Friday, September 29, 2006

A Richardson - Dendahl Debate...Just More Trash TV

NOB HILL--A debate between Gov. Bill Richardson and Republican John Dendahl might be good television, but not good for much else...except to distract us from our real problems. The war in Iraq, problem #1, is a hard enough issue to face. Many people just hope it somehow solves itself...thinking about possible solutions is just too difficult. In fact, thinking about Iraq is painful.

So along comes the Jerry Springer Show right here in New Mexico...featuring Bill "Too Big for his Britches" Richardson and John "The Hate Meister" Dendahl. It may be dressed up as a political debate, but it is just trash TV! There is no real contest here. The governor's race is OVER.

This show is really about kicking the Madrid/Wilson race off the front page. There are only 5 weeks left in the contest and if there is one thing that the ABQ Journal and Tribune DON'T want to talk about, it is anything to do with the real problems in America and how Madrid's election might actually change the course of the U.S. Congress.

I am sick of non-issues sucking up the oxygen in this election. Here are my top 5 distractions on the way to thinking about the real world:

  1. "Coincidence or corruption." If the Wilson camp has evidence of corruption bring it out. Otherwise, shut the heck up.
  2. Candidate placement in the State Fair Parade
  3. Firemen cheaters
  4. "The BLM won't work with Jim Baca." Like hell they won't. ...And lastly,
  5. Richardson needs to debate Dendahl. Hey...this contest is over...but the MSM still wants to see if they can make somebody bleed on television.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tiny NM Rail Runner Speeds Through Tiny Belen

BELEN RAILYARD--The Belen Model Railroad Club gave us all a preview of the Rail Runner in Belen last weekend. They are set up in the big room of the Harvey House Museum through October 1st. The Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12:30 to 3:30.

What that means is that you will either have to go on Saturday or skip work for an afternoon. Take your GF! Take your kids! Hell...take your wife!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Train Cars for Sale

BELEN--This tray of cars was at the Belen Railroad Club get-together this last weekend at the Harvey House.

The Sunday Poem: Illinois Poet Bruce Guernsey on Moss (Common in other parts of the country)

American Life in Poetry: Column 078


Mothers and fathers grow accustomed to being asked by young children, "What's that?" Thus parents relearn the world by having to explain things they haven't thought about in years. In this poem the Illinois poet Bruce Guernsey looks closely at common, everyday moss and tries to explain its nature for us. I admire the way the poem deepens as the moss moves from being a slipcover to wet dust on a gravestone.


How must it be
to be moss,
that slipcover of rocks?—

greening in the dark,
longing for north,
the silence
of birds gone south.

How does moss do it,
all day
in a dank place
and never a cough?—

a wet dust
where light fails,
where the chisel
cut the name.

Reprinted from "Peripheral Vision," published by Small Poetry Press, Pleasant Hill, CA. Copyright © 1997 by Bruce Guernsey and reprinted by permission of the author, whose latest book is "The Lost Brigade," Water Press and Media, 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, September 23, 2006

BLM Obliged to Pen Letter to The Santa Fe New Mexican About Lyons' Remarks

NOB HILL--I wasn't the only one writing about Patrick Lyons' statement that the BLM wasn't going to work with Democrat Jim Baca if he got elected. Steve Terrell, writing for the Santa Fe New Mexican on Thursday, quoted Lyons saying the same thing.

This morning's edition of The New Mexican contained a letter from the BLM disputing Lyons' remarks. I had called the BLM office myself Thursday morning with questions about Lyons' comment and talked to the Acting Director Dave Sinclair (Director Linda Rundell was out of town). His remarks to me are very, very similar to those published by The New Mexican in today's Letters-to-the-Editor column.

Either the BLM chiefs had already discussed the issue and readied a carefully worded response before I called, or they did it shortly thereafter. In any case, they felt obligated to set the story straight: the BLM will work with whomever is elected.

