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Kokani Running Despite Drought - DOW

Kokani Running Despite Drought – DOW

The Colorado Division of Wildlife says kokani salmon snagging season is a go this fall despite the lingering drought. The agency praised The Brotherhood of Tomichi Ditch Riders for the “restitution of local color” but did not elaborate further. Offices in Gunnison (above photo) are still damp after a leak in a fourth floor swimming pool flooded the facility Friday. The pool, reserved for visiting dignitaries, is the only known rooftop collegiate swimming hole in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah. When the local volunteer fire department arrived, armed with hoses, ladders and nets, they had no option but to watch the commotion. Fortunately no tourists were on the street when the water gushed down.

Unnamed Peaks the Shame of the San Juans

Unnamed Peaks the Shame of the San Juans

(Ridgway) Abandoned to the elements from their tottering perches, bastards of convenience, tinkers of history, forgotten rocky remnants without so much as a tag of respectability. These are the nameless mountain peaks haunting our Southwest Colorado skyline. A wall of shame for all to see.

Labeled an embarrassment by every office seeker, civic leader and mountaineer, little has been accomplished to improve the status of these so-called “anonymous ones”. In fact, the subject remains an ultra-sensitive quagmire, often overlooked in the face of more demanding duties and the daily errands of Alpine survival, one not often introduced in polite circles. Hush-hush, you know.

Many residents say the problem could be put to rest by simply naming all the nameless peaks but this has been largely dismissed by purists who insist the names must distill like fine single-malt or cure like a Serrano ham. They say the names will mean nothing if concocted to fit a meaningless bill of fare. Quick-fix solutions are “phony and transparent”, they insist.

“The nomenclature of these sacred mountains must distill like fine single-malt or cure like a Serrano ham,” say the more literate assembled. “Branding these massive monolyths is not something to do half-ass. What of posterity? What of topographics?”

“It’s just whitewashing,” said Colonel (retired) Wilbur “Bull” Bulbous of Log Hill Mesa. “We who look fondly on these high points each day do not take their identity lightly. They should all have names but there must be lore — Meat behind the moniker and history behind the handle. These mountains must be celebrated, not simply be appointed, not dubbed.”

At present, several rather large peaks are cursed with a severe personality crisis. They are not victims of identity tampering since they never had a name in the first place. Yes, the Utes may have christened some of these unfortunates, but over time those ancient titles were trampled by prospector nicknames and mining routes established by mules and muckers.

“Astonishing,” said one alpineer upon return from the Wilson Range. “These giants just sit there deprived of verbal recognition, hidden genetics, even the most basic geological categorization.”

According to the most recent tally there are 38 named peaks in the San Juan Range, 14 unnamed, and an assortment of demeaning letter designations as well as a flurry of unhinged reference points all above 12,000 feet. In some places multiple pinnacles reach into the sky without names. Sometimes several mountains are clumped together with little hope of determining when and where continental plates might have collided, creating them.

“It’s a disgrace,” added other hikers and binocular enthusiasts. “They have been sentenced as infinite nobodies in a world that has forgotten the Paleozoic. It is nothing short of a snub.”

While Uncompahgre and Wilson Peak get constant accolades many deserving peaks in the San Juans do not even have a name to call their own   (Toole Photo Service)

This sedimentary emergency is painfully acute in the more affluent escarpment that accommodates such massif monsters as Sneffels and Uncompahgre along those distinct ridge lines. Here stand clustered cliffs of sheer, sacred rock like cloisters of empty tenement housing or wind beaten, top-heavy sloops, half-sunk in a teeming celestial harbor.

Here stand clustered cliffs of sheer, sacred rock like cloisters of tenement housing or wind beaten, top-heavy sloops, half-sunk in a celestial harbor. 

We warn of failing infrastructure and ignore the pains of abandonment in our own backyards — We miss the magnificent tundra and overlook the splendor, not even exhibiting the common decency to give that mesmerizing rock a name. 

