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Friday, September 30, 2005

top 10 friday thoughts

1. I haven't finished reading this NY Times story about fact verus fiction in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath but it's pretty interesting so far. If you recall CNN did a story after The Washington Post did a story about all the violence, particularly against women and children. David Carr of The Times followed up with this and now The Times seems to have run the story a bit to the ground. The Post also has followed with this story although I'm not sure it really acknowledges that its own story previously perpetuated these "rumors." Also, have to say, find it all very weird and crazy that this happened. Hope CJR or E & P or someone delves in more fully.
2. Looks like we're getting another Wal-Mart unless litigation from the opposition prevails.
3. Looks like The House in NM will have to begin impeachment proceedings against Treasurer Robert Vigil. I think it's unfortunate the state doesn't have some mechanism for addressing elected officials who have been arrested or indicted (or maybe I think it's unfortunate that such a thing would be needed; or maybe BOTH). Speaking as impartially as possible, impeachment seems difficult as Vigil is innocent until proven guilty. On the other hand, citizens deserve to not have a treasurer at work getting paid (or not at work getting paid for that matter) who has been indicted federally for alleged corruption. There needs to be some better solution. Of course, he could just agree to step aside; that would be the best outcome for everyone.
4. Yesterday I went to Albuquerque and sat on a panel with Joe Monahan, political blogger extrordinaire and Doug Roberts of the LANL blog and spoke to a room of PR people about blogging. There was a moment, at the outset, when I thought to myself, "I have voluntarily walked into a room of PR people but that passed and it was a lot of fun, very interesting and the group was gracious and smart and very welcoming. Also, Joe Monahan lived up to my expectations. I love those old-school journalists; it was my favorite thing about working for the Rio Grande Sun was listening to Bob Trapp and having him growl things like, "Find out where the money came from!"
5. Too much hyperlinking.
6. Restaurant Guide is almost done. Yahoo!
7. I got another freaking speeding ticket. I am definitely being targeted for driving a sports car. Dan was in the car and can testify; other people were whizzing by me! I disapprove of speed traps; I think they are a waste of law enforcement energy and just designed to raise money. Plus, triple fines in construction zones when it's night and there are no construction workers are bullshit. Plus, how could I have been speeding? A. I've been really, really watching this and B. I had just pulled onto St. Francis Drive.
8. It looks like I now have a Blackberry. It also looks like I may have to spend the entire weekend figuring out how it works. It also looks like it might not have a camera in it...
9. I love this time of year so much. I predict first snowfall by Oct. 15
10. I am cleaning my house this weekend and doing my laundry! No matter what else happens, this much is true.
11. I said I was writing 10 friday thoughts and here is the 11th, and I steal it from Jonathan Swift: "May you live every day of your life."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Separated at birth?

OK, Tom DeLay and Robert Vigil look nothing alike. But we know what they have in common.
Someone in my office (someone from Texas) just whooped over DeLay's indictment. I will say, he stepped down a heck of a lot faster than Vigil did.

good intentions thwarted by 9 am

Well, headed over to mag court this morning to deal with stupid citation only to find court is closed all week. Teenage girls outside asked me, "how can a court be closed all week?" Hell if I know. I assume the date on my ticket is now extended. Very considerate!
Found the list of Supreme Court cases to be reviewed interesting. The idea of Anna Nicole Smith's case getting to the Supreme Court seems amusing…as much as anything. Am actually a bit ticked off court was closed. It takes about seven hours of negotiating for me to plan things like going to court, as in, missing work, as in sitting there, as in, trying to obey the law. Also, how did every other person in the world know the court was closed today? The only other people there were the teenage girls. As an editor of a newspaper, I can tell you I did not receive information the court would be closed. OK, am going to go make coffee and do work. Am not starting day by complaining, particularly when too tired to even use pronouns.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I believe

what this column by David Carr says is true. I believe!

at my own hands

Have just finished, sort of, writing checks for all the various speeding and parking tickets I've amassed over the last month. I am probably one of the few people for whom being gouged at the pump is secondary to being gouged by my own bad-girl luck and poor driving choices. Tomorrow I have to go to mag court and show proof of insurance, which I did not have on me when pulled over at stupid speed trap at Rufina and South Meadows (was cited for not coming to a complete stop at a threeway stop at which three of the four ways have no traffic because there are no roads built yet. Cop was hiding on mound of dirt and pulling everyone over who didn't come to a complete stop, which was everyone because there is nothing to stop for. Great use of law enforcement! I also still have to go to muni court and deal with cell phone citation; I am probably the only person in town who has been pulled over for this particular infraction. Sigh. I know, it's all my own fault, but, seriously, I really don't have good luck with this stuff. Just on a statistical level, I think I've broken some sort of mathematical law by even receiving this many tickets in one month.

Brown sucked in OK too

I know we've all heard all about how much Brown screwed up when he was in charge of Arabian horses, but not sure how widespread his time in his homestate of OK was. Here's a snippet from fellow AAN paper, The Oklahoma Gazette.

"The Michael Brown who was being scrutinized and eventually removed from Katrina disaster relief efforts is not the man being remembered for his work in Oklahoma. Yet one Oklahoma representative believes Brown was unfit for the job."

