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The Daily Word in dog cop, Hoffa and Morrisey
27-year-old Abiquiú writer wins $53,000 on “Jeopardy.”
A KRQE interview with Chris Johnson, co-ower of the Weekly Alibi who also founded The Onion.
Schools around town give Breathalyzer tests to see if students are drunk.
In Vaughn, N.M., the only member of the police force is a dog.
How to casually exit a semitruck smash.
Is the Earth trying to shake us off?
British words creeping into American English.
What’s the deal with gluten?
Samuel L. Jackson curses his way through a children’s story in the name of politics.
Hand gestures can tell you what’s really going on.
Police look for Jimmy Hoffa under a driveway in Detroit.
Romney can’t keep his lines straight on health care.
Mexican navy captures top Los Zetas guy.
A letter from teenage Morrisey about how the Ramones are rubbish.
The Alibi turns 20
Newspapers bind their every issue in big green archive books. Ours have been patiently waiting in the upstairs ghost town of our offices until a couple of weeks ago, when they were hauled into the light and scoured. The research for our 20th Anniversary Issue took us way too long because we kept stopping to read nearly every article.
On stands this week is a collector’s edition of the paper, a look back at two decades of the Alibi (née NuCity) and its best friend: Burque. I like the heft of the corporeal version, but you can, of course, dig through it digitally.
The names they left behind
My first task as an intern was to sort through a list of people that receive press releases from the Alibi. It's a bit of a monster. I remembered the title worn by the interns who have come before in these halls and did my best to muster up some sense of "fearless."
The list is a jumble of names and emails. Some of the emails from local blogs and zines were added recently. Others come from a time when email was still considered cutting edge. Many of the contacts have a name, title and publication attached, making my job easy. Others left me wandering the dust of barren corners of Internet to find some scrap of information.
Imagine a short address with initials and a generic email provider. Now imagine that you have to attach an identity to this random jumble of letters, which might represent some small-town publication that went out of print eight to nine years ago. Suddenly, Google, the trusted god of information, fails you. You dig through bakeries in Canada and Asian manufacturing companies in an attempt to figure out what “abn(at)coldmail.com” might possibly stand for, and why one alternative newspaper in Albuquerque saw it as valuable.
(Pro-tip learned from this experience: If you wish to be kind to a random future intern, have an email that is logically based on your name. I have definitely decided to change mine after this.)
For the well-documented characters on the list, another fate awaits. Suddenly, this name and email dispensed at some previous press meeting is fixed in time on a contact list, but the owner has changed and grown into someone unrecognizable.
They handed a stranger in the future a window to their past.
Now, it should never be said that I am a stalker, but I'm an avid people-watcher, and this felt a bit like people-watching in reverse. Rather than seeing a person and trying to figure out how they live, I found myself knowing their details and then imagining what they look like. I was piecing together their stories and personalities from the names they left behind.
Some of the contacts had retired, leaving their work in the archives of their publication. Other contacts listed as staff writers of papers had found their way up the ladder and became editors in chief. I also found myself the grim reaper of names when I solemnly deleted one person after finding his obituary in the same paper he diligently served for years.
One contact proved particularly difficult to find, and after much searching, I realized that she held the same job as when she was added to the list but had changed her last name after marriage. Despite never having met this woman, I suddenly found myself wondering about how she was. Had she met the man at work? Was finding time for dates difficult as she worked in one of the busiest of businesses? Was she happy?
I was struck by so many questions like this as I came to each new name on the towering, unorganized directory. Looking over the list, I saw how journalism is changing. I could see the shifts of several regional papers from small newsletters with a single email purely for contact purposes, their toes barely dipped into the Internet. Then, when I dug up the email, it was on a fully realized website with an active blog.
I also saw the tragedies. The names of publications that have closed their doors flickered like memorial candles. Sorting through the many addresses left behind from the brilliant and ill-fated Albuquerque Tribune staff felt like pulling photographs out of the ashes. An urge swelled up in me to give some respect to one of the two papers that made me want to become a journalist in the first place, and I bowed my head for a moment as I hunched over the computer. It seemed fitting that I got to honor one of those two incredible papers as I began working at the offices of the other.
And so, clinging reverently to the adjective "fearless," I begin my time at the Alibi, sifting through the remains of the past and the names left behind.
Farewell, Skating Monkey
Take a good look at this monkey. This may be the last time you will ever see him.
His filename mentions he’s more than just a monkey; he’s a skating monkey, though I see no skates. This makes me think that many years ago he was torn from some larger and older artwork, but to tell the truth, I don’t know his full story.
