Thursday, March 31, 2005
NOB HILL--What luck! I had been trying to find more information about the "other" candidate for mayor and she shows up at the Flying Star this morning. Judith Espinosa has held the post of NM Secretary of the Departments of Transportation and Environment. She is currently Director of The Alliance for Transportation Research Institute. The work of the ATR Institute has a single goal: creating realistic, workable solutions in transportation that address current needs while anticipating future demand.
Readers of this blog know that transportation and the environment are two issues dear to my heart (and should be to all of us). They are changing the face of ABQ and indeed the entire Rio Grande valley. Judith has an immense amount of experience with both causes.
I asked her what the basic difference was between her and Eric Griego. She replied with a single word, "Experience." Well, she certainly has more administrative experience than Mr. Griego. Also, one would have a hard time challenging her credentials in everything from creating a sustainable environment to making a transportation system that works for us.
Electability might be the big issue for her in terms of garnering money and support. But I would say this: this election still has a few twists and turns to it...and don't count her out. Eric Griego has made a lot of enemies. Marty Chavez has not heard the last of the Evidence Room scandal. And I still suspect Hess Yntema may run despite his denials.
What may turn people on to support Judy Espinosa? For one thing her history may appeal to a lot of people. She started out getting a degree in Nursing from UNM. She went on to a Master's from UCLA, and finally a J.D. from UNM. That shows a breadth of experience and growth that is hard to beat. And for another thing when I talked to her she made a lot of sense.
One idea was that the impact fees that are drawing so much attention are just going into the general fund, rather than being set aside for the west side infrastucture. It would certainly seem to generate more trust from westsiders if that money were, in fact, earmarked for them.
So I guess what I am saying is that there may be more than one alternative to Martin Chavez to consider. Take your time. This could be interesting.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Wait, there's more. Want to roast your own coffee beans? The Coffee Bean Corral has instructions on how to roast coffee beans in your hot-air popcorn popper.
With the coffee diet, you will feel more alert. You will reclaim the hours you now waste sleeping, so you will burn more calories throughout the night.
And thanks to the caffeine's diuretic effects, you will never suffer from the discomfort and unsightly bloat of feminine water retention.
But wait, there's still more. The A.I.R. Coffee House in Silver City is for sale. The price is a steep $164,000. But it IS one heck of a place to drink coffee.
|A.I.R. COFFEE COMPANY is located on the corner of Yankie and Texas, the very heart of Silver City's art and gallery scene. |
A.I.R serves as Silver City's daytime nerve center. From a chair on the sidewalk you can keep an eye on the street's many happenings.
Silver City is one of our favorite towns. Visit for the mountains...stay for the coffee and bagels.
Monday, March 28, 2005
THE OUTPOST ICE RINK--The High Desert Invitational Ice Skating Championships were held here last Saturday. We were there. While none of the skaters were doing triple jumps, they put on a great show. They seemed to enjoy themselves so much and took it all so seriously that MaryAnn and I stayed on those freezing aluminum bleachers much longer than we should have.
This Texas cutie is skating to "Rubber Duckie." MaryAnn and I knew ALL the words.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
ROPER LAKE,AZ--David Star retired as a retail clerk and started riding. He left from southern California and was headed to Virginia. Not a lightweight, and almost 60, David proves you don't need to order that rocking chair too soon.
Bicycle touring is inexpensive compared to other forms of travel. Bike tourers who camp most of the time average about 50 miles and $35 per day. You don't go a far or fast as a plane or car, but you see more. Your days are full...no matter what the view.
Safford, a couple miles from Roper Lake, is on the Southern Tier Bicycle Route published by Adventure Cycling. It crosses into New Mexico near Mule Creek, then Silver City, over Emory Pass, then down to Las Cruces and El Paso.
David was the first of 7 bikers we saw that day: 4 heading east, 3 heading west. If you are interested in getting started with bike touring let me know. Maybe I can help.
Also, Albuquerque native Fred Pink just started a coast-to-coast and then some. His journal is here. He is using a trike and pulling a trailer. Browse through the site for a look at it.
KINGSTON, NM--We met this bicycling couple from Boston in the Kingston park and campground. They had left from Jacksonville, Florida and were on their way to San Diego. With about 8 miles left to go to the top of Emory Pass, they had decided to spend the night at the campground and tackle the pass with fresh legs in the morning. They were full-loaded, pulling B.O.B. one-wheel trailers.
