Taos By The Tail

Taos by the TailTAOS BY THE TAIL--
The last remaining copies from the original printing
By Merilee Dannemann

Everything I needed to know about politics I learned from the Taos County Commission.

Covering the County Commission for the Taos News in the 1970s was the best job in the world for a young reporter. Political dynamics work the same whether they are at the most sophisticated level or in the funky environment of county government in a somewhat backward county.

I also covered the courts, three local school boards, and a lot of miscellany. Miscellany in Taos in the 1970s went from sheep to mud to potholes, and, of course, the arts and Taos’ famous counterculture.

And I had the great privilege of writing a column -- about whatever I wanted to write about, sometimes funny, sometimes satirical, sometimes serious, usually about Taos but occasionally about something completely different. I called the column “Triple Spaced.”

Taos by the Tail was my own selection of columns from “Triple Spaced.” Chuck Asay, the irreplaceably brilliant cartoonist of the Taos News, generously gave me the use of my pick of his cartoons, and drew the cover illustration.

As I wrote in the introduction to Taos by the Tail:

“‘Triple Spaced’ was about hippies and highways, smoking and solar energy, freedom of thought and its opposite, television. The common thread among these columns is my point of view, which doesn’t seem to resemble anybody else’s, and which is fueled by a love of Taos every bit as corny and sentimental as that of the artists who paint the Indians and complain about commercial exploitation.”

Taos was a simpler place then. The wealthy telecommuters of today had not yet discovered it. It was still possible to be a poor artist with a wood stove and no toilet. Locals were still suspicious of new concepts like zoning regulations and municipal trash collection. They kept wrecked cars in their yards to scavenge for spare parts because they were poor and self-sufficient, and the artsy newcomers thought they were sloppy. We were nice to tourists because we had to be -- I wrote several “Triple Spaced” columns for their benefit -- but we said nasty things about them in private.

Today, Taos by the Tail is a nostalgic look back at a magical place in a time long ago.

Taos by the Tail is a collection of Merilee Dannemann’s “Triple Spaced” columns from 1974 through 1979, illustrated with more than 30 Taos News editorial cartoons by Chuck Asay. Paperback, 160 pages. Published in 1981.

The copies for sale are the last remaining copies from the original published edition. They have never been out of the box.

  • $12 per copy including postage and handling.
  • For New Mexico orders, gross receipts tax is included in the price.
  • $10 per copy for two or more copies mailed together.
  • Discounts are available for multiple copies and booksellers; please use the contact form on the order page to contact the publisher.
  • Copies will be autographed by the author on request.

For ordering information, please click here.