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(Ouray) The bear came over the mountain. Then another, and more. Soon, as the autumn whitewashed the San Juans, that garbage bins, dog food dishes and apple trees were the main attraction. An evening walk would likely result in a sighting of another hungry, generally docile, beast on his way to dinner. Residents wondered when and if the animals would ever go to sleep.

Take a walk on the wild side…After dark in the alleys of Ouray one is more likely to see a bear than another human, well almost. In an attempt to review these occurrences we have collected some of the more colorful accounts of the season.

Let us appreciate and not judge the mighty bear. You try feeding a family of porky 300-pounders on roots and berries.

“At just about dark on September 23 I went out to check on a splashing sound in my hot tub only to discover a large bear soaking. I went back into the house for my camera but when I returned he had vacated the premises. I only hoped he had not gone into the woods to recruit more hairy party animals. All he left behind was a badly worn towel.”

– W. Sammy Carpe, Whispering Pines

“At just about dusk on a Friday night in late September my wife, Gwen, and I were grilling and sipping on our fourth and final gin and bitters when a small cub wandered right into the yard and pushed over the Weber. Before I could day Jack Spratt he gobbled up two tenderloins and was off. Fortunately he didn’t get the Yorkshire pudding, or our pet Yorkie for that matter. Nonetheless dinner was ruined, Duckett’s had closed and we were forced to subsist on head cheese till morning.”

– Colonel Abshite Pitt, 6th Grenadiers, 2nd Street, Ouray

“It was the middle of the night. I heard a crash in the kitchen. When I got up I saw a large hairy beast at the sink eating salami. I figured it was my husband, Earl, in his black silk karate robe. I went back to sleep. In the morning I awoke to quite a mess and remembered that Earl had been away on business in Colona the previous evening. What an experience!”

– Madalaine Crab-Leggit, Dexter Creek

“It was almost dawn on October 2. I went out for my daily ritual of checking my marijuana plants only to find a mature male bear eating them. I clanged a few pans together to scare him off but only when I fired off my sidearm did him scram. The damage was done. It looks like I’ll have to survive on cheap whiskey all winter.”

– Gloria Minske, no address given.

“It was broad daylight. I was on my way out of the post office when three adolescent bears approached me demanding spare change. Looking around I realized I had no backup so I handed each of them a dollar. Later I received an unfair lecture from the game warden. Three bucks is better than the alternative.”

– Walter Gold Elochs, Camp Bird Road

“I had been to the dinner at a friends’ one night and decided not to drive home. I went to lock my pickup only to discover a sow sitting behind the wheel. I just kept walking, making a mental note to stay off the Campari and to roll up the windows of my truck from now on.”

– Sly Kodiak, 6th Avenue, Ouray

These eyewitness chronicles represent only a fraction of the bear sightings in Ouray this fall. Do you have one to share? E-Mail us at

Nostradamus Saw Short Skirts, Bottled Water Craze

(St.-Remy, France) Way back in the 1550s Michel de Notredame, better known as Nostradamus clearly predicted skirt lengths, computers and the bottled water craze. Although many suggest that his forecasts were vague and open to a variety of interpretations most experts cannot deny his precise prognosis of 21st Century cultural phenomenon.

Written off by some as a simple soothsayer whose obscure presumptions were made more to entertain the French court of Charles IX than to augur the future, the prophesies of Nostradamus continue to surface, delighting some and confusing others.

According to Dr. Efram Pennywhistle of the infrequently prestigious Cal Amari Institute Nostradamus was a run-of-the-mill astrologer and rogue physician willing to write prescriptions at the drop of a hat.

“His only real talent seems to have been the ability to be weird,” said Pennywhistle. “He would enter a room trance like and begin speaking as if from another soul making ambiguous, often insolent predictions about the death of kings or the success of future grape harvests. Many people bought his program just like they do today. I’m not saying it was an act,” continued Pennywhistle. “I’m just saying he employed the drama of the ancient Greeks with the timing of a Yiddish vaudevillian.”

Although skeptical, Pennywhistle readily admits that Nostradamus was right about many of his forecasts. In 1555 after publishing his prophesies in verse form in Centuries he began to dwell on the mundane, preferring to talk about meaningless cultural behaviors rather than earth stopping developments.

Pennywhistle sights a host of predictions within the realm of popular culture suggesting that Nostradamus was pulling someone’s chain and making a killing doing so.

“The man actually charted changing skirt lengths from 1830 to 1955 seeing what appeared to be only a fashion statement as a presage to war, economic conditions and morality. He saw the rise of the computer but failed to buy stock in Microsoft when it was still cheap,” said the doctor. “Later, just before his death in 1556 Nostradamus told the French to invest in plastics insisting that soon plastic will rule the world.”

Researchers agree that Nostradamus was never successful in attempts to foretell the end of the world but he may have predicted the rise of Adolf Hitler and penned the lyrics in the Beatle’s album Magical Mystery Tour.

“There is evidence that he hit many of history’s nails right on the head, “said Pennywhistle. “But let’s leave those truths in the hands of the supermarket tabloids and talk radio hosts.”

