“Proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you have always known.” 

                                                                                     - from Frank Herbert's Dune                       

                                                                  Paul Klee's Cat and Bird (1928); MoMA

Latino-centric author, poet, playwright and stage director, Denise Chávez, will be at the Village Library on May 6th at 1:00 pm. (575-531-2612)

Ms. Chávez is typically profiled as a fiction writer, capturing the culture of the Border corridor. Mentored by New Mexico greats, Tony Hillerman and Rudolfo Anaya, one could wonder if she identifies herself most of all as a dramatist, naming Chekhov and O'Neill as her favorite writers.

Accomplishing not only a masters in theatre from Trinity University in San Antonio and receiving an honorary doctorate from University of NM, Chávez's plays have been produced throughout the US and Europe.

Works of fiction and for which she has received numerous awards are:  The King and Queen of Comezón (University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture (Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2006), La Ultima de Las Muchachas del Menu (Vintage, 2005), The Last of the Menu Girls (Vintage, 2004), Loving Pedro Infante (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001), Face of An Angel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994)

                                                                                   (Toss Mas!)

Artwork:  Ben the Illustrator

In the Beginning there was the Word, and the Word was … Whoa! Whoa! It was Cosmic Soup in the Beginning and the Soup spread across the lands.  The strata grew into every form and became … Whoa! That’s not it! It was Algae! And the Algae grew and spread across the mire until La Maestra came with more water and more EM. The waters cleared and the winged creatures flew in from all of the Worlds. That is how it was.

The image above is of the Foundation wastewater lagoon years back when there was a problem resulting in a huge explosion of algae. To the left you will find it as it has been for years now - pristine and fresh.  EM - Effective Microorganisms is added regularly along with plenty of water to maintain the lagoon without issue or any offending smell.  The state requires clearing of the land around it, a safety fence and a test well. (Fence installed by Bob Cook and Foundation members.) Birds and other wildlife come into the area often.  Photos:  Maya

Algae:  any of numerous groups of chlorophyll-containing, mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms ranging from microscopic single-celled forms to multicellular forms 100 feet (30 meters) or more long, distinguished from plants by the absence of true roots, stems, and leaves and by a lack of nonreproductive cells in the reproductive structures: classified into the six phyla Euglenophyta, Crysophyta, Pyrrophyta,Chlorophyta, Phaeophyta, and Rhodophyta.

They also fix large amounts of carbon, which would otherwise exist in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Algae form a major component of marine plankton and are often visible as pond scum and blooms in tidal pools. Land species mostly live in moist soil and on tree trunks or rocks. Some species live in extreme environments, such as deserts, hot springs, and glaciers. Although they were once classified as plants, the algae are now considered to be protists, with the exception of blue-green algae, now identified as cyanobacteria.

Maya recently reported that there are 2 Cranes, 10 Ruddies, 2 Stilts and 6 pair of breeding Avocets on the lagoon.

Top left - Black-necked Stilt; right - pair of Whoopers; bottom left - Ruddy Duck; bottom right - American Avocet

Take a look at this recent fish kill (below) in Florida. It is said to extend miles. Oyster beds and sea grasses are dead or dying, as well. The photo is quite beautiful in some respects yet shows results from obscure and fatal issues with the water. Florida has to contend with heavy rains. Florida, like New Mexico and many other states, is a huge user of chemicals for agriculture and landscaping. The rains are returning all of this to the estuaries. There has also been a massive algae bloom due to warm temperatures, depleting the waters of oxygen due to the darkness it provides and this has contributed to great loss.

                                                                                                                       Photo:  HuffPost

Street-artist Okuda San Miguel  completed the transformation of La Iglesias Skate (skateboard) Park from a historic church in the Spanish city of IIanera into a visual masterpiece entitled Kaos Temple. See link below for photos of the interior skate park and a 100 years church.