I only know he was last saved on July 6th 2003 and since then, has occasionally filled in whenever someone needed an arbitrary Alibi-branded image but didn’t want to bother the art department. For the last couple years, he has served as a default OGP image for Alibi stories or blogs which otherwise lack an image.
Today he retires from that job, handing over the reigns to a more professional and well-groomed Alibi representative, which I hope will be less distressing to readers. You see, there’s a problem with monkeys. Though he may appear innocent and happy, I think we can all agree that monkeys symbolize many evils (which the monkeys pretend to neither hear, see nor speak of):
1) Racism. You know that whenever white people mention monkeys, it’s really code for darker skinned people, don’t you?
2) People's callous disregard for the suffering of animal test subjects at the hands of the cosmetics and aerospace industries. Whenever someone uses monkey imagery, that’s practically advocacy for consuming more mascara and weather satellite photos, whatever the cost to our innocent Gaia-mates.
3) Science’s rejection of the special status humanity once enjoyed, prior to 1859 when a godless communist suggested that life could be shaped by processes which could be understood, like everything else in the world.
4) Perhaps this is just my own personal monkey-demon, but some friends once used to “point” a small stuffed gorilla toy (gorillas aren’t monkeys, but let’s not split hairs), such that its sideway stare was directed specifically at me. The monkey was watching me. I hated it. No matter how intimidatingly I stared back, it wouldn’t flinch. If my friends ever left the room, I would grab the monkey and hide it, in order to escape its relentless gaze.
5) Tell us your complaint about monkeys. Hey, we all know they’re bad, but exactly how? Monkeys are just like bananas, in that their imagery always means more though we pretend they’re merely themselves. Let’s just cut through the bullshit right away, and get down to how monkeys bother you.
Toad Ode: Episode 1
My tadpole love elicited only wariness from my coworkers. But once the four young amphibians were installed in my office, they became a source of fascination. The first day, they were full-on tadpoles, swimming fully immersed in the water. Next morning, they had rear legs, and you could see their forelegs outlined in their lumpy tadpole torsos. Within hours they had four legs and wandered up the slope of gravel to stand and hop. They immediately began climbing the glass of the tank. It was like watching evolution in hyperdrive.
They were toads with tails. And 24 hours later, they were only toads. Tiny toads. About as big as a dime. They didn’t seem interested in their food: bloodworms. I wondered if their bodies were digesting their own tails or something. The tails didn’t fall off as much as they seemed to simply disappear, perhaps absorbed into their bodies.
FACT: I am not a scientist. I’m just watching the biological drama unfold.
Eventually, they’ll have hot pink/reddish bellies. These are Chinese fire belly toads. My sister had two for years. She believes that one switched genders, Jurassic Park style, and that’s why they mated suddenly this year. She had about 250 eggs, which she raised into tadpoles. She’s donated them to schools and given almost all of them away.
I’ll keep you posted here as they develop.
Spring Social: A photo documentary
We had a gay old time at the Alibi’s Spring Social at Launchpad on Saturday night.
The food, it was devoured. A handsome spread from Make My Lunch, frozen pleasures from Ecco Gelato ... . One of my friends ate four frosted beauties from Donut Mart and was contemplating numero cinco before the last band had even taken the stage.
As evidenced here, scores of attendees squeezed into the booth from Photo Booth Rentals of New Mexico. And many members of the dancing public got their faces painted by Spider-Man/Kayla Mansfield. Extra springtime love to Georgia of Flowers and Balloon Express.
Alibi Spring Social
It’s that time again. Love and all her related allergens are in the air. Unicorns mate in the streets.
Yes, it’s springtime in Albuquerque. Gather, bosom buddies, on Friday, April 22, for a dance party at the Launchpad. There will be frosty treats from Ecco Gelato, organic deli from Make My Lunch and donuts from Donut Mart.
Tie-on those homemade unicorn horns, for the photo booth returns! Photo Booth Rentals of New Mexico provides the service free to you. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Georgia at Balloon Express (109 5th Street SW) who will fill our lives with rainbows and flowers.
Plus, our very own music editor, DJ Cassyle, will spin high-glucose tracks between sets.
Are you hilarious and smart?
And do you have writing chops? The Alibi’s Opinion section is looking for a few good columnists. Experienced locals preferred. Send clips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The future’s so bright
Alibi graphic designer Jesse Schulz knocked back a cold one (or two) and put sunglasses on some of our recent covers. Frikkin’ awesome.
