Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lobos Take a Bite Out of the Golden Gophers

THE PIT--There are people saying that tonight's game was the greatest women's game ever played in the Pit. I won't get into that argument, but tonight's game was AWESOME! The Lobos, ranked 21st in the nation going into the game, beat the 10th ranked Minnesotans 62 - 44. It wasn't even close.

The Artist Ken Saville was screaming, "You're in our house now!" That is how crazy this game was. He never says anything. I was shouting all the time. MaryAnn just laughed. This game was intense from the beginning right through to the end. You could feel the tension on every possession.

Player of the Game Katie Montgomery was every bit as tough as she needed to be. She played all 40 minutes. Other stand-outs:
  • Timi E-Nunu...real quick on defense...3 steals...3 points...11 minutes
  • Jana game of her career...played tough against those big Gophers in the paint...3 blocks...2 / 5 from 3-point land...6 rebs...13 points
  • Brandi Kimball...5 rebs...7 points...teamed with Timi, they are like lightning on defense
  • Julie Briody...her heart always give a spark to the team when she comes off the bench...instant excitement...did have 3 turnovers
But the star of the game is definitely Katie Montgomery. Her line: 16 points...4 / 6 from beyond the circle...4 rebounds...4 assists...1 turnover...40 minutes

For complete coverage of the game go to GoLobos.

When Minnesota fell behind with about 10 minutes to go in the first half, they started calling time outs. That's always a good sign. Wholesale substitutions became part of their game plan as they looked for an answer to the Lobos. They were also a bit worried about the elevation I imagine. But they never could get off the blocks.

I was glad to see the sumo wrestlers were back again. Even the normally jaded cheerleaders seemed to enjoy it. Maybe it was just the nervous excitement of being ahead in the game.

Next up is Arizona State on Wednesday in Tempe. I hope someone finds a way to put this game on TV. If not, the game will be broadcast on radio as usual...KNML...610AM...THE Sports Animal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Kids at Thanksgiving.

NOB HILL--It is too quiet in the newly remodeled kitchen of the Mango_Mansion. MaryAnn's sons have left; Ethan took Paul and Ben to catch their plane back to New York City. Simone and grandson Robby are back in their everyday routine. But the memories of seeing them here for Thanksgiving remain and warm our hearts. We did miss Ivan and Melanie, but hope to see them soon.

The new kitchen worked great. Our convection oven helped MaryAnn turn out a spectacular bird. In fact, everything was spectacular. We hope your holiday was just as nice.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper

Nob Hill--This floret of a geranium was still alive in my front yard last week. After the cold snap of the last couple of days...well, I hope it has found a new home indoors.

The Sunday Poem: J. Lorraine Brown

American Life in Poetry: Column 035


Massachusetts poet J. Lorraine Brown has used an unusual image in “Tintype on the Pond, 1925.” This poem, like many others, offers us a unique experience, presented as a gift, for us to respond to as we will. We need not ferret out a hidden message. How many of us will recall this little scene the next time we see ice skates or a Sunday-dinner roast?

Tintype on the Pond, 1925

Believe it or not,
the old woman said,
and I tried to picture it:
a girl,
the polished white ribs of a roast
tied to her boots with twine,
the twine coated with candle wax
so she could glide
across the ice—
my mother,
skating on bones.

Reprinted from “Eclipse” by permission of the author. Poem copyright © 2004 by J. Lorraine Brown. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lingering Flowers in the Yard

NOB HILL--I don't know about your neighborhood, but here some flowers continue to bloom. Their beauty is startling, especially in this week of falling brown leaves.

Of course, there is the concern of climate change. I saw a program on TV the other night about the mini ice age in the 17th through the 19th centuries. How northern Europe lost their vinyards due to the cold. How ice changed the history of Spain and the Spanish Armada. I fear nothing can stop the changes that seem to be occurring.

Meanwhile, we are treated to the beautiful swansong of autumn slowly slipping away to the southern horizon. Gone are the long hours of sun. Gone is the search for shade.

This is the time of year I first came to New Mexico back in 1970. The warmth of that low sun healed my gray, cold, Chicago-battered soul.

This sun was so a bright smile on the face of someone you would like to meet.

