Columbus Wuz Here Columbus Lighthouse, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

There is controversy whether this is a lighthouse and whether Columbus’s bones are really inside the not so small ornate iron box in the center of this ornate display.

Columbus found the Dominican Republic on the first of his four voyages to the New World. Interestingly enough, he never set foot on America’s soil but set up his family comfortably in Santo Domingo to give them a good life and claim to lands he discovered for the King of Spain.

He was a visionary, as well as a businessman, and having audience with Kings and Queens is no easy task because, being important people, their time is worth more than ours. Mounting an expedition that was going to the ends of the world was a dangerous  enterprise.

The big things I learn today are that, when walking, things you see are much further to get to than they look. Whenever you get lost, call a taxi and pay a few bucks to get where you want to go so you don’t  spend your entire trip walking in  circles.

It seems odd to celebrate a man who discovered America,but didn’t, and odd I’m standing here taking a photo of what we are told is the explorer’s final resting place?

He and his beloved Santa Maria , right now, are most likely somewhere north, northeast of Mars navigating under celestial lights on dark dark seas with only a compass, telescope and good instincts to guide him.

He is doing in the next world what he did in this one.

His bones might be here, but he doesn’t need them for his new discoveries.

 

 

Getting Around Tour Bus, Santo Domingo

If I were on this tour bus I wouldn’t have been able to take this picture.

There are a myriad of ways to transport yourself on a vacation. This tour bus, as it goes by, shows faces inside glancing at me as the tour driver describes thIs area with a microphone in his hand. Inside a tour bus you can’t stop a moment, poke around, talk to someone, have a bite to eat, try to understand a sign in a foreign language. You are moving quickly and if you are thinking about your security system back home you miss a Presidential Palace, or the church where Columbus attended his son’s wedding, or a great cafe where locals eat.

The tour bus passes me and I can hear the driver talking to the whole block on his microphone, his facts sounding garbled and out of sync as the vehicle bumps past me.

His words sound, to me, like the clouds in your coffee.

They wouldn’t be the words I would use to tell about this place.

 

Love Machine Squeeze the Handle

 

In the lobby of the Albuquerque County Line Barbecue, there is a special love machine for testing your love potential.

This ” Love Machine ” costs a quarter for its diagnosis, and, for your quarter, you can see how you measure up on the love chart by putting your hand firmly around a special handle, squeezing firmly, and waiting for your diagnosis to shoot off like firecrackers, Roman candles, or duds.

We humans like to measure. We hook up our cars to diagnostic apparatus, we use dip sticks to check oil and transmission fluids, we use IQ tests to measure intellectual ability, we use polls to decide who to elect to be our next President.

Whether this ‘Love” test is really accurate, scientific, or needed, is something academics can argue over beers around the barby at University picnics.

For those, in love, they don’t really need a machine to tell them how they feel.

A better sign of whether you are in love, or not, is to look at your credit card statement.

Be Happy – Stay Happy.

 

 

Lucky Chair Horseshoes for luck

Under the ” Home of the Big Rib ” rib, as you walk towards one of several back dining rooms at the County Line Barbecue, is a lucky chair.

We all have our favorite chairs. Yours might be an old recliner that you found on the sidewalk with a ‘ Take Me ” sign pinned to it like a donkey’s tail. It might be an ancient folding chair you drag out of your garage and open up on your front porch like folks did in the old days. Your favorite chair might have a hard back, torn cushions, scratched legs where your dog or cat wanted to get your attention.

My favorite “LUCKY’ chair, this evening, is made from horseshoes. I sit down in it to improve my luck as I listen to the ” Radiators ” slip into a blues tune in the bar, filled tonight with patrons getting tipsy.

Some artisan has collected these worn horseshoes and has welded them into a quirky,quite comfortable chair, and, as I sit and tap my right toe to the music, I feel my luck coming back in spades.

Barbecue, horseshoes, cattle, branding irons and the Old West go hand in hand and those old time cowboys sure didn’t live on just jerky, pitching horseshoes and playing poker. They knew a few things about the value of luck when they crossed hostile Indian country.

On reflection, I think I’ll take myself and my new luck to the casino down the road in a bit and give these lucky horseshoes a trial test run.

If sitting in a chair made from horseshoes can bring me observable positive consequences, you can be damn sure I’ll be back here soon for another therapy session.

Superstitions, I have heard from the superstitious, are not always false.

 

 

Barbecue Blues County Line Barbecue

In the shadow of the Sandia Mountains, the County Line Barbecue is packed this Friday night. I am on the band’s e mail list, and got my invitation via e-mail. Judging from a plate of ribs on another patron’s plate, on the bar counter next to me, the barbeque doesn’t sound shabby either.

The entertainment tonight comes from the  “Radiators”, who are singing and swinging with an upright bass, mandolin, lead guitar and vocalist, playing originals and top 40 hits.

The County Line has Texas longhorns hung on its walls, pictures of cowboys and horses in every dining room, and acoustic guitars signed by musicians who have played here since it opened. The men’s bathroom has a poster with pinups of the 50’s that is nostalgic for guys over ninety. There is an unusual horseshoe chair you can sit in for luck,and, in the front entry of the restaurant, a  “Love Testing Machine.”

Barbecue and blues blend well, and, even though their marriage has been tempestuous, they could take the ” Love Machine ” all the way to the Moon.

Next visit, the house ribs will be a must try.

