Soppy-Old-Prof Radio

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[RE: Music Editorial, "The Spirit of the Radio," Sept. 14-20] I’ve been a KUNM listener for more than 25 years but now tune in for news and little else. Many “specialty” music programs have been deejayed by the same people for the entire time I’ve been a listener. Of course, a new DJ may end up playing the same old B.B. King records on the “Blues Show,” but give someone else a chance, please!

The station’s entrenchment policy came about during the now-forgotten “Free Form Shuffle” in the early ’80s. Until then, KUNM was free-form music all day every day, after morning news until specialty music shows at night.

New management decided that the (still-reigning) classical/jazz format was more conducive to paid memberships rather than such playlists as (my all-time favorite) Vietnamese folk songs followed by Frank Sinatra. The high point was a young DJ being physically yanked out of his booth
on-the-air by the station manager because he was bad-mouthing the new policy. Now that’s live radio drama! In the end, loyal DJs were favored, “disloyal” were not.

Compare: Two years ago, I’m in Las Cruces and get in touch with a couple of guys from a band called The Answer Lies. I didn’t know them (I’m as old as or older than their fathers!) but saw their band and wrote a review in my dumb little ’zine. They invited me to sit in during their slot on NMSU’s KRUX so I could play tracks of Albuquerque bands. It was as easy as walking into the studio with them. No playlist, no expectations. Professional? No. But exciting, spontaneous, fun, the best of what live radio can be? Yes!

Sure, some KRUX student DJs spin garbage, miss cues and broadcast plenty of dead air, but the station is theirs, at the school their tuition supports. By working at the station, they can learn about radio.

I thought learning was what university was supposed to be about: new ideas rather than listening to the same old profs (DJs?) and their same old tired theories (music?).

P.S. Robert Houston’s taste in music [RE: Letters, "College Radio Should Suck," Oct. 5-11] rocks.

Frickin’ Vote

In response to the letter titled “None of the Above” [Oct. 5-11], I am hoping Mr. Caffery is the only person who plans on skipping the vote when it comes to the seat of Congressional District 1. If Mr. Caffery is more appalled at the way both campaigns are being run and not appalled at the direction our country has taken, then something is seriously wrong. If anyone feels it is more important to not vote because of someone’s character, then our democracy has taken a serious turn for the worse.

As American citizens, our concerns should be focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our failed heath care system, our ever-failing public education system, our environment and the amount we are paying for an unleaded gallon of gas. We should be working to elect a candidate who promises to turn the direction of this country around. Instead of worrying about mudslinging and telling politicians to have shame, we should worry about the things we can fix. We should worry about writing in one of the above candidates, the one who is the right choice for New Mexico and the U.S., the candidate who will bring change when we need it most. On Nov. 7, please vote, please keep democracy alive, please do your part to take back Congress, New Mexico and our nation we so proudly call home.

Music Snobs

In "Sonic Reducer" [Oct. 5-11], reviewer Amy Dalness points out that “avid fans hate when their band goes mainstream," but she fails to state the main reason for this attitude. People who get pissed when “their" band goes “mainstream" (typically defined as signing to a major label) are by-and-large pretentious weenies who need to feel special by being privvy to “underground" music most people haven’t heard. Instead of feeling happy that “their" beloved band can now make a good living off of their chosen profession, these losers sulk about the fact that far more people will be enjoying “their" band’s music. Never mind that many of these “underground" bands are on independent labels that distribute their music all over the country anyway.

Back in the ’80s, it was R.E.M. who gradually garnered the ire of music snobs as the band inched closer and closer to the mainstream, finally earning outright music snob hatred when they signed to Warner Brothers and went on to win Grammy Awards. Never mind that R.E.M. continued to make plenty of great, unusual music. These kinds of music whiners really ought to get a life and start enjoying music for its own sake instead of fretting so much about their image by trying to impress others with their music snob knowledge. Brian Eno once said that all artists get as much recognition as they deserve. While I do see his point—even the likes of Britney Spears have merit for appealing to huge masses of teenybopper mall rats—I wouldn’t say it’s true in all cases. On the other hand, sometimes there’s a good reason why bands never make it big—many of them suck.

White People History

[RE: Letters, “¡Ask a Mestizo !,” Sept. 14-20]

It’s easy to get a history on Spain. Go to the library and read the encyclopedia or Fuente’s
History on Spain . The fundamental or basic people of Spain are called Celtic-Iberians who settled it at least 2,800 years ago. These are white people—the monarchs of Spain were the Germanic Visigoths—also white.

