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Second homeowners counted twice?

(Mañana) Most anarchists around here think the National Census is a joke. Joining many other less radical elements of the society these standard bearers claim the figures extracted from the populace in no way indicate anything about who we are or how we live.

Former Cahone grant writer, turned anarchist after one too many town council meetings, says the census is just another money laundering operation on the part of the feds.

“They pay census takers to knock on doors and write down statistics. These people aren’t properly trained. What if grandma’s hiding in the cellar or Uncle Bob is out of town?” he said. “It’s simple. A lot of scribble on an official Census form is not a valid basis for decision-making, funding or any other gov’ment intrusion. Even if it was it would not justify the expense.”

Mildred Cranmph, a retired navel officer turned anarchist thinks the Census expenditures could be better spent on tanks or a second Star Wars Defense System.

Another anarchist, Mildred Cranmph, of Camp Bird agrees, adding that the census is about on par with employment figures which she says are often distorted to benefit politicians and the party in power.

“We must ask ourselves where the feds could better spend the money which they have illegally collected through rogue taxing policies,” she flinched. “Then take it another step and ask what effect all that money would have on the economy if it were left to the consumer to spend as he or she saw fit.”

Pro-Census sources wrote off the cries of the anarchists saying that they just sought to sabotage the census taking since it provided cohesion and preserved order in the nation. Authorities fear that efforts to disrupt the census could emerge as the actual tabulations begin.

This unidentified anarchist, who claims to have invented the cow tag, thinks the Census is a sham. Others agree calling it yet another act of a stumblebum government plodding through another meaningless workday.

“In some countries census takers have been threatened and roughed up by rebellious rabble and in some cases kidnapped by factions unfriendly to law and order,” said Marco Rasputin, of the Trivial Liberties Union. “These census workers are brave Americans out to make an honest buck,” he stared. “Who knows what dangers lurk in the hearts of our countrymen? There are domestic disputes that may be encountered. There is the threat of the angry recluse or the lonely motor mouth, and that doesn’t even touch on exhibitionists, bad coffee or mean dogs.”

The anarchists are calling for a boycott of the census until the federals come to their senses.

“Considering the history of the past 200 years that could take forever,” said Cranmph, who suggests that an educated guess might do the trick.

“It’s like the football referee who roughly estimates were to down the ball after a play then meticulously measures his often invalid presumption with the exactness of 10-yard chains,” said one anarchist who demanded anonymity. “The whole thing is ludicrous, but what isn’t? Why do you think I’m an anarchist anyway? I’ll tell you…It ain’t for the benefits.”

– Melvin O’Toole

Comic Pages Good For Mental Health

(Gotham City) According to a new federal study the daily digestion of the comics leads to a happier, better adjusted human being. Of the over 6,000 daily newspaper readers surveyed 65% said they read the comic pages daily. 48% said they read them first. Of that group, only three people complained of depression or said they felt displaced or disenfranchised from society.

“After digesting the front page and the editorials many people need to lighten up,” said one researcher, “and that’s where the comics page comes in. Completing the crossword puzzle, reading the horoscope, even consuming the sports pages doesn’t offer the inner peace found in reading the comic strips.”

For decades the feds have tried to manipulate the comics by sneaking propaganda and government agendas onto these pages. The attempt has failed however since federal agencies often lack a basic sense of humor essential to the common belly laugh.

“Veteran comic page readers see through all the hype,” said the source. “They’re looking for simplicity and escape. The diversity of humor found in the strips offers something for every interest and mental capacity.”

Experts liken reading the comics to soaking one’s bunions in a hot pail of water or daydreaming. Some even consider the behavior to have therapeutic value since it is not intellectually threatening. They even compare the practice to meditation or prayer.

“The comics offer a secure format with familiar characters who are usually predictable,” according to a 34,000-page report released this week. “Regular readers relate to the characters and accompanying predicaments, almost always resolved in a few frames. Perusers of the funny pages gain tranquil entertainment value without the noise and control of television or the demands of more serious reading.”

The study also implied that many people can’t tell the difference between the comics and the regular news, especially alleged TV news which is not generally meant to be comedy or even all that amusing.

“Anyone who has read the Sunday comix with a small child can verify the powerful bond that is achieved,” said one pencil pusher.

“Television is already so stupid that it doesn’t need comic relief,” continued the report that adds that boob tube addicts are one of the most hollow groups on the planet.

The cost of the study was just over $6.5 million.

– Kashmir Horseshoe

Ridgway Considers Vowel Movement

(Dallas Creek) The Town of Ridgway may lose substantial funding if it does not comply with federal guidelines on vowel usage. The spelling of the town, actually named for an obscure railroad official who spelled his name Ridgway, will have to adhere to uniform guidelines as established by Congress, or jeopardize continued highway and civic financing.

