Sunday, November 30, 2008


Milford Sound was beautiful. The water was very calm inside there. But it was only a respite. It is Monday down under. We just endured two full days for Violent Seas as we crossed the Tasman. This morning the weather is much calmer and we have just 30mph winds. The sun is out and the whitecaps are pretty. The ship put up with the 30 foot waves really well although we could not walk around much. We spent most of yesterday reading and watching old movies.
We did not get seasick. Bobbi had a 10 hour migrane on Saturday but she is now back to normal.
We will finish crossing the Tasman Sea today and tonight and will dock in Burnie Tasmania in the morning. We are going on a nine hour trek to some glaciers tomorrow. It will be good to get off the ship for a while. Then we sail overnight to Melbourne for a look at kangaroos in the bush. Then another day sailing before reaching Sydney. I will post a few photos from there on Friday. Thursday Albuquerque time.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Violent Storm

OUr first two fjord visits were blown out by what they call a 'violent storm.' Eighty knot winds and 30 foot waves. I am not in the least sick, but Bobbi is not feeling well. We are hoping the storm will subside in four hours so we can visit Milford Sound.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We have been very busy the last couple of days. As I write this Albuquerqueans are still trying to digest their Thanksgiving dinner. We had ours last night on board the ship as we are a day ahead of you. We spent Thanksgiving Day in Christ Church. It was a nice day touring the countryside. It is a very big city and pretty, but like all of these cities it is essentially new. Albuquerque was founded 150 years before most of these towns. The museums are nice and well done. The countryside surrounding Chrishtchurch consist of the broad Cantebury plains that are taken over completely by agriculture.
Today we spent visiting truly beautiful coastal areas outside of Dunedin. I have never before seen more beautiful beaches and ocean views than we observed today.
Now, we head for two days cruising in and out of fjords and sounds before arriving in Burnie, Tasmania.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We had a great day in Picton. A great excursion by boat to Captain Cook Cove and we took a great hike. We saw Dolphins, sea birds and native land birds. Then tea and cookies on the way back to the cruise ship. Tomorrow is Christchurch and a nine hour excursion. Wish you all could be here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wellington Wind

This is a beautiful city. One of the windiest anywhere and we learned why today. 50mph! At the same time it is a beautiful place and the weather was great. We head for Picton tomorrow.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I have given up on any photos coming to you from New Zealand. Blogger wont take them for some reason. We are seeing great sights and also learning that in just 140 years the people here terraformed their country. Most native species are gone. Most forests are cultivated. And now they are realizing their mistakes and worry about how they can make things right. I think they can because they changed their country once already.

We have visited volcanoes, sheep farms, Gannett nesting areas, nature preserves and beautiful landscapes. This is fun and will get better tomorrow when we visit Wellington.

Friday, November 21, 2008


We arose to this view outside on our Verandah this morning(picture coming soon). I am not sure of the name of this rock, but it is a beauty. We will cruise all day today and Bobbi scheduled us for massages this afternoon. At dinner we are sitting with an Australian couple and two nice ladies from Tasmania. They all seem genuinely impressed with Obama but they wonder what he can really do to stop this meltdown. They think he is only one man and that he can't do it alone. That is for sure. Bobbi and I keep wondering if her retirement account will have anything left in it at all when we return.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


We said goodbye to Auckland at their Sky Tower last evening.  The weather here has been great and I hope it will hold.  We had a great meal at a Turkish Cafe last night.  The Chef was a Turk and our waitress was Russian.  All sorts of people here but we have seen absolutely no black people.  Strange.  There a lot of Maori natives.

We board the Volendam in a few hours.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


We spent the morning wandering around the large park in Auckland which is called the Domain.  We visited the main museum which was pretty nice and all encompassing of New Zeland's history.  We also went to the Winter Garden Botanical attraction.  

This is Bobbi amongst the flowers.

This is me impersonating a beached whale in front a strange tree.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This is a young and old city at the same time.

We took a ferry to Davenport for lunch and this is Bobbi with Auckland in the background.


It was an easy flight to Auckland. Going to get an hour sleep and shower at the hotel and then walking the historic areas....

Monday, November 17, 2008

LAX and Retraction

I have retracted and deleted comments that the owners of Frontier Restaurant contributed money to pass the ban on gay marriage in California. My source has not been able to come up with solid information. Although those owners contribute money to many anti abortion groups they have not apparently done so on the Proposition 8 issue. I sincerely apologize for putting out bad information and my fact checking should be better in the future. I trusted a source I could usually rely on and this is my mistake.

We are at LAX. New we come.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What To Do?

