Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Other Possible Names for South Valley City

An example of Vietnamese Phở and German beer
not available at restaurants in the proposed city

"Officials announced a few hours ago that Valle de Atrisco has been chosen as the name for the proposed incorporated South Valley.

The name was the most popular choice among several that residents voted on during a "Name That Town" campaign conducted during the past month or so, State Rep. Miguel Garcia tells ABQJournal.com."
--ABQJournal.com (the free part of the site with newsy updates). 6.30.09
This is one of those times where I wish Burque Babble had 14 million readers and we could have a fun little snarky "contest" with hundreds of folks submitting silly, funny, tacky, almost cruel but certainly not cruel names instead of the unbelievably lame "Valle de Atrisco" moniker.

Would that be fun or what? Almost as fun as envisioning a day in which I, a South Valley resident, would actually tell someone I lived in "Valle de Atrisco". Of all the things absolutely impossible to do without falling on the floor laughing, saying one lives in "Valle de Atrisco" out loud must be #1 or #2.

New Acquaintance: Hey, I just moved to Albuquerque, over in what I believe is called the Ridgecrest area. Where do you live?
Me: I live in Valle de Atrisco.
New Acquaintance: Whoa. Did you just have a sudden heart attack? Why did you collapse to the ground?
Me: (uncontrollable laughter to the point that drool oozes from my hysterically laughing mouth)
New Acquaintance: Man, do we need to get a doctor? You're turning blue.

And here is the end of this post, the place where hundreds of commenters would post bitingly insightful, and not altogether politically sensitive names. Oh well, we're a few million readers short for that sort of thing here.

But I'll give us a start anyway....

Proposed Names for Proposed Incorporated City in Albuquerque's South Valley
  1. Nobless Hilless
  2. North Los Lunas
  3. Mannywood
  4. Valle de Graffiti
  5. The Land Thai and Vietnamese Food Forgot (I know, tough to write on an envelope)
  6. Zoningwhatzoningville
  7. Pheasantville (we have lots of 'em here..plus you got that whole "Pleasantville" thing)
  8. Los UnRanchos
  9. Anachronism Village
  10. South Barelas
  11. Junkyard Heights
  12. Pie Town (yes, I know this involves the need to buy the name from the existing Pie Town, but a great name like this is worth it)
  13. Compton (again, stolen, but I think this name encapsulates the look/vibe I get when I mention to long-time Albuquerque residents that I live in the South Valley)
  14. South Valley
  15. Burque del Sur (only because this was be as laugh out loud funny to say as "Valle de Atrisco")
Alright, that's enough. Hundreds of additional entries from our millions of readers, of course, encouraged.

P.S.: Speaking of stealing tidbits from ABQJournal.com, did anyone else notice the rather strange second-hand opinion newstoid piece regarding some advocacy group's report on health insurance coverage in Albuquerque? In its attempt to be more "blog-like", I guess the hipster Journal types (and there's three words you never thought you'd see together) are "blogging" reactions/opinions of fellow reporters, using their cubicle neighbors as "experts" and passing this off as something between news, editorial and a three martini lunch bullshit session.

Weird. I can hardly wait for the next time this journalistic strategy is employed: "...and another thing, this Goddamn Obama and that son-of-a-bitch Education Secretary what's his name. You know, that guy...anyway, let me tell you what those sons-of-bitches are trying to pull with this so-called "education reform"! But before I tell ya, buy me another martini will ya? Just one, just one more. You can write that story after just one more stinking martini, can't ya?"

Monday, June 29, 2009

Delicious Cherry-Picking of NCLB Reauthorization Rumors:

Write something I want to hear, and you're my new favorite blog. Example: "Eduflack".

But Eduflack is starting to hear a different story with regard to reauthorization. It is a major priority for the EdSec and his senior staff. So much so that the current plan is to make ESEA reauthorization a Capitol Hill priority this fall, with hopes of signing the new law into the official record in the early part of 2010. So we are facing a possibility of 2009 reauthorization after all. The game is back on.


You pull up the chairs to watch, I'll provide some cherries (much preferred to popcorn, myself):

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Idle Thoughts While Idly Bike Touring: Cycling In ABQ

