Stingray has an un- PC post on the anniversary of the first atomic bomb here.

I wrote to him:

“Slightly irrelevant tale: I was at the site (October opening I think) and some hippies had set up an altar with a Shiva figurine on it (“I am become Shiva, destroyer of worlds”.)

“A ranchy- type woman was walking by with her kid, pointed at it, and said “That’s what radiation’ll do to ya– give you extra arms and legs”.

“New Mexico as we all know is a Land Of Many Cultures.

NYT on NM Cockfighting

I am sorry, but I think this article on NM’s anti- cockfight crusade can be quoted to make its own argument against the ban.

“After two weeks of preparation, 150 officers, backed up by a helicopter, slipped into this sleepy desert town. Their focus was not illegal immigration or drug smuggling, but a less pressing crime: cockfighting.”


“Some police officers in this state say the pressure for stepped-up enforcement from the animal rights lobby has become so intense that resources are being diverted from more serious crimes, like drunken driving and amphetamine abuse.

“For years the state’s governor, Bill Richardson, a Democrat, avoided the issue. In 2006, Jay Leno ridiculed him on the “Tonight Show,” for saying there were strong arguments on both sides of the issue…. But in March 2007, Mr. Richardson signed the measure outlawing the sport. He was widely criticized as only getting behind the legislation because he was then running for president.

“You can’t go on the national stage and have people find out you have no problem with a bloody sport,” said Sheriff Darren White of Bernalillo County, where officers issued citations for two cockfighting misdemeanors in a raid on June 21.”

[Ed. note: White is a known AR advocate who is against hunting and for mandatory spay neuter among other things.]

““New Mexico is on the verge of having a modern culture,” said Heather Ferguson, the legislative director for Animal Protection of New Mexico, an animal-rights lobbying group. Ms. Ferguson said a newly established animal cruelty hot line was receiving about 90 calls every two weeks.”

“As public support rises, so do costs. The Chaparral raid cost the four counties involved more than $25,000, officials said. And several high-ranking police officers, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to talk to reporters, said that while they oppose cockfighting they are frustrated at how politicians are disproportionately emphasizing the crime.”

“We don’t even investigate misdemeanors on other crimes,” one officer said. “We laugh at these investigations.” Of one cockfighting raid he said: “We wasted $10,000 on a recent misdemeanor. I’d rather use that for a D.U.I. checkpoint and take 20 people off the road in the three hours and save lives over chickens. I feel good when we save chickens, but whoop-de-do, a misdemeanor?”


“For 16 years, Richard and Louisa Lopez operated a 310-seat cockfighting arena at their farm in Luis Lopez, N.M. The $30,000 they earned annually from the operation helped subsidize their farm expenses, and send their children to college. Last month, they used the arena for their family reunion and a baby shower.

” “We don’t have money to buy diesel sometimes,” Mr. Lopez said. “And this is the place that kept my farm going.”

“In January, the courts dismissed a suit by the New Mexico Gamefowl Association claiming economic devastation. Ms. Gojkovich, the animal control investigator, was hardly sympathetic.

“You need to go find a job at Wal-Mart,” she said.”

Or maybe sell out to developers? THAT’d be Green…

I believe Ms. Gojkovitch is a recent immigrant BTW.

Also BTW: all “seized” roosters are immediately killed. And not eaten. I’m sure they enjoy that more than fighting.

For the record, I do not keep chickens, nor do I support dogfighting. HT Annie H.

In related developments, Peculiar links to an article with an interesting quote:

“”Now that Plum Creek is getting out of the timber business, we’re kind of missing the loggers,” said Ray Rasker, executive director of Headwaters Economics, a nonprofit that studies land management in the West. “A clear-cut will grow back, but a subdivision of trophy homes, that’s going to be that way forever.””

Oh well- as Moro says in a comment, “Trophy homes don’t last forever either, heh heh heh.” Nature bats last.

Bo Diddley RIP

Coming back from a sort of bloggish lunch in Albuquerque with frequent commentors and dog- in- laws Paul and Nate, MDMNM of Sometimes Far Afield, his friend Amelia, and a baby hawk, we saw that the flags on the State Police hq near Socorro were at half mast.

Turns out the great old rocker Bo Diddley was dead at 79. One thing that most people don’t know is that in the seventies he was a deputy sheriff in Los Lunas, which you can read about here. At that time he gave three patrol cars to the Highway Patrol, which may well be why they remember him. Ted Bakewell (see post here, more notorious for our haircuts, for a note on his uncle Father Anderson Bakewell) is now a St. Louis businessman but in his time was a roommate of Jimmy Page (of the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin)in London, and a New Mexico musician, and remembers jamming with Bo Diddley in his trailer in the Valley when Bo was a NM lawman.

For a good YouTube of Bo Diddley playing “Mona” go here. I couldn’t find one of my favorite, “Who do you love?”

UPDATE: Margory just sent this link to “Who do you love?”- on vinyl!

Late (Navajo) Barbie

Reid chips in late on the NM Barbie meme, via email:

“I have been so swamped I haven’t had a chance to post my contribution to New Mexico Barbies.

