Friday, August 1, 2008

Summer odds & ends

By S. Derrickson Moore
Sun-News reporter
It seems to be a summer tradition among columnists. At least once a year, there’s a need to clean and clear one’s mind (and desk) and offer up a little smorgasbord of odds and ends, bits too small for a main course column but just too good to throw out.
Here’s mine for ‘08. Get ready to chow down.
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Here is a nugget of information from rockin’ tuba virtuoso Jim Shearer that surprised me, even after a dozen years as a woodwind instrumentalist myself: It takes more wind to play a flute than a tuba, he explained to me, because so much air is lost as the flutist blows over, rather than into, the instrument’s mouthpiece. So if you’re looking for a macho marathoner in the orchestra, look first to the flute section.
I’m still in awe of those brass section people, though, after watching ‘em do their thing on instruments like the French horn, trombone, tuba and trumpet. I’ll never forget seeing Doc Severinsen, then pushing 80, run up and down those steep Pan Am steps and still managing to make his full-tilt virtuoso farewell performance seem effortless.
Few appreciate the physical demands of many of the arts, from dance to music to large scale sculpture and painting. Buff ballerinas and athletic musicians and sculptors clearly have an edge in their demanding art fields. Maybe what we need are specialty gyms and fitness centers for artists...
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This comes from a local physician, who prefers to remain anonymous, in response to a recent article on summer skin care tips. He thought advice to see a dermatologist annually was excessive— and said visits that frequent are only necessary if there are indications/risk factors/family history, etc.
Plus, he noted, there aren’t enough dermatology docs to go around in Southern New Mexico. He even did the math for me, dividing the burgeoning population (I think that was shortly before the latest estimate of nearly 200,000 in Doña Ana County came out) by the number of dermatologists. Suffice it to say, they couldn’t manage to see everybody in a year, even working around the clock. So check with your primary care physician and see if you’re one of the ones who needs to see a dermatologist. Otherwise you’re off the hook. Go have some summer fun instead, but don’t forget the SPF.
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This is my favorite quote of the year, from Diana Alba’s July 6 story on prospects for the 2008 chile crop. Diana interviewed Jimmy and Jo Lytle of Hatch, whose crop includes Sandia, Big Jim, NuMex No. 64 and other delicious peppers.
“I praise God every day because my husband grows something that’s addictive and legal,” Jo Lytle said.
Amen. !Viva chiles!
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And speaking of chile, I have good news for those of you who read my recent list of the best green chile treats in Las Cruces and joined me in mourning the loss of green chile sundaes at Caliche’s.
As you will recall, I recently ordered a big scoop of their yummy frozen vanilla custard and asked for it with “your chile sundae topping.” Instead, my frozen desert was topped with chili con carne.
Adventurous though my palate is, I would not advise trying this at home.
Instead, look for Desert Farms’ green chile marmalade. Their booth at The Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market carries all kinds of chile goodies, including the Tia Rita line of chile powders and spice mixes. For other sources, give ‘em a call at (575) 525-969. I am assured that their just-hot-enough marmalade was the magic ingredient in the long-lamented sundaes of yesteryear, so now you can pick up frozen custard, or ice cream or healthier yogurt, sherbet or rice or soy frozen desserts and make your own. If you come up with a particularly wonderful hot & cold green chile sundae idea of your own, let me know.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at