Dances with Hummingbirds
Joan Day-Martin is New Mexico's only hummingbird bander.

The Fire This Time
A journal from the edge of the Bear and Martinez fires.

Drunks' Night Out
A night at a sobriety checkpoint.

Strings Attached
Meet five area luthiers—professional makers of stringed instruments.

Healthy Horizons
Mysterious Horizons Farms specializes in growing healthy.

Day Spahhhh
Local oases offer lush ways to retreat and rejuvenate.

Just in Case
Grant County's first Community Emergency Response Team.

A Blessed Sort of Work
Gardening with principles—four area examples.

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Golf with Satan, a Helluva Bike Ride and
Blissful Elevator Ignorance

Plus the return of cat haiku and the good news about being over 50.


The joke's on us (Tiger Woods Division). . . The way we play golf is a joke, so we were particularly pleased by this funny passed along by Ned Ludd:

"A golfer was having a tough day and in his frustration he blurted out, 'I would give anything for a birdie on this hole.' A nearby stranger walked out of the woods beside the hole and whispered, 'If you give up one quarter of your sex life, I guarantee you will make this shot.' The golfer said, 'OK.' He made the shot for birdie.

"A few holes later, he was having trouble on another hole. 'Please, let me make this for eagle,' he said. Again, the stranger stepped up to him and said, 'If you give up another quarter of your sex life, you will make eagle.' 'You're on,' the golfer said, and made the shot for eagle.

"On the 18th hole, the golfer needed an eagle to win. The stranger again stepped up and said, 'If you give up the last half of your sex life, you will make eagle to win.' 'OK,' the golfer said, and made his shot for eagle, winning the round.

"As the golfer was walking back to the clubhouse, the stranger walked up beside him and said, 'I think I should inform you that I am the Devil, and from now on you will have no sex life.' The golfer turned to him, smiled, and said, 'Nice to meet you. My name is Father O'Malley!'"


Life in a state of nature. . . Reprising our occasional celebration of all things wild and wonderful in these parts, we welcome Acoustic Motorbike Babe and her tale of life on two wheels:

"I got back up on two wheels in the early spring this year, after a slothful winter over which I'd gained 10 pounds. Biking is always my way to get back in shape, a more interesting way to burn calories. The scenery sure beats a gym—I saw my first collared lizard of the season up Hwy. 180. OK, it was roadkill, but it was still fun to see. Have seen two live specimens since. Must be a good year for lizards, or else a bad one as they are out and about seeking precious water.

"One thing I love about biking for pleasure and exercise is that one's ability improves so quickly. The goals I set were easy at first: half-hour jaunts a couple of times per week. Soon the mileage that took me an hour to cover was traversed in 40 minutes. I went from 10 miles a week to 10 miles in a trip, up to five times per week! Surely I'll soon be back in last year's shorts.

"In a month, I'd worked back up to my favorite round-trip ride, from my own driveway to the driveway of Bear Mountain Lodge and back. Soon I realized I was passing my familiar landmarks—that arroyo, the Arabian horse place, the trailer home park just before the final crest—with less effort and in less time. I noticed I spent less time puttering in my 'granny gears,' more time in gears two through five, feeling the pull of my thighs and not tiring from it. Liking it, in fact.

"Having clocked the lodge's driveway at just over a half-mile long, I determined I could add a scenic mile to my workout by pedaling up. And I do mean 'up.' OK, I do have to stand and pedal, out of the saddle, in three distinct places to make it up the whole length of the drive, but I can do it without stopping now and they say it's good for toning those 'glutes.' The top of the driveway is a good place to stop and stretch my (after that!) jelly legs. The bench in the native planting garden, just to the left of the lodge, is a nice stretching support, as well as a place to sit for a moment before heading home and to enjoy the visits of early morning bunnies and birds.

"I recently shifted my afternoon bike ride to the early morning hours, catching the cool of the day and the kinder, gentler sunshine on my shoulders. My normal habit had been to take a break in the late afternoon. After spending the better part of a day at my desk, biking became my way to shake the workday out of my shoulders and, well, shift gears.