The 'Stans:

"This is a crazy, beautiful little film (below) which follows a group of skateboarders in their journey from Beijing through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and finally to Afghanistan. These guys are not only incredibly skilled in their sport, but they are pretty amazing film-makers too. And it's wonderful to see how an international mafia of skaters makes it possible for them to have really positive experiences wherever they go. If you ever wanted proof of the astonishing capacities human beings have, which lie dormant in most of us, you just have to watch what they can do."  - Jim Buck, Sheffield, England 


                                   Photo:  John Muzzio

Sheila, a long time Foundation member, writes:  

How the heck did I end up with a digital school in Palomas, a tiny border town in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico? I didn't come at this completely blind since I taught English in China for two years. I had the idea that I could keep my skills fresh by working with kids in the towns that I visit every year all over Mexico, everywhere from Urique at the bottom of a deep canyon in the Copper Canyon area,  to Cuetzalan in the tropical mountains of Puebla State. Teaching is a beautiful way to connect with local families.

I fell into the idea of using student-directed learning on tablet and I went nuts over it, buying tablets and experimenting on students of all ages. I taught on street corners, in bus stations, on airplanes, in the Mexico City airports, at village gatherings, in the back pew of little churches, and in family homes. I would say: " Do you want to try my English training method? Yes!! So we 

would try all kinds of tablet applications and have a blast. I realized that I needed to share what I'd learned in a year of delightful experimentation so I created "Tap Tap English" with a Facebook site and informational pamphlets. When I came home to Columbus, I met a group of Christ-centered folks who were excited about the idea of a digital school in Palomas, especially for the kids who were having trouble learning in the conventional schools. We worked together as a team, combining our varied approaches to helping the kids learn not just English but all the subjects with an emphasis on math and science. After a year or so we were offered the use of a brand new learning center . Oh wow, it is gorgeous and equipped with 50 some tablets, countless PCs, and great people. Juan Rascon is now the director, a man of deep convictions and a natural ability to lead kids. I am working more on the development end of things this year. I have new ideas for how we can share what we've learned from watching the kids teach themselves. I want to design "Science in a Box", a completely self contained science lesson that can used with minimal instruction by real teachers. Professional teachers are in short supply in the poorest areas of Mexico.

It has worked out so much better than I could have imagined when I started. I have watched a number of at-risk kids strengthen their grip on a life with a future. I see kids turn away form the allure of the cartels, from drugs and gangs. I call them the little hackers. They come straight from school to the digital school which is now housed in the Palomas Biblioteca/Learning Center. Come and visit any weekday afternoon from 3pm to 6pm. You will be welcomed by all and maybe a six-year-old can tutor you on tablet-based education!"

You can reach Sheila at sheilabjeletich@gmail.com

Warmest welcome to Shirley Garber who recently arrived in City of the Sun Foundation and is settling in.  It was a long haul for her to breathe through those final months of working out notice until retirement from IBM while setting up a home at long distance. May the winds cease and Shirley enjoy the Greening of the Desert along with getting to know the area. Of course, she is lacking something the rest of the Foundation Members have - she has no goat heads in her yard. Be sure to drop off a few with pretty yellow flowers, but only if you have any to spare.

The Tiny House Movement could easily and maybe accurately be viewed as a pattern in the overall migration that is being forced globally. The most significant similarity developing between  the victims of war’s migration and those victims of real estate and job markets, government ineptitude and overpopulation is the desire for a place simply to “be” - and to thrive. Even if refugees have the means to relocate successfully as the Tiny House owners have their various designs built and ready to relocate, the options to actually do so are decreasing. Those who are willing to change their lifestyles are on the increase but this doesn’t necessarily assure the best outcome.  They are often not wanted, they may be perceived as not making a good fit, they may not contribute in the right ways for the economic plans or even philosophical or religious ideologies of those who have something else in mind. In the case of The Tiny House Movement, there are objections around zoning regulations and diminishing property values. Some areas prohibit by city/village ordinances people from living in a small structure. (This may have more to do with the construction and real estate industries who have an impact on the decisions of people who live alternatively, contentedly and often with a strong resolve to live within their means.)  People are at times also very wary of outsiders.

The Foundation has what much of the Tiny House Movement population seek.  Not owning land, which is a benefit the Foundation offers,  is actually compelling in that it is one less burden to undertake while providing the nearly complete stability of a landowner. The climate in the desert is not ideal, but the potential quality of life and the availability of land could easily integrate up to 10 Tiny Homes without developing off-grid areas and this is not to exclude those who might like to live in non-Tiny House situations.  Taking several years to integrate a new population, perhaps 10-20 members, also gives time to consider off-grid upgrades to deal with the higher number.

