came from the community, and along with The creative additions to the museum offerings and realmost every item, an interesting story. In 1965 the museum Happenstance • March 12, 2010 • Page 6

Featured exhibit: Git for Vegas Cowboys

anists. It is a historical artifact, a conversation piece, and delivers beautiful music. While her education didn’t prepare Price to develop curriculum and lesson plans, there can be no better preparation than believing in what you do. And Price believes; she believes the hands-on demonstrations and role-playing games help young people to experience the museum in ways that stay with them long after they leave. Gegick said history gives a better understanding of the community and that’s where the museum comes in, which is why the museum recently underwent a process to develop an interpretive plan that will be implemented over the next several years. While the budget for the museum has gone up dramatically, it is still far short of the funds necessary to fulfill the phased plan’s objectives, which include upgrading the permanent collection exhibit space, renovating a space for temporary exhibits, developing an outdoor exhibit space, and rehabilitation of the building where the museum is housed. The dollars needed for the future aren’t standing in the way of getting things done today. The staff has made good use of limited floor and wall space, creating interesting displays with accompanying historical placards, such as the Git for Vegas Cowboys exhibit. In the early 20th century, the Las Vegas Cowboys’ Reunions were one of the biggest annual cowboy gatherings this side of the Mississippi. This exhibit documents how the event engaged all segments of the community, adapted over time, and answers the question “Why Las Vegas?” (From the museum website). The installation conceived and curated by Pat Romero, museum assistant and research specialist, uses photos and artifacts to take visitors back to another era. And it isn’t just cowboys, there are several cowgirls recognized as well. The The Duncan Opera House piano, renovated in 2006, is often exhibit will be up through December. used in special events at the museum. One of the more popular exhibits is La Casita, which The piano has been in the collection since 1965, but did- shows what the inside of a home might have looked like 100 years ago. The furnishings and artifacts are all items n’t make it into the main exhibit hall until 2006, after it had that have been donated to the museum, primarily by locals. been restored by Don Faulkner. The story of the piano goes Gegick said the area has a varied and rich heritage with something like this: Mary Wight Duncan, the wife of a specific areas of interest that include agriculture, travel, prominent Las Vegas man, loaned money to purchase a trade and the military. Telling those stories through its repiano for the opera house. When the person who bought it sources is the mission of this dedicated small museum in didn’t pay her back, she took the piano. Price says there is the historic town of Las Vegas, N.M. some disagreement over this story. Some Romero summed up the importance of assume it was Mary’s husband, James, Q u i ck Fa c ts the museum in the life of Las Vegas and the who loaned the money and ended up with area. “It is the heart of the community. Just the piano, but that’s not where historical Location: 727 Grand Ave. like all systems of the body connect through clues point; they point to Mary. Hours: Tues - Sat, 10 am - 4 pm Las Vegas, NM 87701 the heart, all the systems of the community While visitors are not allowed to play Phone: 505 454-1401 x283 connect through the museum.” the piano, from time to time special grams are held featuring gifted local pisources prompted one visiting second grader to say: “The museum totally rocks!” The vernacular of the modern age is easily applied to the museum, which is using technology to spread the word. Nellie Price, museum educator, said reaching a broader demographic is important to the future of the museum. “We’re on Facebook and Twitter, we have a blog. You have to be where the kids are going.” She said it’s not just kids, social networks are where people of all ages get information and make connections. Price, who came to the museum right out of college, was an intern in the Highlands University Media Arts program and is credited somewhat with the Duncan Opera House installation. Again, it’s about story. “My family is somehow connected to that piano,” Price said. “Knowing that got me to thinking about how to feature the instrument and the history behind it as part of a class project.”

Happenstance • March 12, 2010 • Page 7


Fix it before it becomes a disaster

Yes, it can be done. These tips can simplify work in the kitchen and in other areas of the household. Imagine, a simple trick like placing a stainless or sterling silver knife across a pot of potatoes can keep the water from boiling over. Think how much of a mess you’ll avoid!

