My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.



One of my favorite National Park Service areas is Chaco Canyon,  located in the northwestern part of New Mexico.  Part of it's charm is it's remoteness -- the only road in consists of miles of unpaved washboard which deters many visitors.  The first time I made the journey was in May/June 1993 with a group from the JCCC Archaeological Society when I still lived in Kansas;  I haven't returned since February 1999 when I ventured out with some friends  (a Russian national and a Bulgarian immigrant)  I was staying with up in Farmington.

I think the following Associated Press article,  published in yesterday's Albuquerque Journal is a good candidate for New Mexico Magazine's popular "One Of Our Fifty Is Missing" column:

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Top 10 List Puts Chaco Culture National Historic Park in Arizona

The Associated Press

CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK — Chaco Culture National Historic Park made a list of 10 favorite hidden parks,  but the list hid it even more — by locating it in Arizona.

The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees this week released a list of members' favorite parks,  but accidentally listed the archaeological site in Chaco Canyon south of Farmington as being in Arizona.

The 400-member group discovered the mistake and fixed it,  said coalition coordinator Bill Wade.

"That mistake slipped through several reviewers,  but really,  we know it's in New Mexico,"  Wade said.  "Having been there myself,  I know how beautiful it is."

Chaco Canyon is home to massive ancestral Pueblo Indian ruins that date from A.D. 850 to A.D. 1250.  Archaeologists consider it one of the most important sites in the Southwest.

The park's Web site says Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings and its distinctive architecture.

"Sometimes people actually think we're in another country,"  said G.B. Cornucopia,  a guide at Chaco for 19 years.  "We also sometimes get confused with Canyon de Chelly,  which really is in Arizona."

Coalition member Tom Vaughan,  Chaco's superintendent from 1985 to 1989,  said its isolation makes it his favorite in the entire national parks system.

"What's most moving to me is visually the light in the morning and in the evening,"  Vaughan said.  "The other thing is the silence of Chaco.  It's a place where you really have to go and stay overnight to get the full experience."

More than 70,000 people visited the park in 2004.

The other top hidden parks listed:  Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve,  Alaska;  Grand Teton National Park,  Wyoming;  Fort Bowie National Historic Site,  Arizona;  Crater Lake National Park,  Oregon;  Theodore Roosevelt National Park,  North Dakota;  Dry Tortugas National Park,  Florida; Yosemite National Park,  California;  Lincoln Memorial,  Washington D.C.;  and Zion National Park, Utah.
When my sister and I were growing up,  one of the highlights of our annual family vacations were visits to various National Parks.  Yet,  I've only visited four of the ten on this list.  I'm currently in the market for a new vehicle  (haven't decided on a car or a truck yet);  perhaps I should shop with an eye to having something I can drive to the numerous remote places to visit in my part of the country.  It would be nice to be able to  (confidently)  drive out to Chaco Canyon once again!


I copy A LOT of DVD's.  Many of those are fan-authored live music discs that don't apply here,  but a fair number are "backup copies" of Netflix rentals.  So,  the following article from BBC News  (Technology section,  February 15,  2005),  via the AfterDawn newsletter,  caught my eye:

DVDs will be harder to copy thanks to new anti-piracy measures devised by copy protection firm Macrovision.
The pirated DVD market is enormous because current copy protection was hacked more than five years ago.

Macrovision says its new RipGuard technology will thwart most, but not all, of the current DVD ripping (copying) programs used to pirate DVDs.

"RipGuard is designed to... reduce DVD ripping and the resulting supply of illegal peer to peer,"  said the firm.

Macrovision said the new technology will work in "nearly all" current DVD players when applied to the discs,  but it did not specify how many machines could have a problem with RipGuard.

Some BBC News website users have expressed concerns that the new technology will mean that DVDs will not work on PCs running the operating system Linux.

The new technology will be welcomed by Hollywood film studios which are increasingly relying on revenue from DVD sales.

'Digital hole'

The film industry has stepped up efforts to fight DVD piracy in the last 12 months,  taking legal action against websites which offer pirated copies of DVD movies for download.

