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NMSU equips American Indian educators with doctorates.

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The 24 Club does good works without bragging.

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Marriage Made in Heaven, Gator Wrestling and "Bluenecks"

Plus the dog-food diet, online annoyance and "tagging up."


Heaven can wait. . . We begin this month's diary with a pair of divinely inspired meditations on marriage. The first comes our way courtesy of Old Grumps:

"On their way to get married, a young Catholic couple was involved in a fatal car accident. The couple found themselves sitting outside the Pearly Gates, waiting for St. Peter to process them into Heaven. While waiting, they began to wonder: Could they possibly get married in Heaven?

"When St. Peter arrived, they asked him if they could get married in heaven. St. Peter said, 'I don't know. This is the first time anyone has asked. Let me go find out,' and he left.

"The couple sat and waited for an answer — for a couple of months. While they waited, they discussed the pros and cons. If they were allowed to get married in Heaven, should they get married, what with the eternal aspect of it all? 'What if it doesn't work? Are we stuck in Heaven together forever?' they wondered.

"Another month passed. St. Peter finally returned, looking somewhat bedraggled. 'Yes,' he informed the couple, 'you can get married in Heaven.'

"'Great!' said the couple. 'But we were just wondering — what if things don't work out? Could we also get a divorce in Heaven?'

"St. Peter, red-faced with anger, slammed his clipboard on the ground. 'What's wrong?' asked the frightened couple.

"'OH, COME ON!' St. Peter shouted. 'It took me three months to find a priest up here! Do you have ANY idea how long it'll take to find a lawyer?'"


Losing the battle of the sexes. . . Next to weigh in is Major Grandpa, who sends along a new set of 10 Commandments, all having to do with the state of holy matrimony:

"1. Marriages are made in heaven. But so are thunder and lightning.

"2. If you want your wife to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say, talk in your sleep.

"3. Marriage is grand — and divorce is at least 100 grand!

"4. Married life is very frustrating. In the first year of marriage, the man speaks and the woman listens. In the second year, the woman speaks and the man listens. In the third year, they both speak and the neighbors listen.

"5. When a man opens the door of his car for his wife, you can be sure of one thing: Either the car is new or the wife is.

"6. Marriage is when a man and woman become as one. The trouble starts when they try to decide which one.

"7. Before marriage, a man will lie awake all night thinking about something you say. After marriage, he will fall asleep before you finish.

"8. Every man wants a wife who is beautiful, understanding, economical and a good cook. But the law allows only one wife.

"9. Marriage and love are purely a matter of chemistry. That is why a wife treats her husband like toxic waste.

"10. A man is incomplete until he is married. After that, he is finished."

Send us your meditations on married life, by email at diary@desertexposure.com, fax to 534-4134 or postal mail at Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062.

Our pets, ourselves. . . When the "diet" described herein begins to catch on — and we definitely do NOT recommend it — remember that you read it here first, thanks to JackB:

"I have a Golden Retriever. I was buying a large bag of Purina at Wal-Mart and was in line to check out. A woman behind me asked if I had a dog. (Duh!) On impulse, I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, and that I was starting the Purina Diet again. Although I probably shouldn't, because I'd ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive-care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

"I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete, so I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story.)

"Horrified, she asked if I'd ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.

"I told her no. I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's butt and a car hit us both."


It's a wired, wired, wired world. . . We welcome the return of Writer Bill, who has been known to send more than a few emails himself, who forwards this list of "Six Ways to Be Annoying Online":

1. Make up fake acronyms. Online veterans like to use abbreviations like 'IMHO' ('In My Humble Opinion') to show that they're 'hep' to the lingo. Make up your own that don't stand for anything ('SETO,' 'BARL,' 'CP30'), use them liberally, and then refuse to explain what they stand for.


"3. When replying to email, correct everyone's grammar and spelling and point out their typos, but don't otherwise respond to the content of their messages. When they respond testily to your 'creative criticism,' do it again. Continue until they go away.

