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In Case of Bomb ...

Choppers from the feds are hanging out in Santa Fe to work on nuclear attack readiness

Local NewsThursday, September 21, 2017 by Jeff Proctor

Low-flying, unmarked helicopters have been circling Santa Fe this week. But they're green, not black, and officials say there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation: to get ready for a possible nuclear attack.

An alphabet soup of federal agencies—including the FBI and the Defense Department—are nearing the end of a five-day training exercise in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, Energy Department spokeswoman Jessica Szymanski tells SFR in an email.

It has a name: "Prominent Hunt 17-2." (Seriously.) The agencies have been doing it twice a year since 2012, Szymanski says, making a point of disabusing SFR of the notion that helicopters in the sky over our fair city in preparation for the end of the world might have anything to do with President Donald Trump's ongoing game of rhetorical one-upmanship with North Korea's young dictator.

"The exercise is for operational readiness to respond in the event of a nuclear detonation in the US or overseas," her email goes on to say. "It is not in response to any ongoing world events."  

Santa Fe Municipal Airport Director Cameron Humphres says the Department of Energy notified the city's air traffic control tower last week that two helicopters for the exercise would use the airport as an operations base.

Helicopter pilots aren't required to file flight plans with the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Humphres. The FAA’s Flight Standards District Office in Albuquerque has informed the airport, however, that several people made complaints about the operation.


Residents have reported seeing the helicopters over Cerrillos Road and also St. Francis Drive, as well as near Nava Elementary School and the Sangre de Cristo foothills.


The Department of Energy includes the National Nuclear Security Administration and oversees operations at Los Alamos National Laboratory.




 

The Fork

Football and Fiesta

The ForkThursday, September 21, 2017 by Eli Seratt

Football and Fiesta

Hey, y’all!

Fall might not officially start until tomorrow, but any football fan will tell you differently: we’re heading into the fourth weekend of college ball and the third weekend of NFL games.

I graduated from an SEC school (that's "Southeastern Conference," for non-sports types), where the motto is “we may not win every game, but we’ve never lost a party.” That seems to be a good attitude for UNM or NMSU fans to adopt, too; after all, it puts the focus away from sad football stats and back where it should be, which is on eating and drinking.

If you’re headed to a tailgate this weekend, or are just sick of watching games at a bar, try this twist on the classic spinach and artichoke dip. Not only is this recipe super easy, it’s vegan and gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy it.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • 2 ½ to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • ¾ cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups frozen artichoke hearts, partially thawed
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 2 cups fresh spinach

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Blend almond milk, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and cashews until very smooth.
  3. Add artichokes and spinach. Pulse briefly, leaving chunky texture.
  4. Add 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, roughly chopped.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown on top.

Serve with blue corn tortilla chips and the satisfaction of knowing you won the tailgate.


Forkin’ Around

The 27th annual Wine and Chile Fiesta starts next Wednesday, Sept. 27, bringing in a long weekend of great food and even better wine. Check out the schedule of wine dinners, or grab one of the last few tickets to the Grand Tasting. Fear not, foodies on a budget: Violet Crown is hosting the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Film Fiesta Sunday and Monday. The $30 tickets include a wine and food reception at 5 pm and your choice of two films at 6 pm.


Good news for restaurant industry folks: State Capital Kitchen (500 Sandoval St., 467-8237) will offer twice monthly Industry Nights starting in October. Swing by for free educational wine tastings and stick around for food truck tastiness and great deals on wine!

Starting tomorrow, Sky Coffee (1609 Alcaldesa St.) will bring a much-needed jolt of caffeine to the Railyard. You can find it in the old Welder’s Supply building, across the street from the water tower.

Fans of Raaga (544 Agua Fria St., 820-6440) should head over there, like, yesterday. Last week, they announced via Facebook post that they will close their doors Saturday, seemingly for good, upon advice from Chef Paddy Rawal’s doctor. Stop in to savor your faves one last time, or pick up a copy of one of Chef Paddy’s cookbooks and try to recreate it at home!


Last week, we asked our out-of-town friends how they get their green chile fix. One story took the cake.  Writes Donna Crane of DC:

"We bought a large cooler on wheels—the kind you'd take to the beach—and check it empty as luggage on the flight out.  We head to the farmers market first thing Saturday morning, place our order for as many baggies of roasted peppers as they'll sell us, pack them into our cooler and check the now-full cooler home to the East Coast.