You can read the rest of the article here—it's the second item on the page.

You know what sucks about all this stuff? Um, everything.
I will say, though, I think some of the reporting coming out of Katrina's wake (did not just use the word "wake," oh yes I did) has been a level above what the national press was doing before. (I'm not talking about the TV people, you understand; they are just scaring me). This piece by NYT Public Editor Byron Calame on how the Times barely reported on New Orleans' poverty for the last 10 years and instead focused more on lifestyle was really, really interesting to me.
On the other hand, I certainly hope this E & P story on the exaggerated violence during Katrina isn't the end of this story. I think it's not quite enough to say, (this is the media talking) "Oh, yes, we did say babies were being raped but there doesn't appear to be evidence that happened. Well, you know, things were just SO chaotic." Um, I think we need a little more disssection of that situation.

fun on a tuesday

FORMER FEMA DIRECTOR MICHAEL DAVIS: FEMA is not a first responder agency with the resources to assume principal responsibility for overwhelmed state and local governments during a disaster. This is not the movies. There's no Tommy Lee Jones character who comes in and takes charge of everything. And that's probably a good thing. I continue to believe the worst lesson to be learned from Katrina is that all answers reside in Washington.

Well that is a relief. I thought Hurricane Katrina WAS a movie and that all those people stuck and suffering were union extras.

You can read the entirety of Brown's testimony here.
It's particularly fun to read while listening to Common's song "Testify." Common
Or maybe that's just me.
You can try to figure out which Tommy Lee Jones movie Brown was thinking of…my vote is for Space Cowboys.

let the blame game begin

Michael Brown acknowledges some mistakes he made in responding to Katrina, but also levying criticisms against Blanco and Nagin in New Orleans. Sort of repulsive, although the criticisms he makes of Blanco and Nagin do seem likely, given what we've seen of them.
Daily Kos has a round-up of the late-night talk-show jokes about Bush and the hurricane. The only one I found funny was Letterman's, but then I'm inclined to find joks about alcoholics funny for some reason.
I also love this letter to First Lady Bush from poet Sharon Olds. I already loved Olds' poetry; this just seals the deal.

Monday, September 26, 2005

work for the government

because if you do, apparently, there's no end to the benefits. First, city judge Fran Gallegos gets three months PAID leave while investigations go on about apparent malfeasance in her court. I assume that, even if she's found to have done anything wrong, she gets to keep her three months pay. Then, State Treasurer Michael Vigil is on paid leave for his $85,000 a year job even though he's been indicted for allegedly taking more than half a million in kickbacks.
But this, from CBS news, takes the cake:

6:44 p.m.
(CBS) — CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate its response following Hurricane Katrina.

You can read a little more on this here..

But just to be clear, folks. The guy on whose watch it happened that thousands died and were stranded and abandoned and left for dead etc. etc. (you saw it too) now gets paid to evaluate how the agency did while he was in charge of it.

Granted, Wikipedia's definition of a conflict of interest doesn't really cover this sort of thing, but that's probably because who could imagine any government would be so outrageously ridiculous in its blatent disinterest in the public good. I am really grossed out by this. I hope it turns out to not be true.
On another note, I read TWO pieces titled "The New New Orleans" today, both of which I liked. (Yes, I know both journalists writing them but, let's face it, I know lots of journalists.) One is by Joel Bleifuss, editor of In These Times and the other is by Michael Tisserand, and you can read it here.
So I was talking with a good, good friend of mine who voted for Bush (yes, I have Republican friends) and she was saying she liked him better than Kerry but didn't see much difference between any of them, a position held by Noam Chomsky and others, and I was thinking to myself, well, sure, on some level, this is true. And yet, and yet, and yet, I'm sorry. I have to say it at least once, for the record, I WANT A NEW PRESIDENT. I read editorials like this one and endless others and see the mess this country is in, and it's in a mess, and I just think, I want a president who impresses me with his intelligence. I'm sorry. I'm not saying they won't be corrupt, because I think that's what power does, and I'm not saying they won't make compromises I find unacceptable because that's what politicians do, but, Jesus, could they at least speak in complete sentences and pretend to care about the concerns of half the populace? Forget politics and political parties for a second because I could really care less about political affiliations…is there anyone right now who is happy with the government? Anyone who isn't being paid by the government in exchange for fucking up that is?