I am in a real quandary. I just found out some of my favorite places around town contributed to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California. Blakes Lota Burger executives are one. What can I do about that? Why, I can boycott them. But how will Bobbi and I survive without our once a week green chile cheese burger? And, I had just discovered they had really good breakfast burritos. Well, say good by to me Blake's Lota Burger. I grew up with you in this town but you are history in my heart clogging repertoire. I remember your very first store on Lomas Blvd. back when I was a child.

What? No more popcorn at Century theaters? Yep. They sent money too.Well, I can't swear off movies but Bobbi and I will no longer buy their delicious butter soaked popcorn and diet cokes. ($9.75) That is where they make their money, but not from us anymore. I will sneak in Pistachios and leave the shells to let them know I was there.

And finally, don't go buy that new washer at Baillos'. Yep they don't want gays getting married and buying appliances for their new household I guess.

To see who in New Mexico are contributors to homophobia, click here.

After rereading this I realize I will live longer. No more cholesterol pills.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Sister Carlota in Bhutan

This is a note I got from my sister in Bhutan. She is there on a 3 week trek. This is funny.

Dear Loved Ones,

Camping in the Himalayas is not for sissies!

When I had to go pee in the middle of the night, the zipper on my tent was frozen shut, but I finally got out. I ran to the latrine with my flashlight and saw a huge dark thing blocking my way. It was a sleeping yak! I didn't make it to the latrine...

I was in a temple yesterday for a festival and observed about 60 nine-year old monks in training. The adult monks allowed the 4 of us to lean against the wall and watch. One of the teachers walked by me and whispered, "You United States?" I nodded "yes". He then pulled aside his monk robe near his neck and on his tunic underneath, there was an "Obama '08" button!

I'll never think of mountains in the same way again. Our little Rockies are like wee pimples compared to these astounding heights.

This is one of the best trips I've ever had.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Heading Out

Bobbi and I are heading out on a three week adventure to New Zealand and Australia. We will leave our house in the care of well armed house sitters on Monday and fly to Auckland. We will spend three days there and then board the Holland America Ship Volendam for two weeks cruising into every nook and cranny of New Zealand. There will be plenty of off ship excursions into the interior. We will also visit Tasmania and then head to Melbourne and Sydney Australia.

The trip will be especially sweet because we leave the country knowing that the Obama win will put us in good light with the rest of the world. I remember the Mediterreanean cruise we took during the height of the bush reelection effort in 2004. The other nationals on the board were all pulling so hard for his defeat and after we returned home and the election was held we got emails from the friends we had made wondering what was wrong with Americans. I don't think that will happen this time. I plan on taking my New Mexico Zia Obama T-shirt to wear in the gym for my workouts.

I will post regularly from the ship about our travels and what the other nationals are thinking. This should be fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The news that Eclipse Aviation is out of money and has sent their employees home will undoubtedly bring the naysayers out. There will be criticism that State and Local government invested poorly in that company. The truth is that Eclipse is just one of many aviation manufacturers that are skidding into the abyss. Cessna, Beech, Adams and others are all in the same boat because of the credit crunch. It is sad that it is happening. Yes, Eclipse might have had a better business plan, but they embarked on a quest for a new kind of jet aircraft. They have a good product but ran out of time.

It will be interesting to see what ultimately happens here. Lets hope the media does a little research on this aviation issue before sending Eclipse and its supporters(me included) to the gallows.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Curled Toes

The word I get from denizens at city hall is that there are a lot of curled toes amongst city workers and politicos. The deficit for this year just keeps growing and growing. It now stands around $23 million according to my sources and it won't get any better. Add to that the bad news for next fiscal year and you have a classic meltdown occurring.

Mayor Chavez and the city council have engaged in an orgy of spending over the last seven years and that has caught up to them too. I feel sorry for the next Mayor trying to deal with all of this. I also think that Mayor Marty may opt out of another run. He has never had to deal with a tanking economy before like I did when I served. The $22 million dollar deficit Chavez left me when I took office in 1998 was painful and now he will visit that upon a new Mayor at the end of next year.

Certainly, it would be unfair to pin all of this on the Mayor and Council, but the double digit budget increases every year didn't make it better.

Speaking of curled toes, I was astonished to read a story in the Journal this morning about all the old boys who run the Catholic Church threatening the members of their flock who voted for Obama. Can that be conducive to gathering in more of the faithful?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back in Town

I spent the weekend in Tucson at a meeting of the Wyss Foundation. I love those meetings because we give away lots of money to western conservation organizations. The slowing economy hasn't affected our abilities so far to work for protection of the west's landscapes and watersheds. That is good.

We talked a lot about what the new administration in Washington would mean on these issues. We decided that not much will happen for some time because Obama will have his hands full with economic and war issues. We also know that things will be better automatically because bush and cheney will be gone. In fact, on the front page of USA today on Monday the head of the transition for Obama, John Podesta, said they were thinking about undoing last minute bush executive orders on allowing drilling in some of Southern Utah's most beautiful wilderness quality areas. I was astonished to see that they had this on their radar. We all felt great.