Friday, September 22, 2006

We Tape "Bloggers and the Election" at Channel 4

NOB HILL--Wednesday afternoon I got an email from Channel 4's Nicole Brady asking me if I wanted to be on "Eye on New Mexico" Sunday morning. Besides Ms. Brady and me, Mario Burgos and Dennis Domrzalski will be there. It airs at 10:30, right before Meet the Press.

The show is on blogging and how it is changing the dynamics of the election. It concentrates on the Madrid-Wilson race because of Mario Burgo's uploaded video of the entire Congregation Albert debate. Domrzlski's premise is that Madrid didn't want the entire video to be shown.

Of course I said, "Yes! I'd love to be on the program." But I wasn't easy. I had conditions.
  1. No on-camera lip-locks with other male panel members.
  2. Burgos was not allowed to chew on those damn red Twizzlers everytime I was speaking.
  3. Everyone had to wear subdued colors except me...I got to wear my Mango polo shirt.
It was pretty chilly in there. The boiler was out. Boiler? Kind of old-fashioned...but then this TV station has been around long enough to be called a local treasure. The receptionist's desk still has that colored peacock on it. And the Spanish style furniture harkens back to an era when we were proud to say "New Mexico" in everything we did.

I cannot imagine a more unlikely couple to host a show than Dennis Domrzalski and Nicole Brady. He looks like he got dressed in a camper out in the parking lot, while she...well, let's just say there must be a full-length mirror somewhere in her house.

When The Artist Ken Saville heard that I was going to be on a show with Nicole Brady, he sat straight up and said softly, "You know, she does that thing with her lips..." And I didn't think he even watched TV.

Mario Burgos, meanwhile, noted that he and I looked our parts. He did look very Republican: power suit, white shirt, gold tie. I should have asked if that tie was real gold.

And poor Johnny_Mango. Just a polo shirt. Sandals.

And it's orange, the shirt, bright orange.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

"The BLM won't work with Jim Baca," he said. So I Called Them Up.

NOB HILL--Last night's forum with the candidates for Land Commissioner had more than a few interesting moments. But when Patrick Lyons (pictured at left) said in a louder than usual voice, "The BLM won't work with Jim Baca!" it certainly got my attention. That is quite a charge. He repeated it later in the forum: "The BLM is not going to work with Jim; they'll work with me."

So I called up the BLM's Santa Fe office and talked to Acting State Director Dave Sinclair. He said, "Over many years we have had a positive relationship with the State Land Office. We have similar responsibilities. And I mean over many, many years."

I asked if he would work with Jim Baca. "We would work with the Land Commissioner no matter who wins." To do otherwise, he continued, would not only be "inappropriate. That would be illegal."

And here I thought that Patrick Lyons had some secret information. But no...the BLM will work with the winner...period.

By the way, see those Baca and Madrid logos on the righthand sidebar? I put them there to be open. You know whom I support. Furthermore it means I have to be honest, because anything even slightly suspect will be dismissed as prejudiced. But ALL history and its reporting is a Construct of someone's mind. Something to remember when reading "news" stories or headlines published without a by-line. With that out of the way...

Here's more from the forum:

"I have never once been accused of being unethical or dishonest." --Jim Baca

"I'm a rancher. I know how to take are of the land." --Patrick Lyons

Baca bemoaned that it took so long to begin development of Mesa del Sol which is only 4 1/2 miles from downtown instead of pushing westward to the Rio Puerco which is 17 miles away.

"Balance--that's what we've done better than any other Land Commissioner." --Lyons (Yet a reading of his list of contributors shows no balance at's all oil and gas money).

Baca talked about a current Land Office plan to "chain" down 100 square miles of Pinon and Juniper. The downed trees are to be fed into an incinerator (also called a bio-mass fuel plant). Lyons had no response to that item.

If you want to find out more about Jim Baca, I have written two different posts on him for the Duke City Fix. His blog and campaign site offer more info.