10 things about Monday

1. We are putting out the paper but also proofing Restaurant Guide. RG makes me nutso fasto. I have some kind of weird Karma (am now using words like Karma, please note) that has put me in this world with a. little interest in food and b. surrounded by people obsessed with food (we call them foodies) as well as surrounded by people who always think I am not eating and c. people who are 1 and 2 and cook for me. Anyway, I get tired proofing RG because it means reading about food over and over again. My food reviews tend to ignore the food and talk about the restaurant's ambiance. Go figure.
2. My friend Donnan is very into astrology. Actually, almost everyone I know is very into astrology, except Jonanna, which is part of why we get along so well (or maybe not; maybe we get along so well because we are astrologically compatible). Anyway, Donann showed me this site called Astro where you can use your birth date/astrology info to figure out where you should live. I haven't done it yet though because, as mentioned, I think astrology is ridiculous. Although I am a double Sag, in case you're wondering.
3. Heard some good music Sat. night at El Paseo, The Floors and Hollis Wake. It gets very fratty in El Paseo sometimes though. There were lots of people I like there, but also odd frat guys getting drunk and banging into people. I don't know, for the record, if those guys were really in frats. I just like to throw around words like frat boys to make a point.
4. I am speaking about blogging to a group in Albuquerque on Thursday. Public speaking comes easy to me. Too easy. Easy as in I often wish I hadn't opened my mouth because one never knows what will come out when I do.
5. I bought several different mixed-nuts mixtures at Whole Paycheck yesterday and am eating them at my desk EVEN THOUGH I AM ALLERGIC TO NUTS. What is up with that? Maybe I can ignore my allergies. I tend to think ignoring things is a good way to build up immunity to them even though I have NO evidence this is true.
6. This article where Bush asks people not to drive unless they have to is about as inspiring as Gov. Richardson asking the state police to crack down on speeding because it wastes gas. Jesus, people. You got the prez and the former DOE secretary saying this shit when THEY BOTH KNOW the technology exists so that we don't even need gas hardly. What a bunch of bullshit. If I get another speeding ticket I am going to be really mad.
7. I USE ALL CAPS when I've had too much caffeine.
8. I've had too much caffeine because one of our employees bought a $600 espresso maker for the office that makes really great coffee and all you have to do to make it is press a button. It's idiot proof. I know, because I can use it.
9. Duncan told me the SWIG benefit he organized for Hurricane Katrina victims raised $18,000. That's pretty freaking impressive.
10. Journal Santa Fe headline from weekend: "AG Says Treasurer Clouds Office." I'd say he shat all over it Ms. Madrid. I mean, hard to trust a state official accused of taking more than half a mil in kickbacks. Well, they used cloud in the headline because Madrid used it in a quote. But they should have put it in quotes in the headline. And thus ends my very silly pickiness at the Journal's headlines.
11. Sorry to be so listy and ranty. Mondays slay me.

Friday, September 23, 2005


This morning I walked through the Plaza and ended up in a human traffic jam of Texans buying fajitas and wearing, really, sombreros they seemed to have just purchased (where? Does someone downtown sell sombreros?) and taking pictures, and talking loudly and taking up way too much sidewalk. I was about to start complaining bitterly (to myself) when I realized these very people might be evacuees, fleeing some storm or another, and quickly fixed my scowl into something approximating a welcoming smile. Hurricanes, good for tourism?
Last night I visited Rick and Jen and their twin boys Finn and Tate. Jen and her whole family are from Houston and last night was very tense as her family had wanted to leave and come here but quickly found 1. no gas and 2. the highway situation so they decided they'd stay, at least through night, which probably turned out for the best as the storm is looking a little less dastardly for Houstonians at the moment. But I guess all that could change overnight as, we all are learning, hurricanes, like women, CHANGE THEIR PATHS with little warning. Finn (or Tate... they are identifical twins and I can only tell them apart after someone gives me a hint, like, "Finn isn't wearing pants.") got in my face very seriously and said, "Jessica (their aunt; Jen's sister) is in a hurricane and I'm scared." The twins are 4 1/2. I felt my heart clutch a bit until I noticed Rick looking slightly sceptical. Fortunately the twins were soon distracted by "playing football," i.e. throwing things at each other. I was relieved this morning to see the storm reduced a bit, particularly for Jen and her family, although at the same time it's still a monster storm and that bus accident is just horrific. I think it's become clear that, for all the attempts made at emergency respondedness, when put into action the glitches are potentially fatal. What a rough month. Between the hurricanes, the tornadoes, and now the Earthquakes in California, I half expect locusts to start raining down at any moment.
And on that cheerful note, I'm on my way out, going to meet Jen and her kids at the Cowgirl for a post-work post-mortem and then make it an early night. At least that's the plan. Hopefully when next I write no major catastrophes will have struck. I am feeling very sad for all these people, so close, homeless, especially those chased from Louisiana into Texas and then out again. These are uneasy times, I've heard the word apocolypse a lot in the last few days (and not just on FOX "news"). I don't guess I believe in Last Days per se, but I do think some sort of reckoning feels as though it's approaching. Clearly it's time to rethink a lot of things about our culture and laws and the way we live. It's time to go buy a Vespa. Hmm, was trying to write something thoughtful but I think I just wrote some ad copy. Oh well. Whadaya gonna do?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

the media and new orleans

David Carr of The Times has written the article I've been hoping to read about the media's coverage of New Orleans as it pertained to all the horrific rumors of violence, with some explanations of how this happens, although I'd like to read more about this. Read it here.

