The tradition in the group of ” eight “, or the group of ” twelve, ” is that if any team gets a birdie on a hole, everyone takes a sip of ” Fireball “, a cinnamon flavored liquor. If birdies are flocking to your team you win the match, get a free beer from the opposing team at the end of eighteen, and get a little tipsy in the bargain. If you or your partner don’t make any birdies you each get to take home a special ” birdie ” trophy, and keep it till the next time the group plays.
Created by Miles, an airline pilot, this birdie is what I got over a month ago, and still have, because we haven’t played golf in a month. Some people in the world get the virus, some die from the virus, some lose their job or business, some can’t pay their bills, others can’t go to school, some people go crazy, and then there are us golfers who can’t play golf. What doesn’t make sense is that in neighboring states guys can still play golf? There isn’t much consistency in this virus whirlwind about the number of rules you have, the way you implement the rules, and how long a Governor, or country, keeps their rules in place.
This ” Birdie Boobie Prize ” will hopefully find anther dugout to hang out soon.
Brought down by a Titleist 4 golf ball some idiot hit wrong, he isn’t much of a conversationalist. I expect he is as tired of me as I am as tired of him.
Next time on the course, I’m going to make sure I shoot a birdie, or make sure I have a better partner.
Highway 14 is a small ribbon of a road, two undulating lanes that roll and twist, that take traffic to Madrid and Cerrillos, New Mexico, and on to Santa Fe, or Albuquerque, depending on what direction you are pointing your car.
New Mexico has always been a mining and ranching state. It is one of the largest U.S. states with a population over two million and most of those two million living in cities like Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces. The state is as hard as this countryside and was one of the last territories to become a U.S. state in 1912. Highway 14 takes you through undulating rugged hills dotted with junipers, arroyos, and canyons, under blue blue skies with a few white puffs of clouds. The people who live out here are tough, practical, artistic, and don’t take a cotton to ” city life. ”
Two things to see on the drive to Madrid from Cerrillos, enough to warrant a stop and a photo, are a Trojan Horse and a crazy looking bird that is out of someone’s imagination..
It is funny how the Greeks are still reminding us that they were here too. This Trojan Horse, by the side of the Highway 14, overlooks the valley below and doesn’t look like he is going to take ” No ” for an answer.
A little further down the road, almost to Madrid, is a crazy bird, by the side of the Highway 14. He looks like he is from another world too. He advertises one of the many galleries in this area, and even though this gallery is closed, it shows the spirit of this entire area. Even tough old ” homesteaders ” have an artistic side and prefer the country to the city, any day.
Pulling into Madrid, finding a place to park isn’t hard today. The town is closed because of a virus, and one suspects that most residents in these parts are happy to see their streets empty.
New Mexico has lots of little back roads, like Highway 14, and along most of them are glimpses like these into a state that holds to it’s western heritage with one hand and the space age with the other.
” You an appraiser? ” the ball capped man, leaning against a pickup, asks me as I stand in the street and take a photo of a house for sale.
” No, ” I say, ” I’m just taking pretty pictures. ”
There are plenty of pretty pictures in Madrid, and some of them are Quirky. Madrid is a New Mexico ghost town about thirty five miles northeast of Albuquerque, closer to Santa Fe, and it has a storied history. Some say ghosts are still hanging out here on moonlit nights with coyotes howling and winds gently blowing the cottonwood trees that line the hamlet’s streets.
Madrid, that had an official population of 204 in 2010, used to be a mining town, and the company town produced anthracite coal for passenger trains because it burned cleaner. The town mostly huddles close to New Mexico Highway 14 and some notable sights to see are the Mineshaft Tavern and Museum, the Old Boarding House that was the only place to get coffee this morning, the Oscar Hubar Ball Field that was the first lighted ball field west of the Mississippi in the 1920’s.
Madrid was owned by corporations and when the demand for coal trickled down in the 1940’s, the town shut down. It was reclaimed by hippies and non conformists in the 1950,60’s and 70’s. There are numerous shops along Highway 14 through town that sell pottery, jewelry, turquoise, art, spiritual counseling, and Tarot readings. The town is a popular destination for motorcyclists, and, in 2007, the movie ” Wild Hogs ” was set and filmed here. In one of the opening scenes of the popular television series ” Breaking Bad, ” Walter White, after cooking some meth, calls his wife, Skyler, and suggests a trip to Madrid for a family lunch.
Today, the town is virtually shut down by a decree from our Governor, and walking the street is pleasant.
Some of the highlights of the visit are having hot coffee in the Old Boarding House, discovering Heaven, finding nooks and niches in the town that shows it’s ” attitude. ”
People, who live here, seem to have long beards, give you an extra long look, and all have three or four dogs around their homestead.
I’m guessing that some of the town’s residents still mine a little coal for their pot bellied stoves on cold winter days when the winds whip down Main Street and even dogs don’t want to be out.
