Seven southwestern states as well as Mexico are dependent on water from the Colorado River. That water is shared based on rules set out in the Colorado River Compact of 1922. Due to a 16 year-old drought in the Southwest and an expiring agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, the next president is going to have to deal immediately with the possibility of major cuts to the Colorado River water supply. People have been arguing for years about reforming the system, but the question is: how? [more inside]
It's that time of the year, when the high desert starts to cool down and the conditions are just right for ballooning. It's the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! Nine days of hot air balloon-related events, from dawn patrol's lift-off to test conditions to Mass Ascension when hundreds of hot air balloons take flight, to the evening special shape Glowdeo and fireworks for good measure. And if conditions are right, there's America's Challenge, the long distance gas balloon race, and if you need to cool down from all this excitement, enjoy a little splash and dash. [more inside]
Jason Garcia, who also goes by Okuu Pin (Tewa for Turtle Mountain, the name for Sandia Mountain) is a traditional clay artist from Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico, except his art isn't strictly traditional. His work is his effort to document the ever-changing cultural landscape of Santa Clara (8 minute interview and overview of his art), as seen in his 'Tewa Tales,' clay tiles painted as silver-age covers, depicting the Pueblo Revolt and the colonization of New Mexico. For more, see Jason Garcia's short bio video for North American Native Museum (Nordamerika Native Museum) in Zurich, Switzerland, for a past exhibition titled "Native Art Now." Vimeo user Dylan McLaughlin/Invisible Laboratory has 10 more short bio videos from other artists in the exhibit. [more inside]
... conventional history teaches that the Americas were discovered by the Europeans either in 1492 by Columbus, or maybe a few hundred years earlier by the Vikings. There still seems to be an aversion among the establishment historians to even consider the idea that ancient Mediterranean peoples from the Middle East might have traveled to the Americas in the centuries before Christ. Only so-called diffusionists would have accepted a different view. And yet, there it is, this inscription in New Mexico, an undeniable witness from an ancient past telling its history ...Behold, The Los Lunas Decalogue, a fascinating "old" site south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. [more inside]
If you happen to drive along NM-137, a quiet rural road in south-east New Mexico, you'll drive through Queen, a former ghost town that is once again inhabited by the living. Slow down and you'll see a monument to The Flying Paper Boy Of The Guadalupes, Frank Kindel. [more inside]
If cuisine drives (or helps) you decide your travel plans, USA Today's list of food favorites covers Best Farmers Market, Best Food Trail, Best Food Factory Tour, Best Al Fresco Dining Neighborhood and Best Local Food Scene. All those lists are pretty self-explanatory, except for the food trails, which aren't even fully described in the more verbose slideshow of the top 10. And of course there are more than 10 food trails in the US (not to mention abroad), so let's dive in. [more inside]
In 1924, the longest-running community festival in the United States, Las Fiestas de Santa Fe, got a bit weirder, thanks to the artist Will Shuster. That year, he found inspiration in the burning of Judas effigies, specifically the practice including firecrackers, performed by the Yaqui Indians of northwest Mexico (Google books preview) and he created Zozobra (meaning anxiety, worry in Spanish, nicknamed "Old Man Gloom" or "the gloomy one"). The burning effigy was joined by a fire spirit dancer around 1933, originally created by Jacques Cartier, formerly a ballet dancer in New York. [more inside]
The New Mexico Law Review just published an issue dedicated entirely to Breaking Bad. It features eight articles that analyze the illegal acts committed on the show, their real-world parallels, and the consequences attached:
Given the array of legal issues raised, our editorial board was excited to take the opportunity to present analysis of Breaking Bad by scholars and legal practitioners. In April 2014 we issued a call for papers requesting abstracts on topics including the application of the Fourth Amendment to drug crimes under the New Mexico and/or U.S. Constitutions; the War on Drugs; ethical duties of lawyers; drug-offense sentencing; drug enforcement in rural, urban, and/or Tribal areas; and substance abuse and the law.Some of the greatest legal minds in New Mexico (and the country) came together to examine how Walter White would look to a jury, how the war on drugs affects peripheral citizens like Skyler, and whether Heisenberg could have stayed legit by fighting for his stake in Grey Matter in the courts. [via] [more inside]
Why read lengthy articles on the history of Atari when you can hear stories first-hand? Hear Nolan Bushnell (and a few others) tell all about how a little company named Syzygy became Atari, in clips both new(ish) and old; tune in for four episodes of Once Upon Atari, featuring Atari staff reminiscing about the good times and bad; and visit Alamogordo, New Mexico, home of rocket sled land-speed records and the grave of Ham, the first chimp in space, with Zak Penn as he digs for the truth behind the legend of the buried E.T. cartridges in Atari: Game Over with fans and Howard Scott Warshaw, the man who made the Atari E.T. game in five weeks. [more inside]
From October 1950 to January 1952, the Mexican American miners at the Empire Zinc mine in Bayard, New Mexico were on strike, protesting the racial discrimination between them and their Anglo counterparts in pay, safety standards, and quality of life in company housing. Two events make this particular strike stand out from similar strikes at other mines are the involvement of the miners' wives in both requesting better living conditions and later in taking to the picket lines themselves, and after the strike was over, the feminist and pro-labor docudrama made by blacklisted Hollywood film makers, Salt of the Earth (YouTube; lower quality on Archive.org; Wikipedia). [more inside]
If you find yourself (virtually) touring along Interstate 40 in the US, you might think it odd to find Santa Rosa, New Mexico calls itself "the City of Natural Lakes." Look around the town and you'll see a number of small lakes in a dry desert landscape (Google maps). Look more closely, and you'll see a rather small dark spot labeled "Blue Hole" (Google maps).The name or term may sound familiar, as it's a general name for an inland cave or underwater sinkhole, with other blue holes of varying scale and renown. This particular blue hole is one of three diving sites in New Mexico, which is a mere 60 feet across but 81 feet deep. What's on the bottom? The short answer is: a grate. The long answer: we're still not really sure, because the passageway beyond the grate is full of debris and large rocks.
