Sunday, December 20, 2015


While spending time with loved ones in Albuquerque (New Mexico, USA), I exercise the option for protracted surfing. I was deep in a curl this morning and hanging ten when I found this.

A gentle nod to Pepper's Quotes in the upper right on Dear Hannah JanePepper often changes the quote, but the day I visited, December 15, 2015, the link from the quote went to here.

A little later I came across this.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Global Community

The wonders of the internet!

Scroll down to #4

Blogger, the platform for this blog, lists some of the visiting URLs in a technical section called stats. This morning I noticed, as might you, the .hr in the link above. Thanks to Wikipedia I learned it is for citizens of Croatia. Mr. Mirosavljevic, who lists Eggbert as #4, lives in Slavonski Brod.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mild Weather

It was December 7, a time when the mountains of central New Mexico are often blanketed in white. But on this balmy Monday afternoon, the crags stood bare against the azure.....when the phone rang.

I made it into the main drainage below and to the left of the dike. (Click on image to largen)

It was Stephen, a young Toyota salesman I'd talked to a couple of weeks earlier. We'd been engrossed  (or, at least I was) in a side-by-side comparison of a two-door Yaris and a Prius when an older salesman came over. Noting his three-day growth -- the contemporary version of the '70s gold chain -- I tried to ignore him, but when he asked what I was looking for I said a 4-door. We, Stephen and I, then watched, instantly fascinated, as he reared back on his haunches and with the vehemence of a fundamentalist preacher whose first "sinner" is blubbering toward the stage said, "You don't need a 4-door!!" So, I left.

In the 20 minutes prior to my departure Stephen'd disclosed he'd come from a Walmartz electronics department. And in the two months since he'd started he'd sold nine cars. I wasn't surprised, his low-key demeanor and easy-going helpfulness was refreshing. It would have been easy to close the deal. A couple of days later I'd made up my mind, called and asked him to call me if he found a 4-door. 

So, after he identified himself, I,  of course, expected to hear he'd found Eggbert's replacement. But it turns out part of his training includes calling people to see if maybe they've changed their minds about what they want...or something.  After explaining I'd been to college where they teach rational thinking (I got a C) and hadn't changed my mind (in two weeks) about what I wanted -- -- he admitted they make him call people.

I wish I needed a Ph.D.; it'd make a great anthro dissertation: A Longitudinal Study of Lost Sales Due to the Negative Effects of Phone Followup.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Blackout B-Day CAke

It's a neurosis...when in town I never get full. It took a while for Susan to "walk on" and while she was ambling I embraced my increasing dimensionality as a "measure" of my commitment. 

MDC's birthday came soon after and always warrants a grand celebration. And there's nothing better to celebrate with (besides ice cream) than cake!!


Dat boy gotz hisse'f a bad case o' de dunlops. He dun lopped ove' de belt.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Price of Indoor Plumbing

People often ask, "What do you do out there?" I have a number of glib responses but my main one is about enjoying the quiet. 

There's a lot between the lines in what follows. If you peruse this year's posts you'll see I took several "breaks." And although I need to be here through the grieving, now that Susan has walked on I can look forward to returning to the nomadic lifestyle...where barking dogs aren't usually an issue; and if they are it's a simple matter to move.   

Thursday, December 3, 2015 (emailed at 6:29 p.m.)

Dear Councilors:

On January 17, annoyed by the barking of a neighbor's dog, I emailed each of you regarding the history of the city noise ordnance. I had been the target of vindictive behavior for previous complaints and anticipating having to file another was interested in learning the history of why the law provided for the disclosure of the complainer's name and address to the person complained about. 

I am retired and travel much of the time. I did my best to ignore the dog when I was in town. However, in January my mother-in-law's health began seriously deteriorating and I needed to stay in Albuquerque to supervise her care. 

After hearing the dog all summer, I finally filed a complaint on November 2nd. As per procedure, the City sent a letter alerting the dog's owners. It was quiet for a few days but soon the dog was again barking all day.

My mother-in-law died on November 12. Since then her 59 year-old daughter, 60 year old son and I (age 63) have been dealing with tremendous grief and the myriad responsibilities associated with settling her estate. Through it all the dog has barked nearly all day long each and every day. 

I filed a second complaint on November 25. This evening I called and spoke with Carlotta at Animal Control about what was happening with the case. She is doing all she can to help but the spectre of retribution, along with everything else we are dealing with, looms large.

