Done Like Disco

Albuquerqueisms That Should Just Go Away

13 min read
Done Like Disco
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I hate decorative fountains. Hate. They have to be among the most passé landscaping and sculptural options in the Southwest. They’re not only ugly and eye-rollingly typical, there’s a practical reason to rail against them, too.

Every time I see one—at UNM, on Civic Plaza or in a front yard—I actually feel blood in my cheeks as I picture all the water being sucked out of our dwindling aquifers and evaporating into air so unhumid it dries out your nasal cavities. Nothing says, "I am wealthy, and I can’t accept that I live in the desert" like a decorative fountain. I may start stealing the bandana-wearing howling coyotes from nearby fake adobe entryways in retaliation.

Whose panties aren’t in a twist about some irksome aspect of living here? Albuquerque’s faux pas
live long and strong but are dealt only glancing blows in chitchat. We’re usually champions of Albuquerque’s quirks, but the Alibi asked itself: What are city clichés that drive us nuts?

Low brow? Yes. Unimportant? We don’t think so. Climb off your tall steed and join us as we peel off our underpants for a good airing. (MD)

Calling Red and Green Chile "Christmas"

I like red chile, and I like green chile. Sometimes I order them both together on the same dish, at which point the waitress invariably observes that I want it "Christmas." Ah. I get the connection. Red and green, as well as being the types of chile I want, are also the colors of the Christmas holiday. Hence, the wry observation. If I’m not mistaken, "Christmas" is also the State Answer to the State Question: "Red or Green?" New Mexico natives all understand, however, that the Real State Answer is "No, officer," and the Real State Question is "Have you been drinking tonight?" (NB)

The Blob

Least favorite garnish: traditional New Mexico cuisine completely covered with giant, gooey globs of melted cheese. Ordering food with no cheese on top isn’t always the solution.

Order: “Cheese enchilada plate, whole beans, red, no cheese on top.”

Server: “You don’t want cheese in your cheese enchiladas.”

Order: “Yes, please, cheese inside the enchiladas, but no extra cheese on top.”

Result: Whole beans, red, no cheese on top, rolled tortillas with nothing inside. (LS)

Food in Wrap Form

California was done with them more than a decade ago, so why can’t New Mexico seem to get over food wraps? About one in three restaurants still serves “turkey wraps” and “chicken fajita wraps” and “avocado and bacon wraps” and on and on. They’re burritos, people, plain and simple. The truly agonizing part is, I typically enjoy eating what’s inside a wrap, but I try to avoid ordering them, because I don’t want support this bizarre wrap fetish. It might be fun to pretend we’re on the cutting edge of West Coast cuisine culture, but we’re not and never will be. Besides, aping California phenomena is really more of a Phoenix thing. And who in their right mind would want to associate themselves with Phoenix? (SM)

The Burque Glare

That’s what my friends and I call it. No matter where I drive, walk or eat, I glance around and catch pairs of eyes intrusively fixated on me. The bad thing is I catch myself doing it, too. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many destinations outside of New Mexico, and I’ve noted that in most other places, people mind their own business unless they’re trying to sell you something. Are we that nosy? From the elderly to the young, thugs to yuppies, everyone seems to stare too much. Next time just wave or throw me a peace sign and assure me you’re not hostile. Whether you’re looking for a fight or just plain looking, follow up with a neighborly gesture. Thanks. (JH)

Guitar Hero Tournaments

Video games are cool.
Whew! So glad we got that out into the open. Everyone’s been afraid to plainly admit video games aren’t just for the nerdy, socially awkward and sports-dyslexic. Now perhaps video gamers across the Duke City will feel safe enough to come out from the shadows in which they play Halo and Grand Theft Auto. Maybe businesses will even start randomly adding Guitar Hero tournaments to special events in an attempt draw those closet gamers out into the real world. Maybe the businesses will host so many Guitar Hero tournaments that no one will show up because everyone is so sick of Guitar Hero. Maybe, just maybe, there is such a thing as too much Guitar Hero. (AD)


