Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Laughingly & Lovingly Taos Stories Part 1

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." re: George Santayana

It is with this quote in mind that I have posted these stories in 4 parts. We should learn from the lessons that history has to teach us, even when our history is quite silly. Hopefully they will make you chuckle as I have upon reading them. Although I have tried to organize them in an arrangement that will enhance and delight the reader, they are quite random. As with all stories, some of it is true. I thank you for your input and for reading.

 The next few blog stories are that of the writings of Spud Johnson for his publications of the 20’s & 30’s “The Horse Fly” & “The Laughing Horse” mixed into the lot are my own versions of similar tales. All are typical of the type of very DRY humour that Taos tends to be known for.

This reporter is pleased to report that he is still 'alive & kicking' after quite a turn of events.

The Sisters at Holy Cross Hospital bought a case of beer the other day, and that sounds like a party, doesn’t it?

Cynical Taos Poet Commits Suicide
Ramon Zarro, cynical & secretive Taos Poet, attempted suicide several times this week, according to an anonymous communication received by the Horse Fly this morning. The unsigned letter states that he “took arsenic on Tuesday, strychnine on Wednesday, cyanide on Thursday, & cut his throat with a razor Friday night." He is not expected to live, although, as a student of Emil Bisttram’s occultism, he may be reincarnated.
Efforts to check this amazing report have provided fruitless, although his few intimate friends admit that they have not seen him since Monday.
On the editorial page is printed what may be his last poem, a characteristic composition, which seems to indicate that his tragic act was the result of an unfortunate love-affair with a ‘lady poet’.

The Distaff Side of the Taos Art Colony
Helen Blumenschein is the only female artist in Taos who shoots band-tailed pigeons, a species which will soon be as extinct as the passenger pigeon unless the Federal Government restricts the venal commercialism of various State Fish & Game Commissions.
Elea Nora Kissel is the only female artist in town who shoots snow-birds and song sparrows for bird pie. Incidentally she is going to be a ‘sandwich man’ during fiesta. Watch for her.
Dorothy Brett is the only female artist in town (or out) who shoots pool: but her keepers won’t let her do it often.
Gentle Ila McAfee eats raw meat. Her husband Elmer Turner, complains she even has cannibalistic tendencies and has been known to gnaw on freshly killed Texans.
Marina Dasburg shoots New-Dealers or else scares ‘em to death. She wears the largest Wilkie button in captivity.

Of Man, Love is a thing apart from Life. It is a Woman’s Whole Existence. G. Bauman





The town of Taos will soon be rolling out the red carpet for the return of the quite “remarkable” Nancy Neva Gagliano. She will be an honored guest in residence at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house.


Taos School of Art to Embrace Dancing
E.J. Bisttram, Director of the Taos School of Art, has announced that next year the school will have classes in modern dancing; and that plans are afoot to later include music as well.
Mrs. Leon Bauman, formerly with the Martha Graham School of Dance, who has been teaching at the University of Kansas for the past year or two, will be in charge of the classes in dancing here next summer; and there is a possibility that Jose Limon may also be associated with the school as an instructor.
Mrs. Bauman and her twin sister, Miss Elizabeth Sherbon, who is still a member of the Martha Graham group, have been in Taos for several weeks, and before leaving for the east, they gave an interesting demonstration of their methods before a group of students in the Bisttram studio.

Artists evicted from Eve’s Garden
Mrs. Eve Young Hunter is reported to have shooed the entire U. of N.M. Art Class off of her premises the other day, with fire in her eye and pepper on her tongue. Instructor Loren Mozley refused to comment on the incident, except to remark bitterly that “Mr. Bisttram’s class of abstractionists has not yet been guilty of trespassing, as no one, so far, has homesteaded the infinite.

Pansy Stockton, who makes pictures out of ‘things’ instead of paint, has taken a studio at the Abbot’s for a short stay. Several examples of her work are on display in Plaza Shops.

One Legged man seen in Taos
Will anyone please identify the man spotted walking on crutches through Kit Carson Park last Saturday evening around sunset.

And speaking of the Hospital, John Dunn is said to have left it last week in a huff – but not in his clothes!

Blonde Nudist at Large Naked man Parades Ledoux
A naked night prowler has been reported by various residents on Ledoux Street within the past week. Not even those who have seen him, know WHO he is, for they’ve never had anything but the merest fleeting glimpse; and not even those who have heard of him, have any idea WHY, because no senoritas have been ‘accosted’ or ‘attacked’. And as for WHEN, that’s another mystery, as he doesn’t seem to have any regular hours at all. He just pops up now and then, naked as a snake.
“I saw him night before last,” or “He was out quite late on Tuesday,” is about the extent of the information so far reported; although one woman declares positively that he has fair curly hair.
The Police request an immediate and complete report, next time anybody sees this wanton fellow. Help Keep Taos Pure!

