Sunday, June 25, 2017

Detective Work

We had a good, early crop of zucchini this year.  However, we ended up sharing more than intended with some local critters.  This is one of the suspects, discovered in close proximity to the squash plants on the south side of our house.

Margaret consulted A Field Guide to the Plants and Animals of the Middle Rio Grande Bosque and found the identify of the suspect to be the Cottonwood Longhorn Beetle.  No mention was made of a preference for tender zucchini, but the proximity is cause for suspicion.  I'll have to make a night-time visit to the garden with my flashlight to see if I can detect any collaborators.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Albuquerque Skies

These clouds gave us a little rain later this evening as we were coming home on I-40 from a dinner with friends.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


I came across these examples of street art during a recent walk along the Rio Grande.  They are located under Albuquerque's Central Avenue Bridge.

Some insight into street art culture and what motivates these artists can be found at FATCAP.COM.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Morning Routine

I get up about 5:00 or 6:00 and stagger out to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee.  The next hour or two is devoted to catching up on the events of the day.  The cats, and now the dog, accompany me on this part of the daily journey.  Sometimes, I snap a few pictures as the morning sun comes through the blinds.

I took my Everything Else blog off line for a while because I was feeling overloaded with the task of trying to sort out the country's political dilemma.  The problem with that is that I am left with no place to post my random thoughts about the world, and I don't want to just dump them into my other blog, Photography and Vintage Film Cameras.  So, I am reopening this blog -- no promises about frequency, content or quality.

Saturday, March 4, 2017


I've seen some flowers on fruit trees in the neighborhood.  The wolfberry I planted last year has leaves.  Lettuce is coming up in the garden. 

I made myself a Manhattan and sat out on the deck.

The neighbor's cat stopped by to visit.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Well, I've heard enough -- more than enough -- from Trump. I don't know if it was just good luck or if there was some underlying agenda, but I found that at the same time Trump was addressing the joint session of Congress, FNX was broadcasting a replay of the 2006 documentary about Buffy Sainte-Marie.

So, I put on the earphones and turned up the volume. What an amazing life story! And, how nice it would be to have her in the country's top spot. Of course, she would never accept the job as it has been defined over the last couple centuries, but I would be perfectly happy to have her there just singing her fine songs.  Maybe Oprah will invite her to perform at the White House.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Just around the corner

Looks like Spring in Albuquerque.

I put some lettuce plants in a bed beside the south side of the house a few days ago.  They survived the last of the cool nights we'll have for a while, and they look healthy.  The pots on my desk are lettuce and zucchini.  The lettuce sprouted in a couple days.  Amazing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Enablers

Not yet a month into the Trump era and it is not at all clear if The Donald will continue to play the clown or get past that to become the authoritarian despot he aspires to be.  He faces a steep challenge as he is so ignorant of techniques of governance and diplomacy, and seems to have no fundamental understanding of important social and economic issues.

In the meantime, it is all too obvious that Trump is disruptive and dangerous.  His rants and crude bullying are causing consternation in capitals around the world and there is a growing fear that he will push the wrong button, either inadvertently or on purpose.  That said, while Trump may be unique in his unsuitability as a sitting President, he is probably not that unlike other historical despots.  Hitler and Mussolini also exhibited a lot of clown-like behavior that was fodder for satirists.  However, that did not ultimately prevent them from causing death and destruction on a massive scale.

Of course, the accomplishments of the great despots were not theirs alone.  They relied on the acquiescence of millions and the skilled manipulations of an inner circle.  Stalin had Malenkov and Beriia.  Hitler leaned on Speer, Hess, Goebbels and many other skilled propagandists like Leni Riefenstahl.

Regardless of the arc of his personal development, Trump's path through history will be largely guided by those around him who have the skills he lacks.  The rigors of the political process will weed out many of the sycophants and incompetents like Flynn, but political and constitutional processes will not prevent the ascension to power of the enablers like Tillerson, Sessions, Mnuchin, Ross, Coats, Perry, Carson, Zinke, Perdue, Shulkin, Mattis, Kelly, DeVos, Puzder, Chao and Price.


The good news:  Puzder is out as Labor Secretary.
Not so good:  The guy who nominated Puzder is still (sometimes) in the White House.

The reasons for the withdrawal included the likelihood of four Republican senators voting against confirmation.  The reasons for that and other factors are dissected in a post at 538.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Time for a reminder

Following orders is not a valid defense for human rights abuse.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

No Exceptions

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Seeking an explanation

One of the blogs I follow regularly is No Caption Needed.  As the "About" page there says: "No Caption Needed is a blog dedicated to public discussion of the role that photojournalism and other visual practices play in a vital democratic society." The posts at the blog deliver thoughful ideas about photography, something that is seldom accomplished eslewhere.  The last installment takes up the question of what photographs of the election period made a significant contribution to the largely unexpected Trump win.  The conclusion reached by the blog authors was that the role of photography and photojournalism was insignificant compared to an over-all failure based on language and logic.

