William C. Winkler RIP

There are rebels and there are Rebels. William C. Winkler was a Rebel. Not one to raise hell or bring a lot of attention to himself, he was a refined Rebel who stood against pushes for change until he was convinced that change was needed, change was useful, and change was good. I was usually successful in getting William to see the light, but it was never easy. Willam passed away earlier this week at the age of 79.

William standing on the corner of 4th & Gold in Downtown Albuquerque

We hired William is 1994 as an architectural evaluator. He was 52 years old, and after the firm he had worked for either downsized or closed, he found himself out of work. He told me once he was really grateful that we hired him, because most firms would not consider him because he was over 40. William was an excellent staff member who turned out to be a great friend as well. William retired from ARC in 2016 after 22 years.

WCW at his retirement party. He was a Green Bay Packers fan and a Wisconsin “Cheese Head”.

Besides his interest in architecture, he was interested in music, photography, and technology, so he and I had a lot in common. I had been playing flamenco guitar for a couple of years when William started working at ARC, and he was the one who told me I needed a stage name. One day he said “You need a stage name like that Chuscales* character! What’s Spanish for ‘curmudgeon’?” I went home that night and asked one of our Cuban friends what a curmudgeon was in Cuban Spanish. He said there’s “El Cheo”. The next day I asked WCW what he thought of “El Cheo”, he approved and my stage name has been El Cheo ever since. He usually called me “El” after that and I called him “WCW” and “Veelhyme”. He refused to tell us what the “C” stood for.

William Reflecting

When we moved to Spain in 1996, William and I had weekly correspondence that ended up becoming newsletters of the goings on in Spain from my perspective, and the goings on back home and at the office from William’s perspective. William called his newsletter “El Reporto” which was good Spanglish. My newsletter was “La Crónica…” with whatever the word of the week was that I put after Crónica. We always had a bit of competition to see who could come up with the most creative ways of describing our lives and the current situations in Spain and New Mexico. Here’s an excerpt from a 6,000 word letter I wrote to William in October 1996:

“Believe me, flamenco lore is so full of romanticism about gypsy origins, myths, fabricated histories and downright lies that it is hard to tell fact from fiction.”

We often had discussions on the history and origins of flamenco. I signed the letter

“Until next time,

El Cheo Stecchino Andante”

Unfortunately, I don’t have an example from “El Reporto” because we didn’t have email in Spain, so all our correspondence was printed and mailed back and forth using the postal services. I have William’s “El Reportos” boxed up and stored somewhere in the infinite shed of doom.

Willam had a tie to Spain, as well. His sister-in-law, Catherine, was a professor of Catalan Feminist Literature. Not only did Catherine and her husband visit us in Madrid, but we went down to Valencia and stayed in their condo on the beach one weekend.

WCW trying out the racing bike I put together for him.

William was a smoker, so we would go out on walks so he could take a smoke break. I got a lot of photos from around downtown while walking with William. After Bruce joined ARC in 2008, William, Bruce and I would go out for walks and break all the rules about smoking where we were not supposed to smoke. Neither Bruce nor I smoke, but it was fun acting like we did simply to break rules and be annoying.

Checking out the snow.

For years I didn’t work on Fridays. One Friday when Ben was working for me, he and Bruce and Ben’s brother, who was in town visiting, made a Parkour video at our office. William makes an involuntary cameo and he became the star of the video.

One thing I always appreciated about William is that he was always brutally honest. I started producing my bloody awful parodies after William retired. I would send them to him to get his opinion. Like Lewis Winn, who is my guitar guru, Willian had no qualms about telling me exactly what he thought about my parodies — “bloody awful” on most accounts. However, like Lewis, he appreciated the humor and silliness, and always asked for more. William actually liked “Bite ‘Em on the old Shin Bone”, and “Coyotes” (an original piece). The twangy guitar in “Coyotes” reminded him of “Apache” by the Shadows. He asked me to make a parody of “Apache”. This one puzzled me, as I have no idea how to parody an instrumental piece other than do a bad job of playing it. Which would be very easy for me to do. I asked him what he wanted me to do with it, but I never got a definitive answer. I believe he just wanted to hear me play it. Sadly I never tried to play it let alone record it for him.

I hadn’t seen William in person since before the pandemic. We kept up a regular email correspondence and the last email exchanges I had with William were at the beginning of April about our new office building.

I’m going to miss William. There are few Rebels like William left in the world.

*Chuscales was a gypsy guitarist playing on the local flamenco scene back then.

