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V.25 No.33 | 08/18/2016

The Daily Word in Bees, Instagram and Italy

The Daily Word

A 6.2 earthquake hit central Italy last night.

Not sure if you're depressed? Check your Instagram.

Business owners have already started to take proactive action against the negative affects of ART.

A spontaneous block party was filmed for a music video for the musician Jandro on Sunday.

#LetEmployeesVent or #NoRespect

France exploited three women who just wanted to enjoy the beach for an afternoon.

A project called Holobiont Urbanism is tracking microbes with bees and mapping the results.

V.25 No.34 | 08/18/2016

Confirm your vast knowledge of the best restaurants in Burque

Best of Burque voting is underway!

Lunch time rolls around and you realize you didn't pack your awful lunch, and neither did that one coworker that you want to get to know better. He asks where you think you all should go. Here's where Best of Burque Restaurants comes in.
V.25 No.32 | 08/11/2016

Event Horizon

Down the Hatch

Saturday, Aug 20: Bosque Chile Festival

Celebrate the staple of local cuisine with entertainment, kids' activities, arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, beer, wine and chef demonstrations.

Event Horizon

Rumble in the Jungle

Saturday, Aug 20: The Running of the Chihuahuas

Chihuahuas and chi-mixes race. Beer garden, inflatable jumpers, food trucks, face painting, all breed contests for best costume and dog and owner lookalike. Winners recieve a sWag bag.

Event Horizon

Burlesque to the Q

Friday, Aug 19: Hellraisers Burlesque and Sideshow Spectacular

Belly dancing, drag artists, aerialists and more. Performers include Sweetpea and Armitage Shanks.
V.25 No.33 | 08/18/2016
Rio Grande
/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Creative Non-Fiction

About Water

Here are some stories about water.

I am fascinated by its absence; here in the high desert the dry earth is something I have both feared and revered. A dweller of mesas and arroyos, water remains elusive to me; it is a half-remembered dream.

My family moved to Albuquerque when I was twelve. Before that, we lived on the edge of the Navajo Nation. There was an arid beauty there, expansive and windblown. I remember being driven to small fishing lakes in Navajoland and not being able to believe that so much water could gather in one place.

Sometimes I would wander around the mesas and arroyos, almost drifting across them like a bird, finding waterholes and scratching up clay from the surrounding soil.

We went to Gallup often, shopped at place called Trademart and ate at various restaurants with names like "The Ranch Kitchen" or "Mucho Burger." On the weekends, the old man would drive us to Albuquerque, to visit friends and relatives.

Driving around the state with my father - who was oddly enough, a sailor - at the helm of a car he called a boat, my brother and I would hang our heads out the windows and scream in defiance of the water towers we passed.

They were monumental and mysterious and contained a force mostly unknown to us: the gathering together of powers we had only seen during the rare days of late summer thunderstorms, that we had only waded through, shin deep, in murky rivulets and ponds.

Here was that force, personified and unified, in mighty metal towers. The travels we took with the dude seemed to begin and end with those risen behemoths.

The towers loomed on this horizon and that. I suppose we imagined them to be a type of metallic creature, robots which might careen out of control at any time, drowning us with both malevolent size and watery contents.

The old man would glance in the rear view mirror and laugh and cuss when he saw one approaching; my mother would turn up the radio and prepare for the worst.

I grew older and stopped screaming. But water remained an elusory aspect of my world. By the time we finally moved to Burque, I remember standing at the edge of the Rio Grande, staring.

When I asked my father about this utterly strange phenomenon, a river that flowed, he said the world was a watery place, that my confusion was contrary to the way of nature. Water was a precious substance that made a difficult and dangerous magic, he warned.

And so, he also taught us to swim, mostly at pools around town. There was one at the Albuquerque Country Club. There was another at the Mountainside YMCA. Our favorite became a pool called the A-Pool. It was a public pool located near Pennsylvania and Menaul. It was shaped like a gigantic letter A.

To further pique our interest in the water, he would also make us watch the Val De La O show.

The Val De La O was a local teevee show that was broadcast live on Saturday mornings, from the KOB studios, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Besides providing entertaining Nuevo Mexicano music for my then young and beautiful parents to dance to, De La O featured a variety of fascinating celebrities as guests. One of his frequent visitors was Johnny Weissmuller.

