Friday, December 29, 2006

Yuma Territorial Prison

NOB HILL--We're back...but here's Yuma! The Yuma prison only served as the Territory prison from 1876 to 1909, but its fame lives on. What a hell hole. I hate the suffering. The building itself is pretty interesting however.

It is built of adobe blocks with thick walls and roofs of boards covered with a thick layer of dirt. Inside each cell, a steel cage was constructed. This was then plastered. Six prisoners were kept in each cell.

The adobes were made from a huge hill of caliche located on the property. This stuff is hard as a rock. In fact, the sides of the hill were excavated and rooms carved into the verticle hillsides. Some housed prisoners. Others were offices. At any rate, the same cages built of strap steel were constructed inside the rooms.

The hillside rooms are still standing intact over 200 years from their date of construction. They are in a natural state without stucco or any other form of protection. This says a lot both for the Arizona climate and for the durability of caliche.

The "dark cell" was located within the hillside units. This was solitary confinement. It was totally dark. The room was about 15 feet on a side with a covered stove pipe in the ceiling for air. Inside the room was a strap steel cage about 8 feet on a side and 5 feet tall. The prisoners were put in there naked except for their underwear. As if the prisoner wasn't uncomfortable enough, guards were said to throw snakes, scorpions, etc. down the stove pipe and into the dark cage.

Women were also housed at the prison, though not in big numbers. For one thing, there were so few women in the territory. However, women could be sent to the prison for everything from murder to adultery. I don't believe any men were encarcerated for adulterous behavior!

One woman was sentenced to the Yuma prison along with her sister for running off with a pair of vaudeville jugglers. What a place.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Sunset at Rockhound

This is the view from our campsite at Rockhound State Park last Sunday. It has been one week on the road, but I still remember that sunset.
To set as wallpaper, click on image to enlarge then right-click "set as desktop background."

The Sunday Poem: Mark Vinz Drives through Town...Nice

American Life in Poetry: Column 091

How many of us, when passing through some small town, have felt that it seemed familiar though we've never been there before. And of course it seems familiar because much of the course of life is pretty much the same wherever we go, right down to the up-and-down fortunes of the football team and the unanswered love letters. Here's a poem by Mark Vinz.

Driving Through

This could be the town you're from,
marked only by what it's near.
The gas station man speaks of weather
and the high school football team
just as you knew he would—
kind to strangers, happy to live here.

Tell yourself it doesn't matter now,
you're only driving through.
Past the sagging, empty porches
locked up tight to travelers' stares,
toward the great dark of the fields,
your headlights startle a flock of
old love letters—still undelivered,
enroute for years.

Reprinted from "Red River Blues," published by College of the Mainland, Texas City, TX, 1977, by permission of the author. Copyright © 1977 by Mark Vinz, whose most recent book is "Long Distance," Midwestern Writers Publishing House, 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.

An Interlude of Cardinals

YUMA, AZ--Barb, in a comment below, asks the question, "How is the birding?"
MaryAnn and I are not exactly 'birders', but we do notice what is around us. So far we have seen cactus wrens, Gila woodpeckers, thrashers, hawks, Gambel's quails, and these wonderful cardinals.
We were eating lunch at the Desert Museum near Tucson, when they flew over to check us out. Oh where I grew up in Illinois I used to try to spot them, prowling through the neighborhood with my Little Golden Book of Birds...but in eighteen years I only saw two pairs. Now they were perched right next to me.

It is quite a sight, even if the bird isn't exactly rare.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Postcards Tossed from the Window of a Cruising 4Runner

ROCKHOUND STATE PARK...NEAR DEMING, NM--We had a warm first night (maybe 40 degrees) and took a hike in the morning. This park has heated restrooms with showers. Cost $10. This is a nice place to chill out for a few days. Gorgeous sunsets and views from our campsite.