I'm writing to let you know how this is evolving. It's my experience that people who allow their dogs to bark incessantly do not care about their neighbors. Animal Control's protocol requires complainers to agree to mediation. It seems disingenuous to suggest that someone like my neighbor is going to be interested in discussing the problem with me. And quite frankly, given their demonstration of disregard, I have little optimism for a positive outcome via mediation.

All the above is simply FYI. I hope that as you give thought to improving the ambiance of Albuquerque you'll continue to look for solutions to this problem that many of us face. 



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dear Hannah Jane

Given the general tenor of Dear Hannah Jane, I was shocked (pleasantly) to see she'd put up something that included the ef word. Too, there's often an interesting quote in the upper right.  

Saturday, November 21, 2015

N'awlins Mardi Gras Event!

Hie thee Foodie, to the realm of Chef Eddie Adams

Chef Eddie

Todd Lowry's boogie-woogie piano 
inspired us to push the tables out of the way and commence flingin' ourselves in abandon.

The oysters (in the soup) had substance and flavor, and the Kiona riesling is respectable. For "The World-Famous Squidges," it's all about the desserts. But the enthusiasm and music made it into an event!


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Against Work: A Polemic

One of the great treatises of our time is Laura Kipnis's Against Love: A Polemic.

Although there's alot more, the take away I got was: sexual satisfaction stems from indulging in unmitigated desire, sometimes with others...and sometimes with one's self. The key being a sense of self that enables focused enjoyment, non-judgemental, self-satisfying appreciation; the wherewithal to engage without self-deprecation...a basic tenet of  "mindfulness."

In a similar vein, Chief Joseph said to the American Congress, "It  currently takes (and he used percentages) 20% of our time to satisfy our needs for food and shelter. The rest we spend with our wives and children, with our friends and enjoying our lives. If we took up your way of life (farming) it would be the opposite. We'd spend all our time plowing, sowing and harvesting... leaving little time for anything else. No thanks." (Hey, wait Joe!! How about "keeping up with the Joneses?")

Not enthused.

Western culture  -- Americans think culture is a hamburger -- is founded on the Puritan work ethic. This heinous belief system has driven both the idea that one could rise to heights of unbelievable wealth and that the purpose of wealth is leisure. 

Vincent Distasio, one of the artists I still represent, has a different view. The black sheep of a wealthy family whose siblings reside east of the Hudson River, his siblings enjoy flaunting their accumulations in the form of large domiciles, expensive dinners and shiny new vehicles. Vince, being who he is, lives in a trailer court among ruffians where he paints, as he puts it, "the pictures no one else will paint." He enjoys manual labor. And even though he holds an undergraduate degree in biology and a graduate degree in poly sci, he's spent -- after a decade of teaching science in Cuba, New Mexico in the early sixties -- the rest of his working life doing construction and tree-trimming.

In his spare time he can often be found at a local cafe eating a bear-claw, a doughnut-like  pastry. In disgust of oil-based consumerism, he rides his bicycle (see p. 137) nearly everywhere including, for over ten years, the 22 miles from his house to a jobsite at Kirtland Air Force base where he cleaned the officers' swimming pool three times a week.

As a ten-year-old he was "abused" by male relatives who made him plow a furrow behind a horse until it was straight. There was no allowance for the fact that he, as a ten year old, was being made to do a job even full-grown men found challenging. They said he'd learn from the experience.

His dad, in a similar way, would "simoniz" their car; Vince would have to buff it out. This was in the days when wax was hard and buffing-polishing could take an  entire afternoon. An afternoon when a ten-year-old would nornally have been playing ball, or exploring. When he complained that his arm was sore, his dad would yell at him that no one out in the world was going to give him a break and he better get used to it!! Work was something necessary to be endured.

Over the past 40 years as folks have seen how easy it is to become wealthy through song-writing, sports, drugs, sex and other ways that aren't as painful as plowing or simonizing, the much-touted work-ethic has lost its cachet; people have begun to appreciate Chief Joseph's perspective. But unlike the Chief, we've also been inculcated with ideas from Kafka and his ilk. i.e., existentialism and it's fundamental query of "why?"

And one of the things the first inhabitants of this segment of land used to do that garnered them criticism (consider the source) was take their time about decision-making....often a necessary element in answering the above mentioned and now all-important query.

So as you enjoy the beauty of nature, the company of friends, you can also add the sense of pleasure in working (pun intended) your way back to a pre-industrial state wherein simply being, and, perhaps, as Ms. Kipnis posits (was that what the Chief meant?), sex, was enough.

