D  e  s  e  r  t     E  x  p  o  s  u  r  e  April 2005


Grease is the Word
With biodiesel, restaurant grease can be made to go places.

Who Walks with
the Warriors?

A hike through the rugged ridges of the Florida Mountains.

Double Feature NMSU and DABCC train tomorrow's filmmakers.

Natural High
Bear Mountain Lodge
-pampering plus wilderness.

A Different 'Toon
The Bakshi School of Animation trains future cartoon creators.

Writer of the
Purple Sage

Confessions of a cowboy poet.

Columns & Departments
Editor's Note
Desert Diary
Death Becomes Her
True West Town
Tumbleweeds in Brief
Top 10
Celestial Cycles
The Starry Dome
Ramblin' Outdoors
Away at Grad School
People's Law
40 Days & 40 Nights
Clubs Guide
Guides to Go
Continental Divide

Special Section
Arts Exposure:
Michelle Arterburn
Arts News
Gallery Guide

Body, Mind & Spirit
Little Feather: Yarrow
Foot Work

Red or Green?
Dining Guide


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True Confessions, Cat Haiku & the Bacon Tree

Plus Manhattan memories, the painful past and foolin' around in the golden years.

The truth hurts. . . A whole series of silly stories, courtesy of Doctor Diane, on the themes of confession, truth and consequences:

"The Smile: There once was a religious young woman who went to Confession. Upon entering the confessional, she said, 'Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.' The priest said, 'Confess your sins and be forgiven.' The young woman said, 'Last night my boyfriend made mad passionate love to me seven times.' The priest thought long and hard and then said, 'Squeeze seven lemons into a glass and then drink the juice.' The young woman asked, 'Will this cleanse me of my sins?' The priest said, 'No, but it will wipe that smile off of your face.'

"Confessional: An old man walks into a confessional. The following conversation ensues. Man: 'I am 92 years old, have a wonderful wife of 70 years, and many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Yesterday I picked up two college girls who were hitchhiking. We went to a motel, where I had sex with each of them three times.' Priest: 'Are you sorry for your sins?' Man: 'What sins?' Priest: 'What kind of a Catholic are you?' Man: 'I'm Jewish.' Priest: 'Then why are you telling me all this?' Man: 'I'm telling everybody!'

"Old Fred: Old Fred's hospital bed is surrounded by well-wishers, but it doesn't look good. Suddenly, he motions frantically to the pastor for something to write on. The pastor lovingly hands him a pen and a piece of paper, and Fred uses his last bit of energy to scribble a note, then dies. The pastor thinks it best not to look at the note right away and places it in his jacket pocket. At Fred's funeral, as the pastor is finishing his eulogy, he realizes he's wearing the jacket he was wearing when Fred died. 'Fred handed me a note just before he died,' he says. 'I haven't looked at it, but knowing Fred, I'm sure there's a word of inspiration in it for us all.' Opening the note, he reads aloud, 'Help! You're standing on my oxygen tube!'

"Eye of the Beholder: A man was just waking up from anesthesia after surgery, and his wife was sitting by his side. His eyes fluttered open and he said, 'You're beautiful.' Then he fell asleep again. His wife had never heard him say that before, so she stayed by his side. A few minutes later his eyes fluttered open and he said, 'You're cute.' The wife was disappointed because instead of 'beautiful,' it was now merely 'cute.' She asked, 'What happened to beautiful?' The man replied, 'The drugs are wearing off.'"

The good old daze. . . Bert of the Burros continues his reminiscence of growing up in New York City, "A City Kid Fesses Up":

"Now, did we get in trouble growing up? Sure, but it was minor, and no different than kids growing up in the country; just a different kind of trouble.

"Playing stickball on a side street had its challenges. Parked cars became bases and foul lines. Since air conditioning was rare, most apartment windows were kept open in the summer, and a foul ball would sometimes end up inside an apartment. Although the ball was a soft rubber ball, it could do damage, and the batter whose ball entered an apartment window had to go up, knock on the door, and take whatever abuse was handed out in the hopes of getting the ball back, since we could rarely afford replacements. Many a mother lost the handle to her mop to be used as a stickball bat, though I can't remember how the heck we got away with that.

"Now, though we were in the middle of the city, just one block from our house was what you could call a park, but it was a very steep wooded area that went down from the Heights, where we lived, to the Harlem River. We would go down there often and play in the wooded areas. The more adventurous ones went swimming in the river, the rest of us being content to stand by and watch the 'Harlem River Whitefish' drift by. (Don't ask.)

