Wednesday, August 31, 2005
ROUTE 66, WEST CENTRAL--One of my favorite collecting activities (in the cheap thrills department) is ripping off images of Albuquerque postcards from EBay. It really isn't hard: just do a "save as" and it's yours. Anyway, I was driving past the Route 66 Malt Shop this PM when I remembered I had seen an old postcard of that building and the bus terminal next to it before. It used to be the Horn Oil Company with coffee shop and motel. So I pulled in.
The sign said "Home Made Root Beer." I ordered one. I love root beer. Have you ever had the "home brewed" root beer at Il Vicino? Get the large one. Anyway, I settled for a burger and potato salad to showcase the beverage. The root beer was great...certainly smoother than Il Vicino's with sweet but subtle overtones of well-aged plastic containers. In fact, a root beer reviewer rates the Route 66 Malt Shop Root Beer as #5 out of the 143 that he has reviewed nationwide!
I had also seen the waiter before. In fact, I had seen him last night while MaryAnn and I were sauntering across the street at Old Town Plaza. He had been "driving" a ped-i-cab, looking for customers. Now here he was waiting on tables during the day and pedalling the Plaza at night. For the life of me I can't remember his first name, but his last name is Whitney. He worked as a stock broker for 15 years here and in Denver...and then one day...(You know there is going to be a divorce in here somewhere)...one day he sold everything and moved into one of those little motel rooms in the above postcard. He owns nothing but some clothes, he says.
But his health is great, both mentally and physically. And he lost 50 pounds from his stock brokering days. And happy? Well he convinced me. Just another lucky guy pedalling his way through paradise.
A final thought. Everybody who does restaurant reviews loves this place...especially the Salmon Burger made with fresh salmon. It is just a small hole-in-the-wall kind of place. There is only one table that holds more than two people. Bring someone special...a person who smiles a lot...the kind of person who thinks clouds make pictures. You won't be sorry.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
My most direct connection with the art show is through Sam. We drink coffee together most mornings at the Nob Hill Flying Star along with everybody in the first picture: The Artist Ken Saville, Betsy, Marcia, Brita, Joe The Gumball King, The Beautiful MaryAnn, Anne, Pete, and Wayne.
Sam, shown here with 3/4 of his piece entitled, "Earth, Water, Fire, and Air," recently obtained his teaching certificate and is looking for a position as an art teacher.
If this shot of The Artist Ken Saville is somewhat remincescent of John Wayne's farewell scene in "The Searchers," it is no accident. Ken and I didn't say anything at the time, but I am positive that as soon as he stood in the doorway he realized how close he was to immortality.
Juxtaposing the Beast and the Beauty has always been a theme in art and literature. In fact, this juxtaposition, this enigma, is the theme of this show. Jess came along just in time to make that comparison possible...with Ken, that is. She works in a couple of places in Nob Hill, La Montanita Co-op and the Flying Star. Her tattoo is hard to ignore. The two skulls on either side of a heart stabbed by a knife sounds like life creeping into art. But never the less, she is stunning in her yellow dress...in front of one of Ron Sena's spacescapes.
The earliness of the evening slipped away, and as the sun settled in the west it shone on these clouds to the east. Again we are lifted by an awesome beauty above the mundane minutae of a life spent "getting and spending."
But art does that: it reframes our life. It moves us to see more than what we have seen before. Art changes us.
The Perpetual Enigma Machine hangs until the end of the month.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
In this short poem by Vermont writer Jean L. Connor, an older speaker challenges the perception that people her age have lost their vitality and purpose. Connor compares the life of such a person to an egret fishing. Though the bird stands completely still, it has learned how to live in the world, how to sustain itself, and is capable of quick action when the moment is right.
Of Some Renown
For some time now, I have
lived anonymously. No one
appears to think it odd.
They think the old are,
well, what they seem. Yet
see that great egret
at the marsh's edge, solitary,
still? Mere pretense
that stillness. His silence is
a lie. In his own pond he is
of some renown, a stalker,
a catcher of fish. Watch him.