Besides, if Manny says it's so, it's so. 

Thanks to Rolling Steel Tent for inspiring this "discourse."

Saturday, November 7, 2015


It was sometime around '94, soon after I took up with the artist and social critic Michelle D. Cook, that I began studying the accordion (the two were NOT coincidental). Perhaps it stems from her love of cats, but  Michelle's sardonic perspective imagined me, a morose German, hopping & skipping in lederhosen while squeezing something. 

She's always been the idea person in our relationship and being well-trained I immediately began my studies. To help me along she purchased a Hero Midget 

and presented it to me on the Solstice. 

As a busy art dealer, I made time to practice while waiting at red lights.  As incentive, Michelle composed a new national anthem. I spent several months learning it. (As you're aware, literary folks are drawn to magazines and journals with the word REVIEW in their title; Bloomsbury ReviewThe New York Review of Books and The Yale Law & Policy Review are popular. Cats, being the olfactory creatures that they are, get their news via the Cat Odor Review -- which comes via pee-mail.)


I never progressed beyond C. O. R., but our enthusiasm led us, in 2008,  to attend the Cotati Accordion Festival in Cotati, California. The festival was curated by Renee de la Prade and included the great Duckmandu


While surfing the web the other day I stumbled upon Renee's 2015 calendar

 that comes with a music CD. I ordered, paid and went on my way.

Now, a month later, while perusing emails I noticed a paypal receipt. One thing led to another and the following email soon arrived.

I'm sorry for the delay Michael!
I'm very disorganized this year because I moved to Europe and my regular mail-order-filler was on extended vacation, so it's a bit of a scramble. When I publish future editions, (the next will be 2017,) I plan to sign up with either CD Baby or Amazon or both, so that it's easy to fill orders in a timely manner, even when I'm travelling.
Thanks for your patience, thanks for contacting me. I'm sending you a special present along with your original order; you should get a shipping confirmation email with a tracking number within the next few days.
Best wishes,
Renee de la Prade

Renee is in Hamburg, Germany, where she resides with her new (as of August) husband, Ingo. That's Ingo on drums in the first video.

So that brings us to today. I'm in Albuquerque, the armpit of the SW, where Michelle's mother is dying of olde age. And although the sun is shining, it's cold and I felt the need of a bit of jollility. 

I hope you too got a chuckle.


Susie slid into the otherworld at 11:43 p.m. on Nov 12, mere minutes before what is known as ALL SMIRKETS DAY (Friday the 13th). Smirket, for those unfamiliar, is the proper term for a black cat.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


The print above the Jack-o-lantern is by Marjie Bassler.

We demand a trick. An elementary teacher who lived up the street gave us the idea; she used to make them scream or shake their booties. We've never tried the booty bit, but they seem to enjoy screaming. Their first attempt is always met with "You call that a scream?" 

The teenagers are taught Cat Odor Review and then have to perform it. Keeping a straight face while they "learn" it is half the fun. Watching them sing is priceless. Surprisingly, none have ever refused. 

From 2014...

Age takes its toll.....

The lovely terra-cotta girl (above the pumpkin) was the daughter of the Chief of Police of Munich, Germany. He gave the statue, one of six, to my dad. She was killed in an automobile accident not long after it was made. She was sixteen.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ft. Craig & The Overlanders

Fred, the host at Ft. Craig Visitor Center, said he gets lots of Germans. He said they know more about Western History than most Americans. And they're willing to make the four-mile trip, one way, from the highway.

We'd solved all the world problems and were basking in self-satisfaction when Ed and Mary came in. They're overlanders and had just concluded an expedition across the Navajo Reservation. They'd been forced to backtrack 60 miles by a locked gate that wasn't shown on the old map they were using and were a tad concerned about the time. But Ed said they'd met several folks who'd invited them to stay and it'd been a great time. Unfortunately, they had to be in Tuscon by the next evening.

They've been married 37 years and retired at age 50 when they began traveling...eight years ago. Mary had hiked to Phantom Ranch, at the bottom of The Grand Canyon, a few days before. Ed said he felt incredibly lucky as there aren't many women who enjoy the lifestyle. 

They had bought several fixer-uppers and then rented them out. The houses provide most of their income, but they're both nurses and, when necessary, can easily find work. 