PANCHO VILLA STATE PARK...COLUMBUS, NM--There is a new Pancho Villa museum right next to the campground. It includes several vehicles and artifacts from Pershing's Punitive Expedition into Mexico. One of the vehicles looked to be a cross between John Wayne's "War Wagon" and a tank. The expedition itself was unsuccessful. They never did find Pancho Villa (for many of the same reasons we haven't been able to find Osama bin Laden). This view of the water tower in Columbus shows the most famous landmark in the town. The smaller tower in front of it, however, is the tower that existed at the time of Villa's raid across the border in 1916.

Villa is both loved and hated around here...depending largely on ones heritage.

LORDSBURG, NM--We didn't spend the night in Lordsburg. We did stop for lunch. If you want to see how freeways create ghost towns, go to downtown Lordsburg.

SAGUARGO NATIONAL PARK...TUCSON, AZ--MaryAnn studied the literature while we relaxed in the Park. We are getting ready to heat up some Chinese food from the previous evening.
Speaking of that, Santa Claus seems to like Mandarin cuisine himself. He uses a fork rather than chopsticks, but getting rice through that beard would seem to be a problem. I guess he is on a pre-flight scouting operation in here in Tucson.

We drove out to Sabino Canyon at dusk. Then we went back to our campground next to the western half of the National Park. We spent two nights here...pretty cold nights.

Last week I would have pitched this tent in the bushes. This week, after MaryAnn read me the brochure, I am pitching it near:
  1. a saguaro
  2. creosote bush
  3. mesquite
  4. ironwood tree
  5. palo verde
Such is the power of education.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Happy Holidays!

NOB HILL--MaryAnn and I wish everyone the very best of holiday cheer. May your days be filled with happiness and love. May life bless you with its abundance.

The Sunday Poem: Bill Holm Makes Bread Soup

American Life in Poetry: Column 090

Anyone can write a poem that nobody can understand, but poetry is a means of communication, and this column specializes in poems that communicate. What comes more naturally to us than to instruct someone in how to do something? Here the Minnesota poet and essayist Bill Holm, who is of Icelandic parentage, shows us how to make something delicious to eat.

Bread Soup: An Old Icelandic Recipe

Start with the square heavy loaf
steamed a whole day in a hot spring
until the coarse rye, sugar, yeast
grow dense as a black hole of bread.
Let it age and dry a little,
then soak the old loaf for a day
in warm water flavored
with raisins and lemon slices.
Boil it until it is thick as molasses.
Pour it in a flat white bowl.
Ladle a good dollop of whipped cream
to melt in its brown belly.
This soup is alive as any animal,
and the yeast and cream and rye
will sing inside you after eating
for a long time.

Reprinted from "Playing the Black Piano," Milkweed Editions, 2004, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2004 by Bill Holm. 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.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: The Searchlight

NOB HILL--Last Thursday's Nob Hill Shop 'n' Stroll closed off Central Ave. for the evening. A searchlight on either end put a bright parenthesis in the snaking headlights of the rest of Route 66. The searchlight tender probably had a good reason to slump in front of the light like he was doing...maybe he was just keeping warm. At any rate, I took this picture.

The Sunday Poem: Sue Ellen Thompson Buries That Cat

American Life in Poetry: Column 089


Loss can defeat us or serve as the impetus for positive change. Here, Sue Ellen Thompson of Connecticut shows us how to mourn inevitable changes, tuck the memories away, then go on to see the possibility of a new and promising chapter in one's life. (Mark Justice Hinton featured her in March, 2005).

No Children, No Pets

I bring the cat's body home from the vet's
in a running-shoe box held shut
with elastic bands. Then I clean
the corners where she has eaten and
slept, scrubbing the hard bits of food
from the baseboard, dumping the litter
and blasting the pan with a hose. The plastic
dishes I hide in the basement, the pee-
soaked towel I put in the trash. I put
the catnip mouse in the box and I put
the box away, too, in a deep
dirt drawer in the earth.

When the death-energy leaves me,
I go to the room where my daughter slept
in nursery school, grammar school, high school,
I lie on her milky bedspread and think
of the day I left her at college, how nothing
could keep me from gouging the melted candle-wax
out from between her floorboards,
or taking a razor blade to the decal
that said to the firemen, "Break
this window first." I close my eyes now
and enter a place that's clearly
expecting me, swaddled in loss
and then losing that, too, as I move
from room to bone-white room
in the house of the rest of my life.

