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Praying for snow

(Crested Butte) As the old saying goes if you want a god to listen to your petty needs first you have to get his/her attention. Unlike the mule scenario, a club is not recommended. Rather, the snow sports enthusiast and the water user need to tune into certain rituals and observances to facilitate communication and secure the good will and blessings of our betters up there in the sky.

     In recent dry years the practice of petitioning the gods has grown into a mega business with network astrologists, television evangelists, and an assortment of voodoo vagabonds leading the way. Don’t be thwarted by these charlatans and moguls of miscalculation. The only way to secure the support of these celestial loafers is to follow the strict guidelines put down in this manifesto.

Hooking Up with the heavens

First of all one doesn’t want to waste a lot of time talking to the wrong god. Some of these beings specialize and care not to detour from their eternal quest. There are gods of war, goddesses of love and fertility, gods of drink, gods of game, gods of dispossession, gods of second-hand clothing…The list is endless. Before you seek the help of any god do your homework. Your credibility is important. (Note: Most gods speak English and respond to faxes, E-mails and other cumbersome baggage of the Information Age.) Keep in mind that all gods, even the Judeo-Christian god are not American citizens. While this is shocking to some, it has been substantiated time and again. To reach the specified god just look up into the sky and say, “Excuse us our interruptions and palpitations but, like, could you make it snow this afternoon?” If the god is sleeping, clipping his toenails or engaged in a board game, it might be better to call back in an hour.

Rituals are all important

It is considered rude to stand while talking to the powers in the sky. The correct posture is down on both knees (see figure #99) with eyes fixed to the sky. Keep favors concise and offer to do whatever it takes to placate the forces of nature. Always thank your chosen benefactor and burn offerings quickly so as not to be busted by atheistic air quality control personnel. It is not necessary to purchase gifts for your god since they pretty much have everything. Leaving a small glass of rum or a tumbler of Wild Irish Rose should do the trick, at least it has for the author. Going kosher is perfectly acceptable but not expected unless one is requesting intercession on matters of the Old Testament or looking for advice on custom tailoring or where to buy crumb cake.

Keep your karma, Parma

If you’re hoping to gain a positive response start by getting your affairs in order. Don’t kick the dog or yell at the neighbors. Be kind to your family and pay your local venders. Remember: This reincarnation racquet could be for real. Don’t run over marmots, respect trees and smile at everyone (even realtors, who might have been rabbits, snakes or your Uncle Jack in former lives). Most of the gods can spot a phony from miles off and are all too happy to lead solicitors on before dropping them on their heads. Incense is not necessary while praying unless the gods have cooked catfish the night before. When sending wee-mail address the god as Dr., Mr. or Ms. as in Dr. Powderzeus, Mr. Karishslush or Ms. Aphrodumpe. Etiquette is all important to the idle rich.

A little chanting goes a long way

The last thing your average god wants is noise. We suggest that you whisper or attempt to get your message across with simple telepathy. If you must talk do so in a monotone. There is no need for inflection or trying to stress a point. These cloud squatters have been around for centuries and have heard it all by now. When you engage a god in conversation state your purpose and desires plainly and distinctly. Don’t ask twice for the same privilege. If you’re looking for a genie in a bottle or a leprechaun’s gold you’re in the wrong story. This is mythology, not legend or hearsay. Most importantly: DO NOT WHINE to the gods. They, like everyone else in your life, cannot justify time spent in complaint.

Be prepared for live sacrifices

Some of the younger gods are still testing their worth and may ask for live sacrifices. Sheep, goats and cattle are generally favored. Chickens (plucked) are considered to be too small while elk (dressed out) are often too large to drag through the heavens. Most gods prefer their sacrifices cooked medium to medium rare. With this approach you are not screwed if your divine diner decides to send the fare back. Sacrificing a sandwich for lunch or a bowl of Wheaties for breakfast might work just so long as the other gods aren’t watching. Use good common sense and you’ll get through this part without lightning strikes or the rendering of plague or pestilence. Most people agree that swarms of locust are no fun. Incompetence here could spell disaster for the rest of us.

Consult our voice-mail index for further excursions

The Horseshoe has been constructing a virtual reality communications system (800-SNO-GODS) aimed at the sky. Although it has not been completed it has been released into cyberspace for your convenience. Please read the instructions before proceeding.

