letters, opinions, editorials
re: Blades’ Bistro
Over the last fifteen years, I have dined at the Range in Bernalillo hundreds of times.
I have eaten dozens of breakfast burritos at the A&E (formerly the Piñon) in Homestead Village.
For two years, the life span of the lively and eclectic Lunatique restaurant in Homestead Village, the people of Placitas gathered and soaked up the camaraderie of what felt to me like a true neighborhood establishment. In that same space, McColes Pub gave it a go and failed.
Now we have Blades Bistro, an artful room and bar featuring exquisite, memorable entrees by master chef Kevin Bladergroen. Blades is new, in its second month. This is the place to go to treat yourself and friends to the best. This is destination dining. I have eaten there three times so far and the food and drink is four stars out of four.
I suggest that we, the people of Placitas, step up and help make Blades a success. Placitas needs a nighttime gathering spot. Warm weather means that the patio will soon be open. We have the Range—consistent, quirky, and deeply satisfying. We had, and we lost, the performance art that was Lunatique. Thanks to Kevin, Anya, Michael, and the staff at Blades, Placitas has been given another chance.
—Greg Leichner, Placitas
re: Representative Kathy McCoy
On behalf of the board members of the Placitas Community Library, I would like to offer a resounding “thank you” to Representative Kathy McCoy.
Representative McCoy has shepherded library causes at the state legislature for several years. She and her staff have been exceedingly helpful, responsive, and strong advocates for the library. Their efforts were major contributors to resolving funding and approval issues, and made possible this exciting moment as construction begins.
The amazing thing about Kathy is that she patiently takes on a considerable depth of involvement in the issues and fully embraces this approach as her job, which is a refreshing perspective. We are fortunate to be served by such a fine legislator in Placitas.
—Wendy Aman, President, Placitas Community Library Board
re: name that creature!
Dear Friends Back East:
I appreciated your recent letters describing the emergence of spring in your respective asphalt jungles, marked by a glorious increase in pigeon movements and a welcome disappearance of yellow snow from the alleys.
Nice things are happening here as well, including heightened activity among the beasts of the field and the warblers of the air. For example, my neighbor Craig has already received a visit from mighty Lochinvar—the knightly, king-sized bull snake that routinely makes his presence known during the gentle months until it’s time to once again go to ground. His name, of course, is borrowed from Sir Walter Scott’s poetic young knight. This sizable reptile has apparently grown accustomed to having Craig pick him up and point his head down packrat holes, and he now actively solicits this service.
Perhaps you’ve noticed our tendency to give proper names to our neighborhood critters, the noble Lochinvar being one example. Names are bestowed based on factors such as frequency of appearance, size, peculiarities, appeal, friendliness, the ability to elicit fear, and the like. When named, they automatically gain a certain celebrity status and have their sightings reported.
Another example is an earless cottontail rabbit named Rudy who, along with other members of the genus Sylvilagus, plies a daily route between the feeding stations offered by my neighbor and me. Rudy is, of course, short for Rudolph, as in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, who suffered his own physical abnormality and, sadly, was shunned by his peers when time to play reindeer games and doubtlessly in other more personal activities. Rudy has only little knobs for ears and is clearly looked upon with suspicion by his fellow cottontails. (Cottontail rabbits, like humans, can sometimes suffer from a fear of “otherness.”)
Craig has reported finding a tiny rabbit huddled beneath his woodpile—a softball-sized ball of fur with very poor prospects. In the course of giving this little beast a fighting chance at survival, he has named the bunny “Bugs,” after the universally famous thespian from Looney Tunes. He is also receiving visits from an extraordinarily large gray squirrel he has quite sensibly named Andre, after the late wrestler and actor of enormous size, known as Andre the Giant.
Then there’s the nocturnal bobcat who climbs the back fence and pees on my patio door every couple of weeks, claiming our fine cat Patrick’s territory and driving him to paranoid distraction. I decided he should also have proper recognition and purchased the Book of Names from Amazon.com. After days of debate and indecision, I have decided on “Robert” or Bob for short for this invasive feline.
So come out for a visit to the Land of Enchantment. I happen to know that some of you could use an alias.
—Your Friend Herb, Placitas, New Mexico
re: thank you for the generous donations
I want to extend a “thank you” for all of the support that has come from the wonderful Placitas community.
The fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training has been so successful, thanks to all of you. So far I have raised $2000. I am 26.2 miles and $500 away from my goal.