The forum is going to be broadcast on KANW (89.1) tonight at 6:00.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Downtown ABQ Friday Night on Route 66

A saxophone stirs the neon lights and traffic into a silky evening. We wait for the bus.
And from somewhere in this rhythmic playground comes the thought that we are just as beautiful as what we see...maybe even a necessary part of it.

Or maybe I should just relax a little, and leave the heavy lifting to the neo-Platonists.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jerry at the Bookstop Talks About Movie "Lost Room" Being Filmed in the Back Room

Jerry Lane describes the filming about to start in his shop today. The TV movie is "Lost Room" starring Julianna Margulies, and Peter Krause.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: The Open Road...Route 66 (pre-1937) near Sandia Pueblo

SANDIA PUEBLO--The call of the open road...can you feel it? I have felt it since boyhood. I always looked at maps and wondered if that Schwinn of mine could take me that far. Fifty years later, I know the answer.

In life, the journey is all there is. Enjoy it.

The Sunday Poem: Jeff Daniel Marion...Only 15 Lines, but Not for the Young

American Life in Poetry: Column 076


I'd guess we've all had dreams like the one portrayed in this wistful poem by Tennessee poet Jeff Daniel Marion. And I'd guess that like me, you too have tried to nod off again just to capture a few more moments from the past.


Last night in a dream
you came to me. We were young
again and you were smiling,
happy in the way a sparrow in spring
hops from branch to branch.
I took you in my arms
and swung you about, so carefree
was my youth.

What can I say?
That time wears away, draws its lines
on every feature? That we wake
to dark skies whose only answer
is rain, cold as the years
that stretch behind us, blurring
this window far from you.

Reprinted from "Lost & Found," The Sow's Ear Press, Abingdon, VA, 1994, by permission of the author. Poem copyright © 1994 by Jeff Daniel Marion, whose most recent book is "Ebbing & Flowing Springs: New and Selected Poems and Prose, 1976-2001," Celtic Cat Publishing, 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, September 07, 2006

Bike Ride North...Train Ride South

CENTRAL & THE RIVER--Everybody starts wondering about it: can't we work a bike trip and train ride into the same adventure?

Bob Evans and I decided to do it yesterday. We started from the aquarium at Central Ave. and rode north on the Bosque bike trail. At Alameda we headed east on a good bike lane all the way to 4th St. We turned north onto a 4-lane road with no shoulders. There was little traffic, however, and we soon turned onto the back road to Bernalillo.

This is the pre-1937 version of Route 66, when it had a big jog in it as it came south from Santa Fe before turning west again in Los Lunas. It is hard not to be reminded of the glory days of this road 70 years ago.

Little has changed. Sandia Pueblo is much the same, at least from a distance. The Hedges Oil station is still standing as a silent witness...much like a stagecoach stop in an earlier age. Of course El Camino Real pre-dates all of this by 400 years. And Sandia Pueblo was an important stop. After having been burned to a crisp during the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, the present site was resettled in 1748. All this history...and it's only a bikeride away.

We continued north. Almost all the traffic was heading south. Somehow the impossible had happened and we had picked up a nice tailwind. It is only 6 miles from Shady Lakes to Bernalillo and it went quickly. It was a lovely day and we felt like we were riding in a postcard universe.

If you recognize this VW bus stuck in a beam, you know where we ate. We had made the leisurely trip in 2 hours (don't forget the tailwind however) and had plenty of time after lunch to ride the mile or so over to the rail station at US 550 for the 12:05 RailRunner back to downtown Albuquerque. The sun was still shining and we were still living in our magical universe.

We secured the bikes in the provided straps and enjoyed the trip back into town. All in all, it was an excellent adventure. We had left the Aquarium about 9:15 and got back to town at around 12:30.

We rode west down Gold, Silver, and Lead eventually coming out at Tingley Beach. It was only another mile north to the car.

Bike Mileage: 23.5
Time (Including train): 4 hours
Difficulty (Including flat terrain and tailwind): pretty easy
Danger: minimal
Cost: 20 bucks for lunch

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Who Speaks for Nob Hill? (Posted on the DCF)

NOB HILL--God, I love Nob Hill. Really I do. So why wouldn't I be a big fan of the Nob Hill Neighborhood Association?