I never left.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper

NOB HILL--Can you identify this? Yes, I thought you could.

The Sunday Poem: Jim Daniels

American Life in Poetry: Column 034

In this poem by Pittsburgh resident Jim Daniels, a father struggles to heal his son’s grief after an incident at school. The poem reminds us that when we’re young little things can hurt in a big way.


Today my son realized someone’s smarter
than him. Not me or his mom —
he still thinks we know everything —
one of the other kids, Nathan. Making fun
of him at the computer terminal
for screwing up at the math game.
Other kids laughing at him. Second grade.
I’m never gonna be as smart as him,
he says.
I’m never gonna be as smart
as half my students if we’re talking
IQs. He doesn’t want me to explain.
He wants me to acknowledge
that he’s dumb. He’s lying in bed
and taking his glasses off and on,
trying to get them perfectly clean
for the morning. I’m looking around
his dark room for a joke or some
decent words to lay on him. His eyes
are glassy with almost-tears. Second grade.
The world wants to call on him.
I take his hand in mine.

Reprinted from “The Paterson Literary Review,” No. 32, by permission of the author. Copyright � 2004 by Jim Daniels, whose most recent book is “Show and Tell: New and Selected Poems” University of Wisconsin Press, 2004. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Free Joy Harjo!

UNM--This just in from UNM's English Grad Student Assoc.:

This Friday, Joy Harjo will be giving her first reading in
Albuquerque since returning to UNM.

When: 7 PM, Friday November 18th
Where: SUB, Acoma A & B

Joy Harjo, the Joseph M. Russo Professor of Creative
Writing at the University of New Mexico, is a
multi-talented artist of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. Harjo
is an internationally known poet, performer, writer and

Joy Harjo is a world-class poet and musician. The last poet I heard read at the SUB (Student Union Building) was Sarah Manguso who was well as an icon among younger poets. The poets this series brings in are certainly worth your time. And it is FREE!

As if you aren't already excited enough, Harjo has her own BLOG! Check it out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Super Goathead...More Pictures

OFF THE SOUTH VALLEY BIKE TRAIL--I wrote a post for this morning's Duke City Fix showing a terrible looking plant that could be called the "Super Goathead" because each sticker is more than an inch in diameter. Kelly commented,
Those supergoat head balls look like the seedpods of the sacred datura, also known as jimson weed. Check this site for info:

Thanks, Kelly. Just to be sure I am posting a couple more pictures. Albloggerque gives full-screen enlargements, so click on the pix and check it out.

The top picture shows Bob Evans and the whole plant. Actually, the plant seems to grow low to the ground and is bigger than the frame of the photo.

The next picture shows dried seed pods...truly terrifying...even for Mr. Tuffy.

The last picture shows those boogers with my sunglasses in back of them for size comparison.

What do you all think? Is this jimson weed? Yikes.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Oh, Say Can You See...

THE PIT--Even from our seats near the ceiling it was obvious that the Wilson Sisters had talent. I hope they are invited back next year for another exciting national anthem. As I fumbled to get out my camera to take this shot, The Artist Ken Saville remarked, "It's about time!"

After the anthem, sports fans continued to file into the rows...including the 6'8" guy sitting two rows in front of us. He was SO large that the 6'5" giant that sits directly in front of us MOVED! Now that's large! As funny as that was, I couldn't seem to get my camera around either of those guys. So let me summarize: the Lobo women won.

We play Wednesday night right here in the semi-finals of the Pre-season WNIT against Oklahoma University. I got tickets today...and by the way...I didn't get our regular seats!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper

NOB HILL--I'm going to try putting up a picture every week for those of you who like to periodically change your desktop background. Enlarge...then right click...and set as wallpaper. As least that is how I would do it.Downtown on Central Ave. Looking East

The Sunday Poem: Katy Giebenhain

American Life in Poetry: Column 033


Katy Giebenhain, an American living in Berlin, Germany, depicts a ritual that many diabetics undergo several times per day: testing one’s blood sugar. The poet shows us new ways of looking at what can be an uncomfortable chore by comparing it to other things: tapping trees for syrup, checking oil levels in a car, milking a cow.