"4. Software and files offered online are often 'compressed' so that they won't take so long to travel over the phone lines. Buy a compression program and compress everything you send, including one-word e-mail responses like 'Thanks.'

"5. Upload text files with Bible passages about sin or guilt and give them names like 'SexyHousewivesI,' then see how many people download them. Challenge your friends to come up with the most popular come-ons.

"6. Join a discussion group and tie whatever's being discussed back to an unrelated central theme. For instance, if you're in a discussion of gun control, respond to every message with the observation that those genetically superior tomatoes seem to have played an important role. Within days, all discussion of gun control will have ceased as people write you threatening messages and instruct others to ignore you."


Postcards from the edge. . . This month's reader photo comes courtesy of Berma Matteson, who writes:

"I took my Desert Exposure to Japan. There it was passed around among the English language teachers at the NOVA Schools — but only after we posed in front of the Sacred Bridge at the Nikko Shrine, registered as a World Cultural Heritage site. About 1,200 years ago a high priest came to Nikko. It was so beautiful he thought it must be the home of gods. He wanted to climb the mountain but couldn't cross the wide, swift river. The priest recited the Buddhist Sutra and a bearded old man appeared. The old man hurled two snakes across the river. They joined to form a bridge for the priest to cross."

Whether to a World Heritage Site or to Waco, take us with you on your next trip and send home a snapshot of yourself holding "the biggest little paper in the Southwest." Send it to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, or by email to diary@desertexposure.com.


The joke's on us. . . Hardly a day goes by that we don't receive a chuckle from Old Grumps, who makes a second contribution to these pages with this yarn:

"A filthy-rich South Texas man decided that he wanted to throw a party and invited all of his buddies and neighbors. He also invited Leroy, the only redneck in the neighborhood. He held the party around the pool in the backyard of his mansion. Leroy was having a good time drinking, dancing, eating shrimp, oysters and BBQ and flirting with all the women.

"At the height of the party, the host said, 'I have a 10-foot man-eating gator in my pool and I'll give a million dollars to anyone who has the nerve to jump in.' The words were barely out of his mouth when there was a loud splash and everyone turned around and saw Leroy in the pool. Leroy was fighting the gator and kicking its ass! Leroy was jabbing the gator in the eyes with his thumbs, throwing punches, head butts and choke holds, biting the gator on the tail and flipping the gator through the air like some kind of judo instructor. The water was churning and splashing everywhere. Both Leroy and the gator were screaming and raising hell.

"Finally, Leroy strangled the gator and let it float to the top like a dime-store goldfish. Leroy then slowly climbed out of the pool. Everybody was just staring at him in disbelief. Finally the host said, 'Well, Leroy, I reckon I owe you a million dollars.'

"'No, that's okay. I don't want it,' said Leroy.

"The rich man said, 'Man, I have to give you something. You won the bet. How about half a million bucks then?'

"'No thanks. I don't want it,' answered Leroy.

"The host said, 'Come on, I insist on giving you something. That was amazing. How about a new Porsche and a Rolex and some stock options?' Again Leroy said no. Confused, the rich man asked, 'Well, Leroy, then what do you want?'

"Leroy said, 'I want the name of the sumbich who pushed me in the pool!'"


Don't let Old Grumps have all the fun! Email your favorite jokes to diary@desertexposure.com, fax to 534-4134 or mail Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062.


Persons of the Yankee persuasion. . . Speaking of rednecks, Toni in the Vet's Office writes, "Because of redneck jokes, here are some takes on how Southern folks look at Northerners (or how Northerners sometimes think of themselves)." Being neither exactly Southern rednecks or Yankee "bluenecks" in these parts, we can happily laugh at both sides of the Mason-Dixon line as presented here:

"You just might be a blueneck if. . .

"Instead of referring to two or more people as 'y'all,' you call them 'you guys,' even if both of them are women.

"You think 'barbecue' is a verb meaning 'to cook outside.'

"You think Heinz ketchup is really spicy.

