Thursday, December 31, 2009


I am glad 2009 is gone. Pretty much I believe it will go down as the 'Angst' year. I am hopeful that 2010 will be much better for all of those Americans in dire economic straits.

Today I retire from public service after taking my first government job in 1974 with Governor Bruce King. (I miss him and Alice.) It is a good time for me to go. I am 64. I need to spend time in getting fit and playing golf. I will also busy my self with volunteer work.

I look forward to cooking for Bobbi as she still has a few years left to work. (She was younger than my daughter is now when I met her in an elevator at City Hall in Albuquerque.) She is 7 years younger than me and I hope she can endure my retirement until she leaves her career behind. This is one of the first pictures I ever took of her.

We went an watched that movie "Up in the Air" last night. We decided it was good we had each other after seeing it.

Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


A good friend and I were talking about how the American Public and Media are fixated on Airport Security. It is like a loss leader at a department store. It gets your attention and then you get directed to somewhere else.

We have decided that the reason airline security is so important to folks, including the religious terrorist wacko crazies, is that it gets all the attention. There actually are a lot of easier targets for bombers in the name of god. Think municipal water supplies, train tracks, public gatherings, and about a zillion other things that have no security on them whatsoever.

It also makes you think that the terrorists are on their last legs since they have not been successful at killing and maiming in this country after 9-11.
Meanwhile down in Alamogordo the right wing Tea Party wacko crazies are holding a rally on Saturday to rail against health care reform, government stimulus spending, and the Obama administration.

The kicker here is that they are encouraging everyone to bring guns. What is next? Underwear Bombs!? These guys are more dangerous to our democratically elected government than the terrorists are.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I am taking my son Justin and his wife Karly to the airport this morning. They are the last of our holiday guests to leave. We all had a really good time. So now I get to deposit them into airport hell for a trip back to Washington DC. Who knows what weird stuff they will have to endure in security measures. I am still of the opinion that just about anyone can skirt safety measures no matter how stringent they are.

Speaking of opinions, the Journal this morning dumped on the Obama administration for the security lapse. When 3000+ people were killed at the World Trade Center they seemed to give George Bush a pass. They thought it was cool he stood next to a fireman on the rubble.

Last night KRQE TV News opened their newscast with a 30 second story on some 21 year old kid getting shot to death. Then they did a 90 second story on a puppy getting shot to death. Ah....journalism today.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Great Christmas Day

We had a relaxed Christmas day at my brother Tom's House. This is a picture of our family all together for the first time in two years. Left to right, Sue Orth, Lucas and Noelle, Bobbi, a beached whale, Karly and Justin.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

4th Circle of Hell

The 5th level of hell is where you do double folds on luminaria bags. Last night we decided to apportion the job to everyone.

Little did our visitors know after grueling trips from all over the country, through snow storms, jam packed airports, and oxygen deprivation in airliners, that their holiday cheer was to take another hit. Yes, everyone had to fold 15 luminaria bags.

And then, my daughter Noelle insisted on the dreaded 'double fold' to 'make them stronger' so as to guide the Christ child who never manages to find us anyway.

Well, it was family togetherness amongst the rattling and cracking of lunch bags.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Found Money

Bank of America called. They found my money and credited my mortgage. They were apologetic but could offer no explanations of what had happened. I wonder what did happen. Where was that money used over the last ten days? Hmmm. One of life's mysteries.

The Bank Thing and Arrivals

I spoke yesterday with a person in the office of the CEO of Bank of America. They are trying to help find my money and said they would call me back. They were very nice and concerned. They still haven't credited my mortgage however. My funds have been in limbo for almost two weeks now. I am incredulous.

I will worry about this some more after Christmas. Today I need to go to the airport twice to pick up my son Justin and his wife Karly. Also to pick up my daughter's boyfriend's mother Sue. Noelle and Luke are traveling snowbound highways from Phoenix to Albuquerque via Payson and Holbrook. I also look forward to having their dog Lola here. Our beagle Athena will have someone to run away from for four days.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bank of America Catch 22

Bank of America still has not found my huge payment to them, although they took it out of my account to pay off my mortgage. Today they told me everything they supposedly did yesterday to fix things never really happened. Their rep said they didn't know where the money was, although they admit it is no longer in my savings account. And they admit I did send it to the mortgage account, although it apparently entered the twilight zone or an alternative universe.

