Illustration by Chris Philpot.

Mary Ellen Capek
received a package from the state of New Jersey’s Department of Health that was correctly addressed to her Corrales home. But it mysteriously took an extra week or two to make its way there, par avion, seeing as someone at the Trenton, New Jersey, post office had stamped “OUT OF COUNTRY” on it, then handwritten “New Mexico” as its foreign destination. “Go figure,” Capek said. 

While checking a fact about chiles for the September/October issue, our copy editor, Will Palmer, found the website of the Liberty Prairie Foundation, in Grayslake, Illinois, which sells seeds. Including chile seeds such as those for the NuMex Joe E. Parker, a variety developed at New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute, in Las Cruces. The site identified it as an Anaheim chile. Nope. Anaheims are a different variety of New Mexico chiles. Then came this whopper: “They are called ‘hatch’ peppers when grown in the Hatch region of Mexico.” Take comfort in this truth: If your Hatch chile is grown in the region of Hatch, New Mexico, the soil and climate will produce a far spicier chile than anything grown in Illinois.

While preparing for a visit from a fellow geologist James Scheihing, of Santa Fe, consulted Gordon Macdonald’s highly acclaimed book Volcanoes to ensure they would see every landmark. When he reached page 384, he noticed that the massive volcanic plug known as Ship Rock had somehow moved west to the nonexistent town of “Shiprock, Arizona.”

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