The last time we traveled home I found myself at Dulles airport waiting for the cooler to land on the luggage carousel. Guy next to me got his cooler first. 'What's in yours?' I asked.

‘Meat,’ he said. ‘Yours?’  
‘Roasted chile,’ I replied. 
He stopped, stared, and said: ‘Woah.’”


Sky Coffee’s opening has the caffeine addict in me wondering—where has the most interesting coffee drinks in Santa Fe?  I know my vote, but I’ll wait to hear y’all’s before I reveal it.

Until next week!

Eli


What news do you want to see in this newsletter? We want to hear from you! Let us know! Email thefork@sfreporter.com


Morning Word: Pay-to-Play Allegations for Martinez

Morning WordThursday, September 21, 2017 by Matt Grubs

Pay-to-play pop-up
Gov. Susana Martinez was elected in part on a campaign that railed against the perceived pay-to-play operations of the Bill Richardson Administration. No more, candidate Martinez promised. An investigation by the International Business Times and Maplight, a campaign finance tracking group, shows firms that made contributions to Martinez-favored causes or, in some cases, whose executives made donations to Martinez herself, earned millions in fees off investments. The governor's office didn't think much of the story.

Family of motorcyclist sues city
Just this week, SFR recalled the story of Jerry Hicks in our cover story on distracted driving. Hicks was killed when a driver who told police she was distracted ran into his motorcycle as he sat at a dark stoplight during a power outage. Now, the Albuquerque Journal reports Hicks' family is suing the city, claiming plans for the Southside intersection called for a battery backup to be installed in the light. They say it never was. 

Diversionary tactics
An American Airlines flight from Dallas to Santa Fe had to make the trip twice on Tuesday night after a faulty wind sensor at the airport didn't give pilots the proper reading. The equipment is owned by the National Weather Service, which says it's been reliable except for two incidents in roughly a year. That's cold comfort for passengers on the flight, who ended up getting in on Wednesday instead. No word on whether American doubled their frequent flier miles.

A lesson for the kids
State police say 23-year-old Gabriella Uzueta was drunk when she rear-ended an Española school bus yesterday. The bus was stopped, lights on, picking up kids. It was 7:30 am. Uzueta apparently got out and argued with the bus driver before taking off. The Española Police Department caught up with her half an hour later after they say she caused a second accident in town. State police say one of the kids on the bus caught her license plate in a cellphone video.

Medicaid angst
The ballooning cost of the federal health care program, which the state partially pays for and for which it also gets a large federal money infusion, is creating a crisis at the Roundhouse. State lawmakers assailed a plan to defray some of the rising cost by charging premiums and co-pays and by reducing some benefits. The governor also voiced some concerns about the Republican Graham-Cassidy bill that aims to replace Obamacare. 

Wild fire season
New Mexico has had a quietly active fire season, but it's nothing compared to some of the massive wildfires the state has seen in the past. Meanwhile, it seems nearly everywhere else in the West is on fire. So, New Mexico fire crews numbering about 100 people strong have been sent to help out, including on blaze burning in the Columbia River Gorge.

Bandana man
In a police report filed 10 days after protests at the Entrada during Fiestas, officers say Julian Rodriguez, of California, wore his bandana as a mask. That violated a hasty ban on masks worn on the Plaza, put into place just days before the event. Police say Rodriguez refused to stay in so-called free speech zones and to get off the Plaza, which an officer told him had become private property because of the Fiesta Council's permit.

A really lame record
New Mexico's Insurance Superintendent just approved the highest premium increases in the four years of the state's health insurance exchange. The average rate will go up a whopping 40 percent next year for the 55,000 New Mexicans who buy their insurance on the exchange. The superintendent says his financial staff doesn't see any excess profits generated by the rate hikes.

Thanks for reading! The Word encourages you to go for a walk, because we would not be surprised if banks soon start offering health insurance loans that you can roll into your mortgage.

Spread the Word at sfreporter.com/santafe/signup.