Every year we hear the same ridiculous hype. The UNM men’s basketball team is billed as the greatest thing since sliced bread. It always seems to have the best recruiting class or the best group of seniors this world has ever seen. At least that’s what the hype machine (mostly the
Albuquerque Journal ) would have us believe. To be honest, I usually buy into the outrageous claims like an idiot. “The Lobos are going to mop the floor with the competition,” I say, and I’m always proven wrong. What invariably happens is the team wins a lot of games early in the season and then plays so-so basketball the rest of the year. The truth is, the Lobos are exactly as good as you’d think a team from a poor, small-population state would be. (SM)

"How Does She Do It?" Stories

Please, no more articles about women who miraculously combine high-powered jobs, perfect grooming, six beautifully behaved children, marathon volunteering, happy partners and nonstop entertaining in a lovely home. Nationwide, it’s the ur-theme of most women’s magazines, but local publications have become unusually choked with similar breathless articles for decades. Such lives truly are awesome, but an occasional piece about home décor from Planet Pigsty, job troubles, artistic failures, brushes with the law and kids who have no after-school activity but roaming the streets would be refreshing. (LS)

All Weather All the Time

I don’t know exactly when it began. It probably started creeping into my consciousness a few months ago when I got in the habit of watching the 9 p.m. news on FOX to free up the 10 p.m. slot for the baseball show on ESPN. It struck me that the weather segment—previously relegated to a two- or three-minute slot at the end of the news broadcast—is a major component of KASA-2’s broadcast. It often opens the show. "Rain possible tonight!" Then it’s repeated periodically throughout the hour-long program (there are sometimes four separate segments) essentially without new content. It’s hyped with graphic effects and film clips that create the impression that something truly "breaking" is occurring: "Rain did
not fall tonight!" All four local stations (mercifully, not the Spanish language newscasts … yet) decided that the most important event worthy of at-length discussion in Albuquerque, every single day , is the weather. I can just look out the window if I care all that much about it. (JOP)  


I’m really sick of the fact that I can’t wake up on a sunny morning (which we all know is pretty much every morning) and say, "Gee, today would be a nice day for a swim," and then go jump in a large, natural body of water. Don’t even think about bringing up that cesspool they like to call Elephant Butte. All I could jump in here is a big pile of dirt and brown weeds. What is this, some kind of desert? Well, it’s getting really old, New Mexico. While we’re on the subject, what’s with the sun relentlessly shining down on us like a spotlight? It’s practically driven me to become nocturnal, which is pointless when you can’t even get a pizza delivered at 3 a.m. (JCC)

Paying People We Fire

Oops! There goes another educational administrator who didn’t work out so well, and the school is buying out The Departed’s contract as well as hiring a replacement. The costs of paying old and new salaries drain money from instruction. But, hey, too much education just makes citizens uppity and dissatisfied. For a happier city, the schools should simultaneously hire two people for every single director, provost, superintendent and head coach job that opens up. (LS)


I wish I could say all the talk of crime in Albuquerque was an exaggeration, that people blow news reports into hyperbole. I wish I could say I feel safe walking in most sections of the city at night, even with friends. I wish this blurb was about how I’m over all this talk of crime instead of crime itself. But I find I’m becoming one of those people who talks about how unsafe our streets are. Crime in Albuquerque is abysmal. People don’t feel safe when they’re out after dark aside from in a select few places. When is the city going to start investing in infrastructure to change that? (CC)

Land of Enchantment

I can’t stand our state motto no matter how many times David Letterman exploits it. (Staff Writer Simon McCormack made the keen observation a couple weeks ago that Letterman uses every opportunity to utter the phrase. Watch for it the next time someone goes on his show who’s lived or filmed here. "So, what’s new in the Land of Enchantment?" "Now, tell me what ‘red or green?’ means in the Land of Enchantment.") The intention behind it is pleasant enough, but the sound of the words … who wants to say "Land of Enchantment"? (CC)