Weissmuller was an Olympic swimmer who had risen to fame portraying Tarzan in the movies. By the time of my childhood, he had retired from his fictional vine-swinging, vicious lion and Nazi-fighting duties and often visited Albuquerque.

My father hoped that Tarzan's recollections of his watery exploits would encourage us to become safe and strong swimmers, despite the lack of water all around us.

He was mostly right.

Years later, long after De La O and his hilarious sidekick Mario Leyva (he was sort of like the Duke City version of Cantinflas, sabes?) had taken their leave of the studios on Coal Avenue, I nearly drowned in the Gila River.

My brother and I were camping with some other undergrads and decided to hike along the east fork of the river. The twin warned me that the spring rains spelled treachery, but I ignored his admonitions. I decided to cross the swollen river.

In transit, I slipped on a rock, fell and was pushed under the torrent. The current was swift. I could not lift myself against it, and became submerged in it. It was surprisingly quiet down there. I began to see pictures of my life being paraded around the backs of my eyelids.

When I had just about given up, I saw an image of a water tower rising above a dusty road. On that road, a super stock Pontiac roared along with kids screaming in the back seat and Jefferson Airplane blasting out of the open windows.

And like that tower, which held water, I decided to rise. Like that car which sought out water, I moved, somehow resurgent, somehow robotic. Lifting my head up out of the Gila River, I took a deep breath and did as I had been trained to do.

My brother was standing on the bank of the river, screaming.

This is what he shouted as I climbed up on a rock, loud enough to be heard over the din of the water, which was roaring like a beast: "Who in the hell do you think you are, Tarzan?"

That night, back in the student ghetto, I dreamt of clay, of arroyos and dust.

V.25 No.32 | 08/11/2016

The Daily Word in New Businesses, the Olympics and Homelessness

The Daily Word

Have you heard about the trend of men taking advantage of homeless women?

The Blue Cut Fire in southern Calif. has forced over 80,000 people from their homes.

Who knew gray could be so beautiful?

Diversity in television has become expansive over the last few years, but let's be real—it could be better.

Free coffee and free shame available this morning.

A Brazilian judge is detaining two American athletes after they filed a report saying they were robbed by people “posing” as police officers.

The Northeast Heights is finally getting a taproom that it deserves.

Weekly Weather Report

Today has been pretty cloudy and this evening we can expect rain and some wind up to 15 mph. Wednesday will be less cloudy but slightly cooler with a high of 89º. Thursday will be sunny and breezy. Friday will be basically the same as Thursday. Pure sunshine all weekend long with a gentle breeze. Monday looks like it will be as cloudy as today (if not more) and cooler with stronger breezes and some hateful glances from the neighbor that died four and a half years ago, Gods rest their soul. I predict next Tuesday will be rainy. Don't forget; it's a safe bet for the rest of the month that it'll rain during the nighttime, so bring an umbrella when you're escaping your gray alien-invaded home in the middle of the night. Happy monsoon season!

Short Fiction

Jones Goes to College, Part Two

Charlie Jones could be one helluva fire-breather. We'll never know for sure. When most folks looked at him straight on, all they saw was a glimpse of something vast and watery, momentarily compressed into the shape and size of clown made from his father's enchiladas and his mother's latkes.

If Jones liked you, he'd more than likely let you do most of the talking. He’d sit back listening and fiddling around with his pipe. Occasionally Charlie would check for burn holes on his shirt while you went on about any old thing. He'd end up by winking at the dogs setting next to him before smiling wanly and shaking your hand gently.

And if he didn't like you, he would interrupt constantly and make grand and obscure literary allusions designed to imply disdain for the supposed rottenness of the entire species of hairless apes of which he was a reluctant member. On such occasions, he was operating under the assumption that we were all charlatans, payasos and schmendriks rolled up into a garbage scow that was way to big to be floated down the Rio Grande without some significant damage being done to the surrounding natural environment.

That was Charlie's power with silence and with words. It was some gift.

So, it wasn't any sort of surprise when one of his associates discovered the dude had altered history by leaving some events dangling in a story he had recently posted.

The fellow who discovered the temporal anomaly just happened to be a luminescent, transdimensional plasma being. His name was unpronounceable. He reckoned that if Jones left things in his tale the way they were, the result would be a global nuclear conflagration in the year 2137.