Friday, March 25, 2005
SEDONA, AZ--From Flagstaff we drove down to Sedona on the old road. It was quite beautiful with lots of red rock. We were looking for a little warmth...as it snowed last night in Flagstaff. And it was warmer in Sedona, but still wet.
ROOSEVELT LAKE DAM--The dam was constructed in 1910, before Arizona was even a state. Teddy Roosevelt was trying to tame the Salt River and encourage agriculture. It was the largest MASONRY dam in the world. About 10 years ago 77 more feet were added to the height of the dam. The contractors were to be paid when the dam reached 82% of capacity. Then the drought came. Finally the lake reached 90% this year. The water has never been this high. If it goes...well there goes Globe, Miami, and Phoenix.
ROPER LAKE CAMPGROUND@ SAFFORD, AZ--"Squawking oranges!" MaryAnn shouted as we got out of the 4Runner. It was a tree full of Yellow-headed Blackbirds. From a distance you couldn't tell they were birds. They sounded like birds, but they looked like fruit. What a magical place this was. It was a bird-watchers paradise! And it was warm. The cost was $12 for the night.
SAFFORD, AZ--The full moon rose in the late twilight above Roper Lake. MaryAnn and I stayed up for a while looking...then played a game of chess by the light of the Coleman lantern. A winner didn't matter. To revisit the Eagles, "We may lose or we may win, but we'll never be here again." Living easy. Living in our hearts.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Short Miles In A Long Day...Postcards Nobody Would Buy Unless They Were Looking For Existential Clues To The Universe
PAINTED DESERT--Besides the beautiful, colored sand and the petrified logs out here, there are a few petroglyphs. This was one of my favorites. I think it is a roadrunner with a toad in his mouth. I have seen roadrunners pick up lizards and slam them to the ground over and over to kill them. Maybe this was the same kind of thing.
WINSLOW, AZ--Even on a great day, this has to be our #1 recommendation: go see La Posada Hotel in Winslow. Mary Jane Coulter, chief architect and designer for Fred Harvey, regarded this as her finest project. That she achieved this position in 1910 is pretty special, considering that women didn't even get the right to vote until 1920. Built to give the feeling of an old hacienda that had been converted to a hotel, there are wonderful public spaces and an attention to detail in every aspect that reflects Coulter's pride. The place is open for self-guided tours to anybody. The room rates range from $89 to $129.
Visit the above link if you have time. To quote from the website:
La Posada was designed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, chief architect and designer for the Fred Harvey Company from 1905 until her retirement in the 1950's. Colter is famous for her magnificent buildings at the Grand Canyon - but she considered La Posada her masterpiece. La Posada was her only complete commission; the only project for which she was able to design or select everything from the structures to the landscape, furniture, maids costumes and dinner china. Many people consider this to be the most important and most beautiful building in the Southwest.
METEOR CRATER--The turn-off to Meteor Crater is about 19 miles west of Winslow. It is on private property and they do charge a hefty admission fee. Certainly more than they should: $12 per adult. I had been here before, and so I knew something...it is worth it. It is one of the most stunning scenes anywhere. I would like to bring anybody who thinks the world was created in 4004 BC out here to reconsider that article of faith. This is awesome...a big splash hole in the middle of a flat desert.
Monday, March 21, 2005
CUBERO--MaryAnn and I left Albuquerque somewhere in the late morning. We headed west on I-40 but left the freeway before we even got to Grants. Here sits Cubero, on old Rt. 66, in the lap of towering Mount Taylor. And our dilly-dally vacation is off to a great start.
GALLUP--If you haven't left the freeway to cruise Gallup, maybe the lobby of El Rancho Hotel will inspire you. Incredible. Lining the walls of the balcony are over a hundred photos of movie stars from the last 70 years. And just look at that graceful swoop of the double staircase. The stair railings are made of curved juniper branches. The stone is local lava rock.
SMITH'S @ YALE & COAL SE--MaryAnn starts to fill up the cart with items for a short vacation. No, we didn't get any potato chips. :) We might, however stop at the gas station on the way out of town to pick up a package of LCD's...Little Chocolate Donuts, that is. They are so covered with that waxy chocolate stuff that they are permanently sealed against mold or going stale. They actually do last forever.
This trip is to Arizona: Pertrified Forest, Sedona area, then maybe south to get warm. We camp out half the time and stay in motels the other half. So we have to take a lot of stuff, including food.
