Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Bagpipe Who Didn't Say No

It was nine o'clock at midnight at a quarter after three
When a turtle met a bagpipe on the shoreside by the sea,
And the turtle said, "My dearie,
May I sit with you? I'm weary."
And the bagpipe didn't say no.

Said the turtle to the bagpipe, "I have walked this lonely shore,
I have talked to waves and pebbles--but I've never loved before.
Will you marry me today, dear?
Is it 'No' you're going to say, dear?"
But the bagpipe didn't say no.

Said the turtle to his darling, "Please excuse me if I stare,
But you have the plaidest skin, dear,
And you have the strangest hair.
If I begged you pretty please, love,
Could I give you just one squeeze, love?"
And the bagpipe didn't say no.

Said the turtle to the bagpipe, "Ah, you love me. Then confess!
Let me whisper in your dainty ear and hold you to my chest."
And he cuddled her and teased her
And so lovingly he squeezed her.
And the bagpipe said, "Aaooga."

Said the turtle to the bagpipe, "Did you honk or bray or neigh?
For 'Aaooga' when you're kissed is such a heartless thing to say.
Is it that I have offended?
Is it that our love is ended?"
And the bagpipe didn't say no.

Said the turtle to the bagpipe, "Shall I leave you, darling wife?
Shall I waddle off to Woedom? Shall I crawl out of your life?
Shall I move, depart and go, dear--
Oh, I beg you tell me 'No,' dear!"
But the bagpipe didn't say no.

So the turtle crept off crying and he ne'er came back no more,
And he left the bagpipe laying on that smooth and sandy shore.
And some night when tide is low there,
Just walk up and say, "Hello, there,"
And politely ask the bagpipe if this story's really so.
I assure you, darling children, that the bagpipe won't say "No."

--Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Spooky le Spook

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

Funny how one brainless little comment can open up a whole Pandora's box of thoughts. As I was leaving the computer lab at work today, our techie guru complained to me of items gone missing from her room. With one foot out the door, I looked back and flippantly said, "Oh, it's probably poltergeists." I didn't mean anything by it; I was just filling space with words, and, yes, perhaps being a little silly. I know this surprises you. But this seemingly goofball statement, designed to move me along out the door and Onto the Next Thing, triggered something in TechLady and before I knew it we were knee deep in a conversation about ghost hunters and personal woo-woo experiences and satellite TV. I know, I know, how did it all happen so fast??

Turns out TL, as I shall call her, is a junkie for some show about people who debunk ghost stories. Maybe you've seen it; since I live the Amish lifestyle, which only has 6 channels, I had no idea what she was talking about. Apparently these guys go to places where sightings take place and essentially ruin all the fun by explaining how the ghostly images occurred. From time to time, though, they get stumped. And when they do, it gets TL's attention. She described a situation that ended with two big, burly ghost watchers dumping all their fancy equipment, screaming, "Ruuuuuuuuuun!!" at the top of their lungs, and stampeding out of the room faster than Paris can violate her parole.

It was all very interesting on this level of TV shows and other peoples' lives, but then TL had to go and get personal. And let me just mention here that this is one very levelheaded, pragmatic woman. No scent of incense wafts from her, no beads and feathers fall from her pockets. She is practicality in the flesh. But here she was telling me about how something unearthly visited her one night and--I shudder to even say it--sat on her! Sat! on! her! She was in bed, sleeping on her stomach, and something came in and plopped its heavy spiritual ass on her back. She felt actual weight, folks, to the point where she had trouble breathing and had to flop around a little to get it off. I hardly knew what to say. So I called her crazy and she told me to shut up. Then we resumed our conversation, because we were both fascinated.

Turns out that strange things happen in her house from time to time. Her husband, who regularly ends up on the couch because he has trouble sleeping, has on several occasions head loud, clompy footsteps coming down the hall in the middle of the night when no one else is up. Sometimes the hair on the back of his neck rises because he can feel someone watching him, even though no one is there. Creepy, I say. Stephen King creepy.

I, of course, had my own stories to add, like the night that I, too, had a visitor to my bedroom. Not the good kind, either, who brings chocolate sauce and brightly colored balloons. This one sat down on the bed right next to me, although thankfully not atop me. Friends, I am telling you now that I felt the mattress sag and immediately knew two things: 1) I was fully awake, no dreamy-dreamy; and, b) yes...something...was...there. I actually thought an intruder had entered my house and that this was the end of me. Fortunately, I kept my wits about me and immediately assumed a frozen popsicle pose, which no doubt saved my life.

