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


Running on Empty
Peak oil globally inspires sustainability efforts locally.

Silver and Bells
Does the name
"Salvation Army"
ring a bell?

Church Potluck
Inside the 1st Church of What's Happening.

Flexing the Faith Muscle
Battling Juárez' poverty and disease—
and a land grab.

Making Water
Run Uphill

Gene Simon has
done it all.

Living and Dreaming in the American West
Blame our stories for the confusion that is the modern West.

Getaways: Dude, That's My Horse
Visit a dude ranch in winter? Absolutely.


Columns & Departments
Editor's Note
Desert Diary
Road Trip
Seeing Stars
Tumbleweeds in Brief
Top 10
Celestial Cycles
The Starry Dome
Ramblin' Outdoors
People's Law
40 Days & 40 Nights
Clubs Guide
Guides to Go
Henry Lightcap's Journal
Continental Divide

Special Section
Arts Exposure:
Arts News
Gallery Guide

Body, Mind & Spirit
Stinging Nettles
Paying Attention to ADD

Red or Green?
Restaurant Guide

Dining Guide


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Lesson from a Donkey, Proverbs from Kids & Headlines from the Future

Plus eavesdropping encouraged and second thoughts about the world of work.


Fractured fairy tales. . . We continue our quest for fables for our time with this modern morality play from Aironot:

"One day a New Mexico politician's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the politician tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

"He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down.

"A few shovel loads later, the politician finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing: He would shake it off and take a step up.

"As the politician's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

"Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

"The donkey later came back and bit a chunk out of the politician who had tried to bury him alive. The gash from the bite got infected, and the politician eventually died in agony from the retaliation.

"Moral from today's lesson: When you do something wrong and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you."

Your own fresh takes on fairy tales and 21st-century fables are of course welcome at Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email diary@desertexposure.com.

The joke's on us. . . Responding to our ongoing call to share your favorite jokes, Bill K passes along the following:

"In the days when Catholic nuns wore distinctive habits and always went into public in pairs, two sisters on an errand were walking along a street in Santa Fe.

"As they approached a local saloon, one of the customers, slightly under the weather, emerged from the solace of the bar and staggered down the sidewalk headed on a collision course for the nuns.

"Quickly they stepped apart to let him pass, then joined to continue their walk as though nothing had happened.

"Startled, the drunk turned and, tottering markedly, asked aloud, 'Now how did she do that?'"


Life, overheard. . . We officially invite you to become an eavesdropper (which makes it OK—trust us) and to send us the most interesting, offbeat and downright odd things you overhear. We begin with this from old pal Bert of the Burros:

"I actually overheard this conversation in a Silver City store today and had to share it.

"The customer was saying to one of the employees, apparently a friend of his, 'I can't make it any more in Silver City, so I'm moving to——————- in Colorado.' ( I didn't get the name of the town and wouldn't repeat it if I had.)

"The employee replied, 'That's a great town. There's plenty of good fishing and it has a women's prison!'

"Talk about your priorities!"

Perk up your ears and put them to work for Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email diary@desertexposure.com.


Kids say the darnedest things. . . We can't vouch for the veracity of this collection of kid-isms, but Doctor Diane sends them along and that (plus their entertainment value) is good enough for us:

"A first-grade teacher had 25 students in her class and she presented each child in her class the first half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you.

"1. Don't change horses. . . until they stop running.

"2. Strike while the. . . bug is close.

"3. It's always darkest before. . . Daylight Saving Time.

"4. Never underestimate the power of . . . termites.

"5. You can lead a horse to water but. . . how?

"6. Don't bite the hand that. . . looks dirty.

"7. No news is. . . impossible.

"8. A miss is as good as a. . . Mr.

"9. You can't teach an old dog new. . . math.

"10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll. . . stink in the morning.

"11. Love all, trust. . . me.

"12. The pen is mightier than the. . . pigs.

"13. An idle mind is. . . the best way to relax.

"14. Where there's smoke there's. . . pollution.

"15. Happy is the bride who. . . gets all the presents.

"16. A penny saved is. . . not much.

"17. Two's company, three's. . . the Musketeers.

"18. Don't put off till tomorrow what. . . you put on to go to bed.

"19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and. . . you have to blow your nose.

"20. There are none so blind as. . . Stevie Wonder.

"21. Children should be seen and not. . . spanked or grounded.

"22. If at first you don't succeed. . . get new batteries.

"23. You get out of something only what you. . . see in the picture on the box.

"24. When the blind lead the blind. . . get out of the way!

"And the WINNER and last one!

"25. Better late than. . . pregnant."


Our pets, ourselves. . . Which brings us to kids and the animal kingdom, brought together in this yarn from Crown West:

"A little girl asked her Mom, 'Mom, may I take the dog for a walk around the block?'

"Mom replied, 'No, because she is in heat.'

"'What's that mean?' asked the child.

"'Go ask your father. I think he's in the garage.'

"The little girl went to the garage and said, 'Dad, may I take Belle for a walk around the block? I asked Mom, but she said the dog was in heat, and to come to you.'

"Dad said, 'Bring Belle over here.' He took a rag, soaked it with gasoline and scrubbed the dog's backside with it to disguise the scent, then said, 'OK, you can go now, but keep Belle on the leash and only go one time around the block.'

"The little girl left and returned a few minutes later with no dog on the leash. Surprised, Dad asked, 'Where's Belle?'

"The little girl said, 'She ran out of gas about halfway down the block, so another dog is pushing her home.'"