pets & disasters

I have to admit that during the worst of the katrina coverage, while glued to CNN, the stories where people wouldn't leave their pets got to me and I would randomly get up and clutch whatever dog was closest to me. I lately feel as though I am running an old dogs' home as I am surrounded by large aging beasts at all times who spend most of their time sleeping (it is possible that they have just become bored out of their minds by my own near-listlessness when not at work). At any rate, now there is a bill proposed to require pets be a part of evacuation funds so that people don't refuse to leave because they won't leave their pets. I'm sure there are some out there (Bill Reilly comes to mind; I know some people watch FOX news for news and some for entertainment value but I have to say I find it unnerving) might think this is ridiculous and/or link animal lovers with leftie wingnuts but I think most of us would agree that loving creatures in your care, regardless of species, is a good sign, a signal that one's humanity is relatively intact. But I'm going to refrain from another tirade on humanity. A New Mexican employee stopped me on the street the other day and implied that my blog had given him the sense, of late, that I had lost faith in humanity and I sure don't want people thinking I'm some kind of misanthropic cynic. Actually, in truth, I don't think I am; If I didn't have some belief in people I doubt I'd find evidence of man's inhumanity to man upsetting, I'd just see it as proof I was right. Or something. Anyway, Mr. Monahan has some great stuff on the treasurer's fiasco that y'all should check out if you haven't already.

I saw the news today, oh boy

Although I am a "reader" I understand why people, particularly in times like these, watch TV news. For one, it's more visceral and up-to-the-minute; for another, it seems to feed a less-than-savory human desire for the squalid, for adrenalin, car-crash-watcher tendencies that must be rooted in some sort of biological necessity, although our current culture is so far removed from our early days on this planet that a greater mind than mine will have to tackle the relationship between foraging for food in the elements and Nancy Grace.
Anyway, the coverage of the emergency landing of the Jet Blue plane whose landing gear was cockeyed was harrowing, made more so by the commentaries and various TV anchors urging prayer amongst viewers with barely-hidden glea over the events of the evening (a possible plane crash! A level 5 hurricane! A tornado sweeping Minnesota! Paula Zahn seeemed almost unable to fathom THREE news stories at once! I can't believe I'm in the same genre as these people). I kept thinking of the Don Henley song, "Dirty Laundry" and was, yet, unable to switch off the TV.
Well, back here in the quiet print world, I have been attempting to read and re-read the stories on the NM Treasurer and Ex-Treasurer's racketeering charges. And then, as one might imagine, started looking back to find things SFR had written on these folks in the past and make sure I hadn't endorsed any of them in the recent past (you'd think I'd remember but it's kinda stunning how many endorsements I've written over the years; sometimes I lose track).
Anyhow, as regular SFR readers know, we do a series called "Pop Quiz" where we call up candidates and ask them questions and make them answer on the spot without any time for research (hence the "pop"). So I found the one we did before the June, 2002 primary election for treasurer, which I thought was interesting. Here it is (and this is copyrighted material from SFR):

Pop Quiz
Democratic Candidates for State Treasurer

1. How much money does the state have in reserve?
2. How are those funds invested?
3. Three days after 9.11, State Treasurer Michael Montoya made a controversial play with state funds. How much money was involved and what did he do?
4. Do you support that move?

Jan Goodwin
Director, New Mexico Board of Finance; former deputy director, state investment office; past president, Santa Fe County League of Women Voters
1. $400 million
2. Agency paper, overnight investments, repurchase agreements, certificates of deposit and corporate bonds.
3. He put $400 million from the overnight repurchase agreement into a mutual fund.
4. No. That was an illegal investment. He used a broker, which was unecessary, and the broker wasn’t under contract with the state. When you’re dealing with state money, legality, safety, liquidity, and return are all to be considered, in that order. That did not happen.

Ken Sanchez
Bernalillo County commissioner; vice-president of operations for family-owned tax/accounting firm; past chair of Bernalillo County Board of Finance, member of National Association of Counties Taxation and Finance Committee

1. The state probably should have close to approximately I would think $5 million.
2. US government obligation bonds, corporate bonds, bank savings and loans, associations or credit deposits, commercial paper and asset-backed obligations.
3. The amount of money that was paid out in commissions was approximately $88,000 and it was an overnight investment with mutual funds. The approximate dollar amount I don’t recall; I think maybe it was $110 million.
4. No. If we would have a chief financial officer working between the legislative finance commitee, the governor, and the state treasurer’s office we could reduce the amount of commission we’re paying out.

Robert Vigil
Deputy state treasurer, past state auditor, CPA.
1. You don’t know what the reserve ended up being until you close the books. It’s a percentage. You have to go by projections. This is what the fight is all about between the legislators and the governor.
2. There’s no answer to that. Reserve money is part of the pool, split between a number of different funds.
3. The state treasurer’s office took $400 million from the overnight account and invested it in a mutual fund.
4. I’m not in that situation, there’s no way for me to know.

1. The state has $205.4 million in operating reserves, $114.4 million in an appropriation contingency fund, and $87.7 in tax stabilization reserve. Total: $407.5 million
2. Certificates of deposit, corporate bonds, agency paper, US government obligations, short-term notes, overnight investments, repurchase agreements and savings accounts.
3. Montoya took $400 million from the overnight repurchase agreement and deposited it in a mutual fund.