During the most difficult periods of decline which might include depopulation, apathy or lack of direction, the Foundation has functioned as a refuge, a sanctuary.  Maintaining that as a priority seems relevant during a period of intentional growth. While City of the Sun Foundation has not intended to become a “Tiny House Community”, an RV park, an artist community, a retirement communityper se, it does afford opportunity for those who have engaged these lifestyles. It was founded by inspiration leading to knowing oneself, one’s higher being, faculties of Mind and spiritual get up - to be relieved of certain burdens so that one might have opportunity to develop further, become creative, to be of service and benefit others.

From the materials available about the Tiny House Movement, what emerges as most rewarding to the people is a sense of freedom, the economic and materialistic relief from downsizing, increased mobility and independence. What is not revealed or focused upon generally is the number of those people who are are also looking for community and goals to collectively work toward. There are, however, increasing articles of Tiny House hotels and of cities that have provided Tiny House accommodations for special needs people, the latter requiring professional skills beyond the scope of the Foundation at this time.  - Alima

Images below are Tiny Houses located in Europe, Mexico and the US.

*It is important for prospective members who are interested in the job market or income while living at the Foundation to secure ways that would work out for them such as:   computer related jobs, online business, contract work, sharing economy, cottage industries, artistic endeavors, pensions, SS or by traveling. There is little work in the area.  Luna County is the most impoverished county in NM and in the top percentile of impoverished in the US. Self-sufficiency is a requirement of the Foundation.

Sylvia's Tiny House is mobile, ready for transport, set up for off-grid and for sale. Insulated and with sheet rock; interior and exterior painted; wood structure with tin roof. Doesn't leak!

8 ft. x 15-1/2 ft. ... will fit on trailer for transportation. New and used building materials, hardware, PVC and telephone poles available.

Contact:  sylviabrenner@gmail.com

Gypsy (n.) Look up Gypsy at Dictionary.comalso gipsy, c. 1600, alteration of gypcian, a worn-down Middle English dialectal form of egypcien "Egyptian," from the supposed origin of the people. As an adjective, from 1620s. 

Cognate with Spanish Gitano and close in sense to Turkish and Arabic Kipti "gypsy," literally "Coptic;" but in Middle French they were Bohémien (see bohemian), and in Spanish also Flamenco "from Flanders." "The gipsies seem doomed to be associated with countries with which they have nothing to do" [Weekley]. Zingari, the Italian and German name, is of unknown origin. Romany is from the people's own language, a plural adjective form of rom"man". Gipsy was the preferred spelling in England. The name is also in extended use applied to "a person exhibiting any of the qualities attributed to Gipsies, especially as applied to a young woman, playful freedom or innocent roguishness of action or manner" [Century Dictionary]. As an adjective from 1620s with a sense "unconventional; outdoor."

Egypt (Egyptian government; Fattah al-Sisi) has launched in January 2016 what is claimed to be the largest digital library in the world, the Egyptian Knowledge Bank.  It appears that al-Sisi has snagged a bit of historical library thunder from the Serageldin directed Bibliotheca Alexandrina, but quite difficult to discern these cordial and politically overlapping relationships.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina, "reborn" in 2002, named former World Bank VP, Ismail Serageldin, the "Librarian of Alexandria", the first named in 1600 years. Ismail Serageldin has said of Bibliotheca Alexandrina:

 "Our mandate, our hope is to be able to provide all knowledge to all people at all times for free."  

Ismail Serageldin (or if read correctly in transliteration, Seraj al-din, Lamp of the Way) is himself perhaps entitled to be named librarian, but he has also earned so far three years of legal headaches and accusations for mismanagement of funds. 

In any case, the architecture is stupendous, the books are on the shelves or in their digital files, but it is not yet clearly known how many there are or who, in fact, gets to use the services freely.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina website:  http://www.bibalex.org/en/default

"The world is my home. Humanity is my family. Non-violence is my creed. Peace, justice, equality and dignity for all is my purpose. Engagement, rationality, tolerance, dialogue, learning and understanding are my means. With outstretched hands we welcome all those who share these beliefs … " - Serageldin

The Egyptian Knowledge Bank launched its digital library site in January 2016 after years of planning with an estimated 8,000,000 people subscribing during the first four days.

