31 July 2007

News of the Weird Update

Calling Officer Jim Chee: Another workboot has been found along the banks of the Rio Grande -- also with a leg in it. That makes two workboots with two severed legs yet no one has reported anyone missing. Kind of sad.

Also this from KENS Channel 5 out of San Antonio:

Sightings of mysterious giant bird continue in San Antonio
Web Posted: 07/28/2007 01:30 AM CDT
Joe CongerKENS 5 Eyewitness News

Strange sightings of a huge flying creature have been reported as recently as six months ago. Is this a monster or a myth?

Guadalupe Cantu III was busy working his newspaper route but he says the big news of that day 10 years ago flew right over his car. He says he's seen what most have not -- an unidentified flying object.

"We were afraid that it would come at us. So we stayed in the car till it passed this way," witness Guadalupe Cantu III said. "This thing's all feathers, all black. Much bigger than me. It looked at us. It had very stooped-up shoulders." The beast has been spotted from the Rio Grande Valley
to the mountains of New Mexico. "[It] looked like what was possibly two people standing on top of a mountian up there, " said David Zander, who saw the monster in New Mexico. "Something that big...I guess it kinda makes you feel like it could come over and carry you off if it wanted to."

San Antonio's Ken Gerhard has written a book on these dark birds as big as planes with wingspans from 15 to 20 feet! Native Americans called them thunderbirds: depicted in their art, their flapping wings were said to cause explosive noises.

"What is interesting is that the reports of these giant, raptor-like birds do continue into modern times," said Gerhard, a cryptozoologist. Cryptozoology ist he study of and search for legendary animals to proove their existence.

"I believe there is a good chance that alot of large, prehistoric animals, if you will, remain
undiscovered by modern science," he said.

So what could the giant birds be? Some witness sketches eerily resemble prehistoric creatures like the petronadon of 160 million years ago. However, Gerhard theorizes it could be a creature that is a little less extinct -- if that's possible -- a pteratorn. "These are the surviving ancestors of modern condors and vultures. They lived up until 6,000 years ago, we know for sure, in parts of North America," Gerhard said. "In fact, over 100 specimens have been recovered from the La Brea tar pits of California.

Agents Mulder and Scully...please report for duty.



22 July 2007

Soggy Sunday

Not much going on. Thunderstorms this weekend have turned skies to gray and thickened the air with humidity. I drove by downtown and took a few pics. Maybe an adventure awaits later this week.

I'm out.

20 July 2007

Thunderbirds Are Go!!

Strange stories are always popping up on the local news here. On the same telecast last night there was a story about a 'fetus' being found on the conveyor belt of the local water treatment plant. In another story, this couple walking their dog down by the Rio Grande found a workboot -- with the leg STILL IN IT!!!! It had an artificial kneecap too!!!!

What caught my attention though was a story about a guy in southern New Mexico who claims to have seen a 'giant bird' that looked like a pterodactyl. I kid you not. In fact he says he saw two of them on a hill top and one flew over him. He claims it had a 20 foot wing span.

Creatures like BigFoot, Nessie, the Jersey Devil, the Mothman, Dick Cheney and the Chupacabra have always facinated me. I don't believe in them really but just find it facinating that sooooo many people claim to have seen them.

New Mexico's 'big bird' legend stems from the Native Amercian lore of the Thunderbird.

A giant bird that causes lightning and thunder. Interestingly enough the monsoons HAVE returned and everyday now around 5 pm we get huge lightning storms. Also true, New Mexico has the most lightning deaths in the US per capita. Hmmmm...

I find it interesting that if you take a hike to the petroglyphs at the west end of town you will see ancient indian drawings of the big birds. I'm just curious as to what was actaully seen. Along with big bird drawings there are other creatures and weird stuff scrawled onto the volcanic rock. Take a look at one of my first blogs about a hike I took to the petroglyphs. I posted several pictures.

I'm not sure what that fella saw in southern New Mexico. I guess I'll just have to keep my eye on Action 7 News!

For some interesting summer reading:

I also HIGHLY recommend the books of Tony Hillerman. He is a mystery writer who bases his stories in the southwest, primarily northern Arizona and New Mexico. The mysteries are not all that satisfying per se; however, it is his vivid descriptions of the southwest and its Native American culture and lore that are extremely facinating. Officer Jim Chee and Detective Joe Leaphorn are great characters who's investigations usually begin with a murder that is somehow tied to ancient indian lore. I love these books. Several of them have been made into motion pictures. The Dark Wind with Lou Diamond Phillips and Fred Ward has the mystery but in NO way captures the southwest and is frankly, kind of flat. Others have been made for the PBS with Adam Beach and Wes Studi playing the main charcters. They do a great job but the films lack atmosphere which is what makes up about 80 percent of the books.

I'm out.

Welcome to Hillerman country! (The Unofficial Tony Hillerman Homepage) ...www.umsl.edu/~smueller


11 July 2007

The R O S W E L L Incident

It was on June 14, 1947 when the legend began.

William "Mack" Brazel rode out onto the ranch he operated and found some shiney tin foil like material. A few days later he rode back out and picked up the material and showed it to some neighbors. Later he showed it to Sheriff George Wilcox who in turn contacted the Roswell Army Air Base. Officer Jesse Marcel was assigned to investigate.
Before the big wigs in DC were contacted a press release was issued announcing the capture of a 'flying saucer'.

