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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

bad news from mississippi

This is a heartbreaking editorial from the Sun Herald in Mississippi. You can also find more info on what's happening in Mississippi from Jackson Free Press' web site.
With each passing hour I am more and more horrified. Clearly, preparing for a disaster of this magnitude would have been difficult, but the preparations seem so woefully inadequate, so horrifyingly inadequate, and the response is clearly not what it needs to be or there wouldn't be people stranded everywhere without resources, let alone information. We should have info going up on our web site shortly with contact info for making donations to help. Here they are in the meantime:

Food Depot
To make a financial donation, which will directly assist America’s Second Harvest Members in affected areas, visit Second Harvest or call 800-771-2303. To make a financial donation directly to The Food Depot, people are encouraged to make checks payable to The Food Depot and mail to: 1222 Siler Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87507.

Roadrunner Food Bank
Donations will be collected at the Lt. Governor’s office located in the State Capitol Building, Suite 417 in Santa Fe and at the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority at 344 Fourth Street SW, in Albuquerque. Donations should be made payable to: “The Roadrunner Food Bank” and please make a notation for “Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief” on the check.

Red Cross
Donations can be made to the local Santa Fe chapter, located at 1213 Mercantile, Suite B (424-1611) or sent to the Mid Rio Grande office in Albuquerque, 142 Monroe Street NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108 (265-8514). Donors can designate “Hurricane Katrina” on their check to ensure their contribution is used for the relief effort. More on Red Cross efforts can be found at the Red Cross web site.

our friends in new orleans

It looks like our AAN friends, The Gambit, are out of commission for the rest of the year.
Up front, here at SFR, staff was asking me if we had an emergency plan for our paper in case of a natural disaster. I said we did. Guess I better think of one.
More on how the new orleans' media is coping here.
Also, glad I wasn't the only one appalled by Fox's coverage of the hurricane last night. Of course, what would one expect from Fox really? (oh, I don't know, something besides coverage of looting maybe?)
On a totally unrelated media story, The Seattle Weekly (also an AAN paper,) picked up the story from The Guardian about the proposed VVM/New Times chains. Seattle Weekly is owned by VVM. While it's laudable (or, perhaps, ethical, reasonable, required?) that Seattle Weekly report this story, it's crazy, to me, that they can't get a comment from their own freaking company about a story they are reporting on their own company. Talk about corporate. When a company that owns the newspaper won't comment to their own newspaper, that's about the time when I start wondering who I'm working for. Or maybe they've already asked and answered those questions. Or maybe I'm old-fashioned, quaint, naive and unreasonable. Nah.

katrina press release

The Food Depot and America’s Second Harvest Network issue national plea for financial assistance for Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief
[Northern New Mexico], [August 31, 2005] – With Hurricane Katrina devastating communities across the central Gulf Coast and leaving tens of thousands of residents without shelter, The Food Depot has moved into disaster response mode to help sister food banks directly impacted by the wrath of the ferocious storm.
America’s Second Harvest—The Nation’s Food Bank Network is in need of food and funds to respond to Hurricane Katrina in states impacted by the disaster including Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. The Food Depot is a member of the America’s Second Harvest Network, the largest domestic hunger-relief agency. Currently, at least ten food banks and hundreds of their local food pantries and emergency shelters have been hit impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
Financial donations from the public and the corporate community are urged to help with the relief effort. Funds raised will go directly to helping Network food banks maintain or resume operations during this critical time. “The fastest and most effective way people can help is by making a financial contribution,” said Executive Director Sherry Hooper of The Food Depot. “In the midst of disaster response, certain types of products are needed at certain times in the life of the response effort. What is collected and sent seldom reflects what is needed.”
To make a financial donation, which will directly assist America’s Second Harvest Members in affected areas, visit or call 800-771-2303. To make a financial donation directly to The Food Depot, people are encouraged to make checks payable to The Food Depot and mail to 1222 Siler Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87507.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


this is getting really bad. You read these stories and it's almost unfathomable that people are going through this level of disaster. Not to mention Santa Feans whose families are there. We finally heard news on the Gambit Weekly editors we know and they are safe although, like all New Orleans residents, they have no idea when they will go home or if there is a home to go to.
And you know, I'm not normally one for the "'hatin" but this story about Bush cutting short his vacation because of the disaster really got my hackles up. What if he hadn't cut short his vacation? And what if he hadn't cut all the emergency funds needed and known to be needed to protect New Orleans from this kind of disaster.
But I don't have the stomach for a political tirade right now (haven't had it for a while, actually. What's up with that?). I just can't believe what's happening in Louisianna. The looting, the flooding, the rescues. (WTF is up with the looting? Are people hungry? Who would think a time like this is a good time to start stealing? Jesus).
I can't believe there was a shark swimming around the city.
I guess I can't believe any of it. I am going to go home and glue myself to CNN now.

my allergies are making my head hurt

and my email isn't helping.
Email #1:
This riddle must be done IN YOUR HEAD and NOT using paper and a pen. Try it!
Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000.
Now add 30. And another 1000.
Now add 20. Now add another 1000. Now add 10.
What is the total?
Did you get 5000? Way to go... most of us do, join the crowd!
But you know what? We're all wrong!
The correct answer is actually 4100. Don't believe it? Check it with a
calculator or on paper!
The brain sure knows how to play little tricks on us, doesn't it?

Argh! As if my head didn't hurt enough as it was.

Email #2: (courtesy of Maria Luisa Tucker)
Writers for the nation's top intellectual and
political magazines are almost always men. This is
made glaringly obvious by the ratios of male to female
writers below. (The figures are created by counting
male vs. female bylines from top magazines from Oct.
2003-May 2005. At several magazines, women writers
were occassionally shut out of entire issues):

National Review: 13/1
Foreign Affairs: 9/1
The New Republic: 8/1
Harper's: 7/1
The Weekly Standard: 7/1
The Atlantic: 6/1
The NY Review of Books: 6/1
The New Yorker: 4/1
The Nation: 3/1
Columbia Journalism Review: 2/1

The ratios were published in the current issue of the
Columbia Journalism Review.

If you were contemplating sending me an email that will give me a headache, might as well do it now.

just what I need

The melding of my two favorite technologies. I think I am going to give myself ADD if I don't watch out.

explain this to me

This is the last paragraph of today's New Mexican story about the replacement judge for muni court while Fran Gallegos is on leave. About Sonya Carrasco-Trujillo, New Mex reporter Jason Auslander concludes:

"Carrasco-Trujillo, who is not married, said she is unsure of whether she would continue as municipal judge if Gallegos is permanently removed from the bench."

Explain to me, please, the relevence of her marital status in that particular sentence. Will she stay on if someone proposes to her? Good God.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Just walked across The Plaza to Collected Works to pick up this book they were holding for me. On the way I noted what seemed to be an inordinate number of people sitting in parked cars. Like a lot of them. In some cases, entire groups. No real new news on Hurricane Katrina; I am probably just not looking in the right place. Noam Chomsky would probably not approve of my obsessive fascination with this storm (when I interviewed him it was right after the tsunami and we talked about how the media gets all hyped up on these disasters while ignoring the everyday disasters and suffering that's less sexy). I am definitely prone to obsessive hypedupedness (can't possibly be real word) when BIG things are going on. (Hence, la profession). Actually, I worked at Collected Works during the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill stuff and used to pretend to be rearranging the books on the shelf where the speakers were so I could listen to the coverage. (I have no idea why I am mentioning this except that I was thinking about it when I went to pick up my book.) Anyway, back to people sitting in parked cars…I guess there's no reason to assume there is anything nefarious about this (aside from a tendency to assume things are nefarious).
Speaking of nefarious, last night's MTV Awards were really awful and despite my LOVE of popculture, no matter how awful, I was pretty grossed out by the excessiveness in combination with lack of inspiration (one or the other, I'm thinking. Either bring the bling but make it a showstopper, or keep it simple and short). This was just embarassing and I kept imagining people in other countries that don't have food or water watching the awards (a ridiculous image, obviously, since I doubt they'd have cable TV if they didn't have food or water, but you know what I mean) watching this just bombast and it made me feel sort of ashamed of everything. Also, the RKelly segment, if you haven't already read about it, was unequivocally insane. And, you know, not only do I like pop culture, but I really like hip hop, but there was very little that was likeable going on here. Of course, my expectations were probably too high (even though they were fairly low).

altweekly merger?