Good ribs, baked beans, cole slaw, cornbread and potato salad all help chase the blues away, and keep them at bay.

 

 

 

 

 

Albuquerque’s E scooters Albuquerque's newest transportation

Albuquerque has just introduced E-Scooters to the Downtown Civic Plaza, Nob Hill, Old Town, and, eventually, other well frequented locations in the city. These scooters are lined up across from the Albuquerque Museum of Art, chatting up a storm and telling scooter jokes.

Two ladies, I talk too, say the scooters are fun to ride but you need an App on your phone to use them. There are about 750 of them, to start, and a private company, Zagster, has exclusive rights to promote in our city.

The scooters are available from seven in the morning till seven in the evening, have tracking devices installed, go 15 miles per hour, and cost the operator a $1.00 plus fifteen cents a minute to rent. The rationale is to address climate change, provide other modes of transport the younger generation will like (18 and older), encourage people to get out, and eliminate traffic in high traffic areas.

One of the big concerns of the Albuquerque Police Department is people driving these scooters while intoxicated, something that has already happened.

One of my issues is grasping how large American bodies are going to balance on these small running boards while going fifteen miles per hour with just hand brakes?

If the city was serious about climate change they would just make us walk in a transportation free zone.

Riding at your own risk, these days, has to be in all of our plans of the day.

We have come now to a place, in America, where adults dress and do what kid’s do,

 

Playing the National Anthem- Video LifeQuest Fundraiser Golf Tournament, Tanoan C.C., Albuquerque, 2019

The National Anthem is one of the most played songs in America. If you have played in school bands, military bands, marching bands, or are a musician who has performed at any sporting or public event, you have played the familiar melody since you were very young.

In America, individualism is worshiped, but so is big Government.

Most of us fall someplace different on the line that stretches from pure individualism towards the right end of the line to pure communism towards the left, in relation to how much government control of your life you want. It is no wonder that we shake our heads at each other, erroneously thinking we all fall on the same place on this  political line that crosses itself so often you don’t always know left from right. The tug of war between these opposing dreams describes our American dilemma.

After the National Anthem, the color guard marches off the putting green and we golfers all find our assigned golf carts and roll out for a shotgun start to the golf tournament.

This golf tournament is a fundraiser for Lifequest, a group that mentors juveniles locked up in jail, believing that the Bible and good mentors will keep juveniles from going back to jail after they serve their time and are released. 

Regardless of our place on any line, we know mistakes are made and not every child has a good home to come from, or a good home to go back too.

Listening to the National Anthem, I know my battle line in the sand.

If it wasn’t for mistakes, we wouldn’t be human, and, politician’s sons and daughters need to be on the front lines of any war their parents start.

 

 

 

Morning Walk Albuquerque's Embudo Canyon

Indian School is an east- west Albuquerque boulevard that ends at the Embudo Canyon Open Space at the far east side of the city..

The parking lot, at the roads end, is the beginning of a city Open Space area that moves into the Cibola National Forest Wilderness. The nature walks and trails, at the cities edge, open at seven each morning and close at seven each evening. If you are bold, you can hike back as far as you want into the wilderness and camp out all night under the stars.

 Along our normal hike, Alex and I pass Apache Plumes, cactus, mesquite, juniper trees,jagged granite boulders with lichen holding to them tenaciously, rugged mountains laughing when we stop to catch a breath and catch our bearings. Along the trail  is  also a huge city deep water well enclosed by a chain link fence and guarded by government signs showing statutes that warn bad things happen to those who trespass.Wildlife has hidden itself but you see signs they are close by and paying attention to our progress as much as we are.

Other hikers are out, and, as we pass them on the trail, we all say our hellos cheerfully. Nature lovers are glad to be out even if seeing humans is not what we come to the foothills for.

By the time Alex and I finish our route,more parking spaces have opened up and the lot is looking empty like it should.

It is funny, to me, to see signs putting Open and Close times on the Wilderness and metal gates locked to keep people out at night.

Starting my car and heading home, I’m very sure no one that lives out here gives a damn about our human time tables.

Wilderness time and people time use different watches.

 

Model A “Phaeton” In McDonalds parking lot - Thursday - June 13, 2019

According to Art, this is a Model A,, a ” Phaeton.”

He spells p-h-a-e-t-o-n out for me, this morning, when the two of us are conversing at our usual McDonalds, down the street from the Candelaria street McDonald’s where I saw this classic car yesterday afternoon.

It’s owner was an older man, a car nut, who drives his dream car to car shows and likes to meet with other gentlemen and talk shop about their pride and joy automobiles, and, of course, their pride and joy wives and/or girlfriends.

This convertible, with its white removable top, immaculate paint job, upholstery that smells factory new, and sparkling details, stood out for me in the Candelaria McDonald’s parking lot, way too nice to be there. I took photos for my scrapbook and compared her to newer models in the lot that didn’t compare to her, half as well.

With all comparisons, there is some prejudice involved.

I tend to like old vehicles, old buildings, and, even some old people. They have character and miles on their odometers that proves they run and have lasting power.

Inside the McDonald’s, I complimented the car’s owner and he smiled with pride and nodded his head as he sipped his black coffee with two sugars, now costing a dollar instead of a nickel when his ” Phaeton ” was brand new.

I thought, as I left, that getting compliments is one of the big reasons he drives her to McDonald’s.

You don’t want to keep a show horse like this cooped up in the barn.

 

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