1. If you are not concerned with avalanches PRESS 2 NOW.

2. If you only want it to snow in specific regions PRESS 3 NOW.

3. If you want correspondence in Innuit or High Texan PRESS 4 NOW

4. If you’re looking for snowboard information please connect to our challenged web page at

5. If you think you’re a god and you’re trying to reach us try our wee-mail.

6. Establish ski in/ski out potential

7. If your particular god wants a bribe, offer rum or cigars. NO GLASS BOTTLES please.

8. If all else fails ask your dog to intercede for you. Most gods prefer housebroken dogs and cats to people for obvious reasons.

That should do you. Grab those knee pads and get to praying. Just be prepared to help clean up the mess.

And just in time for ’19

Trump Trumped by Bridge Society

(West Palmetto) The American Bridge Fellowship announced plans to drop the term trump from its rules book, jargon and vernacular it was disclosed following a light lunch this afternoon.

Saying the word association was hurting the game the card player’s league issued a temporary password replacement…for any reference to the noun or predicate and for the action of trumping:

Defined as…


(in bridge, whist, and similar card games) a playing card of the suit chosen to rank above the others, which can win a trick where a card of a different suit has been led.

(trumps) the suit having the rank above the others in a particular hand: the ace of trumps.

(in a tarot pack) any of a special suit of 22 cards depicting symbolic and typical figures and scenes.

(also trump card) a valuable resource that may be used, especially as a surprise, in order to gain an advantage: in this month General Haig decided to play his trump card: the tank.

informal, dated a helpful or admirable person.

verb [with object]

(in bridge, whist, and similar card games) play a trump on (a card of another suit), having no cards of the suit led.

beat (someone or something) by saying or doing something better: taste trumps most if not all other factors when consumers choose food products.


trump something up

invent a false accusation or excuse: they’ve trumped up charges against her.


early 16th century: alteration of triumph, once used in card games in the same sense.

The move was lauded even applauded by fringe groups within the 104-card deck including the maverick legions of the American Contract Bridge League.

That powerful lobby issued a warning with regard to bad links and termination dates on such perishables as felt, plastic visors, poker chips and traditional gourmet items hinged to the competition.

“Our tedious relations with banks have been legendary for decades,” said Marvel Malaroitte, of the parent group.

“We met Mr. Trump in bankruptcy court in 2005. We had both lost our appeals and he threw a tantrum outside on the steps of the municipal building.”

Moments after the resolution angry onlookers filed into the offices of the American Bridge Fellowship bent on retribution. All they found were empty files and a sign “Gone fishing hanging on the front door.

Perhaps Eldon Tinkleholland, recognized poet laureate of card tricks, dramatized the tragedy best: “Hatless against the stark ballast of seething clouds and Elvis haircuts, the angst of a biting winter gale at eyebrow level they came, only to be dealt the death blow from a rat-like foe who had skedaddled with the cheese a long time ago.”   

“We thought these people built infrastructure but all they do is sit round all day and play cards,” said Oreo Mumblee, an unemployed welder who hasn’t been dealt a fair hand in weeks. “A left bar by any other name is still a left bar.”

Good idea. Let’s end this ridiculous attempt at news writing and adjourn to the romantic Drunken Fern where we can get better acquainted. Bridge anyone? Canasta? How about a tight round of Pinochle? 


Feds Trail Sleigh During Historic Trek

(North Pole) A combined alphabet operation by the FBI, CIA, OSHA, ATF and the FDA has produced little according to a report filed at the Star Wars Defense Center on Ellesmere Island. When the feds arrived at the North Pole they found the place pretty much deserted.

“It looked like the terrorists had been making toys and the like for some time here,” said Agent Arthur Rambeau, of the FBI. “They thought they were outside the long arm of the law, didn’t they…Ha! Sooner or later they had to know that we’d corner them!”

The pre-dawn raid aimed at trapping elves suspected of harboring dangerous un-American thought, was concocted by nervous elements of the Shadow Government anxious to get the show on the road. It was approved on fairway number seven by one of the lame ducks White House.

“There’s nothing red, white and blue about myths like Santa and the elves. It’s a negative distraction at a time when we seek to return the United States to Cold War status when gas was cheap and people believed in their elected officials,” said Rambeau.     

The acronymic assault was organized in the Northwest Territories where only polar bears and seals have eyes and ears. It was supported by combined elements of the United States military, which were told they were fighting the war on drugs, although nothing, with the possible exception of walrus fur, thrives up here.