For those with a little extra time, Madrid makes a close place to Albuquerque to see and enjoy.
As the same man who asked me ” if I was an appraiser, ” said, ” Getting out of the city is always good. ”
We don’t mine coal anymore but it sure feels, today, that I’m working for the company store.
When J.B. said he had a painting he wanted to give me, I wasn’t sure where this was all headed. I didn’t need another painting but told him to bring it over, and, if I didn’t want it, I would store it for him in my garage.
The painting, it turns out, is of a desert landscape. It is the art sold in Hobby Lobby, and Wal Mart, and is accepted as ” art ” by many, because it looks like something. In fact, wanting ” art ‘ to look like something is what most people seem to think ” art ” is.
This painting was done by Lee Reynolds, which turns out to be a 1960’s painting factory where house artists cranked out paintings for retail stores to be hung in mom and dad’s living rooms all across America. It was probably some little Chinese woman who knocked this out, in a couple of hours, while John Glenn was stepping on the moon and hitting his golf ball.
Scott has traveled in Arizona and guesses their might be a river just like this somewhere in that state, with saquaros guarding the river, just like this painting shows it.
Till further notice, this atypical piece of art, is going to hang with all the other non-realistic art Scott loves.
I like the desert, like water, and like saquaros.
Why wouldn’t I like looking at them every morning, as sunlight comes creeping through window blinds. and the trumpet from a nearby military base plays reveille and raises the colors?
I’m wondering if the little Chinese lady, who did this “original”, ever made it to the desert herself?
You wouldn’t think playing a simple blues would be hard.
You have an instrument, a backing track, some music lessons behind you, and no one in an audience is cracking up, holding a conversation, or talking on their cell phone. The musicians on the backing track are pros, some of the best.
This is a simple Blues in A major , and, working on roots is the theme of this practice session. What comes out, is, most of the time, a revelation. Repeating it would be difficult, and probably not necessary with an improvisational art form.
Playing four minutes of music and making it sound smooth, inventive, interesting, takes all my attention, and relaxation.
When I’m playing, I’m not thinking about anything else.
Inside Meow Wolf, there is a house, a mysterious house whose owners are no where to be found. They have their left artifacts; an old desk, an old saggy comfortable couch, a bathroom with toothbrushes still in the cup, closets with clothes hanging, a washer and dryer with clothes to be cleaned. As you roam through the house you find rooms just like you would find in a normal home, but, here, the rooms don’t look like our houses and it has secret passageways, and tunnels and challenges.
In a performance area of the installation, these two young men juggle and do acrobatics for their modern audiences, much like they might have done for ancient kings when the castle was dreary and the king threw a party for some of his political allies.
When this performance is done, we wander through the rest of the house, getting lost, finding rooms we have already been in. Finally, sensory overloaded, we leave the house and its ghosts and go find a green chili burrito and cup of coffee.
Getting lost in someone else’s house is okay, but you never want to be at a point, in your house, that you can’t find the bathroom.
Meow Wolf is an immersive, interactive, art installation in an old bowling alley in Santa Fe, N, M. It has become a tourist destination and once you enter you will be challenged. It was started in 2008 as an art collective. This is what the creators, with over 400 employees, and installations in Denver, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, and eventually Phoenix, say about their effort.
” Meow Wolf creates immersive and interactive experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration, This includes art installations, video and music production, and extended reality content….. Inside, guests discover a multidimensional mystery house with secret passages, portals to magical worlds, and an expansive narrative amidst surreal ,maximalist, and mesmerizing art exhibits….. Meow Wolf champions otherness, weirdness, challenging norms, radical inclusion, and the power of creativity to change the world…… ”
When I came out of the installation, I was glad to be back to my pedestrian reality.
This, I’m certain, is just preparing the way for the dystopian, not so distant, world, of artificial intelligence and technology.
I’m missing days when you sat in a rocking chair on the front porch and watched storm clouds rolling in over the freshly plowed and planted fields.
We can’t stop technology, and as easy as it makes our lives, it comes with costs.
At the Albuquerque Zoo, there are plenty of animals; birds, monkeys, a tiger or two, penguins, giraffes, jackals,zebras. They are well cared for in their little enclosures and we can stand at a rail and admire their coloration, adaptations, behaviors. There will come a time when the only animals we will see will be in zoos, but there are still places in the world where animals spend their days and don’t ever see a human.
Pushing the ball just ahead of its huge mouth, this playful hippo walks in his pool because these river horses don’t really swim, but walk along the bottom of rivers or pools, as they hold their breath under the water. They are speedy and quite dangerous in the wild.
Until Scotttreks does its next safari, these zoo animals will have to do.
If I were to organize a parade, this star of the show would have to be in front.
While turtles are cool, hippos, looking ungainly and mis-proportioned, steal this show with quite surprising grace, and playfulness.