In the records of human conflicts, there are at least three Chicken Wars. Two left little mark on the world at large, and the third resulted in some strange work-arounds for heavy tariffs. The first was Wojna kokosza, the Chicken or Hen War of 1537, when an anti-royalist and anti-absolutist rokosz (rebellion) by the Polish nobility resulted in near-extinction of local "kokosz" (an egg laying hen), but little else. The second was an odd spin-off of the more serious War of the Quarduple Alliance that lasted from 1717 to 1720. Though most of the activity happened in Europe, there were some battles in North America. The Texas manifestation was the capture of some chickens by French forces from a Spanish mission, and a costly overreaction by Spanish religious and military men. The third Chicken War was a duel of tariffs during the Cold War, with the only lasting casualty being the availability of foreign-made light trucks in the United States. [more inside]
You may have heard how sounds travel farther during a temperature inversion, when air near the ground is cooler than the air above. But do you know how this phenomenon is related to the 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico? [more inside]
The dig for the Atari dump in the Alamagordo, New Mexico desert started today. It didn't take long to find what they were looking for. Previously
24 million gallons of jet fuel have been leaking from Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base for 60 some years. And nobody seems very concerned about it.
Following the state Supreme Court's decision in Griego v. Oliver [pdf], New Mexico has become the 17th U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. [more inside]
Virgil Ortiz is Cochiti Pueblo Native artist and fashion designer who makes pottery by traditional means, but with a range of inspirations, including futuristic design. As he discussed in this short interview clip, Ortiz is also interested in portraying the history of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. These inspirations blend in series such as Blind Archer: Tahu's Journey and Evolution, featuring 19 characters inspired by the 19 pueblos, in an effort to "use these characters to get the kids attention and it all comes back to teaching the youth and the world about the 1680 Pueblo Revolt." [more inside]
O’Bryan walked me slowly down the steep side of the mesa, to the desert floor, so I could see Star Axis in its entirety. The work’s centrepiece is a 10-storey staircase that lets you walk up through the rock of the mesa, your eyes fixed on a small circular opening that cuts through the top of the pyramid. The first section of the staircase is roofless and open to the sky, but the end of it has a stone overhang that makes it look and feel like a tunnel. This ‘star tunnel’, as Ross calls it, is precisely aligned with Earth’s axis. If you bored a tunnel straight through the Earth’s core, from the South Pole to North Pole, and climbed up it, you’d see the same circle of sky that you do when you walk through Ross’ tunnel. Gazing up through it in the afternoon glare, I saw a patch of blue, the size and shape of a dime held at arm’s length. But if the sun had blinked for a moment, fading the heavens to black, I’d have seen Polaris, glittering at the end of the tunnel, like a solitary diamond in the void."Embracing the Void," Ross Andersen, Aeon.
With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
This past Wednesday, the Doña Ana County County Clerk in Las Cruces, NM (my hometown!) started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The Attorney General of NM says he won't challenge the move. The Washington Times (I know, I know) has the story. So does the NYT, if you haven't used up all your free articles for the month. Two days later, a District Court judge ordered Santa Fe County to begin issuing licenses to same sex couples. Bit by bit, the 47th state is becoming the 14th state.