The Bay Guardian, which has been editorializing for, well, forever, about a potential New Times/VVM merger seems to have laid its hands on some documents that bring those rumors into a more reality-based context.

happily landlocked

Last night I dreamed I had taken shelter from Hurricane Katrina on the 30th floor of a high-rise apartment building, convincing myself, somewhat shakily, that if the water was only going to rise 28 feet I'd be safe on the 30th floor. As usual, as in all of my dreams of pending apocolypses and disasters, my main concern was keeping an eye on my dogs. So nice to have one's subconscious and conscious completely aligned with constant worries about protecting one's pets.
Anyway, I recently read this novel which, oddly enough, is about a weatherman who covers a hurricane, is presumed missing, is found, and then becomes famous. It was an interesting premise for a novel, although I thought the book itself was sort of boring. Then again, I read the uncorrected proofs so maybe the final version was better.
I've been obsessed with Hurricane Katrina this morning. I can't imagine being stuck in something like this; I keep thinking about all those people evacuating and not knowing what is going to happen to their houses. Not to mention the ones still there. Not to mention Anderson Cooper! (Actually, it's his job). Also have been wondering about how the editor and staff of Gambit, the New Orleans alt.weekly, are faring. Their website is down and I guess they won't be putting a paper out this week, although I don't know that for sure. I heard via another AAN editor that the Gambit editor and family had safely evacuated for elsewhere but that's all I know. I wonder how much damage their offices have undergone. What's going to happen? There's so much freaking news out there and yet I feel like I don't have the information I want. I've been reading The Times Picayune blog pretty rabidly. Other good links are the usa today blog and this link also sends you to more bloggers covering the hurricane. It seems like natural disasters and blogs are a good fit, since it's one of those times when you really do want up-to-the-minute information as much as possible. It is very vertiginous to read about people's roofs being blown off, not to mention people standing on their roofs to stay above water. I'm so stuck on reading about this storm that just now when I looked up and out the window it seemed startling that it was a sunny day here in Santa Fe. I guess as far as natural disasters we're relatively lucky. Although we do have big wildfires. And sonic booms. And nuclear weapons.

Friday, August 26, 2005

It's been a long week

although I'm not sure why. Tonight I'm going to the opera to see Ainadamar (spelling?) which I have been looking forward to all summer. Other important things I have been thinking about: Must buy socks as summer is ending and I have none left over from last year as they all have been brambled to death from walks with dogs this summer. Fascinating!
Tomorrow I may head over to High Mayhem for its Benefit and CD release party. I am actually on one of the CDs, although you would not be able to pick me out of the crowd on Melody Carnahan's group reading thing. Still, the event is in my neck of the woods, so...
I just had some inhouse birthday upside down pineapple cake and it was really gross. All cake should be chocolate. Period.
I hurt my back at the gym this week, because I legpressed 230 pounds because I am a ridiculous person. Jonanna witnessed the entire thing and was "impressed and mildly frightened for reasons I can't quite figure out," she says.
What else?
I don't know. Sometimes I feel as though there are too many thoughts running through my head to get them all down and other times I think there's no point in getting them all down as many of them are pretty silly.
Do you know what I mean?
But someday this blog will have outlived its purpose, and that day will come when I figure out what the purpose of having it is in the first place. There are days when I've got a lot to say about news and stuff I've read on the web and I'm hyperlinking like crazy and expounding on this and that.
Today ain't one of those days.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Rest in Peace


I should also add I'm fascinated by the topic of "paid leave." After Gallegos received her 90 days paid leave sentence one of my employees wanted to know what an SFR staffer would have to do to be placed on paid leave. I told that person that they would have to perform an act so helacious my imagination couldn't even conceive of it. I don't know; perhaps I'm not seeing things correctly but in my book "paid leave" is what some of us think of as a "vacation."

blah blah blah

I've been having a series of interesting (to me) and revealing (to me) discussions with various people about the Fran Gallegos situation. What I think is interesting is that people assume that questioning the various motives of Gallegos' critics somehow translates into questioning her guilt. I have always found this kind of thinking to be really lazy and divisive. It's as if somehow political discourse, public discourse for that matter, has been reduced to "you're either with us or against us." It's like the Red/Blue crap. My own personal politics are all over the map and when people make assumptions about my "liberalism" it makes me want to yawn. When people assume that a person is either in one camp or another it makes me question their own ability toward critical thinking. It is, in fact, possible, to just not care one way or the other about outcomes but be interested in the big picture, or the little micro questions, in the macro of the situation, in the meta of the details. There is more to a story than "guilty or innocent", "right or wrong." Isn't there?
To me this type of thinking also is indicative of just how confused and murky journalism has become on the one hand and how one-dimensional and decontextualized it has become on the other hand (and if I had three hands I'd really have something interesting to say).
Fact: I have no idea what the truth of the Gallegos situation is. On the Occam's Law tip I'd say she clearly has screwed up more than once and if, as the JSC posits, it's blatant and patterend then it shouldn't take them too long to show that pattern of errors definitively and put this all to rest. I was puzzled, in court, about the differing interpretations about what these "amended abstracts" represent. I've read everything written about these abstracts at least 10 times and I'm still not sure I get it. This isn't literary interpretation, after all. We're not arguing about what the "Red A" means. Why is it all so confused?
I am interested in all the facets of the situation. I think it's interesting that the JSC commissioner is married to Richardson's political director. It makes me wonder if Richardson gets first-hand information on this situation through Amanda Cooper. It makes me wonder if Jim Noel is politically motivated to make an example of Gallegos as part of Richardson's "you drink you drive you lose" campaign. Or to make a name for himself for future political aspirations. Does this mean he's not right? No. But his motives are not irrelevent information in my view. They are part of the whole story. I'm also interested in the fact that, from what I can glean from the daily papers, it was a new mexican reporter who called the cops in the first place when the papers from gallegos' court were blowing in the wind. In my mind this translates to the reporter becoming part of the story, and yet the new mex never made that clear. Should the reporter have called the cops? I don't know. But if he did he should have made that clear in the story. Possibly he shouldn't have written the story. At bare minimum, someone should be asking these questions. Does that mean it wasn't fishy those papers were blowing around in the first place? Of course that's fishy. But I guess I don't have an automatic hierarchy about information. I think it's all part of the picture
Now, there are those people who think none of this matters, that the only thing that matters is that gallegos screwed up and damned the motives of anyone. They say, who cares about the issue of anonymous sources; who cares about the mechanics in the reporting of the story; the motives of the whistleblowers; the vehemence of Gallegos' critics; the entirety of how our judiciary works; the interconnectedness of the political situation. Who cares about the larger context.
I guess I do.
But you know, I'm a weirdo from way back.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gallegos Suspended for 90 Days/JSC Director Married to Governor's Political Director

Have just returned from The State Supreme Court where the justices heard the arguments for and against suspension of Santa Fe Municipal Judge Frances Gallegos and decided, unanimously according to Chief Justice Richard Bosson, to suspend her, with pay, for 90 days.

Judge Gallegos with her lawyer Aaron Wolf. Wolf told the Supreme Court Justices that Gallegos' re-election meant she had public confidence.

The Judicial Standards Commission had sought a 30-day unpaid suspension and an indefinite suspension until they finished an investigation into several allegations of misconduct against Gallegos. Those allegations include claims that defendents constitutional rights were violated in Gallegos' court but, possibly more pressing, the pending questions about what she did when she amended these DWI abstracts that have been at the heart of the JSC claims.
It wasn't quite as crowded as I'd thought it might be. I did predict the Court would suspend her with pay, although I thought it would be for 30 rather than 90 days. I think the JSC screwed itself a bit by not being able to say, definitively, how long their investigation would take, which made it easier for Gallegos' lawyer, Aaron Wolf, to argue that the JSC would be more motivated to finish its investigation if they didn't have an indefinite suspension on its hands.
JSC Exec. Director James Noel, was very clear in his presentation. Noel said that the JSC only goes public the way it has with Gallegos when things are very serious. Noel even implied that while District Judge Barbara Vigil, Gallegos' "ethics" mentor gave Gallegos a good review, she might not have had she known about everything else that was going on. The Supreme Court didn't seem to buy this part of the argument, as they denied the request for 30-day suspension without pay. That motion, said in part: "In consideration of Judge Frances Gallegos’ pattern of conduct that underlies the Commission’s new investigations and petition for temporary suspension, the Commission has determined that Judge Frances Gallegos has failed to complete successfully the formal mentorship required concerning her obligations under the Code of Judicial Conduct.."