The day, of no great merit,
ended—a dandelion gone to seed,
minutes squandered, hours spent,
no bright gold. Yet in the ledgered
plainness of the day, overcast, common,
some subtle brush of meaning
held me. Was it those unexpected
words of thanks, or the single lilac
plunged in a paper cup,
there on a stranger's desk?
Something, a fragrance,
lingered well past dusk.
Friday, August 26, 2005
NOB HILL--What to do with the ripe stuff from your garden is a happy problem. But if you can't eat your cucumbers fast enough, here is an excellent "Bread and Butter Pickles" recipe that you will LOVE. It will make about 3 pints. I got it from AllRecipes. The amounts are a little strange because it was downsized from a 25 cuke original recipe.
- 5 cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1-1/4 onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 5/8 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon and 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1-1/4 teaspoons mustard seed
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/8 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- In a large bowl, mix together cucumbers, onions, green bell peppers, garlic and salt. Allow to stand approximately 3 hours.
- In a large saucepan, mix the cider vinegar, white sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, whole cloves and turmeric. Bring to a boil.
- Drain liquid from the cucumber mixture. Stir the mixture into the boiling vinegar mixture. Remove from heat shortly before the combined mixtures return to boil.
- Transfer to sterile containers. Seal and chill in the refrigerator until serving.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
The real big issues have to do with the West Side...and even those who don't live there recognize that it cannot be ignored. But there is no consensus on solutions for those gigantic problems. The West Side is indeed the coyote in the corral, so to speak. For many, dumping him for a city councilor doesn't seem worth the effort. It just might lead to more fighting in the Council with no assurance that things would be any better. They might even get worse.
So I went to the debate last night at the Plumbers Hall, not to take sides, just to see if it felt like the race was over. It was hard to tell:
Martin Chavez wasn't there. He sent James Lewis in his place. Sometimes, when he got in a tight spot, he just said, "I haven't talked to Marty about that, so I can't answer the question." Lewis is obviously smart and knowledgable. He is also articulate, but very restrained emotionally...one might even say dead-pan.
Eric Griego did himself a lot of good. He may not get the support of organized labor as a result of this debate at a union hall, but he will get a lot of votes from union workers anyway. In fact, the big impression from the evening was that Griego was just a little better than everybody else at everything. And it was more than that: one actually felt that he was sincerely on your side. In a jaded world, that is not easy to do.
The format of the "debate" consisted of answering questions posed by officials from the various union locals. The questions were generally excellent, and it did point out a few differences between the candidates.
- Public Campaign Financing: Griego & Steele, YES...Chavez, NO.
- Minimum Wage Initiative: Griego & Steele, YES...Chavez, NO.
- Road through the Petroglyphs: Griego, NO...Steele & Chavez, YES.
But back to the big question: Is the mayoral race over? Johnny_Mango seems to have a foot in both camps.
MY HEAD says it's over. There is no way anyone is going to catch him. Brad Winter...why vote for him? David Steele...who? Eric Griego...how can he possibly win after kissing off the Westside? Phrases like "toll bridge" and "construction moratorium" are just asking for trouble.
MY HEART says that Eric Griego feels like a different kind of politician. Griego just might raise our community expectations to a point where we start believing in a better world. He fights the good fight. But is he a giant killer? That is the question.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
DOWNTOWN FLYING STAR--Here are some random snapshots of the DCF get-together. Not all the shots I took came out okay...so if you are missing, that is why. Also, I apologize for not remembering everybody's name. If you email me, I will correct any mistakes or omissions.
The M-Pyre: Maggie, Marjorie, and Mjae. Displaying their "keening insight," they were first to order food.
The Beautiful MaryAnn White. We share our lives with each other.
Greg Burton has dropped out of the City Council race. He remains a student of the blog phenomenon, reading 228 blogs every day.
Susanna Skye, wearing the best head of red hair I have ever seen in my life, usually works across the desk from Greg Burton. There may be more to this story, but that's all I know.
Gene Grant doesn't look like he wants to share those French fries with David West and Vince. Gene writes a column for the ABQ Tribune. Vince hangs out at Greyhounder's Tales: Raves, Rants, and Fables.
Mario Burgos reads almost as many blogs as Greg, about 150. They both use aggregators, so it isn't quite as hard as it sounds. Mario tries to anticipate trends this way before they are readily apparent.