You might recognize the name Gertrude Zachary if you've been in the Albuquerque, NM area and have seen the billboards for her jewelry, or if you watch Breaking Bad, you might have noticed one of her shops (more location details). If you've driven around the Old Town are of Albuquerque, you might have seen the purple and green jewelry store (Google maps streetview), vaguely reminiscent of the pueblo deco style. But Zachary's greatest architectural legacy is her European-style castle on "skid row", seen in this photo gallery and profiled in this local news segment. [more inside]
It may take months for this odyssey of a place to completely sink in: quirky and utterly fascinating, Tinkertown Museum contains a world of miniature carved-wood characters. The museum's late founder, Ross Ward, spent more than 40 years carving and collecting the hundreds of figures that populate this cheerfully bizarre museum, including an animated miniature Western village, a Boot Hill cemetery, and a 1940s circus exhibit. Ragtime piano music, a 40-foot sailboat (that traveled around the world for a decade), and a life-size general store are other highlights. The walls surrounding this 22-room museum have been fashioned out of more than 50,000 glass bottles pressed into cement. This homage to folk art, found art, and eccentric kitsch tends to strike a chord with people of all ages. [more inside]
For the past eighteen years, Gil Garduño has been chronicling his adventures in New Mexican cuisine on his NM Gastronome blog. With over seven hundred reviews of restaurants around New Mexico, Gil's got you covered, whether you like classic New Mexican food, green chile cheeseburgers, or even other types of food that happen to be well-represented in the state. Gil is fierce in his defense of homegrown eateries over chains, saying that "word of mouth is crucial to survival and through this bully pulpit, I’ll do my best to extol the great value and virtue of supporting local restaurants." A warning, however: if you like food, and particularly New Mexican food, Gil's excellent and evocative writing about (and photography of) great dishes is likely to make you more than a little bit hungry.
In 1960 or so, Professor Perry C. Van Arsdale was helping his 7-year-old granddaughter researching the Santa Fe trail. He found his granddaughter's textbook to have some number of errors. He set off to create a map of pioneer history (prior to the 1900's), using his own knowledge and information from judges, sheriffs, and descendants of historical figures. This was his start in creating the Pioneer New Mexico map, which would contain 300 towns that no longer exist, old trails of all sorts (including the three historic Santa Fe trails and various camel routes), locations of minor squabbles and major battles, and because he couldn't fit everything on the maps, he also included extensive notes in the corner of the map. [more inside]
Santa Fe officials are encouraging same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses, pointing out that the state doesn't need to pass a marriage equality law because New Mexico law already allows same-sex marriage.
In the telling it has the contours of a creation myth: At a time of great evil and great terror, a small group of scientists, among the world’s greatest minds, secluded themselves in the desert. In secrecy and silence they toiled at their Promethean task. They sought the ultimate weapon, one of such great power as to end not just their war, but all war. They hoped their work would salvage the future. They feared it could end everything. - Prometheus in the desert: from atom bombs to radio astronomy, New Mexico's scientific legacy
"The more ghoulish and extreme the show becomes, ...the more accurately it captures the reality of the cartels and their business."
Shit Burqueños Say (and part two) are twin odes to New Mexican idiosyncrasies. The videos (created by ABQ's own Blackout Theatre troupe) went viral and made the front page of the Albuquerque Journal this week, to the general amusement of most, though they're not entirely free of controversy. Watch and you too may exclaim eeeeee, this is all funny!
As part of making documents available following Freedom of Information Act requests, the FBI has set up The Vault, including documents on unexplained phenomenon. One document in particular, the Guy Hottel memo, had some proclaiming "these are the real life X-Files." Except it's not - the document is real, but the report was based on a hoax that is known by many UFO debunkers.
"I'll go out there and cut the chain for you and put on a new padlock, but I won't go in there, not for anything."
"Then the powers that had built the site abandoned it. But the glass endured — a splotchy green circle 200 feet in diameter, dull by night, bright by day, a monument to man's inhumanity to man. This monument was surrounded by a high fence, tight strands of barbed wire, and multilingual warning signs. The gate in the fence was chained with three padlocks — two put there by government agencies — serving as links in the chain. If you got through any of the three, you could gain admission to Trinity Site. And that's what I did. In July, 1951, I entered the site, and I took the glass. Let me explain.
63 years ago little green men landed in the desert, or did they? I've lived in New Mexico for large parts of my life, and if there is anywhere aliens would land, it probably would be there. If they didn't land there afterall, maybe they will soon with the installation of the new spaceport.
“Being willing to sit in a boring classroom for 12 years, and then sign up for four more years and then sign up for three or more years after that—well, that’s a pretty good measure of your willingness to essentially do what you’re told,” - The Santa Fe Reporter talks to Economist Samuel Bowles about New Mexico's income gap, welfare, social mobility, and a radical way to help. (Via)
The American Image: The Photographs of John Collier Jr. at the University of New Mexico. "In 1941 to 1943, Collier worked as a photographer with the Farm Securities Administration and the Office of War Information under Roy Stryker and documented many areas around the eastern U.S and northern New Mexico." The full photoset is at flickr here.
