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More petroglyphs

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During our 2014 western trip we visited several sections of Albuquerque’s Petroglyph National Monument.



Having already done that, on October 15th of this year
we spent only a short while at one section, Boca Negra Canyon.



The petroglyphed rock above reminds me of a tombstone.
The boulder at the top sported more glyphs than I noticed on any other single stone at Boca Negra Canyon.





Even if, like these petroglyphs, you’re of a certain age and you know that among the greatest songwriters for American shows and movies in the 20th century were Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Lowe, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Cole Porter, you may never have heard of the composer Harry Warren. Born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna in 1893, he later teamed up with various lyricists to write many popular songs, especially for movies. “He wrote the music for the first blockbuster film musical, 42nd Street, choreographed by Busby Berkeley, with whom he would collaborate on many musical films.” If you’re familiar with that sort of music, you probably know “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “The Gold Diggers’ Song (We’re in the Money),” “That’s Amore,” “There Will Never Be Another You,” “The More I See You,” “At Last,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “You’ll Never Know,” and “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.”

Nevertheles, as William Zinsser noted: “The familiarity of Harry Warren’s songs is matched by the anonymity of the man… he is the invisible man, his career a prime example of the oblivion that cloaked so many writers who cranked out good songs for bad movies.” You’re welcome to read more about Harry Warren.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 17, 2022 at 4:30 AM

More from the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

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By popular acclaim—or just because I felt like it—here are six more pictures from our
October 12th wanderings at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site near Tularosa, New Mexico.



⇡ We might take the main shape as a heart, but is that how whoever made the petroglyph saw it?



⇡ Is that an animal? Perhaps a rabbit leaping?

⇣ This seems to be another longhorn sheep.



⇣ In the odd-numbered pictures here, the landscape is as appealing as the petroglyphs.



⇣ You can conjure up your own tale (or tail) about this one:





§        §        §



We did not fight a Civil War about oboe players. We did fight a Civil War to eliminate racial discrimination.”
— John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court; October 31, 2022.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 3, 2022 at 4:35 AM

More than petroglyphs and a shade-seeking squirrel

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At Petroglyphs National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th I saw plenty of flowering broom dalea plants (Dalea scoparia). Unlike the squirrel that tried to stay in the shade, these plants thrive in heat and bright sunlight. Here’s a closer look:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 20, 2017 at 5:02 AM

More than petroglyphs

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I photographed more than petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th. Presumably to avoid the heat of the sun, this squirrel kept scrunching itself down into some of the narrow shadows cast by a picnic shelter.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 19, 2017 at 4:46 AM

Petroglyph National Monument again

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On June 13th we visited Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque for the second time, our previous visit having been in the fall of 2014. This time we walked a trail we hadn’t on that first visit, the Cliff Base Trail in Boca Negra Canyon.

The third picture gives you a feel for the desert landscape around there.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2017 at 4:59 AM


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After the recent posts with nature photographs from Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, a couple of people asked to see pictures of petroglyphs, so here goes. The first photograph is from September 23rd; the flowers at the base of the rock are broom snakeweed.

Petroglyph with Broom Snakeweed 0273

This second picture is also from the Boca Negra Canyon section of Petroglyph National Monument on September 23rd. This time the plant at the lower right is a four-wing saltbush, Atriplex canescens.

Petroglyphs with Four-Wing Saltbush 0283

And here are some petroglyphs from September 30th at the Deer Valley Rock Art Center in northwest Phoenix. Note in the lower right what appear to be two male deer.

Deer Valley Petroglyphs 2152

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 9, 2014 at 5:29 AM

Enjoy a cholla

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Make that three of them. The first two cholla cacti (Cylindropuntia sp.) were growing in New Mexico’s City of Rocks State Park on October 12th of last year. No extra charge for the bird’s nest.



Three days later I lay on my mat on the ground at the visitor center for Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque so I could incorporate the morning’s cottony clouds into my portrait.



And so as the sun sets in the west we bid farewell, at least for now,
to posts about our scenic travels in New Mexico and west Texas last October.