I met Kelley Vickers for the first time. He blogs at Eucatastrophe.
Joaquin Guerra writes Soy Blue. He just started his blog. He is convinced that Mario Burgos is Pika Brittlebush. Ohhh...don't say THAT!
Poet and publisher Adam Rubinstein worked hard on the National Poetry Slam. He insists he isn't ready to host another one just yet.
Councilman and Mayoral candidate Eric Griego makes his point in a conversation with several bloggers.
Well, that sort of wraps it up. Many, many blogs feature accounts of what happened and what was said. Mainly, it was just nice to see each other. If you weren't there, maybe next time.
NOB HILL--I received a reply to my question about the Sheridan House in old town that was so complete and outstanding that I am posting it here where more people will see it. Thanks to Joe Sabatini at the Special Collections Library.
As part of the Albuquerque Tricentennial, the New Mexico Postcard Club and the Special Collections Library of the Albuquerque/ Bernalillo County Library System assembled a large exhibit of historic Albuquerque postcards on panels which are currently rotating among sixteen of our branch libraries. Among the 700 postcards in the exhibit is one of “General Sheridan’s House”. Here is some information we gathered about it:
The building shown on the postcard was the home of the last Mexican governor of New Mexico, Manuel Armijo (1790-1853). This building was torn down around 1910, and merchant Charles A. Bottger built a new home on the site. This home, at 110 San Felipe NW, is currently the Bottger Mansion of Old Town Bed and Breakfast. Byron Johnson describes the Bottger property and the Armijo antecedent on page 102 of his book "Old Town, Albuquerque, New Mexico: A Guide to Its History and Architecture.”
Howard Bryan wrote an "Off the Beaten Path" column in the February 5, 1959 Albuquerque Tribune, using material from newspaper accounts of Sheridan's visit to Albuquerque on December 3, 1885. Sheridan came for the purpose of checking on the house where his wife, Irene Rucker Sheridan (1856-1939), believed that she had been born. She was the first daughter of Major (later Brigadier General) Daniel H. Rucker, who was assigned to the Albuquerque garrison as the quartermaster. Biographical information about Mrs. Sheridan appears on the website of the Arlington National Cemetery, where the two are buried. When Sheridan inspected the house, a passerby informed him that Irene had not been born there, but at Fort Union, N.M. Two younger sisters definitely were born in the house, in the short time before the Civil War while the Rucker family was posted in Albuquerque. The couple were married in 1875, when he was 44 and she was 19. They had four children before he died in 1888. One son had a military career which brought him to Columbus, NM after the Villa Raid.
For additional information about the postcard exhibit, please call Joe Sabatini at the Special Collections Library, 848-1376.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I do so much appreciate your taking the time to read this blog as well as the Duke City Fix. I would really like to thank you in person. So come downtown tonight. If you haven't been to the downtown Flying Star, you are in for a treat.
At any rate, I know that most of you never leave a comment. That's okay...I still thank you for being here...and, I hope, at the Flying Star tonight. Btw, the Beautiful MaryAnn will be there too.
Monday, August 22, 2005
NOB HILL--A guest blogger on the Duke City Fix has just posted a link to the New York Public Library Digital Gallery...an interesting selection of vintage postcards. One of them is of General Phil Sheridan's home in Old Town. It is his wife's house, actually. Does anyone know of the exact location of this house? It sure deserves to be noted somewhere.
When I was a college student in Chicago I remember a magnificent statue of Sheridan on his horse. That was the extent of my knowledge at that time.
General Sheridan is most famous for 2 things: his remark (later denied) that "The only good Indian is a dead one." and his laying waste to the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War. He believed in total warfare.
I am not sure that the General himself ever lived here, although he was Commander-In-Chief of the US Army during the time of Geronimo's surrender at Skeleton Canyon. He died in 1888. The postcard was copyrighted in 1902. Maybe his wife lived here after his death. In any case, I wish I knew more about an Albuquerque connection.
Any help out there?