I didn’t have potatoes


By Kathy Allen From her book, Someone’s in the Kitchen

ne summer when I was visiting with my mother in Colorado I found the following in one of her cookbooks, the local hospital auxiliary’s Sharing Our Best. I’m sure there were lots of good recipes in this book but one thing that caught my eye was this little poem. I didn’t have potatoes so I substituted rice. I didn’t have paprika so I used another spice. I didn’t have tomato sauce; I used tomato paste. A whole can, not a half, I don’t believe in waste! A friend gave me this recipe; she said you couldn’t beat it. There must be something wrong with her— I couldn’t even eat it!

The moral here must be, “Follow the recipe!“ My dad experienced first hand what can happen when a cook becomes too creative. He and my mother were visiting Macky, my sister, and her family in Illinois. They went to a church potluck meal and one of the desserts was a coconut cream pie. Our dad loved coconut cream pie, so he took a piece. He couldn’t eat it. It tasted awful! The proud cook happened by and said she’d made that pie. She then confessed that when she had the filling ready, except for the coconut, she realized she had NO coconut. So she thought about what would be similar in texture and decided on, of all things, sauerkraut… True story, or so I have been led to believe. Daddy is no longer living, so my question and his answer will have to wait. Speaking of getting things right, these tips may make your time in the kitchen go more smoothly or help you get the desired results. • Place a small dish of water in the oven while baking bread to keep the crust soft. • Spray gelatin salad molds with cooking spray before filling to simplify salad removal. • To prevent pie crust from becoming soggy from cream filling, sprinkle crust with powdered sugar. • Filling cake pans about 2/3 full and spreading batter

well into corners and to sides and leaving a slight hollow in center will help prevent raised centers. • NEVER let moisture get into dipping chocolate. • Shape barely softened sherbet with cookie cutters and refreeze. Float frozen shapes in punch. • For a little different taste sprinkle crust of banana cream pie with a mixture of 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Bake. • Put a layer of marshmallows in bottom of pumpkin pie, then add filling. Marshmallows will come to top and make a nice topping. • Keep candles for birthday cake in refrigerator for a day before using. They will burn slowly and evenly. • When making candy using granulated sugar, butter sides of pan before adding the sugar to help sugar crystals from forming and ruining the fudge. • If sugar crystals do form (see above) dampen paper towel and CAREFULLY wipe sides of pan to get rid of crystals. • Potato water boiling over? Put knife from silver or stainless service across open pan and it should not boil over. (If you’ve over-filled, forget this tip!) • Adding a bit of butter to water before cooking rice, noodles, or macaroni prevents boiling over. • Muffin tins are excellent for baking apples, stuffed peppers, etc. • Ice cubes help sharpen garbage disposal blades. • To freshen garbage disposal, drop 1/8 lime or lemon into running disposal. (Don’t forget the water!) • To clean starch build-up from iron, sprinkle a dampened sponge with baking soda and rub ironing surface. Make sure iron is cold and unplugged! • Polish copper-bottom cookware by using a mix of equal portions of flour and salt and adding vinegar to form a paste. Keep paste in refrigerator. • Spray plastic food storage containers with non-stick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces. No more stains. • Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator, it will keep for weeks. • Place half an apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it up. • When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out its natural sweetness. I do this with regular canned corn too.

Happenstance • March 12 • Page 8


A scrumptious site!