"But the afternoon temps and uncharacteristic (but welcome) rain clouds were conspiring to change my habits. And when I didn't listen to them, my internal thermometer decided to bring the message home in an up-close-and-personal way.

"It was one of my afternoon rides out 90 toward Tyrone. I don't know how it's possible, but it feels like an uphill trek in both directions. Seems I barely get up one hill, enjoy a little flat road, and then it's another uphill. Now, logic would say it's going to be a breeze on the way back. But that's when the laws of physics cease to apply to my bike, it seems, as the measly downhill stretches barely cool my spandex when it's time for another little uphill. And another.

"It was on this familiar loop, which I've clocked out at nine miles, that I started feeling strange one afternoon. Well, there are no trees for cover, so it's a full-sun ride. Reaching for my water bottle, I chanced to glance at my arm. Bright red. I noticed my skin felt tight and itchy. Even though it was in the upper-80s and I was working hard on the bike, I was not sweating. I'd been down this road before, and recognized this as the first classic sign of heat exhaustion—that dangerous stage before heat stroke. Nah, I thought, and took a drag of the water bottle.

"As I crested my next-to-last hill, I started feeling worse. 'Boy, it's hot out here,' I thought. 'Wonder just how hot it is.' Then I realized I was looking at my wristwatch for the temperature. Uh-oh, another sign of heat exhaustion: disorientation. Last time I felt this way, I finished a 10k race in the back of an ambulance.

"I looked at my watch and realized what time it was, truly. At least for today, it was time to get off the bike."


Your own tales of getting "out there," wheeled or otherwise, are welcome at Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134, or email diary@desertexposure.com.


It could be verse. . . Against our better judgment, we once again allow one of our readers—namely Stan of Cruces—to commit poetry in these pages. But we just couldn't help ourselves. Potential poets, please note both the brevity and linguistic wit of his submission:

"I understand that for some men,

Viagra doesn't produce the desired result.

Is that because it ends in 'a'?

Would it work for all men

If it ended in the male 'o'?"

Our pets, ourselves. . . Fully aware that we've let poetry run completely amok this month, we nonetheless welcome back Toni in the Vet's Office with more haiku by cats:

"You never feed me.
Perhaps I'll sleep on your face.
That will show you.

"You must scratch me there!
Yes, above my tail! Behold,
Elevator butt.

"The rule for today.
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.

"In deep sleep hear sound
Cat vomit hairball somewhere.
Will find in morning.

"Grace personified
I leap into the window;
I meant to do that.

"Blur of motion, then—
Silence, me, a paper bag
What is so funny?

"Terrible battle
I fought for hours. Come and see!
What's a 'term paper'?

"Small brave carnivores
Kill pine cones and mosquitoes,
Fear vacuum cleaner.

"I want to be close
To you. Can I fit my head
inside your armpit?

"Wanna go outside.
Oh, no! Help! I got outside!
Let me back inside!

"Oh no! Big One
has been trapped by newspaper.
Cat to the rescue!

"Cats meow out of angst:
Thumbs! If only we had thumbs!
We could break so much.

"The Big Ones snore now.
Every room is dark and cold.
Time for Bottle Cap Hockey.

"We're almost equals.
I purr to show I love you.
Want to smell my butt?"


Send your pet tails, er, tales, in haiku form or otherwise, to Desert Diary,
PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, email diary@desertexposure.com
or fax 534-4134.


Blonde ambition. . . The blonde-ly inclined among you may feel free to switch the hair colors of the characters in this yarn, submitted by Poetlodge:

"Two sisters, one blonde and one brunette, inherit the family ranch. Unfortunately, after just a few years, they are in financial trouble. In order to keep the bank from repossessing the ranch, they need to purchase a bull from the stockyard in a distant town so that they can breed their own stock. They have only $600 left. Upon leaving, the brunette tells her sister, 'When I get there, if I decide to buy the bull, I'll contact you to drive out after me and haul it home.'

