Thursday, August 31, 2006

Navajo Artist Robert Goodluck Homeless One More Time

NOB HILL--This is not a tough luck story. This is a report on the state of Love in our streets.

I have known Robert Goodluck for maybe 8 years, not intimately, but well enough that whenever I bought a smudge stick from him I asked for a blessing with it. He always obliged. He always brought me luck--not 'casino' luck, but a sort of spiritual luck that lets my soul drift into better places and calmer waters.

Robert hasn't been around for a while. He and his parner Johanna have been staying with family over near Gibson Blvd., but something happened and now the two of them are on the street again. They were selling sage sticks on Central Ave. trying to get enough for a room. I bought one...well actually I just gave them a couple bucks and didn't take a sage stick. After all, what I really needed was the blessing.

They told me of being at the Indian Market in Santa Fe, and their camp near the Villa Linda Mall. One night the police came and held them at gunpoint while they knelt in the darkness. The police, it seems, had a report of shots being fired and were looking for the shooters. Eventually the police went away.

But, all in all, this is the best Robert has looked since I have known him. Johanna too. They talked about how good people have been to them and their recent blessing by a Pipe Carrier. Johanna keeps them doing the little things that make life better--like replacing lost documents. Robert has that kind of dangerous sensitivity that many artists share...that ability to reach into his own soul for images. But this gift is not totally positive. This opening up of one's insides makes him vulnerable to bouts of sadness and self-medication. But not this time. I think Johanna keeps him focused on the better life.

I have been told that Robert has work in the Heard Museum. He is listed on AskArt. I do know that he in an Icon here in Nob Hill. Wouldn't it be great if a little of that "One Percent for the Arts" money found its way into his hands? Wouldn't it be great if something of his were displayed right here in Nob Hill?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: A Postcard of Route 66 in Downtown Albuquerque

DOWNTOWN--In the postcard history of Route 66, downtown Albuquerque is by far the most popular scene in New Mexico. Here is my stab at creating wallpaper with the feel of the old color-saturated postcards. Remember to enlarge before setting as a desk background.

Hurt Inside? The Sunday Poem: David Mason

American Life in Poetry: Column 074
Of taking long walks it has been said that a person can walk off anything. Here David Mason hikes a mountain in his home state, Colorado, and steps away from an undisclosed personal loss into another state, one of healing.

In the Mushroom Summer

Colorado turns Kyoto in a shower,
mist in the pines so thick the crows delight
(or seem to), winging in obscurity.
The ineffectual panic of a squirrel
who chattered at my passing gave me pause
to watch his Ponderosa come and go—
long needles scratching cloud. I'd summited
but knew it only by the wildflower meadow,
the muted harebells, paintbrush, gentian,
scattered among the locoweed and sage.
Today my grief abated like water soaking
underground, its scar a little path
of twigs and needles winding ahead of me
downhill to the next bend. Today I let
the rain soak through my shirt and was unharmed.

Reprinted by permission from "The Hudson Review," Vol. LIX, No. 2 (Summer 2006). Copyright © 2006 by David Mason. 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.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Construction Begins on Tulane and Central

The dirt men are hard at work and the hole is getting deeper. The tuxedo store which served as Martin Chavez's campaign headquarters is nothing but a pile of rubble waiting to be carted off.

According to the foreman, the excavation will go down 15 feet and will be an underground parking garage for the lofts upstairs. Access will be in the rear through the alley. He estimated this phase of the project should take about 2 weeks.

These lofts, located as they are in the very heart of Nob Hill, are destined to become the benchmark to which other lofts in the area are compared. These units will set the standard and everyone else will follow.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cold Case File: The Refrigerated Johnny_Mango

NOB HILL--From NewMexiKen comes the question:
Why is the photo of you in the sidebar one taken in front of an open refrigerator?
Usually when interviewing a Mango, "Why?" is never a good question. However, we might as well examine the picture for clues.

  1. Ceramic least 50 years old. Must have been his folks.
  2. Fiestaware pitchers...probably his own...a man of manly taste.
  3. 1/2 gallon organic light of #5 (Kraft sprinkle parmesan) this has to be an accident of circumstance. He must have bought it at La Montanita Co-op down the street.
  4. This must be an Amana with the freezer at the bottom. Few men would buy one of those on their own at that kind of money. He had a girl friend.
  5. Parmesan cheese sprinkles...certainly not an Italian.
  6. Tamari Soy Sauce...must be another Co-op purchase.
  7. A-1 Steak Sauce...a man of suspect good taste...or has children.
  8. Arm extended out of camera range...probably lives alone and took the picture himself. From the looks of it, the picture was taken with a cell phone.
  9. Hair not long enough to be stylish...and too long to be well-groomed. Definitely not married...and if he has a girlfriend she doesn't bug him about that shit.
  10. A's forced...he's posing.
  11. He looks away in feigned activity...the fraud!
  12. The bright light of the Amana! That's why he's in front of the refrigerator...his cell phone camera doesn't have a flash!