The camping box my dad made 50 years ago is packed with kitchen stuff and ready to go. Also packed are sleeping bags and pads, 2 tables, my 50 year old Coleman stove, 2 chairs, a dry box of food, a box of misc. equipment, tent, tarp, 8 gallons of water, and the box with shovel, lantern, dutch oven, gas, frying pans, griddle, and griller. Everything but the dog. Hope to post soon...with postcards from Arizona.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
SAN MATEO & GIBSON SE--Years ago, when this piece of sculpture, known locally as the "Chevy-on-a-Stick" was first unveiled, Larry Ahrens, an Albuquerque radio icon belittled it and insulted the artist mercilessly day after day. He was on 770-KOB. Day after day without letup I listened to the ignorant, hateful, and self-serving comments by this morning announcer, trying to boost his own standing in the community by demeaning the honest efforts of another. Eventually I couldn't take it any more and quit listening both to him and to KOB.
There was a time when KOB was The Voice of Albuquerque. Indeed, it was the Voice of New Mexico. If you needed to know the story you turned to KOB. Even if we were under nuclear attack, KOB was the place to go. KOB loved to be here. KOB echoed the hopes of our people. It spoke for the people...many felt it WAS the people. Mike Roberts is a case in point. He is one of us: respected and loved.
At some point the station brought on Rush Limbaugh. And Larry Ahrens became mean-spirited to get laughs. It became a niche station...a big niche to be sure, but no longer was the soul of New Mexico.
Now Larry has a new station. But he seems to be operating in the same mode. At least there is an email post in the Sunday Journal talking about his berating the Lobo men's basketball team. Come on Larry. Start over. Become that great figure that we would all love to see.
But the specter of the sculpture incident won't seem to stay in the past. I took the picture of the "Chevy-on-a-stick" Friday night, thinking I might bring it up somehow in the Jim Scarantino show, since Mr. Ahrens is connected with the same station. But I didn't. I don't go looking for a fight. But it seems to have come to me in terms of this morning's news. Larry Ahrens has a talent for getting laughs by criticizing what others do. How wonderful it would be if we were all together, even consoling each other through laughter, instead of laughing AT someone. And for a talent like you, Larry, it wouldn't be that difficult.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
106.3 FM--Three of us showed up to be on Jim Scarantino's maiden voyage of Real Side Radio this morning: Mark Justice Hinton, Pika Brittlebush and me...Johnny_Mango. It was the first time most of us had ever seen each other in person. I had met Pika, but not Mark or Jim. Mark and I comment on each other's blog quite a bit...especially about poetry. But I felt like I knew him pretty well. Great guy.
Pika Brittlebush had such a sexy voice Jim Scarantino's wife called in to remind him he had marital obligations. By the way, Pika's boyfriend must have felt the same thing because he called in too. Meanwhile, Mark went over the finer points of starting a blog. Yours truly, Johnny_Mango just soaked it all up.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
NOB HILL--Everyone needs a dream. In the spring I need a big dream. For the last 10 years I have dreamt of hiking the Continental Divide Trail. I even started it once...in Mexico. More about that some other time...Now is the time to take out maps...dream about the trail...all 3100 miles of it.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
PLACITAS--When The Artist Ken Saville was finding his way through New Mexico in the fall of 1972, the first person he met was Larry Goodell. Ken was hitching from Bernalillo to Placitas. Larry stopped and gave him a ride. Goodell was an icon of the Central Ave. scene from the Living Batch Bookstore which occupied one of the rooms currently used by the Frontier Restaurant. His reputation is that of the number one performance poet in the state. And he is reading this Saturday in Placitas at the Anasazi Winery along with Jim Koller and Stefan Hyner. If you are the kind of person who needs a reason to get out of town for a while, this is it. Here is a poem by Goodell from the on-line poetry mag, Rough Road Review.
Further information about the reading: Anasazi Fields Winery & La Alameda Press present Jim Koller, Stefan Hyner, and Larry Goodell, poetry reading, Anasazi Fields Winery, Village of Placitas, 5pm Saturday, March 19th. Free. Take I-25 to the Placitas exit 242, drive 7 miles to the Village, turn left at the big sign near the Presbyterian Church, follow Camino de los Pueblitos down a country block or so to Anasazi Fields Winery. Further information: call Jim Fish at 867-3062.
NOB HILL--I don't know what to think. I have been asked to appear on the premiere broadcast of Jim Scarantino's talk show this Saturday morning at 11:00 along with Pike Brittlebush and Mark Justice Hinton. I will surely be found out to be a fool. Help me. It is a call-in show. Listen and call in. Ask me softball questions...like "Where'd you get your chard?" Please don't ask anything embarrassing like, "Aren't you a little old to be commenting on Lindsey Arndt's shorts?" Thanks.
