Some things really do come back to life. Take the old Albuquerque High School, located at Broadway and Central, which, after a 30-year stint as a deteriorating building, has emerged as the focal point of the up-and-coming EDo corridor (located roughly between I-25 and the train tracks on Central, and Coal and Lomas on Broadway). Recently remodeled into stylish loft apartments, the project is now receiving national attention.
In October, The Free Lance-Star out of Fredericksburg, Va., ran an op-ed piece with the headline, "In New Mexico, season's always open for man, car and chopper." The writer, who lives in a rural area, describes a phone conversation with a friend who lives in Albuquerque during which the resident who supposedly lives in a good neighborhood hears a semi-automatic weapon being fired in the near distance. When he hears that "distinct popping noise" again he calls the police. The writer's friend returns to the phone and explains that our local gunfire situation is so bad that residents no longer pay attention to it.
After not quite one year in the State Legislature, one of the most important lessons I've learned is that we have, in our legislative processes, a powerful platform for the voice of the people ... though sometimes how that voice gets heard is not always readily clear.
In politics, success has many fathers, especially when it comes to big projects like arenas, baseball stadiums and building a light-rail system. Ask local leaders to show up at a press conference announcing a big new project and its like Fathers' Day at Furrs Cafeteria. Yet, ask them to sponsor funding (like a new tax) for one of these big amenities—and suddenly these projects become awkward, bucktoothed orphans.
Dateline: Ireland—Proof positive that, if there is a god, he loves the Irish: Fishermen on both sides of the Irish border netted an unexpected Christmas present, hauling in bottles and bottles of Irish cream liqueur from the ocean near the English coast. The bottles of Carolans Irish Creme liqueur were part of a consignment of 8,000 bottles lost last month when a container was swept overboard in a storm in the Bay of Biscay, between Spain and France. The fisherman's nets brought up the bottles still wrapped in special presentation packs that had been destined for the Christmas market in Spain. The presentation packs included not only the bottles of booze, but the glasses from which to drink it. Prawn fishing boats from such diverse ports as Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay in southeast Ireland, Clogherhead in the northeast and Kilkeel in Northern Ireland had reported catching the gift packs in an area off the English coast known as the Smalls. “We don't know how it got to be there,” John Chamney, export director for Ireland's C & C International drinks company, told AFP. “The liqueur was in a container that was swept off a ship in the Bay of Biscay. The container must have broken up when it hit the bottom, and then I suppose the Gulf Stream must have taken it. I haven't spoken to anyone who has sampled the booze but it would appear it is in perfect condition. The glasses hadn't been broken and the Carolans is very drinkable.”
[Commentary, "A Soldier's Thanksgiving," Nov. 24-30] I haven't been so compelled to write about a soldier's perspective since my letter about our government's denial of the effect of Agent Orange on Vietnam vets was published in Life Magazine's letters back in the late '70s. Alex Limkin's recounting of his experiences with booby-trapped carcasses was an eye opener. He doesn't sugarcoat the daily circumstances our soldiers find themselves in with worn out phrases of patriotism and loyalty to the cause—he tells it like it really is. I find this candor incredibly refreshing. I don't read about the war in conventional press venues because they tout the standard party line. Americans should hear more about the reality of the Iraq situation as Limkin describes out of respect for those who are serving. We want to make up our own minds about the situation we're embroiled in. Please write more, Alex Limkin. Your efforts are very much appreciated.