Sniffing Around the Horn Motor Lodge

WEST CENTRAL--The history of Route 66 is told best in the linen postcards of that era. And at the rate we are tearing down some of these artifacts of The Road, one could knit them together into a veritable "Shroud of Tourin'." But before the rented chain-link fence keeps us all away from this part of 20th century romanticism, I thought I'd go down to the Horn Motor Lodge complex and take a peek around.As has already been described, the former gas station and restaurant are in front of the motor lodge...a moderne front to a pueblo-style motel. The Route 66 Malt Shop, subject of a post about a year ago, occupied the gas station half of the front structures. It is closed now, but was famous for its home-made root beer (recently rated #5 in the U.S.). You could also get a vanilla or chocolate "phos" at the place. A "phosphate" is a hand mixed combination of flavoring and soda water.

The original restaurant was across from the gas station. It was a station for a Mexican bus line
for several years. Both are empty and show the disregard the wet summer has had for unused buildings but seem in fine shape otherwise.

The motor lodge itself looks to be in excellent condition, if the outside is any indication. The buildings have been restuccoed in a brown color, the neatly trimmed shrubs are bigger, and small tile-covered porches have been added to shelter the doors to the rooms. Otherwise, it looks remarkably the same as the 1947 postcard.

Except for the sign, that is. The motor lodge has been used as an "apartment" building and has a fading sign announcing "Plaza Lindo Mexico Apartments Weekly and Montly Rates." A closer look at the sign, however, reveals that the can for the original motor lodge sign is still there...merely covered by the plywood...and is perfectly restorable. We need to take note of these ghosts because they are so easily discarded or destroyed by contractors working on the property.

The Horns

Oilman H.B. Horn lived in the Ridgecrest area. He had several stations and when
I moved to ABQ in 1971 I frequently used the Horn Oil station on Coal Ave. just west of I-25. His brother, Calvin Horn, was a politician and amateur historian. I say "amateur" but he wrote several books and published several more.

H.B. Horn's house is still an icon of the Ridgecrest area. It is the big white one south of that park on Ridgecrest...the one with the big wrought-iron "H" on the chimney.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Rain on Central in the Setting Sun

NOB HILL--These days and nights when the rains come at dusk are new to us here. Our world has to expand a little just to make room for all this extra beauty.

The Sunday Poem: Roy Scheele Wishes a Dogwood Well

American Life in Poetry: Column 073

Those of us who have planted trees and shrubs know well that moment when the last spade full of earth is packed around the root ball and patted or stamped into place and we stand back and wish the young plant good fortune. Here the poet Roy Scheele offers us a few well-chosen words we can use the next time.

Planting a Dogwood

Tree, we take leave of you; you're on your own.
Put down your taproot with its probing hairs
that sluice the darkness and create unseen
the tree that mirrors you below the ground.
For when we plant a tree, two trees take root:
the one that lifts its leaves into the air,
and the inverted one that cleaves the soil
to find the runnel's sweet, dull silver trace
and spreads not up but down, each drop a leaf
in the eternal blackness of that sky.
The leaves you show uncurl like tiny fists
and bear small button blossoms, greenish white,
that quicken you. Now put your roots down deep;
draw light from shadow, break in on earth's sleep.

Reprinted from "From the Ground Up," Lone Willow Press, Omaha, NE, 2000, by permission of the author, whose most recent book is "A Far Allegiance," forthcoming from The Backwaters Press. Poem copyright © 2000 by Roy Scheele. 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, August 19, 2006

Steve White Starts Pez Show in the Rain...ABQ, NM

Folk artist Steve White starts his Pez Theater show on a rainy night in Albuquerque while the wet audience watches from the sidewalk. This happened last night on Central Ave. (Route 66) in ABQ's Nob Hill.

Three of Steve's shows are on short video clips right here. I think they represent the very best of the folk tradition: easy to understand, made of handy materials, and aimed at everyone from church ladies to smart-ass kids.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Django Reinhardt and Stefan Grappelli Play in Paris circa 1935...record this clip in England in 1938

The first time I ever heard Stefan Grappelli and Django Reinhardt I stopped what I was doing and listened. How I would have loved to be in the Hot Club of Paris in the thirties!