Glucose Self-Monitoring

A stabbing in miniature, it is,
a tiny crime,
my own blood parceled
drop by drop and set
on the flickering tongue
of this machine.
It is the spout-punching of trees
for syrup new and smooth
and sweeter
than nature ever intended.
It is Sleeping Beauty's curse
and fascination.
It is the dipstick measuring of oil
from the Buick's throat,
the necessary maintenance.
It is every vampire movie ever made.
Hand, my martyr without lips,
my quiet cow.
I'll milk your fingertips
for all they're worth.
For what they're worth.
Something like a harvest, it is,
a tiny crime.

Reprinted from “Best of Prairie Schooner: Fiction and Poetry,” University of Nebraska Press, 2001, by permission of the author, whose most recent book is "Good Morning and Good Night", University of Illinois Press, 2005. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Time Out! Lobos vs. Oral Roberts

THE PIT--Four of us have season tickets to women's basketball. The Artist Ken Saville and I went down by the floor, leaving Mary and MaryAnn to suffer in the thin air of row 2. (The numbers start at the top). Ken has a fine eye for the women's game...and an even better eye for spotting cheerleader talent. I better remind the reader that Ken looks upon these young women as a total professional. He is, after all, an artist.

Nevertheless, we encountered some of the same problems that beset us sitting up at the top: that is...big obstructions. We ended up sitting behind a big-eared wolf with fuzzy hair. We did manage to get the flavor of the game but not too many shots of the action.

For a complete recap of the game, browse the GOLOBOS website. It is very complete. But down on the floor, first half play fell into 4 acts:
  • Act 1: Wholesale substitutions by Oral Roberts (5 out and 5 new players in). This went on every 2 or 3 minutes for most of the first half.
  • Act 2: Lobos lead 12-0. ORU couldn't buy a basket and they kept turning the ball over.
  • Act 3: ORU settles down and Lobos fall asleep. The score was now 17-15.
  • Act 4: Julie Briody, who had lost her starting position to the hero of the Metro State game Brandi Kimble, entered stage left and in her usual herky-jerky style scored, defended, and bounced around the floor like a souped-up Ever-Ready rabbit. The score at the half: 29-20. The picture above is of Julie Briody (#40). You can't really see her, but neither could anybody else.
At halftime Ken and I abandoned camp near the floor for our paid seats atop Lobo Mesa. Tempers had soured at this point, both courtside and in the stands. The ORU coach picked up a technical. Then after a particularly jarring pick set by Dionne Marsh resulting in the ORU player being smacked into the varnish at the top of the key where she lay for a few moments before being helped to her feet by a teammate and staggering to midcourt, well...Lobo Coach Don Flanagan picked up a T for charging out on the floor to protest the called foul. He later said it was the first pick that Dionne had set in her Lobo career and he was afraid she might never set another one if he didn't stick up for her.

The crowd was going nutz. The referees were afraid they would need more than a mere police escort to leave the building safely. The players regrouped. With the score now 48-41 the game seemed to be slowly slipping away. Senior Abbie Letz later said,
"I think all of us kind of got together and said, 'You know what, coach has his deal, that's his thing.' '' Letz said. "We had to play through the refs, we had to play through their team. ... Our crowd got behind us and really picked us up."

Meanwhile Ken
had picked out emerging talent in the cheerleader pool...the one in the sexy French style leg brace. I remind you, he IS a professional. At any rate, the Lobos won 69-52. It was a great tune-up for the crowd, which already sounded in mid-season form. Sunday we take on California in round 2 of the Pre-Season WNIT.

Friday, November 11, 2005

BBC Graph Outlines the Fall of GW Bush

NOB HILL--BBC News published this graph of Bush's approval rating since he took office annotated with major events. I generally stay away from national issues, but this is just too full of raw meat.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Ghosts of 1000 Texans Still Whisper in the Bosque

OFF THE SOUTH VALLEY BIKE TRAIL--The call of the wild led Bob Evans and me to turn south at the end of the diversion channel instead of heading back north to Rio Bravo Blvd. We crossed the wash-out and pedaled into the bosque. This is the site of General Sibley's encampment of Confederate troops on their way back from defeat at the hands of Union General Canby in Glorieta Pass. There were about 1000 men bivouaced among the cottonwoods near the river on land belonging to southern sympathizer Judge Baird. They had lost their supplies: ammunition, food, water wagons. Most of their pack horses and mules lay dead 100 miles to the north, shot and still hitched to their burnt wagons.

