Archive for July, 2010

Crank It, Baby!

by John Weckerle

Just a little over a month ago we published an article written by Margarita Mercure Hibbs on the subject of cancer and the upcoming Estancia Valley Relay for Life.  This is a cause that your editor and his business have supported in the past, and will continue to support in the future.

Rather surprisingly, we got a nasty response from somebody who signed on as “Abe” and made some particularly inflammatory statements.  Our response was to inform Ms. Hibbs immediately – and to essentially accuse Abe of not being who he said he was and challenge him to back his allegations up.  We thought our response was, frankly, more snide than any response that has ever come out of this operation.   Even with a guarantee of anonymity, Abe was unAble (or unwilling) to respond.  Armed with what information we had on Abe, we we did a little digging, but did not obtain anything that would be worth publishing.   Ms. Hibbs did a very good job in putting the intrepid Abester in his place, and we agreed with everything Ms. Hibbs said.  Now, we want to be clear: having essentially come to the conclusion on the basis of our perfunctory investigation and Abe’s writing style that Abe was nothing more than a crank – and having essentially called him a liar and issued a clear taunt on the opportunity to elaborate anonymously – we considered the matter closed.  We have had some communication to the effect that there are those who do not consider it so, and that we should have taken the matter further. With nothing to follow up on, and with Abe’s nonsense definitively refuted, there seemed – and still seems – that there was little left to do.

We can see how people would be angry about what Abe had to say.  Toning down our own response frankly took a heck of a lot of doing.  We try, but do not always entirely succeed, to avoid too much angry expression here.  We try to be at least a little courteous to those with whom we disagree – and we do tend to write off those who just rant without any logical argument.  We have done that in Abe’s case, and would like to suggest that we all stop giving him the attention he was seeking.

Weather Is As Weather Does

by John Weckerle

New Mexico Central headquarters finally got a good bit of rain this afternoon – anywhere from 0.2 to almost 0.5 inches, depending on which rain gauge we believe (we’re inclined to believe the latter, being skeptical about the ability of a gauge to catch more rain than has actually fallen).  For the second time this week, we were treated to a unique sight – not only a double rainbow (look closely), but a full primary arc.  We’re not sure about the “double,” as it was too big for the camera.  And we’re glad we decided to leave those sunflowers in the driveway…

Got Yogurt?

by John Weckerle

Vegetarian and looking for some good-tasting, non-fat or lowfat yogurt? These days, it seems a difficult task; for some reason, the people at the mega-corporations that produce Dannon, Yoplait, and other widely available brands feel compelled to take a perfectly good substance like yogurt and add gelatin to it, effectively placing it off-limits to non-meat eaters and those whose whose religious beliefs prohibit mixing meat products with dairy.  We have, however, identified a few products that might be of interest to those who don’t want gelatin in their snacks.

Top of the list is the Chobani Non-fat Greek Yogurt 12-pack currently available at Costco in Albuquerque, a collection of three fruit-in-the-bottom flavors – blueberry, peach, and strawberry – all of which are extremely tasty.  Greek yogurt tends to be thicker and creamier than other types. It also has the advantage of having about twice the protein of other, more common styles, making it a great dietary choice for those who take a pass on other sources of protein.

Breyers has a series of fruit-flavored yogurts with a little serving of granola in a separate compartment on the top.  This is a nifty little presentation, and of course the granola is optional; you can always save a few of them up for later.  We have only seen this one in Walmart (Smith’s does not carry any vegetarian-friendly snack-size yogurts that we know of). The yogurt itself is tasty and has a good consistency.

Sunflower Markets in Albuquerque carry several brands of vegetarian-edible yogurt.  We’ve recently been visiting Sunflower occasionally and have found them to be a very good and very reasonable source of things like the yogurt as well as proteins, cheeses, and various dry goods that are not always available in more conventional stores.

All things considered, though, we consider the Chobani yogurt to be the front-runner in the vegetarian yogurt race, and encourage everybody to give it a try.

Grow Your Own – Nothing Quiet On The Western Front

by John Weckerle

It’s been some time since we’ve posted anything on the topic of garnering one’s own food from a few small boxes west of the house, so this morning we have a few photos and some updates on the progress.