Anyhoo, all this talk of ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night got me thinking. I'm not sure what I believe about the afterlife and spirits and such. I want us to be more than just flesh and blood, that's for sure, but I can't help but be a doubting Thomasina on the subject. Proof, people, I need proof. I live not on faith, but hope. And I wonder, if we are spirits who survive beyond the physical plane, why do some hang around here, looking at live people and sitting on them in the dark of night? Wouldn't there be better things to do, like, oh...well, I don't know, but there must be something more interesting than pestering us, don't you think? For reasons unknown, I envision an amusement park for ghosts.

So this all leads me back to you, of course. What are your ghouly stories? I bet you have some, or at least some opinions on the matter. Maybe AJ will chime in with some of his stories about the veil between worlds lifting, 'cause I know he's got 'em. Bring them all on, because the Day of the Dead is just around the corner and the spirits need some attention. I stand at the ready, prepared to be startled, creeped out, and amazed.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Taking Slackhood to a Whole...Nubba...Lebbuh

Aw, durn it, my lazy ass got busted. Somewhat literally. In stage one of laziness, I posted a picture of some big Tonka toy dump trucks hauling something very important to hither and/or yon and asked you fine people to take a stab at identifying the location. I thought it would be fun--all right, easy--to stick it up on the ol' board and see who bit. And you lovely folks, you stepped right up and threw out your best, and possibly researched, guesses. Now I must confess that I have let you down. How, you ask? Well, in the following ways:

1. I had no idea what the name of that place was to begin with. Sure, I used to know, but "used to know" is as good as "never knew at all" in my head.
2. I could have, in one phone call or a quick google search, found out the name. But I didn't.
2b. I specifically told Doris Rose that she could not play because she had been standing at my side when I took that picture. Or possibly she took that picture her own self and gave me an e-copy. That's how lazy I am, not even taking my own pictures.
3. When Moi tossed out something with "Open Pit Mine" in it, I jumped on it like a cat on a grasshopper. Like my cat on a grasshopper, actually--you should see that girl go. No insect is safe with her around. But I digress, perhaps in hopes of distracting you. Is it working?? No? Dang.
d. With actual entries to judge, one might think that I'd be motivated to do the research, wouldn't one?? Hmm.....nope. I deemed "Chino Open Pit Mine" the winner with nary a backward glance. This was stage two of laziness. At least.
V. When Doris Rose questioned why she couldn't play, since it apparently wasn't the place she thought it was, I tried to distract her with a mumbling and what I hoped might pass for cute response. She kindly let it pass. Stage three.

All of this is to say, NO, I DIDN'T KNOW THE ANSWER TO MY OWN DANG QUESTION. I am not worker bee, I am slacker bee. I hope you haven't despaired or written me off for good, though, because there's good news in all this:


Yes, it only took being politely called out to make me snort and alert myself enough to check the facts. And here it is, only a day late and a dollar short: Everybody's right! Well, at least Moi and Doris Rose. And AJ, 'cause he himself is just so right. And anyone else who wants to be, because we all need to be right sometimes. It turns out that Santa Rita is the name of the town where the El Chino Open Pit Mine is located. This makes my heart happy, because I don't like to give kudos and then take them away. So now we can all rest a little easier.

Please allow me to give you my mea culpa, my lo siento, but not my promise to do better next time. Because, frankly, I won't, and I don't want any of us to be disappointed. I will promise, however, to do my best to make you laugh or to point out my own foibles so that you can feel better about yours, not that you have any. And if that doesn't work, I'll bring over a box of wine and give you glass after glass until you tell me you love me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

In the Name of All That Is ADD

Today's theme is Random. Let us begin.

I know you're all dying to know the outcome of the "What the Hell is THAT?!" contest. I do wonder how you've managed to sleep, eat, and, yes, even give sweet lovings to your honey in the interim between call and response. Well, wait no longer, my friends, it is time to reveal all!

And the winner is.......


You're all correct. Technically, Moi nailed it (as we knew she would with that tightly packed brain of hers) with the Chino Open Pit Mine just outside of Silver City. So the big rah-rahs and hoo-rays go to her. But the rest of you are correct in spirit. And we all know how important that is. AJ, to say that it came to you in a dream is just the rightest of the right. Places like this often exist in dream worlds and Tajique. I know because I've been to both of them. The only difference is that in Tajique there is a dog that endlessly crosses from one side of the road to the other, and in the dream world he brings you mojitos on every fourth crossing. And Doris Rose, the hardest thing in the world is to know the answer and not raise your hand, so big kudos to you as well. Thank you all for playing.