"Ultimately,  we see RipGuard DVD... evolving beyond anti-piracy,  and towards enablement of legitimate online transactions,  interoperability in tomorrow's digital home,  and the upcoming high-definition formats,"  said Steve Weinstein,  executive vice president and general manager of Macrovision's Entertainment Technologies Group.

Macrovision said RipGuard would also prevent against "rent, rip and return" - where people would rent a DVD,  copy it and then return the original.

RipGuard is expected to be rolled out on DVDs from the middle of 2005,  the company said.

The new system works specifically to block most ripping programs - if used,  those programs will now most likely crash,  the company said.

Macrovision has said that Rip Guard can be updated if hackers find a way around the new anti-copying measures.

Recently the movie industry has followed the path taken earlier by the music industry -- "stronger" copy protection and lawsuits against alleged pirates.

Both the music and movie industry fail to realize that the only ones affected by the new copy protections,  which are little more than non-standard discs,  are the legitimate customers.  Pirates and hackers will always find a way around the protections.  And the copies spread in P2P networks do not originate from private individuals.  They always originate from  (semi)  professional pirate groups.

It's been fun buying and renting movies that I enjoy.  I guess it'll come to an end once the movies stop working with my players.



I've been using the Firefox 1.0 browser for three weeks now and I'm very pleased with it.  I'm not alone:  on February 15 -- just 99 days after the program was released -- it passed through the 25 million downloads milestone.

As a browser,  Firefox is an impressive piece of software.  It's easy to use,  easy on the eyes,  and safer than Internet Explorer -- partly because it's too new to have amassed a following of evil hackers.  Firefox the phenomenon is something much bigger.  It's a combination of innovations in engineering,  developer politics,  and consumer marketing.

Like most open source software,  Firefox is forever a work in progress,  the product of continual tweaking by thousands of programmers all over the world.  Borrowing from the Net-based grassroots techniques of the recent political season,  the Firefox inner circle has turned satisfied users into foot soldiers and missionaries.  How's this for a marketer's dream:  In the weeks following the debut,  Firefox contributors and fans threw their own launch parties in 392 cities around the world.

Computer users embraced the browser almost immediately.  Software developers are on board, too -- the original programmers made sure that writing Firefox add-ons would be simple.  Coders have created more than 175 extensions that perform specific,  often really cool functions,  like incorporating an iTunes controller in the browser's border or a three-day weather forecast that pulls data from and displays sun,  cloud,  and rain icons in the Firefox status bar.  Another status bar icon displays the current Homeland Security Terrorism Threat Level.  A variety of different themes are also available to customize the browser.

I've also been working with Mozilla's Thunderbird 1.0 e-mail client.  I like it much better than Outlook Express and there are numerous enterprise and government grade security features built-in.  The program was designed to prevent viruses and stop junk mail and seems to perform all tasks better than OE.  Thunderbird also has numerous themes and extensions available.

With a minimal set of tools -— an affiliate system,  a small donations fundraising system,  blogs,  galleries,  forums,  and the good old human larynx -- you all are spreading Firefox to a quarter of a million people a day.  More than 500,000 sites now link to Firefox according to Google -- a fivefold increase from six months ago.
I'm sold!  Give it a try and see for yourself -- it's easy to download and you can't beat the price:  free.



After several weeks of rumors and speculation on numerous Internet message boards,  it was announced last week that a new Bruce Springsteen album will be released on April 26.  It's been described as an acoustic-based record and will be followed by a tour -- possibly with a band -- of "smaller venues."

This announcement,  along with the titles of the twelve songs to be included,  has sparked all sorts of mostly negative comments by so-called "fans" on the message boards.  The prevalent complaint seems to be that they want a E Street Band album and yet another major tour of stadiums.  They don't want,  as one person so eloquently  (and offensively,  to me)  put it,  "another album of dead Mexicans"  (referring to 1995's The Ghost Of Tom Joad).