to the education page. (The website intro to the education page). The Museum designs age-appropriate education and outreach programs to audiences ranging from K-12, and for adults. In the 2008 -09 school year, the Museum served over 100 students via class visits to the museum, and Museum visits to the classroom. Some of these visits included Rio Gallinas Charter School, Paul D. Henry, Tony Serna, Valley, New Mexico History University (NMHU) First Year Experience classes, NMHU and Luna Community College (LCC) history classes, students and parents from the Homeschool Association, and more. The City of Las Vegas Museum seeks to heck it out! The museum’s website is full of inincrease availability of programs so that every class in the City’s formation, it’s easy to get around on, and visuschool system will have an opportunity to experience and learn ally it is a knockout! leadership skills from our area’s diverse and compelling local hisThe last time I had occasion to access the museum’s tory. We encourage educators to schedule a visit. We are happy to website was about two years ago, and while it served its customize our activities to fit your educational needs. purpose I don’t recall that it held my attention beyond getDid you know the museum provides podcasts? I didn’t ting the information I was looking for. The new site is an even know what a ‘podcast’ was, but I did know it has eye-popping link to the museum and to a catalogue of artivalue as an educational tool. The podcasts are available at facts and images that is mind boggling. the museum, through There are also pages the website or through that talk about mission, iTunes. The podcasts acthe collection, the Rough company a visit through Rider Memorial, all the the galleries with addievents scheduled (and tional information, or there are more than you may be viewed as standmight imagine), and a alone presentations. few surprises. I was inThe wealth of infortrigued by the programs mation and photographs offered and curious available on the web site enough to try out the is incredible. Seeing games. Click on Exhibits what is available makes and Programs and you you want to go to the find a description of museum and see it for what to expect in the yourself. (For more on way of temporary and Who are these masked people? Good question. This photo is captioned: this story go to pages 6permanent displays, but Costumed guests at the Beaux Artes Ball, Plaza Hotel Ballroom. c1960 (City of 7). Las Vegas Museum Collection 64.64.1, used by permission) you will also find a link


What you can expect to find at

• A description of exhibits and programs • The education page • A history of the museum’s development

• Rough Rider Memorial • The permanent collection • La Casita (This you must click on!) • The history of the Municipal Building

Happenstance • March 12, 2010 • Page 9

• Upcoming Events • Games • Advisory Board • Friends of the Museum


The Book: Buffaloes, Beads and Indians The Author: Steven Fivecats Available at: Price. $10


ike fine art, poetry is often in the mind of the beholder. I’ve read more than one poem in my life that left me scratching my head afterward. That isn’t a problem when reading the work of Steven Fivecats. His Buffaloes, Beads and Indians © 2009, simply written and easily absorbed, takes on the complex emotions and experiences we all encounter: love, rejection, death, loss, sadness, joy and everything in between. For ten bucks it’s a great buy. Not only is reading the material a treat, looking at the structure of the work is an education in itself. Like e.e. cummings, Fivecats eschews capitals, and for the most part punctuation. His work catches you in mid thought and takes you through the emotional ride until you get to the end, and then there is more, you know there is because there is no period signaling the end. I like that. I like that this creative poet leaves the door open to imagination. And I like the way the words dance across the page, no alignment ‘left or right justified’ just a song sung and strung together and the reader gets to determine the music. The introduction speaks of the dwindling herds of buffalo, long seen as an important symbol in Native American culture, and likens it to the dwindling interest in the poetry that thrived during the ‘flower power generation’ only to wane in recent years. “Poetry in this time frame of the early 1960s and ‘70s, flourished like the buffalo,” the introduction points out, “but has virtually vanished from popularity with the American public. Yet today there are still small herds of buffaloes throughout the nation, and like the buffalo, poets and poetry survive through small presses and poetry societies.” Thank the good Lord for that. Fivecats is an exceptionally good poet in a less than traditional fashion. It is obvious in his poetry that Fivecats is a spiritual person who sees beyond this moment and into the next. If you want something that gives you a lift, makes you think and occasionally makes you smile, I recommend Buffaloes, Beads and Indians, available online at Editor’s Note: Steven Fivecats is the editor of the online book review site,, which reviewed The Ballad of Bawdy McClure, written by Sharon Vander Meer.

The Magazine: Reader’s Digest Content: General Interest Genesis: Co-founded in 1922 by Lila Bell Wallace and DeWitt Wallace To subscribe: Go to