"In the winter, the walkpath in the park, which was paved and zigzagged all the way down the highway by the river, made for a 20-minute, hairy sleigh ride from the top, followed by at least an hour trudge back to the top. Many a kid went off the paved path, down the rocky crags, and from there to the hospital.

"Most of us didn't have bicycles, but you could rent them in a local shop. We would bicycle all the way down to the George Washington Bridge (easily five miles), then across the Hudson River to New Jersey. There used to be a large amusement park we would go to. The park at that time had the world's largest salt-water pool, with a wave-making machine, which was a big attraction. I distinctly remember one day, when strangers came up to us kids and handed us some cards: 'Use these to get in the swimming pool,' they said. It turned out the they were trying to keep blacks from using the pool by claiming it was a 'private' club. That was our first exposure to segregation, and we didn't think much of it. We were just looking for girls.

"Was it worth it? Sure it was. Although as kids we didn't have any choice in where we lived, we never thought we were underprivileged. Of course, we were convinced that the civilized world basically ended on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River."


Pun intended. . . Perhaps foolishly opening a humorous can of worms, we roll out the red carpet for a new twist on our long-standing call for your favorite jokes. Send us your favorite puns—yes, really. Ideally, they might be incorporated into a favorite joke, such as this submission from Aironot:

"Back in cowboy times in early New Mexico, a westbound wagon train was lost and low on food. No other humans had been seen for days, and then the pioneers saw an old Norwegian sitting beneath a tree.

"'Is there some place ahead where we can get food?'

"'Vell, I tink so,' the old man said, 'but I wouldn't go up dat hill und down de udder side. Somevun tole me you'd run into a big bacon tree.'

"'A bacon tree?' asked the wagon train leader.

"'Yah, a bacon tree. Vould I lie? Trust me. I vouldn't go dere.'

"The leader goes back and tells his people what the Norwegian said. 'So why did he say not to go there?' a person asked. Other pioneers said, 'Oh, you know those Norwegian people—they lie just for a joke.'

"So the wagon train goes up the hill and down the other side. Suddenly, Indians attack them from everywhere and massacre all except the leader, who manages to escape and get back to the old Norwegian.

"Near dead, the man shouts, 'You fool! You sent us to our deaths! We followed your route, but there was no bacon tree, just hundreds of Indians who killed everyone but me.'

"The old Norwegian man holds up his hand and says, 'Oof-da, vait a minute.' He quickly picks up an English-Norwegian dictionary and begins thumbing through it. 'Oof-da, I made such ah big mishtake! It vuzn't a bacon tree, it vuz a ham bush!'"


Once you've recovered, send your punny stories to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88061, fax 534-4134, or email diary@desertexposure.com.

It's a dog's life. . . Frequent Diarist Toni in the Vet's Office returns with "Haiku written by cats":

"The food in my bowl
Is old, and more to the point
Contains no tuna."

"So you want to play.
Will I claw at dancing string?
Your ankle's closer."

"There's no dignity
In being sick—which is why
I don't tell you where."

"Seeking solitude
I am locked in the closet.
For once I need you."

"Tiny can, dumped in
Plastic bowl. Presentation,
One star; service: none."

"Am I in your way?
You seem to have it backwards:
This pillow's taken."

"Your mouth is moving;
Up and down, emitting noise.
I've lost interest."

"The dog wags his tail,
Seeking approval. See mine?
Different message."

"My brain: walnut-sized.
Yours: largest among primates.
Yet, who leaves for work?"

"Most problems can be
Ignored. The more difficult
Ones can be slept through."

"My affection is
Conditional. Don't stand up.
It's your lap I love."

"Cats can't steal the breath
Of children. But if my tail's
Pulled again, I'll learn."

"I don't mind being
Teased, any more than you mind
A skin graft or two."

"So you call this thing
Your 'cat carrier.' I call
These my 'blades of death.'"

"Toy mice, dancing yarn,
Meowing sounds. I'm convinced:
You're an idiot."

Losing the battle of the sexes. . . This volley in the gender wars comes courtesy of Dakota Duaine:

"A woman came into the kitchen and saw her husband chasing flies with a swatter.

"'What are you doing?' she asked.

"'I'm killing flies,' he said.

"'And how many have you killed?' she asked.

"'Five—three males and two females.'

"'How did you know the sex?'

"'Easy,' the husband replied. 'The three males were by the food, and the females were by the phone.'"

The good old daze (antiques department). . . Then there's this reminiscence of the sometimes-painful past, from BD:

"My wife gets a big kick out of looking at antiques. You would think that having to sit across the table from me this number of years that she would have looked at an antique in the making and be totally disgusted. I don't like to look at old stuff too much or too long because it makes different parts of me hurt, as different things are usually associated with something I experimented with in my younger years and it usually backfired.