Taos Council approves Oil Lamps as Street Lights
Nude Prowler Spurs Officials into Action
To avoid the prohibitive cost of expensive electric equipment and current, yet to provide much-needed illumination, the Village council is now planning installation of oil lamps as street-lights.
The argument at the last council meeting was brief. Taos streets are dark and rough, quite often full of mud-holes; a nude man terrorized our women-folk only last week; Taos electricity is expensive; and Taos Village is poor. Ergo: Kerosene.
The plan is to have attractive lanterns designed by local artists, executed by local tin and black-smiths, then donated by our more affluent citizens or clubs as memorials. Thus, a ‘Dr. Martin Light’ at the corner of Bent & Pueblo; a ‘Dunton Lantern’ in the Loma Plaza, et cetera.
This should not only solve the Town’s double problem of illumination with economy; but will certainly be unique and, if well done, most attractive as well.
We’re for it!

“Nude Prowler” returns but refuses to prowl!
It’s true, he’s back in town again, that man who stalked Ledoux Street, stark naked, last July. But this year he absolutely refuses to ‘Prowl’, nude or otherwise. Can you imagine that! Just when we needed a good front page story. And what do you suppose he gives as an excuse? He just repeats, over and over helplessly: “You don’t understand; I’m married now!” However, we did manage to persuade him to pose for his picture; and we are pleased that our staff photographer has this year managed to catch him just a wee bit nuder than he did last summer. Somehow it makes our account more authentic.
There is a rumour around the Plaza to the effect that the entertainment committee of the Lion’s Club is attempting to persuade the now infamous nude prowler to appear as a fan dancer at their annual baile this evening out at the Sagebrush Inn; but when questioned on the subject by our society reporter, he stubbornly insisted: “I tell you I ain’t prowlin’ no more: I’m a married man and my wife don’t like it.” Meantime Turk Griffith, State Policeman stationed here, has announced with considerable impunity that if the Lions attempt to pull any such stunt, he will not hesitate a moment before not only stopping the performance, but arresting the ‘nude prowler’ on the spot!

Nude Prowler
Of Ledoux Street struts his stuff; ‘Civic Virtue’ Comes to Town – in the Flesh! That might have been our headline, complete with illustration, for the performance on Wednesday night at the Bisttram Studio of famed artist-model Nelson Bennett.
But we decided he didn’t deserve it!

Animals
Leon Gaspard says he has a lamb out at his place that got kicked by a horse, then had a fever, and then went stark naked on them. So his wife made the poor little thing a suit of red flannel pajamas, which it is now wearing to the delight of everyone – except the Gaspard bull, which is in a dither over it.

Cady Wells was a Taos visitor Thursday, on Heptagon business.

Socialites Chased by Big Black Bear
Four attractive & popular young women of Taos report that they were chased by a bear up in the mountings the other day while out hunting for a proper-sized hill – that is, two of them saw the tracks and two of them heard him roar (or was it only a grunt?) The names of the four young ladies were: Bert, Dot, Mim & Dor.
And what do you suppose they did?
1.   Ran? 2. Screamed? 3. Went for help? 4. Climbed trees?
5. Shot the Brute? 6. Talked an arm off of him?
Check the right answer and receive a cellophane-wrapped ski-kit-pack containing real bear-skin ear-muffs as a prize.

From Coast to Coast and across the sea
And, by the way, it may interest you to know, particularly if you are an advertiser, that our subscribers are scattered through twenty three-states of the Union and in Canada, France, England & Denmark. This, we admit, will not help our advertisers to sell a pot at .98 cents, or a hat at $3.76, or a used car at $250: but 
IT SELLS TAOS EVERY WEEK TO THE WORLD!
My sincere apologies for the "amp" after each "&" symbol, it seems to be impossible to delete!

Laughingly & Lovingly Taos Stories Part 2

Woman Shoots Self
Una Jeffers wife of Robinson Jeffers accidentally shot herself in the side July 9, 1938. While cleaning a .38 caliber pistol in her room at the home of Mabel Dodge Luhan where she and her husband have been guests for the past month.
She was rushed to the Holy Cross Hospital immediately and is still receiving medical care there although apparently out of danger except from possible infection.
Mr, & Mrs. Jeffers & their twin sons were planning to do some target practice in the hills back of the Luhan house and Mrs. Jeffers was cleaning the ‘empty’ gun when the accident occurred.

Accident victim to leave hospital July 16, 1938
Mrs. Robinson Jeffers, who has been under treatment at the Holy Cross Hospital all week as a result of a gun-shot wound in her left side, self inflicted while cleaning a pistol last Saturday night, is reported much improved. She expects to leave the hospital tomorrow.

