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Sail on, Sail on, Sailor
By August March [ Wed Jan 18 2017 7:10 PM ]
On Saturday night the bell on my landline went off and damn it all if it weren't the Sailor, ringing me up to hear more about Duke Ellington and his way with the piano.
"Come on over, August," he breathed gruffly and grandly into the handset, "and show me again how those first 16 bars go, because I have an idea on how to fit a harmonica over that bit, plus which I believe I can lay a fine shuffle under that storm and so we will be on our way to being a fine jazz band, after all."
I'd already had a couple of drinks of Wild Turkey by that time though and told him I didn't fancy driving through the student ghetto just to lay down some clumsy riffs on his Yamaha upright, but he disagreed.
"Go on and walk over then, Mr. March and I will mix you up a creme soda with Jameson's in the bottom of the glass."
I could not resist and so spent the next 3 hours rambling through "East Saint Louis Toodle-oo" while the rest of the boys followed along blithely. My wife called about 10 and told me I better get on home if I wanted any spaghetti. "Who could resist that," I told the Sailor as I dropped my charts onto his desk, grabbed my cane and ambled toward the door. I flashed him the peace sign and said I'd see him Tuesday for practice.
That was the last time I saw the man folks here in Dirt City called by a nautical name.
I'd known him since I was a kid, and him being 20 years my senior did stop us becoming fast friends. He was part brother and part father; we hiked, smoked, drank, jammed and regaled each other with stories of where the other had been on the Earth.
He was the only man I knew that had seen more of the planet than me. I'd been on all the continents, excepting Antarctica; his tale of seeing the Ross Ice Shelf rise up on the horizon set my brain on fire and besides that we always had a laugh about the after-midnight goings on in Singapore, the lights of the north star and the aurora way up north or how it was impossible to understand the dialect of the Peruvian seamen who landed in Guayaquil looking for a good time.
When he broke his hip late last year, my wife and I sat with him at the hospital, brought him dinner from Los Cuates on the weekends and made sure his walker was ready to go when he was. The pain was bad he told us, but nothing like the time he got burned putting out a fire on an oiler outside of Osaka.
Just last week, we spent an afternoon listening to the Rolling Stones new album, a blues thing. And I complained that Charlie Watts was about an eighth note behind Keith Richards when it counted but he said to take it easy because we were all getting old.
On Tuesday morning the bell on my cell phone went off and god damn it to hell, it was the Sailor's neighbor who was weeping on the line when I answered and then told me the news.
"Mike got up early this morning, put a note on the door, then went back to his place and shot himself."
I went home early that day. I sat at my piano and played until my hands hurt, thinking about the time the Sailor told me how Polaris was possibly the center of the universe—blinking timelessly, brightly while the rest of the sky rolled and spun chaotically around and around.
Courtesy of the artist, via Facebook
Saturday, Jan 14: Evelyn Molina y Los Chicos del 512 • Selena Tribute
By August March [ Fri Jan 13 2017 12:00 PM ]
In a musical world filled with tribute and cover bands of all sorts—as well as a booming casino industry willing to host such simulacra—it was only a matter of time before legendary songstress Selena got the star treatment such verisimilitudes invoke and evoke among myth-craving, slot-machine-playing audiences. Enter Evelyn Molina y Los Chicos del 512, ostensibly the closest one can get in 2017 to a performance by the aforementioned Queen of Tejano music. Although Ms. Quintanilla-Pérez tragically passed away more than 20 years ago, her sound and style live on through Molina's project. Performing hits from the now mythic star's canon, including selections from Selena's 1992 breakthrough album Entre a Mi Mundo, Molina y Los Chicos are scheduled to perform at Isleta Resort and Casino on Saturday, Jan. 14, so prepare yourself for some Amor Prohibido. Tickets cost between $10-$20. Isleta Resort & Casino • Sat Jan 14 • 8pm • $10-$20 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
Baroque to Postmodern by Violin
Sunday, Jan 8: Mark Rush and Friends
By August March [ Sat Jan 7 2017 10:00 AM ]
A program featuring excerpts from J.S. Bach's Partita Number III, bracketed by modern and postmodern musical pieces composed by Mark O'Connor, Patrick Neher and Jacob TV.