I personally find all the complaints pathetic at the very least.  Since 1999,  Springsteen has toured extensively with The E Street Band -- two of these tours were worldwide in scope and nightly shows averaging three hours in length.  Many of the concerts were peppered with rarely-performed songs dating back to Bruce's earliest albums.  The shows were great and gave many fans plenty of opportunities to see the band rocking out -- those people living in the Northeast United States certainly had more than enough concerts they could attend (including ten shows just at Giant's Stadium in the summer of 2003).

These fans who are crying out for more of the same seem truly spoiled to me.  They seem to have forgotten the long period of non-E Street Band shows from late 1988 to mid-1999  (with the exception of a few club shows here and there as well as the dedication concert for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995).  A common argument is that some of the members of the band are getting too old and they should tour until they are no longer able to do so.  Saxophone player Clarence Clemons indeed looked fairly worn-out by the end of the 2002-2003 tour.  I say give them a rest now instead of wearing them into the ground -- which is what Bruce seems to be doing  (and I think a break in playing could inspire them to give even better performances when/if they tour together once again).

I personally thought that the 1995-97 acoustic Ghost Of Tom Joad Tour was one of Springsteen's best -- the solo setting in small halls allowed him to truly relax and brought out his storyteller instincts;  indeed, often it felt like the audience was sitting in Bruce's living room while he entertained us with his music and tales.  I may be a bit biased about my praise of that tour,  however.  It happens to be the closest I've ever sat at a Springsteen show as well as the only time I've ever met him after a concert -- following his Albuquerque show in 1996.  Another highlight after that particular concert was that,  after he had gratiously signed autographs and talked with all the fans hanging outside the Civic Center's loading dock,  Bruce called for his Harley Davidson motorcycle to be taken off the truck.  When it had been,  he jumped on the motorcyle,  waved a farewell,  and roared down Tijeras Street towards old Route 66.  A classic moment!

Anyway,  I'm looking forward to whatever type of album and tour it turns out to be.  I'm not one to jump the gun and think I know what the songs will be about just from reading the "acoustic-based" general description and the song titles without knowing the lyrics.  I do applaud Springsteen for not being swayed by media or public opinion of what he should do next -- he's been like that throughout his career.  Following 1984's Born In The U.S.A. -- the height of his popularity  (and which remains my least favorite of his studio albums because of the overexposure on the airwaves) -- he could have released a similar "big rock" album to capitalize on that success.  Instead,  the low-key "acoustic-based"  (which included members of The E Street Band)  Tunnel Of Love was released in 1987 -- arguably his most romantic-themed album,  and one of my top five favorites.  1992's twin pop-oriented releases Human Touch and Lucky Town were followed by The Ghost Of Tom Joad in 1995 -- also in my top five.

Yes,  Springsteen does the albums he wants to do when he wants to do them.  He's appreciative of his fans,  but he's not going to put out a product based just on what they want him to do.  I can't believe the majority of "fans" on these message boards can't just be happy that a new album and tour are forthcoming  (and,  I think,  much sooner than most expected -- he is now very much a devoted husband and father afterall).  And,  as all of his albums,  I'm certain there will be songs I won't like initially but will grow to love,  some songs that I'll never like  (such as 1995's "My Best Was Never Good Enough" which still makes me cringe almost 10 years later),  and some songs that I just can't get enough of.  If I'm in the mood for something different than what's on the new album,  there's plenty of other CD's to listen to -- any of Bruce's previous solo or live releases,  or bootleg recordings dating back to 1966.  Video too,  for that matter.

