Dean Clough

June 28, 2021

Portico Darwin: Retirement and El Paso (?)

Phew!  Tupper Lake may have been a social whirlwind, but we're talking about a National Park road trip whirlwind here in southern New Mexico and west Texas since Friday!  Of course there's a complete Travel Guide forthcoming, but here are some tidbits to tide you over.

Overall, what a great itinerary.  We really loved every aspect of it, and there was major geographic variety.  We got to White Sands National Park and wow.  We then drove to El Paso (about an hour's drive) and you can read about our reaction below.  Saturday, an early jaunt to the beautiful and very diverse Guadalupe Mountains National Park, built around the highest mountain peak in Texas and a real, live oasis.  A night in Carlsbad, NM (!) and then to the insanely spectacular Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  An easy 3 hour cruise afterwards back to Las Cruces and I'm now sipping wine from Davis's fine collection as I write this.  And yes, my mind does wander . . .

Dr. Fladgate's neighborhood, apart from being very nice, is also bursting with retirees. 

Which brings to mind something Julie and I have become a touch obsessed with (as some of you know): a proper retirement destination, if and when we leave SF.  We considered developing a compound (it even got a name, which Prof. Howard Blum, Esq. particularly loved:  Ataraxis) with friends.  I lobbied Julie for Tupper Lake in The Adirondacks, but that lobbying effort went much like Biden's original infrastructure plan.  Our ideal would be Napa, Sonoma, or Mendocino counties, but yours truly is worried about wildfires and maybe even because we have about half as much money as we need to do it right.

How about here in Las Cruces?  Julie has now ruled that out, despite my golf course photos.  Indeed, it is a bit on the barren side, and even longtime resident and Dona Ana County booster Dr. Davis himself said the empty storefronts are a blight.  But do you know what city we did like, at least its very nice and maybe even vital downtown core?  El Paso.  El Paso, Texas.  Yes, I said that.

I have not personally seen as completely a downtrodden a downtown as El Paso come back in such an impressive way.  Yes, I said that, too, and I saw it at its nadir several times in the late '80's.  We stayed at the recently restored Hotel Paso Del Norte, and it and its surroundings were, in a word, Killer.  Retirement destination?  No, probably not.  But a 2BR/2BA condo in a luxury highrise concierge building, with a rooftop pool, at some reasonable cost?  Great weather?  And 15 minutes from a nice, small airport with EZ jet service to LAX and DFW and thus the world?  It's not 100% ridiculous, no matter what your initial reaction may be.  And safer than Albuquerque we were told!  

This next part really belongs in the next part, but I want to highlight it because it's so damned funny and it is all about retirement.  Thank you, mysterious friend of Dr. Doreen Downs!

You can retire to Arizona where
1.  You are willing to park three blocks away from your house because you found shade.
2.  You've experienced condensation on your rear-end from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
3.  You can drive for four hours in one direction and never leave town.
4.  You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.
5.  You know that "dry heat" is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door at 500 degrees.
6.  The four seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??
You can retire to California where...
1.  You make over $450,000 and you still can't afford to buy a house.
2.  The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway
3.  You know how to eat an artichoke.
4.  When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.
5.  The four seasons are:   Fire, Flood, Mud and Drought.
You can retire to New York City where...
1.  You say "the city" and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.
2.  You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can't find Wisconsin on a map.
3.  You think Central Park is "nature"
4.  You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multilingual.
5.  You've worn out a car horn.  (IF you have a car.)
6.  You think eye contact is an act of aggression
You can retire to Minnesota where...
1.  You only have three spices:  salt, pepper and ketchup
2.  Halloween costumes have to fit over parkas.
3.  You have seventeen recipes for casserole.
4.  Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
5.  The four seasons are:   almost winter, winter, still winter, and road repair.
You can retire to The Deep South where.
1.  You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.
2  "Y'all" is singular and "all y'all" is plural.
3.  "He needed killin" is a valid defense.
4.  Everyone has two first names:  Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Joe Bob, Betty Jean, Mary Beth, etc.
5.  Everything is either:  "in yonder,"  "over yonder"  or "out yonder.   "
6. You can say anything about anyone, as long as you say "Bless his heart" at the end!
You can move to Colorado where...
1.  You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.
2.  You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home, so he stops at the day care center.
3.  A pass does not involve a football or dating.
4.  The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail .
You can retire to Nebraska or Kansas where... 
1.  You've never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.
2.  Your idea of a traffic jam is three cars waiting to pass a tractor.
3.  You have had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" on the same day.
4.  You end every sentence with a preposition;  "Where's my coat at?"
FINALLY you can retire to Florida where...
1.  You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.
2.  All purchases include a coupon of some kind - even houses and cars.
3.  Everyone can recommend an excellent cardiologist, dermatologist, proctologist, podiatrist, or orthopedist.
4.  Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.
5  Cars in front of you often appear to be driven by headless people.

I will give the entire floor to Byron Browne IV, who thoughtfully replied to my Journalism post.  Thank you. Byron.

"I agree with your statement, 'Is it perhaps because some conflate entertainment with journalism?'  The average viewer can’t tell the difference.  And unfortunately, people today consider 'outrage' to be a form of entertainment, which FOX and MSNBC (and even CNN) are all too happy to deliver if they can sell more commercials.  That’s why, generally speaking, Louise and I boycott all of the cable news shows.  We believe one hour a day of PBS NewsHour and one hour a week of objective journalism from Fareed interspaced with some objective reading from the Economist and NY Times or Washington Post is all the news any normal human needs, and perhaps even that is too much.  Maybe you could write something that inspires everyone to boycott the cable news shows and embrace the one hour a day approach with PBS NewsHour."

I doubt it will inspire everyone, but:  if you're reading this, please consider if you're mistaking entertainment for journalism. 

The PBS NewsHour is a great place to start for objective journalism if you're not sure where to turn.  If you don't agree, please propose alternatives that you enjoy and find reputable.  I will publish them here without comment.   

Thank you to any one that is reading this blog.

If it's retirement, it's gotta be Frank.  Here's is The Chairman of The Board and a pretty giant collection, all in high resolution.  Despite his flaws (go watch Tony Rome, right now), I think Sinatra meant well, and I've read the supposedly definitive biography (both volumes!). 

Bonus photo, taken at sunset last night - "Come Rain or Come Shine," indeed.


About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.