Two Firsts and a Wet Skunk

I got water for my first irrigation tonight. It’s so dry the land soaks up the water for a long time before it keeps flowing. Furthermore, the water level in the acequia madre keeps fluctuating, which changes the water pressure. Between bone dry land and changing water pressure, it’s going to take a long time to get everything watered tonight. I may not get everything watered tonight.

That little fuzzy head in the darkness is Mama Owl’s and Daddy Owl’s new owlet sticking its head up for the first time to say “Hello world!” I was talking to Jim between calling the owlet and taking photos, and Jim asked “Why don’t they stick their heads up when it’s light?” I told him that owls like darkness.

Mama Owl and Daddy Owl in a cottonwood in the bosque looking for Junior’s dinner.

If anyone has suggestions for names for Junior, I’m open.

“¡Hola Mundo!”

The left fork in the Y in my irrigation ditch flows through a culvert where Scrappy Skunk was sleeping. Poor Scrappy was rudely awakened by the water and he came out one end of the pipe but got offended that I was videotaping him. He crawled back in the culvert, came out the other side, went back in, and stayed in the culvert until the water got too high and finally forced him out. He was an embarrassed wet skunk when he finally climbed out of the ditch and ran off. You can watch Scrappy Skunk in all his wet glory in the video below.

Tonight’s flowers, bunny and moon follow.

Beatrice Bunny

Loki’s Beauty Rest

I recorded the music for Loki’s Beauty Rest in 2018. It’s a parody of Jethro Tull’s Locomotive Breath. I’ve been thinking about how to do a video for the parody for a long time, especially what to do with the long introduction and the meow meow solo. I finally came up with what I thought are decent solutions. Parody Lyrics at the end of the post.

Sunrise

Sunset

Loki’s Beauty Rest
Music: Jethro Tull
Arrangement: Timothy Price
Preformed by AWB

In the bustling catness
Loki needs his beauty rest
He’s the all-time snoozer
Awakened nonetheless

Oh, I hold the dish a scraping
Tie hanging off my brow
Spunk’s playing with the candle
And Loki won’t stop snoring
No, he won’t come down
No, he won’t come down

He sees those pens to knock off
From the table one by one
He doesn’t have to pretend
In bed he’s having fun

While I’m standing in the corridor
Cameras hanging on my knees
Spunk’s playing with the candle
And Loki won’t stop snoring
No he won’t come down

[meow meow solo]

He hears the Spunk a howling
Killing lids as he calls
Silver the all-time whiner
Has gone and lost his balls

Oh, he licks his ridiculous rival
Both lying in the sun
I think Spunk’s playing with the candle and
Loki won’t stop snoring
No, he won’t come down

No, he won’t come down
No, he won’t come down
No, he won’t come down
No, he won’t come down
No, he won’t come down


Wild Cat

This video goes out to Brian who has the Wildlife Intrigued blog. Although Brian’s photography is exemplary, he has more than once mentioned having some fear and mistrust of felines. Spunk, the Wild Cat, will certainly confirm Brian’s suspicions. However, we cannot assume all cats are alike based on Spunk’s behavior.

As you can see from the photo below, Spunk helped me put the video together and approves the content in the video. He certifies the authenticity of all his wild catness depicted in the above video.

Wild Cat
Parody Lyrics: Timothy Price
Music by The Troggs

Wild cat
You stomped my heart flat
You make everything scary
Wild cat

Wild cat, you know I want you
To lie on my lap and purr
So come and curl up alright?
I want you

Wild cat
You stomped my heart flat
You make everything scary
Wild cat

Wild cat, why did you claw on me?
I know I petted your fur
Please don’t kill me alright?
You’re toothy

Wild cat
You stomped my heart flat
You make everything scary
Wild cat

Go on, go on, wild cat.
Oh don’t shake your tail. Oh please? Don’t shake your tail!
Oh! You shook your tail!

All Clear

By late afternoon there were no clouds, no owls, no Pteradactyl, no squadrons of fighter ducks. Simply blue skies, a little snow lining the crest of the Sandias, a ragged Cormorant, a lonely crane, and a time-lapse video.

Above is a time-lapse video Tristan took of the balloons and clouds this morning. This video really shows how the winds blow in different directions at different altitudes in Albuquerque, which makes it easy to navigate hot air balloons around the Albuquerque area.

Cormorant

A little bit of snow along the top of the Sandias with the towers.

The cormorant looked ragged under its wings.

Towers in focus.

A lonesome crane flying around looking for other cranes.