Reprinted from "Nimrod International Journal: The Healing Arts," Vol. 49, No. 2, Spring-Summer, 2006, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2006 by Sue Ellen Thompson, whose latest book is "The Golden Hour," Autumn House Press, 2006. 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, December 06, 2006

Big Truck...Many Questions

NOB HILL--The first topic at coffee this morning in the Flying Star was the big truck parked across the street. It had more chrome on it than paint. It was climate-controlled and air-cushioned. The rear wheels were widely spaced. Custom bins, doors, panels, and smoke-stacks gleamed in the early morning sun.

Most thought it had something to do with the movies. I thought the guy sitting at the next table had to be the driver. I couldn't get anybody to ask him about the truck. Finally I asked my alter-ego Johnny_Mango, who is not quite as shy as the rest of us.

I got up and walked over to the man.
"Is that your truck?"
So far so to ask a few probing questions.
"How...uh...where...uh...hmmm... Tell me about your truck."
Howard Elliott looked at me. He was eating breakfast, but was gracious enough talk with me even while the beans of his breakfast burrito got cold and glued themselves to the plate. He was an Art Mover. He moved art objects across the country...a lot of sculptures, glass pieces (including Dale Chihuly's), paintings, etc. He was on his way back to his home in the Denver area.
"Where are you coming from?"
"Well...I started out picking up some pieces at Navy Pier in Chicago." But before he got here he ended up going to New York City, Philly, Memphis, Oxford (Miss.), Houston, San Antonio, Denver (for a day), Vail, and Phoenix. He said he only got home a day or two each month.

He's been a truck driver for 26 years and started this art moving business about ten years ago. He said he taught himself how to drive a truck and that he really identified with Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi in terms of getting started in inter-state truck driving.

Once he delivered a statue of a big bear to Jack Nicklaus in Florida. Nicklaus had bought it in Vail. The golfer had a hard time figuring out exactly where he wanted that big bear to go. Howard Elliott and his two helpers tried this place and that. Finally Elliott looked at Nicklaus and said, "You know if this had been Arnold Palmer this wouldn't have been a problem." Nicklaus the Golden Bear stared at Elliott and said, "What?" Elliott added, "He only likes iced tea and lemonade." They both laughed. Arnold Palmer only lifted iced tea, not bears...his sponsor was Lipton's.

Finally Howard Elliott, a mover--but not a shaker, left to wash something off his truck. It seems that someone had thrown an egg at it during the night. And to an Art Mover, having a spotless truck fully equipped with all the freight-safety ammenities available, is the name of the game.

Lady Lobos, Those Hot Dogs, and Valerie Kast (posted on the DCF)

THE PIT--I posted this story on last Saturday's UNM-NMSU women's basketball game yesterday on the Duke City Fix. Since then, the Lobos beat Arizona in Tucson 76 - 63. Briody had another stunning performance, scoring 25 points. Valerie Kast did get into the game against Arizona's 6'6'' center.

Kast played 9 minutes in a so-so performance (2 points, 2 rebounds, 3 fouls, 1 assist, 3 turnovers) against Arizona's pressing defense. UNM center Angela Hartill had a good game despite being 3 or 4 inches shorter than her opponent. The box score and play by play account is here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: View Inside the Limousine

Last Thursday MaryAnn and I went to the "Best of the City" party thrown by Albuquerque the Magazine. It was out at Sandia Casino. The parking lot was quite a ways from the building so they had limousines take us from the lot to the door of the casino! This is what it looked like inside the limo.Btw, Chantal Foster, owner and publisher of the Duke City Fix, won "Best Local Blogger" that night. I ran into her at the party.

"Congratulations Chantal!"
"Same to you, Johnny_Mango!"
"What are you talking about?"
"You came in second. You beat out Joe Monahan."
"What are you talking about?"

Well, it seems I am indeed number 2...according to ABQ the MAG. Who knew? I gave Chantal a big congratumango hug...and a silent "thanks" for me being a part of the DCF.