“How about Shiprock Barbie, though her real name is Barbie Begay, and her boyfriend, Ken Yazzie. Options include Hosteen Begay’s Hogan with loom and sheep pen. Also a 1979 Ford F150 with blue plastic water barrels in the bed – the radio is pre-tuned to KTNN and there’s a “Meet me at the Crownpoint Rug Auction” bumpersticker.”

There should be sheep in that truck too.


Last week’s walk photos, as promised.

Libby on the “Rio” Salado. It can be frightening in summer floods, believe it or not, but right now we can walk in it.

Desert Bighorn tracks in the bottom of the box– rounder in front than mule deers’.

The proprietors of Casa Q with desert tools– pack, Swaro binocs, Kimber .45.

Photos by Daniela Imre.

Catron County Barbie

Peculiar has called me out on the New Mexico Barbie meme: what is Catron (Cabron, Cartoon) County Barbie like?

Catron County is a strange one in our strange state– I have good friends there (next county over from me) who would be unbelievable in fiction. It is high and cold and mountainous, contains a few thousand people in an area as large as Connecticut, and has a certain merrily lawless air– think of it as our (slightly) milder Sierra Madre. Theoretically, all households are REQUIRED to have guns.

It was formerly almost entirely dependent on cattle ranching, though now has diversified into a provider of big game hunting, real estate, and some murkier products.

There are two versions. Native CC Barbie is much like Clovis Barbie, but she has her own horses and was a barrel racer when she was a kid. Her Ken is a big game guide in order to make enough money to keep the ranch running, and spends August through January guiding fat rich guys from the flatlands after elk, hoping and praying they don’t get heart attacks from just walking around at 7500 feet.

We don’t know what “new” CC Barbie looks like because she rarely leaves the trailer house in the middle of the ten- acre dirt road “ranchette” lot that is hidden in the trees up on the Continental Divide. The trailer’s windows are covered with boards or tinfoil, and strange smells emanate from it. Her Ken is sometimes seen at the cafe in town. Like Old CC Ken, he wears camo, but over T-shirts with death metal themes. He sports a beard like a ZZ top member down to his belly, scratches a lot, and openly carries a cocked and locked 1911 .45. Do not startle him..

New Mexico Barbies

This is almost too “inside”, both bloggish and totally of New Mexico– but too funny to ignore. Stingray at Atomic Nerds has taken my challenge over at Nature Blog to add a Los Alamos Barbie to the already excellent collection of New Mexico Barbies there. Here is an excerpt.

“..Los Alamos Barbie often comes with the optional child accessory, availible in either the Nervous Wreck Overachiever, or the Chronically Unenthused Slacker variants. Los Alamos Ken looks suspiciously like Taos Ken with his birkenstocks, hiking shorts, and extremely silly hat, but is distinguishable by the addition of socks to the sandals and by wearing a dress shirt in some state of dishevelment rather than a tie-dye tshirt. Those mistaking Los Alamos Ken for Taos Ken frequently find themselves on the receiveing end of a three hour “discussion” on the non-linear equations governing meteorology, string theory, self-balancing binary tree algorithms, and of course nuclear energy no matter what his actual field is.”

Opening day

Libby here on our opening day (took the shotgun for doves too but intense dog activity sort of kept them away!)

“Yesterday we had a splendid, heavy rain here, which turned the streets into rivers, an then today we went out on our friend Lee’s ranch (100 sections) with the dogs and had our first hare chase of the season. When we first let them out of the truck, the dogs ran amok — they were SO happy to be out they just had to run as fast as they could to burn off energy. I put up a hare that they had run past, and it took off in the opposite direction. I almost didn’t yell to the dogs as I thought they would never be able to close in on it. But I did and our youngest tazi, Larissa, spotted it first and took off after it, with the others following, from about 100 yards behind. This was her first real hare chase, and she poured it on, closing in on it. At first the hare was running with its ears up — it didn’t think it was in any danger. But as the dogs started gaining, it realized that it was going to be in big trouble if it didn’t get moving. When it laid its ears back the serious chase was on, and they ran for about four minutes, turning it twice. Four or five horses in the next pasture came right up to the fence to watch…way more interesting than watching cows! Finally the hare, who had run to a corner of the fencing very intelligently ran through it twice, and lost the dogs. We had parked the truck by a water tank that had collected a lot of rain water around it from yesterday’s storm, so the dogs all ran over to it and had a wonderful wallow to cool off, grinning at what fun they had had. Luckily it was a sandy are so they mostly got wet rather than covered with mud and cow shit, which they always enjoy but we, for some reason unfathomable to dogs, don’t like. A good start to the season for all of us.”

Little Red Riding Hood Was Right

It seems an article of faith in American environmental circles that wolves are harmless. While (until recently) there was no record of modern North American wolves harming anyone, a bit of research shows this to be an anomalous situation. Wolves of the exact same species preyed on humans in Europe and Russia; wolves even smaller than ours eat humans in India to this day.

