Friday, July 13, 2012

Duck Races, Doggie Trysts, and Aliens

Thought for the day: Contrary to popular opinion, Americans do NOT need a passport to visit New Mexico.

Here we go, back to our Yammy Fridays, as Laura likes to call 'em. Gonna shoot for every other week, I think, and we'll kick off with the next state on our alphabetical list... New Mexico, a place where  (shhhh) you can ... really get high. Matter of fact, at 7000 feet above sea level, the state capital, Sante Fe, is the highest in the country. Yup, this state is truly high and dry. Lakes and rivers only make up .002% of the state's total surface area. You ask, how dry is it? It's sooooo dry, 75% of the roads are unpaved. (No danger of roads washing away.)

As anyone who's followed the news about recent wild fires already knows, this state has a LOT of trees. A quarter of the state is covered with them, including seven national forests, the largest of which covers 3.3 million acres. Unfortunately, all those trees, coupled with dry conditions, equates to a long history of forest fires. In 1950, a bear cub found trapped in a tree after one of those fires became the iconic symbol for fire safety. Perhaps you've seen him before... he's known as Smokey the Bear.

If ya think about it, New Mexico has a split personality. Arrowheads ten thousand years old can be found on the same desert grounds where today's space age missiles are tested. The same state which hosts the International Space Hall of Fame also contains more than twenty-five thousand archeological sites and fourteen million acres of Navajo Indian reservations. State-of-the-art space age research is conducted by some of the most brilliant minds in the world, but the state residents aren't too stuffy to enjoy a festival celebrating the building (and eating!) of the world's largest enchilada, or to hosting duck races and World Shovel Racing Championships. See? Split personality. Which, in my opinion, makes the state all that much more interesting. 

Okay, enough babbling. How about some pictures?

This is the Palace of Governors, built in 1610, and located in Sante Fe. Not sure why it's referred to as a palace, but it IS one of the oldest public buildings in the country. Interesting facts: by its constitution, New Mexico has two official languages. Also, to go along with that,  two separate state songs, one in English, and the other in Spanish. (See? Split personality!)

The word Pueblo is used to describe a group of people, a town, and an architectural style. There are nineteen different groups, or tribes, of Pueblo Indians living in New Mexico, who speak four distinct languages. These mostly agrarian people have lived in their current locations longer than any other cultures in the nation. At left is a typical pueblo structure.

Thousands of bats call Carlsbad Caverns home. Don't let that keep you away, though. There's plenty of room left for visitors. The largest chamber in the caverns is more than ten football fields long, and twenty-two stories high. (Um, but better wear a hat.  And boots. All that guano has to go somewhere ...)

                                         INTERMISSION! Wanta see some ducks race?

                                        Deming, New Mexico hosts these duck races every year.

On July 16, 1945, the world's first atomic bomb, designed and manufactured in Los Alamos, was detonated at the nearby White Sands Testing Range.

The sands of White Sands National Monument really ARE white. But they aren't actually SAND. Would you believe the massive desert is comprised of gleaming white gypsum crystals?

Not much rain splashes DOWN here, but every year, some gorgeous splashes of color go UP. Each October, Albuquerque hosts the world's largest hot air balloon fiesta, and hundreds of balloonists from all over the world participate.

We can't discuss New Mexico without mentioning the mysterious 1947 UFO incident in Roswell. First report at the time mentioned a strange "saucer" that had crashed. The next day, the crash was purported to be an errant weather balloon. Even so, rumors and questions about the incident, and the alleged secret dissection of aliens have persisted over the years. The people of Roswell know how to capitalize on the lingering interest, as evidenced by the UFO Museum right in the middle of town.