The Sunday Poem: Christopher Chambers..."My Father Holds the Door for Yoko Ono"

American Life in Poetry: Column 088

This wistful poem by Christopher Chambers shows how the familiar and the odd, the real and imaginary, exist side by side. A Midwestern father transforms himself from a staid businessman into a rock-n-roll star, reclaiming a piece of his imaginary youth. In the end, it shows how fragile moments might be recovered to offer a glimpse into our inner lives.

My Father Holds the Door for Yoko Ono

In New York City for a conference
on weed control, leaving the hotel
in a cluster of horticulturalists,
he alone stops, midwestern, crewcut,
narrow blue tie, cufflinks, wingtips,
holds the door for the Asian woman
in a miniskirt and thigh high
white leather boots. She nods
slightly, a sad and beautiful gesture.
Neither smile, as if performing
a timeless ritual, as if anticipating
the loss of a son or a lover.

Years later, Christmas, inexplicably
he dons my mother's auburn wig,
my brother's wire-rimmed glasses,
and strikes a pose clowning
with my second hand acoustic guitar.
He is transformed, a working class hero
and a door whispers shut,
like cherry blossoms falling.

Reprinted from "Folio," Winter, 2004, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2004 by Christopher Chambers, who teaches creative writing at Loyola University New Orleans. 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, December 02, 2006

Friday Night at Los Equipales

NOB HILL--We are fortunate enough to live in Nob Hill, home to what is probably the best collection of neighborhood restaurants in the state of New Mexico. And hidden a block off Central Ave., on the corner of Silver and Jefferson SE, is one of our favorites...Los Equipales. Actually, Los Equipales feels like it's part neighborhood restaurant and part Mexican vacation.

Named for the comfortable pig-skinned furniture used thoughout the restaurant, Los Equipales features cuisine from coastal and central Mexico. It used to feature the food of a different province each month...although I am not sure if this is still their practice. In any case, the food is terrific and not the same as New Mexican fare, which is also a favorite of ours.

I ordered a special: chiles rellenos, made with poblano chiles. One of the two was stuffed with a mixture of carrots, raisins, potatoes, and almonds. The other was filled with jack cheese. Pomegranate seeds were sprinkled on top of both of them. God, it was delicious. MaryAnn had green chicken enchiladas. They were good as well.

The hostess Erica said that this is a good time to order the poblano rellenos because the chiles are really plump and beautiful. When they get smaller later in the year, the poblanos will be used for making sauces, but no more chiles rellenos with them. Her mom, who puts these together back in the kitchen, won't use any but the best ones for rellenos.

The presentation is done with such great care that it matches the extraordinarily romantic ambience of the dining area. The muebles equipales along with the tablecloths, candles, and gracious service make for a great special place to take one you love.

It would also make a wonderful place for a first date. And fellas, I have a feeling that your friends just might be calling you Mr. Lucky after you bring a date here...especially if you persuade los musicos to visit your table.

As far as cost goes, plan on spending around $15 per person, plus drinks and dessert. Our bill was $40. This included 2 dinners, 2 coffees, 1 rice pudding for dessert, and tip.

When you go, say "hi" to Erica for us. She is such a sweetie.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kirtland AFB Launches Tons of Crap...Seeks New Permit from City

NOB HILL--Buried in the back of the Food section, on page C-10 , in the (small print) legal notices is the following list of pollutants Kirtland AFB estimates they will be releasing this year.
  • Carbon Monoxide: 124 TONS
  • Nitrous Oxides: 215 TONS
  • Particulate Matter: 44 TONS
  • Sulfur Oxides: 21 TONS
  • Volatile Organic Compounds: 186 TONS
  • Hazardous Air Pollutants: 13 TONS
That comes out to 603 tons of airborne pollutants. And it all works out to 3304 pounds of crap per day. This is just to say that nothing is without cost in this world. For all the benefits of Kirtland, there are a few concerns which should be addressed.

20,000 people work on Kirtland AFB. Taking that into consideration it come to only 2.64 ounces of air pollution per worker per day...about the same weight as two and a half slices of Milton's Multi-grain Bread. On the other hand SO2 with a topping of NOx and CO is not just 20,000 servings of French toast.