I don't disagree with the No Caption Needed take on the question posed, but explaining something that did not happen is not in the end very revealing.  It seems to me that it might have been more useful to point out that the failure of photojournalism to come to grips with Trump and his followers was part of a larger failure of journalism in general.  Also overlooked was the fact that photojournalism is inextricably intertwined with words, unlike photography that is conducted for more purely aesthetic ends.  And, finally, some respect needs to be given to the well-known fact that people hear what they want to hear and see what they want to see.

I also think it is possible to move a step closer to an explanation of the role of images in the political process with the thought that both supporters and opponents of Trump are seeing essentially the same thing when they look at either still or moving images of the guy, and that they are actually arriving at many of the same conclusions regarding Trump's character.  I don't think it requires  a college degree to perceive that Trump is an ignorant, arrogant narcissist.  I do think many, perhaps most, Trump supporters see Trump as exactly that kind of person.  What differentiates the supporters from the opponents is that the former believes it is ok to have such a flawed personality in the Presidency.  It is a cynical and desperate viewpoint, for sure, and it overlooks a lot of potential fallout, but it don't think it is a question of misjudging character.

There is a useful analogy available which I think supports the foregoing analysis.  Consider for a moment the TV ads promoting the sleazy, ambulance-chasing lawyers who promise to aggressively represent people who have been the victims of accidents, bad luck and general powerlessness.  While the personalities are repellent and the message implies no particular adherence to real principles of justice, those characteristics clearly have some appeal for people confronting a desperate reality.  I think a lot of Trump supporters see themselves in a similar position regarding the possibilities of their individual futures.  Which is not to say that such a world view is representative of all of Trump's backers.  In fact, Trump supporters have been shown to be doing better economically than the average.  But, that is another piece of the story, the details of which need to be teased out by other means.

So, in the end there is no single magic key to explaining the Trump phenomenon.  My own view is that the media focus on Presidential politics has tended to obscure underlying causes of the current disaster.  I think the real answer to Trumpism is more likely to be found in local, grassroots organizing which can effectively combat hopeless and desperation.  Whether there is time now for that process to take place before disaster overwhelms us all is an open question.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Well, this is actually a post about politics.  I know, I know; you're sick of the subject.  But, hey, we've got to find a way to evict that squatter from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and I did give you a nice cat picture.

The first step is to find reliable information sources about local politics.  So, here is my short list:

The New Mexico Legislature Web Site:
Info on current bills, legislators, and web casts of the sessions.
On line news about what's going on in Santa Fe and around the State.

New Mexico in Depth:
Trip Jennings is Executive Director of this on line political news site.

The Santa Fe New Mexican:
Santa Fe's daily newspaper gets a lot closer to reality than the right-tilt Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan:
A daily dose of political gossip.  Monahan is a gun-for-hire, but he often gets the story right.

Democratic Party Town Hall Meetings:
I went to the recent one in Albuquerque at The Hotel Blue which provided a report on the beginning of the Legislative session.  Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino always does a great job as moderator.  Click the link to send a message to get the date for the end-of-session meeting.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Next Day

Thousands of people filled Albuquerque's Civic Plaza today to reject hate and greed.
It was an inspiring day.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

An Opportunity

People dismayed at the coming Trump/DeVos assault on public education can fight back effectively at the local level.  School board elections are typically held separately from general elections and generate sparse interest.  Last year in Albuquerque, only 2.6% of eligible voters showed up for the election of board members for the public schools and community college.  A small voter turn-out effort could clearly have a big impact on this year's election.

Election Day for the open APS and CNM board positions is February 7th, but early voting starts today and votes can be cast at any of the early voting locations around the city.  Information on candidates and early voting locations is available from the county clerk's web site.

Voters wanting to find out which APS and CNM districts their votes will apply to can also get this information interactively by filling in a form on the county clerk's site or the NM Secretary of State site.

The list of APS board candidates endorsed by the Albuquerque Teachers Federation is available at the ATFUnion Web Site.

Monday, January 16, 2017

CNM Community College Board


ATF and AEAA APS Board of Education Endorsements 2017

The cost of killing the ACA

The streaming of the Minnesota rally in support of Obama Care was not very compelling.  Schumer, the Dem Senate leader, was a total bust as a cheerleader; he seems to have nothing to say on the subject.  As usual Bernie Sanders in a brief statement laid out the issues with a strong, clear voice.  The union leaders also had some important messages to convey and did so well.

Of course, the other side of the coin is also revealing.  The Republican leadership really has offered nothing substantial in regard to how they are going to deal with health in the Trump era.  Which is not to say that they don't know what they are aiming at.  A clear-eyed view of what is coming is available from Allison K. Hoffman at REGBLOG.  Hint: think inequality on steroids.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Today at 12:30 p.m. ET, featuring Bernie Sanders:

Tune in to the livestream of Bernie’s rally to protect the Affordable Care Act.