The disaster would be caused by miscommunication about replacement refrigerator compressor trade between the Republic of Texas and the Confederation of Coastal Chicanos – which, by the way, would one day span the distance from the east bank of the Rio Grande clear on over to the Pacific Ocean.

Charlie got the news by telephone while he was listening to some chamber music by Johannes Brahms and reading the Surgeon General's warning on a pack of low tar cigarettes.

“Godammit,” he told his parallel universe-jumping pal, “I can't say what really went down because Burque is tiny, sabes? It might cause some discomfort. Even if I change the names around and all that jazz,” he gravely intoned—as the wind rattled around the wires and the connection so that there was a sort of electrical crackle coming through the headset—“people will know.”

“You don't want to cause a war,” hissed the entity on the other side of the trunk, so why don’t you just finish the story.”

Enticed and compelled in a manner that may one day be cinematically depicted by a medium shot of the planet Jupiter and its inner moons floating grandly in space, Jones transmitted the following addendum, known here, for archival purposes, as Jones Goes to College, Part Two:

One Saturday afternoon, a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving and when December had just begun to creep into New Mexico upon flat clouds, when the short days seemed to be pulled down low, Zelda showed up at Harvard House.

She was sitting in a rickety Ford pickup truck with a bent-up hood and smoky exhaust. The damned thing was being driven by a chap by the name of Leon. In between the two sat Ruth.

“Come on,” Zelda whispered to Jones, “come on up to the Jemez with us, we are going to Spence Hot Springs.” They drove north and Leon was drunk. The gals laughed a lot. Charlie wondered if there was anything better on the radio than the tape they were listening to, which was something by a band named after a faraway continent.

The four of them got to the mountains and stumbled around in the dark for about an hour. They only had one flashlight. Charlie finally located the springs by using a lensmatic compass with a radium dial and a map he had picked up at the gas station in San Ysidro.

It was cold and raining small ice crystals that night but they gingerly undressed anyway. Navigating to the edge of the pool, each entered it with great fragility and unconscious circumspection.

For thirty minutes none of the bathers spoke or looked up into the night sky or at each other—except for Leon. He was boracho. He kept taking liver-blistering hits from a bottle of Canadian Club and winking at the other three. Charlie knew it was time to go when Leon yacked all over his own pile of clothes while trying to retrieve a frajo from his jean jacket.

On the way back they heard Led Zeppelin III playing on 94 Rock. It was amazing what you could hear at four in the morning, Jones mused as the city of Albuquerque floated into view.

For a little while after that, Charlie hung out with Zelda. That mostly meant she'd come by Harvard House where they would make out frantically while Jones’ roommates painted abstract pictures or read National Lampoon in the living room.

But they never really bonded. Charlie realized that something was wrong after he took Zelda to see Dune at the Hiland Theater. Zelda refused to take her gloves off during the show and squirmed uncomfortably in her seat when the Guild Navigators were on screen.

On New Year's Eve, Zelda and Jones went to a party. She was late; he went through a sixer of Mickey's Big Mouth Malt Liquor in the meantime. Both of those humans were very far away from each other by the time they met up and so they mostly lost track of one another at the party. On the way home, Charlie yacked all over Zelda and passed out in the passenger seat of her new car.

That would have been that, but Charlie wanted the last word, just like the narrator told you at the beginning of all of this.

It was January and snowing like hell. Jones borrowed a car to drive up to the Heights where Zelda was staying. On the way he picked up a day-old bouquet of flowers at Allsups. As he was turning into her driveway, Charlie wrecked the car, a green Ford station wagon that had previously been used to haul around golf course equipment somewhere in Maryland. She came down to look at the wreck but acted like she didn't know Jones at all. She wondered aloud who he was and why he had chosen her house.

Charlie was sober. The auto had insurance. The cops let him go. Jones retreated silently, gracefully back to the student ghetto and waited for the spring semester to begin.

The next summer, Charlie heard that Leon had been crippled in a motorcycle accident, that Zelda was living two streets away with a serial womanizer and drunk, that Ruth had gone off to Sarah Lawrence to study anthropology. And all he'd done since was write and study, taking occasional breaks to stare at the sunlight coming through the front window in between times.

Some 152 years later, near the spot where Jones pondered the significance of meta-fiction in American literature, a great war was narrowly averted.