Ed said they live frugally; no children except their pets and they're down to one 20-year-old cat. It usually travels with them but had decided to layover in Tuscon (thus the need to return). Repairs to their vehicle have been minor. It has a little over 150,000 miles on it. They look pretty happy, don' chew tink?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Fluffiness of Ocotillos

The plan was to visit a little-known overlook at the South Rim (of the Grand Canyon) followed by a slow wend up to the North Side. 

               At camp that evening, 

                                  not far from Williams, Arizona, 

                                                  it was warm enough to comfortably make dinner


                                                                           enjoy the evening sky.

In the morn however, it was a different story. Mixed clouds with a chance of dog biscuits (we're cat people, dontchya know?) discouraged any inclinations toward the breakfast lingers. We wuz on duh rode at an unprecedented 10:30 a.m.

By noon I was at the Geology Museum on the South Rim. There was (similar to there is instead of there are) intermittent drizzles whose localized sheets of misting made for great photos; they also helped distract from the fact that you can no longer clearly see farther than the first line of formations.  I was surprised to read on the big info placard outside the museum about how the haze is man-made and even comes from as far away as Asia (wow!! quote Andy Warhol). And although on a good day, they go on to say, it's now clearer than it was, on a bad day it's as bad as ever.

It took a while to locate the spot, but the Great Cosmic Furrball beneficently held the wet at bay during the hike out, while the sun set, and all the way back to the parking lot. But by Tusayan, the supply hamlet a few miles south of The Park Entrance, it was pouring. It was reaaallly dark when I pulled under the big ponderosa back at the North-of-Williams camp (NOT Kaibab Lake C.G. If boondocking-curious, email for directions).

The next two weeks were spent one-jumping ahead of the reins. Between grumbles about mildew & wet tarps, I marveled at the fluffiness (fluffiness!!!) of the ocotillos along Chicken Springs Road, the first leg to Alamo Lake*. When everyone else was ready to hang it up after a long, hot summer, they are partying heartily. 


This is as close as I wanted to get. Water, especially lakes, gives me the heebie-jeebies. 

Kingman's blue sky inspired new optimism. Happily humming We've Only Just Begun, I took highway 93 20 miles (perzakly) to Big Wash Rd, about two miles beyond Chloride. I'd read about Big Wash in a trip log on Overland Frontier (couldn't find it now) and was eager to see for my self. But, again, the rains came. 

After some reflection I recalled that my new, improved, laptop-charger had probably arrived from China and I should return to Albuq to get it. While there I volunteered to fix fence in the Gila Wilderness to keep cows out of wolf habitat. Hopefully Obama's and Governor Brown's (of California) 

                       efforts to mitigate climate change 

                                       will have an effect

                                       within the next few days

                       and it'll stop raining. 

This too may have potential. 

* I made it to within about five miles of Alamo Lake, but espying, thru binocs, a bevy of RVs, I decided to put down roots where I wuz. If u 2 eschew (it rhymes!) close proximity of others, watch for the spot on the left near the top of the hill overlooking the lake. There's one right at the top on the right, but it doesn't have the view of the canyon to the northeast.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Phil Endicott's '32 Dodge

It was like Mulberry Street. Toodling along on the freeway with nothing but the usual. Then suddenly...a golden flash from the HEADLIGHT of a car behind me. What was this?! A turn signal the size of a cantaloupe?!!

As the radiator came along side its texture hinted at what was to come. And then, at the firewall I began to experience the excitement Marco sought; something different!

When they stopped at the Arizona line I pulled in behind.

Phil Endicott claims he's just a Missouri farmer; never thought of himself as an artist. He spent three years hammering the copper sheets that are the body, forging the myriad other accoutrements and cutting, sanding and polishing the teak that compliments the interior. (That's teak under the windshield and the sideview mirror in the photo below.)

It was hot in the sun but Wanda managed to smile. 

They were on their way to Los Angeles to take delivery on the custom front wheels to match the rears. 

Contrary to what it looks like, Phil said the interconnected triangles were personal symbols of the Dodge brothers...not the Star of David. It's use was discontinued in 1932.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Brint Brown's TR3

I'm continually amazed by the timing. I'd spent the day exploring dirt tracks off highway 128 and had just returned from the one that begins at The Dewey Bridge. I was swigging water and contemplating my next move when a TR3 turned into the parking area. I nearly choked!! 

I'd owned one in my youth and that experience plus a later one with a Triumph Bonneville 650 motorcycle had inspired awe for anyone that ventured more than a few blocks from their mechanic. And here, at The Bridge, it's 25 MILES to Moab! 