The recent death of a young man in Canada raised the possibility of wolf- human predation. Eminent mammalogist Dr. Valerius Geist was charged with investigating the incident. His conclusions, soon to be released, are not comforting.

Do not misunderstand me here, or Val. I believe that wolves are wonderful top- of- the- food chain predators, and ecosystems are healthier for their presence. I can thrill to a howl in the night. But attitudes must be realistic, and wolves should be hunted to keep them wary of humans. Wolves that become habituated, that hang around humans and their livestock in broad daylight, are a disaster waiting to happen.

Dr. Geist has written a long document analysing both the particular incident and pointing out signs of imminent danger. Let me quote a bit from both. First, from the abstract:

“The politically correct view about wolves, currently vehemently and dogmatically defended, is that wolves are “harmless” and of no danger to humans. This view arose from the early research of eminent North American biologists who, confronted by historical material contradictory to their experiences, greatly mistrusted such. Due to language, political and cultural barriers they could access such at best in part, but they were nevertheless convinced that the old view of wolves, as enshrined in Grimm’s fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood was incorrect and based on ill founded myths, fears and superstitions. They were greatly aided in this by premature conclusions about free-living and captive wolves, as well as by a brilliant literary prank by a renowned Canadian author and humorist, which illustrated wolves as harmless mouse eaters. While scientists quickly caught on, they nevertheless welcomed the opposition to the Little Red Riding Hood myth. They pointed to the undeniable fact that wolves killed no human in North America in the 20th Century. This did not, however, reflect on the nature of wolves, but rather on circumstances: wolves were eradicated or severely prosecuted over much of the continent, North Americans were well armed and quickly removed misbehaving wolves where such were still present, while hunted wolves are exceedingly shy and avoid humans. The view of the “harmless” wolf was greatly welcomed by the communist party of Russia, which ever since coming to power suppressed accounts of man-killing wolves. During and after the Second World War such censorship intensified, as was only disclosed after the fall of the communist rule in Russia. The reason for such suppression was to obscure the link between lethal wolf attacks and the disarming of the civilian population during the war. Wolves quickly exploited the defenselessness of villagers, leading to many fatal attacks on humans. When Russian scientists disclosed this, their translations in the west were suppressed and their authority and motives questioned by environmental organizations and some scientists.”


“It is even more ironic that, while wolf biologists stoutly denied dangers from wolves and failed to develop any understanding of the conditions under which wolves were harmless or dangerous, their counterparts studying urban coyotes did just that. They described a progression of behaviors, which predicts when coyotes would attack children. Wolves follow much the same progression. It can be divided into seven steps with increasing risk to humans, culminating with attacks on humans. Such a progression can be developed from historical material as well as from current attacks by wolves on humans in North America. The fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood is thus based in very real historical experiences in central Europe. In addition to targeted attacks, wolves can mistakenly charge humans. The politically correct myth of the harmless wolf is being defended with a number of lethal fallacies as well as by wrongly invoking the prestige of science. In practice it is a lethal myth and the tragic death of 22-year-old Kenton Carnegie on November the 8th 2005 in northern Saskatchewan, is a case in point. He had no authoritative warning. He was killed by wolves, which, protected from hunting, were not merely habituated to people through the use of a garbage dump, but had already mounted a first exploratory attack on humans, which was narrowly defeated. Against a pack of wolves, a lone man has no chance.”

From the conclusions:

“As I have shown, wolves signal impending attacks on people a long time before it happens. They act very much like their smaller cousin, the coyote. Yet the vehemence with which the myth of the “benign wolf” is defended by environmental groups, but also individuals claiming to be scientists studying wolves, transcends reason. Already a renowned biologist studying wolves laments that extremists have highjacked the wolf agenda. As scholars we must live by Oliver Cromwell’s admonition:” I beseech thee in the bowls of Christ, consider that thee may be mistaken!”. Especially, when political correctness has raised its ugly head!

“As to Kenton Joel Carnegie’s tragic death I harbor no doubts. He was killed and consumed by wolves.”

I welcome the return of the wolf to New Mexico, but I deplore its current means. Wolves that stalk humans in broad daylight– as is admitted– should be removed immediately. The impending disaster will not only hurt its victims– it may well put an end to our having any wolves here at all.

For some fascinating wolf material see this PDF of the wolves of the British Columbia rain forest. (HT Walter Hingley). It really shows what a high- end, opportunistic predator they can be.”Coastal wolves are proving themselves unique among wolves in the world by eating a high proportion of carnivores. Researchers are consistently finding the remains of black bears and river otters in wolf dietary samples- more than anywhere else where wolves have been studied. Notably, by consuming these two animals (which depend on food from the sea) wolves are indirectly feeding on marine resources. Interestingly, wolves also feed on other items from the sea such as washed-up marine mammal carcasses, crabs, mussels, and even barnacles.”

Adds Val: “Also, wolves released on islands in coastal Alaska completely cleaned up on deer, then turned to catching seals that had hauled out – and then starved to death! Every one. As opportunists they will in coastal areas search beaches for edibles. No wonder they are circumpolar and highly resilient to prosecution!”