Land of Entrapment

is the land of entrapment," cheeseball invaders say to one another. The phrase says to me that you think this place is second-rate, but somehow you got stuck here in Craptown and can’t leave. Speaking of, those who bandy about the snobby "Entrapment" jest—and let’s face it, it’s an inside joke for outsiders—are likely not to turn off the faucet when brushing their teeth, because they like the sound and it was never a problem in Florida. Woe is you, without agency in your life or an ability to make decisions about where you want to live. If you don’t like it, point your car at a "real city." Us that love Burque don’t want to share our precious water with you anyway. (MD)

Lush Green Lawns

We live in the desert. If you want a lawn of non-native grasses, move to the Midwest—or, better yet, England. Why do you insist on having lawns? What do you do with them? Croquet? Go to the park, then. I seriously doubt most of you are doing anything with your lawns, aside from wasting water on them. WTF, Albuquerque? (ML)

Snubbing Santa Fe

The pissing contest between Albuquerque and Santa Fe has got to stop. Albuquerque always boasts its superior size, entertainment venues, public transportation and airport, but really, comparing Burque to Santa town is like comparing a red apple to a green apple. They’re both apples; they just taste different. My hope is that, maybe, once the two cities are united by the Rail Runner, more Burqueños will learn to appreciate what Santa Fe has to offer, like art museums and fine dining, just as Feans have come to enjoy Albuquerque’s thrift stores and Biopark. In a few centuries, Albuquerque and Santa Fe will be one giant city. We should just embrace now and forgo the merger struggle of the future. (AD)

The Santa Fe 500

People clock 85 mph because they’re late, but the hour-long straight shot is not a race track. And New Mexico drivers are, let’s face it, not NASCAR material. At least the traffic is moving. We could all be stuck in Los Angeles for two hours at a standstill watching only the motorcyclists get to work on time. (AE)

Dirt Parking Lots

If it’s a concert, a fair, a fiesta of balloons or any other large event one might attend, it’s dirt parking. Come on, Albuquerque. I am so tired of being laughed at when my uncle comes to visit. Obviously homelessness, flood control and giant-sized I-40 pots are more important civic issues, but this is something that hits me at my core. I die a little every time my car’s tires become stationary on a dirt plain. Well, guess what dirt worshipers—that new stadium you want to build Downtown? Ha. No room for dirt parking. (MS)

The Hottest Spot is a Place to Park

It’s wonderful that the Nob Hill area is getting trendier and more exciting with each new club and pub that goes up on adjacent corners. It’s a great alternative to the collegiate drunks and crime of Downtown. But I am over the limited parking on narrow residential streets with little lighting. Although, on the plus side, the jaunt from your parking space to the new "in-space" will keep the stiletto-wearing crowd to a slow crawl. (RM)

Take a Cab—Not My Cab

Riding in cabs in Albuquerque is not as commonplace as, say, eating tamales. Still, stealing a cab from someone is not well-mannered at all. People coming from elsewhere in the world seem to understand when the light is off, it means to say, "This taxi is not for you, shit bag." Regardless of this convention, I always lose cabs to some drunk hussy with lots of boobs and her punk-ass boyfriend hustling her good looks for a ride. It takes as few as two light beers before people in this city devolve into wild animals, vomiting on the sidewalk, striking one another, fornicating in plain sight and pilfering my taxi cab. (MS)

Snarky Alibi Writers Giving the Finger to Everything

Oh, face! Beat you to it! While I’m here, I’ll add "snarky" to the list of words that I never want to hear again. Also, "proactive." (MD)


(AD) Amy Dalness

(AE) Aeriel Emig

(CC) Christie Chisholm

(JCC) Jessica Cassyle Carr

(JH) Justin Hood

(JOP) Jerry Ortiz y Pino

(LS) Laura Sanchez

(MD) Marisa Demarco

(ML) Molly Lindsay

(MS) Matt Salazar

(NB) Nick Brown

(RM) Rachel Miller

(SM) Simon McCormack
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