While at the bank I was heard to say that I hoped none of the executives got any bonuses for christmas. I heard a voice in the back ground say, 'me too.'

I will give them until christmas eve to clear all of this up. Then I have no idea what I will do about my huge amount of missing money except maybe go visit the New Mexico CEO for the bank. I know there is one but there is no possible way to see or talk to him on the phone or email. Silly me, why would he want to talk to a lowly customer. I keep trying to call him at the main bank but no one answers during business hours. Sounds like something out of "Catch 22."

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Banks

I volunteer for any firing squads dealing with bankers on Wall Street. Well, not really. But I would like to see them all out shoveling snow for a living from now on. I have a couple of reasons for feeling this way. One is on general principles. They screwed their banks and this country big time and now they are giving themselves huge bonuses again after the taxpayers saved them. Secondly, they make life difficult for their customers like me.

Consider Bank of America. My bank. But maybe not for long. You see, ten days ago Bobbi and me decided it might be a good idea to finally pay off our mortgage since I am retiring. So, we sent them a huge on line payment direct to the mortgage just as their web site instructed. As of today they still have not credited it to our mortgage account. Remember, this is ten days!

Last Thursday I called Bank of America to ask what was going on. All I got were electronic voices saying I could find out what my balances were and they all indicated no credits to my mortgage. Every time I pushed the button to talk to a human being, I was immediately disconnected.

Today Bobbi went by a branch bank and found a helpful branch manager who said she had never seen service like this before. She says the only way to get our money out of some dead zone where it ended up is to put it back in our savings account and then try again.

I know there must be a reason for all of this. I think it is all part of Bank of America's philosophy of making life difficult for its little customers when they do something, like paying off their mortgage which results in less interest payments to them. Or it is just sheer incompetence on their part which means their CEOs should be fired instead of pigging out on bonuses.

Friday, December 18, 2009

No More Money for the DSCC

I am cutting off all funds to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. I want to make sure that not one penny will go to reelect Senator Ben Nelson, who is holding up healthcare reform because of his religious beliefs. I gave the DSCC a lot of money last year at the request of Senators Bingaman and Udall. Now, if I can afford such largess as I enter retirement I will just give to individual Senators.

Stop and think about what is going on here. The likes of Lieberman and Nelson with a noose around the neck affordable health care in this country. Lieberman is doing because he is a sociopath and Nelson because he is a fundamentalist wacko. Life is too short.

The Gang

We are getting ready for lots of holiday house guests. My son Justin and his wife Karly are coming in. Noelle and her significant other, Lucas are coming in. So is Lucas' mom Sue. She is from Minnesota and enjoyed the balloon fiesta here in October so much she is returning. My brother's kids are coming in too. My sister will be here. It should be a lot of fun.

Things around the blog will remain quiet for the holidays, although I will post pics once in a while. Our first order of business now is to go see the movie "Avatar". I have been waiting for it for some time and the reviews look really good. I am just a sci fi geek and this movie does double duty with its anti war and pro environment messages.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Torn Down

Rodger Beimer called me yesterday to let me know that the old KOAT television station building at 1377 University NE had been torn down. I met Rodger there on my first day of work as a new photographer back in 1968 or so. I had been offered the position (my dream job) by Dick Knipfing when he was news director. I went on to become a reporter and anchorman. Rodger did too and we have remained friends ever since. This photo shows former APD policeman Mark Bralley in front of the station.

The News Room consisted of about 800 square feet or so. It had 8 desks all crammed together. Off in one small closet were the UPI and AP teletypes and faxphoto machines. They constantly clattered and sizzled. On one wall was the two film editing stations. On another wall was the equipment bays and shelves. Also on a small table was the two way Motorola radio. Then about a dozen phones and typewriters with paper, carbon paper, white out and paperclips everywhere. And also about 25 stuffed to overflowing ashtrays. I mean everyone smoked, except Rodger.

As Rodger and I were talking we wondered if the hazardous waste people had to come in before demolition. You had to be there to appreciate the chemical soup we worked in. The smoke was constant. Add in the film cement for editing, residue film development chemicals, film cleaner, battery acid from the old light packs, food that fell behind desks and stayed there for a decade, body odor from poor ventilation, and the smell and dust from the cosmetic makeup we piled on before going on camera, and you had an environment that might have equaled Love Canal. We loved being there every second.

Mark Bralley sent this picture of me filming a lull in the 1972 riots in the UNM area. I am behind the 'hippie' with the flowers.