"The brunette arrives at the stockyard, inspects the bull, and decides she wants to buy it. The man tells her that he will sell it for $599, no less. After paying him, she drives to the nearest town to send her sister a telegram to tell her the news. She walks into the telegraph office, and says, 'I want to send a telegram to my sister telling her that I've bought a bull for our ranch. I need her to hitch the trailer to our pickup truck and drive out here so we can haul it home.'

"The telegraph operator explains that he'll be glad to help her, then adds, 'It's just 99 cents a word.' Well, after paying for the bull, the brunette has only $1 left. She realizes that she'll only be able to send her sister only one word. After a few minutes of thinking, she nods and says, 'I want you to send her the word "comfortable."'

"The operator shakes his head. 'How is she ever going to know that you want her to hitch the trailer to your pickup truck and drive out here to haul that bull back to your ranch if you send her just the word 'comfortable?'

"The brunette explains, 'My sister's blonde. The word's big. She'll read it very slowly: "com-for-da-bull."'"


You're only as old as you feel. . . The aging but still email-agile Doctor Diane forwards this enumeration of "The Perks of Being Over 50":

    1. "Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

    2. "In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first.

    3. "No one expects you to run—anywhere.

    4. "People call at 9 p.m. and ask, 'Did I wake you?'

    5. "People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

    6. "There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

    7. "Things you buy now won't wear out.

    8. "You can eat dinner at 4 p.m.

    9. "You can live without sex but not without your glasses.

    10. "You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

    11. "You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

    12. "You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.

    13. "You sing along with elevator music.

    14. "Your eyes won't get much worse.

    15. "Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

    16. "Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the National Weather Service.

    17. "Your secrets are safe with your friends, because they can't remember them, either.

    18. "Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.

    19. "You can't remember who sent you this list.

"And I probably already sent this to you in the past—but don't remember, because I'm over 50!"


The joke's on us (Amish Division). . . The ever-emailing Grumps shares this one, for which we apologize to any of our readers of the Amish persuasion:

"An Amish boy and his father were in a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and then slide back together again. The boy asked, 'What is this, Father?'

"The father (never having seen an elevator) responded, 'Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don't know what it is.'

"While the boy and his father were watching with amazement, a fat, old lady in a wheelchair moved up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched the small circular numbers above the walls light up sequentially.

"They continued to watch until it reached the last number, and then the numbers began to light in the reverse order. Finally, the walls opened up again and a gorgeous 24-year-old blonde stepped out.

"The father said quietly to his son, 'Go get your mother.'"


Pondering the imponderables. . . Contributing to our continuing quest to probe the mysteries of the universe, Six-Gun Linda sends along this collection of "Zen for those who take life too seriously":

" Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

"A day without sunshine is like, night.

"On the other hand, you have different fingers.

"I just got lost in thought. It wasn't familiar territory.

"42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

"I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

"Honk if you love peace and quiet.

"Remember, half the people you know are below average.

"He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

"Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

"I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.

"Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

"Monday is an awful way to spend one-seventh of your week.

"A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

"Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

"Get a new car for your spouse. It'll be a great trade!

"Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.

"Always try to be modest, and be proud of it!

"If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

"How many of you believe in psychokinesis? Raise my hand.

"OK, so what's the speed of dark?

"How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

"If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

"When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

"Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

"Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just do not have film.

"If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

"How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

"Eagles may soar, but weasels do not get sucked into jet engines.

"What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

"I used to have an open mind, but my brains kept falling out.

"I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

"Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

"Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.

"Just remember—if the world did not suck, we would all fall off.

"Light travels faster than sound, which is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."


Send us your tales of all ages, genders and IQs, your curmudgeonly lectures, favorite jokes, awful puns and anecdotes, heartwarming or otherwise, to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134, email diary@desertexposure.com. Remember, the best submissions get one of our new 10th anniversary mugs—an exclusive collector's item we expect to see on eBay any day now.


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