“Repulsive”, added a well-groomed hiker who has been in these hills at least once. “Where is the transcendence and spiritual  elevation?”

How dare we dismiss these gods, these steep, snow-capped luminaries. Where is our morality and sense of fair play? What about our obsession with justice for the underdog? 

We fail to recognize greatness that stares one in the face every day. How can we, in our haste to name computer functions,  and master corporate lingo, turn our backs on the natural pillars of an entire mountain range? These mountains have seen us come and go, not even as a novelty anymore. None seeks acclaim in a human sense, just a little notoriety.

– Uncle Pahgre

Vodka Nose Epidemic in Proportion Say Physicians

(Mao Clinic) Doctors here at this prestigious center of Western medicine, expressed concern today due to the rising incidence of Vodka Nose (probiscitus vodkatosis) in this country. The early stages of the medical condition, linked to the regular partaking of vodka concoctions, are not particularly dangerous but can be denigrating, giving birth to the unpleasant option of “cutting off one’s nose to spite his face.”

“Vodka Nose does not appear life threatening on its own although some of the symptoms can quickly develop into serious maladies,” said Dr. Simone Lacklustre, Director of Protruding and Copulatory Organs at Mao. “Plus it looks repugnant and unhealthy.”

Lacklustre described the condition as the swelling and abnormal growth of the nose often accompanied by purple skin shades and the presence of superficial or spider veins on the surface of the protuberance. She described the offensive blood vessels or arteries as having been artificially stimulated by the regular infusion of vodka to the system.

“Just because the vessels are not visible doesn’t mean the imbiber is above danger,” she continued. “We suggest that anyone who has ever taken a drink should come in for an exam, pay us a fee and start a gonzo pharmaceutical treatment plan. Then the person at risk will be officially under a doctor’s care and everything will be all right, unless of corpse they fall victim to the many side affects from the selected drugs.

The practitioner said herbal treatments, which she called voodoo, regular exercise and an organic diet will do nothing to cure Vodka Nose, and that drugs are the only path to good health in this, and every hygienic arena.

The preponderance of vodka nose in more advanced countries strongly suggests a relaxed attitude about this potentially disastrous disorder and a disregard for the symptomatology of the ailment. What may be the saddest aspect is that infirmity occurs from drinking a clear substance void of vitamins (sans lime) or nutrients of any kind. 

In developing countries many people would like to have Vodka Nose, or more realistically at least, to be able to afford the syndrome. Social scientists think that the perception of an upwardly mobile status and the willingness to adopt globalization account for much of this trend.

Strangely enough there appears to be a high incidence of the condition within Muslim and Mormon enclaves suggesting that members of these sects enjoy falling off the wagon on a daily basis, despite punitive responses by their micro-social networks. Both groups attempt to combat these visible irregularities by either growing beards, donning burkhas or riding around on bicycles with brief cases.

Ramifications for the future, according to Lacklustre, are harsh. She projects that half of the planet’s population could suffer from Vodka Nose by the end of the century. With potato crops (and grain crops) booming in Poland and Russia and the absence of nutritional standards, Vodka Nose could become commonplace on continents like Africa and parts of Asia, with the coming of modernization. In addition, the recent dominance of the burger and fries mentality will undoubtedly lead to a more frightening disease, dubbed “Fast Food Nose”, which is directly linked to brain damage and the inability to make the right choices as to what is introduced to the body. 

Dr. Pepper Nose was not discussed by Lacklustre.

Other doctors are less gloom and doom in their approach. They say one or two drinks per day may be beneficial. One prescription widely circulated in North America instructs enthusiasts to “take a break occasionally” and substitute whiskey or gin for vodka “every third day or so.” They are quick to add that unused portions of vodka can be employed as paint or nail polish remover in a pinch.