ith more than forty million readers in thirty countries around the world, Reader’s Digest doesn’t need me to help it get up and running. Oh, to have that kind of success! But it didn’t happen over night and it didn’t happen in an era when print media is struggling to find its way in an IT world. Information technologies and how to make best use of them has baffled the best, and the number of small and large newspapers falling by the way side is scary. Magazines struggle too, but their niche markets generally support them. Add to that, as I’m finding with Happenstance, the difficulty of manipulating pages in digital format is a challenge for even the most web savvy, unless they have top of the line equipment and software that is beyond the pocketbooks of most consumers. Where was I? Oh, right, Reader’s Digest. The reasons I like this magazine are two-fold: I like its size (book-sized format), and I like the fact the stories, reports and articles are succinct and relevant. Interior and exterior design has changed and they no longer publish the condensed versions of books (thank the Lord!), but the humor bits are still there and overall the look is more pleasing to the eye and less cluttered. It looks more contemporary. I do miss the wonderful cartoons that used to be featured on the back page, but surprise, surprise, that space has been given over to advertising. The heart of Reader’s Digest is the content. I love the compelling stories about people and the reports and articles about a variety of subjects. Featured in the April issue are articles about myths surrounding the effectiveness of vitamins; a man overboard and a teenage son put to the ultimate test; the hope found among the devastation in Haiti; a young girl’s brave recovery; and of course the standard RD fare of office humor, Word Power, funny stuff from people in the military and much, much more. It’s a little book walking around in very big shoes, delivering intriguing perspectives on the world around us. The jokes are the best. Everyone needs a laugh and the humor in Reader’s Digest is never offensive and often comes from everyday experiences. The RD website is okay, but give me the hands on magazine any day. For one thing it never has pop-ups. Honestly, those things drive me up the wall!

Happenstance • March 12, 2010 • Page 10

Is entrepreneurship for you?


In an uncertain economy and with jobs at a premium, are the benefits of having your own business worth the risks?

From the Small Business Administration Website

n business, there are no guarantees. There is simply no way to eliminate all the risks associated with starting a small business — but you can improve your chances of success with good planning, preparation, and insight. Start by evaluating your strengths and weaknesses as a potential owner and manager of a small business. Carefully consider each of the following questions: Are you a self-starter? It will be entirely up to you to develop projects, organize your time, and follow through on details. How well do you get along with different personalities? Business owners need to develop working relationships with a variety of people including customers, vendors, staff, bankers, and professionals such as lawyers, accountants, or consultants. Can you deal with a demanding client, an unreliable vendor, or a cranky receptionist if your business interests demand it? How good are you at making decisions? Small business owners are required to make decisions constantly — often quickly, independently, and under pressure. Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business? Business ownership can be exciting, but it's also a lot of work. Can you face six or seven 12-hour workdays every week? How well do you plan and organize? Research indicates that poor planning is responsible for most business failures. Good organization of financials, inventory, schedules, and production can help you avoid many pitfalls. Is your drive strong enough? Running a business can wear you down emotionally. Some business owners burn out quickly from having to carry all the responsibility for the success of their business on their own shoulders. Strong motivation will help you survive slowdowns and periods of burnout. How will the business affect your family? The first few years of business startup can be hard on family life. It's important for family members to know what to expect and for you to be able to trust that they will support you during this time. There also may be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable, which could take months or years. You may have to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk in the short-term.

Why Small Businesses Fail Success in business is never automatic. It isn't strictly based on luck, although a little never hurts. It depends primarily on the owner's foresight and organization. Even then, of course, there are no guarantees. Starting a small business is always risky, and the chance of success is slim. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, roughly fifty percent of small businesses fail within the first five years. In his book Small Business Management, Michael Ames gives the following reasons for small business failure: • Lack of experience • Insufficient capital (money) • Poor location • Poor inventory management • Over-investment in fixed assets • Poor credit arrangements • Personal use of business funds • Unexpected growth Gustav Berle adds two more reasons in The Do It Yourself Business Book: • Competition • Low sales This isn’t meant to scare the entrepreneur, but to prepare him or her for the rocky path ahead. Underestimating the difficulty of starting a business is one of the biggest obstacles entrepreneurs face. However, success can be yours if you are patient, willing to work hard, and take all the necessary steps. While there are are many reasons to think twice about starting your own business, there are good reasons to forge ahead because done properly the advantages of business ownership far outweigh the risks. • You will be your own boss. • Hard work and long hours directly benefit you, rather than increasing profits for someone else. • Earning and growth potential are far greater. • A new venture is as exciting as it is risky. • Running a business provides endless challenge and opportunities for learning.

For more information on getting started with your new business contact the Small Business Development Center in your area. In Las Vegas call 505 454-2582; outside the area call 800 588-7232 ext. 1759, open 8 am - 5 pm, M-F.

Happenstance • March 12, 2010 • Page 11

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