According to the official report, completed moments after initial contact was confirmed, indications were that the objective was secure and that a stubborn rear guard of elves was in custody. As it turns out a heavily armed Ms. (Sandra) Claus and a skeleton crew of commando elves with poison-dart slingshots had managed to hold off the feds for about three hours before running out of Cuban rum and capitulating.

“The scene here is sketchy what with all the snow,” said the agent. “I can confirm that we have about ten insurgents under lock and key but that we too are out of provisions.”

The date for the raid was based on information that Santa and his elves would not leave the premises until December 24 to make their annual round the world journey. However, with the increase in population, global warming, airline agendas and the unstable political climate here the group departed early.

“We knew that Santa was on the hot seat, facing a vote of confidence in the elfin legislature,” said Rambeau. He was probably more secure out of the country than in it. We wanted to catch him (Santa) with is knickers down.”

Conjecture has it that Santa has been repeatedly seen in the company of buxom Lulu Boomer, an exotic dancer from Churchill, Manitoba, happy, despite the comforts of holy matrimony. Federal spooks had hoped they could link Santa, a fallen away Canadian, with a seriously promiscuous lifestyle above the Arctic Circle.

“Who’s going to allow their kids to sit on the lap of an adulterer, or worse a man who is just a little left of Pyongyang,” asked Rambeau. “We’ve been going through Santa’s trash since earlier this evening and we’ve found letters from little kids in Iraq and Cuba, as well as North Korea. We even found a letter from a kid in Serbia asking for a bicycle…Now what does she intend to do with that? Are these are rogue nations undeserving of Christmas presents?” he pouted.

As soon as the situation is in hand here, the FBI and CIA will begin trailing Santa and his reindeer in hopes of cutting them off from these illegal destinations like Havana and Baghdad. It is not known if these actions will undermine attempts by the North Pole to adopt U.S. currency by 2021.

– Small Mouth Bess




If Gutenberg had been born a Shawnee

Imagine Johannes Gutenberg born in the New World not in Germany. He could have been an Aztec or even a Mohawk. It could have been just a burp on someone’s long ago lifeline. His life’s ambition, the development of the printing press, would have seen fruition high in the Andes, the dark timber of the North or on one of the island cities of Montezuma’s Mexico.

He might have wandered the streets of Cusco, Peru instead of Mainz, Germany and began to experiment with a movable type printing press from populous Mississippi cities like Tanico or Coligoa in 1439. First it would be Johannes’ printing press then The Renaissance and The Age of Enlightenment in the New World?

Gutenberg could have easily picked up beer money by printing wedding invitations for the Lakota betrothed or produced those Mayan Calendars that everyone was talking about a few years ago. He could have even perfected the dirty Navajo postcard and introduced the classified ad phenomenon to the Nez Perce. It would be far more lucrative than printing Indulgences for the corrupt Catholics Church.

Then would surely come the newspaper to this vast, diverse mass of two mysterious continents. There would be the will and the way. People would read all about it from smoky newsrooms in Alaska to hectic copy desks in Tierra del Fuego. A distinct, if not proficient journalistic tradition could well have been in place by 1492 with tribal newspapers flourishing at least in the more populous regions.

Newspaper Rock in Utah

The news stories of the day might well have been digested in papers like the Passamaquoddy Post of the deeply forested Maritimes or the Arhuaco Herald of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It would take some elbow grease along with a bizarre system of abode clay, chisels, medicinal plants, tree bark, animal horns, sacred water and finally a facsimile of paper, fashioned from the booty of two Chinese tuna boats that crashed on the coast near Salinas, Ecuador in 1440.

But the presentation of the news would be quite primitive at first like some “editorial scratched out on a wall in the plaza of Cajamarca” inland from where Pizarro and his third expedition first came ashore in 1530.

There had been runner headlines throughout the Caribbean when Colombo sighted landed in the Bahamas in 1492 but they had never in print until many years later when it was far too late. By the time someone had translated this tragic story from Carib to Quechua, the Potosi Mine was already in full operation, sending thousands of forced laborers to their deaths and shipping tons of silver back to Spain.


