Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"A Little Dab'll Do Ya..."

Lookin' good is an adolescent pre-occupation which diminishes, but never entirely disappears with age. I don't have enough hair left on top to swaddle a flea, so hair products are of only academic interest to me.
In my youth, there were three basic kinds of masculine hair management products.
There was "Tiger Sweat" and it's imitators, which was basically pink, semi-soft paste-wax that was used to prop up the prow of "flat-tops." If you stuck a wick in it, and lit it, it'd probably last as loing as an Advent candle.
There was Brylcreme ("A little dab'll do ya...They love to get their fingers in your hair," so the jingle claimed) which was basically the consistency of hand lotion and held hair in place with oil, and was probably, mostly, glycerin. It left an oily residue on the pillow case and a slick like a hemorrhaging tanker in the swimming pools of my youth
And there was Vitalis, which was basically pure alcohol and caused hair to freeze into a stiff helmet-like condition. It was also (allegedly) passably potable, if passed through a loaf of bread.
I was reminded of this by a conversation with G Al Awlaki Meyer and a recent, inadvertent, trip down an unfamiliar aisle in the local grocery where once there had been baking products, but now held "personal" items.
Just for the memory banks...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Better with Age: Mistel, de Nuevo mexico

An old Santa Fe acquaintance posted this on Facebook With the admonition that, since it takes about two weeks to "mature, you need to start, basically, yesterday.
"Chimaja root" is also known as arrowroot, the same as is found in babies' teething crackers.
She writes:
Back in the 1970s and 80s when the Christmas eve walk along Canyon Road and the Acequia Madre area was much more locally oriented, the house owners used to set up little tables and provide biscochitos and tiny cups of warm mistela. I loved that tradition, but when I came back several years later, after moving to Montana, I was apalled at the "tourista" feeling of the stroll and found that the house owners didn't even come outside any more. I still do a traditional New Mexico Christmas up here and make both sangria (Corky Lusk's recipe) and occasionally mistela. I'm attaching a photo that shows you how to make it, but you need to start soon as it takes two weeks to "cure." I think its worth it and that you will enjoy it as a special traditional treat.
Bueno! Salud y pesetas y amor y tiempo para gustarlos.

Ahorita, La Noche Antes de Chreesmas!
"La Noche Antes de Chreesmas! "

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the casa
Not a creature was stirring, Caramba! Que Pasa?
Los Ninos were all tucked away in their camas,
(Some in long underwear, some in pajamas.)
While mama worked late in her little cocina,
El Viejo was down at the corner cantina
Living it up with amigosone a gavacho!
Todos MUY contento y PO-quito borracho!
Stockings were hung con mucho cuidado,
In hopes that El Santa would feel obligado
To bring all the children, both buenos Y malos,
A nice batch of dulces y otros regalos.
Then, outside in the yard, there arose such a grito
That I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito.
I ran to the window and looked out afuera,
and who in the world do you think? Quien es era?
St.Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!
And pulling his sleigh, instead of venados,
Were eight little burros approaching valados.
I watched as they came, and this quaint little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
" Ay, Pancho! Ay, Pepe! Ay, Cuca! Ay, Beto!
Ay, Chato! Ay, Chopo! Muraca y Nieto!"
Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho,
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly, like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chiminea.
Then, huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala,
He filled all the stockings with lovely regalos,
For none of the ninos had been very malos.
Then, chuckling aloud, seeming muy contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone como el viento,
And I heard him exclaim-Ese, this is verdad
"Merry Chreesmas, A todos, Feliz Navidad!"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Extra-Curricular Activity