Ernest Knee was in town for a few hours on Thursday.

Mrs. Mabel Dodge Luhan, taking a tip from a lad named Tom Sawyer, expert white-washer, has ‘entertained’ every afternoon for the past week with ‘corn-husking-bees’ in the field between the Big House and the cottages.
It has been a pretty site: the circles of gaily-garbed artists & writers, Indians & Spanish folk, sitting on the ground among the yellow stalks, stripping the colored corn…

‘Art Doesn’t Pay!’ Poor Hubby Cries, As Wifey’s Picture Blacks Both Eyes!
“I suppose I’ll have to let my wife go on painting pictures,” said Skeezix Rodriguez ruefully on Monday morning, “but after this, I’ll hang them!
At Four o’clock that morning, he had been awakened by a terrific blow on his left temple, which simultaneously knocked him out cold for several minutes. When he came to, he was covered in glass and blood, laid out in a picture frame, and covered with a winding sheet consisting of a huge watercolor painting. “It’s the result of this devilish spring house cleaning!” he groaned, as the doctor sewed him up.
Serious as the accident was within a quarter inch of his eye – it promises to become the classic Taos excuse for a shiner: “Well, you see, my wife hung a picture right over the bed; and darned if it didn’t fall down in the middle of the night & hit me square in the eye!”

Wife Beater Gets Long Year’s Rest
Only crime of the week in this vicinity, was that of Samuel Romero from Penasco. He beat his wife.
Arraigned before District Court, and asked why he did it, Romero explained simply, that he had to do it because his wife wouldn’t mind him.
Judge Taylor understood perfectly and gave the wife-beater a one-to-two year vacation in the State Penetentiary. Sheriff Malaquias Martinez escorted him there this afternoon.


One-Legged man WANTED by Taos Police
The Taos Police department have asked us to report that a leg was found in the cemetery in Kit Carson Park. The single limb was still wearing a pant leg of corduroy when it was found by 2 local youths in the park.

A night blooming cereus is blooming these nights at the Harwood Residence, according to Mrs. Cochran.

Or, beat the crowds and visit the night blooming cereus at the Sagebrush Hotel!

Dropped Gun Plugs Indian
Pete Martinez, Taos Indian, got a .22 bullet lodged in his right femur the other day, when an unexpected jack rabbit caused his horse to shy, and his rifle to fall from its holster and discharge when it hit the ground.
When the accident occurred, he was luckily accompanied by a friend who was able to get him to the hospital. The bullet was removed and Martinez is recovering.


In the Pen
It is with careful warning for your own safety that we wish to remind you that "The Foxes are guarding, the Hen house".

Week-End Visitors
“Sixty six Octane” Phillips & “Pawnee Bill” Lily, are the most notable visitors in Taos this weekend. Sagebrush Inn is entertaining Phillips, and Lily is staying at the Travelers Hotel as usual.

Mystery Canyon Suggests Weird & Horrid Rites to Lone Rider
Early Thursday morning, Westcott Burgess was riding alone in a blind canyon off Pot Creek, when he suddenly came upon five oddly disposed corpses which gave him a turn from which he has not yet recovered.
And yet the cadavers were nothing more startling than: 1. A White Hen with it’s feet tied securely together and wedged into the crotch of a tree. 2, 3, & 4. A Magpie, A Turkey, and A Black Crow, all intact and laid out carefully on the ground, not crumpled in a normal death position. 5. The decapitated head of a white horse, also intact, the body nowhere to be found in the vicinity. All of these mysterious corpses within a twenty foot circle, and the strange death canyon itself many miles from the nearest human habitation…
Witchcraft?? Black Magic?? Horrid, perverted, sacrificial rites?
Mere chance? Or What?
These are some of the questions Burgess is asking.
Can You Answer?

Old Crow
It was reported by many locals that a black bird flew into the window of the Harwood Foundation. There were conflicting reports as to the reason.

Bill McGregor has been a Taos visitor during the past few days.

Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Braun will return to Taos in May.

Clinton King is a Taos visitor this week-end, from Santa Fe.

Mr. & Mrs. A.B. King are here for their annual visit at Sagebrush Inn. Formerly of Savannah, GA., the kings are now moving to San Francisco, but may later settle in Taos.

Katy Skeele, Californian, is here again for a two month visit.

The Snyder's will return to Taos after the Presidential elections of November.

Pablo Martinez is in the jug, charged with drunkenness.

The Countess Virgilio Visits Taos Incognito
Countess Virgilio, American wife of once famous left-hand man of Benito Mussolini, was a visitor the past week, motoring here from Dallas with Mrs. Swaine & Mrs. W.W. Browning and family.