Kids? Pets? Both? Send your favorite stories to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email diary@desertexposure.com.


The future isn't what it used to be. . . It's back to the future, as we once again take a jaundiced look at tomorrow, this time courtesy of MichaelC:

"Headlines from the year 2029:

"Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh-largest country in the world, Mexifornia, formerly known as California.

"Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.

"France pleads for global help after being taken over by Jamaica.

"Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.

"George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.

"Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.

"85-year, $75.8 billion study: Diet and exercise are the key to weight loss.

"Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.

"Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.

"Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.

"Average height of NBA players now nine feet, seven inches.

"New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2036.

"Congress authorizes direct deposit of formerly illegal political contributions to campaign accounts.

"IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent.

"Florida voters still having trouble with voting machines."


The pursuit of happiness. . ."Is anyone else besides me tired of working?" asks our frequent folk essayist, BD, who goes on to opine:

"Do you remember when you were small how neat it was if someone, especially your dad, would ask you to do some job, no matter how small? You felt like that you were needed, a part of the whole, useful. You seen all the older people around you, doin' a job and you envied them. Just shows how wrong a fellow can be, doesn't it?

"I can remember when I wasn't working but I have to strain to think back that far. I've got harness marks all over from pulling one type of plow or another. I've turned over lots of rocks and not found a great job yet—that is, if there is such a thing. I've heard tell of such but there's lots of folks around whose biscuits aren't all done.

"I'd like to trade with someone. I like to fish, maybe one of those guys up in Maine on one of those boats would like to switch. Nah, I've seen pictures and that looks suspiciously like work again. Maybe I could be a big shot in an office somewhere, telling people what to do and doin' those hostile takeovers and such things. Probably not, seems they work awful long hours and I really need to get home and pull off my shoes about sundown.

"Now if a feller just got paid for things like ridin' around in the pickup. I'm tops at that job and I've got the sunburned arms to prove it. Or playing with dogs. I do that real well, I just love dogs. I'd be making top wages for that. If you got paid for how much bar-b-que or homemade ice cream you could eat, then the wife and I would be living up in the big house.

"I bet, though, if you started getting paid for these fun things, then they wouldn't be fun anymore, because some smart aleck would call them work."


Capital pun-ishment. . . Remind us again why we asked for your favorite puns? Ned Ludd took us at our word and shares these punny definitions and other wordplay:

"1. A bicycle can't stand alone because it is two-tired.

"2. What's the definition of a will? It's a dead giveaway.

"3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

"4. A backward poet writes inverse.

"5. In democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism it's your count that votes.

"6. She had a boyfriend with a wooden leg, but she broke it off.

"7. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

"8. If you don't pay your exorcist you get repossessed.

"9. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

"10. Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft and I'll show you A-flat minor.

"11. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

"12. The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

"13. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

"14. You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

"15. Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.

"16. He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

"17. Every calendar's days are numbered.

"18. A lot of money is tainted: 'taint yours and 'taint mine.

"19. A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

"20. He had a photographic memory that was never developed.

"21. A plateau is a high form of flattery.

"22. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.

"23. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

"24. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

"25. Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.

"26. When the actress saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

"27. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.

"28. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

"29. Acupuncture is a jab well done.

"30. Marathon runners with bad footwear suffer the agony of defeat."

Losing the battle of the sexes. . . While we're in a lexicographic mood, we might as well pass along this volley in the gender wars from Rudy:

"Women's English:

"1. Yes=No.

"2. No=Yes.

"3. Maybe=No.

"4. We need=I want.

"5. I am sorry=You will be sorry.

"6 We need to talk=You're in trouble.

"7. Sure, go ahead=You better not.

"8. Do what you want=You will pay for this later.

"9. I am not upset=Of course I am upset, you moron!

"10. You're certainly attentive tonight=Is sex all you ever think about?


"1. I am hungry=I am hungry.

"2. I am sleepy=I am sleepy.

"3. I am tired=I am tired.

"4. Nice dress=Nice cleavage!

"5. I love you=Let's have sex now.

"6. I am bored=Do you want to have sex?

"7. May I have this dance?=I'd like to have sex with you.

"8. Can I call you sometime?=I'd like to have sex with you.

"9. Do you want to go to a movie?=I'd like to have sex with you.

"10. Can I take you out to dinner?=I'd like to have sex with you.

"How to impress a woman:

"Wine her. Dine her. Call her. Hug her. Support her. Hold her. Surprise her. Compliment her. Smile at her. Listen to her. Laugh with her. Cry with her. Romance her. Encourage her. Believe in her. Pray with her. Pray for her. Cuddle with her. Shop with her. Give her jewelry. Buy her flowers. Hold her hand. Write love letters to her. Go to the end of the Earth and back again for her.

"How to impress a man:

"Show up naked, bring popcorn and beer. Don't block the TV."


Pondering the imponderables. . . Finally, we continue to probe life's deepest questions and grapple with philosophy's thorniest challenges, this month courtesy of Writer Bill:

"Here's a quick, one-question IQ test to help you decide how you should spend the rest of your day:

"A man who is mute wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing one's teeth, he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is made.

"A man who is blind wants to buy a pair of sunglasses. How should he indicate this need to the shopkeeper?

"Think carefully before you read on for the answer.

"He opens his mouth and says, 'I would like to buy a pair of sunglasses.'

"If you had any other answer, perhaps you need to take the rest of the day off.'"


Send your meditations on the meaning of life—and don't forget the jokes!—to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email diary@desertexposure.com. Remember, the best submission each month gets a piece of spiffy Desert Exposure gear!


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