This terrifying editorial from The Machupe (Chile) Peeper warned: “There has been much hubbub about bearded gods riding monsters covered in steel. These are not gods. Not the gods from the East that we seek and that seek us, their people. They are the dark angels of the underworld, animal residue, the helmet and steel, the unclean that must be destroyed. Slaughter them on the beaches my brothers and sisters or suffer the fate of the damned. Let the sands of eternity take them back from whence they came.”

Pretty strong stuff, but mostly ignored even when picked up by the Inca Wire Service. A civil war was brewing again. Inca Number One near Cusco and Inca Number Two in Vilcabamba were far more concerned with fratricide than a bunch of hairy little devils in armor over on the coast.

Language difficulties prohibited clarity when messages arrived to the north and east urging people to stand and fight. Ego as well as distrust and ignorant beliefs in pagan gods didn’t help matters much but it did sell a lot of papers down the road.

Guttenberg could have even printed a bible revered by all of The Nations. Some historians believe he and his cohorts were responsible for the best-selling “101 Edible Roots and Berries of the Hudson River Valley” (1483), “Blueprint For the Solar Tipi” (1486) and the hard-nosed, though distressing self-help anthology “How I Stopped Hating White People” (1491) that was banned in German trenches during World War I and on US military installations in the 1960s.

If the popularity of the newspaper was any indication the peoples of the Americas wanted to know what was happening around them even if it was mashed, disguised and stepped on by countless editors from the cataclysmic corners of a society about to be overrun. We now ponderously enter the Golden Age of New World and Indigenous Reporting that stretched from about 1580 to 1880)

One particularly notable, and ominous ancient headline chronicles the arrival of Hernando DeSoto to the Arkansas Valley. It read:

Europeans Spotted West of Mississippi     June 30, 1545

If you see one of these call the authorities at once!

(Tanico Enquirer) A band of ragged Europeans were seen stealing chickens and corn early this morning near Grizzly Bend. Onlookers, shocked by the behavior, told The Tanico Tribune that heavy rain, prompted by sacrifices in the Temple of the Currents, drove them off by nightfall. An emergency village powwow has been called for later this afternoon. Chiefs say people should say in their wigwams until the intruders can be driven off. Rumors continue to fly regarding disease and steel although many of the North American tribes, dominated by more powerful neighbors, have joined the invaders hoping to gain back some autonomy and extract some measure of revenge on their longtime overlords. Taking advantage of fears and superstitions the Spanish were able to control vast swaths of Florida and the Mississippi Valley.

Some decades later a Sunday feature piece, this one from The Pawnee Daily Observer tells the tale of six white pioneer children who do not want to be repatriated after years in the forest with their new families.

Biting Tykes Attack Missionaries

(Apalachee Chieftan) “Wild Indians” from the ages of 5 to 13 lashed out at “rescuers coming to take them home and out of the clutches of evil savages” today as negotiations hit a wall in the ever-increasing violence pervading the valley since the pioneers began arriving to trap and hunt on our lands.

“We can only hope that these crude pilgrims get bored and move on,” said one War Chief. “There is no gold here that we know of, but if there was they could have it all if they’d just leave.”

The children were kidnapped during a skirmish between Cherokee commuters and a long line of wagon trains near Peachy Draw back when that was Cherokee land.

Saying the good women of the congregation hit them and called them names, the be-feathered and buckskinned brood then ran into the woods temporarily skirting the quandaries of Puritan circumstance.

Their fate will be decided by the US Cavalry slated to be in town over the weekend.

Getting back to the ancients and hot type, the emergence of the newspaper may have played havoc with sophisticated means of communication such as smoke signals, drums, runners as well as verbal histories and legends. It would however have presented a more comprehensive view of what was taking place all over the new World. Take the headline from the Cherokee Headdress which read: Andrew Jackson Steals Grandmother’s Cane or Great Father Buchanan Stokes Fears of Mexican Land Owners in California from The Achomawi Advertiser.

It was all there in black and white yet few people paid much attention unless they were directly affected. The Great White Father continued to encourage Scots-Irish settlement at the expense of present occupants. Business as usual. Pitting the landless poor against the native population has always been an integral part of genocide and worked like a charm in the 18th and 19th Centuries in North America.

Here’s a human-interest story from The Arapaho Arrowhead from that once must have had a printing press stashed somewhere near San Creek, Colorado.

Prospector Spared from the Tomahawk

(San Luis Valley, Colorado)   An elderly gold seeker was released unharmed by a war party of Comanche near here Friday. The prospector told our reporter he was saved because the painted warriors liked his rendition of “Has anybody here seen Molly? Molly from the Isle of Mann” which he then proceeded to belt out with bellowed enthusiasm much to the chagrin of all assembled.