This is Jim Noel. It turns out Noel is married to Amanda Cooper, who works for Gov. Richardson in a political director role. I learned this because Jill Cooper, Amanda's mother, was at the hearing. Jill Cooper is Tom Udall's wife. It's a small world after all.
As far as the media circus, they were there, as was the public but, again, quietly. Jason Auslander, from The New Mex, has definitely been leading this story, and they may have it down, but I know something weird has gone on with all this. Wolf, Gallegos' lawyer, said during the hearing that the amended abstracts came to public light because a former employee (Hanika) who we wrote about, gave them to the media. We called Auslander and asked him if the documents he had looked at came from Hanika and he said no. But then where the hell did they come from? Auslander wouldn't say when one of our reporters called up and asked him.
Felipe C DeBaca (sorry, I'm sure that was spelled wrong), one of Fran's longtime critics (he ran against her in the last election) was at the hearing with his "Fran Can" sign but, other than that, it was pretty tame. Fran wouldn't comment after the hearing and looked pretty tearful. A few city workers outside asked me afterwards what happened. When I told them she got 90 days suspension with pay they said: "Must be nice."

another thing about wednesdays

actually, the best part of Wednesdays is going online and checking out my favorite free music sites, seeing what Salon has to offer for free downloads etc. I think my favorite site right now is better propoganda in terms of what I'm finding to listen to. Plus, you gotta live a free music site that includes Noam Chomsky downloads.

buenos dias

I woke up this morning with absolutely no idea what day of the week it was. At first I was convinced it was Tuesday, our deadline day, and the weekly sense of panic Tuesday creates gripped my throat. Then I "realized" it was Saturday and sunk back into my pillows. One eye opened; Saturday? No, no, not yet.
Yes, it's Wednesday. Post deadline day, the day the paper hits the streets, meeting day, planning day, phone call day. And, on this particular Wednesday, Fran Gallegos day.
No, it's not officially Fran Gallegos day, but today is the day she defends herself in court against allegations of misconduct. And all the papers (ours included) have made a point of repeatedly noting that the hearing is open to the public (kind of a weird thing to keep saying), and I'm thinking it will be a media circus—my favorite kind. I've had several people ask me if they think Gallegos will get out of this. It's hard to predict these things but, if I had to, I'd say she's probably toast. There isn't a whole lot of public interest right now in excusing any judicial mistakes if they relate to DWI and why should there be? The concern in these situations has to be for public safety, not sitting around trying to determine how willful or malicious mistakes made might have been. Of course, Gallegos has rights, but so do all the people getting mowed down by people with 15 DWIs who are still on the road because paperwork got screwed up or whathaveyou. So, that's my two cents. On the other hand (on the same hand?), I've never quite grasped the argument about why muni and mag judges don't have to be lawyers. It's been explained to me during every election and I'll understand the argument against requiring legal degrees for judges but I don't think I've ever been convinced as I can never remember the argument used. It seems like a no-brainer to me; if you want judges who understand the law and follow it, require judges to have law degrees. Particularly when you've got mag and muni courts dealing with DWIs and a clear pattern that part of the problem, a lot of the problem, in New Mexico with DWI has been improper administrative handling of the cases. Anyway, we shall see what happens. I'll be there for sure; how about you?

Monday, August 22, 2005

everything ends

Another august, another Indian Market. I walked through The Plaza yesterday, circa 5:30 pm, and surveyed the rubble, of which there was much. City workers must have had a long night cleaning (or an early morning). I'll have to ramble over later and see if the grass survived. I should have something more profound to say about the city's largest tourist event but I do not, except that we did not go to the Cowgirl Saturday night because there was a $5 cover even to EAT DINNER, which was somehow directly related to Indian Market but I never did figure out how.
I did go to the Frogville Music Fest for a bit Saturday night, which was well attended and lots of fun and my timing was fabulous as I got to hear 100 Year Flood who I think are awesome and are always even better than I remember everytime I hear them. Felecia Ford's voice and entire performing energy really blow me away. They should be famous. Soon! And as a testament to how much I like them, I still like them even though I met the second-worst person I've ever met during one of their shows one time. But music always transcends these things.
Friday night a crew of us drove to Dixon and ate at La Chorola, which was yummy, and heard Ruben Martinez sing (he writes, he sings, he was good!). My old Rio Arriba source Ike DeVargas was there and I got to visit with him for a while, which made the drive worth it times 10. Ike is a norteno legend, but beyond that, and beyond all the great stories he's told me over the years, he's just so interesting and smart. I love going up north to Rio Arriba. Anyone who doesn't spend some time there is missing out.
This morning whenever I've left the office I've run into people who say hi and when I say hi back they say, "you don't know who I am, do you?" As mentioned before, I have very bad face memory. Once I have a name or, sometimes, a few pieces of information, I'm OK. You know, something like, "I'm the guy you wrote a story about 10 years ago who saved those 40 cats from the river," or "I used to go out with the guy who built his entire house out of license plates" or something. But I never recognize people out of context unless I know them really well. Even then I'm not so hot. I was reading name tags at my five-year college reunion and there were maybe 50 people in my graduating class. This is one reason I could never run for office (one of about 1,000 reasons actually, including the reason that I would never want to do such a thing). Anyway, usually I'm very good at faking recognition until I can figure it out, but that doesn't seem to be working well lately. Partly I've been making a conscious effort to smile and look welcoming when people say hello as opposed to scowling and looking like I have a migraine headache. The smiling seems to be giving me away.
Anyway, the headline of this post refers to last night's final episode of Six Feet Under. (I've never so looked forward to something I've loved ending, it's weird). I was disappointed throughout the 75-minute finale because it was so insanely maudlin, and it's never been a maudlin show. Emotional loose ends were being tied up left and right, ghosts were visiting, all the characters were having crazed dreams. I always think an over-use of magical realism is an indicator that the creator of a piece, whether it's literature or TV (not that magical realism is used very often in television) doesn't know how to deal with things. You need a good balance to keep things in the speculative but not ridiculous realm. Anyway, it was just too much, and just when I thought, well, this is ridiculous, they can't have this much resolution for all these crazed and complicated characters, life isn't like this, they spent the last 15 or so minutes in this long and very beautiful montage that showed all the characters' entire futures, including their deaths! It was one of the craziest things I've ever seen in a visual narrative. And it was profound, because here was this show that spent five seasons saying, over and over again, "everyone dies" while at the same time pounding in the other truth which is that a realization of mortality doesn't guarantee happiness, not even close, not even if you're so close to death that you're a freaking mortician. And then the conclusion flipped it and the characters did find some happiness and then they continued to live. And then they all died.
And you know, you can't really argue with that.
Actually, here's a really good review of the final episode from The Chicago Trib.

Friday, August 19, 2005

and then it was friday

Jonanna and I both are sitting here, in the quiet SFR offices, on Marcy Street, surrounded by blockaded streets and the ominous grumblings of a sky about to burst. We are reading email and looking at the Internet and waiting for Dan and Darius to show up and drive north and eat New Mexican food and listen to poetry and then who knows what.
Today was a good day. Yesterday was a bad day. I don't know what's up for tomorrow but, if nothing else, I've got to work on my adjectives.
Seize the day. Go to the Frogville music festival tomorrow at the Brewing Company, at old Wolf Canyon. It starts at 3 pm and there are a slew of great bands playing. See you there. Won't see you on the Plaza though but if you're going to Market vayo con dios.

everywhere you go

you always take the weather with you. Yes, I have that Crowded House song stuck in my head. Here's a link to it:
Crowded House

Ahem. Dowtown is gray and gloomy and kind of cold. It's like the calm before the storm, though, what with Indian Market getting ready to go. Ran into my good pal Rick at the Five and Dime and we talked about how much we couldn't wait to get out of downtown for the weekend. That seems to be the trend among people I have talked to today, and out there in the blogosophere as well.
Wish I didn't have so many plans this weekend, though, as my boss just lent me the second season of Dead Like Me on DVD and curling up on my couch and watching it sounds awful fine. But, duty, or something, calls. Tonight I am going up north to see Ruben Martinez perform at La Charulo Restaurant. Ruben and his wife Angela are these fantastic interesting people and he will be performing poetry and spoken word. I did an interview with Ruben that you can read here.
Then, Jonanna, Dan, Darius and I will come back to SF and change to go to a birthday party for which we are supposed to dress "fancy." Dressing "fancy" is on a list I have along with "going to the dentist" but I am going to do my very best to look a little less like I just fell out of some 13-year-old skateboarder's closet. Tomorrow night I may go to Albuquerque for another party (I'm so intrastate these days), although I may also just collapse somewhere. This kind of weather is very conducive to staying inside and being cozy.
I may have to ignore the news for the weekend. It's all so freaking depressing right now. The din over Cindy Sheehan has been so deafening I've shirked from adding to it, and will continue to um, shirk, right now (instead I'm going to run home and see if there is anything in my closet that can pretend to be "fancy") but I did think this column by Normon Solomon about how the right is gearing up to discredit Sheehan was interesting.
Here are five other articles I read today that I would recommend:

I love the Salon article about Nike's new campaign to feature women with real and not twig like bodies. (Warning, you have to watch an ad to read the whole article in case you're not familiar with salon). Normally I could care less about advertising campaigns, or body image issues, or women's issues or (Jesus, quite the litany) but I agreed with the author that there's something inspiring and moving about how nuttily raw and funny and in-your-face this campaign is. And, you know what, I agree with the sentiments behind it. Maybe I am a feminist after all. Who knew?
My friend Dave Rolland, who is editor of San Diego City Beat wrote this fiesty piece about the paper's third-year anniversary and what they are striving to do and the strides they've made and their challenges. They are in a market competing against this behometh "alt weekly" that's very conservative and even though City Beat has huge challenges (you try starting a newspaper in this economic/media climate) they are fighting the good fight and I applaud them.
This article from New West about how the Southwest Firefighters calendar is too racy is hilarious and well-written (Emily Esterston used to be the editor at NM Business Weekly and she's quite good). I don't know if you'll like this article as much as I did, but, well, those firefighters are hot (wow, most childish pun ever)
It's too easy to forget about what's going on in Darfur, but this article by David Morse was a bleak reminder of why we shouldn't, can't, forget.
This speech by Richard Rodriguez is freaking awesome. A, it's Richard Rodriguez and he's amazing, but also what he's saying, and the questions he's asking. Are demographics destiny? Who are our neighbors? And what is coming next?
For me, it's a drive down Agua Fria to look for something to wear tonight. I will have to battle through the streets closed for Indian Market. I will get stuck behind slow drivers from Texas and tourists from California and Japan will walk in front of my car without looking. I will drive down Paseo, past The Gerald Peters Gallery and lope over onto Agua Fria, by the Santuario and past Alto Street where I used to live. Agua Fria keeps going and going until I am in the village. There used to be, right past, the Agua Fria Church, a house where they were selling a horse. There was a sign that said "horse for sale" and the horse would always be standing right next to it. That cracked me up beyond anything. Sometimes people ride horses down Agua Fria, which I love, and sometimes kids ride their ATVs down it and it makes me irate thinking of small children on motorized vehicles. When I turn onto my road I always look left to see if there are horses out in the field. That field will be gone someday. Someday soon. I think Jeff Branch bought it for affordable housing. I'll miss those horses.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

indian market blues

WARNING: This post contains pejorative comments about treasured cultural events, religion and death
As I drove down Marcy Street this morning, I spotted the early-morning workers working on the early-market set-up for Indian Market and my heart sunk. I know, I know, I know that Indian Market is a huge cash boon for the city and that, for native artists, it's an important economic contributor to their livlihoods, not to mention a key showcase for their work. Still, I am not a fan. Part of this, I think, can be traced to one of the only times I went to Indian Market, by accident, when I was 19 or 20 years old. I was on my way to work at the old Nighthawk Cafe (do you remember it? Behind Burnt Horses Bookstore?) where I was employed as a cook, and I had been awake for nearly three straight days (for reasons that do not need to be recounted), so I was very very tired. I cut across the Plaza during Indian Market (smart girl) as I was living, for the summer, on Elena Street and, lo and behold, became trapped by hundreds and hundreds and hundreds (or so it seemed; well that's probably accurate, right?) of shoppers. Big, big shoppers. And it was about 102 degrees out. And a hot day in a crowd of tourists bumping into me shopping is the circle of hell Dante forgot to mention. So, you know, not my bag. I'm a terrible shopper. I like to go to bookstores, record stores and, once or twice a year, buy an expensive pair of shoes that looks like the last pair of shoes I owned or, when it's absolutely unavoidable, a new pair of jeans.
And now onto death.
So last night, after a really mediocre workout, I stopped by Darius' and hung out with him, Dan and Lalo for a while. Lalo, we've learned, since last I blogged, has cancer. Most likely stomach cancer. As he's 12 and already pretty skinny and weak, Darius isn't pursuing the biopsy/chemo option, which is entirely his decision but one I can understand; I'm not a huge fan of putting old animals through invasive possibly painful not necessarily curative but definitely expensive treatments. So Lalo is lying on the couch sleeping and Dan asks Darius where the B'ahai stand on matters such as putting Lalo to sleep (I had asked Darius what the vet had to say about this). Darius is B'hai (I'm just going to try spelling it as many ways as possible until something looks right), a religion I didn't know existed until a few years ago and, having such a tenous grasp on mainstream religions, about the only factors in Darius' religion I've been able to hold onto is the fact that he doesn't drink (I'm sure this is the one that sticks with me because this makes him a good designated driver). ANYWAY Darius says that bahai don't ascribe a soul to animals (disclaimer: do not attribute anything I am about to say to Darius as I am notoriously bad at retaining information about religious beliefs) so that the euthanasia decision comes down to the ethical one, about causing the animal the least amount of pain possible. Then Darius asked for my views on animal souls and anima. I told him the first thing that came out of my mouth, which is that I'm not sure I believe that any animal, human or otherwise, has a soul, but I do think that if you're here now in some ways you always are. And I believe that there is some kind of afterlife for all animals, some kind of big after-world animal sanctuary where everything is happy and good for them. I don't believe this because I have any evidence that it's true, and it doesn't really fit with any of my other beliefs, I just believe it because I want to. Because I think all animals are good and undeserving of judgement. Unlike people, they are never cruel. When they die they deserve a nice shady spot (or sunny rock) to lay upon, good food and endless petting. Lalo certainly deserves all this and more.
The three of us then administered a subcutaneous IV to Lalo in Darius' living room to help keep him hydrated. I hate death so much I can barely stand it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


One of our interns just asked me why The Journal's headline on the Walmart vote reads, "Wal-Mart's Big Plans Earn City's Approval" and The New Mexican's read "Council Stalls Wal-Mart for study." An excellent question, I told her. Excellent. My understanding from our reporters and out story is that Wal-Mart is approved; the developers just have to come back in a month having solved the traffic problems. Indeed, it's been pushed back for final approval by 30 days, but it doesn't sound like anyone left there thinking it wasn't going through. I'm just glad that we didn't spell Stewart Udall's name wrong like The Journal did. At least I think I'm glad. Everytime I see his name I think it's spelled wrong; I think I've made our copyeditor check the spelling of his name 300 times this year. Also couldn't help but notice that today's New Mex update on Fran Gallegos wasn't written by Jason Auslander, who has been covering the story, but just has a general "New Mexican" byline. Wonder why that is. I have to agree with one of my in-the-new-mex sources that, clearly, Judge Fran has some problems understanding judicial ethics. At the same time, there is something weird going on with the daily's reportage of this story. I haven't figured out what yet, though. But having The Journal quote the New Mex's city editor about why their reporter called the cops when he saw all the court documents flying in the wind and then have the story the next day be unbylined seems a bit odd.
Meanwhile, I have to start dealing with Restaurant Guide TODAY even though it doesn't publish until October. Madness. I always have to hire a guest editor for RG because I'm really not qualified to do it. I just don't care about food in the right way; if I'm busy I eat power bars. Power bars and sushi are my favorite foods. Plus I don't eat meat or chicken. Plus sitting in restaurants makes me irritable after a while. I usually review about five restaurants for RG and that is my absolute limit. The weird thing about it, though, is that in college I was a line-cook in several restaurants and I was really pretty good at it (although I think I was good at it because I like doing lots of things at once at high speed). I can cook well if I'm in the mood. I'm only in the mood about twice a year though. Isn't this fascinating?
The brief in today's New Mex about the dog that had been shot and had her leg broken in three places and then dumped in a garbage can made me sick to my stomach. I hate people sometimes; I really do.
On that cheerful note: time to make the morning meeting agenda.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

the sensitive man

It's been brought to my attention that in recounting my activities at the AAN conference I left out Chad Oliveiri, editor of The Rochester City Paper who, it was pointed out to me, did so many nice things for me and others during the weekend in Evanston that not mentioning him here is losing me readers in Rochester, NY, wherever the hell that is. So, here's to Chad who:

1. Called me the minute he arrived at O'Hare to apprise me of his ETA to Evanston.
2. Met me at Urban Outfitters where I was trying on urban T-shirts and made less than 10 snide comments about my patronage of trendy clothing stores.
3. Offered up his room for other AAN editors needing to drink specialty liquor (see previous entry)*
4. Walked me to CVC to find sinus medication to try to alleviate vomit-inducing headache **
5. Kept me abreast of all gossipy things that happened while I was throwing up in my room (see #4)***
6. Announced to the entire editorial committee that I was an early riser (information he was told, not information he had first-hand knowedge of) and proceeded to offer my room for Dan Savage to take a shower in****

* Actually I offered up Chad's room for this, but only because when he saw my room he made a point of telling me his was much nicer.
** I would like to point out that I told Chad several times I did not need him to walk me to the CVC and also made it clear that if positions were reversed I would not abandon large crew of alcohol-swilling journalists to walk to drugstore with miserable whining friend.
*** Although one could argue that being a gossip and a nice guy are slightly at odds with each other. I wouldn't make this argument but someone else could.
**** actually this would have been fine with me and great blogging material, but it did not happen.

OK, that's enough tribute to Chad for now. Believe it or not, Nate and Dan's stories are through to the art department and SFR will indeed make its deadlines. But not without paying a price. As I type this, Dan is passed out on my office floor.

after midnight

Today has been interesting thus far as SFR writers Nate Dinsdale and Dan Frosch both attended the Santa Fe City Council meeting that went from 7 pn to 4:30 am and then started writing their news stories at 8 am. Thus communicating with each of them today has been funny (Nate last seen was slumped over on the floor). Still, you can't really pay people enough for that level of obsessed dedication. Of course, the council and city staff were there too, as were many members of the public. Kind of crazy really. For our deadline purposes, I wish all the council meetings were on Mondays rather than Wednesdays, as now we'll have fresh coverage and, when they meet on Wednesdays, anything we do is already a week old. Unless we publish it on our Web site that is. Our new website that is, that allows me to publish web extra at my discretion. It's crazy, though, to think of city business, big city business involving massive Wal-Marts and affordable housing happening between midnight and 4 am. If they'd sold beer the City could have gotten itself enough revenues to pay for its golf course I bet.
Of course the other crazy news story of the day is the story about the city court records found blowing in the wind. What's weird to me is both The New Mex and The Journal have stories that say a custodian, unnamed, saw the documents and both have stories that say the cops, a prosecutor and The New Mexican reporter (presumably Jason Auslander who has been following the story) picked up the documents that were flying around. The Journal, however, has another story, posted earlier (and in the print edition) that says:

[Chief Beverly]Lennen said that a reporter for the Santa Fe New Mexican called her to report what appeared to be court documents in the street.
    New Mexican city editor Howard Houghton would not discuss specifically what was in the documents. But he said the reporter "called the police chief because what appeared to be very interesting documents related to law enforcement were blowing around outside," near the police station.