In other news of no great substance, I would like to tell you of my three kindergarten boys. They are small and talky and enthusiastic about life and Miss Wicked. When I come to get them off the playground (yes, they give up recess!), they run toward me with total abandonment and crash into me somewhere around my kneecaps. They are often accompanied by two or three other kindergartners who get confused by the running and think it's time to go in. So I separate the wheat from the chaff and I take my little charges inside and down the long, long halls to my office. Usually I walk side by side with my kids and chat with them about their day or what they ate for lunch or did they see that outfit the principal was wearing?! It's bonding time. But these three guys, they don't go for that. No, they're too busy working their hallway etiquette to notice me. They line up, one behind another (well, I guess that would be a line, wouldn't it?) and trot silently with their hands tucked behind them all the way to my room. Honestly, I feel like nothing so much as a mother duck. It tickles me to no end.

The three little ducklings were still in my office today when the menacing blare of the fire alarm went off. Imagine flashing lights, deafening horns, and thundering feet as the pygmies rushed down the halls to escape the building. Now, in an interesting twist of timing, the fire alarm coincided with the beginning of a rainstorm. At first it was a beautiful, gentle thing. But by the time I had gotten my three little ducklings up and outside, it had taken on a more stinging presentation. And by the time we made it the 42 miles to the fence on the other side of the playground, we were soaked. Well, they were soaked, but since I had had the foresight to bring my rain slicker, I was good. And anyway, aren't kids supposed to love rain and mud?? So don't call me selfish for bogarting my own darn slicker, man.

On yet another note, I hope that you all were able to take some time yesterday to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrrrrrr, ya lilylivered scaliwags, it's the holiest of days, don't ya know?? Anyone who didn't light a candle to Blackbeard will be walkin' the plank, mateys.

Moving right along on the continuum of randomness, has anyone else noticed that Wal-Mart seems to have an overabundance of mobility-impaired shoppers? I'm not talking wheelchair-bound or even crutch-reliant, I'm...just...talking...slow. And they seem to frequently come to a dead stop in the middle of the aisle. For no evident reason I hate it when I accidentally bump into these folks with my cart. Hard. Accidents happen, you know, and who am I to prevent them?

Well. I think you will be relieved to know that I have purged myself of all my compelling thoughts and so I now release you into the pleasure of your own company. Thank you so much for participating in today's Whatever Comes Into Wicked's Head episode.

p.s. For those of you who are also a little ADDy, I recommend the following web site: . It plays a constant stream of pictures recently added to blogs. It's great entertainment for those who crave brevity and constant change.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Name That Place!

I'll give you a hint--it's in New Mexico.

And Doris Rose, I'm sorry, but you can't play. It would be unfair. But dinna fash, it's not like you're missing out on a fantastic prize or anything. Nope, the glory here is in showcasing what obscure facts can be pulled out of the cobwebbed corners of the human brain...or at least how adept one is at Google searches. The latter becomes increasingly important as one loses access to the former. Not that I would know or anything. I'm just sayin'.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Slack, Therefore I Am

I have recently been accused of being a blog slacker.


The evidence suggests this may be true. The trouble is, I have lots to say, but never when my fingers are dancing near a keyboard. Oh, and I'm really worn out these days. Oh, and I'm a total slacker.

As I tell my brother Rob after I have neglected his e-mails for days (weeks), I am going to get better at this. Soon. (By the way, Robo, I am going to get better at this. Soon. To seal my promise, that picture above is for you. Heavenly pickles, mmm...)

Well, make no mistake, I'm going to slack off today, just like I have for the previous...whatever. But it's not that I don't love you and it's not that I don't want to blog to you. It's just who I am these days.

But I am going to get better at this. Soon. Forgive me??

*These images were stolen from

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cleanliness is Next to Maxliness

Here's the reason I couldn't wash my face before bed last night:

Oh, I have other sinks, yes, but Max was in this one.

And he was too bizzy trying on my jewelry to get up.

And he has total mind control over me so I couldn't insist he get out.


And guess what??

Now he has total mind control over you, too.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mystery Solved! Yahoo!!

Transient Leaves Freeway Camp
By Laura Nesbitt
Mountain View Telegraph

Homeless Johnny, who lived in a tent about 20 feet away from Interstate 40 in Moriarty for about three months, has moved on.

Rubin Garcia, a District 5 traffic engineer with the New Mexico Department of Transportation, said Wednesday he had asked his maintenance patrol foreman in Moriarty to ask Johnny to leave. Apparently he did.

In an interview Wednesday outside the McDonald's restaurant in Moriarty, Johnny said "a bunch of cops" showed up Tuesday and asked him to move on. He claimed to have moved to Shetland Street, about four miles east of Moriarty.

If the city had complaints about Johnny's freeway camp, they were not voiced too loudly. Katy Tapia, Moriarty Police Department administrative assistant and administrator of the Moriarty Traveler's Aid Program, said last week that Johnny had not contacted her for assistance and she had not received any complaints from the public.