Brint Brown became enamored of British cars in his teens and has (and still does) owned several including 40 years with the gleaming specimen shown above. He bought it from a friend whose parents used to drive it, on weekends, from Salt Lake City to Elko, Nevada (naivete/chutzpah?!!).

He also told the tale of the bridge. When you're there you'll notice there's no deck...just cables dangling like a bunch of dead daddy-longlegs. Brint said a local philanthropist paid for the bridge's restoration and it was, for years, enjoyed by hikers and sight-seers from near and far. Then, in 2008, an unsupervised 6-year-old set fire to the bosque. When the fire reached the bridge, the deck, which was wood, went up in smoke...leaving nought, as you'll see, but the cables.

When Brint heard I needed water he invited me to his shop where I got to see his other vehicles: a 1973 Land Rover that looked as if it'd just come in from an episode of Marlin Perkins' Wild Kingdom 

and a 1968 VW camper bus with its original wood paneling still gleaming under a fine coat of dust. He also has a '60s model Baja Bug with the full sunroof that extends back to the rear seats. All were in road-ready condition and only in need of fuel and a battery to be on their way.

He said he'd started at the Porsche dealership after high-school and had been factory trained. He owned his own business for many years and since retiring does some work now and then for friends. But he said he'd be happy to recommend someone if you're in need. His shop, Sandstone Garage, is at 1238 S. Hwy 191, Moab. Phone: 801-259-8516.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Yampa Bench Road - Dinosaur National Monument

Yampa Bench Road, also known as County Road 14N, continues the experience of being indescribable (see prev post). 

That said...

There's one wet spot near the Echo Park junction that looks much worse than it is; the sides are soft but the middle is rock solid. That, of course, was determined after careful assessment. (I once spent an afternoon extricating us from a creek that LiED to me about its passability. Fortunately, it was a nice day and we had no other commitments.)

Unbeknownst, Nadja & Bruno (link to their photos) were documenting my risk-analysis. 

And though speed was unnecessary, the windshield splatters leant drama to the moment.

Photo Courtesy of Nadja Krebs - Bern, Switzerland

Bruno took the video while Nadja captured stills from their vehicle. (The date on the vid is incorrect. I left it that way as proof of something.

It's 42 miles from the junction of the Echo Park turnoff to Elk Springs, Colorado, with 15% grades on the switchbacks, some ruts and an occasional large rock. Top speed is 15mph. The views of the Yampa River from the overlooks are (lest you arrived with lingering skepticism) worth it.

LAND spreddin' out far & wide!! 

The switchbacks are steep and tight. Perhaps, as you began the descent to Echo Park, you noticed the cautionary note about trailers over 25 feet.

I got water at Echo Park Campground before setting out. The first day a young woman in a Jeep stopped to discuss the location of the trails. Later, in the afternoon, a guy went by going the other way.

Still Life with Sunglasses

The day after -- 9/23/15 -- was busy....four cars. The 3rd day, which included the 15 miles from the Monument Boundary to Elk Springs, I had it to myself. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Echo Park - Dinosaur Nat'l Monument

This is Canyon Country non-pareil....words don't exist to describe it. Suffice to say there's water (during the summer) at Echo Park C.G.

Somewhere not far from the Yampa's convergence with the Green. (I'm a Buster Keaton fan and when asked of my whereabouts frequently have to answer, "Damfino.")

Rafts landing.

Now you can see...

A short vid of river reflections. 
The kind of thing that makes bein' out there diff from bein' in town.

The old Chew place. Homesteaded in the late 1800s...

The Chew's RV (aluminum siding was de rigueur in the mid-1800s)...

A lite cleaning and it'd be ready to go... 

Somebody coulda been killed!!!!!

After fording...sorta like post-coital, but diff.   ; - )

Thursday, September 17, 2015


It's the web, right? So it was only a couple of taps from the Washington State International Kite Fest to landsailing in New Mexico (THIS vid is in Wyoming.) 

I emailed to ask about building plans and was surprised to be invited to try one out in SW Wyoming. 

Waiting to Go

The design is the result of over fifteen years of testing. They're built to withstand the challenges of difficult terrain and the abuse of newbies such as myself. Contact Rick Hypes at for more info.

Jim & Dave


They also had a very cool firepit made from the tub of a washing machine. It breathes better than the National Forest fire rings, is deep enough to contain sparks and leaves no trace.