Weird though that the new mex doesn't make it clear they are the ones that notified the police.
I'm trying to think about whether I would have done the same thing, or instructed a reporter rather, to call the cops if I saw a bunch of court documents flying around in the wind.

Monday, August 15, 2005

warm rain and fried cheese (WRFC)

You know how sometimes you visit a place you think you don't like and end up thinking it's great? That was not the case for me and Evanston, Illinois. I can safely say the midwest has been permanently crossed off my list of Places to Live If I Ever Decide to Leave Santa Fe. The headline for this posting pretty much sums up why (WRFC). However, my weekend at the AAN/Medill Writers Workshop was good, despite the environs (and ensuing headaches as the result of WRFC. Here are a few of the highlights.
My raison d'etre for attendence was, ostensibly, the annual meeting of AAN's Editorial Committee, a motley group of lunatic AAN editors, a quirky mostly-male group, all of whom have great senses of humor and, from what I could tell, high alcohol tolerances. We spent our meeting time discussing the AAN contest, specifically how to deal with the technological ramifications of allowing hundreds of entries to be submitted digitally. We also discussed the Alt Weeklies Web site and how well it has done under the editorship of Ruth Hammond (who was pick-pocketed in Chicago, lost all her ID and was, upon my departure, brainstorming how she was going to leave Evanston without identification!). We talked about future story sharing between AAN papers, conference programming, and were all particularly excited about developing a track of programming about "From Issue to Story" where large-issues (growth, civil liberties etc) would be broken down into actual stories (hence the name).
On the social front, Richard Hart, the editor of The Independent Weekly in Durham, North Carolina, is a connoseur (I still can't spell) of a certain, um, European liquor, and had special ordered a bottle for the weekend. Here's Richard, followed by a photo of us gathered in someone's hotel room for a little pre-dinner toast.

There was a great turnout for the weekend and the graduating class from The Academy of Alternative Journalism, several of whom I spoke with about SFR, so that was productive. There was also, as already mentioned, a lot of cheese. And meat, which of course I didn't eat. But here are other people eating meat, at Merle's, a rib joint in Evanston, where we had our Friday night dinner. It was just as loud and hot as it appears.

As for the programming itself, I thought it was all quite good. Mike Sager, who writes for Esquire and wrote the book "Scary Monsters and Super Freaks," was an engaging speaker who spoke about writing in a very captivating way that I'm sure was motivating for the young writers there (and the old dried-up ones such as myself). Another high point for me was the editor/writer discussion between Westword Editor Patricia Calhoun and former writer Julie Jargon about Jargon's story on the rape of female Airforce cadets which won several national awards. This was great programming as everyone got to hear how the story came to be, how Jargon approached reporting it, all the ups and downs in the reporting cycle that were faced and how they were dealt with.

I suppose the most-anticipated part of the conference was the last event, a talk by Dan Savage, editor of The Stranger that was titled "On Not Sucking." I sat next to a very nice guy on the airplane to Chicago, named Chase, and while we waited two hours for the plane to take off (a part was "broken," according to the pilot, and "leaking." Thanks for the comforting information, right?), I mentioned Savage would be speaking at the conference I was attending and he was very thrilled. I don't blame him. Dan is an extremely funny writer and speaker and it's always great to hear from him. The gist of Dan's talk was that, as "liberal" alt.weeklies we need to capture a less-compromising attitude about what we do. We can't bend over, so to speak, for prudes offended by the sometimes-sexy nature of our papers, or conservatives or anyone. Basically, anyone who doesn't agree with us can fuck off. As a philosophy, I think that's pretty reductive, and deciding that people in the "fly over states" don't matter isn't a particularly helpful notion for those AAN editors who edit papers in fly-over states (and the whole fly-over states/rural versus urban/red versus blue vernacular is, in my opinion, tired, tired, tired and is essentially just the cooption of the left by the right since they are the ones that created this idea of the cultural elite in the first place). But what I do appreciate about Savage is twofold. One, it's great that someone has that vision, even if it's not a vision for everyone. The Stranger's success lies in its clear vision of what it is and its understanding of who its readers are. I think that's the message Dan delivers that everyone can learn from. Second, he's provocative. Everyone was talking about what he had to say well into the night. Some agreed, some vehemently disagreed, but his talk sparked debate about something very important, which is the future of our profession and the role of journalists and, even, the role of liberal discourse. So that was the shit. And, here's Dan:

There's lots more I could say but I should get to work and my short-term memory took a beating over the weekend, if you know what I mean. I will say that as nasty as Santa Fe's sprawling, big-box southside is right now, it's better than Evanston's downtown cutesie, Main-street deception in which everything looks like a local shoppe but is actually a chain store. Also, a big shout-out to the renovated Hotel Orrington which features a dog bowl of water and dog biscuits outside and a sign welcoming all four-legged creatures, plus Aveda bath products in the rooms. This incorporated two of my favorite things in the world (canine friendliness and Aveda bath products) so I was happy. The hotel staff had clearly been trained to make guests feel welcome, which translated into a slightly aggressive form of courteousness (there was a man in the lobby who kept jumping out at me saying, "How are you? How is your stay? Do you need anything? to the point that I felt like I should provide him with a challenging task, like hemming my jeans or finding me a Mont Blanc pen) but better that than the alternative.
OK, seriously, back to work.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

tick tock

Just ran out for a quick early lunch at Counter Culture—world of the greatest spring rolls this side of, um, Bernalillo? I don't know. Feel a little crazed trying to make sure everything gets done before I leave tomorrow for sunny Evanston, Illinois. (I don't really know if it's sunny). I have a sort of irrational prejudice against the midwest based on nothing (hence irrational, although I think I believe all prejudices are irrational), but it will be nice to get out of town for a few days, attend some kickass journalism workshops, listen to Dan Savage (wish I could get away with changing my last name to Savage) see some fellow AAN editors and, most importantly, sleep in a climate-controlled hotel room for a few nights. I probably won't be able to blog from there, but I surely will try to report on my workshops etc., upon my return. May, perhaps, borrow camera from SFR to take with me. In the meantime, I have a gazillion emails, calls, meetings to shuffle through, errands to run etc., boring, boring so I guess I better skidaddle (can't possibly be the right spelling).
But before I go, here are the questions/thoughts I am pondering:
The city council meeting tonight is looking pretty freaking crazy. Bets on how late it goes? Will Wal-Mart get approved? Is Judge Gallegos' reputation so screwed that no one is going to blink at the fact that the person pointing the finger left her court a year ago, just came forward now, right before leaving town, after working for her ex-husband? Will SF County drop the idea of DWI seizures now that Abq's law has been shot down? Will the county buy the former Paramount building? Should they? Is it a coincidence that both the new mex and the journal used the verb "probe" to describe the governor's interest in investigating the Gallegos situation? Am I the only one that associates the word probe in a semi-dirty way?

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a persistent one.

-Albert Einstein

the fran gallegos story

Be sure to check out SFR's story today about the fact that the whistleblower cited by The New Mex in their recent stories was working for Fran's ex-husband at the time. You will note neither The New Mex nor The Journal mentioned this, and they certainly would have had they known. Does this make the story less credible? Well, sources and the media have been a big topic of late, yes? So certainly if they knew they would have disclosed it so that the reader knew. The question I have now is will the dailies, particularly The New Mex which has been riding this story, come back and tell their readers that the main whistleblower was working for Fran's ex at the time? Would they have handled the story differently? (Like inspected more than 13 of the 800 available records?). Time will tell, dear readers.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

seizure laws

Last week, on 7 Days in Santa Fe Eric Zipf and I were discussing Sheriff Greg Solano's proposal to have the county pass an ordinance to seize the cars of drunk drivers. I said, with a bit of confusion (hey, we tape at 8:30 am) that I thought there were constitutional questions pending regarding such seizure laws. Anyway, the courts just struck down Albuquerque's seizure laws so I guess this is something SF should consider before it passes one of its own.
Hey, it's 5:30 and I'm out of here. Probably won't sleep tonight wondering if our story is going to be in the dailies tomorrow. Morning will tell.