Many visitors would be much more comfortable spelling Ridgway with an e (while butchering Ouray with a variety of digraphs and diphthongs) which could solve the problem for everyone. Of corpse, amid the rampant growth there are a few old timers who would like to keep things the same as they once were. They will be deported if they create problems.

“Most of the newcomers think they’re in suburban Telluride anyway and we don’t expect any backlash,” said Olivia Tinkleholland, an executive spelling specialist from back east. “I’ve won over 4000 spelling bees since the first grade and in every match the audience barely exhibited attention to detail.”

Sources within the Department of Homeland Security slammed earlier reports that the Ute translation of the word Ridgeway means literally “place of ridges” saying instead that the spelling Ridgway is roughly translated as “that white guy that drives the train”.

“Now who’s gonna argue with an entire nation?” asked one senate hopeful on his rounds in Colona. “Talk about politically incorrect! I am 1% Native American and

Ridgway has until January 15 to become Ridgeway. Despite the potential loss of hundreds of dollars there is a grass roots movement brewing that calls for the secession of the entire Uncompahgre valley from the Mexico or current resident.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from other communities wanting to join our little confederacy too,” said Hempmorgan Smythe, a gentleman farmer from Pleasant Valley. “I like all this revolutionary fervor,” he smiled raising his fist to the sky. “My only real problem with restructuring society is that is that I’m quite rich and I don’t cotton to sharing my pile. But who knows,” he laughed, “before long we’ll all be holding tea parties, wearing perukes and rationalizing slavery just like our founding fathers.”

– Dag Katz

Keeping the fun in marriage

with Dr. Muffy Hollandaise, MSW, PhD, ASAP, LSMFT

Part 162 – Creative Disagreement — Keeping It Civil

As my fifth husband always used to say: “If you can’t fight standing up how do you expect to make love lying down.” While many of us here in the business are not clear as to what he means, we will go to the wall to defend his rite of common passage. Given: Everyone, with the possible exception of white doves, hermits, the dead and laudanum addicts locks horns sometimes. Nowhere is this phenomenon more interesting than within the sacred bondage of marital harmony.

You may ask: How then Dr. Muffy can two people learn to tolerate each other when the green grasses of secularism beckon and the chains monogamy rattle throughout the night. The answer: Don’t just sit there like a rusty old war memorial. Kick up some dust. Here’s how to do it:

Most people would agree that it’s far easier watching someone else explode than to hit the ceiling yourself. That’s our first direction: Shut the hell up. Sure, it’s tough but generally your opponent will continue to hold the floor at least until they have exuded all primary hostility. Everyone thinks they know what they are talking about but no one has a clue. Blah, blah, blah…and so on. Rocking from toe to heel with a knowing smile can be very effective in this realm.

During this peripheral exchange be sure to keep a serious look on your face (laughing will only succeed in making matters worse). Don’t make eye contact (it is often seen as a sign of aggression and yet can simultaneously denote fear). Back away slowly attempting to make yourself seem larger and more formidable (running will convince the predator that you are food).

While surfing the primrose path it is wise to make lots of noise so as not to startle your mate, especially if he or she is traveling with cubs (off-spring).

When the confrontation reaches phase two — the actual dialogue, it may help to circulate a print-out to the participating parties. This helpful sheet can provide guidelines, parameters and information that will be covered during the brawl. This way nobody feels blindsided by issues introduced in the heat of battle. Hint: Always hold back just a little in case backstabbing is the only recourse. For example: Personal attacks on in-laws and personal hygiene are good while implications as to the lack of integrity and/or obesity are less effective.

Always take time to choose a setting that benefits both sides. The kitchen is often better than the bedroom, even though that’s where the knives are housed. The garden may work well for the combatants but what about the tomato plants? Squash can be very sensitive to upheavals and often wilts on the vine in the face of entanglement. (And that says nothing of endive and/or periwinkle). Referring to the set as the battleground does not carry with it the indication that one is serious about solutions. Waiting for the other partner to be drunk is not a good idea as one runs the risk that he or she could pass out during your rebuttal.

Timing is important too. She should throw out a contentious line during, say, the final game of the NBA Playoffs. He could do well waiting until the VISA bill arrives, unless of course he is the big spender. Bringing up an old mate is a valid approach only when he is in jail or her hair is falling out.

Never presume that you are a better lover unless you were actually present during their tender moments. Don’t accept guilt connected to such evangelical surprises as: “After failing at several suicide attempts she joined a cloistered order and was hit by a bolt of lightning while on her way to vespers; He passed away after contracting leprosy, you know, working with the poor in India; or the old standby he jumped into a small bucket of chilled white table wine from a squat piñon tree atop lover’s leap and it’s your fault!”