The Romans and Greeks who settled the coast of Spain were white. The Phoenicians were Semite and white. The Muslims who conquered and then slowly lost were the Moors, who were Arabic, black and white. The Berbers, being a white group of people—Sephardic Jews, were Semite and white. Gypsies were considered nonwhite—but they too could have been mixed.

What Ms. Flores is probably referring to were the customs and mores of European or white Spain during most of history.

Since New Mexico was under the rule of Mexico for only 20 years, some 160 to 180 years ago, I have found many Hispanics in New Mexico who favor the old tie from Spain—because it was a much longer and older tie than the one to Mexico.

I feel anyone can favor anything they like and it’s really nobody’s business but their own. So what? No one is more right than anyone else—just get your facts straight and read. We have a tendency to play the “my ancestors are more right than your ancestors” game over here and it’s all a bunch of baloney.

I am neither Spanish nor Indian. I happen to like Indian art. At the same time, I like Flamenco and guitar music. And Spain itself, and its history. So what? What are you going to do about it? Castigate me for liking the wrong things? It’s what you do that counts, not who you are.

Vagrant Park

I walked across Robinson Park this morning when a group of people from the Trinity House—a church located in the South Valley—were feeding vagrants. At first glance this would not seem to be an inappropriate act for a church group on Sunday but the truth behind their actions is much more insidious.

I will spare you the history of how Trinity House broke every health code possible until members of our neighborhood watch group educated them on the numerous code violations, but I will not spare you the harsh reality that this group, and other groups like it, willingly put the safety our families at risk with their actions. Every Sunday they feed, 40 to 80 vagrants and gang members gather to buy, sell and use hard drugs in Robinson Park.

Granted, there are hungry people who need services who gather with the criminals, but when Trinity House workers drive away, these vagrants are the first to be robbed, raped and otherwise preyed upon. Once they have been molested, the criminals set upon the neighborhood. I know this because I’ve sadly seen so many violent crimes in the park I can’t relate them all. If you are unaware of the crime being wrought upon families, just ask your neighbors or the local neighborhood associations. The list of break-ins and assaults perpetrated by vagrants and gangs is astounding.

According to the police, compared to other major cities in the region, Albuquerque has lax vagrancy laws. Thus, the number of vagrants in our city has doubled in the last year. If crime in your neighborhood has increased, now you know one of the primary reasons why.

The first order of business should be to pull Trinity House’s permit for feeding people. They still don’t have the required sanitary and security measures for the number of people they feed. The second order of business needs to be an overhaul of our vagrancy laws. Albuquerque cannot successfully revitalize itself if it continues to pander to the rights of criminals over the rights of those of us who work hard to have and protect our homes and families. For your readers who might think I’m out of touch with the poor because of my stance–I’m a social worker and a behavior therapist. Therefore, I know there are numerous services available to people who want to change. I also know that no one changes without a motivation. Let’s make Albuquerque a less comfortable place for criminal vagrants and motivate them to leave town or change.

My True Love Gave To Me

[RE: Ortiz y Pino, “This Silver Bullet is a Dud,” Oct. 5-11]

Thank you, Jerry, your bold and accurate piece inspired me to write a song on the experience of mental health consumers advocating for themselves and others. Here it is:

“The Twelve Days of Kendra”

On the first day of Kendra the police said to me: You are a monster.

On the second day of Kendra my government said to me: You were off your meds.

On the third day of Kendra TAC said to me: You don’t know you’re ill.

On the fourth day of Kendra the press said to me: You’d better get off our streets.

On the fifth day of Kendra you all shared with me: the five golden rules:

1. Do unto others as you wish they would do unto you … unless you’re mentally ill.

2. Love your neighbor … unless they are different.

3. Bring peace where there is confusion … unless they are suffering–then bring coercion.

4. Lend a hand … but if you are diagnosed–clamp the handcuffs.

5. Honor your mother and father provider … even if it kills you or disables you for life.

Now on the sixth day of Kendra state government tried to pass a law removing my freedoms.

Then on the seventh day of Kendra many people said to me: Thou shall not protest.

On the eighth day of Kendra I shared my heart and history, and they said, “You are invalid.”

On the ninth day of Kendra I climbed into my bed.

On the tenth day of Kendra they said I was speaking for the ill who only they could speak for.

On the eleventh day of Kendra people playing politics preyed on me to make themselves look good.

On the twelfth day and final straw of Kendra … to be announced.

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.

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