We endorsed Jan Goodwin in that race and wrote, about Vigil: "Deputy State Treasurer Robert Vigil, in contrast, had underwhelming answers to simple factual questions about the state’s investments. He also would not comment on the problems with the administration he’s served on, and was combative and aggressive in interviews with his opponents."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

a goddess in the lensic

The Lucinda Williams show last night in The Lensic was incredible. The acoustics in The Lensic are probably the best in town and were an unbelievable showcase for Williams' unbelievable voice. She noted the sound was good and played a generous long set with a generous long encore. The set included lots of my favorites: Essence, Joy, Get Right with God, Metal Firecracker, Concrete and Barbed Wire, Righteously, Too Cool to be Forgotten, plus lots of new as-yet-to-be-recorded stuff. A million guitars (well, a dozen at least). God what a great show. Williams usually seems not too psyched when she first comes out (this was my fourth time seeing her) and then warms up, and gets into it, particularly as it becomes obvious that the crowd is in love with her. ("We love you Lucinda" was yelled out at regular intervals). She is such a badass it is mindboggling. A lot of her new material was interesting. What I love about Lucinda is that while so many of her songs are dark and sad and about, as she said, "sex, drugs and rock and roll" the poetics of her lyrics transcend cliche and her continued pushing at the genres she works in: country, blues, pop,, make her really innovative. Well, she's a genius, that's all there is to it. One of the stellar talents of our culture.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

running out of names

Apparently "we" (our culture) is almost out of names for hurricanes this season because they skip q, u, x, y and z because there are not enough names that start with those letters. So no Hurricane Quiggy or Ursula or Xander or Yanni or Zena.

If it's not one hurricane

>it's another.
Gratefully landlocked here in old Nuevo Mexico.
Now, wonder what our evacuation plan is if there's a WMD problem. Check out the web page provided by the state emergency preparedness office and see if you find it as unreassuring as I did.

the machines hate me

I hate to write posts that sound like tributes to my own stupidity so let me preface this post about my stupidity with the disclaimer that I am not stupid about many types of things. I am a good reader, for one, and particularly good when it comes to literature. Furthermore, I am a fast reader. So, there, I am a fast and good reader. I also have a certain je ne sais quois quotient when it comes to languages. And I am somewhat emotionally intuitive, as long as the emotions involved don't belong to me. But when it comes to office equipment I am pathetic. It took me years to learn how to use the office's last FAX machine and when I did the next day we got a new one that I've never mastered. I don't know how to use the coffee machine and have run out of people in the office I can pester to make coffee so I can have some. But the printer is the real problem because not only do I not understand how to use it, I need to use it on an hourly basis and it hates me. It randomly decides not to print and even if I kick it it still won't work. I have just spent 20 minutes trying to print a letter of recommendation for our outgoing intern on letterhead and no matter what I do it won't print it on letterhead; it just keeps churning it out on white paper, which I then put through the shredder. Now the shredder also has broken, for no apparent reason, as all I did was put paper in it to shred which is, after all, its freaking job. I won't even get started on the Xerox machine which, according to everyone else in the office, is an amazing machine that can collate, double-side copy and all sorts of other things, but won't even copy an entire page straight when I try to use it. We could say this is just about my own inability to understand systems, but I understand the Internet perfectly well, and I'm very computer saavy, so why can't I operate these freaking pieces of office equipment? Why does the postage machine always stop working when I touch it? Finally, is this related to the fact that watches always stop when I put them on?

postscript: have finally printed letter on letterhead by feeding letterhead into every available slot on printer simultaneously.

bad blogger, she is I redux

It's Tuesday, the wheels of justice are spinning. Or, wait, no, the wheels of journalism are spinning. That doesn't as good. I don't think. Maybe it's a List Kind of Day.

1. My allergies are so bad I spent half of yesteray with my eyes almost entirely swollen shut. This did not, as they say, add to my appeal.
2. Al Green at The Opera was unbelievably good. Dan, Jonanna, Rocque and I had these wonderful seats in the first row of the balcony so we could see and hear everything with total clarity, but weren't required to be trampled or crazy on the floor. Green was so in the moment (or he's the world's greatest performer... or both). Also, he didn't do that cheesy thing where you have to wait to hear the "hits" at the encore. Also, Love and Happiness almost made me cry. Almost! I am trying to be less weapy. It is almost working.
3. Lucinda Williams tonight is going to be amazing. I prepared for the greatness by listening to this albumLucinda Williams on the way to work. This will be my fourth time seeing her and will mean I have heard one of my favorite musicians in every great live-music venue in SF: The Paramount, The Opera, Palo Soleri and The Lensic. Sweet!
4. Friday night went to Albuquerque and remembered that there is other stuff to do in Alb. when SF gets to be too much (or too little). But, also, Albuquerque is a bit of a drive for the night. On the other hand, Darius drove, not me so what am I complaining about? I'm not complaining. What? Allergies=brain fog.
5. Gas at Santo Domingo is very cheap. Suspiciously so. We are definitely being gauged here in old SF. Also, why did I drive fuel-efficient cars my ENTIRE life and then buy a car with a V6 engine just as we went to war over oil? Why?
6. I fed this goat at the State Fair. I love to go to the State Fair, mostly for the petting zoo. But also for the Agriculture Exhibit Hall. This year they had a bobcat. Also a hummingbird and a bunch of trout. I didn't go on any rides this year, though. I sometimes do, but I think I am getting a little old; all the rides looked dangerous and it was about 105 degrees and the thought of spinning around wildly in some rickety container didn't seem like quite the thing. Still, it was fun. There were a gazillion people there. The flower exhibit hall also was cool. The petting zoo was the best, though. Particularly because everyone in the petting zoo was my size, albeit under the age of 10.
7. I would like to go home and lie down in a dark room with a cold washcloth on my face and stay there until first snow fall.
8. I am not going to get to do that.