Red Flags of Warning June 3, 1939
Will someone please tell us where the new road in Ranchos de Taos; which of the previously discussed routes has been decided upon; or whether a brand new plan has been evolved for avoiding or spoiling or neighboring village?
A new set of red marker-flags has appeared between Sagebrush Inn & the Highway No. 3 turn-off, which seems to indicate, by amateur reckoning, that some fine morning soon, we’ll all wake up to find that the Ranchos Church has been demolished and that a broad and elegant military highway has been built straight across it’s ancient site, leaving behind only a newly painted board bearing the inscription: “Here lies the dust of the old Ranchos de Taos Mission, once upon a time the most beautiful building in the Valley, & one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial architecture in the state. Photographs of this famous structure at curio shops, & 533 paintings of it by 254 Taos artists, are permanently exhibited in the new wing of the Harwood Foundation.”

Mrs. Myra Kingsley, famed New York astrologress and horoscopist, was to have been the guest of Mrs. Mabel Dodge Luhan this week, but she got lost en route.

Ranchos Road
More bad luck: just as our last week’s editorial was beginning to work, and a group of artists were all set for the Fight To Save Ranchos, along comes the Highway Department & admits that they’ve already saved it. The Scoundrels!

Jimmy & Mary Valentine bought a house in Ranchos this week, and moved into it at once. Just like that.

That New Highway
Our new district highway engineer, Guy Mayes, escorted Mayor Muller of Taos, Mayor Gusdorf of Prado, & Mayor Johnson of Placita, on an official tour of inspection of the new $200,000. Highway between Pilar and Ranchos, early this week.
They report that with the exception of a few gaps, (a mere mountain here and a canyon there) the project is nearing completion, and will be open for traffic January 1, 1939.
Of course they returned crammed with lovely statistics, such as: “$100,000. Worth of equipment… 9 carloads of culverts… flumes large enough to drive a car through… no grade on the entire road more than 6 per cent… shortens the trip to Santa Fe a half hour.”
But in spite of this, they were able to observe the minor fact that the new highway is also beautiful; & that our precious thrill of the first glimpse of Taos Mountain, is not lost in the new approach, but is enhanced by an even broader, more magnificent stretch of landscape, which includes the great black gaping crack of the Rio Grande Canyon, gashing the tawny desert, and making a deeper, more dramatic contrast to the snowy heights of the Sangre de Cristo Peaks.

Moon Shine
This reporter asks that readers please be aware that Taos White Lightning is now being served in several local establishments. If any of our dear readers notice the serving of this local moon shine you are asked to please report which establishments are now serving this elicit elixir.

Recent Testimonial:
“That ‘inadequate’ sheet of yours has accomplished the impossible: it has made the weeks seem longer; it has made time fly by more slowly for me as I wait impatiently for each new arrival.” California Subscriber 

Meantime, life in the village went on much the same as ever…

Laughingly & Lovingly Taos Stories Part 3


Snow Friday AM Nips 3 day Spring in Bud
Nipping in the bud a 3-day promise of Spring, snow (and rain) fell on the just and the un – etc. In short: more Mud.

March came in like a lion; or at any rate it was snowing again along about midnight, Feb. 28.

News story complete with moral
A baby cyclone was a surprise visitor in town last Saturday. Precisely at noon, a column of dust 100 feet high and several feet in diameter, appeared out of the still hot sky, snapped two of the large glass bulbs atop the Conoco Gas Pumps, skipping the middle one in the row of three on the north side; then moved sedately across the street and shattered Bob Abbot’s front door before retreating suddenly into heaven.
No one was injured, but a lady tourist was struck in the back by a large piece of glass. She was delighted, and rushed up to her husband with shining eyes to tell him the glad news. It was the only thing that happened to her since leaving Oklahoma.
Now the point of this long dull story is that what this town needs most is a good, preferably permanent, at least five-foot CYCLONE.

Drought Broken - For 10 Minutes!
Several months of painful devastating drought was broken yesterday afternoon with a brisk shower. It lasted only about ten minutes, but the fact remains that it rained; and old timers say that more is sure to follow.

Mr. Monty Weekley, son of Mrs. D.H. Lawrence; and Mr. & Mrs. Henry Simon were the most distinguished visitors in town this week.

Crime
A little misunderstanding which, according to our reckoning, should have happened in February, occurred last week instead: At Ranchitos, Fares Martinez shot Telesfor Quintana in a boundary dispute involving the ownership of a certain tree. Quintana was wounded in the leg and is still in the hospital; Martinez has been released on bail.

Shot in the Dark Wounds Three
As a result of his front page editorial-sermon-warning (or whatever-it-was) last week, the editor received three letters in which each correspondent defended himself from charges that were definitely and purposefully unspecific. Apparently the shoe was Taos-size, and at least three people put it back on & wore it, even though it hurt.