As it turns out the braves did not like his singing and told him to leave before he woke the ancestors. Outward signs of singing, such as this, are seen as rude by most Comanche although more progressive sects see show music as akin to chanting and cherished by desert nomad customs.

Then a ray of hope during the American Civil War from the Blackfoot Standard:

Death Toll Mounts Back east

(Powatoah Sun) At the end of the fighting at Fredericksburg the field hospitals are filled to the brim with wounded men now victims of the hacksaw and the butcher for a steel ball in the arm or leg. While the numbers of dead continue to mount Red men all over the West have began to wonder if they might get their land back.

Red man

Black man

“Some of us sit and watch,” smiled one Apache maiden. “Others plan for the day when the whites will bleed and breed themselves out of commission with these epic wars of malice and destruction. Peace and prosperity will come for my ravaged people in the wake of that departure, that banishment.”

Spotters near Chancellorsville report large troop buildups possibly indicating action in that demure wooded Virginia paradise. Unconfirmed sources have gone so far that Confederate General Lee will strike north into Union territory if stoked by another lopsided victory.

For more on this crisis please turn to Lincoln Frees Black Man, Sends Troops to Attack Red Man

A few years after came coverage of an often-ignored episode near the Mexican Border

 Billy the Squid visits Geronimo stronghold near Bisbee

(Chiricahua Evening News) Infamous outlaw Billy the Squid paid a surprise visit to former adversaries in the Chiricahua Mountains today. The two fugitives met for three hours and discussed horses, whiskey and a temporary hideout for Squid who is being hunted by marshals from three territories.

Geronimo acknowledged that, although Squid was a punk and “as white as alabaster” he could be counted on as an ally in the struggle against the settlers who were taking all of the Apache land. Squid, who has been accused of over 35 murders in his short career, looked like the perfect hired gun despite his bilateral symmetry and the presence of eight arms under his coat.

“In these times we cannot afford to be picky,” said Geronimo. “Any enemy of my enemy is my friend.”


(Cheyenne Crier) The 7th Cavalry, under the choreographic direction of George Armstrong Custer, was destroyed near the Little Bighorn River by combined forces of Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapahoe and Dakota earlier today. The one-sided battle pitted the arrogant white soldiers  against a superior force of angry warriors who enticed the armed soldiers into a fight they could not win.

“The fighting force is no more,” chirped the Crier, voicing concern over retribution and the unending flow of European pilgrims into the Black Hills.

The body and hair of General Custer, were among the dead. The commander reputedly enjoyed raiding villages while the men were away and murdering women and children. So much for underestimating the anger and ferocity of one’s foe. Despite Custer’s bloody past he was celebrated in Washington as a fallen hero.


(Ute Tribune) The body of Rev Joseph Meeker was recovered Sunday, three days after his alleged murder at the hands of Northern Ute who had grown tired of his dictatorial proselytizing. The racist missionary had remained intent on saving the souls of these miserable pagans even when close friends and relatives told him to chill out.

The Ute accused Meeker of plowing up their horse racing tracks and desecrating sacred hot springs. Although passive at first the Ute braves realized this frontier saint was bad medicine and planned to force them to farm and take on the clothing, traditions and behavior of whites.

Meeker’s entourage in Northwestern Colorado warned him that there would be trouble if he did not back off. Even his wife, later one of the kidnap victims, said he was alienating the very people he hoped to save from eternal damnation.

Read all about it indeed. In later years the Native News would probably cover such phenomenon as Jim Thorpe, the Navajo Code Talkers, Shaman rebirth, and the explosion of casinos on Indian Land. We will take up that discussion next time.

Kevin Haley





Elf Season expected to have major impact

(Gunnison) The 2019 Elf Season is expected to bring over 5000 hunters into the Gunnison basin over the two-weeks of Christmas. Despite conflicts over licenses and access to traditional hunting areas, the hunt is expected to have a major economic impact. Revenues collected could leap into the millions allowing residents extra cash with which to live it up or perhaps an escape to warmer climates over the winter.

Both the Colorado Treasury and the IRS remind merchants that they are not required to report earnings related to elves since there is no proof that they actually exist. Both taxing agencies went on to wish everyone a Merry Winter!