Friday, September 16, 2005

using humor

Last night CNN did a report based on this story from the Washington Post. It was unbearable to watch. Or, anyway, nearly unbearable. Have to watch it, read it, accept it and not forget it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I think it sucks

(what a lovely post title; very life affirming) that the Roberts' hearings are going on at the same time as: Iraq news, Katrina news, Ophelia news. It's like a full-time job just to keep up with things. Thank God I never sleep. I am having some kind of weird allergic hive reaction. Either from eating nuts (which I'm allergic to but eat anyway) or from Restaurant Guide stress. Or both. Had an odd phone call from a woman claiming to be a regular SFR reader and wanting to know if we could organize some relief efforts around Katrina. It was odd as, if she's a regular reader, why hasn't she noticed ALL the organizing we've been doing for the last two weeks. She sounded really suspicious as I told her all the things we'd done and gave her numbers to call to find out about stuff. I don't quite get why, if people want to help others, they sound so angry and suspicious. Aren't good works supposed to be inspired by good hearts? I mean, I know Ayn Rand didn't think that was the case, but I'm trying so hard not to be a little fascist and phone calls like that really make it difficult. Another caller, anonymous of course, criticized me yesterday for being "too negative" in my coverage of the Fiesta Parade for Channel 16. I found that really odd as I spent half the time talking about how much I love the parade, then stuffing candy in my face, and then proposing repeatedly that we should have a parade every Sunday because it was so much fun. And I actually meant it. Oh well; it's my own fault for answering the phone.
Wish we had cable at work (we're supposed to be getting it). I want to watch more Roberts' questioning. I learned a lot about habeus corpus during Feingold's interrogation this morning. Did you know that Feingold and Roberts graduated from the same class at Harvard? I didn't, but I guess I should have. Did you know the entire country is run by white men who went to either Harvard or Yale? I bet you did.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I know, you've seen it already

But since a picture speaks 1,000 words and since I have neither time nor energy for 1,000 words and since no 1,000 words I could write would really say, as well as this picture does, just how massive a failure the whole country has seen over the last 2 weeks, I'll just leave it at this picture.

Monday, September 12, 2005


I would like to say that the first thing that is neglected when I get crazy busy is the blog, but it wouldn't be true. The blog neglect begins after a series of other things fall by the wayside: laundry! billpaying! sleeping!
The weekend felt out-of-whack hectic although, really, it wasn't so bad. Just a lot of jumping around. And paying the price for my annual Fiesta funnel cake indulgence (price=sugar headache). Made it to the Cowgirl for its Hurricane benefit Saturday night, which was entertaining and hopeful, albeit the drunk lady next to me who knocked over my beer, didn't notice and proceeded to take up way too much of my personal space was not exactly the poster-person for the We Are the World sentiment inspired by the evening. Sunday I co-hosted, with Eric Zipf the Historical/Hysterical Parade por Fiestas and it was very, very fun. I am determined to have SFR have a float next year and hand out candy. I may need to start planning that this week, though, it seems like it takes a lot of prep. A great turnout. An overall fun and charming Fiesta weekend, in general. It's hard to not be happy and grateful to look around and see Santa Fe at its community-together best when watching, and hearing, and reading about the ongoing suffering on the Gulf Coast.
Speaking of which, SFR writer Dan Frosch has now returned from assignment in New Orleans. Look for his piece about what he found there on Wednesday.
And now, Restaurant Guide awaits. As do a million other things.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