Along with the setting one should consider the general ambiance. The sound of a distant lawn mower or chain saw can be relaxing. The sound of a dog barking can lead to further frustration. Make sure no faucets are dripping or digital beeping is present as distraction can cause breakdowns of the communicative process.

Music is very important. Country and Western works well, especially compared to the annoying repetitions sometimes inherent in progressive jazz. Samba is good. Salsa is too much. Rap is not a beneficial option since it is often loud, repetitive and crude. Love songs may not be appropriate either. Save them for the making up part, if it ever comes.

Body language should not be a consideration and physical response isn’t a solution, even for lower primates. The habit of repeating verbatim every sentence uttered by your opponent is childish and can provoke further duress.

At some point in the proceedings there should be a period of dead air when everyone is finally exhausted. This is the right time to terminate the argument. The best way to do so is to throw your arms around your partner and hug them till they turn blue. Most people find this extension less attractive than facing a bayonet but moments after the initial fear of rejection is conquered anger is usually replaced by relief. Never leave during an argument since it can be taken as a retreat and you may have to go through this discussion process all over again.

Now that the argument has come to a halt it is time to start gathering ammunition for the next big fight which we will undress in the next episode. Too-DA-loo…

Dr. Hollandaise graduated from some school back east & uses a lot of words she doesn’t understand. She can’t cook, has over 40 mirrors in her abode and is lousy in bed, according to undisclothed sources.

An encounter at Baker’s Park

It started out warm but the monsoon summer hung heavy in the afternoon sky as they made their way up the Animas toward what prospectors called The Forks, where traces of gold had been discovered the year before. It was 1861 and the two trappers had made the journey from Taos north to the San Juan in search of treasure that had eluded most previous expeditions. Although it was late July hints of winter could already be felt in the early morning.

John MacGregor and Charles Healy were an unlikely pair. They never got along in civilization but somehow, when cut off from it all in the mountains they were friends, respecting each other’s ability to survive in the wilderness.

“I hear they gonna have ’em a war back east,” said MacGregor. “Guess the South has had enough. I read a paper from back in February when I was in St. Joseph. They say they had to sneak Lincoln into Washington for his own Inauguration.”

“Yeah, even before John Calhoun was elected to the South Carolina Senate they’ve been at each other’s throats,” said Healy. “The South has its point but you can’t be ownin’ people outright…”

“Oh, you one of those abolitionists?”

“One of those what?”

“Abolitionists. One of those fellers that is out to end slavery.”

“I don’t know nothin’ about that all I’m sayin’ is…”

“And if you showed up on the battlefield with that headdress on nobody would know which side you was fightin’ for. Hell, the way you hold onto that red hat you’d think it alone could protect your scalp.”

“What about you prancin’ around St. Joseph half naked, drunk as a dog? singing those naughty French postcard songs… ‘Woke up the whole whorehouse, didn’t you,” chided Healy. “The only reason you made it out alive is that the Madame liked your harp.”

“That’s right. My music saved us both.”

“The poor woman loved the way you played the harmonica, even though I can attest you have a long way to go before you master the instrument.”

“At least I’m not walking around in a silly red hat,” said MacGregor.

“That silly red hat is part of the family tartan, fool. If you had the least bit of breeding you’d understand legacies and the like. You just walk up and down mountains blowing on that mouth harp, looking to get rich.”

“We’d better get at it too,” said MacGregor. “We’ll be having a lot of company just as soon as they sort out their problems back in Virginia and Massachusetts.”

As they reached what is now California Gulch, MacGregor stopped playing his harp. It became apparent that they already had company. A small band of Ute had appeared on a ridge to the south. Although the Utes kept at a distance it was clear that the two men had been seen.

“They couldn’t help but hear us comin’ what with that harmonica noise,” whispered Healy…”

“Who could miss seein’ us with that red hat sittin’ on your head?” spat MacGregor. “Tartans be damned. Now we’re in for it.”

The Utes got a little closer as the prospectors looked for cover. They found a small outcropping protected to two sides by a sheer cliff.

“We’d better stop here and make a stand if need be,” said Healy. “Otherwise we’re caught out in the open.”

“How much powder you got left?” asked MacGregor. “They don’t look all too friendly.”

Perched in the enclosure the two watched the Utes surround their position. It was beginning to get dark. The wind picked up and the blue sky turned purple. Prepared for what could be their last fight Healy and MacGregor again checked their arsenal.

“If they come at us after dark we’re fried,” gasped Healy. “There are at least twenty of them that I’ve spotted so far.”