Morning Word: Read Our Lips

Morning WordWednesday, September 20, 2017 by Matt Grubs

No new taxes
For the second time in less than five months, voters in Santa Fe have roundly rejected a proposed tax increase. This time around, 70 percent of the nearly 8,000 votes went against a one-sixteenth percent addition to the gross receipts tax in Santa Fe County. In May, city voters defeated the proposed sugary-drink tax increase. It was a tiny turnout—barely more than eight percent. The $2.3 million projected to have been raised each year would have supported public safety and behavioral health programs. They'll still get funding, because the County Commission voted to increase gross receipts tax one-eighth of a percent on their own.

Maestas in for mayor
Joseph Maestas has decided he'll run for mayor. The District 2 city councilor announced his decision yesterday afternoon. Along with Ron Trujillo and Peter Ives, Maestas is the third of the city's eight councilors to run for the seat being vacated by Mayor Javier Gonzales. The announcement by Maestas, who was once mayor of Española, means there are now no candidates running for the District 2 council seat.

Number one, with a tear
New Mexico is far and away leading the nation in the percentage of children living in poverty. More than a third of the state's kids live in homes with incomes below the poverty line, according to US Census Bureau data released this week. New Mexico's 36 percent mark dwarfs even the second place state, Mississippi. State lawmakers are using the numbers to bolster their effort to pull more money from the state's permanent funds to provide for early childhood development programs.

Blinded me with 'science'
Proposed new science standards for New Mexico schools have been altered to replace climate change with "climate fluctuation." Evolution becomes "biological diversity." Critics say it's pandering to the far right wing of the Republican Party. The state has said it's a way to honor "diversity of perspectives." The science community around the state says science doesn't really do that, and the Public Education Department's own advisory groups warned against just such a thing happening.

Meep, meep ... aw, forget it
The Rail Runner Express, New Mexico's commuter train, has really lousy Wi-Fi service. The towers that handle the sometimes fast-moving signal from the sometimes fast-moving train are down between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The train is desperate for more riders, but as SFR found out this week, the Wi-Fi isn't likely to get better before the end of next year. 

City shutters homeless camp
The city of Santa Fe put the screws to the owner of vacant land just off Cerrillos Road on Fifth Street. The spot had become a homeless camp in recent years and the city eventually started worrying about safety of both the general public and the people who lived from time to time on the property. A private waste-removal company cleared the land yesterday as police watched. The trash is gone, but the concern for the homeless is sticking around.

Suffering for a good story
Kevin Fedarko has seen the Grand Canyon in a way the vast majority of us never will: He's hiked its length. There's no easy way to do that, though. In fact, the trek he took with photographer Peter McBride required the pair to likely walk two and a half times the length of the Colorado River's 277 miles through the canyon. SFR details the cause behind the journey in this week's issue.

Still gorgeous
It continues to be a fantastic fall (well, almost; it starts Friday) here in Santa Fe. Temperatures will keep hitting the high 70s the rest of the week, with plenty of sun and no chance of rain until the weekend, when temperatures will drop a few degrees and you'll be tempted to break out those sweaters.

Thanks for reading! The Word hopes you caught the sunrise today. Damnnnnn.

Spread the Word at sfreporter.com/santafe/signup.

The Same, but Different

New Mexico’s new school science standards might leave out climate change, evolution

Local NewsTuesday, September 19, 2017 by Matt Grubs

A hand-picked group of math and science experts said not to do it.

A focus group of 85 teachers, professors and school administrators, convened by former Education Secretary Hanna Skandera, said not to do it.

Christopher Ruszkowski wants to do it.

More than four years after a succession of professional groups began urging the state’s Public Education Department to implement unmodified Next Generation Science Standards in New Mexico schools, Ruszkowski—the governor’s pick to replace Skandera—is recommending new standards that change curriculum on human-caused climate change and evolution.

The state’s guidelines for the science taught in classrooms haven’t been updated since 2003, and those standards were based on recommendations from 1996. This spring, SFR highlighted the stalled push to change them, and the growing concern among the scientific and educational community that political differences were behind the holdup.

The proposed revisions are woven throughout the standards, and make changes such as switching the words “process of evolution” to “biological diversity” or turning “climate change” into “climate fluctuation.”

Neither the governor nor Skandera would comment then and Ruszkowski wouldn’t answer questions from SFR this week.

“The PED has and will continue to listen and respond to input from all of New Mexico’s stakeholders across the state when putting together new content standards,” said Deputy Secretary of School Transformation Debbie Montoya in a comment emailed from a PED spokeswoman.