V.25 No.31 | 08/04/2016

Event Horizon

Gone Fission

Friday, Aug 12: Explora Parent's Night Out: Exciting Electricity

Enjoy a night out while Explora staff lead exhibit exploration and special activities related to electricity with kids. Dinner included. Registration required.

In Another World

I was folding my dirty laundry when it happened—the beginning of the end. I had just heard thunder overhead. The lights flickered then went out. I went to the front door to see if my neighbor was home. I saw him walk around his house out of sight. I turned off the music on my phone, who could guess how long the power would be out?

The house I lived in was dark, there weren't many large windows to let light in. As I walked around and lit some candles I texted my boyfriend. Power's out.

Hours passed and no response. I knew he was working but I read on Facebook that power was out everywhere, so I knew he would be able to respond. Unless his phone died. Unless he died. I had been listening to the sirens of emergency vehicles and wondered if there were normally this many sirens or if the noise I distracted myself with had always blocked it out. Who could say?

Once the darkness of night set in I knew I had to take action. When the power's off in the whole city, you can bet your ass there would be looters. I blocked the doorway and nailed boards over the windows. I'm not going to take any chances in this situation. If my parents taught me anything, it was to protect myself, always.

I fell asleep.

A pounding on the front door woke me up. I couldn't hear what exactly they were yelling through the furniture, but they sounded serious. I grabbed my guns and keys, busted out the back window and made a run for my car. It was the middle of the night but with all the adrenaline I felt, everything seemed so clear. Almost like it was morning.

I got in my car and drove. As I was leaving the city, I saw other people driving to their day jobs, presumably. Fools. Only a matter of time till all these dummies realize they need to get out to protect themselves and their God-fearing families. Trying to get out and there's no gas or oil left in this place. Trying to get out only to find the government put a disaster-proof bubble over the city.

I can't say I didn't see it coming. With all these handouts, it was only a matter of time before the government handed the keys to the US to the North Koreans or Europeans. I refuse to live in any commy society where we have to ration out food or get a certain haircut or I have to give away my paycheck to pay for other peoples medical needs. Not in my America.

I can only hope that the world is going to be right again one day. Even though we live in this new post-apocalyptic world, sometimes I want to go back to the way things were so badly I can almost see the city's shimmering lights.

Now I live in the wilderness southeast of the city. I can't tell you where exactly but if you need to find me light a fire exactly three hours after the sun sets at 34°36'37.0"N 106°39'26.7"W and I will find you if I see fit.

Daily Word

The Daily Word in smaller rocks, Holm's thumb, Brandenburg and hotdogs for bait

The Daily Word

The city of Albuquerque replaced some landscaping in order to prevent its use in violent protests.

An official at ABQ Ride says bus ridership in the city has declined due to lower gasoline prices.

Holy Holm had surgery in Burque to fix a thumb she busted in Chicago.

The newspaper of the party for socialism and liberation writes that New Mexico, suffering from endemic poverty and violence, "is sick of capitalism."

Here's a BuzzFeed feature on Bernalillo County DA Kari Brandenburg. The article has caused some local controversy and Brandenburg says she was misquoted regarding her opinion of hizzonor Richard Berry.

This week's New Mexico fishing report says it's possible to catch catfish at Tingley Beach using hotdogs as bait. Oh, and Bluewater lake is full of Tiger Muskies.

V.25 No.30 | 07/28/2016
The Wailers
Saranga U Nara

Event Horizon

Wailing Through Downtown with a Groove

Saturday, Aug 6: Downtown Summerfest

Food and drink, a microbrew garden, an artisan market, kids' activities and live music with The Wailers headlining and many more local bands.

Event Horizon

A Midsummer Night's Wings

Saturday, Aug 6: Summer Wings, A Festival of Flight

Bilingual, guided walks to learn about native animals. Watch a hummingbird capture, banding and release, an insect capture, indentification and release and learn about nature journaling.
V.25 No.31 | 08/04/2016

Short Fiction

Jones Goes to College, Part One

Jones dug the hell out of that first semester at Coronado Hall. It was awesome, even if there always was some dude from Peñasco or Ojo Caliente passed out, drowning in his voluminous post-beer-bong vomit in the third floor head. The world was over for that rascal except for toilets and tile floors thought Jones as he hit the shower.