In the meantime we will need to make sure that the right people get appointed to the Interior Department. That goes for the position of Secretary, but also for the other appointments like Bureau of Land Management Director, Fish and Wildlife Director, National Park Service Director and Bureau of Reclamation Chief.

I know some folks who will be helping with all that and I am confident we will have a strong team.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Coffee with the Man

Congressman elect Martin Heinrich had coffee with us this morning at the Sunshine Cafe at 12th & Mountain Road. My wife Bobbi was there after fighting a migrane all night. She didn't want to miss the opportunity for a chat with Martin. My brother Tom was there as was Ned Farquhar. We were all early supporters of Martin and he called yesterday to get us together. Everyone who came into the cafe came over to congratulate him.

Sean Gilligan the cafe owner and smart growth developer was there.

So was Rachel Maurer and Bruce Davis.

We mostly talked about what committess Martin might end up on and Bobbi gave him advice on some nice apartments to rent. She saw a lot of them when she did her tour of duty back there. There are other freshman Congressman who will need room mates in Washington's expensive real estate market. Martin's wife Julie and their two sons will stay in Albuquerque while he is in DC three to four days a week.

Martin raised over $2,000,000 for his race. Now he will need to start again as his next race will need to be well funded too. What a system!


The politics of the weird continues. Judge Linda Vanzi threw out the lawsuit of loser legislators who sued nonprofit groups alleging they conspired to defeat them. The losers were Senator James Taylor, Senator Shannon Robinson and Representative Dan Silva. The suit, filed by Robinson, was pretty much demolished by the Judge. I wasn't surprised. Think about it, suing someone because you lost your election fair and square....Mondo Bizzaro!

The other politics of the weird item is out of Otero County. After that Republican Women's group leader called Barack Obama a 'Muslim socialist' and then said all Muslims were enemies of the United States, her resignation was demanded by lots of folks. Her board resigned when she refused to do so. Now the Republican faithful wingnuts in Otero have reelected her to her position. I love it. Talk about dysfunctional. Rebuilding for the NM GOP may take a lot longer than they think.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Congress

With the election of Martin Heinrich and Walt Minnick in Idaho to the House of Representatives, I would like to think there could be a sea change coming in how we treat our western public lands.

Martin Heinrich was called and eco terrorist because he was a board member of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Walt Minnick was attacked in the same way in Idaho because he was a member of the Wilderness Society Governing Council. Both men beat republican bush land policy supporters despite the despicable accusations. As I recall, Senator Pete Domenici has at various times worked with both wilderness groups to pass wilderness legislation. Does that make him an eco terrorist too? Now we all need to make sure that President Elect Obama appoints the right people to the Interior Department so that we can do the right thing for the west's great landscapes, rivers, parks, wildlife and watersheds. He will have some strengthened support in congress on these issues.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Morning Utterances

My sister Carlota is in Bangkok, Thailand for a few days on her way to a trek in Bhutan. She emails this morning that the people on the streets in Bangkok were cheering to all Americans they saw..."Obama-Obama", and holding their thumbs up.

Bobbi got up this morning and as she rolled out of bed she said it felt 'unreal.' But in a good way.

I think I will wear my Obama buttons and T-shirts on our trip to New Zealand and Australia in a couple of weeks.

Today I will just spend most of the day feeling good for America, and surfing the internet.

Two good Albuquerque friends I know have already been appointed to the transition team for the Interior Department.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Life is Good. The nightmare is ending. We are a member of the international community again. Martin kicked butt too!

Maggie Explains It All For Us

When County Clerk Maggie Toulouse posts the early voting totals and absentee totals, sometime before 7:30, we will know who wins the Presidential race in NM, and the Congressional seat here in Albuquerque. It will be a short evening for suspense, unless Martin Heinrich is less than 3000 votes in those totals. I think that is unlikely. He has a good ground game going and bush supporter and nasty campaigner Darren White does not.

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Picks

Lass for PRC(maybe)
U.S. Senate gets to a total of 58-60 Democrats
U.S. House picks up two dozen new Democrats
America is set to be a part of the International Scene once again.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I was right on four out of five predictions for the Albuquerque Journal endorsements. They went with repubican congressional candidate Tinsley down south, republican bush supporter White in this congressional district, Democrat Ben Ray Lujan up north, and Democrat Tom Udall for Senator. They drank the Kool-Aid and endorsed John McCain even though their poll showed Obama with a commanding lead. I would love to have been a Fly on the Wall to listen to the infighting on that Presidential endorsement. I have a feeling that the reclusive publisher, Tom Lang, got his way. I wonder if he ever considered Sarah Palin as perhaps being a factor. No mention of her in the endorsement. Well, he does own the newspaper!