After centuries the astrologer’s ability to predict the future remains as cloudy as ever. Was he a gifted sage, a receiver of random information from the heavens, or was he just another show biz charlatan on the way to the bank?

– Alfalfa Romero


1. Estimate the number of unemployed astrologists living in Paris in the 16th Century.

2. Was Centuries ever available to the general public in paperback?

3. Did Nostradamus ever suggest effective methods for disposing of plastics?

4. Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about his half-brother Claude?

5. BONUS: Conjugate the verb nostradar.

Many Dearly Departed Still on Facebook

A host of deceased individuals continue to be listed as Facebook friends despite the fact that they have crossed over behind the looking glass. Whether they are in heaven or hell does not seem to matter.

Facebook claims an ungodly number of subscribers all over the world and, yes, many are six feet under. Internet regulators have continually promised to examine the rosters and many consumer groups have repeatedly called for action.

“It’s bad enough people spend hours per day reading these posts but now they may be sharing their thoughts with dead people (which is against the law in 14 states and 2 territories). No one knows if the deceased revel in tart, brilliant political jousting, force poorly conceived opinions on others of simply like to look at cats and dogs on-line.

One particularly amusing post stated simply: “You think you have problems? I’m dead.”

The social media giant claims it cannot regulate every aspect of Facebook. It called on the departed to de-friend and terminate the relationship by pushing several buttons and waiting for a final response before leaving the planet for greener pastures.

“It’s the very least they can do,” said a spokesman for Facebook.

– Fred Zeppelin

Colona man returns from Great Beyond

“It’s a mirror of this world. A bright, enchanted mirror. Everything is the opposite, a perfectly reproduced reflection. The abyss rather ominous, no?  No more madness – No more twisted sense of self.”

These are the words of an adventurous Colona man who claims to have visited another world after this one and returned to tell about it. It’s no surprise that skeptics have emerged, frowning and scoffing at the very idea of astral travel or out-of-body encounters.

Ripple van Winkle claims that he spent two weekends “up in the clouds” where he met with good souls and bad ones in an attempt to document the existence of afterlife locales and resting places along the road to our final destination.

“I came back in early September to get a fish-eye lens and some sox for all my new friends” smiled van Winkle. “It’s been chilly in the Evermore. “I will depart tomorrow by clicking my heels together and then hurling myself off the Butter and Egg National Bank Building on the Wimpton Roundabout. There are still good seats left.”

Despite the old adage: You can sleep when you’re dead…van Winkle says the saved may not get much shut-eye. “It’s no picnic out there. Someone has to haul water, chop wood, do the dishes, feed the dog, mow the grass, trim the clouds and perform guard duty.

“My travels have not exposed the dystopian or the utopian but rather a place similar to earth without guilt, jealousy, greed or expectations,” he explained. “I have tattoos to prove my story.”

Van Winkle said we should prepare for the arrival of highly intelligent aliens and that many are already here on earth as well as Mars and Neptune. He then shocked the assemblage by then sharing a “Message from the heavens”:

Hold on tight little fleas – the big dog is shaking her booty and wagging her tail. Mother Nature’s stark increases in crude bodily functions such as stooping over, bad teeth, bad hygiene, limping, cursing, chronic sneezes, farting, grumpiness, coughing and spitting, vomiting, nervous ticks, stroke, heart, murmurs, sporadic tears, hair loss and way more. Better get your money, canned goods, ammo and water in your bunkers!

The episode is seen by many as the first credible instance of departure from and return to a verified metaphysical ball that is orbiting through space. Whether it corroborates or discounts popular beliefs on the subject is anyone’s guess.

Van Winkle, who has no known motive for making up stories, is nowhere to be found this morning. A search was called off at noon before it began.

– Susie Compost

Congressional Flag Football to Feature Vampires and Zombies

(Warshington) Partisan legislators hit their respective locker rooms on Friday in apprehension of a noon kickoff. First to arrive were the Republican Vampires*, out for blood after a loss to the Democrat Zombies** in last year’s match.

“We’re out to avenge the wrongs perpetrated the last time we took the gloves off. We have firmed up our right flank and added a few new plays that we signed into law in the middle of the night when no one was looking,” said House Majority Leader, Mitch “Wimp” McConnell, starting tailback for the Vampires.

The Democrat Zombies*, arriving by mass transit to little fanfare, quickly assembled in the locker room to the left. Those claiming to be in the know say the squad will have a full repertoire of defensive alignments and a splendid receiving corps that has been sitting on its hands since shocking losses in 2016.

But just as the coin toss was about to go up and then come down somebody noticed the integral little pocket flags were not in attendance. They were not where they should be.

“They were here a moment ago,” someone said. “Where could they have gone?” said Neil M. Gorsuch, a Supreme Court appointee and one of the day’s referees. “They were in the crate with the backup footballs,” said a worried equipment specialist.

Neither team will wear helmets so that lobbyists can easily recognize who is who when the ball is snapped and thus measure the impact of campaign contributions on gamesmanship. Both will don plastic mouth guards that elevate the art of double-talk and protect those winning smiles.

A few more moments of embarrassed searching netted nothing. Murmurs of blame began arising with each side blaming the other side for the blunder.