Murder & Suicide at Lama Thursday
John d. Ortega shot first his daughter, Mrs. Orlando Padilla, 18 year old bride, & then shot himself, at LaLama near Questa, early Thursday morning, March 16, 1939.

Strange Death of Dorothy Shreeves to be Investigated by State Police
Dorothy Cummings Shreeves died at her home early Tuesday morning, presumably from exposure, undernourishment and alcoholism. Local authorities admit that her body was bruised, probably from a fall, but deny the implication that she had met with foul play, and emphatically condemn the sinister and persistent rumours which are prevalent, as to mysterious circumstances surrounding her death. However, it was learned here today that the State Police have been asked to make a thorough investigation.
Funeral services for Mrs. Shreeves were held Wednesday afternoon & Interment was made in Kit Carson Cemetery.

Park Yer Carcass
State Policeman Jim Allen yesterday requested some gypsies, up the canyon to please park off the highway. A few moments later, he learned that they had done so --- completely up-side down on a fence.

Huntley Chapin is here for a few days; his first visit in years.

Terrence Golden is home for the holidays.
So is Bud Sahd.

Two local amateur painters are planning to spend next summer studying & painting in Taos.

Dorothy Brett has moved up to her Mount Lobo retreat for the summer.

Nazi Aeroplane seen Near Taos
Bringing the European war scare surprisingly close to home, was the report of three local men early this week, who declared they had seen a German Junker flying south along the Rio Grande at dusk Sunday evening. The men were Irving Kronquist, Orville Shreeves, & Archie Medows. They said that through field-glasses they had plainly seen Swastikas on both wings of the plane. A report was made to the justice department.

Expensive Bat
Pat Romero, from the sawmill up Taos Canyon, was up before the Judge on Wednesday, on a charge of drunken driving. He was fined $100, but a 60-day jail sentence and the revocation of his driving license were suspended.

Conrad – Conrad – Conrad
Dorothy M. Conrad and Vern E. Conrad were re-married the other day, after having been divorced exactly a month.

Dawn Boy
A boy-baby was born to Ralph & Rowena Meyers early last Friday morning. They haven’t yet decided to name the child, although an Indian friend has christened it “Dawn Boy”.

Transportation
No one seemed to know exactly why, but no mail arrived in Taos Wednesday of this week, from either north, south, east or west. Maybe we were completely surrounded by lakes of mud and didn’t know it – or did we?

WARNING
This is just to let you know that as soon as the snow melts, we’re going to start in all over again on the tin can (trash) situation: a SPRING HOUSE CLEANING campaign!

Probably the most effective method for getting action, would be for Taos Artists to start a campaign to:
Save our picturesque dump; it brings tourists!

“There Ought to be a Law”
We have insisted solemnly that “there ought to be a law” concerning a thorough (tin can) clean-up and strict prevention in future of trash disposal at random over the entire landscape…etc., etc.

Missed Church whips up Visitor
A woman stormed into the Taos Police station demanding to know where the San Francisco Mission Church had been moved to. When told it was still located in the village of Ranchos de Taos she left to the station to see for herself.

In other news
There is a petition circulating that Taos is too Dark!

Also, there is a new town ordinance that all doors must be painted brown. The owners of homes with Blue doors will be fined by the local sheriff a fee of $3.00

Big Business
We are told that two business women were overheard, a day or so ago, discussing the February slump. One of them said that she had taken in but 10 cents during the day! But the other one capped even that record. “The only thing I sold today,” she said sadly, “Was one copy of that darn Horse Fly! (5 cents)”

$.10 Reward!
Frances Quarles has an exhibitionistic mouse which insists on disporting itself in her show-window and eating her rabbits’ feet. Traps and poison it scorns, so she is now offering a reward for its capture, dead or alive.

Pet Goat Found News of the missing pet goat has reached our office, we are told that a certain Mrs. Barton has indeed found the goat. It seems Mrs. Barton too has children that have now fallen in love with said goat. The Barton Family is offering the Saddlers the sum of $6. if they would be allowed to keep the pet.

Spring is Here !
Say the little white lambs (probably snow tomorrow)

Next Week: A nice fresh SCANDAL!

Laughingly & Lovingly Taos Stories Part 4


Did the Ground Hog See His Shadow on Thursday? Or Did he Get Discouraged? --- 
And if so What of it?
Solemn discussion as to whether Mr. Weather Deciding Ground Hog saw his shadow on February second, or whether he didn’t, has occupied local gossipers for two days, & the argument is still raging. Certainly the sun shone, for at least two minutes, early in the afternoon, and staff artist McAfee here calmly settles the matter by actually catching the elusive fellow in the very act of casting the famous shadow: but, gosh, he’s looking in the opposite direction! Maybe he didn’t see it after all…

APOLOGY
Gentle Reader: Please excuse headlines this week.