blue blog

I've been enjoying the Soy Blue blog, but I laughed at loud at this post about why Dems shouldn't have to compromise. The idea of replacing "Hail the Chief" with a Metallica song seems very funny. I didn't know anyone associated with politics in this state actually had a sense of humor. Actually I don't know if the Soy Blue Blogger ("I'm Blue" en Spanish) is a party person. I can't really tell who is writing the blog, but I like its tone, yo. I have been trying to keep on top of local blogs but they seem to multiply daily. Still, if you know of one I don't know of (which you can assess by reading my mind), let me know and I'll add links here and request to add links to SFR's new fancy web site. Meanwhile, the power went out for a few seconds here half an hour ago, ON DEADLINE, which was frightening, although it did allow me the opportunity to yell, "Save your work people" which is one of my favorite things to do. (Hey, I'm never going to get to yell "Stop the Presses" and yelling "Does anyone know what a deadline is" hasn't gone over very well). The computers seem fine. My phone, however, is dead and the monitor on it readsd: "Major Alarm." Hmm.
Steve Terrell kindly emailed me earlier to let me know Greg Payne had erroneously credited Steve with pointing out the Salon Richardson profile before anyone when, in fact, I blogged about it first. But you know what, I'm not going to get all competitive about who blogs about someone else's journalism first. Cuz that's like just silly (but I did mention it first. Oh, who am I kidding? I am an A-type personality from way back. It's amazing I get the four hours of sleep a night I get. Still, blog scoops (hey! I think I just made up a term. And invented the double paranthetical) are not my main concern. Now, our little scoop for tomorrow in the old hard-copy on the street paper is another matter. But I'm not talking about it here. I'm not jinxing it. I'm not). (Have totally lost track of parenthesis by now. Am signing off). (Stay dry New Mexicans).


OK, am practicing patience. Poorly, but trying.
Slate has this great series it does sometimes where it finds hard-to-find customer-service numbers. This would be, I think, a great idea for SFR, since certain numbers in SF are not only hard to find, but impossible. It's completely bizarre to me how often government numbers change, and PNM frequently doesn't even seem to have a Santa Fe number. Not to mention we may be the only city in the world where the phone book frequently appears to not be in alphabetical order.


I am controlling myself from checking on the writer-who-is-running late today, but it is taking all of my control. The writer has good reason to be late: lots and lots of copy, a great little story that I can't wait to hit the streets tomorrow, all written under the glaring eye of an editor who can't stand it when things are late. I seriously can't stand it. I am a deadline freak. So I am distracting myself by blogging distractedly. OK, well, here's some good news, which is that we actually found Lalo. I have never known a missing cat to be found before so this was quite an accomplishment, although it seems to me, now, that Lalo wasn't so much missing as perhaps hiding. Anyway, Dan, Jonanna and I set out wandering the Zia Vista Apartment Complex, armed with my ridiculous flyers ("old, skinny, no tags, likes tuna"). Because I grew up in an apartment complex sort of like Zia Vista and spent quite a lot of time wandering about it pretending I was a private detective (long story) this sort of made me feel like a kid again, particularly as we stumbled upon residents and others, all of whom seemed suspicious, and began hatching a theory that Lalo had, in fact, been abducted (as everyone wants an old, skinny cat with tuna breath). We also began trying to venture down into the Arroyo to search for Lalo (or his body), but were thwarted by bramble and our own sockless shoewear (this was not exactly a Search and Rescue team here). Anyway, we then spotted Lalo in the parking lot, pretty much right by Darius' house. He proceeded to run away from us (hence my hiding versus missing theory), but we coaxed him back upstairs and began speculating about what might have happened to him (I was voting for amnesia). We then fed him tripe (blech) and tuna (ugh) and attempted to rebond and show him some love. All's well that ends well. Meanwhile, back at my own animal house, the handicapped dog ramp has been completed, but the aged dog in question is having nothing to do with it. The other dog loves running up and down it (it's actually carpeted), but Kita puts one foot on it and then turns around and stomps away very crankily.
OK, I'm checking my in-box for the last story of the issue one more time now. More later, I hope.

Monday, August 08, 2005

bloody hell

The big problem of the day is that Lalo, Darius' cat, appears to be missing. On the bright side, Dan is in town so I am not actually responsible for Lalo being missing. The downside is, this isn't about me (I know everything isn't about me), it's about poor Lalo. So after work Dan, Jonanna and I are going on a search for Lalo with flyers I've made up (they read as follows: "Old. Skinny. No Tags. Likes Tuna"). There are many other things one could say about Lalo, who actually originally comes from the Middle East (perhaps he's been picked up by Homeland Security? Not funny Julia). I am making bad jokes about Lalo because it's so awful that he's missing I can't even stand it. I also don't know where we are going to look for him as he never really goes anywhere.
In other news, if all goes well we may have quite the little scoop for Wednesday. But I don't want to jinx it... or let the cat out of the bag. Oh God—that wasn't even intentional.

the bill richardson profile

Salon took on Bill Richardson this week in what has become, I think, the standard Bill Richardson profile. We did one on the guv too way back when. I guess, perhaps, we'll have to do another, although hopefully we could find something a bit new to say. Former Trib reporter Anderson wrote kind of a puff piece, IMO, but I suppose for a national audience who doesn't know Richardson that well (is there such an audience?), perhaps it served its purpose. I don't really understand the timing of it

two santa fes

2nd street 2REAL TOWN
second st. 1 2ND ST.
amazing larry AMAZING LARRY
karaoke film KARAOKE
ursula URSULA

I started out my weekend traipsing through the Plaza for the Girls Inc. crafts fair and feeling that the only way to accurately describe my reaction to the fair would be: Blech. I'm sorry. Girls Inc. is great and all but why do we think that the best way to appeal to Santa Fe tourists is with these generic schlocky fairs? Why not incorporate real Santa Fe events into the downtown scene? Why are they so disparate? Peace Day was going on in The Railyard and was so much more real and vibrant and interesting.
And, just a few miles away, The Second Street Experience was well underway and was a taste of local Santa Fe. Local vendors, like Aware, skateboarders, kids, tons of local musicians (Amazing Larry is the photo on this page, a great band with Andy Primm, Lehra Gordon and Bjorn... something, why can't I remember anyone's last name?). There was local food (Back Road Pizza among them), And so much more, like Hollis Wake, Ray Charles Ives, 100 Year Flood etc. etc. Meanwhile, downtown, there was this crazy-ass New Age flute music playing and all sorts of weird crappy art that, I'm sorry, I don't even think was made locally. It doesn't make any sense to me. You could have been anywhere USA downtown at some generic flea market. Over on Second Street, you were in Santa Fe. End of story. Also a very Santa Fe event, later that evening, was the film premiere for Ursula Coyote's karaoke mockumentary, which was very fun and very funny. Tthe glamourous woman above is Ursula, who was dressed to the nines. Actually, everyone was dressed to the nines except, you guessed it, me and mine. We looked, well, we looked like this:
the kids are alrightJ, DAN & GRACE

monday thievery

The The Journal North stole The New Mex's Gallegos story and, not only did they not credit The New Mex, they cited the original story thusly: "A newspaper reported Sunday..." It's such unethical bullshit for the dailies to follow stories by one another and us (the Journal also stole our Whole Foods story from last week in their paper today). Almost any paper in any city you will find stories that follow other papers' stories and, you know what, they cite the papers. You know why? Because when you don't make it clear where the news came from (a press conference, a report, a source, another newspaper) you're doing a massive disservice to your readers, because you're not providing them any context for the news they are reading. It's not about giving other papers credit (although why not? Be a freaking man), but about disclosure.

Friday, August 05, 2005


The Journal North's paper edition reads "Guilty Pleas in Beating of Gay." Online it says Guilty Pleas in Beating of Gay Man, which is better, not particularly creative, but better than just "Gay." Was that an error? It's kind of crazy. Well, I'm glad at least someone is pleading guilty, and also glad that the man who drove drunk and killed the bicyclist plans to plead guilty. This morning, Eric and I spent a lot of time talking about how to keep drunk drivers off the street, reporting people via The Patriot Act. The city spies on people throwing their trash away. Cameras in convenience stores etc. etc. The common thread through all this, I think, is personal responsibility. It's as though, as a society, we've given up on people taking responsibility for their actions of their own accord, we've given up on the thought that people are just going to follow the law, or do what's right, and instead we've decided to police them, and people are so tired of worrying about what other people might or might not do, that they're willing to allow the policing. It's like putting cameras in a bathroom to make sure people are washing their hands. You only need Big Brother, or are willing to have Big Brother, when you've agreed to be infantalized. Look how often people accused of crimes try to get out of it. The truth is, Tim Solano and David Trinidad could just as easily have tried to fight their convictions—God knows other drunk drivers and attackers have. Fight them on technicalities or what have you. It doesn't change what they did, but at least they're admitting it. It's not much consolation to those who have and will suffer for what they did.
OK, I'm going to fall off my high horse now and go back to work. As you can tell, I'm in a swell mood. The truth is, some days it seems to me we are living in times when everyone is angry, with their back up, unreasonable and, often, not very kind. The government just gets worse and worse. You look around at countries where people have nothing and where people die on the streets every five seconds and it seems incomprehensible on the one hand and completely imaginable on the other. How long would it take us, once our food and electricity was gone, to start pillaging? To turn our backs on one another? Or am I being unduly cynical? Or is my cynicism long overdue? Maybe the question isn't, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?" but, "Does anyone care if it falls?"
No more coffee for me today. Maybe I should go eat something. My blood sugar level has plummeted as has my mood.