Now, the state is in a 30-day window for the public to submit comments about the proposed plans, and many are wondering just whom the department has been listening to if it hasn’t taken the advice of its own advisory groups.

“I think overwhelmingly both the educational and scientific community are disheartened by the proposed changes,” says Gwen Perea Warniment, the K-12 program director for the LANL Foundation. She’s part of a group that teaches inquiry-based science in New Mexico classrooms. That curriculum is based on the Next Generation standards, but meets current science requirements.

Warniment is also a member of the PED’s Math and Science Advisory Council. The council last met in April and she hasn’t heard anything since then that led her to believe Ruszkowski’s decision was coming.

She spent Tuesday morning speaking with the LANL Foundation’s board about the proposed standards that were announced last week, and tells SFR that the board is concerned about “the hazy process through which these amendments have come into existence.”

Charles Goodmacher, a spokesman for the New Mexico branch of the National Education Association teachers union, says the proposed standards swap out established scientific principles for “non-scientific notions.”

He says the term “climate fluctuation” is an example of the corrosive effect of putting political, unscientific terminology into science standards. “While that may sound like balanced language, given that average annual temperatures do indeed rise and fall over time, in reality global temperatures continue their upward trend,” he says.

There’s no scientific debate over evolution or climate change, Goodmacher says. The differences are purely political.

State Rep. Andrés Romero, D-Albuquerque, says the new standards amount to “pandering to the extreme right in the Republican Party.”

Romero tells SFR the rhetoric he’s heard from the education secretary has indicated the changes are supposed to reflect diverse perspectives and local values, but he says the state has already heard from science teachers around the state.

“When the PED originally put together the group, that was supposed to be a lot of the buy-in from the local level. So I really don’t understand where he’s coming from in terms of local control,” he says.

He worries that politicizing science standards now will penalize the state’s high school graduates when they go on to college or enter the job market.

“Nobody at Sandia or LANL is going to hire somebody who doesn’t have a solid science education,” Camilla Feibelman of the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande chapter says. “NASA data shows that 2016 was the hottest year on record, breaking consecutive previous highs in 2014 and 2015. The 10 hottest years on record have all come since 1998. That’s data. That’s not belief. That’s just what the science shows.”

Feibelman says her group will mobilize to oppose the altered standards.

Warniment says her foundation is working on a statement voicing its own concerns and plans to release it this week. While she’s disheartened by the department’s proposal, she adds: “I respect a lot of people at PED and feel like they’re thoughtful. I hope that they listen to their stakeholders.”


MetroGlyphs

09.20.17

MetroGlyphsTuesday, September 19, 2017 by SFR
Russ Thornton is a Santa Fe local who has replaced his first passion, cooking, with a new love interest, the weekly SFR comic he's created called MetroGlyphs. Reach him at santafechef@hotmail.com

7 Days

09.20.17

7 DaysWednesday, September 20, 2017 by SFR
1

MORE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES LEAN TOWARD RECREATIONAL CANNABIS LEGALIZATION

Except—surprise—Steve Pearce, who is running on the “I Hate Laughing With My Friends and Eating Snacks” platform.

2

H&M OPENS IN THE SANTA FE PLACE MALL

If one thing’s gonna save this town, it’s low-low prices on fast fashion destined for thrift stores and landfills.

3

TAOS TO GET IHOP, STARBUCKS

Yeah, but we’ve got the H&M ...

4

NEW MEXICO MOVES UP TO THIRD FROM LAST IN STATE POVERTY RANKINGS

See below.

5

PROPOSED ORDINANCE would REQUIRE PANHANDLERS TO STAY 20 FEET FROM BUSINESSES

Tourism head says it’s about making downtown shopping more pleasant—because nothing ruins a fun day of shopping like being confronted by people struggling to survive.  

6

TRUMP CALLS KIM JoNG UN “ROCKETMAN” AT UNITED NATIONS

Sticks and stones and nuclear bombs can totally hurt you.

7

INDIAN RESTAURANT RAAGA TO CLOSE THIS WEEKEND

Can’t Meow Wolf just take over and “curate” an “installation” wherein performers act as waiters and high-caliber Indian food chefs?