Business
Just as rotten, they say as usual.

Meantime, lingering clouds slowly crumble into snow, capping the Sacred Mountain.

WARNING! Mid-February is Dangerous!
February is notoriously the most treacherous month of the year in Taos. People seem, at this time, to become suddenly conscious that the winter has closed in on them in an oddly irrevocable way. Business is Bad, farm work is at a stand still, there’s nothing much to do, a horrible depression rears it’s ugly head, & Strange things happen.
Sometimes throats are cut (this gets into the papers, the hospitals & the penitentiary): sometimes families are broken up (this may never get out of the court house, but there it is just the same); and sometimes it’s simple, old-fashioned broken hearts (maybe nobody at all hears about this, but it may be the worst of all)…
This year, so far, nothing of the spectacular variety has occurred; but it’s interesting to notice that the usual preparatory rumbles are being heard. In a way, it’s like the ominous silence that’s said to presage n earthquake; and yet it isn’t a silence, although it may be quiet: it’s an insidious, ingrown gossipy, ugly tendency to mind-your-neighbor’s business instead of your own.
If you haven’t noticed, just cock your ears at a slightly different angle, and then get ready to shudder.
You can’t call this news; it may sound like a sermon; maybe it’s just February getting on the editor’s nerves: but what it’s intended to be, is a reflection of what’s going on in our town.
We hope our mirror has a flaw in it.


Rubber Baron
Our banker reminds all local businesses not to take checks written by Robin Barron.

Valentines: A complete line, comic, sentimental, gay or serious at any price!

First Snow Wednesday
For the benefit of our out-of-town subscribers, we must record that the first snow of the season fell briefly on Wednesday of this week. It melted almost at once; but today there is a definite threat of snow number two.

Skiing as Usual, However
In spite of warm weather and slushy snow, unflagging winter sports fans have skied as usual on Sunday & Wednesday.

Ski Groans of the Week
Miriam Bright: Sprained ankle
Margot Beutler: wrenched knee
Mak Ilfeld: Hang-over from malaria attack
Reno du Pasquier: Hang-over from malaria attack
Len Coyne: down in the mouth over the fact that he won only 3rd place in a fourth class race at Santa Fe last Sunday.

Reward: For Missing Goat. It is reported that Mrs. M. Saddler & her children Martha & Gary are offering a $5 reward for the safe return of their pet goat. The goat answers to the name Henry. He was last seen in the back of the family Pick-up truck at the local grocers, it seems the rope was too delicious for the pet to resist and he proceeded to eat it, until absently the rope came loose and off went the goat. Anyone finding the goat should be in contact with this paper.

Violence in two Bars Thursday Night Wrecks property & faces, 
doused light sends four men to jail and one to bed with a bullet wound in his head!
Silviano Trujillo is in a serious condition at his home in Ranchitos, suffering from a bullet wound over his left eye; Dave Sena, Elias Trujillo, Pete Pituzus, and “Sr. X.” are in the County Jail; and both the Don Fernando Tavern and the Ranchitos dance-hall & bar are considerably wrecked, as a result of drunken outbreaks in the two entertainment pavilions Thursday night.
At the Ranchitos Dance Hall, the lights were extinguished, either as a result, or for the purpose of violence; & it is not known whether Trujillo was shot accidentally or with criminal intent. However, a certain “Senor X.” is being held on suspicion. Attending physicians state that Trujillo’s wound may not be fatal.
The Don Fernando tavern brawl wrought less serious human wreckage, but glassware and other property was shattered, & the bar-tender, by-standers and several deputy sheriffs were involved in a series of stupendous battles which included a good many punches on a good many noses and jaws, before the recalcitrant lads were safely lodged in jail. They have refused to talk, except to give their names, & the doubtful information that they are “from Albuquerque”…
So much for Café Society.

Two Eye Witnesses Tell a tale of Woe
Two Bar-room incidents of the week, (or was it the same one?) recounted by eye-witnesses:
1.)  I was just walkin’ by. See? An’ here come these guys bustin’ outava door carryin’ another guy feet first, an’ fightin’ like nobody’s business. They didn’t seem to care a rap how they got ‘im out, so they darn near tore his pants off, right there in the street in broad daylight. One woman turned an’ walked away; another one craned ‘er neck. Before they got ‘im to the jail, they’d all fel in the gutter twice, see? But they finally got ‘im in there.
2.)  I don’t know what happened. I was just sitting there drinking a hot rum, & a fella came over and hit me. That was him, just went out of the office. I guess he don’t remember it. He didn’t mention it and I didn’t either. I’m sort of funny that way. –Come on, let’s go over to the bar and have a hot rum.

