I will return to this loaded subject and especially as it applies to local politics. I will explain the universe to you, and our City politics, or at least part of the slimy turf we now sometimes reluctantly inhabit.

This is, you bet, a big fat can of worms. I seem to be trading a lot lately in this column in cans of worms. But when you’re digging for the truth, down in the dirt, you’re going to unearth a lot of worms. I just calls ‘em like I sees ‘em. (God bless Dizzy Dean, maybe the greatest pitcher ever and also the least educated, most linguistically fractured sportscaster ever, my dad loved him — umpire Bill Klem probably came up with that expression but I’m sure Ol’ Diz borrowed it once or twicet.)

But I just realized two things.

As often happens in writing my columns, I start in one direction and then find something around the corner just too compelling. Usually I backtrack and cover up and no one’s the wiser. This time I won’t. Because now I’m committed to those dirty-words subheads. (And yes, I may regret it.)


I kind of like worms. Never the least bit fond of creepy crawlies, not particularly enamored of the dirty, buggy, too hot-too cold inconvenience of the great outdoors, certainly not convinced about rising at 4 a.m. for any damn thing (that’s more my bedtime), I had a good friend in college at UNM named Tom Hogg who gleefully forced me into that world every so often and it is one of the fondest memories of my life.

Tom was a young administrator my age who was accomplished at many things, a renaissance dude wine and art connoisseur who shared my passion for great live music, but most useful and lucrative among his talents was becoming a nascent computer whiz who used those skills in the early-‘70s to bring amazing concerts to lil ol’ Albuquerque (about pop. 370,000 back then) and wound up being the number three guy at a new idea that turned into something called Ticketmaster. He was the tech brain of the outfit.


Tom had another mostly hidden passion and skill. He was an expert trout fisherman. I was amazed to find out he had taken a class from the local newspaper’s fishing columnist, and from there he went into overdrive. As we would wind our way north towards Santa Fe and Taos, Chama or maybe the Pecos, Tom would stick to the smaller and smaller roads that hugged that day’s chosen river or stream, and he would analyze it as he drove. Still too fast. Not enough shallows yet. Not the right rock formations. Too much sun. I swear sometimes he sniffed the air like a bear, for clues. Finally he would be satisfied enough to pull over, and here’s where the fun really began, because all this was primarily for the benefit of my young son Christopher, who would leap from Tom’s VW camper van like the world had just begun.

I didn’t plan many other outdoor excursions for Chris, some, but I knew how much he absolutely adored the outdoors (all his life), and Tom did too. Tom knew Chris from age three and doted like a favorite uncle. Tom taught us both the whole routine, from hooking the worms to finding a good place to drop the line to the zen patience of fishing to carefully reeling in to cleaning and best of all eating, straight from nature. It inspired me to become a Cub Scout leader, yeah me, just so Chris could go on the camping trips.

I discovered an unexpected skill for singling out the right-sized worm, positioning it properly, and giving thanks for its sacrifice and the imminent one of the rainbow trout, for our physical and psychic well-being. The circle of life, made plain to a young boy, by his dad’s side and with his friend’s loving, patient guidance.

Thanks, Tom.


Looking for a really good deed, that will have a lifetime effect?

I’ve written in the past about Camp Kesem, a unique camp for kids dealing with cancer — their parent’s cancer. Several organizations provide summer camps for kids suffering from cancer and that is fantastic, but some years ago some folks realized that kids suddenly thrust into the terrifying world of a parent’s cancer were not only unprepared, bewildered and scared, but felt suddenly so alone because they couldn’t even talk about the most important thing in their life with their closest friends.

So Kesem (“magic”) was begun to give those kids a whole week of being surrounded by other kids and counselors who understood, so they could just be normal, pretty carefree kids enjoying camp, but also with expert counseling and evening cabin chats to let it all out. It’s not just a great week for them. Ask anyone who’s been there and you will find it was life changing, and created a vital family bond that literally lasts a lifetime.

My daughter, I’m proud to say, is participating once again, so if you would like to make a huge difference in some kids’ lives, you can contribute, any amount, at: https://donate.kesem.org/quink2019


Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 33 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at  therealmrmusic@gmail.com

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