Caution: Do Not Surf on Tracks

Commuter train Wi-Fi is spotty, unreliable and not a priority for transit managers

Local NewsWednesday, September 20, 2017 by Sara MacNeil

Don Davenport stares out the window as the train zips north toward his home in Santa Fe. The television writer laments that work on his current script will have to wait as he boards the Rail Runner in Los Lunas, where he’d been visiting friends.

An unstable internet connection renders his commute unproductive. “It’s two hours looking at the pretty scenery, but I could be working,” Davenport tells SFR on a recent Thursday afternoon.

When Gov. Bill Richardson rolled out plans for the New Mexico Rail Runner Express in 2003, the project was justified as a means to free up commuter traffic on I-25. In many ways, the train was meant for working professionals.

The Rail Runner travels up to 79 mph between Santa Fe and Belen. At its sporadic stops, the train’s doors shut with the same “beep-beep” noise the Looney Tunes roadrunner makes. The snail-like internet connection clashes with naming the train after one of the world’s fastest running birds, and compares only in the way it rarely leaves the ground.

Internet connection has been spotty at best for the past two years and there’s no determined repair date, says Augusta Meyers, communications manager at the Rio Metro Regional Transit District, which is on contract to manage the train system for the state. The communications towers on which the system relies are out of commission from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, leaving riders at the mercy of which car they’re in and where the train is traveling along its route.

Further, radios once used in the train’s cars in conjunction with the towers were made by Alvarion, an original Rail Runner contractor that filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

The Rio Metro website says the train’s Wi-Fi system is being re-engineered, but Meyers admits that isn’t a priority. It won’t be until the end of next year, when officials hope to have installed a Positive Train Control system (PTC), a federally mandated safety system that slows the train down automatically. New Wi-Fi installation must be coordinated with the PTC.

The long stretch of months with little or no internet connection is not sitting well with some who ride the train.

“If the focus is on professionals and business people, you need to have connectivity,” Davenport says.

David Hunt, who works in information technology, understands the Rail Runner’s conundrum. He says providing consistent connection takes planning and money that officials don’t have.

“You live in an urban area, you take for granted that fast internet is everywhere and cheap,” he says.

Other places have struggled with how to keep people connected on their commuter trains, too.

Jon Mora, his wife and baby left Santa Fe after visiting with family. He said he didn’t care the train didn’t have internet. 
“I’m old-school. I don’t even know how to work a computer.”
Sara MacNeil
Boston recently chose PTC compliance over a Wi-Fi upgrade, according to published reports. Officials in that city already had delayed an extensive project to install towers along the route after public concern over poles detracting from neighborhood character.

There are 22 towers along the 99-mile Rail Runner line, and the Wi-Fi system is private. Train cars don’t rely on cell towers because there’s not enough coverage through rural areas, Meyers says.

Outfitting the Rail Runner with a new Wi-Fi system will cost $2 to $5 million, she says. The PTC will cost an estimated $50 million, but Meyers says neither of the eye-popping price tags is likely to lead to limited operation or service cuts.

The Rail Runner is funded through gross receipt taxes, federal grants, fares and fees paid by Amtrak and BNSF for using the line. The train does not rely on state appropriations for operations or maintenance.

Santa Fe City Councilor Joseph Maestas, chair of the city/county Metropolitan Planning Organization, says ticket fares pay only a small fraction of what it costs to operate the Rail Runner, and public transportation won’t prosper unless the Legislature creates a dedicated funding source for it. “There’s a mixed bag of funding and a lot of jurisdictions involved. Throw in an unfunded federal mandate and it creates so many problems,” he says.

Meyers says there’s been a decline in ridership over the past three years, with current daily average ridership for weekdays between 2,500 to 2,800. In 2014, that number was closer to 2,800 to 3,000. Still, the train draws a crowd.

Commuters left Santa Fe Depot on a recent evening, joining tourists on the train after work. Some accepted or enjoyed being unplugged, while others complained about the lack of internet connection and spotty cellphone coverage through tribal lands.

Eric Haskins, an architect at Lloyd & Associates, talked about erratic coverage through Kewa and San Felipe Pueblos, saying it might be a result of cell phone providers not installing towers in those areas.