Well, it's friday. I've just come from taping my show, 7 Days in Santa Fe, at sfcc. My co-host, Eric Zipf, was so inspired by this blog (ha) that he's started his own blog, but he appears to have gone on vacation shortly after starting it, so stay tuned.
I'm up in the air about this weekend. I leave next week for Chicago for another conference and feel inclined to lay low until then. I will, I think, stop by The Second Street Experience at some point and am planning to go check out Ursula Coyote'snew documentary about karaoke. Other than that... I'll probably cruise Peace Day at some point and, if properly motivated, maybe even take a few pictures. OK, later...
Oh, almost forgot. SFR's former, former, former art director, my friend Suzanne has a blog. Check it out.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

freaking internet

Well, the email isn't working right this morning. There is a 10-hour period in which no email was sent to me, which is impossible. The reason the email isn't working has something to do with the fact that we've switched servers for our new web site. Or providers. Something. I don't freaking know. All I know is I hate it when the day begins with the email not working, not to mention I hate it when I know there is email lost in space that may never come through because there is no way for me to track down hypothetical email. On the other hand, I don't really think there is anything so important that it matters that much if I never receive it. Or, rather, I can't quite imagine what that would be but I do in fact think or worry (kind of rabidly) that's what's happened. For example, about a month ago, an old, old friend from high school tracked me down and emailed me and now we're back in correspondence. What if the email had gone kablooey that exact day and I'd never received her email or responded? It's terrible to be this dependent on email, actually, now that I think about it. What am I even talking about?
Ahem. So, back at the homestead, Peter and Tris are building a handicapped ramp off my back porch for my oldest dog, Kita. As a project, there's a level of absurdity that even I, dog fanatic, can't help but recognize. The ramp was Tris', not my, idea. It would never have occured to me to admit that Kita needed a ramp because that would have meant admitting Kita is getting old (she's 12), which would mean admitting I'm getting old and in my world neither I nor my dogs ever age. The project is in the midway point. The stairs have been removed but the ramp has not yet been set up (there's another set of stairs that can be used on the other side of the porch in the interim). Kita has been observing the construction site with a very Dowager-like air (is that a real word?). It really seems as if she's completely aware that all these two by fours are for her benefit and as if she's waiting for them to finish her ramp. Of course, I am the queen of anthropomorphasizing (although clearly not the queen of spelling). OK, without email I suppose I could take this opportunity to get some work done.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

more bad news for reporters

The first American journalist was killed in Iraq

more miami madness

Well, E & P finally got on the Miami story. I was not impressed with Miami New Times handling of this piece. I could understand the decision to run all the transcripts, police reports etc., but without narrative and other reporting, I just didn't think it was very readable and it didn't tell me anything, there was no narrative authority whatsoever. I don't think it's responsible for anyone killing themselves, but I don't think it was journalism in any real sense of the word. And the reporter telling E & P he didn't call Teele for a comment because he didn't think he'd call him back because he never had before made me cringe. You always call. No matter what, in my book.

oh my god

This Snuppy situation is freaking me out big time. The thought of cloning a dog is just bizarre beyond belief. (aren't there enough actual dogs?) Aren't there people who have saved their dead dogs' DNA so that when the technology is there they can have their olds cloned? This trips me out. And makes me want to go home and watch Multiplicity for the 300th time.

My First Guest Blogger

Hi. This is Jonanna Widner. I am very honored to be Julia’s guest blogger for the day. I am also the assistant editor and music writer for the Reporter. I would say that I am Julia’s right-hand man, only:

1) I am not a man.
2) My desk is actually to the left of Julia’s office.
3) I don’t think she thinks I am her right-hand anything.
But, that’s still what I tell my parents.

But I digress. I’m here to report on the escapades of last night’s KBAC White Witch Caravan. The White Witch Caravan was the brainchild of KBAC’s morning DJ Honey Harris (with whom I do a Wednesday morning segment every week, btw, called “Fun Wednesdays. Which I know is a truly stupid name for a radio show, but, hey, I kinda shoot my cleverness wad every week writing the Reporter table of contents). Anihoots, the WWC was this deal where several lucky KBAC contest winners got free tickets to last night’s Stevie Nicks concert and joined Honey and me for a grand excursion to the Journal Pavilion to see the show. The grand excursion began at the Cowgirl, where proprietor Nicholas Ballas had invented the “White Witch Cocktail,” which was a margarita with a coaster containing a line of fake cocaine on top of the glass. By the time I rolled up to the Cowgirl, most of the contest winners were already there, including this very cute couple, the wife of which was dressed in “Rhiannon”-era Stevie garb. It was their anniversary, and they both were super-obsessed with Stevie Nicks, so it was cute to see them celebrate their love with classic rock and fake cocaine. (I apologize here, as, due to the consumption of several WW Cocktails, I can’t remember everyone’s name). Several KBAC staff were also in attendance, including Luther Watts and Station Manager Ira Gordon. As the WW Cocktails were slurped down in quick succession, we got to know one another. There were a couple of enthusiastic Santa Fe natives who regaled me with their hippie/classic rock tales (they told me about how the Rolling Stones like Santa Fe and will come here to eat New Mex food, I think at Café Estevan but I can’t remember; about how David Bowie once hung out at El Farol and how Bono sang a couple songs there about 15 years ago). There was Rhiannon lady, Honey sporting a fake white-winged dove on her wrist (a Stevie Nicks corsage?) and former SFR intern Delores McElroy, who is perhaps the most Stevie-obsessed person who is not a gay man or Courtney Love that I’ve ever met. Delores looked smashing in a red, Stevie-type dress and high suede boots definitely culled from the Fleetwood Mac line. She also was lugging around a HUGE bouquet of flowers that were just gorgeous. I asked her, “Who gave you the lovely flowers?” And she suddenly got very serious, looked me in the eye, and said, “These are for Stevie!” and then shifted them to the arm furthest away from me.
As we continued to imbibe and plan our one-hour journey to the Journal Pavilion we grew louder and more noticeable and people were starting to stare at us. I felt kinda geeky, like we were the hyper Classics Club members planning our weekend excursion to the Renaissance Festival. But it was cute. And fun. After awhile I didn’t care, and off we went.
Two hours later (somebody who will remain nameless forgot their tickets and we had to turn around and go get them. Then we stopped at the liquor store) we arrived at the Pavilion.
OK, this is the part that sucks. We had general admission tickets and so we were supposed to just grab a seat on the grass. I immediatly got separated from the rest of the group and ended up with my friend who lives in Albuquerque, Frannie, and a friend of hers, who had met me at the show. So the three of us sat together, but I had no idea where everyone else was.
The show itself was great, much better than I thought it would be, in all honesty. Stevie’s voice is in top form, and, from what I could tell from her blown-up image on the giant screens, she looks good. She also looks the same as she did 10 years ago, with long hair in the back and those thick bangs in the front. She went through several wardrobe changes, variations on the “wispy, sequined and black theme.” She sang most of her hits except “Landslide.”
It’s amazing how Stevie Nicks makes the lines of the world blur, how everything gets a little gauzy and softens. It’s rare when I have a cheesy, visceral experience due to a musical act, but dammit that lady gets to me. And, oh my god, the giant screen behind her was a work of dorky art: At one point, there was a computer-generated dove flapping around. At another, there was Stevie up on the screen, then a computer-generated butterfly few out of her heart. And, during the final song, the screen featured a montage of Beauty and the beast/ Wolfman/ monster love stories.
I got up to go to the bathroom during Stevie’s cover of some Bonnie Raitt song. Very, very poor decision on my part. You know how we were sitting in the middle of the grass? Well, when I returned, I realized I would never find my friends, even though they stood out among the usual Stevie fans. I was contending with thousands of people, a very large grass area and a very big beer buzz. I decided I’d just sit down and enjoy the rest of the show by myself.
Once, when I was a sophomore in high school, I got separated from my friends at the Pink Floyd show at Texas Stadium. That was a terrifying experience that ended with me sobbing in the filthy stadium bathroom while “Wish You Were Here” played in the background. I felt isolated and alone and miserable. This was a totally different concert loner experience. I sprawled out on the cool summer grass, by myself among thousands of strangers, so content I didn’t even care about the guy of questionable intelligence yelling “Whoo! Whoo!” at random times behind me. You know how at concerts there’s always one person hanging out by themselves? Just sitting there? And you wonder what their story is? I was that person and at first it was a little embarrassing. But then as the first delayed guitar riffs of “Edge of Seventeen: started, I became the biggest, happiest geek in the amphitheater. Goddamn that’s a good song. By the middle of it, I was having a spiritual experience. I remembered why I like rock ’n’ roll so much. I remembered why people still clutch on desperately to songs that are 10, 20, 30 years old. I remembered why people like Delores go through the trouble of buying expensive flowers and lugging them to Albuquerque. It was a hackneyed, cheesy moment, and I’m not a bit embarrassed by that. Well, OK, maybe just a little.
And then it was over. We all met up at the pre-appointed meeting space and got in the stuffy van and headed back to our lives. Before I drifted off to sleep, I caught up on the rest of the group: Delores talked a security guy into letting her go up to the stage and got to give Stevie her flowers and shake her hand. Honey also got “separated” and ended up watching the show from some “VIP” section. And, apparently, the married couple “rolled around on the grass” during much of the show and may have conceived a child. I hope they name it Stevie.