The Daily Word in WIPP, the worst and waterflow
By August March [ Thu Dec 22 2016 1:23 PM ]
Regulators with the New Mexico Department of Environment approve of re-starting operations at WIPP, a thing the US Department of Energy wants done before year's end.
Bill Jordan, the senior policy advisor at New Mexico Voices for Children, writes about our state's troubled economy in this commentary over at nmpolitics.net.
Last week, 70 or more attendees of a New Mexico Department of Health Holiday Luncheon were sickened by a mysterious food-borne illness allegedly served at the catered event.
Income inequality is worse in New Mexico than in 38 other states, reports the Taos News.
New Mexico's winningest high school football coach has resigned.
A woman stopped at the Columbus, New Mexico border crossing allegedly tried to smuggle methamphetamine into this country. The drugs were hidden in rubber tubing that was part of several "dreamcatchers" found in her possession.
This recent UNM grad is also the mayor of Magdelena, New Mexico!
Two Colorado hikers who were saved by rescue teams from Kirtland Air Force Base recently visited the Duke City to say thanks.
Duke City Fix Blogger Scot Key offers readers a year-in-review article that begins locally but also goes global.
Finally, here are current waterflow conditions for streams and rivers in the State of New Mexico.
It's not Just a Fad
Thursday, Dec 22: Eric McFadden • guitar, rock • Queen Delphine • Small Town Therapy • acoustic
By August March [ Wed Dec 21 2016 1:00 PM ]
Guess who's back, back again?
The Daily Word in New Mexico news highlights
By August March [ Thu Dec 15 2016 12:00 PM ]
A team from the New Mexico Department of Environment has completed its inspection of the facilities at WIPP. The results of said inspection are pending.
Layoffs due to budgetary shortfalls at the NM treasurer's office mean an end to state-sponsored financial literacy classes.
Questa, New Mexico has gone eight days without running water. That's about to change, reports the Albuquerque Journal.
Public backlash over an artist's depiction of colonial New Mexico has resulted in the whiting out of a looming sword.
On Saturday, Dec. 17, UNM's football Lobos square off against the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners in the Gildan Bowl. Named after a brand of men's underwear, the game will take place at University Stadium in Albuquerque.
Albuquerque's National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is planning a series of winter day camps aimed at educating and entertaining holiday-break-bound local children.
Over at Duke City Fix, blogger Scot Key writes about the history of road construction in Albuquerque.
Meanwhile over at the Daily Lobo, Skylar Griego examines one student's experience at UNM's Department of Music.
Apparently, some pretty big rainbow trout reside in the Bob Gerding Catch and Release Pond at Tingley Beach.
By August March [ Wed Dec 14 2016 7:49 PM ]
One time, I wrote to you from a provocatively celestial, windy night.
Two dust-speckled birds lit on the mulberry tree across the street. The tree still had some dark green leaves on, it being the middle of November.
I heard a low and mournful whisper coming from the train yard. It weren't a ghost; just a locomotive breathing out its coarse diesel discourse into the obscure hours.
Before long, those two nightjars commenced their song; caliginous chirps and whistles followed. All of those sounds combined. And once entwined, they spirited themselves away into the upper atmosphere.
There was a buzzing sodium lamp burning nearby. The light it made caused nearby objects to appear yellow and sharp. Purple shadows blossomed beneath the cars and plants and cats located within the circle of its electric radiance.
I spied Polaris setting in one place, way up north. The rest of the stars and planets churned around it like the maelstroms that take unlucky boats down to Neptune's hidden garden. Seeing how that idea gave me an unfamiliar but welcome sense of ease and well being, I laid myself down and fell into a dream.
It is naturally bright but the air is sullen at the same time. I let my old yellow Volkswagen—the one I bought from the fry cook at Fred's Bread—do the driving. That car carries me with all of the benevolence its chugging engine can muster, across empty mesas and up into foggy foothills.
The road gets hard to manage and has been flooded with paint the color of water so I climb out a side window. The city of Albuquerque is glowing beneath me. It looks just like I imagine a vast space station might, if I were an astronaut.
I tell the Volkswagen (whose name I cannot pronounce when awake) to wait while I investigate the geometry and nocturnal animal life in the mountains ahead.