– Big Nose Kate

World Profanity Finals Set for September

(Oak Grove) The prestigious World Finals of the International Profanity Championships will be held on the Uncompahgre Plateau this fall. The contest, expected to draw nearly 6000 participants, has been purposely staged in a remote spot far from little ears according to sponsors.

This year’s theme “blasphemy comes from the grandest places” centers on idiomatic origins, ethnic diversion and everyday curse wrods in the Fertile Crescent. Phrases, as usual, count for more than one-word utterances while nouns and adjectives demand a higher status than adverbs and prepositions. 

Gerunds, verbs functioning as ing nouns, will once again qualify in pole position. Creative blends of familiar lewdness remain in contention for honorable mention laurels.

One-syllable and multi-syllable categories will be included in what promises to be a creative time for all. Newly recognized bad words are acceptable entries so long as they exhibit logic, frustration, humor or a bona fide history.

A blue bonfire, into which attendees can throw all anal-retentive computer passwords collected over the past few years, will follow the contests.

-Uncle Phare


No, your favorite bar in Fresno didn’t shut down nor did the tavern in Wichita…not to mention the watering hole in Bismarck where the sign on the door says “Lots of elbows and plenty of room”.

This article is not about bars called The Elbow Room, of which there are, it seems, an infinite number. It’s a sort of last ditch attempt to revive our disappearing Americana thing. 

The elbow room we’re talking about here is the anatomical version that actually gives us the freedom to swing our bodies around, flex those chest muscles, loosen the joints, stretch our horizons and appease stress points. It’s the kind of elbow room that lets us lift our arms (not to mention our spirits) and almost fly.

As of this afternoon we, as a society, are running chronically short of this survival commodity. Manifold destiny may not be enough to conserve and protect our cherished freedoms since most of the desirable property is occupied by everyone from greedy developers to desperate squatters.

Elbow room is disappearing along with privacy, solitude and the frontier. When room to merely survive becomes a premium, elbow room goes the way of the drive-in theater, the cigarette machine or fossil fuel. The demise of elbow room is easily on par with accidentally flushing one’s wedding ring down the drain, attempting a quickie in an elevator to running out of opinions.

The elbow includes prominent landmarks such as the olecranon, the cubital fossa (also called the chelidon, or the elbow pit), and the lateral and the medial epicondyles of the humerus. It is the joint between the forearm and the upper arm, an anticlimax that falls short of scientific proximity and atomic description 

Tradesmen such as plumbers know all about elbow pipe but if you hire one don’t linger at his elbow or even elbow to elbow or you might face an annoyance premium. Nobody likes someone looking over their shoulder while they work, especially plumbers. 

Elbow room is defined as sufficient room for the work at hand – literally room to extend one’s elbows. That may be why throwing an elbow is considered to be the apex of rudeness, just as elbowing one’s way through the crowd is seen as barbaric and the result of bad breeding.

And what of that scoundrel elbow macaroni? – Does this challenged pasta actually taste different than regular pasta? Why do people want it? Is this flimsy starch somehow linked to the practice of cahoots elbowing…that gentle nudge often accompanied by a sly smile or wink – an indication of shared information or congratulations?

Is it accidental that the word elbow derives from the Dutch word ellebog? The term, frozen in time along the North Sea, emerged from that densely populated nation where elbow room vamoosed centuries ago. Were the constrained inhabitants elbowed out by rivals empowered by technologies like dykes, funny bones and even elbow grease itself. Did neighboring Belgium discover the cure for tennis elbow?

On the subject of elbow room the prestigious Mao Clinic says it is up to its elbows in the research arena and literally swamped with daily queries  as to the proper care and management of elbow room. Despite decades and fortunes the answers remain illusive.

“When it comes to the elbow we remain mired in superstition and stuck in out own verbiage. We know little of the joint. Why not try a nice wrist or shoulder instead? We have far more data on hair replacement and rogue toenails than we do on the unassuming elbow,” said one attending physician, who has enjoyed limited success producing elbow room with prosthetics. 