For better or worse, that is the question on my post today in the Duke City Fix.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Hilltop Ghost of Route 66

NOB HILL--Ghosts stand guard on the western fringes of Albuquerque. Here's one now.One of the more interesting features of this sign is the use of neon to illuminate the panel at the top. The reverse side still has glass on which was painted "Air Conditioned."

The Sunday Poem: Lita Hooper Hangs Out in a Chicago Bar

American Life in Poetry: Column 075


In many American poems, the poet makes a personal appearance and offers us a revealing monologue from center stage, but there are lots of fine poems in which the poet, a stranger in a strange place, observes the lives of others from a distance and imagines her way into them. This poem by Lita Hooper is a good example of this kind of writing.

Love Worn

In a tavern on the Southside of Chicago
a man sits with his wife. From their corner booth
each stares at strangers just beyond the other's shoulder,
nodding to the songs of their youth. Tonight they will not fight.

Thirty years of marriage sits between them
like a bomb. The woman shifts
then rubs her right wrist as the man recalls the day
when they sat on the porch of her parents' home.

Even then he could feel the absence of something
desired or planned. There was the smell
of a freshly tarred driveway, the slow heat,
him offering his future to folks he did not know.

And there was the blooming magnolia tree in the distance—
its oversized petals like those on the woman's dress,
making her belly even larger, her hands
disappearing into the folds.

When the last neighbor or friend leaves their booth
he stares at her hands, which are now closer to his,
remembers that there had always been some joy. Leaning
closer, he believes he can see their daughter in her eyes.

From "Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade," University of Michigan Press, 2006, by permission of the author. Poem copyright © 2006 by Lita Hooper, whose most recent book is "The Art of Work: The Art and Life of Haki Madhubuti," Third World 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.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


CENTRAL & YALE SE--"My God!" she screamed. "I thought they were bell peppers!" MaryAnn reached for her water. In most restaurants those green things in your fajitas ARE bell peppers. But Bandido's Hideout is a Mexican place and they use jalapenos instead.

She grabbed my tortilla and stuffed part of it into her mouth. When the food is really hot, water doesn't help. She later said, "I thought I was going to cry."

Bandido's is probably more famous for its advertising icon than for its food. You know, the guy in the median who drinks a large coke wearing a Mexican wrestling mask and a signboard. He never smiles; he never moves; he just points with one hand to the restaurant and holds his drink with the other.

At any rate, the meal was good except for the jalapenos which kept bursting into flames on the plate. I had actually hoped for something more relaxing and romantic...something that would prompt MaryAnn to say something other than "Call 9-1-1! My tongue just exploded!"

So I kept quiet...trying to wait out the pain which was still causing my Beautiful GF to suck ice and chew on beans and lettuce. No wonder so much Aztec art seems to center on a scowl on the face of the deity: indigestion. That fiery sun painted on his belly is there for a reason.

But wait...a musico started singing and playing. And his music transformed everything. We were somewhere else living in a romantic dream. It was peaceful and intense at the same time. The colorful decorations of Bandido's all made a kind of sense. And romance was in the air.

After a couple of canciones we got up to leave. That was when the trouble started. She had to use the restroom and left me standing there by myself. All of a sudden I heard the opening chords of that anthem of the border: Volver!

Now I don't know all the words. The only part I really know is "Volver...volver...volver." This I usually sing with all my heart and as loud as I can. And I could feel the song coming around to the chorus. MaryAnn came out of the restroom. She just stood there looking at me.

"VOLVER...VOLVER...VOOOOLVEEEERRRR!" I shouted at the top of my lungs with a good amount of ernest vibrato.

MaryAnn's mouth dropped open in total shock! But no one had heard me except her. There was a lady at a table who was singing even louder than I was! Her husband just nodded at me and smiled.

El musico went on with that sad song of love. MaryAnn and I left by the back door.