This is a serious amount of pollution. It deserves a little more attention than being buried in the legal notices.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dennis Dwyer: The Bard of Tingley Beach

I published a story on the Duke City Fix about this fascinating man...a truck-driver who ended up going to college after falling off his truck twenty years ago. Here are a couple more poems. For more of his work be sure to see the DCF post.

Tired brakes groan hot
taming Pennsylvania's hills.

The ripley tollbooth comes up fast.
Roll in, grab a ticket,
roll out.
The trailer belly sags
under twenty-two ton
of rumbling freight.

Led by a milkwhite October moon
I-90 lays out pale-blue with white trim
like Christmas ribbon.

I'm rollin' easy--into Buffalo.
Couple of quickbeers, then home.
She'll still be up
we'll eat, talk, fight,
make love, maybe.

Then Pow! A steering tire dies!
The drowsy wheel comes alive!
With 230 lbs. of trembling strain
I hold on,
we waken in the slumbering ditch,
blunt and floundering
like a dying whale.

My life rolls back behind my eyes
where we are,
out of control,
plunging into the grey blur of separation.

Then everything stops.
Wrapped in a bone-shaking chill
alone with the smells of hot fuel,
mauled rubber, and the life-saving mud,
I hear the angry crush
of tethereed freight set free,
settle to low muted groans.

I yearn to lie in the hollow of her bosom
speak of my fear
and helpless sorrow for us,
like I used to-----
years ago.


Lying in a field of clover
a boy pilots Starship Enterprise
beyond the sky.
A grasshopper lands on his nose,
he holds his breath.

A man, sixty-five today,
lies in the clover.
This time around, his passions
are letters to be mailed.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Last Brandywine Tomatoes of the Season

NOB HILL--Last week we took in the last of the tomatoes...brandywines. These are an heirloom variety that we grew from small plants. We had excellent luck with them late in the season. They are not early maturing, but they are BIG, juicy, delicious, and completely red inside.

The outside color of the tomato has a somewhat grayish hue, even when ripe. But boy do they produce! Btw, the knife in the picture is 8 inches long. An average size brandwine tomato is 4 inches across.My tomato-planting advice for the Albuquerque area is as follows:
  • Cherry tomatoes: Sweet 100's
  • Early tomatoes: Early Girl
  • Big, late tomatoes: Brandywine
  • Cooking tomatoes: Roma
Our plants are in beds that are raised almost two feet. This kept them from freezing for a few weeks after the plants on the ground had died.

The Sunday Poem(s): Tania Rochelle...Wow!!!

Follow the link below for three stunning examples of why you should read women poets. These are much more interesting (imho) than the published poem about the old couple, but Kooser's choice is dictated by brevity and life experiences common to many Americans. These poems which simultaneously deal with lesbianism, parenting, divorce, and self-awareness are a little too long and detailed to be selected. Read them...please.

American Life in Poetry: Column 087

The first poem we ran in this column was by David Allan Evans of South Dakota, about a couple washing windows together. You can find that poem and all the others on our website, Here Tania Rochelle of Georgia presents us with another couple, this time raking leaves. I especially like the image of the pair "bent like parentheses/ around their brittle little lawn."


Anna Bell and Lane, eighty,
make small leaf piles in the heat,
each pile a great joint effort,
like fifty years of marriage,
sharing chores a rusty dance.
In my own yard, the stacks
are big as children, who scatter them,
dodge and limbo the poke
of my rake. We're lucky,
young and straight-boned.
And I feel sorry for the couple,
bent like parentheses
around their brittle little lawn.
I like feeling sorry for them,
the tenderness of it, but only
for a moment: John glides in
like a paper airplane, takes
the children for the weekend,
and I remember,
they're the lucky ones—
shriveled Anna Bell, loving
her crooked Lane.