Speaking of bootlegs  (a term I've never really liked,  preferring "recordings of indeterminate origin" or "ROIO"),  2006 marks the twentieth anniversary of beginning my collection of rare Springsteen recordings.  My very first live tape was of the very first Bruce show I attended -- Kemper Arena,  Kansas City MO,  November 19,  1984.  I had written the concert promoter asking for tickets since I was stuck three hours away attending classes at Kansas State University in Manhattan without a car.  He  (Chris Fritz of New West Presentations)  sent me a pair of excellent tickets and I attended with my roommate "Cruiser"  (we borrowed a friend's car).  A year-and-a-half later,  Kansas City radio station KY-102 broadcast an audience recording  (purported to be one of the very first digitally-recorded bootlegs)  of that concert as part of their 1986 Memorial Day Weekend festivities.  Although I did miss taping the first several songs,  I had the bulk of the show in excellent quality.  I don't remember how I found my first trading partner but I soon  (June 4,  1986,  according to the date on the original cassette)  traded a copy of that Kemper Arena concert for one of Bruce at Cleveland's Agora Ballroom in August 1978.  That began an "obsession" that has lasted to this day.  (And I did eventually receive tapes of that entire Kansas City concert;  ironically,  it was later released on a highly-regarded "commercial bootleg" by Crystal Cat Records and is today considered the best-sounding recording of the entire Born In The U.S.A. tour).

Now that I have over 500 rare and live Springsteen concerts and collections of studio outtakes, etc.  (comprising an unknown number of individual CD's),  I'm working at revamping my inventory list.  When I had my old website hosted by Angelfire,  I maintained my trading lists there.  Since they were all written in HTML,  I didn't update the lists that often.  A couple of years ago,  I began rebuilding the lists using the databases at etree who continue to host my trading list.  Since my multi-artist list has grown too large  (over 2100 separate shows listed and growing exponentially with numerous downloads each month),  I recently had to divide it into several sub-lists  (i.e.,  Springsteen,  Allman Brothers,  Marillion,  Genesis,  Video,  etc.).

However,  there have always been some faults with etree's databases -- mainly as a result that the end-users are the ones who add new shows to those databases.  Consequently, there are many errors in show dates and venues not to mention setlists  (errors which are compounded by different copies of the same shows adding various unidentified "bonus tracks" to fill up CD's).  Not everyone who adds shows to the database will do the research beforehand to make sure the information they are entering is accurate.  In the case of Bruce Springsteen,  it can be difficult to add in the numerous collections of demos and studio outtakes that circulate among collectors.

Thus,  the revamping of my Springsteen list.  Although I don't do a lot of "traditional"  (i.e., snail-mail)  trading anymore -- I download most of the gaps missing from my collection -- I have long desired a comprehensive inventory of all that I have,  not to mention where to find certain material if I need to find it.  I have numerous collections of stray songs included as "bonus tracks" and various studio material scattered across compilation CD's.  For an "completist" collector such as myself,  I wanted to organize everything into chronological order and to have lists of the songs cross-referenced with the CD's they are included on.  I've been working on that project for much of the past week -- and I'm very proud of what I've accomplished so far.  I may upload the first few sections  (covering 1966 to 1973 so far)  to my website within the next day or so.  It's much more than just a list of my bootlegs,  it's a history of Springsteen's recording and touring history -- I'm including extensive notes on all of the live shows and studio sessions and eventually want to add links to lyrics,  artwork,  photos,  etc.  Yet another project with "grand aspirations" that may take me years to complete...but at least it's started so I can work on it as the mood hits me!



Occasionally,  I will read an article or essay that I would like to share but is too lengthy to include in this blog.  I created the Potpourri section of my website to serve that purpose.

I especially enjoy sharing things that are uniquely New Mexican.  I spotted two prime examples in last week's Albuquerque Sunday Journal  (question:  why is our newspaper's site fee-based while you can access anything you like on the New York Times website for free?).

Both of these latest Potpourri additions are about local food items I have come to love since moving here:  Chile On Your Fingers discusses New Mexico's chile pepper industry while Fry Bread Fracas talks about that staple of statewide roadside stands and gatherings.

I hope you enjoy them.


HAPPY 4073!


Year of the Rooster February 9 — The Year of the Rooster

1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
People born in the Year of the Rooster are said to be confident,  aggressive and capable.

As perfectionists,  they tend to be honest and loyal;  they make good administrators.

Outspoken and ostentatious,  they can be blunt and argumentative -- and they're often right.