This is an experiment using Google Video. Let's see if it works.


NOB HILL--Costco sells dreams packaged as bargains. So it was when MaryAnn and I bought a two-pack of pork roasts. They looked so good. They were such a bargain. Later, well out of the parking lot, we had to figure out what to actually do with 10 pounds of pork.

We invited family and friends over for supper last night. I had put one roast in the oven at a low 325 degrees and started up the smoker outside for the other one. The day before we had made a sort of rub which we applied to both roasts after scoring them.

The pork roast in the oven turned out terrific! The pork roast in the smoker turned out to be the best pork roast I have ever tasted!

I have an old Brinkmann Smoke 'N Grill that uses charcoal briquets in the bottom with just a chunk or two of hardwood. Above the charcoal pan is a pan of water that reduces the temperature of the smoker and adds moisture to the process. There are two racks above the water for plenty of meat.

After getting everything lit and heated up, I put that roast on the top rack. Three hours later I came back and opened up the little door in the side of the smoker and slid in 6 Johnsonville Brats on the bottom rack. Two hours later I took everything out.

Perfection. The roast was dark brown on the outside and had that pink "smoked" color penetrating about half an inch into the meat. It was so moist. And it was so tender. That smoker made me look like a genius! I am not that smart a guy, but I do know how to light a match and stay out of the way for a few hours.

And the brats? They got the most compliments of all! In fact, they disappeared so fast I didn't even get a picture of them.

Here is the recipe we used for the rub:
3 T olive oil
3/8 t cayenne
3/4 t cumin
3/4 t cinnamon
3/4 t salt
2 cloves garlic

Try it. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Nob Hill/Highland Development Plan: Workin' That Mojo (Posted on the DCF)

NOB HILL--Trying to keep the watch here in Nob Hill, I go to a Sector Development Plan meeting. On Route 66 from Girard to San Mateo, planners get ready for pedestrians, streetcars, money, and the future (posted on the Duke City Fix this morning).

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Camping Along the Icefields Parkway

Mike and I found ourselves between Bow Pass and Sumwapta Pass in an overflow campground. It was a civic holiday in Alberta...known just as Long Weekend. All the regular campgrounds were full. We had to "settle" for this. The flags fly from masts on our trailers.

The Sunday Poem: Jan Beatty (and follow the link to "Going Deep for Jesus")

American Life in Poetry: Column 072

Those who survived the Great Depression of the 1930s have a tough, no-nonsense take on what work is. If when I was young I'd told my father I was looking for fulfilling work, he would have looked at me as if I'd just arrived from Mars. Here the Pennsylvania poet, Jan Beatty, takes on the voice of her father to illustrate the thinking of a generation of Americans.

My Father Teaches Me to Dream

You want to know what work is?
I'll tell you what work is:
Work is work.
You get up. You get on the bus.
You don't look from side to side.
You keep your eyes straight ahead.
That way nobody bothers you—see?
You get off the bus. You work all day.
You get back on the bus at night. Same thing.
You go to sleep. You get up.
You do the same thing again.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
There's no handouts in this life.
All this other stuff you're looking for—
it ain't there.
Work is work.

First printed in "Witness," Volume 10, Number 2, and reprinted by permission of the author. Copyright © 1996 by Jan Beatty, whose latest book, "Boneshaker," was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 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.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Back...And Warned

NOB HILL--Ken Saville picked me up at the airport in his truck. "You're gonna be depressed!" he said. "I always was," he continued. Ken has trekked around a lot. In fact, he once went out for a walk and returned two years later. I don't know if depression will hit far only numbness has set in.

Oh MaryAnn is wonderful! I am the luckiest guy in the world! She will help me back into the real world.

I'm back from Canada. Mike and I made it all the way to the end: Jasper, Alberta...almost 1100 miles on bicycles in the last 3 1/2 weeks. After Missoula we camped out every night, which explains the lack of posts. Most internet access is available in motels.

The trip back was nothing but good news. We had boxed up our bikes ourselves from boxes thrown out by a local bike shop in Jasper and Frontier Airlines only charged us $59 for each. They accepted the trailers as you see them.

Mike has almost all the pictures on his laptop, so I can't show much at this point. But I do have a "postcard" for you of the Banff Springs Hotel. This was taken from the bus as we made our way back to Calgary for the flight home. This was basically the only day with a lot of rain.
The hotel was built in 1886 for $3,000,000. The room rates run from about $500 to $5000 per night. There is, of course, an off-season discount. Believe it or not, this is only about double the rates for a "regular" motel. As I said, we camped out.