This experience has made me feel so fortunate to have the Placitas community as my home and family. Knowing that I have my family and friends behind me every step of the way will get me through the miles on race day. If you are interested in donating to this very worthy cause, you can visit my web site at http://pages.teamintraining.org/los/rnr09/bramsay.
I will be running the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon on May 31, 2009. It has been such a great experience, from the miles I have put in to the friends I have made. On race day, I’m sure the challenge will be great and 26.2 miles will be tough, but I have confidence that I am up to the challenge. Again, thank you to all who have supported me in this effort. It is greatly appreciated!
—Blaire Ramsay, Placitas
re: searching for Heart and Psyche
I am a healer and divining seer, and I plan to live my dreams of healing the world through my travels and multi-faceted business, World Healing. A few years ago, just as I was about to take flight in my career, many crises hit my life, causing me to lose things dear to my heart and straining my psyche. I believe in miracles and with openness, I am waiting for a string of miracles to take place on planet Earth. Often I find that common assumptions by the collective society can also be an illusion, which can be broken through by setting examples and transforming our experience.
I moved to New Mexico from the Bay Area a couple years ago, ready to rebuild my life. I got six chickens soon after moving to Placitas, to recoup from a whirlwind of trauma with some adorable animals that are known worldwide for their specialty with divination and eliminating evil. I named them all according to the seven chakras, with myself being the second chakra, considering myself their physical world relationship. They have told me a great deal about hidden dynamics of life.
One day a tragedy struck. A giant wild cat came to my house and stole Heart and Psyche. Although no one could believe that my chickens could have lived through such a trauma, I have had countless dreams and messages from Existence that they are still alive, regardless of appearances. I have no doubt they were being protected by spirits throughout the incident. The evidence of their attack site showed a likelihood of escape, with no clues to conclude fatality. Both chickens had a trail of feathers into a mass of trees in a canyon that grew thick and downward, acting as a strainer allowing the chickens through, but blocking the large cat from being able to pass through to the other side. There was also a big clump of coyote flesh stuck in one of the trees, bringing the trickster into play.
I have exhausted my resources searching for them, but wanted to publish an article as a last resort in the hopes that someone has some information about my chickens, which went missing over a year ago, in late September 2007. They were on the North side of the Village of Placitas, one fully black and a regular-looking chicken (Heart) and the other black with a white funny hairdo typical of Polish chickens (Psyche).
As a source of divination, unfortunately I designated my chickens the assignment to spiritually represent the state of the world. Although the heart and psyche of Earth appear to have gone out of view, I believe they are on the periphery, waiting to return to the our wholeness of Existence. My dreams of them returning in a mode of major transformation show Psyche did some professional business changes in our culture, and Heart has shown the wounds are in the end extremely superficial, missing only the feathers over her heart, growing back in no time after her return.
In real life, the cat showed itself to me the next day, framed by nature and staring into my eyes for several minutes like a mystical dream. Its eyes glared at me appearing evil, but it was also afraid of me, inexperienced and unthreatening. With a single hop over a four foot fence, it disappeared into the canyon.
Since that day, my other chickens cried for weeks, considering they were so intimately a part of Heart and Psyche, they partially died themselves with our loss. The behavioral habits that they learned from Heart and Psyche were never exhibited again. I happened to be closest with Heart and Psyche because they were always the most social with me. Since losing them, I have had the opportunity to become much closer and bond with the other four, who have come up with their own cute mannerisms, such as squatting and sticking their wings out so I will pick them up! I see how this could have been beneficial for the whole by allowing me to get to know the others so much more intimately; however, we are still waiting and wishing to get Heart and Psyche back so we can fulfill our dreams together!
There are many symbolic messages for me about this situation in regards to the world. Bad things happen to good people because the society is in a state of imbalance, not because it is deserved. Boundaries are not being acknowledged, and until we have the knowledge of what is in the external world, we must protect ourselves from what threatens us, acknowledging ourselves as vulnerable. Although I hear many people feeling negative about the state of the world with the Sixth Extinction underway, and with the heartbreaking chaos that exists in the global society, we can still work our hardest to find that tiny window that leads to a whole new world of perfection, shifting what seems to be an impossible situation into one that flourishes with happiness, bliss, and beauty.
I know that unexpected miracles can happen regularly once you tap into a realm of the spiritual reality that produces them, as I have found with my healing work relating to others. I believe this can be applied to the rest of life, social relations, cultural changes, nature’s interconnectivity, and everything else revolving around the sun. It is important, regardless of collective thinking, that we remain skeptical and not make any assumptions, continuing to explore our world around us until we have found our answers one way or another.