This is the time--the WEEK--of the semester which college/university profs and teachers dread the most: Whine Week.
That's the week just after Thanksgiving in the Winter (and before Memorial Day in Spring) when the grades start being inevitable, and students begin to schedule office hours appointments to plead for, or negotiate--and sometimes even DEMAND--higher grades than their efforts and exertions over the previous 12 weeks actually merit.
They can be ingenious with excuses; reasons for dispensations abound. Grand-parents by the score have died since September, or are perishing at that very moment. Equipment failures proliferate: electronic devices explode inexplicably, printers fail to print. Automobiles become wholly unreliable. The pressures of OTHER coursed have intruded. They can be piteous and/or they can be amazingly manipulative.
In my time in the Binness (about 20 years), I had only one occasion on which an "improper" advance was offered to me. 
(Dare I say "Quim pro quo?")
It happened thusly:
My one, true, authentic, grade-change temptation was presented as an alternative to the supplicant falling into disrepute in her sorority, at a "great, Southern university," where that life occupied the highest rung of student aspiration for many. At that University, the frats and sororities celebrate Lee/Davis Day on the MLK holiday.
One year, there was a pretty, spoiled, indulged, wealthy 'sorority sister' who mostly didn't come to class, mostly didn't do well on exams, and blew off her final project. The week after T'giving, she made the expected office appointment, after the next  (and last, except for the final) weekly class meeting.
She arrived at the appointed time with a penitent attitude, in a fetchingly low-cut blouse and a short skirt, and a holiday gift-bag. She made her plea--how important it was for her at her SORORITY to get a passing grade-- as she handed me the gift-bag.
I opened it. Inside were her panties. I said: "Wow, thanks, but i don't think they're gonna fit..."
She flushed about ten shades of red and fled.
And flunked...

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Martyrdom of St. John, the Baptist

Photo: After all hallows' (souls) night, today is All Saints' Day in the Roman Catholic cult. I think it's even a "holy day of obligation," meaning mandatory Mass.
Woody went to a Roman Catholic, parochial elementary school in the '50s, in a white, middle-class suburb of Cleveland. One year, the school encouraged students to come to school on All Saints' Day in the costume of their favorite or namesake Saint. 
My father, an agnostic (and sly ironist, I would later learn even more fully) married to my mother, a devout Catholic, cut a platter-shaped and -sized piece out of a cardboard box, covered it in aluminum foil, cut a hole in the middle for my head, sprayed and dripped red paint on it, draped the rest of me in a sheet, and sent me to school as (the posthumous) St. John, the Baptist.
After all hallows' (souls) night, today is All Saints' Day in the Roman Catholic cult. I think it's even a "holy day of obligation," meaning mandatory Mass.
Woody went to a Roman Catholic, parochial elementary school in the '50s, in a white, middle-class suburb of Cleveland. One year, the school encouraged students to come to school on All Saints' Day in the costume of their favorite or namesake Saint. 
My father, an agnostic (and supremely sly ironist, I would later learn even more fully) married to my mother, a devout Catholic, got into the task.
He cut a platter-shaped and -sized piece out of a cardboard box, covered it in aluminum foil, cut a hole in the middle for my head, sprayed and dripped red paint on it, draped the rest of me in a sheet, and sent me to school--and to Mass--as (the posthumous) St. John, the Baptist.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fiesta In Santa Fe, Mid-20th-Century: A Kaleidoscopic Koshare Journey


This account of the passage of the events of Fiesta Weekend about 1950-1960 is so authentic, so genuine, and so volatile, it tugged at my very heart-strings. It appeared on a facebook page which is a "closed" group. I asked the author if she'd allow me to reprint it, and happily she agreed.
It is written by Sra. Adelina Ortiz de Hill, an honored, respected and loved "grand dame" in our little group.
fiestas de antes: by 6:00 oclock friday afternoon it seemed like the whole town had converged at magers field. the queen, de vargas and a crowd were entertained by the villeros alegres,pablo mare's tipica orchestra, dancers, singers and mariachi's. as it got dark this giant effigy came to life animated by the voice of harold gans flaying his arms and groaning. he went up in flames and the fireworks always outdid the 4th of july.a saftified crowd returned to the plaza to watch the crowning of the queen and the entertainment on the roof of the la fonda.mrs cleo fernandez (wife of tony, us congressman) sang las golondrinas, feria de las flores,(flowers were tossed to the crowd) and la paloma releasing white doves. johnny valdez and billy palou offered up their composition the fiesta song and the crowd joined in. maida and julio did their famous cape dance, the queen was crowned .then all the lights were turned off and the sound of a pulsating drum silenced the crowd, suddenly a flood light shone on a dancer dressed in red recreating the drum dance he did in the movie the jazz singer(first talkie with al jolson). jacques cartier remained an act to look forward to for years. next day, saturday, the childrens pet parade. at the ranch we had three ducks and a goat that followed us every place we went. we dressed them in bandana scarfs and sombreros entered them, they and my younger brother panicked so i had to carry the ducks, luckily my goat stood by me. that afternoon the reentry by devargas, saturday night parties and dances. sunday morning a procession with the queen and devargas attending high mass. that night the candlelight procession to the cross of the martyrs the whole town was dark as the neon signs were turned off and only the candles shone. monday became a combined historical and hysterical parade day. great memories.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Caution: Dangerous Pedagogy!