These Confederate forces were part of the last Pike charge in American history. He didn't have enough guns for all his troops when he left Texas, so Sibley armed the unarmed with long, sharp poles called pikes. They were used at Valverde just south of Socorro. My god.

Now these, the defeated, were trying to make it back to off the land, carrying what water they could. They had hoped to find many more sympathizers who would help them. They had miscalculated. And living off the land with a thousand men proved to be impossible.

The battle at Valverde Ford between the forces of Canby and Sibley would form the fictional background for the Civil War battle scene in Clint Eastwood's film, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

Later, Sibley would be accused of cowardice and being drunk during both the battles of Valverde and Glorieta. He had missed both battles due to "illness." And here, in this cottonwood forest, one can almost hear the echoing complaints of the foot soldiers that had been so poorly served by their General.

Nothing marks this spot. By vehicle, it is at the far west end of Shirk Rd. SW. By bike, well...turn south and just keep going.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lobo Women Win Last Night...Tribune Writer Stevens Already Sounds Bored

NOB HILL--I have followed Lobo basketball for 30 years. About 5 or 10 years ago, I started buying season tickets to the women's team. It was more fun to watch, and I liked the players and coaches better. Richard Stevens has been covering the women's team for much of this time.

In fact, I think the women basically resurrected his writing career. His usually jaded style showed a little more excitement for the game. Many local sports fans thought Stevens should have left with his favorite target Gary Colson. Actually his sports writing has become more interesting since he started covering the Lady Lobos...usually.

Not in today's Tribune. I was so disheartened by the prospect of having to read that tired prose for the next 4 months that I wrote him a letter. Here it is.
You sound tired already! And the story you wrote for today could have been written for any game on the season ticket...pretty uninspired. My opinion of the "three things" you talked about is that you missed the point. Here are the SALIENT 3 items you should have mentioned (or highlighted).
  1. This was an exhibition game. Nobody worried about winning it. 10 players played over 10 minutes each for the Lobos. The object was to notice how each player did.
  2. The "big splash" was Brandi Kimball. The Lobos needed more speed in the backcourt and she is it.
  3. There has been MAJOR improvement in several cases from last season: Timi Enunnu's play, Dionne Marsh's freethrows, Judy Vogt looks stronger...heftier.
So let's not get so absolutely unenthused! It is going to be a long season. Listening to someone who is already whining ("least-inspired defenders...probably need to do all would be nice..." etc.) is hard to do.
Best wishes,
Jon Knudsen

Was I too hard on him? And then the fuzzy photo that accompanied the article didn't even illustrate anything in Steven's story. It showed two players he didn't even mention. So I am putting up a couple of shots I took from up in the extremely cheap seats behind two real tall guys.

At least the first shot shows that even though a crowd of over 8000 was announced, it didn't look like it. And the second shot shows the "Subway Sub of the Game" Brandi Kimball dishing the ball out to a teammate. Even though she was not the high scorer, she was the big story last was a breakout performance.

Season tickets are still available for about a hundred bucks.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Shhhhhhh...(free bell peppers)...

SOUTH VALLEY BIKE TRAIL--Last week while riding on the south bosque trail Bob and I noticed that what seemed like a whole field of bell peppers had been plowed under just south of the Bueno Foods canning plant. We went up on the ditch and went into the field. Sure enough...along with sandhill cranes, lots of bell peppers--some buried, some on top of the ground. Enlarge the picture to get a better idea. Bob and I each got a bag full.

This was last week. Maybe they are a little soft by now, but they were real fresh a week ago. Oh...I don't know that this kind of "gleaning" is legal, but it certainly is moral in my book. Those peppers are headed into oblivion otherwise.

Renewing Ourselves at the Grand Canyon

NOB HILL--Well, we had a great time at Grand Canyon National Park. The Canyon is breathtaking. And the structures on the rim such as the lodges and gift shops were totally interesting. I posted something about these on the Duke City Fix earlier today. But the "theme" of this short trip has to be RELAXATION.