Sunday, August 21, 2005
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
How many of us, alone at a grave or coming upon the site of some remembered event, find ourselves speaking to a friend or loved one who has died? In this poem by Karin Gottshall the speaker addresses someone's ashes as she casts them from a bridge. I like the way the ashes take on new life as they merge with the wind.
You were carried here by hands
and now the wind has you, gritty
as incense, dark sparkles borne
in the shape of blowing,
this great atmospheric bloom,
spinning under the bridge and expanding—
shape of wind and its pattern
of shattering. Having sloughed off
the urn's temporary shape,
there is another of you now—
tell me which to speak to:
the one you were, or are, the one who waited
in the ashes for this scattering, or the one
now added to the already haunted woods,
the woods that sigh and shift their leaves—
where your mystery billows, then breathes.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
NOB HILL--Don't tell me the full moon doesn't make a difference. Everybody gets a little more full of whatever it is that is fueling their life. Take Pika Brittlebush for instance...at the Shop n-Stroll last night she noted with enthusiasm such things as people eating brownies. Frankly, in my imagination, I thought a full moon would push Pika in other directions.
In fact, I didn't see anything Pika mentioned in her post. But my eyes weren't closed either. And a Nob Hill shopping event is not like any shopping event anywhere else in the city. Here is a recounting of the Shop-n-Stroll through a different set of eyes.
This guy on a bicycle-powered blender was the first thing we saw...right on the corner of Tulane and Central. I love bicycles. One of the reasons is that, like swamp coolers and lawn sprinklers, they use understandable technology. You probably can't work on your car anymore, but you can fix your bike...probably even figure out how to make it run a blender.
The theme for the evening had something to do with dogs. I didn't pay enough attention to ever figure it out exactly, but dogs were available for adoption. This was in the parking lot of the Marty Chavez campaign HQ...I hope he kept track of that weblogging dog of his.
At first I thought the Roto-Rooter man had stopped in Kelly's for a brew. I was wrong. The sight of him uncoiling his big snake in the patio was more than some of us wanted to see. But MaryAnn was game.
One of our favorite stores is Peacecraft. It is run by volunteers and they pay the craftspeople a fair price for their work. We found a couple of neat, neat things. One which grabbed our attention was a stack of rugs made from recycled plastic. They were really colorful and would be perfect on a covered patio or porch.
It made us think about home. So that is how our evening ended...with the short walk up the hill.
Friday, August 19, 2005
But I have no point to make other than to honor their memories. God bless the peacemakers. And death is not the last word.
DEATH be not proud...
The deaths of officers Smith and King weigh especially heavy on all of us. Their jobs protecting us took them into harm's way. And they did not return.
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe...
Why does it always seem to happen to the young, the brave, the good, the giving, the loved? This poem, then, is to honor all those who fell this week. And especially I mean to honor Albuquerque Policemen Smith and King, whose work serving and protecting our neighborhoods took them into this hail of gunfire. The poem is by John Donne (1572-1631).
Thursday, August 18, 2005
A Nation Rocked to Sleep
By Carly Sheehan
Sister of Casey KIA 04/04/04
Sadr City, Baghdad
Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
The torrential rains of a mother's weeping will never be done
They call him a hero, you should be glad that he's one, but
Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his
He must be brave because his boy died for another man's lies
The only grief he allows himself are long, deep sighs
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's
They say that he died so that the flag will continue to wave
But I believe he died because they had oil to save
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's
Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?
The leaders want to keep you numb so the pain won't be so deep
But if we the people let them continue another mother will weep
See more at:
Ma el salama...
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
2000 dead Americans and now we are being told we better reduce "our expectations." God, what a mess. So many have been lost. So much has been lost. And there is so much more to lose.
All one can do is light a candle. Stand by the roadside. But what good can come out of this? Not much...our expectations are already reduced.
I went out to the vigil on Lomas, over by Jefferson Midschool. There were maybe 300 people there...mostly neighborhood folks. Lots of cars honked as they went by. People waved back. Some whooped a response. The crowd came to life little by little as the evening went by.
One couple held a sign supporting Cindy Sheehan...and a rug commemorating their son's return from Iraq just last week. They were so happy he was home. They were so earnest in their wishes that the war end soon.
