The Dream of Icarus
John McAfee creates a posh HQ for "Sky Gypsies" in Rodeo, NM.

No Room at the Inn
Who closed the park gate on the Radium Springs Inn?

Love Potion #9
Meet 5 everyday folks making Las Crucens' lives easier.

Becoming a Legend
Learning to be a ranch woman.

Confessions of a Kayak Virgin
Getting your feet wet in the Gila River.

Gila Coptering
Following the Gila River by helicopter.

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Getting Hammered, Teed Off and Goosed

Plus career testing, rules for medical insurance and for cats,
and only in America. . .


What color is your golden parachute? . . . We begin with a tale of an unusual method of what might be called career counseling, sent our way by JohnC:

"An old country preacher had a teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession. Like many young men, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it. One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects: a Bible, a silver dollar, a bottle of whisky and a Playboy magazine.

"'I'll just hide behind the door,' the old preacher said to himself. 'When he comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which object he picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be okay, too. But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunkard, and, Lord, what a shame that would be. And worst of all, if he picks up that magazine he's gonna be a skirt-chasin' bum.'

"The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's footsteps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room. The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table. With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them. Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink while he admired this month's centerfold.

"'Lord have mercy!' the old preacher disgustedly whispered. 'He's gonna run for Congress!'"


Persons of the blonde persuasion. . . As always, please feel free to substitute the hair hue of your choice in this funny passed along by JackB:

"Two blondes with hammers, Carol and Donna, were doing some carpenter work on a Habitat for Humanity house. Carol, who was nailing down house siding, would reach into her nail pouch, pull out a nail, and either toss it over her shoulder or nail it in.

"Donna, figuring this was worth looking into, asked, 'Why are you throwing those nails away?'

"Carol explained, 'When I pull a nail out of my pouch, about half of them have the head on the wrong end, and I throw them away.'

"Donna got completely upset and yelled, 'You moron! Those nails aren't defective! They're for the other side of the house!'"

Don't hog the humor! Share your favorite jokes with the world via Desert Diary, diary@desertexposure.com, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062 or fax 534-4134.

Healthy, wealthy and insured. . . With the political debate about health insurance heating up, this entry from Barb Up North seems especially timely:

"Medical Insurance Explained

"Q. What does HMO stand for? A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, 'HEY MOE.' Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Moe of the Three Stooges, who discovered that a patient could be made to forget the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eye.

"Q . I just joined an HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want? A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors in the plan. The doctors basically fall into two categories: those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer participating in the plan. But don't worry, the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half-day's drive away and a diploma from a third world country.

"Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification? A. No. Only those you need.

"Q. Can I get coverage for my preexisting conditions? A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.

"Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine? A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.

"Q. My pharmacy plan covers only generic drugs, but I need the name brand. I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach ache! What should I do? A. Poke yourself in the eye.

"Q. What if I'm away from home and I get sick? A. You really shouldn't do that.

"Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can handle my problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right in his/her office? A. It's hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $20 co-payment, there's no harm in giving it a shot.

"Q. Will health care be different in the next decade? A. No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then."

Heal thyself. . . Following up on that theme, we thought now you might be interested in these "Amazingly Simply Home Remedies" and preventive-medicine tips sent along by Writer Bill:

"Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop.

"Avoid arguments with the Mrs. about lifting the toilet seat by using the shower.

"For high blood-pressure sufferers: Simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to set a timer!

"If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxative; then you will be afraid to cough.

"If you are choking on an ice cube, simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat. Presto! The blockage will instantly remove itself."


Send your own medical advice (note: malpractice insurance is not included) to Desert Diary, diary@desertexposure.com, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062 or fax 534-4134.


Postcards from the edge. . . This month's reader snapshot was taken halfway around the world — yes, Desert Exposure readers do get around! — by Janet Wofford of Hurley, who writes:

"In June I took a vacation to China, and of course I couldn't leave New Mexico without taking a part of my great state with me. So the Desert Exposure was tucked into my suitcase. This picture is of me standing on the Great Wall with the Desert Exposure. I enjoy reading your paper."

Whether halfway around the world or just on a weekend getaway, 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.


Par for the course. . . As golf season winds down for another year — except of course in Las Cruces, where it's just getting cool enough to play 18 holes — we happily let Old Grumps caddy not one but three golf-related jokes for us:

"A young man and a priest are playing together. At a short par-three the priest asks, 'What are you going to use on this hole, my son?'

"The young man says, 'An eight iron, Father, how about you?'

"The priest says, 'I'm going to hit a soft seven and pray.'

"The young man hits his eight iron and puts the ball on the green. The priest tops his seven iron and dribbles the ball out a few yards.

"The young man says, 'I don't know about you, Father, but in my church, when we pray, we keep our head down.'"

. . . . .

"Police are called to an apartment and find a woman holding a bloody five iron standing over a lifeless man. The detective asks, 'Ma'am, is that your husband?'

"'Yes,' says the woman.

"'Did you hit him with that golf club?'

"'Yes, yes, I did.' The woman begins to sob, drops the club, and puts her face in her hands.

"'How many times did you hit him?' the cop asks.

"'I don't know, five, six, maybe seven times,' the woman replies. 'Just put me down for a five.'"

. . . . .

