WESTERN COLORADO FROM A – Z

A primer for visitors and residents who may have missed something

by Uncle Pahgre

with apologies to Ambrose Bierce

Armadillo – a.) one of the few organisms not found in gaping chuckholes on Colorado highways. b.) rhymes with a city on the way to Plano.

Buffalo (Golden) – a. A football team that, despite drafting prospects from Southern California, struggles in the PAC-12. b.) curious mascot of a team that people in Western Colorado hope will do well even though most resent the goings on in Boulder.

Cannibal – in Lake City aka Alferd Packer, the man who allegedly ate all the Democrats in Hinsdale County in 1874. History tells it that the tragedy was a result of desperation near Slumgullion Pass but it just as well could have resulted from Packer’s sticker shock at the price of Western Slope groceries.

DOW – The Division of Wildlife. Custodians of our furry friends. You can tell one of these from the bears because they wear baseball caps. Even though they may spend a good portion of the day out in the woods they still have a behind-the-desk approach. These people actually believe public land is better under federal protection. See Logging and the USFS.

Extemporaneous corruption – a.) when cheating laps itself b.) crooked but never late for church c. You know, like when a fire just up and starts itself. d) immoral profits generated by artificial intelligence.

Flatlanders – People who live at lower elevation and visit Colorado to buy a second home thus driving real estate prices through the ceiling. People who video cam mountains even though the latter don’t generally provide movement of any kind.

Guns – What many people in Western Colorado stockpile thinking it will hold off federal helicopters, bears or an angry neighbor.

This photo was taken along the coast of Maine but it could just as well have been snapped in Western Colorado.

Hemp – After a well educated electorate, what the feds fear the most, for no clear reason. A universal fabric that could save many natural resources by application. Could make pharmacies extinct. Rope perfect for hangings.

Indian – a.) Feathered character often called savage by the enlightened manifest destiny folks of 19th Century b.) natives of India. c.) persons providing target practice for drugstore cowpokes on Saturday morning TV in the 50s. Preferably called “First People.”

Jackass – a.) a useful, yet stubborn, methodical, cantankerous pack animal  b.) Person who exhibits a similar behavior to the animal minus the ability to carry his own weight.

Kryptonite – The mineral common to Red Lady Mountain in Crested Butte. Used in the production of mountain bikes, the rare ingredient is the treasure to be mined by the evil monster, Molybdenum.

Lynx – a relative of the bobcat this beautiful wild animal had been hunted to near extinction due to its practice of killing and eating ugly sheep and chickens. Now surviving quite well in the Rockies. See The Missing Lynx..

Mariachi – a.) a type of music originating from Spain, then perfected in Jalisco, Mexico. b.) the type of music often generated from low riders (See Espanola) c.) the kind of music the late sportsman Botsie Spritzer played in his fishing wagon when he couldn’t find his polka tapes.

Naked – a.) How one comes into this world and, unless tampered with by an obsessive valet of sorts, how one will g out. b.) the sinful and immoral display of the human body without the benefit of clothing c.) how mountain lions go to work each day.

Ohio – a.) a place where a lot of early Gunnison County pioneers came from as evidenced by the presence of Ohio Creek, Ohio Pass, Ohio City on local maps. b.) a reasonably good place to be from. c.) in a spelling bee the easiest challenge compared to Allegheny and Monongahela.

Pea Green – a.) the fiscal and religious center of the American Dream, located near Hoover’s Corner. b.) a medical disorder common to sailors attempting to ward off the scurvy by consuming a gross quantity of limes.

Quartsite – a.) a 19th century mining town/district claiming 10,000 residents at its height (prior to cable TV). b.) a lot on which to build a Quarthouse. c.) a fictitious tent city Shangri-La created by the Colorado Historical Society to lure summer tourists into the state.

Railroad – a.) Once the pride of Western Colorado now all but gone from the landscape. Clear thinking residents agree that reconstruction would solve a host of mass transportation problems, alleviate road maintenance costs and decrease drunk driving infractions. b.) the preferred mode of subsidized transportation in most civilized nations.

Slow Elk – a.) a bovine, something easy to shoot at. b.) a pasture potato that resembles cattle. Lunch.

Tree – gourmet treats (pine) for beetles due to global warming.

Uncompahgre – a.) the most mispronounced word (by visitors) until Saguache was invented in 1877. b.) a bastardization of what Tonto called the Lone Ranger. A valley made from a river of the same name.

Venison – a rude and insensitive term for deer no longer on-the-hoof.

Water – a.) traditionally the major issue to residents on the west side of the Maginot Line (Continental Divide). Newcomers seem to think that it just runs through the faucet while Front Range interests think its something infinite with which to flush their state-of-the-art toilets b.) that wet stuff in lakes and rivers. c.) a clear, colorless, nearly odorless and tasteless liquid unless one seeks a drink from an urban water supply wherein it often becomes a putrid bit of murky semi-refreshment. d.) proverbially the stuff that one can lead a horse to but often fails to make the animal drink.

Xylophone – a musical instrument not common to polka or bluegrass music. b.? Better than relying on Xerxes or Xerox to get to the next letter in this stupid literary rendering. c.) An easy one if this article were in Chinese.

Yampa – a.) a Northern Ute band who didn’t take kindly to preachers plowing up local race tracks and introducing farming. Joseph Meeker’s short term clients. b.) a major landmark in downtown Sunbeam, Colorado.

Zero – a.) the temperature in Fahrenheit when the dog’s vodka freezes in his bowl. b.) the offensive output of the Bronco offense so far in 2018  c.) what is leftover when one subtracts nothing from nothing.

– Melvin O’Toole

Filed Under: Lifestyles at Risk

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