A pack of coyotes is breathing out howling noises aimed at the moon and vinegaroon skitters through the arroyo, whipping its tail and snapping its black claws. Somewhere east of Supper Rock, I find a wooden door has been craftily installed into the face of a cliff I used to climb.
I pull it open to discover the Sandia Mountains are mostly hollow. A pale blue light seeps through from the other side. Inside, I notice that someone built a ramshackle fence—made from saplings and multi-colored telephone wire—around a great green meadow that seems to extend for miles. Sheep graze here and there. My old dog Arnold bounds up to say hello, wagging his tail. He starts carrying on about the beauty and serenity of nature
The sun came up just about then, just as I began to notice the telephone wire fence was really constructed of lunar soil and leaden capacitors.
Yawning and shaking my head at the impossibility such things, I sat up in bed, activated my personal levitation device, floated into the kitchen and processed some coffee beans into a stimulating beverage. I swung the backdoor open in a gesture meant to reconcile myself with reality and did not bother to look for my shoes before deactivating the machine and stepping into November.
A cool breeze was wafting through the air. The whole place smelt of water and autumnal relief. Two fellows were working on the swamp cooler next door and cursing a clogged copper pipe while the neighbor's cat patrolled the fence tops, prowling for Inca doves.
I blinked my eyes and the radio came on as I tumbled back into the house. An announcer was telling about the war and how it might make things like miniaturized nuclear fuel cells scare, how growing one’s home victory garden ought to be balanced out with proper and diligent Geiger counter use.
The presidential show was coming up, the on-air voice continued, and it looked like Oprah was still in the lead because Justin Beiber might be pretty, but his foreign policy skills needed lots of work. 2024 would be a helluva year I thought to myself, even if I do have to learn to walk again.
The alarm went off at seven that morning and I jumped out of bed like my life depended on that simple act. Three cups of coffee and two bowls of Rice Chex later, I began my daily drive to work. I smiled broadly and had a good laugh when the oldies station played that one hit song Franz Ferdinand had when everyone in the rocanrol press really believed they were gonna be the next big thing after Radiohead was done conquering the earth.
Gil Dekel via Wikimedia / Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
Chag Urim Sameach! • חג אורים שמח
Saturday, Dec 10: Hanukat Shalom
By August March [ Fri Dec 9 2016 12:00 PM ]
A Hanukah party with food, silent auction, activities for kids, live klezmer music with dancing and a sing-along with The Neo-Weavers.
The Daily Word in Trump's Choices
By August March [ Thu Dec 8 2016 12:13 PM ]
The CEO of Carl's Jr., a fast food hamburger chain, will likely be chosen to be the new Secretary of Labor.
Former Marine Gen. John Kelly has been tapped to become the head of the US Department of Homeland Security.
The co-founder of a professional wrestling concern, known as the WWE, will likely be in charge of Trump's version of the Small Business Administration.
"Fierce EPA critic" and current Oklahoma State Attorney General Scott Pruitt shall be the next head of the federal government's official environmental watchdog group.
Here's a detailed rundown of the president-elect's other picks for top government posts.
Feeling stressed out after reading through this morning's Daily Word? Well, then you might just need to watch and listen to this rocanrol video to assuage your mounting fears of the coming apocalypse.
The Daily Word in Lo Ultimo de Nuevo Mexico
By August March [ Wed Dec 7 2016 3:14 PM ]
Senator Tom Udall isn't running for governor of the land of enchantment.
State economists here have revised revenue expectations after data showed the state falling behind in employment, wages and economic growth.
According to 24/7 Wall St, we're one of the worst-run states in the nation called America.
Elected officials residing in a town in Northwest New Mexico want to keep their 10 Commandments monument.
The British tabloid press got a hold of a report from KRQE about a Las Cruces cop, aprés-shower nakedness and Domino's Pizza. Starkers?! Really.
In Alamogordo (which means fat cottonwood, btw) there's an exhibit of New Deal Art, courtesy of the National New Deal Preservation Association.
UNM President Bob Frank may be in trouble.
Safety concerns continue to trouble the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.
UNM's Lobo football team is headed for post-season play for the second year in a row.
A human from Farmington caught a 25 inch brown trout using a size 24 black foam wing midge.
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