The Wages of Sin Were a Little Low

New Mexico Magazine had this item for May 19th. It took place in 1893.

Clandestine leader Vicente Silva kills his wife north of Las Vegas and hires five henchmen to dispose of her body. Dissatisfied with the paltry $10 payment each, they also rob and kill Silva. Two years pass until the Silva deaths are known. Silva ran a prosperous business by day and at night he was the leader of a feared outlaw gang.


Why We Like Red or Green

Found this in a 1992 New Yorker article about chiles and New Mexican cuisine.

According to scientists who have studied the effects of fiery food, a very hot chili sends the nervous system into a state of panic, and the brain reacts by flooding the distressed nerve endings with endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers—a sort of friendly morphine. The sudden shot of endorphins is what transforms the pang of hot food into pleasure, and also what makes it considerably more tolerable after the first few bites.

The article, by Jane and Michael Stern, is not available online.


First posted here May 2, 2008.


Ah Choo!

Cottonwood Canopy

The Rio Grande Cottonwood, a welcome sight to pioneer desert caravans because it often signaled water, typically reaches 50 to 60 feet in height, with a trunk of three feet in diameter. Some of the grand old cottonwoods in the Rio Grande Valley have reached 90 feet in height, with trunks five feet across. In open areas, the tree may divide into branches near its base, producing a spreading crown. . . .

The Rio Grande Cottonwood reproduces by seeding, unlike many other flood-plain trees which regenerate by sprouting. It flowers in the spring, before it leafs out. It releases its seeds, each carried by downy white tuft, or “parachute,” in anticipation of traditional spring floods and winds, the principal mechanisms for dispersion. A mature Rio Grande Cottonwood can produce as many as 25 million seeds in a season, covering wide areas with a blanket of “cotton.”

Rio Grande Cottonwood – DesertUSA


Two Misconceptions about Albuquerque

1. No, Albuquerque is not as hot as Phoenix, Las Vegas or Tucson. Last year the temperature rose to 100º F or more just twice. Not at all in some years. The temperature goes above 100º in Phoenix more than one hundred days a year.

2. Yes, Albuquerque is just as high above sea level as Denver. In fact, parts of Albuquerque are higher than any part of Denver. The altitude in Denver ranges from 5,130 to 5,470 feet above sea level. The altitude in Albuquerque ranges from 4,946 to 6,120 feet above sea level. Albuquerque has the highest altitude of any of the 50 largest cities.


Yesterday’s Photos

Click either image for much larger (and prettier) versions. Photos taken with iPhone 5s Sunday afternoon.

Looking upriver from about a mile north of Alameda. It's called the Río Bravo del Norte in Mexico, but Rio Grande seems better to fit the usually  placid river as it flows through Albuquerque. iPhone 5s photo Sunday afternoon.

Looking upriver from about a mile north of Alameda. It’s called the Río Bravo del Norte in Mexico, but Rio Grande seems better to fit the usually placid river as it flows through Albuquerque.

Not sure what the x-shaped vegetation is in our "we must preserve our natural Bosque" but they haven't bloomed at all yet.

Not sure what the x-shaped vegetation is in our “we must preserve the natural Bosque” but they haven’t bloomed at all yet.


Let’s Take It Back and Call It New New Mexico

It was 153 years ago today (1861) that Congress organized the Territory of Colorado and stole the Rio Grande headwaters, the San Luis Valley, nine fourteeners, a national park and a big chunk of plains from New Mexico. Colorado was given that part of New Mexico east of the Continental Divide between 37º (the current state line) and 38º (69 miles further north).

In the House version of the bill, the new territory was called Idaho. The Senate changed it to Colorado.

The good news is, two years later, New Mexico Territory gave up what is now Arizona.

So, lose some, win some.

Here’s an 1857 map of New Mexico.