Okay, time to move on and see if the fine state of New Mexico is harboring any weird laws on their books. (In English AND Spanish!)
  • It's against the law for idiots to vote. (Who gets to judge?)
  • It's illegal to dance around a sombrero. (Guess they have to do the Mexican hat dance around a beanie, huh?)
  • State officials ordered four hundred words of sexually explicit material to be cut from Romeo and Juliet. (Yipes! No shades of gray there, huh?)
  • In Carrizozo, it's illegal for a female to go out in public unshaven. (Don't worry, ladies; those lovely locks on your head are safe. But the hairy legs and mustaches have got to GO!)
  • In Deming, home of the fun duck races, it's against the law to spit on the steps of the opera house. (If ya don't like their presentation of The Ugly Duckling, you'll simply have to find some other way to express your displeasure.)
  • It's also illegal in Deming to hunt in the Mountain View Cemetery. (Probably don't stand a ghost of a chance of bagging anything lively there, anyhow.)
  • In Los Cruces, you're either gonna have to hide your favorite Lone Ranger lunch box, or stick to the back roads. It's against the law there to carry a lunch box down Main Street.
  • And last, in Raton, it's illegal for a woman to ride a horse down a public street while wearing a kimono. (No problem. By golly, go Godiva!)

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. Time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

***  We all love our pets, but what do you do for your dog when he needs a little extra pampering, or when's he's feeling a little (ahem) amorous? Do you make your mutt muddle through on his own, hopping fences and running the neighborhood in search of l'amour, rutting around in the back yard like an ... animal... desperately humping your next door neighbor's leg? There IS another way. If you happen to live in Brazil. Fabiano Lourdes and his sister Daniela are opening Animalle Mundo Pet in Belo Horizonte this week, an eight-story, one-million dollar enterprise with, among other things, an entire floor dedicated to ... doggie trysts. Soon, for the mere sum of fifty dollars, you can provide your four-legged Romeo with a dimly-lit room with red cushions on the floor and a heart-shaped mirror on the ceiling. But, wait! There's MORE! This pet love hotel also offers a canine fitness center, and special party rooms, where your favorite pooch can celebrate his birthday in style. Oh yeah, and a gift shop, too, offering such memorable trinkets as a thousand-dollar Swarovski crystal dog collar. Wow. Sure gives a whole new meaning to going to the dogs, doesn't it?

***  It's possible that Triberg, Germany Mayor Gallus Strobel was only trying to drum up a little publicity for his town, but whatever his motives, he's getting it. It seems the spaces in a new car park there are designated as being either male or female. The spots are spacious and well-lit for the women, and a bit more challenging for the men: smaller, not nearly as well-lit, and located near concrete pillars. Plus, the only way to get into those male slots is by backing into them. The mayor doesn't understand all the hoopla. He says it was a natural decision, because, "men are better at parking than women". I'm sure the women in his little town don't mind. Nope, they don't mind a bit ...

***  I dunno. Maybe she asked for a divorce seventy-five years ago, and he just wasn't listening? Maybe he chewed with his mouth open, or kept pooping all over the floor. Heck, maybe he was just too damned slow for her. Whatever the reason, after 115 years together, giant tortoise Bibi was evidently DONE with her longtime mate Poldi. She ran (?) after him, and bit off a chunk of his shell. Zookeepers at the Austrian zoo, shocked by the unprecedented behavior, said, "We get the feeling they can't stand the sight of each other any more." So after just a mere115 years of turtle love, the mister has moved out to his own bachelor cage. Such is life in a fishbowl... or turtle cage. Hmmm, I wonder if they had a prenup-shell agreement?

                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. "It's against the law for idiots to vote."

    California is home to many movements that ran out of land but but my ancestors were especially motivated by Idiots' Suffrage. Great research and wonderful post!

  2. Thanks for featuring New Mexico! I'm in Texas but I only live about 60 miles from Roswell. Many of the people around here are illegal aliens, but I also suspect that some of them are aliens from Mars (not me, of course).

    All of my relatives are originally from back east, but several of them migrated to New Mexico. My mother lived in Red River in the 1940's before she was married. Some of her relatives owned a resort there.
    One of my great-uncles had a ranch near Clovis and one of my great-aunts had a ranch in Tucumcari.