Said to enjoy the limelight,  Rooster people are interesting,  enjoy crowds and will brag about their achievements to any attentive audience.
The most popular legend surrounding the origin of Chinese New Year,  also known as the Spring Festival,  revolves around a great beast called Nian.  In Mandarin Chinese,  nian means year.

On the eve of Lunar New Year, Nian -- whose mouth was so huge it could swallow people en masse -- would prey on human beings.  Everyone was terrified,  until one day an elderly man appeared and offered to subdue the monster.

The old man then challenged Nian:  "I've heard you are very capable,  but instead of people,  can you swallow other beasts of prey that are more worthy opponents?"  Rising to the occasion,  Nian swallowed man's other predators,  simultaneously ridding people of dangers to themselves and their livestock.

The old man was then revealed to be a god.  Before disappearing,  he advised the people to put up red paper decorations on their windows and doors,  light torches and set off firecrackers at the end of each year.  This would frighten Nian away should he try to return,  for he was afraid of the colour red,  fire-light and loud noises.  With Nian gone and other predators frightened off,  the people resumed their lives of peace.

The Chinese hold red to be a color of happiness and good fortune,  while firecrackers are lit to ward off evil spirits.

May fortune smile on you in the Year of the Rooster!



It seems a little early still,  but preparations are underway already for Albuquerque's 300th birthday party next year.  The following is from the official site:

The city of Albuquerque will celebrate its 300th Birthday in 2006.  From April of 2005 through 2006,  a giant celebration will take place.  During this time several public events will occur at various locations as well as grand openings of many new venues around the city.  Area museums will house special exhibits and foreign and national dignitaries will visit the Duke City.  The Tricentennial will be a time for all to reflect upon Albuquerque’s history and revel and dream about the future.

Sitting at his desk in the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe,  Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdes wrote his Viceroy in Mexico City that on April 23,  1706,  he had established a villa along the Río Grande some 60 miles south of Santa Fe.  Indeed,  he had named the new town in honor of the Duke of Alburquerque,  Viceroy of New Spain.
Opening ceremonies will actually be held on April 16,  2005,  at Balloon Fiesta Park.  They will include a mass ascension of hot air balloons,  Tricentennial torch relay,  half-marathon from Bernalillo to the park,  a salute by Stealth fighters,  and more.  The festivities are supposed to begin at 6a.m. and end at 2p.m.  There will also be a huge concert  (performers to be announced)  and fireworks display that evening at Civic Plaza.

There are many more events scheduled throughout the year.  The one I'm most looking forward to right now is the dedication of the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum this Fall during the annual Balloon Fiesta.  I purchased a brick for Mom & Dad when they first announced this state-of-the-art facility about six or seven years ago.  It will be nice to try and find it in the museum's courtyard at long last.

And,  it's not too early to begin buying your Tricentennial merchandise.  I like the designs and will probably order a t-shirt or a license plate for now.

So,  the next year-and-a-half would be an ideal time to visit Albuquerque.  I'll be touting the city's praises  (and faults)  throughout.


The airport here is officially called the Albuquerque International Sunport,  which is misleading since there aren't any flights going to or arriving from across the border.

That's set to change soon.  The U.S. Department Of The Treasury is set to open a Customs office which will open the door for international air connections in Albuquerque.  Negotiations are currently underway with three American carriers and one Mexican airline to provide flights to several destinations south of the Rio Grande.  Service could begin as early as a year-and-a-half from now.

This is certainly good news.  Right now,  to fly to Mexico City,  the easiest way is to fly to either Houston or Phoenix first to make a connection south.  Plus,  direct flights from Mexico will help our state's tourism industry a great deal.



Welcome to the redesign of 'Burque Blog!  The old "parchment" theme was starting to feel a little tired,  so I'm trying out a more modern template in basic black.  Please let me know what you think.

In addition to some minor site maintenance on,  I'm also trying out the new Foxfire 1.0 browser and Thunderbird e-mail program.  Do I think they're better than Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Outlook Express?  The jury's still out on that one,  but I do like what I've seen so far.