MaryAnn, Mike & Carol Moye, and I all get along so well that the trip was a hassle-free, take-it-easy experience in a wonderful and beautiful setting. During the day we walked the rim. At night we played cards in the mezzanine of El Tovar, our hotel. And we loved it.

We took the train from Williams, AZ to El Tovar. A car in Grand Canyon National Park is more than useless, it is a burden. There are shuttle buses that run along the rim. Cars are, for the most part, not allowed on the roads. The train ride took about 2 and a half hours...including a simulated heist by bandits. (They had to stop the train so the mounted outlaws could get aboard. As our bartender said, "You just can't get minimum wage employees to jump from galloping horses onto moving trains.")

All in all, we had the most wonderful of times. Our lives are richer. Our hearts seem fuller. And our world is a happier, more wonderful place.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Sunday Poem by Kurt Brown

American Life in Poetry: Column 032

Descriptions of landscape are common in poetry, but in “Road Report” Kurt Brown adds a twist by writing himself into “cowboy country.” He also energizes the poem by using words we associate with the American West: Mustang, cactus, Brahmas. Even his associations—such as comparing the crackling radio to a shattered rib—evoke a sense of place.

Road Report

Driving west through sandstone’s
red arenas, a rodeo of slow erosion
cleaves these plains, these ravaged cliffs.
This is cowboy country. Desolate. Dull. Except
on weekends, when caf├ęs bloom like cactus
after drought. My rented Mustang bucks
the wind—I’m strapped up, wide-eyed,
busting speed with both heels, a sure grip
on the wheel. Black clouds maneuver
in the distance, but I don’t care. Mileage
is my obsession. I’m always racing off,
passing through, as though the present
were a dying town I’d rather flee.
What matters is the future, its glittering
Hotel. Clouds loom closer, big as Brahmas
in the heavy air. The radio crackles
like a shattered rib. I’m in the chute.
I check the gas and set my jaw. I’m almost there.

Reprinted from “New York Quarterly,” No. 59, by permission of the author, whose new book, “Future Ship,” is due out this summer from Story Line Press. Poem copyright © 2003 by Kurt Brown. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Leaving for the Grand Canyon & El Tovar This Afternoon

NOB HILL--We're heading out for a long weekend getaway with Mike & Carol Moye. They are picking up MaryAnn and me this afternoon and we will drive to Williams, Arizona. This is the home of the Grand Canyon Railway. We will spend the night and take the train to El Tovar in the morning. There is a per person package price of $109, but this includes dinner, lodging, breakfast, and a roundtrip train ride to the Canyon.

MaryAnn has never been to Grand Canyon. None of us has ever stayed at El Tovar. It is small (only 78 rooms) and supposed to be only 30 yards from the rim. Fashioned after an old European hunting lodge, it opened in 1905 and was recently renovated. We are spending two nights at the lodge. If you are interested in El Tovar, reservations are handled by Xantera, Inc. through their website. Prices right now range from $129 to $144.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I Like a Lot of Space Around Me

NOB HILL--I keep thinking back to last week. This time it was the drive back. Ken and I took that road from Roswell that goes through Corona and Willard. I love that kind of space around me. At any rate, eventually we needed to stop. We found a wide spot on a hill. It was surrounded by some pinons and junipers.

I got out of the Toyota and walked behind a bush. I don't know why. There sure wasn't any traffic. I looked down and saw a Corona beer bottle. It was lying in rocks. I mused that it couldn't have been tossed there from a car without breaking, and in fact was probably dropped there by some guy standing in the same spot as I was doing the same thing. I have got to stop thinking so much.

Well, I walked back towards the 4Runner. What's this? A lard bucket! I couldn't see anybody cooking next to the road like we were...especially with lard. The bucket was probably used for pinon picking. The bail was missing...that is probably why it was discarded by the side of the car all those years ago.

"Look!" Ken shouted. Across the road a deer stood quietly some distance away from us. I got my camera lit up and hoisted it for a shot. Naturally it took off immediately. But I did get a nice picture (which I did not'll have to click on it to see the deer). Ken finished the beer he had been drinking. I got behind the wheel, heading west. No wonder I like the wide-open spaces. My over-active mind would be over-stimulated in most situations. How relaxing it is out here, long horizons, faraway skies, distant ridges.