Reprinted from "Karaoke Funeral," Snake Nation Press, 2003, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2003 by Tania Rochelle. 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.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Cranes in a Chile Patch

SOUTH VALLEY--We spotted these sandhill cranes in the chile fields just east of the south bosque bike trail. What a day! In addition to the cranes and geese, Bob Evans and I saw a bald eagle. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a decent picture of him.

The Sunday Poem: Illinois Poet Lisel Mueller..."In November"

American Life in Poetry: Column 085


The Illinois poet, Lisel Mueller, is one of our country's finest writers, and the following lines, with their grace and humility, are representative of her poems of quiet celebration.

In November

Outside the house the wind is howling
and the trees are creaking horribly.
This is an old story
with its old beginning,
as I lay me down to sleep.
But when I wake up, sunlight
has taken over the room.
You have already made the coffee
and the radio brings us music
from a confident age. In the paper
bad news is set in distant places.
Whatever was bound to happen
in my story did not happen.
But I know there are rules that cannot be broken.
Perhaps a name was changed.
A small mistake. Perhaps
a woman I do not know
is facing the day with the heavy heart
that, by all rights, should have been mine.

Reprinted from "Alive Together: New and Selected Poems," Louisiana State University Press, 1996, by permission of the author. Poem copyright © 1996 by Lisel Mueller. 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.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bobbi Baca Writes About her Husband Jim

I think Jim Baca is as good as it gets when it comes to a public servant. Oh I know he has made some enemies...and the Lyons' campaign tries to make the most of it. But in terms of honesty, vision, and accountability there is no better candidate in the state of New Mexico. Yet negative ads have trashed him repeatedly. Baca has refused to follow suit. He has not gone negative himself. Don't reward Republican bullshit. Think for yourself.

If you need more info about Jim, just read this email I got from Jim's wife Bobbi. ...and pass it on.

Jim’s Campaign Needs a boost, the negative ads against them are turning the tide, the facts need to get out, and WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW to win!

  • Jim Kept Albuquerque spending below the rate of inflation during difficult economic times. It is much harder to lead in hard economic times then prosperous times. His opponent would have you believe he left the City with a deficit; the reality is it was covered with reserves he built up during hard times to preserve and improve the City’s bond rating. And why did it go over budget, well who could have anticipated 9/11 yes, that occurred during Jim’s last two months in office and the police and fire overtime were significant. How quickly everyone forgets, especially the Journal.
  • Jim is one of the few individuals to have undergone an FBI check and faced the US Senate for confirmation to a post appointed by President Clinton, Director of the Bureau of Land Management.
  • Jim initiated the Mesa del Sol project 20 years ago, he is a man of vision
  • Jim’s family has been in New Mexico for over 400 years, his father was Fermin Baca and Grandfather was Delfin Baca, both from Pena Blanca.
  • Jim still has the family farm in Pena Blanca, New Mexico
  • Jim is a graduate of St. Pius and the University of New Mexico
  • Jim was the first Hispanic Anchorman in New Mexico
  • Jim is an Air Force Veteran
  • Jim Reformed Liquor Laws
  • Jim created a Albuquerque Downtown Renaissance
  • Jim Restructured grazing Leases to take into account economic factors
  • Jim has assured no net loss of hunting habitat, Patrick Lyons still has White’s Peak inaccessible
  • Jim returned baseball to New Mexico
  • Jim brought Eclipse Aviation to New Mexico
  • Jim audited big oil and gas companies to make sure they paid for your oil and gas and the fruits of that effort have brought in millions for education
  • Jim hasn’t been “bought” by those who might be doing business with the Land Office
  • Jim is an individual who did not compromise his ethics to run negative ads
  • Jim is someone who is honest and will tell you what he thinks, not just what you want to hear, isn’t that what we want from our elected officials?
  • Jim is a visionary and leaves legacies and he is a prudent business man who understands sustainability of revenues and the environment are crucial to our children’s and grandchildren’s future

How do I know? I’m Bobbi Baca, Jim’s wife of 29 years. We have two great kids, Justin and Noelle Baca. Both graduated from Valley High School in Albuquerque, both speak fluent Spanish.

Jim needs your help now to help Save the Enchantment.

We have a choice - to let oil and gas interests dominant the land office, or to make one last effort that, if effective, will elect Jim.

