It was, at the time, 99 degrees. Six-thirty in the evening. Soupy atmosphere, the full power of summer bearing down like a smothering rag. I like it.

I was at Traders Joe, picking up this and that, having just come from Infinite Spirits, having bantered with Tatiana the Russian, exchanging enial insults. You never know if you’re going to get the same clerk at Traders Joe and you expect you won’t; it’s never the same person, aside from the lanky retired guy who’s always there. My check-out clerk was a big nerd, and I thought “once upon a time, this would be a fellow who would get a Monty Python reference. So let’s try.”

“How are you?” He asked.

“Steaming,” I said. “It’s ‘ot enough to boil a monkey’s bum.”

Nothing. Once upon a time you expect the weird guys to know that, but he had a big button with his non-binary pronouns and ears with round disks embedded in the lobes, so I guess the non-standard definitions have shifted a bit.

Maybe if I’d bought some wattles.

On a day when the heat index hits 110, naturally you have someone in to fix the gas fireplace. This has been a long-delayed thing and I wanted to get it in before we need it. Oh, it works; that’s not the problem. The flame’s too high, that’s the thing. It leaves black deposits on the glass. So said the fellow from the utility company who called on us months ago when we complained about the black deposits. He said they’d have to adjust the flame. The first repair job was cancelled because we were out of town, and then I forgot about it, as I do. But I remembered last week, and so a man popped ‘round.

He said there was nothing he could do, as the flame could not be adjusted. (So I gather from my wife’s recounting; I was at the gym pulling down a stack of metal slabs for some reason, and had to direct the event remotely.) Birch had to be kept in a room behind a door, because he reacted correctly to a large fellow in coveralls: THE MAILMAN IS IN THE HOUSE. I REPEAT THE MAILMAN IS IN THE HOUSE.

No dog would think that “mailman” was code for something, because dogs wouldn’t use codes for a DefCon 1 level event like that. Or is it level 5? I forget. I remember a famous book review that called a science fiction author, Asimov perhaps, as a “star of the 10th magnitude” and everyone was laughing because the blurb-writer had the order wrong.

No, I have it right; DefCon 1 is the highest, and means the sparky cylinders have taken wing. Fun details:

DEFCONs should not be confused with similar systems used by the U.S. military, such as Force Protection Conditions (FPCONS), Readiness Conditions (REDCONS), Information Operations Condition (INFOCON) and its future replacement Cyber Operations Condition (CYBERCON), and Watch Conditions (WATCHCONS), or the former Homeland Security Advisory System used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Oh great. Maybe bring it all together so no one has to translate? Is DefCon3 the same as INFOCON 2.7 which is also REDCONS C+?

Well, I'm sure they have it figured out.

Otherwise, how is the world? It is fine. I am going to the Fair today a day ahead of schedule to get some photos, and because I have a press badge I can waltz right in. We'll have video here, of course - perhaps some before-the-opening stuff where it's all still green and fresh.

I do know that I'm better situated to do the shows this year than last; things have gotten better. Weights shed in literal and metaphysical senses. All I know is that I'll be on the stage on Thursday morning with a big bright yardstick, trying to rouse the audience who've taken a seat because they just wanted to sit down, and had no idea some short guy was going to do a thing. I just have to remember they're not there for me: it's the seat, the shade, and perhaps the free flavored lip balm.




It’s 1969. A fraught and critical year. A world in turmoil.

On the other hand, it’s Fair Time!

  There wasn’t one the previous year because of the dreaded hippie influx.

I looked into the Taos papers for 1968, and there are many stories and editorials. The latter preach acceptance, and one of them notes that the hippies came in 1967 and stayed “right through the hepatitis outbreak.” Good times.

Drive planned forauditorium, officialssay

I hope this isn’t it, but it seems likely.

I always like a little cranky editorializing in stories like this. It channels the opinions of the readers.

Huh: it really was a big concern. Or big enough for cartoonists to exaggerate and lampoon.

The adjoining editorial, “Optimists, take a bow” notes that the Optimist Club deserves many congratulations for putting the festival back on track. They are “living up to their name.” What’s more, the fiesta “ISN’T pre-blueprinted, pre-fabricate and thus pre-depressed.”

Oh, I think they had some blueprints.

There’s quite a surfeit of interesting news, at least from this distance. Mostly local stuff. I wondered about this . . .

Couldn’t find anything on Mr. Noll aside from a google hit on some public records, where he spoke on behalf of the Delegation. The notes are not searchable. He ran the Gambles store on North Pueblo Road.

Then there’s this:


From his 2005 obit:

He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and the New Mexico National Guard. He had a full life in Taos as a dealer for Ford Motor Company. His love for sports, especially football and skiing was a passion throughout his life. In his community he served as fire chief for the Volunteer Fire Department and the ski patrol for Taos Ski Valley. He was an avid fly fisherman and spent many pleasurable hours in the mountains.


Same artist as the other ad, and the editorial cartoon. They had a staff illustrator. Good for them. If only I could make out the name.

It could be this guy, whose bio says he worked at the paper in 1969, and also worked in the advertising department. Asey. Doesn’t quite fit the signature, but it could.

He retired in 2013, and in a strange move, the paper ran a tribute that begins with someone else drawing about him. Classy move!

Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do. Or, does it? More to come in the 60s section, where we start a 1960s brochure on an old Cleveland hotel. I should note that I have overhauled the Ads section, arranged it by year and fixed some typeface and linkage issues. Five hundred pages! Madness, I tell you.



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