“This was no oversight,” said Sen. Michael Bennett, a Zombie who, despite spending lots of time on the field has had little impact on national politics. “They don’t want to play us because they know we’ll beat them again,” he said, ducking a large Rocky Ford melon hurled by a fan, presumably unimpressed with his jargon.

Vampire Senator Cory Gardner, wiping raw rotten egg from his jersey, will handle water boy duties due to a bone spur problem that will keep him out of action, retorted by insisting the Zombies took the flag.

“We could just play with this Russian flag,” he offered. “Then we’ll see who is best on a level playing field. Gardner, who cannot catch or tackle, but is a dynamic force on the bench, missed 5 of the 6 practices due to responsibilities in Colorado’s fracking fields, where he counts money.

The game, played at the Lester Maddox-Malcolm X Sports Complex on the city’s rougher NE side each year, was decidedly tedious to watch last year with little action and lots of trash talking. Both sides blamed the other for the lack of scoring, with Zombies calling on Vampires to end the logjam and Vampires beating their chests chanting the parasitic slogan “Make America Bait Again!”

The play-by-play, scheduled to run simultaneously with movement in the chamber, was shelved last night because there has been little to no engagement since the Dubya Years. The business of the nation is not on today’s lineup card replaced by infighting, pettiness and greed on both sides of the gridiron.

The American people, not invited to the game so as to make more room for lobbyists, continue to support these tired old teams, although the experts suggest that many younger players will fill the ranks in the coming year.

Odd footnote: Donald Trump was not invited to the football game. A Zombie spokesperson quipped that maybe the president had a conflicting tee time for that date. Vampires say it was a simple oversight. GOP analysts contend that his absence had to due with “his keen sense of geography”. (He did not attend because the game was played in a neighborhood he does not frequent due to a predominantly Black population in an area yet to be pacified.)

“The absence of the Commander and Chief, while bankrupting the affair, allows for more orderly sidelines since the other players do not have to jockey for position and create space between themselves and what many see as a sacked tweeter.

“If a flag surfaces it will be interesting to see if the Vampires play in blinders or if the Zombies take advantage of opportunities not afforded them last year.

*Vampires – Those who prosper and feed on the blood of others. These are usually corpses that don’t realize they are dead. These ruthless leeches exit their graves in the night to bite the necks of the living. They suck the lifeblood then disappear into their crypts in the morning light.

** Zombies – Persons deemed sociopathic or a threat to a group were ostracized and sometimes disabled intellectually. They are sentenced to roam the earth in a dream-near-death, irrational state until they show themselves to be worthy of reunion with their people.

“It’s not the media’s job to lure Trumpists out of their cult, but rather, to inform and earn the trust of those open to learning about reality.”

                                                                               – Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post  9/12/18

Ancient Horseshoe archives recovered

(Alexandria, Egypt) Artifacts exhumed near this city of 6 million suggest that the San Juan Horseshoe is older than the dirt in which it was hastily buried an estimated 3000 years ago. Who interred the remnants or why, is still as foggy as a balmy day in Newfoundland.

Dated at around 700 BC, the findings include circulation logs, pictures of dogs, layout apparatus, offset plates, glass plates, grid sheets, exacto-knives, scissors, a drawing table, a line art enlarger, glue, wax, steel rulers, rollers, and primitive cameras.

Newspapers replaced cumbersome tablets in Egypt by 1000 BC

In addition inside a carefully sealed vault are photos of a lineage of Pharaohs engaged in debauchery and mummies of disloyal advertisers. The content of this hidden vault may have resulted in the banning of the paper and the deportation of its staff during the Hellenistic Period and later with the ominous rise of Carthage.

The dig was conducted near the Temple of Serapis but the largest cache was delivered when archeologists stumbled over an engraved oak staff that was most likely used to encourage or punish pressmen and writers.

“That is just feet from our storied library,” said Abdule “Mickey” Svelte, from the University of the Nile. “In just an hour we were overwhelmed by the treasures just below the surface near the Mediterranean. The relics will be stored at the 15th Century Citadel of Quaitbay  that is today a museum,” said Svelte.

Mummy exhumed from Horseshoe dig was most likely a disloyal advertiser, say historians, and not Alexander the Great, as has been the accepted position since the fall of Rome.

“Once we unearth these rarities we will bring in some heavier earth moving gear and get down to the subfloors and more remote tombs,” he continued. “Who knows what’s down there and what primordial curses our snooping will reawaken. Considering the status of current events in our country what could be worse?”

Unlike most digs there is no need for a security force to guard against grave robbers since nobody wants any of this booty.

Of interest on smudged pages is a story dated 702 BC about a man in Samalut who dove from the top of the Great Pyramid of Geezer into a Dixie cup of Nile River water. Another piece interviews cats that think they are gods. A pullout covering the finals of Nubian Polo held in 699 BC actually featured faded colors made from lotus plants and papyrus. At the end of the 8th Century BC the paper boasted a circulation of 10,000,000 in a nation of only around 5,000,000.

A sardonic editorial, slamming corruption amid the ruling class, graced the front of the last known publication.

– Paula Parvenue