Bralley said, "The picture of you followed the mining of North Vietnamese harbors and Operation Linebacker. In Albuquerque the protest started with the blockading of I-25 at Central. The crowd trapped an 18 wheeler that later was identified as actually carrying war munitions. No none knew at the moment. Later in the day Officer Phil Herrera accidentally discharged his shotgun striking a UNM Daily Lobo writer and the wife of an Air Policeman stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base. This picture of you was shot on one of the subsequent days when the protest moved up Central to in front of UNM."

It is always surprising to see things like the old KOAT station disappear. I will miss going by there and thinking of some of the best friends and times I ever had in my life.

Public Input?

Before Picture

After Picture
For over thirty years I have been walking my dogs in the Bosque. You see a lot of senior citizens down there doing that. So, imagine our surprise this morning when we show up and find our trail obliterated by the State Parks Department. No public input. No hearings. No information or dissent allowed. All thanks to the Rio Grande Nature Center. Now they are pointing fingers at the City's Open Space and Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District as being complicit. You can see from this photo how debris and downfall have been spread over the trail. When I called about this mess all I got were conflicting statements.
One of the state employees told me the trail was only a few years old. Even though I explained to her I had been using it since the late 70's. I am just stupid I guess. This is a picture of my son and I in the Bosque when he was about five years old. (He was hunting for Ewoks) He is now nearing thirty.

Many neighborhoods along the Bosque work hard to keep it nice. We should have been consulted. The trail needs to be cleared now, otherwise people will start breaking new ones all over the place making things worse.

My good friend State Parks Director Dave Simon said he would look into the lack of public input.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Compliment to the Journal

The Journal actually did an important story Sunday morning on New Mexico High School Graduation rates and proficiency in math and reading. It seems the schools with the highest graduation rates had students with the lowest proficiency. How in the hell can that be? It is nothing but administrative corruption. Those school superintendents and school boards need to stay after school for detention. Or be held back a grade.

What upsets me the most is the lack of proficiency in reading. Of course that statistic is really set in the first through third grades. So blame goes on those elementary schools too. If a person can not read properly then they are really screwed in life. I frankly was never much of a math whiz, but the nuns at Our Lady of Fatima sure taught me how to read and spell. I have been able to function in life without knowing squat about differential equations, (the wife and kids were great at those and spoke in strange phrases when practicing them), but I sure would not have done anything in life with our being able to read.

Although, when reading the Journal editorial page I wonder if it is wise to read sat all. They took the cue on Sunday from their oil and gas industry friends to belittle climate warming. Of course they are right and several hundred thousand scientists who can do differential equations are wrong. The Journal is beginning to remind me of the Wall Street Journal. Great news and information and imbecilic editorials. I have always wondered who really writes that stuff with a straight face.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Must Reads

Other than going to the dentist today after breaking a tooth with my dental floss, the only other thing of worth I am doing is reading some great research from the Pew Foundation. Every politico, blogger and newspaper publisher and editor should read these.

P.S. I thought flossing was good for your teeth. Now I get another thousand dollar crown!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


So the latest numbers I am hearing from Albuquerque's City Hall are that the deficit for this year will be somewhere between 26 and 40 million dollars. Gasp! And next year the gap will be at least $50 million.

This is not pocket change and some draconian measures seem to be in order. The only advice I can give to the new Mayor is that he do the hard work in the first hundred days of his tenure. This will mean whacking larges amounts of money from the funds that the city gives to the Albuquerque School System, non profit groups and the labor unions. That last item will require some real deft negotiating. Those fat contracts Marty Chavez gave out in hopes of getting support from the police and firemen's unions are really going to cause problems.

Meanwhile, the legislature is considering suing the Governor over the budget battles that have taken place as the state's revenues continue to meltdown. I can think of about a hundred things that are more important to do than that. This reminds me of a description of human behavior I read last night in a sci fi novel. It is one of the Frankenstein monster who was created with all good intentions. Except he ends up throwing little girls in the river. He wants to be better, but it is just not in him. Sounds like the legislature. Yuk!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I was opining last week that a legislative committee treated my staff viciously in an interim meeting. Apparently they are doing the same to themselves, only violently. The news that one female legislator punched out another one last week indicates that some lessons in manners are due for our lawmakers.