On the social side, with the imbibing sect we see elbow lifting as an end in itself while “More power for your elbow” encourages fellow boozers to drink more and more. Even if he might be out at the elbow (Poorly dressed) as if his coat is worn out at the elbows. Over in the casino gamblers are known as Knights of the Elbow while someone adept at dice might be tagged an Elbow Shaker.

My Uncle Earl, a 40-year veteran of the professional wrestler circuit always had plenty of elbow room around him due to flatulence and intestinal disorders.  While we would never suggest our reader take this approach to the pressures of social norms ….Of course excessive farting has little or nothing to do with the elbow (or the knee, the wrist, the ankle or other joints.) Even the Elbow Witches he kept in his socks didn’t help.

*Earl is sometimes credited with perfecting the Flying Elbow Drop although wrestling scholars attribute the maneuver to Maurice the Magnificent (1955-1966). Later the drop was skillfully adapted by Stupa the Giant. The tactic employs the curve of the elbow with its ability to jab, floor, confine and choke the opponent in one swift blow on the way to the mat.

– Tommy John


by Ripple Van Winkle, whose ancestors never agreed to sign anything

“I may never attend another tea party as long as I live”

       – King George III of  England, in response to protests in Boston Harbor, 1773.

“Who brought the potato salad?”

– Josiah Bartlett, of New Hampshire, about an hour after the approval of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

The tradition of the Fourth of July barbecue has been with us for damn near 250 years. Appropriately enough, the first one was celebrated while the ink was still wet on a noted document that declared the independence of the Thirteen American Colonies from Great Britain.* 

Since the end of the French and Indian War tension between the British Crown and the Colonies had increased significantly. The conflict in America had left the  royal treasury depleted. The British were real estate poor and needed cash run the empire. The solution? Raise taxes in the Colonies and tighten customs controls. After all, in the eye of the Crown, the Americans had benefited most from the French defeat and somebody had to pay the caddie.

Many of the Colonists responded by harassing tax and custom officials and blood was shed. In Boston, in 1770 British redcoats opened up on protesters over on King Street, killing five. Spoiling for a fight, the Sons of Liberty jumped on the propaganda bandwagon, dubbing the bumbling incident a massacre, calling it The Shot Heard Round the World. Actually, according to ear-witnesses, the shot was heard only about as far as Concord but that little truth would not have allowed for the impact on potential supporters.

In 1773 angry Colonists hosted the Boston Tea Party and in the spring of 1775 at Lexington the fighting erupted between Yankee farmers and British regulars.

The next year, on July Fourth, with hostilities in full swing, all of the Colonies except New York voted in favor of the now completed Declaration of Independence. New York adopted it on July 11, one week after a barbecue thrown by the Continental Congress. Historians still cannot agree as to whether the New Yorkers brought the slaw or a three-bean salad but despite an afternoon of candid, often controversial exchanges the the Tory-infested colony joined the rebellion.

We eavesdrop on that fateful July 4, at about 2:30 in the afternoon: A group of revolutionaries including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Samuel Chase, John Hancock, William Whipple and Francis Lightfoot Lee are standing around a large pit where turkeys, venison and sausage were being cooked. The accents range from Yankee twang to southern drawl. 

The severe differences of opinion herein that brought on civil war 85 years later,
threatens the harmony of our nation today.

Whipple: …I don’t know Tom, I’m all for this all men are created equal business but I’m afraid we could be in for one ass kickin.

Jefferson: You worry too much, Bill, the  British are far too busy with the French to pay us any mind. Besides, we’re half a world away.  After a few months King George’s redcoats will be in full flight, tails between their legs.

Adams: That may be wishful thinking, Tom. King George seems obsessed. He calls us a mob of insolent, petty lawyers. His doctors have even warned him about getting too excited about planning the war. I don’t expect him to back off. Our spies say he’s already hired regiments of Hessians to do his bidding.