"A golfer teed up his ball on the first tee, took a mighty swing and hit into a clump of trees. He found his ball and saw an opening between two trees he thought he could hit through. Taking out his three-wood, he took another mighty swing; the ball hit a tree, bounced back, hit him in the forehead and killed him.

"As the golfer approached the gates of Heaven, St. Peter saw him coming and asked, 'Are you a good golfer?'

"To which the man replied, 'Got here in two, didn't I?'"


Our pets, ourselves. . . Who else but Toni in the Vet's Office would send us the following "Laws of Physics as Applied to Cats"? As owners of three felines ourselves, we can attest to the accuracy of these:

"Law of Cat Inertia — A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest unless acted upon by some outside force such as opening of cat food.

"Law of Cat Magnetism — All clothing attracts cat hair in direct proportion to the degree of color difference between the cat hair and the fabric color.

"Law of Cat Sleeping — All cats must sleep with people in such a manner as to make the position as uncomfortable as possible for the human persons involved.

"Law of Rug Configuration — No rug may remain in its naturally flat state if a cat is present.

"Law of Refrigerator Observation — If a cat watches a refrigerator long enough, someone will come along and take out something good to eat.

"Law of Cat Disinterest — A cat's interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him.

"Law of Comfort Seeking — A cat will always seek and usually take over the most comfortable spot in any given room.

"Law of Bag/Box Occupancy — All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.

"Law of Furniture Replacement — A cat's desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.

"Law of Cat Obedience — As yet undiscovered."


The joke's on us. . . In emailing this our way, Ned Ludd notes, "This one has one of my favorite characteristics: I never saw it coming." Do you?

"An extremely wealthy, 70-year-old guy returns from a vacation and shows up at the country club with an absolutely stunning, 25-year-old blonde. She clutches the guy's arm tightly and seems to hang on his every word. His buddies at the club are all astonished. At the very first chance, they corner him and demand, 'So tell us where you found this hot girlfriend!'

"The guy replies, 'Girlfriend? She's my wife!'

"Amazed, the friends ask, 'How did you persuade her to marry you?'

"'I lied about my age,' the 70-year-old guy replies.

"'Oh,' they nod, knowingly. 'Did you tell her you were only 50?'

"'Heck, no! I told her I was 90.'"


Pondering the imponderables. . . Is this a great country or what! Just ponder these imponderables passed along by Fred in the Garage:

"Only in America. . . can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

"Only in America. . . are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.

"Only in America. . . do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

"Only in America. . . do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries — and a Diet Coke.

"Only in America. . . do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

"Only in America. . . do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

"Only in America. . . do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won't miss a call from someone we didn't want to talk to in the first place.

"Only in America. . . do we use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well: 'Poli' in Latin meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures.'"


The wages of sin. . . This little churchgoing yarn comes our way courtesy of Bubba in the Mortuary, who we're pretty sure is a cousin to the aforementioned garage-dwelling Fred:

"A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon. Four worms were placed into four separate jars. The first worm was put into a container of alcohol. The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke. The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup. The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

"At the conclusion of the sermon, the minister reported the following results: The first worm in alcohol — dead. The second worm in cigarette smoke — dead. Third worm in chocolate syrup — dead. Fourth worm in good clean soil — alive. So the minister asked the congregation, 'What can you learn from this demonstration?'

"Maxine, who was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and answered, 'As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!' That pretty much ended the service."


Annals of ornithology. . . Continuing this month's biology lesson, we welcome correspondent Geerichard, who writes:

"So, I am at a lecture by the Curator of Ornithology of the Cleveland Zoo. When I get my chance during Q&A, I say, 'I see big flights of birds, usually geese, flying in V formation. I understand that because the lead bird is breaking wind, so to speak, when it tires out, it drops back to the end and the next bird takes over the lead. I've never seen the lead switch, but I have noticed that, at times, one leg of the V is longer than the other. Can you tell us why one side is longer?'

"'Good question,' the curator replies. 'One leg of the V is longer because there are more birds on that side.'"


Secrets of the universe revealed. . . Finally, we return to the garage with Fred, who must have a lot of time on his hands in order to keep emailing us these yarns. Not that we're complaining:

"Once upon a time, a young lad was born without a belly button. In its place was a golden screw. All the doctors told his mother that there was nothing they could do. Like it or not, he was stuck with it. All the years of growing up were tough on him because all who saw the screw made fun of him. He avoided ever leaving his house and thus, never made any friends.

"One day, a mysterious stranger saw his belly and told him of a swami in Nepal who could get rid of the screw for him. He was thrilled. The next day he took all of his life's savings and bought a ticket to Nepal. After several days of climbing up steep cliffs, he came upon a giant monastery.

"The swami knew exactly why he had come. He was told to sleep in the highest tower of the monastery and the following day, when he awoke, the screw would have been removed.

"The young man immediately went to the room and fell asleep. During the night while he slept, a purple fog floated in an open window, bearing in its mist a golden screwdriver. In just moments, the screwdriver removed the screw and disappeared out the window.

"The next morning when the young man awoke, he saw the golden screw lying on the pillow next to him. Reaching down, he felt his navel, and there was no screw there! Jubilant, he leaped out of bed — and his butt fell off.

"The moral of this story is: Don't screw around with things you don't understand — you could lose your ass."


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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