Those who know Jim know of his integrity and of his commitment to save the enchantment of our state. We support his commitment to establish a full-time renewable energy division in the Land Office to take advantage of our solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy resources on state land and reduce our dependence on oil and gas. We know he is the right choice.

We can endorse Jim to our friends via e-mail or telephone call. We can, through a "telephone or e-mail tree" make a difference. Please won't you help us enroll your friends, their friends and their friends? Forward this message.

Finally, on Election Day, if you would, take your Jim Baca yard sign, choose a street corner, and sometime between 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM, wave your sign thus letting people know that indeed we care

We can make this happen with your help ---

Thank you,

Bobbi Baca

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Ken Saville's "Angels"

NOB HILL--Friday night was the opening for Ken Saville's show at the Mariposa Gallery. This colored pencil drawing is a sample of the wonderful work he does in this medium. This piece draws from the postcard art of the '40's to highlight another feature of the local landscape...a few angels.

The Sunday Poem: Connie Wanek, Amaryllis

American Life in Poetry: Column 084

Many of this column's readers have watched an amaryllis emerge from its hard bulb to flower. To me they seem unworldly, perhaps a little dangerous, like a wild bird you don't want to get too close to. Here Connie Wanek of Duluth, Minnesota, takes a close and playful look at an amaryllis that looks right back at her.


A flower needs to be this size
to conceal the winter window,
and this color, the red
of a Fiat with the top down,
to impress us, dull as we've grown.

Months ago the gigantic onion of a bulb
half above the soil
stuck out its green tongue
and slowly, day by day,
the flower itself entered our world,

closed, like hands that captured a moth,
then open, as eyes open,
and the amaryllis, seeing us,
was somehow undiscouraged.
It stands before us now

as we eat our soup;
you pour a little of your drinking water
into its saucer, and a few crumbs
of fragrant earth fall
onto the tabletop.

Reprinted from "Bonfire," New Rivers Press, 1997, by permission of the author. Copyright © 1997 by Connie Wanek. Her most recent book is "Hartley Field," from Holy Cow! Press, 2002. 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.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Looming Presence of Valerie Kast

THE PIT--Even before the game started, one had to ask, "Is that blonde pony-tailed girl whose head is sticking up out of the pre-game huddle Valerie Kast? She looked to be a few inches taller than coach Don Flanagan and absolutely towered over everybody else. As good as the rest of the team looked in their 82-43 victory over Vanguard University last night, Valerie Kast got everybody's attention.

I'm putting up all the pictures I have of her from the game. Notice she is not a skinny 6' 6." Players' weights are not listed like they do for the men's team, but she has to weigh twice as much as some of the other players.

I was impressed by how light on her feet she was...sort of quick-footed given her size. And she has an amazingly soft and deft touch around the basket. She went 2 for 2 from the field, including a nice little left-handed shot.

She can jump. She did come down with one rebound and one blocked shot. And she isn't afraid to mix it up. See that pile of girls on the floor? That's her foot sticking up. She's on the bottom with the ball.

Here are her stats from last night:
  • 4 minutes played
  • 4 points (2 -2)
  • 1 rebound (D)
  • 1 blocked shot
  • 0 fouls
  • 0 turn overs
Not bad...not bad at all. After the game Flanagan said he was just working on the basics with her and sincerely hoped that she might be able to contribute at some point this year. He doesn't want to push her too hard or too fast. And she does need to work some on her conditioning.

That is sort of like saying, "Yes that is a battle tank back there, but we're still working on the paint job." Valerie Kast. Oh yeah...Valerie Kast.

To quote from the GoLobos website:

HIGH SCHOOL: A 2006 graduate of Gallup High School...letterwinner in basketball and track and field...member of 2006 New Mexico Class 5A state championship team led by John Lomasney...named first team all-state in 2006 and second team in 2005...selected district 1-5A player of the year in 2006 and first team all-district in 2005 and 2006...McDonald's All-American nominee in 2005...named Estonia U18 team MVP in 2003...averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks a game her senior year.