Of course the government stepped in, a retraction was released and one of the most famous cover-ups in history began. I've read about the Roswell incident and have seen
documentaries on it and my conclusion is that it is not real and that the actual material WAS from a top secret spy or weather balloon. Besides, the US government would never lie to the public. ....Right?

Fortunately the city of Roswell knows a good thing when they see it and has since made a killing off of all the tourists that go annually to the Roswell UFO Convention. Unfortunately I was not able to go like I hoped as my dad needs alot of help these days so my brother and some friends went and sent me a few shots from the UFO Museum in Roswell. Enjoy.

Beam me up Scotty. I'm out.

09 July 2007

Lazy Daze of Summer

Back in town after taking some vacation time to visit my aunt and grandfather. I took my dad to see his brothers. Nice lazy day of summer coming to an end. It was announced today the monsoons are back, meaning late evening thunderboomers and humidity!!

I'm just sittin' back with some ice tea listening to the new Wilco cd which is excellent by the way. Hope you all had a great fourth.

The All-Star Game and festivities are in town....not THAT All-Star game...the Minor League All-Star game...always played the day after the major league one. We might not have Barry Bonds so we'll have to settle for an appearance by Tommy LaSorda. That'll work. I'm out.

08 July 2007

The Last of the Great Railroad Hotels Pt. 2

1929 was a tumultuous time in American history to say the least, the stock market crash, the depression, etc;however, the plans for a grand Santa Fe Railroad Hotel at its headquarters in Northern Arizona had already been laid down. More suprisingly than building a place of grandeur during these times was hiring a woman architect to design and oversee its creation.

Fred Harvey had already built a chain of 'Harvey Houses' across America and introduced such things as china, linen, crystal and silverware to the American Southwest. He chose Mary Colter who had already designed several buildings in the southwest for his chain of hotels, including Hopi House and The Watchtower at the Grand Canyon.

The La Posada in Winslow Arizona was her masterpiece. She designed the plans to build it as well as every detail of its interior including the staff clothing. Not much of the original interior remains today but the reproductions are impressive. It is an amazing hotel. I highly recommend taking a stop to visit it if you are ever travelling along I-40 in Northern Arizona.

This is the Turquoise Dining Room. A 'must see' in person. And yes...dinner is STILL served in it.


Next post: The Roswell Incident.

06 July 2007

History Detective: The Last of the Great Railroad Hotels

It started with a painting.

For a few years now my dad has had this picture hanging in the house. It never occured to me to ask details about it as he has paintings and prints all over the place. All I knew about it was that it was a print of a 'railroad hotel' in our home town.
My dad started working at a very young age, to hear him tell it he was 14. He started working for the sandwhich shop in the Harvey House in our hometown called La Posada c1929. Harvey Houses were hotels and boarding houses all across America in the 30s 40s and 50s. The term and movie Harvey Girls were based on the women that use to work for Fred Harvey and were hostesses at the hotels.

My dad eventually managed the sandwhich shop at around 16/17 and soon turned it into one of the most profitable in the company. During WW2 most of the sandwhich shops at that time simply slapped on some Spam and mayo on some bread and sold it to the troop trains that would stop at the hotel. My dad expanded on that and started selling fruit, candy and all kinds of stuff the troops wanted to take with them to either the Pacific or German theatre [of war].

[He's told me stories of how he would even slip some liquor into the lunch bags for the troops coming back from the war. He had a deal with mp's. If a bag of chips appeared over the top of the lunch bag it meant a bottle of liquor was hidden underneath the sandwhich and the mps would not search the bag, of course the mp's got a cut of the action]

My dad eventually moved from managing the sandwhich shop to managing the newstand. In fact he was sent all over the southwest to different Harvey Houses [Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Utah, CA] to cover for managers who would leave or take time off. My dad has MANY stories to tell of his time at the La Posada, including meeting Bob Hope among others.

He became very close to the La Posada manager, Mr. Weber. He was referred to as 'Mr. Weber's son' and soon pretty much had the run of the hotel in Winslow, infact he even got his own room right next door to Mr. Weber and would often have lunch with the big wigs 'outta Chicago.' In fact he even had dinner with Mary Colter.

After asking my dad about the print and him telling me his stories of the time, I found out that Mary Colter was the architect for the La Posada Harvey House. This was a time when there were very FEW women in that industry, especially one working for such a prominant company. She was a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright.
For years and years I had driven pass the hotel and never went in. It closed in the 50's and the Santa Fe Railroad used it for offices. Eventually even they gave it up and it sat dormant for years. Finally the railroad offered it to the city of Winslow for $1 under the condition it would be restored. The city council declined. What a shame. It appeared the same fate would befall it as had happened to the Harvey House in Albuquerque in the 70s. Demolition.
Enter Allan Affeldt. A real estate developer out of California. He purchased the hotel and has since begun and amazing restoration plan. Finally on my most recent trip to Winslow, Az, I decided to go in and see what all the fuss was about.
My word. I honestly felt I had stepped back in time...and what a time. My pictures do NOT do it or Mary Colter work justice.

Next posting ...we'll go in side.