burn him

I woke up thinking about Zozobra. I went to my first burning in 1987. I had been in Santa Fe for three days, was still a teenager (good god) and was swept along to Fort Marcy Field with little, OK no, information about the event in question. So I spent the night with a group, in a crowd, witnessing the burning and the screaming, the mass march back to the Plaza (this was when Zozobra burned on a Friday night) and experiencing what I came to learn, in the ensuing years, was one of the great Santa Fe nights, a wonderful crazy evening where a city celebrates its unique nature and collectively says goodbye to all the doom of the previous year.
I'd like to say that I knew, on that night, that I would make Santa Fe my home and spend my adult life here. That my pagan soul was awakened and that, for the first time, I took part in a ritual and understood why people do such things. But I'd be lying. I was, in truth, completely disoriented and, not knowing what any of it meant, vaguely frightened and awash in sympathy for the burning creature before me. I didn't fall in love with Santa Fe that night, nor did I that first year. I spent that first year, as I'd spent all the years before it, plotting my next move. California was on my list, as was China (I have no idea why). It took time for Santa Fe to grow on me and even before I began to love it I stayed in part because of a growing stubborness, a dawning realization that it was easier to leave than to stay, a doggedness that has become a part of my adult self, a refusal to quit places or things or people. Sometimes this serves me, sometimes it does not, but I still think, when all is tallied on the various pro and con lists, it's better to stick with things than abandon them. And now it's nearly 18 years later (oh my god) and I am here and I love both Santa Fe and Zozobra the way you love things that have been significant in your life.
I am thinking of this as I continue to watch and read about the people who have lost their homes and their lives on the Gulf Coast. Already the voices are blurring and the media (yes, I am the media) is winding its way through vernacular and pundits and storylines and even as the event unfolds it become a new chapter in history. We are thinking, as a country, about displacement, about racial lines, about the government, about politics, about nature, about ourselves. Much of the narrative makes sense and will probably hold up to the test of time. I am thinking about paradoxes. Not just the "best of times/worst of times" idea, where we see people trying so hard to help one another, but about the paradox of people. How we naturally want to make a place for ourselves, no matter where. How we grow attached to the places and people around us and how painful it is to lose those things. And at the same time, the incredible adaptability when we are called upon to adapt. Weeks before the hurricane I doubt any of the displaced thousands could have imagined themselves making do in a huge stadium with only the space of a cot to define their own personal space. We learn things from seeing what we are seeing, just as the people enduring this tragedy are learning about themselves. If we could learn the depths of our own compassion and adaptability without the tragedies, but just in the day-to-day reality of life, we would be, I imagine, better off for it, but that we can learn it at all is probably an encouraging sign.
Tonight, as every year in September, thousands of Santa Feans will watch as a 30 foot puppet signifying the doom and gloom of last year burns. The fire dancers will dance. The crowd will scream, "Burn Him." Zozobra was invented by a Santa Fe artist in the 1930s. Will Shuster was relatively new to Santa Fe when he created Zozobra. Like most of the best things in life, that which was created became more than the sum of its parts. Shuster likely could not have imagined that his small gathering would someday become a town's beloved tradition. He was inspired so he did it. Over the years, others joined in until everyone who calls Santa Fe home began to feel ownership over Zozobra. Now he is ours. We are adaptable. You, me, everyone else. Zozobra will burn to ash and, next year, there will be another Zozobra. Or maybe not. There are not, it turns out, too many things that are certain. Even memories change and slip away. I could not tell you who I was with that first year at Zozobra. I'm not even sure who I'll be with tonight or if I'll even make it to the field. But I am pretty sure I will be happy wherever I am. As Keith Richards said, when performing live in Central Park several years ago, "It's good to be here. It's good to be anywhere."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

what should we see

E & P has an article today about FEMA refusing to let journalists take photos of the dead in New Orleans.
The entirety of Hurricane Katrina has raised, as I suppose do many big news stories, interesting questions about journalistic ethics. I've noticed that many of the TV news people at the scene this week seem to have abandoned any sense of impartiality. Anderson Cooper seems like he's gone somewhat mad.
Here's some interesting takes on the journalistic ethics of covering the hurricane.
We sent a reporter today. I'm trying not to worry about him.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Well, it's nice to read about the Washington Press Corps giving the White House the business.
My eyes hurt. I'm going home. Send me links.

eyes wide dry

Feel certain that adding to din over hurricane benefits no one. Am instead assuming position of blog funnel (blognell?) through which news and info can pass. Also am struck mute at the moment. Have ODd on CNN. Watching FOX News is a lot like watching those fake ads in RoboCop. Brain hurts. Also, if anyone has an extra airplane and can fly our reporter to Louisiana, do let me know. Argh.
Sounds like the government wants to investigate what went wrong in responding to Katrina.
It's pretty irritating to listen to Rumsfeld et al spout off about how something like this couldn't have been anticipated when everyone else seems to have known it
Democracy for New Mexico has linked it up well on the FEMA storiesCheck it out.
Here's a link to a bunch of other AAN-generated stories about FEMA funding.
Grist has good article on hurricane and global warming
Also, we're continuing to add info on hurricane relief efforts at our website so keep checking it. Info on the Cowgirl's benefit next weekend just went up.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina Blog

Make sure to check out Jackson Free Press' Katrina Blog which is updated regularly with ways people can help victims in the immediate area.
Just got a press release from the governor's office about all the communities in Northern New Mexico offering to take in evacuees. Including Espanola. Not including Santa Fe. Why is that?

belabored day

Were this a holiday weekend like any other I would no doubt feel compelled to post about how great it was to hear Rickie Lee Jones at the Thirsty Ear Festival, or even Hollis Wake and C'uagamo at Second Street Friday night, or the good food at Andy's party last night etc. etc. etc. But it's been a relatively losing battle to enjoy anything wholeheartedly this weekend, it's been, in fact, a real conflict to even feel as though one should try to enjoy anything, although turning off CNN for at least a few hours a day has felt necessary as, after a while, how much can you watch without...just...sinking.
Right after 9.11 there were people in our office who believed this was it, the beginning of the end, who felt very pessimistic about the immediate future. I didn't. I just didn't believe more was coming right away. I knew that was it for then. I don't feel like that right now. I don't feel hopeful. Maybe it's because watching what happened in New Orleans bears such a close resemblance to the way all dystopic futures are depicted in nascenscy. The weather changes, the storms come, the electricity fails, the fighting breaks out, the bodies pile up, the diseases come, they spread. And it all happens too fast.
Definitely not a good day to re-read The Handmaid's Tale.
Well, I guess if I'm going to come to work on a paid holiday I might as well work rather than apocolypticize. (word?)