Moral: February IS Dangerous. You just never can tell when it will be your face on the bar-room floor.

Lastly, a Fair Warning: For those of you who wish to leave Taos with 1 Million Dollars in your name, you will need to bring 2 or 3 Million to begin with, we’ll do the best we can to see that you leave with 1 million and perhaps a shirt on your back!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Eulogy for Whitney Houston by Kevin Costner, February 18, 2012

Dear readers, although I have never been a fan of Whitney Houston, I am a fan of history. By that I mean we need to learn from our own mistakes and learn from what others before us can teach us. 
The quote is: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
It is my belief that there are many, many people in the same place that Ms. Houston was in at the time of her early demise, so saying that please, please Love Your Life.
I have done the best I could to transcribe Mr. Costner's eulogy because it is touchingly poignant of a glimpse of a young woman lost in her own shadow.
I post this here now on my blog, as I posted President Obama's speech after the shooting of Gabriel Giffords, because it is a powerful speech that people should have an opportunity to read.
Thank you, and it begins:

This feels right. 
I'd like to thank Cissy and Dionne for the honor of being here, for everybody in the Church treating my wife and I so gracefully. I'll say some stories, maybe some of them you know, maybe some of them you don't. I wrote them down because I didn't want to miss anything. A song "I will always love you” almost wasn't. It wasn't supposed to be in the movie. The first choice was going to be "What becomes of a broken heart", but it had been out the year before in another movie and we felt it wouldn't have the impact, and so we couldn't use it. So what becomes of our broken hearts? Whitney returns home today to the place where it all began, and I urge us all inside and outside, across the nation and around the world to dry our tears, suspend our sorrow and perhaps our anger just long enough, just long enough to remember the sweet miracle of Whitney. Never forgetting that Cissy and Bobbi Kristina are sitting among us. Your mother and I had a lot in common. I know many at this moment are thinking, really? She's a girl, you're a boy. You're white. She's black. We heard you like to sing, but our sister could really sing. So what am I talking about? Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, they don't have anything in common at all. Well, you'd be wrong about that. We both grew up in the Baptist Church.

 It wasn't as big as this. My grandmother played the piano, and she led the choir, and her two daughters, my mom and my aunt both sang in it. The rest of my family, uncles, cousins sat every Sunday out front and watched. My earliest memories are tied to that old Church in paramount. I remember seeing a gold shovel going into the ground and people praying about it and thinking, wow, something big was going to go here, and I watched my father and the rest of the men build it from the ground up. I was probably 4 years old and seemed to be always in the way. I wanted to help. I wanted to be in on the action. One of the men snapped down a red line where the choir would be standing one day and said, "have at it", as many nails as you want all in this line. I always took great comfort in watching my mom and aunt sing knowing that they would never fall through that floor where I had worked. The Church was the center of our social life and Whitney and I would laugh knowing it was also the place where we could really get into big trouble especially when you were allowed to sit with your friends and not your parents in the big Church. I remember more than once being pulled from the pew for whispering and passing notes. I don't believe my feet ever hit the floor as my father hauled me outside in front of everyone. I believed even the preacher prayed for me. Whitney's favorite story of mine was me sneaking into the Church kitchen after communion. I liked the little glasses of grape juice that were left over. I liked how they felt in my hand. I couldn't have been over 6 at the time, but I would lean against the table and one by one I would knock them back. Having some image near conversation with someone my father would find me and ask me what I was doing. I told him iIwas a cowboy and I was drinking whiskey. I don't think my feet touched the floor that day either.

It was easy for us to laugh. The Church was what we knew. It was our private bond. I can see her in my own mind running around here as a skinny little girl knowing everyone, everyone's business, knowing every inch of this place. I can also see her in trouble, too. Trying to use that beautiful smile, trying to talk her way out of it and Cissy not having any of it. Mostly the days of Church were good ones for us and we both remembered how our parents tried to explain God and the plan he had for our lives and we agreed that there was this feeling, this promise that if somehow we listened carefully God's voice would somehow come to us. I told Whitney that I always worried God was going to ask me to be a Preacher. I wasn't sure how much fun ours had. Whitney told me she wasn't worried at all. She wasn't going to wait for a whisper. She was going to be like her cousin Dionne and her beautiful mother Cissy. There is no doubt that she has joined their ranks and as the debate heats up this century and it surely will, about the greatest singer of the last century, as the lists are drawn, they will have little meaning to me if her name is not on it.