Bed 1 - Lettuce, kale, chard, green peppers, sage, oregano, and thyme

»» Grow Your Own – Nothing Quiet On The Western Front

Celtic Festival Coming To Tijeras

by John Weckerle

The folks at Just Imagine Gallery have informed us that there will be a Celtic Festival at the Tijeras Arts Market on July 31 and August 1.  Entertainment will include JUBALation (a band that has appeared at the Wildlife West Music Festival), Gerry Muisener, Dan McDermott, Eagle’s Whistle, and the McTeggart Step Dancers.  For more information, see the Tijeras Arts Market events page.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

by John Weckerle

It is perhaps an ultimate expression of Murphy’s Law  that we were putting the finishing touches on a long article on people playing the racism card when the Shirley Sherrod story broke.  That article will have to wait for now, as the current issue seems more pressing, and perhaps drives home a point we were trying to make in that article far better than we could have hoped.

Ms. Sherrod was subjected to national humiliation and loss of her job after administration officials viewed a video on, published by Andrew Breitbart.  That video purportedly showed that Ms. Sherrod, an African American speaking at a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) event, not only was a racist, but actually discriminated against white people in the course of performing her work for the United States Department of Agriculture.  It turns out that the video was heavily edited and that the original speech was essentially the opposite of what was being portrayed.  No surprise, there; it was, after all, Andrew Breitbart, and we’ve debunked him here before on the issue of phony claims associated with Senator Robert Byrd (here and here). In an interview with CNN, Mr. Breitbart angrily defended his actions stating that they were in response to the NAACP’s accusations that the “Tea Party” was tolerant of racism at its rallies.

As with the Byrd situation, conservative bloggers nationwide, including our friends at, immediately and in some cases gleefully relayed the story, with embedded video “proof” that the NAACP was racist because one of its members made racist comments at one of their events.  (The irony is hard to miss; the NAACP is racist because somebody made a “racist” speech at one of their functions, but it is outrageous to suggest that the “Tea Party” is racist because a number of their rallies have included people waving signs with racist overtones and some highly-visible organizers have made bigoted comments.)  This has become a common tactic over the last several years – somebody makes an accusation of one inappropriate behavior or other, and the response is to accuse that party of the same behavior.  Seldom does the response deal with the substance of the original accusation.  It is, to most of us, rather transparent and more than a little childish – the phrase “I know you are, but what am I?” comes to mind – but there is a certain percentage of the population that seems to buy into this approach.  I, myself, have been publicly denounced as a racist for criticizing Mr. Breitbart’s position that African American congressmen walking through a white crowd was race-baiting.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m accused of it again in response to this article. Regardless, we’ve taken issue with Mr. Breitbart’s distorted reporting in the past, and we hope that this incident will be a wake-up call to those who have been happily consuming and passing on the dreck that comes out of his mouth, or keyboard, as the case may be. But that is not what this article is about. »» The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Them Are Coming

by John Weckerle

Today was a day of great activity – yard work, errands, grocery shopping, harvesting (well, just one zucchini today), cooking wyngette stew for dinner…  It was an up-with-the-sun-and-get-to-it kind of day, and one that brought some insight into life and how it works.

During the errands, I found myself headed down an aisle in one of the Edgewood grocery stores, and almost ran into one of our local citizens.  This is a person with whom I have at times disagreed, here and elsewhere, but with whom I have always had a congenial relationship.  At least, so I thought.  I greeted him with a friendly “Hey, <insert name here>, how’s it going?” and was surprised when he simply looked away, grunted, “Hey,” and pushed his cart very pointedly past and off into the middle distance – and ultimately into the rest of it.  It took a second for me to process the situation and realize: to him, I have apparently become one of Them.

Now, the subject of Them is of particular interest to me at this time for a number of reasons.  I recently listened to a recording of an old radio show from the 1960s, one of the many nightly broadcasts of an author and commentator by the name of Jean Shepherd.  Shep, as he was known to his fans, was the author of (among other works) a book titled In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash (the movie A Christmas Story, narrated by the author, is based on part of this book).  In this particular recording, Shepherd (who never really discussed politics, but commented on life in general) expounds upon a syndrome we see throughout history – as he puts it (more or less), the belief that all the bad things in the world come from somebody else’s  rottenness, or stupidity, and if we could just get rid of Them, everything would be wonderful – “Peace and beauty, through us.” »» Them Are Coming