"Take that treadle on Grandma's sewing machine. Grandma would take the belt off her machine when she saw sweet me or my mean little brother coming, as she knew that he would get that ol' Singer to rolling so fast that it would pitch the bobbin. I always like the sound of that, 'pitch the bobbin.' Sounds like something happening to a fast car or something. Now, one thing you had to be especially careful about was when you got that treadle to really rocking and rolling, do not, I repeat, do not, put your fingers between it and the floor. It will mash the p-dinky-do out of them, and several times if you're slow about getting them out of there. During that time there was no cure for treadle finger; you just had to live with it or soak them in kerosene, the penicillin of the farming community. I see an antique sewing machine, my fingers hurt.

"Quilting frames make the top of my head hurt. If mother and the local quilters were having a session, go outside and get a drink of water. They would have the kitchen sink blocked off and if you made a mad dash for the kitchen faucet, you would get a thimble in the top of the head. I think it must have been some sort of sport for those ladies as they could make out your head running along in that quilt. To be able to knock you on the noggin while you were in flight must have taken some skill. They seemed to enjoy it.

"Mouse traps make my thumb hurt. If I set 10 of them, one would release when it wasn't supposed to and hit my thumb, right in the nail. If I set three, one would turn loose and whack my poor ol' thumb.

"When we finished pulling cotton, Pop would hang the scales up in the garage on a 16-penny nail. I was always interested in how I was growing and such, so when I saw that scale, I had to know. I'd grab that hook and about the time I got my Keds off the ground and looked up to see what that indicator said, pow! Right in the head. That 16-penny would bend, as it wasn't made to hold up a quizzical kid. If my memory serves me right, I tried to weigh myself twice before I decided that that old nail just wasn't gonna hold me. You know, since that scale was hitting me in the head, maybe it affected my memory."

Send your tales of bygone days, painful or otherwise, to
Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88061, fax 534-4134, or
email diary@desertexposure.com.

The joke's on us. . . Apologies in advance for the somewhat racy nature of the following, from Ned Ludd, but we couldn't resist:

"An elderly couple is enjoying an anniversary dinner together in a small tavern. The husband leans over and asks his wife, 'Do you remember the first time we had sex together, over 50 years ago? We went behind this tavern where you leaned against the fence and I made love to you.' 'Yes,' she says, 'I remember it well.' 'OK,' he says, 'how about taking a stroll round there again and we can do it for old time's sake?' 'Oooooooh, Henry, you old devil, that sounds like a good idea,' she answers.

"There's a police officer sitting in the next booth listening to all this, having a chuckle to himself. He thinks, 'I've got to see these two old-timers having sex against a fence. I'll just keep an eye on them so there's not any trouble.'

"So he follows them. They walk haltingly along, leaning on each other for support, aided by walking sticks. Finally, they get to the back of the tavern and make their way to the fence. The old lady lifts her skirt, takes her knickers down and the Old man drops his trousers.

"As she hangs onto the fence, they suddenly erupt into the most furious sex that the watching policeman has ever seen—bucking and jumping like 18-year-olds. This goes on for about 40 minutes, the most athletic sex imaginable. Finally, they both collapse panting on the ground.

"The policeman is amazed. He thinks he's learned something about life that he didn't know.

"After about half an hour of lying on the ground recovering, the old couple struggles to their feet and put their clothes back on. The policeman, still watching, thinks, 'That was truly amazing—that old man was going like a train! I've got to ask him what his secret is.'

"As the couple passes by, he says to them, 'That was something else! How do you manage it? You must have had a fantastic life together. Is there some sort of secret?'

"The old man says, 'Fifty years ago that wasn't an electric fence.'"


Take me out to the ball game. . . Finally, Writer Bill shares this story appropriate for the start of baseball season (about which you'll find much more elsewhere in this issue):

"Sitting at a baseball game behind a couple of nuns whose habits partially blocked the view, three men decided to badger the nuns in an effort to get them to move. In a very loud voice, the first guy said, 'I think I'm going to move to Utah. There are only 100 nuns living there.'

"The second guy spoke up and said, 'I want to go to Montana. There are only 50 nuns living there.'

"The third guy said, 'I want to go to Idaho. There are only 25 nuns there.'

"One of the nuns turned around, looked at the men, and in a sweet, calm voice said, 'Why don't you go to hell? There aren't any nuns there.'"


Remember that the best submission each month gets a Desert Exposure hat, polo, T-shirt, mug or other exclusive thank-you that will be the envy of your friends and neighbors. Send your best shot to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88061, fax 534-4134 or email diary@desertexposure.com.

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