Friday, September 02, 2005

offers of help from abroad

are coming in, from all over the world.
It seems as if, internationally, everyone is having the same reaction we are having: How can this be happening in the US?
I am having a moment of thinking maybe this will change things for the better. Just the realization of how screwed we are, really, how not superpowered, how not ready, how not in charge, how not taking care of people. It's a good sign that all these countries are ready to help us now, even if it's not a good sign how much help is needed.

everyone in america

should read this article about who, exactly, was left behind in New Orleans. This situation is an abomination.
More reading this morning:

this article on the hurricane as an indicator of racial divides.

Michael Moore's letter to President Bush

this article in which Bush says he isn't looking forward to his trip to the south. I swear to God, they shouldn't even let him open his mouth anymore.

Here's a good roundup of audio reports on Hurricane Katrina.

Here's Salon's blog roundup for hurricane coverage.

And, finally, the ever-useful technorati links.

Keep me posted. I'll do the same for you.

gambit's predictions

The staffers of Gambit Weekly, New Orleans alt.weekly, are displaced right now and wondering about their futures. A year ago, they wrote this story that foretold all the horrific scenes we are seeing, hearing and reading about today.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

We are collecting donations

for the hurricane victims in conjunction with The Santa Fe Sheriffs' Department (they are delivering them to Louisianna Sept. 8. We're serving as a downtown drop-off spot.) You can find more info on that and other hurricane-related local efforts at our web site.

lord of the flies in new orleans

Two books stay with me throughout my life. One was Lord of the Flies and the other was Hobbes' Leviathon.
I'm not interested in these books because I believe, unequivocally, that humanity is terrible and that, left to its own devices, humans would just do one another in. I guess I just spend a lot of time wondering if this is the case (and, at least grammatically, disassocating myself from the entire situation).
Sometime last year I was talking with Zelie Pollon when she had returned from Iraq, about the premise that basically anyone, if deprived food, water and electricity, for three days, would begin to react as if in a third-world country. War would break-out. You'd see the worst of humanity alongside the best. So it goes. So when I watch and read the news about New Orleanians growing tension it's not exactly shocking. People have taken to the streets and begun arming themselves because the government failed them. Completely. Watching how terribly prepared things were, just the desolation these people have been left to, is heartwrending, it's becoming almost unwatchable.
So if you're feeling like you want to head out to Louisianna and lend a hand, self-deployment has been discouraged. However, if you're a health-care professional, New Mexico is looking for you to lend a hand. Here's the info:
SANTA FE -- Due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the New Mexico Department of Health is seeking health professionals who are willing to volunteer to help the hurricane’s victims.

The New Mexico Department of Health, in collaboration with the Department of Public Safety, Office of Emergency Management, is the lead agency for coordination of all health care professionals deployed in response to the Hurricane Katrina Disaster.
All National Disaster Medical System and Medical Reserve Corps members are asked to contact your coordinators.
The volunteer health professionals are asked to register with the Department of Health and await assignment to areas most in need of their support. The department asks that health-care professionals do not make plans to travel to affected areas until they are contacted by the Department of Health.
“Right now, Louisiana and Mississippi are still trying to gather their resources and understand where outside communities can best serve them,” said Secretary of Health Michelle Lujan Grisham.  “We know that these professionals are eager to offer their help, and we hope we can help get them to where they’re needed most.”
Health-care professionals will be needed in areas most affected by the disaster, but they also will be needed in areas where survivors are transported.  Health-care volunteers will likely be needed in Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Texas and New Mexico.
The following health-care professionals are needed as volunteers:
            Respiratory Therapists
            Emergency Physicians
            Internal Medicine Physicians
            Registered Nurses
Emergency Medical Technicians
Professionals in these areas who are willing to help should fax a short biography of their professional history to (505) 827-1938 or (505) 476-7810.  The information should include:
      • Specialty (RT, Physician, Registered Nurse)
      • Area of Practice (Emergency Department, ICU, Med Surge Unit)
      • Name
      • Address
      • Phone (Where you can be contacted)
      • E-mail
      • New Mexico Professional License Number and expiration date
      • Current Employer

Department of Health staff will contact interested health-care professionals if they are needed. These providers may be performing assessment, triage and treatment to the general population and special medical needs populations in the affected communities and other areas.

DO NOT SELF-DEPLOY.                        DO NOT SELF-DEPLOY                                    DO NOT SELF-DEPLOY

All National Disaster Medical System and Medical Reserve Corps members are asked to contact your coordinators.
For more information on the need for health-care volunteers, contact the department’s Office of Health Emergency Management at (505) 476-7701.