    I'm rambling, as usual. Sorry this is so long.....

  3. I would dearly love to visit White Sands -- it looks spectacular.

    As for the laws -- well, they look about as idiotic as any other state's.

    And that female tortoise probably finally hit menopause, and her mate was stupid enough to comment on it. ;)

  4. re The Laws: Shouldn't that first one read 'It's against the law to vote for idiots'.

  5. Was just in Santa Fe last month. Beautiful place, one of my favorites to visit. I swear the skies are bluer there.

  6. I went to New Mexico six years ago. It's a beautiful place. I'd like to get back there at some point, maybe go see some of the other things you showed like Santa Fe and White Sands, though a lot of those things are kind of far apart.

  7. I love Carlsbad Caverns!! We have a lot of caves here in Chattanooga. (My kids even go spelunking.) But nothing compares to Carlsbad.

  8. L.G. is right. The skies are bluer and more textured in New Mexico than anywhere I've ever seen. We are having a very gentle July. One of clouds mixed with blue, much more rain than last summer.

    Great post for the Land of Enchantment, Sus. And I'm glad I don't live in Carrizozo. I have been known to check my mail without the benefit of a razor on my shapely gams -- from time to time ...

  9. As always, I read those laws and story ideas start popping into my mind!

    As for the male and female parking spaces, who enforces that? I mean, how can you tell from the parked car...?

  10. Loved that video on dick racing!! Too cute!
    We have hermit crab races here. Um, not as cute...

  11. Geo- Idiots' Suffrage... love it! I don't think the early leaders of our country believed the populace... the "common folk"... were intelligent enough to vote, so a movement like that would've come in mighty handy back then. Now that we idiots have the right to vote, far too many of us fail to execute it.

    Jon- Glad ya liked the NM stuff. (Don't worry; Texas will get its turn in due time, and I'm sure you'll have lots to add to that one!)

    Linda- Yeah, those sands really do look gorgeous. And you're probably right about the lady tortoise. Can you imagine that poor thing having a hot flash? Can't even strip off her shell.

    Cro- Mais, non!!! If we couldn't vote for idiots, there wouldn't be enough politicians to merit an election.

    L.G.- Wow, you sure do get around, lady! (Good for you.)

    PT- Don't sweat it. A superhero writer such as yourself should be able to leap and bound from one place to another in the blink of an eye.

    Connie- I love caverns, too. Visited Skyline and Luray on our honeymoon, and a few years back, went to the ones just inside TN to see Ruby Falls. But I've never been to Carlsbad. Maybe some day.

    Suz- I find the image of blue blue skies to be ... enchanting. As for not shaving, pbbbt! Women there could always wear long britches. Or wait, no, I got it! Braid the hair! That's it. And add ribbons. Oh yes, definitely some ribbons.

    Dianne- The mayor said women weren't "forbidden" from parking in the "manly" spots, but he obviously didn't think they were capable enough to do it. And men (sissy men?) were also allowed to park in spots labelled for women. (Better wear bags on their heads, though.)

    Jennifer- Glad you liked the video. There's something so darned cute about ducks, and the idea of racing them tickles me. Hermit crab racing, huh? That's gotta be pretty funny, too. Our hermit crabs could move pretty fast when they wanted to. (Like when they were on the lam from their cage.)

  12. I've been there. If idiots can't vote, then I don't think they have many votes to count on election day.


    P.S. Please excuse me for correcting you, ma'am, but it's Smokey Bear, not the Bear. Very common error.

  13. Oh hooray...the law of the land is here again. I love Richard Burton's line about New Mexico. They were filming and during a break he looked around at the rocks, desert, and reptiles and said, "They call this barren place the land of enchantment."

    As for that mayor. He couldn't vote in New Mexico, not because he's not a citizen,but because the idiot clause would get him.

    Love the new headliner.