✪       ✪       ✪


I call your attention to a January 6th article in Quillette by Andrew Doyle titled “A Puritanical Assault on the English Language,” with subtitle “Social justice zealots think they can save the world by inventing absurd new ways to describe it.” Here’s how the article begins:

It is a truism that people are often educated out of extreme religious beliefs. With good education comes the ability to think critically, which is the death knell for ideologies that are built on tenuous foundations. The religion of Critical Social Justice has spread at an unprecedented rate, partly because it makes claims to authority in the kind of impenetrable language that discourages the sort of criticism and scrutiny that would see it collapse upon itself. Some would argue that this is one of the reasons why the Catholic Church resisted translating the Bible into the vernacular for so long; those in power are always threatened when the plebeians start thinking for themselves and asking inconvenient questions.

This tactic of deliberately restricting knowledge produces epistemic closure, and is a hallmark of all cults. The elitist lexicon of Critical Social Justice not only provides an effective barrier against criticism and a means to sound informed while saying very little, but also signals membership and discourages engagement from those outside the bubble.

It is inevitable that the principle of freedom of speech should become a casualty when powerful people are obsessed with language and its capacity to shape the world. Revolutionaries of the postmodernist mindset would have us believe that societal change can be actuated through modifications to the language that describes it, which is why Max Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School maintained that it was not possible to conceive of the liberated world in the language of the existing world. As for the new puritans, they have embraced the belief that language is either a tool of oppression or a means to resist it. This not only accounts for their approval of censorship and “hate speech” legislation, but their inability to grasp how the artistic representation of morally objectionable ideas is not the same as an endorsement.


You’re welcome to read the full article (at least if it’s not behind a paywall).


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 12, 2023 at 4:30 AM


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English has borrowed the German word Gestalt, though without the capital letter that German uses on all its nouns (and that English used to). Here’s how the Cambridge Dictionary defines the word as used in English: ‘something such as a structure or experience that, when considered as a whole, has qualities that are more than the total of all its parts.’



I’ve noticed that each plant species has its gestalt, its characteristic way of looking. As an example, take the sand sagebrush, Artemisia filifolia, that drew my attention at the Boca Negra Canyon section of Albuquerque’s Petroglyph National Monument on October 15th. Once you’ve seen sand sagebrush, you’re not in doubt when you see it again.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 18, 2022 at 4:30 AM

Valley of Fires Recreation Area

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Obsession, foolishness, pertinacity, stubbornness, dedication: take your pick. WordPress tells me that as of today I’ve put out 4000 posts. That’s enough posts to build a gigantic wooden fortress.


Instead of doing that I’ll show you where we stopped on October 13th after we continued north from the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. As enchanted as I’d been by the Valley of Fire State Park during our 2016 visit to Nevada, how could I not stop at New Mexico’s Valley of Fires Recreation Area? The “Fires” in New Mexico are a reference to vulcanism, as you see in the top picture, which is an overview, and the next photograph, which offers a closer look at a congealed lava flow.



And here’s an upward look at a lava formation several meters high:



© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 5, 2022 at 4:30 AM

The road not taken

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The road not taken on October 12th was Interstate 25 north from Las Cruces the 225 or so miles to Albuquerque, our next three-day base of operations. Instead we headed for Albuquerque by a more circuitous route, initially toward the northeast, that let us stop at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site near Tularosa, which I’d never heard of till I did research for our New Mexico trip. And a good stop it was. The website says the property is home to more than 21,000 petroglyphs! Within the limits of our hiking I’d say we might have seen a couple of hundred, depending on how you count them. Apparently the best known petroglyph is the one above, which shows a longhorn sheep that has been shot with several arrows.



⇡ It’s sometimes hard to tell where the representational ends and the non-representational begins.



⇡ Look at the checkerboard pattern on this animal.



⇡ Some designs seem purely geometric.



⇡ Concentric circles with dots were a common motif.
There’s one toward the right in the previous photograph as well.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 2, 2022 at 4:31 AM

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