Haskins is a staunch defender of the Rail Runner, particularly when it finds its way into the crosshairs of Republicans searching for examples of publicly funded largesse. He says Wi-Fi is a luxury, and he’s satisfied with getting to and from work without harm. As he puts it: “It’s safer to be on the train than on I-25 with a bunch of Mario Andrettis.”


Savage Love

Dicks Deluxe

Savage LoveWednesday, September 20, 2017 by Dan Savage

I am a 35-year-old straight guy. I met a nice lady through the normal methods, and we hit it off and have grown closer. I think we are both considering “taking it to the next level.” We are on the same intellectual wavelength, enjoy the same social experiences, and have a lot of fun together. So what could be the problem? My friend decided it was the time to inform me that she is transgender, pre-op, and will not be having gender-reassignment surgery. This was quite a shock to me. I’m not homophobic, though I’ve never had a gay experience. I’m open-minded, yet there is a mental block. I like this person, I like our relationship thus far, and I want to continue this relationship. But I’m in a state of confusion.

-Confused Over Complicating Knowledge

Lemme get this out of way first, COCK: The nice lady isn’t a man, so sex with her wouldn’t be a “gay experience” and homophobia isn’t the relevant term.

Moving on…

You’re a straight guy, you’re attracted to women, and some women—as you now know—have dicks. Are you into dick? Could you develop a taste for dick? Could you see yourself making an exception for her dick? It’s fine if “no” is the answer to one or all of these questions, COCK, and not being into dick doesn’t make you transphobic. Evan Urquhart, who writes about trans issues for Slate, argues that in addition to being gay, straight, bi, pan, demi, etc., some people are phallophiles and some are vaginophiles—that is, some people (perhaps most) have a strong preference for either partners with dicks or partners with vaginas. And some people—most people—want their dicks on men and their labia on/vaginas in women.

“There’s no shame in it, as long as it doesn’t come from a place of ignorance or hate,” Urquhart writes. “Mature adults should be able to talk plainly about their sexuality, particularly with prospective partners, in a way that doesn’t objectify or shame anyone who happens to be packing the non-preferred equipment.”

Some straight guys are really into dick (trans women with male partners usually aren’t partnered with gay men, and trans women who do sex work typically don’t have any gay male clients), some straight guys are willing to make an exception for a particular dick (after falling in love with a woman who has one), but most straight guys aren’t into dick (other than their own).

Since you’re confused about what to do, COCK, I would encourage you to continue dating this woman, keep an open mind, and keep taking things slow. You’ve got new information to process, and some things—or one thing—to think about before taking this relationship to the next level. But don’t drag it out. If you conclude that the dick is a deal breaker, end this relationship with compassion and alacrity. You don’t want to keep seeing her “to be nice” if you know a relationship isn’t possible. Because letting someone live in false hope is always a dick move.


A few months ago, I started dating someone. I made it clear early on that I didn’t feel comfortable being in a nonmonogamous relationship. They said that’s not usually what they’re into but they weren’t interested in seeing anyone else and they had no problem being monogamous. It’s not that I don’t trust them, and they’ve never given any indication that they’re unhappy with our arrangement, but I can’t shake the fears that, though they won’t admit it (maybe even to themselves), they’d prefer it if our relationship were more open and I’m taking something important away from them. Can someone who usually doesn’t “do” monogamy feel fulfilled in a “closed” relationship? Can it work out, or will they just slowly grow to resent me for this?

-Deliriously Anxious Monogamist Nervously Inquires Today

If you stay together forever—what most people mean by “work out”—your partner will definitely grow to resent you. It could be for this reason, DAMNIT, or for some other reason, but all people in long-term relationships resent their partners for something. So if monogamy is the price of admission this person is willing to pay, let them pay it. There are a lot of people out there in closed relationships who would rather be in open ones and vice versa. And remember: What works for you as a couple—and what you want as an individual—can change over time.


My relationship with my husband is bad. We have been together for twelve years, and we were married for eight years before getting divorced last year. We have small kids. We reconciled four months after the divorce, despite the affair I had. I have a history of self-sabotage, but in my relationship with him, it has become near constant. Everyone thinks I’m a smart and kind person that occasionally makes mistakes, but I’m not that person with him. With him, I’m awful. I make promises I don’t keep and I don’t do the right things to make him feel loved even though I do loving things. We have been in couples therapy a number of times, but I always derail the process. I have been in therapy solo a number of times with similar results. I always get the therapists on my side and no real change happens. I want to change but I haven’t. I want to stop hurting him but I keep doing it. He doesn’t feel like I have ever really fought for him or the relationship. Why can’t I change?