The library is somewhat problematic for some Egyptians in that many services are in English of which a great many Egyptians do not speak. It is also not clear what the issues are with IP addresses, although it has been said those with Egyptian IP addresses will have free service. The government site, left, is on and off.

Regarding the original Library of Alexandria, it is disputed when it was built precisely and of its demise which is often cited as fire, but this has not been satisfactory.  There are huge volumes of work around what has happened to the library and quite detailed references and timelines by the hands of serious scholars ... tedious, truly.  By saying not quite enough, that its decline and fatal destruction came about with the rise of the new Christian Church of Rome and finally with Islam’s invasion of Egypt, offers a direction of inquiry. However, it will be difficult enough to learn how to use the new system.  

 More modest collections until getting into the swing of things ... :

  • Universal Digital Library - The million book collection.

  • Project Gutenberg - More than 20,000 ebooks, audio books, CDs and DVDs.

  • Bartleby - Huge collection of reference, verse, fiction and nonfiction books.

  • Bibiblio - Library and digital archive offering e-books, academic papers, software, music, and streaming radio.

  • Google Books - More than 100,000 books and a fully searchable database.

  • Live Search Books - Thousands of books and a fully searchable database.

  • World Digital Library - Source for manuscripts, rare books, music, films, maps, prints and more in multilingual format.

  • ERIC - World's largest library of digital education literature.

  • Bibliovault - Digital files for more than 12,500 books.

  • 250 more, if you have the time:  http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/250-plus-killer-digital-libraries-and-archives/

       Kind thanks to Lynn Faulkner for her contribution of Abou Ben Adhem ... may her tribe increase. 

"Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!) awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, and saw, within the moonlight in his room, making it rich, and like a lily in bloom, an angel writing in a book of gold: Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold, and to the Presence in the room he said "What writest thou?" The vision raised its head, and with a look made of all sweet accord, answered "The names of those who love the Lord." "And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so," replied the angel. Abou spoke more low, but cheerily still, and said "I pray thee, then, write me as one that loves his fellow men." The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night It came again with a great wakening light, and showed the names whom love of God had blessed, And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest." - English poet, Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)

The Hunter and the Skeleton is a brilliant animation of a Tibetan folk tale. While on an excursion in the mountains, a Tibetan hunter encounters a skeleton demon. Unsure at first if the skeleton is friend or foe; hunter becomes the hunted in a unique landscape with exquisite color. English subtitles.


              217 Johnson St. Santa Fe, NM 87501     505-946-1000     Hours:  10 am - 5 pm

Santa Fe is approximately a 5 hr. drive from the border. The fourth largest art community in the US after NYC, Chicago and LA, the O'Keeffe is one of many extraordinary galleries and museums in the town, not to mention B&Bs and performing arts. The trip up offers a good opportunity to go horseback riding in the Cerrillos Foothills and a visit to the artist community of Madrid along the Turquoise Trail. During the Summer months, you'll find the famous Indian, Spanish and International Markets. The Winter offers skiing and excursions to Chimayo, Abiquiu, Taos, and Red River.

                                                                                        Photo:  Annie Leibovitz

"The Museum’s collections of over 3,000 works comprise 140 O’Keeffe oil paintings, nearly 700 drawings, and hundreds of additional works dating from 1901 to 1984, the year failing eyesight forced O’Keeffe into retirement. Throughout the year, visitors can see a changing selection of these works. In addition, the Museum presents exhibitions that are either devoted entirely to O’Keeffe’s work or combine examples of her art with works by her American modernist contemporaries."  - O'Keeffe Museum


                                                                                                               Photo:  Smithsonian Staff

                                                                       Interview with Louise Erdrich

"As the eldest child, I often felt that I belonged more to my parents’ generation than to my own. In the beginning of the (The Plague of Doves - ed.), Evelina is always scheming to watch television. My parents didn’t let us watch much television. Dad had us cover our eyes when the commercials came on. He didn’t want us to nurse any unnecessary desires and succumb to capitalism. Shakespeare’s history plays and The Three Stooges were major influences."