If anyone knows anything about a normal-looking black chicken (Heart) or a Polish black chicken with a white head (Psyche), missing since September 2007, please contact Erika (aka Ocean Moon) at 771-3729.
Calling Hollywood to run the West
—Ray Ring, Writers on the Range
Macho Hollywood actor Val Kilmer has starred in more than forty movies, often playing tough cops and Western gunfighters. He’s probably best known for playing the 1995 Batman and punching out a villain called The Riddler. Now Kilmer wants to become a political hero by running for the governorship of New Mexico.
Don’t laugh too hard. Kilmer lives in New Mexico at least part-time, and the license plates say it’s the Land of Enchantment.
And the West has a tradition of Hollywood actors taking leading roles in real life. The most macho movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, plays the governor of California. That role was previously defined by a mediocre actor, Ronald Reagan, who got such great reviews that he ended up starring in the White House.
Kilmer says he may run in 2010, and if he does, he says, he’s confident he’d win the election. He tells the Associated Press (AP), “I’m just looking for ways to be contributive.” That indicates he needs a screenwriter to help with his dialogue. The AP adds, “Kilmer said… it wouldn’t have to be a conventional campaign.”
No kidding. And Kilmer could play the role like a New Mexico Batman, moving the governor’s office into Carlsbad Caverns, and tricking out the governor’s limo to be like the Batmobile. He could roar out of his Batcave lair to battle New Mexico’s villains, which include (in action-movie lingo) the Evil Legion of Chronic Poverty, the Joker of Heroin, and Droughtwoman.
Maybe it should be a trend, because other Western states have huge problems that need heroes on the scale of the big screen. Anyway, it’s a fun game, imagining which actor fits where.
Montana? How about Governor Wolverine, the snarling X-Men mutant superhero played by Hugh Jackman? (I know, he’s from Australia, but still…) He could use his titanium claws to defend the Last Best Place from the Coal Developer Hordes—invaders from a parallel universe where there is no global warming.
Wyoming’s next governor? Clint Eastwood, obviously. The former gung-ho Hollywood cowboy has matured into making movies that reflect on the negatives of the mythology. He could lead the Cowboy State into the twenty-first century.
Tina Fey could simply take over Alaska, doing her dead-on imitation of Governor Sarah Palin. But I think Fey would be even more effective in Idaho. Palin herself graduated from the University of Idaho in 1987 and remains popular in the state. Governor Fey would unify Idaho Democrats (who get the joke) with Idaho Republicans who don’t.
Governor Robert DeNiro would lead Nevada with a perfect wink and a wry grin, drawing from his many performances as a likeable rogue. He’s already played a casino operator and a prizefighter and somewhat ethical mobsters—ideal experience for the state.
Oregon, the counterculture state, could be led by a team: Cheech and Chong as governor and lieutenant governor. Comic actors Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong would liven up press conferences with their bong-smoker routines, appealing to all generations of muddleheads. Like wow, man, better do something to save the salmon, you know?
Utah, the Mormon state, needs spiritual political leadership, How about Governor Ben Kingsley, stretching his Oscar-winning performance as Gandhi? Possible alternate: Utah Governor Madonna, just to hear it said out loud.
Colorado, the self-consciously sophisticated, tightly muscled state, would have good symbolic leadership with “Governor Bond—James Bond,” played by Daniel Craig, the latest actor in that superhero role. Bond movies feature many skiing action scenes, so the governor could count on support from that industry.
Governor Juan Valdez—meaning any of the actors who’ve played the fatherly coffee growers in that fifty-year series of TV ads—would be good for Washington. He’d appeal to Seattle’s coffee-drinking crowd and the hometown global company, Starbucks, and would know what’s important to his constituents (trade policies).
Arizona, a state with primitive politics, including a legislature that doesn’t believe in global warming, deserves to be led by a cartoon character, Governor Homer Simpson. (Homer already works in a nuclear plant that resembles Arizona’s Palo Verde plant.)
California has the greatest problems—billions in the red, all systems breaking down, political gridlock. Governor Schwarzenegger has tried to loosen up the entrenched interests by knocking heads together. When his second term ends in early 2011, California will need an even bigger Hollywood head-knocker. How about a giant chest-pounder, Governor King Kong? On second thought, maybe only a vampire could get people to work together in California.
Ray Ring is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News (hcn.org). He is the magazine’s senior editor in Bozeman, Montana.