Do NOT try this at home!
It was IMMENSELY controversial when it first appeared, in national television, in the '70s.
Ms. Jane Elliott's "brown eyes, blue eyes" experiment in 1970 (the third one after her first in 1968). This "Eye of Storm" documentary was made by William Peters in 1970 for ABC News and later included in the documentary "A Class Divided" (1985), which included a class reunion (of 1984.)
The most telling moment is when Russell used "brown eyes" as a derogatory term to call John name, only a couple of hours through. Though, the experiment was too short to allow it to get to the point when a "brown-eyes" person does so to another fellow "brown-eyes" person.

Via Wiki:
While there are variations of the story, the exercise Elliott developed for her third grade class in Riceville, Iowa was a result of Martin Luther King’s assassination. According to one biographer, on the evening of April 4, 1968, Elliott turned on her television to find out about the assassination. One scene she says that she remembers vividly is that of a (white) reporter, with the microphone pointed toward a local black leader asking "When our leader (John F. Kennedy) was killed several years ago, his widow held us together. Who's going to control your people?" She then decided to combine a lesson she had planned about Native Americans with the lesson planned about King for February’s Hero of the Month. To tie the two, she used the Sioux prayer "Oh Great Spirit, keep me from ever judging a man until I have walked a mile in his moccasins."[1]
The following day she had a class discussion about the lesson, and about racism in general. She later said: "I could see that they weren’t internalizing a thing. They were doing what white people do. When white people sit down to discuss racism what they are experiencing is shared ignorance." She states her lesson plan for that day was to learn the Sioux prayer[clarification needed] about not judging someone without walking in his/her moccasins and "I treated them as we treat Hispanics, Chicanos, Latinos, Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, women, people with disabilities."[clarification needed][citation needed]
The original idea for the exercise came from Leon Uris's novel Mila 18, published in 1961, about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. One of the ways the Nazis decided who went to the gas chamber, according to the novel, was eye color.
Because most of Elliott's 8-year-old students were, like her, born and raised in a small town in Iowa, and were not exposed to black people outside of television, she felt that simply talking about racism would not allow her all-white class to fully comprehend racism's meaning and effects.[1]

Friday, May 31, 2013

Wild Fire Season, First of the Year, in the Mountains South East of Santa Fe

FIRE!: There is a reason there is a fire burning over 1,000 acres and growing in Pecos Canyon. While the high winds that blew down a power line are apparently to blame for sparking the fire, the continued high winds, the 3rd consecutive year of drought, plentiful fuel in the region and prohibitive conditions for air drops of retardants have made this a manual firefight for now until conditions improve. Prayers and rain would both be appreciated.
We've had LESS than an inch of precipitation since OCTOBER, 2012.

"In the eight months since Oct. 1, just 0.91 of an inch of rain has fallen at the Weather Service’s Albuquerque station, less than a quarter of average," reports the Albuquerque Journal.