The Grateful Dead tapestry he put up on the window to shut out the light was, like, a total hit with his roommate and the fellows next door. And damn it all if the food wasn't a gazillion times better than at Allsup's.

With “Yow!” and “Yeah!” serving as enthusiastic interjections, the semester jetted out quick across the blue dome of the world. That spring, Charlie Jones made a grip of ceramic objects, read and decoded two situationist texts and learned how to tinkle out a couple of dances by Bartok.

Jones decided, as sure as eggs was eggs, he could never move home again. Living with the old man wasn't of any use, anyhow. That dude never seemed to get over his Afghan hound Duchess dying early. Twenty years had come and gone and it was still like living on the moon when Dad was around, all silent and dusty.

Reckoning the student ghetto was the way to go, Charlie began exhaustive research focused on finding a shack he could call his own. He did not have to extend himself too much into that realm mostly because he happened to run into his pal Donna in front of the student union.

It was just about May in those parts and Donna was gamboling about on the lawn with a lady friend who was dressed all in white. She was sporting a long skirt and sorta looked like Stevie Nicks, except for her hair. Her mop was as black as crow feathers and was blowing around in the springtime wind like it was trying to fly away into the clouds or something.

After a couple of obligatory hippie-hugs, Donna introduced Zelda and let it out the two of them had found an underground haven. It was a remodeled, carpeted, and suitably dark basement apartment they had found south of campus. The deal was they needed a third person to make the rent.

“You gotta be fucking kidding me,” Jones said as a storm came up and it started to rain like it used to do in Albuquerque before the environmental disaster of 2037.

The next morning, Jones got up early and hauled his sorry ass over to the student ghetto. It was early, with the light just coming over the new jungle of tired elms that framed the place. As Charlie approached the underground pad, a dude dressed like a steam-shovel operator came racing up the stairs with Zelda on his heels in a fashion that vaguely reminded Jones of the German retreat from Stalingrad.

Charlie stood there while the two of them began to argue and cajole, gesticulate and weave. After about five minutes of that, the guy in the industrial costume lumbered over to his El Camino and rolled away while April Wine blasted through the truck’s speakers. Zelda gritted her teeth and extended her right hand, all friendly, acting like nothing at all weird had just happened around there—or anywhere else earth—for that matter.

But Jones sensed she was unsettled about the whole thing. With Zelda standing out there in her bare feet, toeing at the dirt nervously and clad in an oversized wife-beater and sweatpants, he gravely intoned—drawing back a ways as they shook hands—“Tell you what, I'll start bringing my stuff over tomorrow.”

It poured water from the sky for the next two days and the lightning flashed and flashed. When the storm let up, when Charlie Jones finally got moved in, he still thought it was a sweet deal. There was a tiny kitchen at the top of the stairs and the rest of the place really was underground; all the walls were cool to the touch and hardly any light got in at all.

Donna was never home. Sometimes Jones played new wave music recordings in the big room in very back of the joint. Otherwise kept to himself and got up early every morning so as to dutifully haul his sorry ass to school.

He couldn’t tell whether Zelda worked or not. Every time he went by her room, the door was open with Fleetwood Mac songs floating through the air, incense wafting here and there and Zelda reclining languidly on her bed while leafing through books about food and flowers.

She'd usually glance at him wanly as he passed. He'd smile vaguely or give her the Vulcan hand salute. One or the other of them would tilt their head curiously before looking away.

After two months of that, a spot opened up at Harvard House, which was a broke down palace occupied by a collective of artists. Their pad was right down the street from a haunted house; a decent pizza joint was just a block away. That was an easy choice thought Jones as he handed over three Franklins to his new landlord.

Charlie split from the underground chanti just before the sun came up so he didn't have to make eye contact with Zelda. He didn't see her again until a big house party came around just after Thanksgiving. By then it was easy enough for both to pretend they were strangers.

That was the only pretense they chose to preserve as the two began making out on the couch. As their hands entwined, Zelda tried to remember the previous summer while Charlie attempted to recall what sorta tuneage the lady favored. Everyone else was out on the porch drinking tequila, eating pumpkin pie and watching a winter tempest come down from the mountains.

 

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    Psychedelic Hammond Organ
    Psychedelic Hammond Organ9.1.2016