There is something of an uprising happening. It is as if people realize it isn't unpatriotic to insist that we won't be lied to anymore. It isn't unpatriotic to hope that America's young men and women won't have to die for such a cynical egotist. George W. Bush does not love this country and its people...he uses them up without conscience. He drains this country for no reason other than he can. I would say he is evil, except it is not that exactly: there is a personality malfunction somewhere. Something is missing in that head of his. Something disconnected. He acts like he is on meds...maybe prozac: nothing real seems to bother him. Like Casey Sheehan. Like almost 2000 others. Like our own democracy.
Yes, about 300 of us stood on the corner tonight...if only to bear witness to the grief we all feel for our service men and women who have died over in Iraq. After all, the media can't even show pictures of the caskets of those who died. Perhaps being such a public witness is important after all. As Milton said, "They also serve who only stand and wait." Or bear witness.
But this morning, when I told them I was about to embark on a huge project and that it had me kind of scared, I was stunned at their laughter.
"What are you making now in your china painting class?"
"You know, I'm just starting a footed eggplant tea set. I'm sort of overwhelmed."
"A footed eggplant tea set?"
"Yes...I ordered it out of a catalog. I don't know what to do with it."
"A footed eggplant tea set?"
"I know I don't drink tea...and I am not sure about those feet...but it looked pretty cool in the catalogue...that big pitcher and matching creamer and sugar thing. The pitcher and sugar bowl have matching lids. I started painting the feet but then I got stuck."
"A footed eggplant tea set?"
"Just get over it."
But I did start working on the sides of this monster piece of china. I decided to paint eggplant leaves and flowers on the sides and lids. So I left my class and went home to clip off some blossoms. I only found one wilted flower, but got a lot of leaves to work from.
I hope I do a good job on this. I sure would like to make my friends regret their judgemental attitude. But just maybe nobody could save this project from the back of the "bad idea" shelf.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
At any rate, The Hard-Ass Artist Ken Saville and I were not discouraged by the rain, since it is never certain whether the rainfall even extends over the next ridge. We were right. The road we took...the one that goes past the Christian camp and that huge buried ruin up on top had hardly seen any moisture.
We turned off a couple of times and found ourselves on a broad ridge with a view of canyons on either side. We had been here before and decided to pitch camp. Ken discovered a cache of camping supplies near us. It included various items with "Sandia National Lab" logos. It also included an old, well-cared-for heirloom Estwing hatchet. There was a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff there, all neatly stacked up under a tree. We did use some of the items, but then returned them to their protected spot and left them there. We never take anything out of the forest. This is not to say that a large lost bag of drug money wouldn't be a temptation!
Camping is extremely ritualistic. I use the same camp box that my father made 50 years ago. I use the same 50 year-old stove that I used as a child. Ken has worn the same jacket since I have known him. He uses the same tent he carried around New Zealand years ago. We fix the same food. Ken drinks the same whiskey and beer. And I ALWAYS take a box of LCD's...Little Chocolate Donuts.
It was a great night for sleeping--unless you are a dog, that is. "Baby" was on duty all night long from her station in front of my tent. I don't think she slept at all.
But morning came soon enough and we decided to go a bit further down the road. Ken and I have made up names for most of our favorite places and roads. This road is known as "Deuce and a Half" Road because of the abandoned 2 1/2 ton truck down where the road enters Jemez Pueblo land. The truck seems to have more missing parts to it each year. We saw the hood a couple of miles back being used as a backdrop for target shooting.
Eventually the road comes to a junction, with branches going off to such places as Borrego Canyon and Borrego Mesa. I must sheepishly admit I haven't been to either. There is also an old logging camp and another large ruin where the canyon broadens out. It is interesting country.
One time Ken and I were driving down this road when we met an old rancher in a pickup truck. We pulled up even with him and started talking. Eventually I asked him, "Where does this road come out?"
"It don't!" he said. That has been our name for this area ever since: It-Don't Canyon.
You don't need a 4wd to start on this road. You will wish you had one before you get to the end. But this drive is beautiful and "extreme" enough as you climb out of Paliza Canyon to please even the most avid thrill seekers. Just remember...take nothing. Oh yeah...bring water. This ain't no city park.