Fire Season is officially upon us. There is a potentially BAD one burning in the Sangres around Pecos, near the community of Tres Lagunas. Mostly vacation homes and camping facilities.
The Albuquerque Mayor and other municipal officials in neighboring municipalities have closed the Bosque (riverside forest) along the Rio Grande.
I HOPE the feculent, reeking tool in Santa Fe, the carpetbagging culo governor, has the sense to close STATE facilities. Locals may keep abreast of the current situations by visiting THIS PAGE: http://nmfireinfo.com/. The feds have closed the Cibola Nat. Forest.
Woody'z advice: Stay the fuck outta the woods, watch what you're doing.
Thanks to Garret Vreeland (@dangerousmeta) for sharing this early picture of the Tres Lagunas wildfire burning in the Santa Fe NF just north of Pecos. The picture was captured around 7:32pm MDT Thursday, May 30th from a roadblock in Pecos Canyon. Additional pictures are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/garret/8897060171/lightbox/

Tuesday, May 14, 2013



In The Terror Dream: Fear & Fantasy in Post-9/11 America, Susan Falludi alleges that among the primary factors underlying USer gun goonery are two which, though reaching far back into historical time and circumstance, still were implanted so deeply in the psyche of the USer male as to constitute almost a separate epistemological sphere entirely.
(T)he nation that in recent memory has been least vulnerable to domestic attack is also a nation haunted by a centuries-long trauma of assault on its home soil. For nearly two hundred years, our central drama was not the invincibility of our frontiersmen but their inability to repel invasions of non-Christian, nonwhite "barbarians" from the homestead door. To conceal the insecurity bred by those attacks, American culture would generate an ironclad countermyth of cowboy swagger and feminine frailty, which has been reanimated whenever the nation feels threatened. On September 11, Americans were once again returned to an experience of homeland terror and humiliation. And, once again, they fled from self-knowledge and retreated into myth.
 In the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedies, which to some degree illustrate BOTH aspects of her thesis, Falludi argues that the cultural fealty to owning and possessing and shooting guns, especially among white males, stems from the fear borne by their ancestors of two, deadly events: "Indian" raids and slave revolts.
Throughout the colonial period, "settlers" expanding the Europeans' domain on the frontier were constant and fairly easy prey for tribal "insurgents" pushing back against the encroachments of the whites. Save the last bullet for your wife or girl-child.

The fear of slave revolts have recently been shown to have played a large role in the existence and drafting of the Second Amendment. 

At any rate, firearms seem to be an almost exclusively White, Male preoccupation. People of color, who might conceivably have experience with the usefulness of firearms in community defense, not so much--though they may just be remaining tactically silent about it.

I was raised around weapons. I had a .22 at age 13. I was not a hunter, but I had a knack for shooting. I shot expert marksman on worn-out, range-battered .30cal carbines in the Air Force in 1964. On a bet one time, I shot a magpie out of the air with a .22, at about 100 yards. I won $50, but I still see that poor damn bird falling. That's the only critter I ever killed with a gun, and I still regret it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Camel Rock

This formation is called, for obvious reasons, "Camel Rock." 
     It is a landmark on the hiway (285) north out of Santa Fe, about 10 miles from town, on the Tesuque Pueblo Reservation, and conveniently situated JUST across the highway from the Pueblo's eponymous Casino. 
     Mi amiga, Maria, attributes the image to Toby Roybal. (I'm guessing the image was recorded through a polarized filter; it seems "enhanced." But that's just me.) It sure is striking. 
     (An informant has subsequently informed me that the image, with its almost flat, sharp, hard edges and vivid colors probably is an example of "High Dynamic-Range Imaging." )
     Makes sense to me.

     If one was a youth growing up in the Pojoaque Valley, north of Santa Fe, as I did, it was a rite of pre-driver's license passage to ride one's bicycle to Camel Rock. My sister, who had a horse, rode there frequently, a distance of about six or seven miles as the crow flew. 
     It was half again that on the road, against a steepish grade, and on a really dangerous strip of road, with semis flying by a few inches from the shoulder, which was littered with sherds of broken glass from the beer bottles the local borrachos delighted in pitching haphazardly from their vehicles on their erratic travels.

Camel Rock_Toby Roybal

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mr. D & the Skeptic

I somehow missed this one, back a while ago. A classic:
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Friday, January 4, 2013

Paul Mooney Ruffles Some White Feathers

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