The Albuquerque Journal, whose readership continues to fall, managed to put my name in a story this morning aimed at embarassing the Governor, and former cabinet members who have received contracts after leaving office. I gave a contract over ten years ago to one of them when I was Mayor and that seems to be newsworthy today. There is nothing illegal or immoral about giving people contracts but the Journal's specialty of insinuation seems to say so.

I notice that Darren White, the city's new public safety czar in the Mayor's office, is already out hamming for the cameras. He is criticizing the Judiciary. That could affect his boss greatly and someone will have to coach him on his publicity seeking ways.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The New Mayor

I was glad to see David Campbell's confirmation by the City Council as Mayor Berry's Chief Administrative Officer. Three republican councillors voted against the confirmation of the republican Mayor's choice for the job.

Mayor Berry, welcome to city politics. You will have to put up with that kind of behavior in varying degrees for the next four years. It is just part of the job but I have to say it is very peculiar that members of your party are doing this to you. It says nothing about you or Dave Campbell , just about the condition of the GOP. Amazing!

Now comes the really hard part of keeping this city glued together in the midst of what might be the biggest financial meltdown in its history. (You might want to read this.) Your CAO and Department heads will really need to use some even headed thinking on where to cut. And know that where ever you choose to do it that you will not be appreciated. Every dollar you cut is a minus for some special interest group. Be it an after school program, a union, or economic development incentives.

Ignore what the editorial pages of the Journal say and do what you think is best. Because of the position that Mayor Chavez and his city council left you in you are going to have to accept the fact that you may not be the most popular guy in office.

I am pulling for you because I know the challenges you face. We have a great city here and we should all want you to succeed.

Uhhh...I was wondering if you could call me about a pothole.

Monday, December 07, 2009


I suddenly realize after coming off the Caribbean cruise that I need to start the countdown to retirement in just 24 days.

While I was gone my staff went to an interim committee of the Legislature and was treated with such vitriol and disrespect that I can honestly say I am not going to miss that part of the job at all. Dealing with the legislature that is!

When I retire I plan on doing some serious blogging on the demeanor of the legislature during the next session. Not many people have the opportunity to see just how badly some legislators treat state professional employees. Not all legislators act this way of course, but the ones who do will certainly get my attention. Pictures, movies and soundtracks coming your way soon.

I have posted a movie of our cruise. If you have absolutely nothing else to do click here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Back in the USA

We are back. I got off the plane Thursday night with a tropical shirt on. Well, I do like the seasons. We had a very good time.

We already have another cruise booked for South America in March. 14 days from Rio to Buenos Aires and back. Lots of heavy duty excursions on that one.

So I get back and am able to say "I told you so." City Hall is in the crapper from Marty Chavez and his big spending ways. I feel sorry for Mayor Berry and the challenges in front of him. I inherited the same mess from Marty and had to put into place budgets that grew less than inflation for four years. He has an even harder job because of the labor contracts Chavez signed.

I was halfway expecting to find an invitation to Mayor Berry's inauguration. I was disappointed his staff was so clueless on protocol. Of course, I could not have attended since I was in a rain forest in Costa Rica. But the thought would have been nice.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Green Chile

Green Chile. How do we love you? Let us count the ways. Well, one is on cheese burgers. If you were to ask the chefs on the Zuiderdam for a green chile cheese burger they might go rummaging around the kitchen and bring you out a bell pepper.

Not to fear. Rodger Beimer is here. We celebrated today with the canned green chile he brought along to ease us back into New Mexican food. We had a ceremony in the Lido pool dining area to decorate out burgers. MMMMM!

Ed Mahr explained green chile mysticism to Cia and Uming of the Lido Staff.

Tonight we pass Havanna but since Obama hasn’t done change we believe in yet we can not stop there.

Home on Thursday. We hear that it will only be 33 degrees on Thursday. Arghh!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Costa Rica

We spent Monday exploring Costa Rica. We sailed into Puerto Limon, Banana capitol of the world and set off for the rain forest. The rest of the gang went to a banana plantation. They day started with out a cloud in the sky. It was beautiful at the rain forest preserve we visited. It went from full sunshine to hard rain in a matter of minutes. I got the feeling that walking ten feet into that rain forest would be lethal. All sorts of toxic things in there. Snakes, frogs that kill, beetles the size of a Pontiac.

Tuesday and Wednesday we will spend at sea as we race across the Caribbean to dock the ship in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday morning. Then back into cold weather. I would take dry climates to wet any day.