-My Enraging Self-Sabotaging Yearnings

It’s unlikely I’ll be able to do for you in print what three couples counselors and all those therapists couldn’t do for you in person, i.e., help you change your ways—if, indeed, it’s your ways that require changing. Have you ever entertained the thought that maybe there’s a reason every counselor or therapist you see winds up taking your side? Is it possible that you’re not the problem? Are you truly awful, MESSY, or has your husband convinced you that you’re awful in order to have the upper hand in your relationship? (Yeah, yeah, you had an affair. Lots of people do and lots of marriages survive them.)

If you’re not being manipulated—if you’re not the victim of an expert gaslighter—and you’re awful and all your efforts to change have been in vain, MESSY, perhaps you should stop trying. You are who you are, your husband knows who you are, and if he wants to be with you, as awful as you are (or as awful as he’s managed to convince you that you are), that’s his choice and he needs to take some responsibility for it. By “stop trying” I don’t mean you should stop making an effort to be a better person or a more loving partner—we should all constantly strive to be better people and more loving partners—but you can’t spend the rest of your life on a therapist’s couch. Or the rack.

If you truly make your husband miserable, he should leave you. If your marriage makes you miserable (or if he does), you should leave him. But if neither of you is going anywhere, MESSY, then you’ll both just have to make the best of your messy selves and your messy marriage.


On the Lovecast, Dan chats with Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern about left-wing anti-Semitism: savagelovecast.com

mail@savagelove.net
@fakedansavage on Twitter
ITMFA.org

3 Questions

with Luis Tapia

3 QuestionsWednesday, September 20, 2017 by Alex De Vore

With the release of the book Borderless: The Art of Luis Tapia earlier this year, sculptor Tapia celebrates a career spanning more than four decades and, in the process, creates a retrospective anyone should be proud of. A massive and stunning overview of Tapia’s life’s work as a sculptor/wood carver that not only showcases great talent (such as the above self-portrait from 1995), it’s a staggering example of a prolific artist who never seems short on ideas. Lowrider culture, religious iconography, Northern New Mexico lifestyle and beyond are dissected and represented—not bad for a guy who was once asked to leave Spanish Market. Tapia signs copies of the book at 2 pm this Sunday at the Museum of International Folk Art (706 Camino Lejo, 476-1200) during the third annual Museum Hill Community Day, and we think you should be there. Meet Luis Tapia—your new hero.

What comes after a huge book like this? Does it feel like a new chapter, so to speak?
It’s amazing to see. It’s my entire life, other than the sex. It’s 45 years. It’s 216 pages. It’s remarkable to see that. I’ve been working on these pieces for 45 years, give or take a day here and there, and all of a sudden ... these aren’t all the pieces I’ve done, but to see the core of these works come together in one unit. ... I don’t like talking about my work a lot. I like to leave it up to the viewer. I like the viewer to do it. I don’t have a lot of the answers myself. I can’t write it down, I’m not a guy who can get up on a stage and make all these explanations, but I can do it with my hands.

Your wife (historian/author Carmella Padilla) told me you prefer to be called “sculptor” over “santero.” Can you explain the difference?
This goes back to the historical aspects of my work. I started doing traditional work, which was santero work—the making of religious objects, especially in the style of Northern New Mexico. But as time developed and I started to expand my work little by little, eventually I didn’t do the traditional work anymore. It’s unfair for me to call myself a santero when there are 300 at [Spanish Market] every year who are santeros. Mine doesn’t resemble theirs; I prefer the title sculptor because it gives me freedom in what I do.

In the 1970s, you were asked to leave Spanish Market for not being “traditional enough.” Was this a bad thing? A good thing?
That was the best thing that ever happened to me. At the time I didn’t think so, because I had two kids on the ground and was sculpting full-time, and it was very difficult in those days. Spanish Market was the only alternative Hispanic artists had—a lot of the galleries didn’t want to carry santos. It was pretty scary, but I started going to markets all around the country instead. I started exhibiting my work more outside the state than in; I wasn’t even known in New Mexico anymore.


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