"I didn't even know there were two tents out there," Tapia said. If any complaints were made to the city, they would have gone through Sheila Murphy, Moriarty zoning administrator. Murphy hasn't heard anything about Johnny, either.

NMDOT spokeswoman Karyn Lujan, however, said last week the highway department was aware of Johnny's camp. "Between State Police and DOT, we're trying to coordinate an effort to ask them to vacate that area," Lujan said. "All we can do is ask State Police to ask them to leave and we are in the process of doing that."

Garcia said that July 27 was the first time he told Johnny it was time to move on. "He mentioned that no one was complaining," Garcia said. "But the state is complaining. We don't want to be responsible for people getting run over. We have a policy."

In an interview Friday, Johnny had said a law enforcement officer came by about two weeks ago and gave him two weeks to leave. "You're lucky you've got a place to go to," Johnny said from his now-empty campsite. "Most of these people out here don't. They're trying to get a life."

Moriarty Mayor Adan Encinias said he believes the problem is a disturbing social issue. "Moving them on to another city is like shooing them away," Encinias said in a phone interview last week. "It's unfair for me to comment when I have a roof over my head. I need an alternative plan and I don't have one." Two established aid programs exist in Moriarty for transients or travelers who need assistance:

Bethel Community Storehouse, on N.M. 41 about a mile south of Interstate 40, 832-6642.
Moriarty Traveler's Aid Program, administered through the police department, 832-6060.

Johnny and Angel, a friend who also lived at the camp for a time, left a sign at their vacated campsite: "I-40, the road to everywhere, or maybe to nowhere."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Don't Get Too Attached

Well, da-HANG, folks, guess what?? My highway campers have disappeared. That camp site was plucked clean this morning, with nary a footprint left to betray their existence.

What in the heck am I going to think about now?!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Life's Little Curiousities

I see the weirdest things on the way to work. I suppose that when one drives 75 miles per day, one should expect to see some oddities along the way. Vehicles parked on their roofs, hooker boots, and the occasional large, unidentifiable object in the middle of the lane are all par for the course in the world of highway driving.

A few weeks ago, though, something particularly strange presented itself, something that got stuck in my imagination and made me want to make up a story. And it's been there ever since.

The sight started simply with a couple of highway cruisers pulled over, lights flashing, but without an accompanying offending driver. The officers had, in fact, left their vehicles and were trekking down the slight hill by the side of the road. As I whizzed past at 75 miles per hour, I glanced over and was surprised to see two tents perched there. Tents. Camping tents. With no vehicle in sight. Hm.

Well, that promoted a little pondering, but I figured the the handy policemen would shoo these folks on their way and that would be that. I didn't give it much thought until the next morning, when I again passed two highway cruisers in the same spot, lights flashing (again? still?), and the two officers down the hill. This time, though, they were talking to a couple of guys, one of whom was sitting in a wheelchair.

So here we are with the stranded wheelchair guy again. I don't get it; what is it about I-40 that encourages people in wheelchairs to get stuck upon it? Is it the Highway of Misfit Toys? All my wondering got me nowhere, though, and since I only had about 4 miles left to get to work I let it go, confident that I would forget all about it by the next morning and that would effectively solve the puzzle for me.

But no.

The next morning, there they were again. And that's where they've been every morning since. I've never seen them make any attempt to get a ride. The police don't seem interested any more. So there they sit, just camping out by the highway that never rests, the road that presents every opportunity for sleep interruption and a zenless existence. Interesting choice for a place to set their welcome mat, don't you think? And the only thing that's changed of late is that they've written a message in big, black letters across the door to one of the tents. I'm not sure yet what it says; I only discovered it today, so I'll have to slow down on my next pass-by and take a closer look. That's Wicked, sniffing out the big news so she can report it to you.

I am so doggone intrigued that I can hardly stand it. I'm just aching to pull over and conduct a little interview with those highway squatters. Maybe they're evangelists preaching the word to wayward truckers and highway patrolmen. Perhaps they've recently been released from prison and have decided to start their new lives on the edge of I-40. Maybe they have a death wish and are just waiting for the mowers to come; I don't know.

If you have any good ideas, send them my way. Together, we can figure this out.

Monday, September 3, 2007


In honor of our FOUR-day work week*, I offer you the following to tickle your funny bone:

*My apologies to those who are self-employed, don't celebrate holidays, or who are simply overachievers in the work department and are not getting their four-day work week. Or rather, they are, but only as a part of their usual five-, six-, or seven-day schedules. Poop, I say. Poop.