Wood Duck Daze

When I went out on a walk this morning, I found Daddy Owl in the tree he sits in when he watches over the owlets. Mama Owl’s ear tufts barely stuck up above the edge of the hole in the tree. A few cranes flew over close to the tops of the cottonwood trees. Most of the cranes have headed north. Only a few cranes are holding out.

Then I saw something moving in the cottonwoods. It was a female Wood Duck hopping and flying around between branches. A male Wood Duck soon followed. That was the first of three pairs of Wood Ducks I saw in the cottonwoods as I walked in the bosque this morning.

A couple of months ago there were some birders looking for the elusive Wood Ducks. I told them they were too early. They looked at me like I was crazy. The birders acted like the Wood Ducks are rare. Well, they were quite rare in the middle of the winter, but they are not rare now.

I took a lot of photos of the Wood Duck pairs. I was thinking about the best way to show a lot of Wood Duck photos and decided I’d write a song and put the photos to music. The song is not very polished, but I had fun doing it. I hope you enjoy Wood Duck Daze and the all photos of the Wood Ducks.

 

La La La La Llorona

I presented my paper Quinientos años de lágrimas: The persistence of La Llorona — 16th Century to Present at The 52nd Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association this afternoon. The convention was scheduled to be held in Philadelphia, PA, but like so many things in our world of covid cooties, the organizers decided it was best to do a virtual conference. That was a wise decision, but it certainly changes the dynamics of a conference. I thought it was fitting to add the above parody I posted last year.

The last warning sliver moon in March.Sasha: “Do you like my La Llorona eyes?”

Marble: “No Sasha! This is how you make La Lorona eyes!”

Neither of you has it right. You need to be crying. Sasha & Marble: “Cats don’t cry! Stupid La Llorona!”

Silver: “La Llorona? Meh!”

Spunk: “No stinking La Llorona will get to me behind these bars!”

Glenda: “What’s that you say?”

“La la la La Llorona?”

Loki: “I’m not impressed!”

“Talk to the paws and claws La Llorona!”

Gwendolyn: “Yeah! Talk to the paws!”

Daddy Owl: “I don’t see no stinking La Llorona! What’s that you say? La Llorona can shapeshift into an owl? Ha ha ho ho hoo who. That’s a Hoot!”

 

Blondy & The Owls

Blondy feeding on an elm tree by the irrigation ditch.

Above is a 48-second video of Blondy feeding on an elm tree. The video is a little shaky because it is handheld at sunset, and Blondy was backlit. I had to push the exposure two stops to get detail in Blondy. The video gives you an idea of how slow and deliberate porcupines are. Blondy is in some ways like a monkey and other ways like a sloth.

Mama Owl

Daddy Owl

Daddy Owl and Mama Owl

The Sacrificial Roll

Spunk view.

A few hours after the current very restrictive lockdown was announced that put a capacity of 25% or 75 people, whichever is smaller, in any store that was allowed to be open, people went nuts, rushed out, and bought out all the toilet paper. I ordered a box of 80 rolls of super-soft, 2-Ply, 100% Recycled Fiber Bulk Toilet Paper on-line at a reasonable price, less than Costco’s Kirkland brand. The cats, especially Spunk, Silver, and Marble, worked and worked on getting the box of toilet paper opened. When I walked into the dance room on Saturday morning November 21st, I discovered the kitties had managed to get into the box and pull out a roll of toilet paper and had started shredding it. Fortunately, one roll was enough for them — the sacrificial roll. We hadn’t realized a roll of toilet paper could be so much fun. Since then they have been slowly shredding it. Spunk, Silver, and Marble have been taking turns beating up and chewing on the roll.

Video of Spunk, Silver, and Marble playing with the roll of toilet paper. All three really go at it, but Silver and Marble were reluctant to really beat up the roll when the camera was rolling.

The freshly frayed roll.

The kitties really like beating up on the roll on top of the card table.

Marble admiring her work.

Silver looked crazed.

Spunk’s tail by his tiger tail he uses to protect us that he placed by the toilet paper.

Spunk at 4:00 am with his tiger tail and toilet paper.

 

Cranes in the Key of C

On October 28, 2020, I posted One, Three, Four with five photos of Sandhill Cranes. Marina Kanavaki at Marina Kanavaki dot com commented: “One, three, four, three, three… that would make a very interesting beat!” I replied “¡Sí! C Em F Em Em as in C EmEmEm FFFF EmEmEm EmEmEm repeat.” I wrote lyrics and played the 1, 3, 4, 3, 3 chord progression on the guitar and recorded Cranes in the Key of C. I put the song together with footage of cranes flying above me, in a field, and over the Rio Grande.