Here are the details:
- Talk Radio with Jim Scarantino
- This Saturday @ 11:00
- 106.3 FM KAGM
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
ROUTE 66 DINER--I was talking to Metro Court Judge Judy Nakamura tonight about the tragic shootings in the Atlanta courtroom. You might remember how Judge Nakamura stood up to the Sheriff and Police departments in ordering that their officers could not wear their weapons in the new Metro Courthouse. In fact, she was sued in the New Mexico Supreme Court by Sheriff Darren White and ABQ Police Chief Gilbert Gallegos. Judge Judy sure looks right on that issue now. More guns in the room does not necessarily lead to a safer situation.
Last night on TV a judge in Texas was showing off her shoulder holster and her .45 with a smile. She wears it under her robe. I can just imagine what it would be like with the judge, the accused, and all those lawmen drawing iron at the same moment...bullets whizzing, people diving under chairs and tables. I bet they could get off somewhere around 50 shots before things got sorted out. Considering all that, maybe that Texas judge had better pack an Uzi.
NOB HILL--I know. I know. But this was only two days ago. The Artist Ken Saville and I were listening to the Lobo Women playing basketball...outside on the front lawn...in t-shirts. It takes me back to my boyhood days in northern Illinois, listening to the White Sox with my dad in the back yard on a Saturday afternoon...Billy Pierce, Virgil "Fireball" Trucks, Chico Carasquel, Nelly Fox, Sherm Lollar, and Jungle Jim Rivera.
The Motorola Ken and I are using is an older tube-type radio. It has a kind of "squeezy" sound. The dog "Baby" hangs around with us. She's no basketball fan, but she is a fan of Ken. Ken is wearing his lucky Sweet Sixteen shirt. It was lucky indeed.
I was no supporter of women's basketball until the men got so bad that we all bought season tickets to the women's team. Just to try it out. And there are differences...but most of them are good. Check out the Lobo women on TV this week. You might be surprised how much you enjoy them.
Nob Hill at 7:00 A.M.--On the way to the Flying Star for my morning cup of coffee I snapped this shot of a jogger up the street. These snowstorms stay in our collective memory for a long time. In fact, this whole wet winter will be a landmark on the mental landscape of the state of New Mexico.
Monday, March 14, 2005
NOB HILL--Albuquerque is cut off from the rest of the world to the north and east. To the west, I-40 is probably shut down somewhere around the New Mexico border. To the south there was a fatal rollover accident caused by the weather. There is already enough wet snow on the tree branches and power lines to wreak havoc by morning, including power outages. Police are saying not to bother reporting car accidents. Most employers and governmental offices sent their emplotees home early. The forecast is for up to a foot of new snow in some parts of the school district, and the high tomorrow is supposed to be only 5 degrees above freezing.
No wonder APS has issued a 2-hour delay for tomorrow.
TIJERAS CANYON--In a hastily called press conference, Mayor Martin Chavez cut a ribbon welcoming this mid-March snowstorm to Albuquerque this morning. "I would like to credit our westside developers for "greasing" the way for this precipitation by plowing up a lot of the vegetation on this west mesa. We are convinced this sucked the snow through the canyon." He also stated that city sponsored rebates may be available for any developer that produces evidence that their home-building has a beneficial effect on weather patterns. The mayor concluded the ceremony by riding through the canyon in a bubble-topped white Hummer "MayorMobile."
Sunday, March 13, 2005
SOUTH VALLEY BIKE TRAIL--Some of you may recognize this scene from that part of the trail up on the diversion channel. On the east side of the channel one finds an area referred to as the "Tour de Junkyards." On the west side of the ditch is a mixture of mobile homes and permanent structures. It is in these sorts of mixed neighborhoods...outside the city...where one is likely to find that most New Mexican of all housing structures: the owner-built adobe.
Adobe is the building media of the very rich and the very poor: only the very rich can afford to have one built for them...almost everything has to be custom made, and it is very labor-intensive. As for the very poor, well, they have the time to build one themselves...and in that case it is very, very cheap.