The night dragged on slowly with every little sound foretelling an attack, but none came.

“Remember what they did to that scouting party up here last fall?” said Healy. “It wasn’t pretty.”

“Maybe they just want your mule,” offered MacGregor. “An animal like her is worth a lot up in this country.”

 “I think they want more than the mule,” retorted Healy. “I think they want our scalps.”

As the morning arrived the men could see smoke from a large campfire up above. The Utes had not moved. Now it appeared some ten to fifteen more warriors had joined the original band. As the sun crept higher into the sky MacGregor began playing his harmonica.

“What are you doing!” screamed Healy.

“What’s the harm in a little tune? They know we’re here. Maybe they’ll leave us be if they think we’re crazy enough.”

The music flowed; Darlin’ Clementine bounced off the rocks and whirled upward, seducing one Ute out into the open.

“What’s he doing? I got a clean shot if…”

“Wait,” said MacGregor. “I think he likes my playin’.”

As the man approached it became clear that indeed, he liked the music. He was smiling. When he got closer he stopped, put his hand to his mouth, stomped his foot and began spining in a circle. Then he stopped and stared and repeated the ritual again.

“He wants you to play more music,” said Healy. “I can’t believe this.”

MacGregor put his harp to his lips and began a scattered rendition of Dixie. Now several Utes popped up their heads. MacGregor performance grew bolder as he now had an audience. He followed with Sweet Virginny, Healy joining in harmony of sorts despite a wad of tobacco in his cheek.

The first Ute approached gesturing that he wanted to examine the harmonica. He was still smiling and MacGregor turned it over to him.

“I haven’t seen one of these outfits since my last trip to Paris,” said the Ute in perfect English. “What will you take in trade?”

Healy and MacGregor were stunned. Paris? This was 1861. Nobody from these mountains had been to Paris. Was he talking France?

“What will you take in trade?” repeated the Ute now holding the harmonica tightly.

“Water,” bellowed Healy. “We’ll take water and maybe some tobacco.”

MacGregor was not pleased. The harmonica was his and he didn’t cotton to parting with it.

“Why don’t you offer him that stupid red hat instead,” he asked. “Maybe we can trade that for water, or maybe your mule and the hat for free passage.”

Two others, quite mesmerized by the instrument, now joined the Ute. Each took his turn blowing into the harp, laughing and wrestling with each other for another go at it.

MacGregor stood up gesturing at his canteen. Within moments the deal was consummated. Healy looked at MacGregor, saddened from the loss of his harp.

“Here’s a little icing,” he said. “I’ll throw in my red hat too.”

He walked over to the Utes and gave them his tartan hat gesturing that it was theirs to keep.

“I haven’t seen one of these since I was in Edinburgh,” said one of the Utes, placing the red hat on his head happily.

You can keep it as a gift,” said Healy. “I can always get another one but this here scalp is one-of-a-kind.”

Soon the two men were alone. The Utes had disappeared and were not seen again.

“I’d love to see the look on the faces of the next white party that runs across these Utes, what with the harmonica and head gear,” quipped Healy.

“We should have held out for more than water,” said MacGregor, “but at least we are alive. I’ll buy a hundred new harmonicas and even get you another red hat after we strike it rich.”

– Kashmir Horseshoe



Mega-Tourism Demise of Rome

(Vienna) Archeologists returning from a massive dig in northwest Italy say the Roman Empire was driven to its knees by too much of a good thing. Dribbles of tourism seemed to be just the thing to aid the ailing economy drenched from Caesar’s jaunts into Galicia and the building of navy to match the nautical capacites of Egypt.

That opened the doors and soon the entire peninsula was flooded with the defeated on vacation. Yes, the very people subjugated though the Roman conquests over the past century had come home to roost. There were Carthaginians and Belgicans and Judeans and Numians, all crowding the markets. all asking dumb questions.

Rampant, out-of-control mobs soon seeped from beneath the walls of the Coliseum infecting neighborhoods in peace since the days of Romulus and Uncle Remus. And that was before they put the sunroofs and vomitoriums in over at the Senate annex.

From the East came the Lycians, Macedonians, Cretans, Armenians, all with their odd ancient ways despite the efforts of the Empire to bring them along in the Roman way.

Then there were the cruise ships and the geeks from Britannia and camera-wielding munchkins from the molehills of pretty Lockleara and the hallucinogenic meadows of San Pedro. There were even Germanic tribes like the Visigoths, the Saxons and the Franks who would someday bring apocalyptic terror to these very streets and bazaars. But today they were on vacation too, mobbing the restaurants, taking all the parking spots, drunk by noon.

For a quasi-related piece please turn to “Pray Away the Hay Backfires” in The Weekend Rancher.