With a background of turning around distressed hotels, Larry Whitten this past July bought the 'Paragon Hotel,' a "run-down, Southwestern adobe-style hotel" in Taos, NM with the intent of ressurecting it [now called the 'Whitten Inn']. "The tough-talking former Marine immediately laid down some new rules for the staff. Among them, he forbade the Hispanic workers...from speaking Spanish in his presence (he thought they'd be talking about him), and ordered some to Anglicize their names. No more Martin (Mahr-TEEN). It was plain-old Martin. No more Marcos. Now it would be Mark." This "liberal enclave of 5,000 residents...where Spanish language, culture and traditions have a long and revered history" didn't take well to his management approach. Local protests ensued [video | 09:35]. [more inside]
Off The Grid: Life On The Mesa. A new documentary explores life in 15 square miles of northern New Mexico. With no cops, no official authority, and barely any understanding of who even owns the land, a special environment has arisen. Hippies, rednecks, and other assorted loners exist in either the last outpost of true American freedom or "the largest outdoor insane asylum" - and then they are tested by self-proclaimed revolutionaries with their own idea of how to run things. Check out the official MySpace page for the trailer and some clips.
Stateline windfarm in Oregon/Washington is the largest windfarm in the world (300 MW). Denmark's Nysted windfarm is the world's largest off-shore windfarm (165 MW). Ireland plans to build a 520 MW off-shore windfarm, while the London Array would produce a massive 1000 MW and be a major feaure in the English Channel. Norway announced a 1,400 MW windfarm in 2005. The world's largest single wind turbine (5 MW).. the worlds largest solar farm (300 MW) planned for New Mexico would cover over 3,000 acres.
What is going on in Dulce, New Mexico? The federal government is apparently working in tangent with several species of extraterrestrials in a gigantic underground base the size of Manhattan. This came to light with the release of the Dulce Papers, a set of documents explaining the whole conspiracy. An alleged former guard at the base has also spoken out against it and revealed more information. Of course, a lot of this relates back to the shadow government and Jesus having been genetically engineered by the Greys, but really, what doesn't these days. Want to take a relaxing holiday to Dulce Base? Well, you'll probably be shot, but there's always this nice video footage.
Wait... there's a NEW Mexico??! Old but funny.
Marine Corps Dogs and Police K-9 Dogs are suiting up in kevlar vests. And in Sante Fe, New Mexico dogs may soon be wearing mandatory dog seat belts.
Poppin' Fresh from the newly launched QueerMeta community weblog: We'Wha: The Zuni Man-Woman. How could a six-foot tall Indian man be mistaken for a "maiden" and a "princess"? This was no Pocahontas! Even more intriguing is the relationship between Stevenson and We'wha. According to one gossip, "she" regularly entered the ladies rooms and boudoirs of Washington. How could Stevenson not know that her intelligent Zuni informant was really, in the words of one gossip, a "bold, bad man"? More about the 'berdaches' of the Zuni [ 1, 2, 3]. Google cache of last (Geocities) link here.
Four Corners - A Literary Excursion Across America "There is no experience that compares to being on all fours in four states at once while waving ones behind toward a blinking camera. Even Columbus would have appreciated this." Good reading here.
This is the 58th Anniversary of the Atomic Age. The successful Trinity nuclear test was made July 16, 1945, in which a six-kilogram sphere of plutonium, compressed to supercriticality by explosive lenses, exploded over the New Mexico desert with a force equal to approximately 20,000 tons of TNT. The Stafford Memo (original in PDF), dated 58 years ago today, is the declassified official report. Outside the use of the weapon in warfare, the risks to humans were uncertain.
The Albuquerque Bosque is on fire. Bosque is spanish for woods that grow along a river bank and these woods are within feet of homes of Albuquerque, New Mexico residents. The bosque is along the Rio Grande river that runs through the state's largest city and includes a nature center and towering cottonwood trees that are over 100's of years old. Yesterday and tonight over 1000 acres are going up like a match. The Rio Grande bosque is a state treasure (with a national wild refuge ). We now have seven fires in New Mexico. Albuquerque is losing a natural treasure tonight... very sad to hear this may be arson.
The annual pilgrimage to the Sanctuario de Chimayo and Tome Hill. Here in New Mexico, this week Catholic pilgrims walk to Chimayo and Tome Hill. The Penitente, a long-excommunicated Catholic cult began by a wayward Jesuit in the late 1600's, hold their mock-crucifixion rituals this week as well, but the secret society doesn't encourage visitors. Are there more pilgrimages that happen Easter Week?
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