I’ll be teaching journalism to teens
In my early single-digit years, I used to go from table to table at restaurants and ask people questions. I have cassette tapes of interviews I conducted on my brown Fisher Price recorder. In middle school and high school, I ran an “underground newspaper,” which was basically just a ranty ’zine.
I had no idea I wanted to be a journalist.
Maybe you know some people ages 12-20 who show all the signs of becoming exporters of media. Send them to Warehouse 508. Starting Tuesday, Sept. 7, Juli Cobb and I will co-teach the after-school Hype 508 course.
Interview your favorite artists and musicians, review CDs, dig up the news and write for an audience in this student-directed class. Using the net and DIY-style publication as our means of distribution, we will blog and create digital packages and put out a monthly zine. Build a collection of clips that will help you apply to college or for internships in the publishing world.
The 14-week class costs $20 total. Register here.
Interns! We need ‘em
The job market is not unlike the “Highlander” series these days: There can be only one ... position at whatever company you’d like to be employed with.
You know what looks awesome on a résumé?
September 2010 - Whenever, Web Intern at a Large New Mexico Newspaper
Duties included: Social media, blogging, web development, the creation of multimedia packages, the advancement of the Alibi’s presence online
Something like that, probably phrased much more thoughtfully.
There’s no pay, but many perks. If you’re interested, e-mail:
And tell your friends, the news desk is looking, too. Some experience reporting is a plus but not required.
It’s good to be me again.
My last employers didn’t allow freelancing, something about “owning” my brain. Their other reason was that I represented their paper with my name and would apparently besmirch their good name were I to write for other papers. Does the word “hubris” come to mind, anyone?
Since writing for the Weekly Alibi was and is an irresistible temptation, I resorted to pen names. Freedom of Expression, what a novel idea.
First there was “Juan Maloso.” Maloso came from a Mexican coworker, Chuy, at a bad New Mexican restaurant I won’t name where I washed dishes during my formative years. Young and stupid, I regaled Chuy with tales of my recent bad behavior while drunk. He nodded his head in disapproval and muttered, “mal oso.” Since I hung around people who used monikers in those days, I became Dr. Maloso. I added Juan for pen name purposes.
Juan Maloso lasted exactly one column before I switched back to John Bear. I figured I have worked several years trying to get my name out in the universe and hated the anonymity of a nom de plume.
So I was John Bear. Of course, I was discovered. My former editor took me in the office and slapped a pile of Alibi columns in my hand. It was not unlike “To Catch a Predator.” For the record, I had never said I was going to quit.
But I did try to compromise. That meant another pen name. I first considered John Mitotero. “Mitotero” means “a gossip” in Spanish. I get called that frequently down in Valencia County. It pisses some people off. I considered it a term of endearment.
But it didn’t roll off the tongue. So I went for “Movida.” That means “side job” [snicker].
I couldn’t be John Movida, as apparently a pen name has to be absolute, so I called another reporter in Oklahoma and said “I need a first name.”
“Pete,” he said.
So I was Pete Movida.
For one more column. They found out before the ink was dry, and I was canned. The same “To catch a Predator” set up—them handing me the column, and me glancing down at it and laughing at my own jokes. It was worth it.
Crime Reporter Burgled, Worries About Milk
The life of a crime reporter is fraught with other people’s peril. I spend my days observing various tragedies, disasters, heinous whatnots and so on. It’s my pleasure.
The Alibi Wins National Awards!
Competing against newspapers across the U.S., the Weekly Alibi placed first in the nation for food writing and lifestyle/
This comes on heels of sweeping the New Mexico Press Women Communications Contest with 12 awards. The Alibi's food writing, arts and entertainment coverage, news reporting, features, columns and editing were chosen as superlative in New Mexico.
Here's a list of the Alibi's 2010 winners:
First Place: Food articles, Ari LeVaux
First Place: Lifestyle/
Second place: Publication editing, Laura Marrich
Second Place: Section editing, Erin Adair-Hodges
First Place: News reporting, Marisa Demarco
First Place: Enterprise reporting, Marisa Demarco
First Place: Feature story, Erin Adair-Hodges
First Place: Section edited by entrant, Erin Adair-Hodges
First Place: Food articles, Ari LeVaux
First Place: Publications regularly edited by entrant, Laura Marrich
First Place: Single page regularly edited by entrant – Lifestyle or Entertainment, Laura Marrich
First Place: Organizational Sweepstakes
Second place: Personality profile, long-form, Marisa Demarco
Third Place: Arts and Entertainment articles, Erin Adair-Hodges
Honorable Mention: Investigative reporting, Marisa Demarco
Honorable Mention: Columns, Alex Limkin