You're on a bicycle for 6-8 hours a day, five or six days at a stretch. What do you think about? For me, it went like this (in order of frequency):
  1. Get song "Poker Face" by Lady GaGa out of my head. Unfortunately, this took much of my time, as the song was everywhere. Local radio station blaring during Youth Hostel breakfast: "Poker Face". Stop for sugar/butter-infused breakfast stop at backerai: "Poker Face". Watching MTV to see how U.S. culture is portrayed overseas: You got it. A few years back I spent some time in Oaxaca. That was the summer of "Dame Mas Gasolina" by Daddy Yankee. It was everywhere, loud and repetitive, and I mean everywhere. Well, "Poker Face" was this summer's "Dame Mas Gasolina". So a goodly portion of every riding day was spent trying to replace the disturbing "Poker Face" with other tunes. To this end I tried everything from Badfinger to Frank Zappa to "Dame Mas Gasolina". I was only partially successful.
  2. Getting lost, finding out how lost I was, scheming ways to get unlost, trying these ways, shampoo, rinse, repeat. Having either inadequate maps or no map at all, I spent an almost "Poker Face" level of time looking for route signs. This included many, many times in which I (and sometimes other tourers) would stare at signs and little arrows before multitudinous road/bike lane choices and go in circles contemplating the intention of the route/sign designers. It was interesting to get into the heads of those making the route, and I noticed that some routes seemed more logical than others. Kinda like figuring out the mojo of someone designing a multiple choice test.
  3. What form of pastry will Scot eat when he stops next? This was, by far, the most fun contemplation I had.
  4. "Has something fallen off the back (panniers, bags, lock, etc.)?"
  5. "Are my tires going flat? Have they gone flat? Was that glass I just ran over?"
  6. How Scot will change the world. This may just be me, but spending 8 hours a day on a bicycle can be a pretty self-centered, megalomanic experience. I'd see one of the millions of wind energy turbines in Germany and that would invariably lead to an hour of postulation about how to solve all world energy problems. Riding by a school (they were still in-session) meant thirty minutes of either "Poker Face" or an internal debate about No Child Left Behind.
The good thing was that I had too much time to mentally tackle "Poker Face" and pastries to get really bogged down in grand unification plans to solve all the world's problems. Still, since I was on a bicycle and all, I did quite a bit of thinking about bikes and Burque, and how we could make the ABQ riding experience more like the German one. Or at least 1% more like the German experience.

Here's a couple of the the bike ideas that ran around my head:
  • The Silver Bike Boulevard idea was a mistake. I'm all for Bike ABQ and bicycle advocacy in general. But I tend to think of the cycling community as similar to other "minorities" such as the Gay/Lesbian/B/T set. Creating a bike-centered street at Silver seems to me kinda like manufacturing a part of town for gay people to live on. Instead of focusing major money/effort on turning one street into an uber-bike friendly one, I'd like to see more effort put on making EVERY street/road/highway more bike-friendly. Besides, the Silver Bike Boulevard creates a galvanizing symbol for all "cagers" to foment their rage and hatred of cyclists. Not to mention the simple fact that the 18 mph speed limit ain't gonna work (as evidenced by the guy in a Lexus who zoom In sum, I've come (with some bike touring reverie help) to the position that we cyclists need to follow the GLBT maxim of "We're Here, We're Queer, Deal With It". For instance, I'm taking the lined bike lanes on Lead and Coal instead of the ill-conceived "bike heaven" of Silver from now on. I want, as safely as possible, to be in the traffic, to be part of the normal transportation stream, instead of parading through an isolated, one-shot attempt at a cycling Disneyland.
  • We should really change the annual "Take Your Bike To Work Day" to "Take Your Bike To Work Once Per Week". Having a once-a-year "event" is as emptily symbolic as "Black History Month". Knowing more about the African-American experience shouldn't be shunted into a "month", and the idea of bike commuting shouldn't wait for a special day. Turning the emphasis from a Bike Commuting Christmas to a "Casual Friday" will mean fewer participants, but the depth of understanding created by getting some more folks to ride just one day per week as often as possible would do far more to promote the idea of bike commuting and the advantages/needs of this activity.
Almost certainly the world would be better helped if I had merely spent more time trying to get "Poker Face" out of my mind instead of rolling around ideas such as those above. Nevertheless, they and others spun out as I spun along, and they stick with me in these days following the end of the tour.

It will be interesting to see how many more days will go by before I forget all this "change the world" stuff and subside into the typical summer languor we teachers for which we teachers are so notable. Chances are it won't be long.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm Back, Testing...Testing...Is This Thing On?

Dateline: Albuquerque, New Mexico USA

A month in Germany and I'm still typing z instead of y and vice-versa this earlz, earlz 3:30 in the New Mexico morning.

But I'm back and want to thank those who in some way (so many uses of the letter Y in English) followed along during my bike trip. I also want to some day start getting back into an online discussion of K-12 education issues, but that day will not be today.

Damn, this Y thing is murder.

Anyway, I hope to get back in the "blogging" swing of things, in particular a highly coordinated Internet-led attack leading to a huge revamping of No Child Left Behind in its Version 2.0 and all that. But before creating a manifesto on "What Is To Be Done", I need to do some very, very stinky laundry. And alot of other re-entering the day-to-day normal atmosphere sort of things.

But first, I gotta go to the Heidibrot Backstube and get a kaseschinkenbrotchen, followed up by a trip to the obst store for some morning cherries. What?!? No backerai just down the street here in the South Valley? No friendly down the street fruit/veggie bodega? No kaseschinkenbrotchen?

This is gonna take some adjusting.