"You would never stop to buy something somebody was cooking on the side of the road (e.g., boiled peanuts).

"You don't have any problems pronouncing 'Worcestershire sauce' correctly.

"For breakfast, you would prefer potatoes-au-gratin to grits.

"You don't know what a moon pie is.

"You've never had an RC Cola.

"You've never, ever eaten okra — fried, boiled or pickled.

"You eat fried chicken with a knife and fork.

"You have no idea what a polecat is.

"You don't see anything wrong with putting a sweater on your dog.

"You don't have bangs.

"You would rather have your son become a lawyer than grow up to get his own TV fishing show.

"You drink either 'pop' or 'soda' instead of 'Coke.'

"You've never eaten and don't know how to make a tomato sammich.

"You have never planned your summer vacation around a gun-n-knife show.

"You think more money should go to important scientific research at your university than to pay the salary of the head football coach.

"You don't even have one can of WD-40 somewhere around the house.

"You don't have any hats in your closet that advertise feed stores.

"You can't spit out the car window without pulling over to the side of the road and stopping.

"You don't know anyone with at least two first names (i.e., Joe Bob, Faye Ellen, Billy Ray, Mary Jo, Bubba Dean, Joe Dan).

"You don't know any women with male names (i.e., Tommie, Bobbie, Johnnie, Jimmie).

"You get freaked out when people on the subway talk to you.

"None of your fur coats are homemade."


Winning the game of life. . . Finally, we share this philosophical commentary by Literacy Lady, which arrives just in time for one of our favorite features of fall:

"With the World Series right around the corner, we are coming into the part of the baseball season where no one escapes the all-American pastime. Whether you're a fan or not, you can still benefit from hearing the mantras of coaches, players, refs, fans and announcers. At the ballpark, you can find some strategies for taking us around life's bases and scoring big time. 'Tag up!' is one of those mantras that transcends the baseball diamond and when adopted will definitely improve our RBI of life.

"You may be more likely to hear the Little League coach yell 'Tag up!' than during the heat of the game at Petco Park or Fenway, but players of all ages can use this basic reminder. Who knows? It may be we hear it more with the younger players because they are more willing to listen to the coach.

"Tagging up by toddlers can hardly be missed, whereas the practice by adults may be cleverly disguised. Toddlers tag up by hanging on to Mommy's pant leg while she is peeling potatoes at the kitchen sink or by crawling up in Daddy's lap while he's reading the paper. Having tagged up, the happy toddler is soon ready to be on his way to the next adventure — the toy truck waiting to be played with, the ball that needs to be thrown, or back to playing with another child who had been overwhelming him one way or another, such as by pulling hair, not sharing the truck, etc. That favorite toy or beloved blanket may be a part of tagging up for the toddler, especially on really difficult days, but it never replaces the reassurance gained through the clinched pant leg.

"So how do we adults tag up? Lunching at home during our workday, we play with our new kitten or water our geraniums. Sharing a cup of coffee as we wait for sunrise, or for the automatic light to come on and nudge us to move onward in our day. Sitting in the kitchen as dinner is prepared; having already shared the highlights of our workday, there is nothing to be said but a lot to be communicated.

"These are just a few examples of tagging up. Neglect them and you find yourself feeling a bit empty or out of sorts. Oh, not the first day or maybe the first week of neglecting the significant for the urgent, the gotta do overtaking the wanna be. But perpetual neglect leaves our emotional house badly in need of paint and repair.

"Listen to the mantra 'Tag up!' Acknowledge your ways of tagging up and value the deposits of pleasure, self acceptance and reassurance they bring to your life. My delight in the lively antics of hummingbirds jockeying around their feeder outside my kitchen window tags me up with our Creator, taking care to nurture not only my heart and soul but spirit.

"I'm tagged up and ready to sprint into my day."


Send your jokes, puns, heartwarming anecdotes and cosmic ponderings to: Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134, email diary@desertexposure.com. Remember, the best submission each month gets a highly collectible Desert Exposure coffee mug.


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