Much of the charm of the buildings comes from looking at the ways the builder solved whatever problems he encountered. In a commercially built house everything looks "right." In most owner-built homes, the eccentricities are largely a function of somebody without a lot of experience trying to figure out how to build it. So one gets windows at varying heights, awkward roof lines, curving floor plans, and extensive use of materials at hand. Some owner-built homes are so beautiful they might bring tears to your eyes. Some others might bring tears to your eyes for different reasons. These were not built by architects, carpenters, laborers, corporations, etc. They were built by the owner...and his family...at night, weekends, during the summer, whenever...with practically no machinery and very few tools. I know. I built one myself.
The north side of this adobe features a cantalevered balcony and overhanging "shed" roof: certainly an economical way to build. If it starts to sag, you could just add supports. The round corner shows not only its adobe construction, but also dates the house to the organic curves of the early 1970's. This was the high-point of owner-built adobe homes. Many, many of these homes were passive solar in nature.
This house has no style except its own...the individual owner trying to enclose space efficiently, with style, and with an eclectic approach to problem solving that shows in his work. The ground level is solid windows (for solar gain). The cheapest way to do this is to buy sliding door replacement glass. It comes in standard sizes and is double paned. Otherwise, you have to make a double paned window by hand. Having it built for you in a custom size is beyond the pocketbook of most do-it-yourselfers. Also, look at the chimney rising next to the clerestory. Probably cement blocks around flue tile: too hard to stack adobe like that. The owner had to go that high because the clerestory was probably causing downdrafts from swirling wind. Notice the built-in structures that serve as awnings over the clerestory windows...giving a little shade in the warmer months. It is so typical to have the extremes of intensive labor and cheap or free materials juxtaposed like this. Basically, in most parts of the valley, adobe dirt is free (or dirt cheap). Rough-cut lumber, rolled roofing, and stucco round out the essentials for a dirt cheap but charming casa.
One of the hallmarks of an owner-built home is the presence of labor-intensive ecentricities such as this wonderful stone and bottle entranceway. The owner most probably found the rocks in the arroyo next to his property. They certainly look the same as the ones in the top picture. As for the bottles set in mortar that form the parapet, there is no reason to assume that the owner acquired them when they were already empty. This re-use of materials, and the adaptation of old materials to new uses, puts the owner-built house at the forefront of the recycling movement...even though it was probably necessitated by a lack of money.
NOB HILL--Bukowski: Born Into This is back at the Guild this weekend. Sunday is the last day (1:30, 4:00, 6:30, 9:00). As I said before, "If you got your poetry education in school, you missed this!" I posted a piece on this film last October 16th. It's in the Archives. I can't link you to it. What I can do is give you this. It's from Bukowski: Love Is A Dog From Hell, Poems 1974-1977.
how to be a great
you've got to fuck a
great many women
and write a few
decent love poems.
and don't worry
and / or freshlyarrived
just drink more beer
more and more beer
and attend the
racetrack at least
learning to win is
any slob can be a
and don't forget your
and your Bach and
sleep until noon.
avoid credit cards
or paying for
remember that there
isn't a piece of ass
in this world worth
more than $50
and if you have the
ability to love
love yourself first
but always be aware
of the possibility of
whether the reason
for that defeat
seems right or
an early taste of
death is not
a bad thing.
stay out of churches
and bars and
and like the spider
time is everybody's
all that dross.
stay with the beer.
beer is continuous
a continuous lover.
get a large
and as the footsteps
go up and down
outside your window
hit that thing
hit it hard
make it a
make it the bull
when he first
and remember the
who fought so well:
If you don't think
they didn't go crazy
in tiny rooms
just like you're doing
then you're not
drink more beer.
and if there's not
that's all right
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
ROUTE 66, EAST CENTRAL--Nobody cried when they knocked down the Zia Motor Lodge. And I am sure that there was enough heartbreak and violence surrounding the Zia in the last years of her life to make any other feelings irrelevent. But maybe there was something here worth saving. Maybe we should look a little closer at these places before we blast them into oblivion. Maybe we could create a "corridor" of something like a National Cultural Monument that would followe Route 66 through town...help restore neon that has no business to support it...light it all up like it used to be when the lights of Albuquerque were an oasis on the narrow, dark, and dusty road of dreams.
HILAND DISTRICT--This is a story of a building. It was erected about 1938, right after Route 66 was realigned to come straight through Tijeras Canyon rather than detour up through Santa Fe. The smallish Zia symbol fit in nicely with the understated, yet regionally appropriate architecture. There are open carports next to each unit. Also notice the green fields in the background. It must have been a wet year! Above all, the Zia Lodge looked well kept. The year of this postcard was probably 1940.