god, gannett sucks

This article about hw Gannett is now the leading owner of weekly papers is very disturbing. For the last several years, when I attend AAN conferences, discussion of "faux alt" weeklies has been a dominant topic. If you want a real look into the Gannett world, read SFR founder Dick McCord's book The Chain Gang

It's a Soft Launch

whatever the heck that means, but it's a launch. SFR's new website is up and running. Check it out. If you have any feedback, give it to someone else. I'm not in charge of it! No, you can give it to me. I'll make sure the appropriate people hear it.
In other news, this Washington Post article about the Wen Ho Lee is pretty fascinating (I think you have to register to read it on The Post site, but it's free. Also, The New Mex reprinted it in its print version today). Essentially, the WP's lawyers are arguing that sources when speaking to reporters are entitled to the same confidentiality as the prayer/priest; client/therapist priviledge.
Still waiting for the comments to get rolling on the Fran Gallegos story. It's pretty quiet so far. I find it odd that the new mex made that the top-of-the-fold story today. The Journal North has a brief inside. We just had a brief on it too. It's not like it was some major piece of news—she decided not to run and went around town handing press releases to the media. From the way the New Mex played it you'd have thought everyone was on pins and needles waiting to find out. It's not like she is the mayor and not running for re-election. I don't know. I don't get that as a news choice at all. I sort of think anything spoonfed like that doesn't deserve top-of-the-fold play. Well, maybe the comments will get rolling and people really will be interested. But the new mex and journal so often play everything exactly the same, same stories, same pictures, same placement, that this jumped out at me.
Meanwhile, Bush is coming to NM to sign The Energy Bill because he promised Domenici he would.
I'm not sure I could be anymore tired than I am right now. The nice coffeebar person at WF this morning asked me why I wasn't coming for coffee anymore and I told her I can barely sleep as it is. But it's nice to be missed. We have a story in today's SFR (no, it's not up on the Web site yet) about WF having to jettison a bunch of workers whose immigration status is unclear. For now, you can read that, and Silja JA Talvi's story on The Patriot Act (destined for reauthorization by Bush) at AltWeeklies
OK, time to get ready for the morning meeting and deal with the monthly budget. After that, I think I'll crawl under my desk for a nap.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

the public life

State Sen. John Grubesic isn't faring too well in the public eye. I wonder if he will survive this and continue on in his nascent career. My guess is no, but other public officials have managed so maybe I'll be wrong. Just for the hell of it, off the top of my head, here's my:


Jaramillo's rise and fall is probably one of the most intriguing of recent northern New Mexico history. She's yet to win her way back into public office however.
Also an intriguing character, and despite all the various controversies, Fiorino made a very strong showing when he ran for County Treasurer
Gets to go down in history has having helped elect a right-wing Republican to represent NM's 3rd district in Congress. Still, not an elected official, but there's worse jobs than Supt. Of Insurance. Although he's still managed to garner attention for conflicts of interest. Serna actually came pretty close to tears at a press conference I attended years ago when he was talking about allegations against him. here's one link about Serna.
High-profile ethics violations, but she's still muni judge. Re-elected in her last race. As for her future political aspirations, read SFR tommorrow.
Won re-election, but his opponent did pretty well considering. Ortiz has a health excuse for his behavior, although it's unclear how much that plays with the public.
Santa Feans will forgive a lot, but they probably won't forgive someone purporting to be a liberal actually turning out to be conservative
I guess the public used to be more forgiving of public officals who drive drunk. At least when they stop.
I think he might have a hard time getting back into public life. going to prison usually means your career is over.
Another one of Gov. Richardson's not-so-swift appointments. I love how it's presented as if the news surfaced that Chavez was convicted of a felony. Like it was a secret. OK, granted, I know about this because I was a witness to the grand jury for this particular case (and a reporterr in Rio Arriba at the time), but doesn't the governor's office have any means of doing background checks? C'mon.
10. OK, I've run out of steam and can't decide who my 10th pick is. Richardson? Naranjo? Peso? What do you think? Who else am I forgetting?

Monday, August 01, 2005

One more quick disclaimer. I actually hardly ever watch TV, but Friday I went to pay the overdue and overpriced cable bill (I still can't believe those raised rates. What bullshit) and decided I was either cancelling Cable or at least getting a bit of my money's worth. Still think maybe it's time to cancel the cable. HBO is great, but I can probably find a way to traumatize myself emotionally for free.

Six Feet Under

Since I can't get last night's episode of Six Feet Under out of my head, I figured I might as well write about it. I apologize to those of you who think TV is evil. You're not wrong. On the other hand, if you're going to watch TV, an adult soap with Shakespearian twists and turns and Jungian overtones (and overlords) isn't the worst way you could go.
The most recent episode of Six Feet Under ends with one of the few predictable deaths of the series—that of Nate Fisher, Narcissist. His wife, Brenda, calls him a narcissist in his dream shortly before he dies. But he actually dies in his brother David’s dream, as signified by diving into a warm ocean, one of the more unsubtle dream sequences of the show. But little in the devastating episode is subtle. The characters on Six Feet Under are decompensating like mad. Just as dead characters are as present as living ones on the show, the shadows of the characters’ psyches also are no longer staying underground. Just as viewers may be experiencing the sense that familiarity breeds contempt with these characters, so are the characters themselves. The main characters on Six Feet Under all hate themselves, and as the series draws to a conclusion few are even trying to hold it together.
First: Nate. Having married and impregnated Brenda, with whom he has shared an intense and dramatic on-again, off-again relationship for the entire series, Nate now realizes that they don’t work. That men and women don’t have to be at odds, at war, locked in tension. What looked like romance, he realizes, was just drama. And he’s done with it. A healthy observation under most circumstances, but not when your wife is pregnant, you’ve just had adulterous sex with your former step-sister, had your second brain aneurism and are reaching most of your conclusions about how you’ll be spending the rest of your life from the comfort of a coma. Most of the deaths on Six Feet Under come as a black-comedy surprise. Not Nate’s. Even if spoilers hadn’t riddled the Internet for weeks, his dreams in the hours before his death are clear signs. They are unsubtle. In one, he tells Brenda he is leaving her and hears exactly what she will say. She accuses him of selfishness and immaturity. In another, he continues with his lovemaking of his former step-sister, as he might have had he not collapsed in real life. This is, in fact, his future a priori, but it’s not a future he’s going to have, nor is it one with much meaning. Nate is ready to die; his story is played out. In David’s dream he dives into the warm womb-like primordial sea. Buh bye,
Meanwhile, the war between the genders continues. The only happy couple on Six Feet Under is David and Keith, two gay men who have worked through their problems in therapy and are now in the process of adopting two screwed-up young boys. Everyone else on the show is a wreck. Ruth Fischer, the martyred mother, can’t be found during Nate’s collapse because she’s off in the woods with her former hairdresser boyfriend. But she can’t follow through on their sexy woods trip and stomps off into the woods. While walking she indulges a fantasy sequence in which she shoots all her former boyfriends and husbands. Her feminist fantasy is short-lived. She catches a ride back to town with a busload of Tai Chi practitioners, and converses, via translator, with an Asian woman who advises her that all men just want their mothers and that she might as well stay with the devil she knows (her estranged second husband, who is paranoid schitzophrenic and spent most of last season preparing a bomb shelter to live in).
As for Claire, she engages in a political argument over the Iraq War with her new lawyer boyfriend, an argument in which she makes it clear, by her expression, that she could never love a man whose politics were so bad. Well, that is until he stays all night with her at the hospital. There’s nothing funny about peace, love and understanding on Six Feet Under. Any act of kindness on the show makes you realize you’ve been holding your breath for half an hour.
As for Brenda, she’s always been my favorite character. Crazy, crazy, crazy, yes. A child genius who acted out most of her adult life and then decided to become a therapist. Nate won’t even fight with her right before he dies. He tells her from his hospital bed that he’s done fighting and his sanctimonious face, as if leaving your pregnant wife is a Zen act, is so excruciating awful that if he hadn’t died by himself, one would have forgiven Brenda for killing him. But what’s clear, as this wacked-out HBO show comes to a close, is that no one is getting out of here alive. Even if everyone isn’t going to become a “shadow” in the ghost-sense, the shadows of the characters’ psyches seem to have had enough of being polite. Just before Nate dies in David’s dream, their father offers David a hit off a crack pipe (harckoning back to the season where David was carjacked by a crack addict). The look on David’s face is pure anguish. Something tells me there is more to come.