But as sure as I am of Whitney's place in musical history, from the first time she took center stage here as a teenager, flushed with the excitement that she had exceeded everyone's expectations and awesome promise of what was to come. It's still needing to hear from her mother about how she was received. Was she good enough? Could I have done better? Did they really like me? Or are they just being polite because they were scared of you, Cissy? These are the private questions that Whitney would always have that would always follow her. At the height of her fame as a singer I asked her to be my co-star in a movie called "The Bodyguard." I thought she was the perfect choice, but the red flags came out immediately. Maybe I should think this over a bit. I was reminded that this would be her first acting role. We could also think about another singer, was a suggestion. Maybe somebody white. Nobody ever said it out loud, but it was a fair question, it was. There would be a lot riding on this, maybe a more experienced person was the way to go. It was clear, I needed to think about this. I told everyone that I had taken notice that Whitney was black. The only problem was I thought she was perfect for what we were trying to do. There was a bit of relief in the room when we found out that Whitney was going to be on tour and she wouldn't be available for our movie. The anxiety came right back when I said we should postpone and wait a year.

That was a lot for the studio to accept, and to their credit, they did but not without a screen test. Whitney would have to earn it. That was the first time I saw the doubt. The doubt creep into her that she would not be handed the part. She would have to be great. The day the test came I went into her trailer after the hair and makeup people were done, Whitney was scared. Arguably, the biggest pop star in the world wasn't sure if she was good enough. She didn't think she looked right. There were a thousand things to her that seemed wrong. I held her hand and told her that she looked beautiful. I told her that I would be with her every step of the way, that everyone there wanted her to succeed, but I could still feel the doubt. I wanted to tell her that the game was rigged. That I didn't care how the test went, that she could fall down and start speaking in tongues, that somehow I would find a way to explain it as an extraordinary acting choice.

And we could expect more to follow, and gee, weren't we lucky to have her. That wouldn't have been fair. It wouldn't have been fair to Lawrence who had written the screenplay 15 years earlier. It wouldn't have been fair to Warner Brothers and it wasn't the right signal to send to Whitney. She took it all in and asked me if she could have a few minutes by herself and would meet me on the set. I was sure she was praying. After about 20 minutes later she came out. We hadn't said four lines when we had to stop. The lights were turned off, and I walked Whitney off the set and back to her room. She wanted to know what was wrong, and I needed to know what she'd done during those 20 minutes. She said, "nothing." in only the way she could, nothing. So I turned her around so that she could see herself in the mirror and she gasped. All of the makeup on Whitney's face was running. It was streaking down her face and she was devastated. She didn't feel like the makeup we put on her was enough so she'd wiped it off and put on the makeup that she was used to wearing in her music videos. It was much thicker and the hot lights had melted it. She asked if anyone had seen -- if anyone had, I said I didn't think so. It happened so quick, she seemed so small and sad at that moment, and I asked her why she did it? She said I just wanted to look my best. It's a tree we can all hang from. Unexplainable burden that comes with fame, call it doubt, call it fear. I've had mine, and I know the famous in the room have had theirs. I asked her to trust me and she said she would. A half hour later she went back in to do her screen test and the studio fell in love with her. The Whitney I knew, despite her success and worldwide fame still wondered am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Will they like me? It was the burden that made her great, and the part that caused her to stumble in the end. Whitney, if you could hear me now I would tell you, you weren't just good enough, you were great. You sang the whole damn song without a band. You made the picture what it was. A lot of leading men could have played my part. A lot of guys could have filled that role, but you. Whitney, I truly believe were the only one that could have played Rachel Mirren at that time.

You weren't just pretty, you were as beautiful as a woman could be. People didn't just like you, Whitney, they loved you. I was your pretend bodyguard once not so long ago, and now you're gone, too soon, leaving us with memories, memories of a little girl that stepped bravely in front of this Church, in front of the ones that loved you first. In front of the ones that loved you best and loved you the longest. The bolder you stepped into the white hot light of the world stage, and what you did is the rarest of achievements. You set the bar so high that professional singers, your own colleagues, they don't want to sing that little country song. What would be the point? Now the only ones who sing your songs are young girls like you, who are dreaming of being you some day, and so do you Bobbi Kristina and to all those young girls who are dreaming that dream, that maybe thinking are they good enough? I think Whitney would tell you guard your bodies, guard the precious miracle of your own life, and then sing your hearts out knowing that there's a lady in Heaven who is making God himself wonder how he created something so perfect. So off you go, Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly Father, and when you sing before him don't you worry, you'll be good enough.

From Robert: Thank you all, for taking the time to read this post. The lovely Taos cross is a vintage Jim Wagner, an artist from Taos, (he unfortunately no longer makes them, I was thinking of making a few in a similar manner). This was difficult to transcribe, I found a transcription for the hearing impaired which gave me some idea of what was being said as I typed it out. As I say at the top I hope we can learn from this, whether you agree with what the White House has said or what the right wing has said, my wish is that it sheds some light on the disastrous path that too many people take. It is also my hope that the young woman Lindsay Lohan (and I repeat, so many others) please take notice.