Chase: Damn! Hessians would be nothing! Will those green horseflies give us no peace? I knew it was a mistake to rent this hall across from the livery stable!

Lee: Miserable creatures akin to British tax assessors.

Hancock: How are those ribs coming, Sam? All this prime scuttlebutt has made me quite hungry.

Chase: I’m just about to add the sauce, John. It was concocted by one of my slaves. The sausages are just about ready. Hand me the spatula and I’ll turn them again.

Franklin: Has anyone seen George Washington? He said he’d make the trip down from New York today.

Lee:  He’s probably still busy watching the British fleet come up the Hudson. Have we established an official position on his expense account yet? It’s nice that he’s agreed to run this whole shooting match without a salary but somebody had better keep an eye on his taste for the good life. His sherry bill alone could put us all in the poor house before we put a bonafide army in the field.

Whipple: Speaking of money, we really don’t have the authority to spend a penny nor to levy taxes to fight a war. We were lucky to raise money for this barbecue.

Franklin: All things in good time.  My dealings with the French have opened new doors. It is our sacred duty to continue the struggle against tyranny with empty pocketbooks if necessary. The will of a free people is powerful.

Hancock: Just who are we including on this holy roster, Doctor Franklin? What about the Indians? What about the slaves? I don’t see any women among our group of eager signers.

Lee: Now see here, John, up in Massachusetts, you’ve got a slew of hot headed ideas. You’ve also got a slew of indentured servants running around while, out of the other side of your mouth, you condemn slavery in the South. Slavery is just a matter of economics, boy. It’s nothing personal. Let’s kick the Brits out first, then we’ll deal with domestic matters.

Jefferson: It does sound a bit hypocritical now that you mention it, but the revolution will not survive without the support of the slave owners. Maybe we could change the wording in the first paragraph. How does some men are created equal grab you?

Whipple: It’s too late. Our declaration is already at the printers. Besides, most of the fringe element cannot read anyway.

Franklin: Either way I think we have defined a set of timeless democratic principles…

Adams: That’s nice, Doctor, but let’s get back to this “all men being created equal matter. Is that everybody or just white males who read and write and own land?

Franklin: It’s not just everyone who’s here now. It includes all the people who will come to these shores in the future.

Whipple: Immigrants? I never considered that a break with the Empire will open us up to hordes of the tired and poor. Do you want a bunch of ragamuffin foreigners roaming the streets of Philadelphia, Doctor Franklin?

Franklin: I don’t see that we have a choice. We have to include everyone.

Lee: Nonsense. We have to keep the lid on or we will become the minority in our own land. 

Jefferson: It may appear to some that we have acted hastily and that reconciliation with the Crown is the logical outcome of our efforts…

Franklin: Reconciliation is no part of anyone’s plan. It’s submission or the sword. Our only alternative to independence is slavery.

Adams: Slavery for who?

Chase: Slavery for slaves, John. You Yankees just can’t seem to get a grip, can you.

Jefferson: Gentlemen, let’s not argue over issues yet to be addressed. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Adams: And then what happens when we want to get to the other side?

Lee: Gentlemen, please, let’s not let politics get in the way of our stomachs. Looks like the table is prepared. Let’s eat.

Hancock: Not so fast, Francis. I think my esteemed colleague from Massachusetts is on to something. Surely the French will be laughing up their silk sleeves at our brashness. I think we had better decide the slavery issue now.

Chase: Your food’s getting cold, John. First we have to send King George packing, then we can talk this over. I’m sure we’ll come to the right conclusions. After all, we are honorable men. Try some of these ribs. They’re delicious, and the eagle’s not half bad either.

-Kashmir Horseshoe 

*The actual signing of the declaration didn’t take place until August 2  but here, for the convenience of all, the author ascends to the divine right of historical embellishment . In addition, it is virtually impossible to determine if everyone holds a barbecue on that date.