"At Dartmouth, I was awkward and suspicious. I was in the first year of the Native American program. I felt comfortable with Chippewas and ­people from the Turtle Mountains, and I felt comfortable with Dakotas ­because Wahpeton is part of the Dakota reservation and I knew many Dakota people. It took me a while to get to know people from other tribes. People assume there is just one sort of Native experience. No. Do the Irish immediately feel comfortable with the Chinese? I was intimidated by the mighty Mohawks; it took me a long time to get to know my serene and beautiful Navajo roommate. Certainly I didn’t understand the non-Indians, the people who came from East Coast backgrounds. Until then, I had met three African American people in my entire life. I had never met an East Indian person, a Jew, a Baptist, a Muslim. I hadn’t left Wahpeton so I only knew a peculiar Wahpeton mixture of people, all smashed and molded into a similar shape by small-town life. I don’t have a thick skin, and I especially didn’t then. I obsessed over everything people said, ran it over forever in my mind. I still do that, but it’s better now."

Continue reading:

The Paris Review:  Interview with Louise Erdrich


The conclusion of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, as  Anna Livia Plurabelle, the lady of the river, returns in her flow to the sea by way of Joyce's marvelous stream of consciousness:

“Ho hang! Hang ho! And the clash of our cries till we spring to be free. Auravoles, they says, never heed of your name! But I'm loothing them that's here and all I lothe. Loonely in me loneness. For all their faults. I am passing out. O bitter ending!  I'll slip away before they're up. They'll never see. Nor know. Nor miss me. And it's old and old it's sad and old it's sad and weary I go 

back to you, back to you my cold father, my cold mad father, my cold mad feary father, till the near sight of the mere size of him, the moyles and moyles of it, moananoaning, makes me seasilt saltsick and I rush, my only, into your arms. I see them rising! Save me from those therrble prongs! Two more. Onetwo moremens more. So. Avelaval. My leaves have drifted from me. All. But one clings still. I'll bear it on me. To remind me of. Lff! So soft this morning, ours. Yes. Carry me along, taddy, like you done through the toy fair! If I seen him bearing down on me now under whitespread wings like he‘d come from Arkangels, I sink I'd die down over his feet, humbly dumbly, only to washup. Yes, tid. There‘s where. First. We pass through grass behush the bush to. Whish! A gull. Gulls. Far calls. Coming, far! End here. Us then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thous-endsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given ! A way a lone a last a loved a long the     “

Paris 1922-1939

The entirety of Finnegans Wake:


The Lion King is the third longest running musical on Broadway.  It opened in 1997 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis and was on Broadway three months later at the New Amsterdam.  Currently it is performed at the Minkskoff Theatre, 1515 Broadway on the third floor of One Astor Plaza.


>>>>> The University of New Mexico will present The Lion King October 2 - 28, 2016 (32 performances) <<<<< 

Tickets begin at $98.  Probably should reserve soon if you have an interest in getting up to Albuquerque to see it at Popejoy Hall.


"When Jiddu (the grandfather - ed.) told my father this story, he prefaced it by saying his father had told it to him and he must never forget it, and that is how he told it to me." - HZ

The baba of Helen Zughaib wrote:

Once there was an amir [prince] who owned a horse so strong and beautiful that it was known all over the land. Other amirs were envious and tried to buy the horse, but the owner always refused. Selling the horse, he said, would be like selling a member of his family.

One day a crook came to one of the envious amirs and offered, for a price, to steal the horse. The bargain was made. The crook waited by the side of

the road where the amir and the wonderful horse passed each day. When the amir approached, the crook began to cry and wail. The amir stopped to inquire why, and the crook replied he was very sick and needed a doctor, and he was too sick to climb up on the horse. The amir dismounted to help him, and as soon as the crook was seated in the saddle, he took off at a gallop. The amir called loudly, “Stop and the horse is yours.” The man stopped and returned, knowing that the amir would never go back on his word. “Do not say you stole this horse,” the amir said. “Say that I gave it to you. Do this so that charity and compassion will not disappear from our community.”

Illustration:  Helen Zughaib