  14. Oh hooray...the law of the land is here again. I love Richard Burton's line about New Mexico. They were filming and during a break he looked around at the rocks, desert, and reptiles and said, "They call this barren place the land of enchantment."

    As for that mayor. He couldn't vote in New Mexico, not because he's not a citizen,but because the idiot clause would get him.

    Love the new headliner.

  15. Janie- I suppose some purists may call him Smokey Bear, but when I was a kid, there was a song called "Smokey the Bear." (If I remember right, Eddie Arnold sang it.) Those of us who remember the song are probably more likely to add the "the", but if you do a Google search, I'll bet you find just as many listings with the "the" as without. And as for the idiots, yep, unfortunately, they're plenty of 'em around.

    Barb- That Richard Burton line is a classic. Thanks for sharing it. Glad you like the new header picture. Kinda silly, but I like it. For now, anyway.

  16. I've been to New Mexico a couple of times. To a beautiful place called Portal which is a stream-fed lush little hidden valley which you would never find unless you stumbled onto it because the stream dries up in the desert. Also the Gila Wilderness, which is burning. Love the state.

  17. I don't know who Eddie Arnold is, but if THE bear was in a song, then no wonder most people call him that. I'm going to change my tune and go with "the." I'm not exactly pure anyway. . . . Oh. That's not what you meant by purist.

  18. I knew someone from New Mexico, and he said the state had a really high suicide rate. I asked why and he said he thinks because of the arid constant wind blowing.

    He was serious. It drove people nuts.

    Oh, and I heard that giant tortoise couples can suffer what's called the "115 Year Itch."

  19. On the turtles: I think we've all been where Bibi has been. You look over at your spouse, whom you've adored for many years, and all of a sudden, the desire to headbutt him in the face is nigh overwhelming. I imagine that if I had to put up with my husband for another hundred years, I'd give in to the temptation eventually.

  20. Mr. C- A place called Portal, huh? Sounds like a neat name for an idyllic town in a work of fiction. "Portal, a hidden doorway to pleasure in the middle of the desert..." Those places we accidentally stumble on are the best places of all.

    Janie- Aw, come on, you're killing me here! Never heard of him? (sigh) Crap, it's true, then. I really AM getting old. Maybe you remember a song he did in the mid-'60s or so, called, "Make the World Go Away." At any rate, you don't have to use the "the" if ya don't wanta. Either way is perfectly fine. And I'm sure you're pure in heart, girl.

    Jay- Jon (2nd commenter) lives in west Texas, with the same hot, dry, dirt-blowing, windy weather, and I have a feeling he'd understand the high suicide rate in NM. Your comment about the 115-year itch cracked me up.

    Brigid- HA! You've got a point there!

  21. Yay for Yammy Fridays Ride Again!

    I haven't been to NM for 20 years but I'm sure it's just as wondrous as ever. It all looked like a German Crumbcake, in December. Great big sky. Huge class divide. Still, beautiful.

  22. Hi-ya, Laura. Oh, wow, what a wonderful description ... like a German Crumbcake. Beautiful.

  23. Hi,

    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

    A while ago I put out an ebook of my writing, called The New Death and others. It's a collection of short pieces, mostly dark fantasy.

    I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog.

    If so, please email me: Let me know what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy.

    You can download a sample from the ebook's page on Smashwords:

    I'm also happy to do interviews, guest posts, or giveaways. Just let me know what you'd prefer.


  24. my first roommate in college freshman year was from new mexico.

    she just moved back there. we're still friends and now i know more about it than I ever did!

  25. Anarchist- With a screen name like that, I'm not sure I fall into your target audience, but I'm game to read your work. I sure as heck respect your initiative.

    Lady. Hi-ya! Good to hear from you again. Gee, now if you visit your friend, maybe you can tell her some of the things you want to see. (Like those white sands that aren't really made out of sand.)

  26. @Susan: Thanks. You can email me at, or post your email address here, and I'll email you a copy.