PERSONAL: Born Valerie Kast in Tallinn, Estonia, on January 12, 1987...daughter of Larissa Tsigrinskaja...has one sister, Maria...hobbies include music, movies, art and dancing...favorite athletes are Larry Bird and Michael Jordan...plans on majoring in International Business Management.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New Poll Numbers in the Madrid-Wilson Race

RealClearPolitics is showing new poll numbers in the Madrid-Wilson race for Congress. The newest poll is from Reuters/Zogby which shows Madrid at +9%. The survey was conducted Oct. 24th-29th using 500 likely voters. The latest results:
Wilson 44%
Madrid 53%
Undecided 2%
Because the Zogby poll differs so much from the ABQ Journal poll let's compare it only to the last Zogby which was taken one month ago.
  1. 9/25-10/2---- Wilson 40% Madrid 50% Undecided 6%
  2. 10/24-10/29-- Wilson 44% Madrid 53% Undecided 2%
It looks like the undecideds and neithers have pretty much sorted themselves out. Wilson is still below 50%. Hell, she's still below 45%. It's hard to win elections down there.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Blue Dragon Coffee House Hosts Motorcycle Rally

The "Slow Ride" is just that. Here Doug Shaw, the eventual winner, on his Honda CRF 100F and Mario Sedillo on his orange Harley 1200 try to go as slow as they can. Eventually Mario puts his foot down and Doug does a celebratory wheelie.

The motorcycle rally benefitted the UNM Children's Hospital and the New Day Adolescent Shelter.

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Yellow Ash

NOB HILL--Our tree in the front yard is such a source of pleasure...from the shade in the summer to the gorgeous leaves in the fall. It makes the rest of the world tasty as candy.

The Sunday Poem: Vietnam Vet Dale Ritterbusch Drinks a Cup of Green Tea

American Life in Poetry: Column 083


Poems of simple pleasure, poems of quiet celebration, well, they aren't anything like those poems we were asked to wrestle with in high school, our teachers insisting that we get a headlock on THE MEANING. This one by Dale Ritterbusch of Wisconsin is more my cup of tea.

Green Tea

There is this tea
I have sometimes,
Pan Long Ying Hao,
so tightly curled
it looks like tiny roots
gnarled, a greenish-gray.
When it steeps, it opens
the way you woke this morning,
stretching, your hands behind
your head, back arched,
toes pointing, a smile steeped
in ceremony, a celebration,
the reaching of your arms.

Reprinted from "Far From the Temple of Heaven," Black Moss Press, April 2006, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2005 by Dale Ritterbusch. 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, October 28, 2006

"Blood and Thunder" by Hampton Sides...Don't Buy This Book Until Ken Gets His Copy

EUBANK & SOUTHERN SE--The Artist Ken Saville and I were out buying socks and hamburger at the Costco when Ken ran across the book "Blood and Thunder" by Hampton Sides. Ken had already read Sides' "Ghost Soldiers" and was eager to buy it. He should have. Nothing lasts in those stores forever.

Now I see that N. Scott Momaday has reviewed it in today's New York Times. Not only that, today's NewMexiKen quotes Momaday and adds a few comments of his own. Believe me, this will be considered a "must have" book for anybody interested in the history of New Mexico...especially the Long Walk and the role of Kit Carson.

Kit Carson was not a simple character. Yet he is listed in the cutline below his picture in the NYT simply as "Kit Carson, Indian Killer." Yes. The Navajos called him Red Sleeves. And an Arapaho woman called him Husband. It was his first marriage. He was at least tri-lingual and as authentic a frontiersman as the west has to offer. His home in Taos still stands.

But for some reason that I cannot begin to understand, he commenced rounding up the Navajos and marching them clear across New Mexico to Bosque Redondo near present-day Fort Sumner. The result was 4 years of starvation and disease. During the Long Walk itself many Navajo were shot where they fell from exhaustion or left to die. 2000 were dead before the end of the 450 mile mid-winter journey. In addition, at the camp at Bosque Redondo 3000 more died before they were allowed to walk home again.

Maybe the book would help me understand that nightmare.