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  The consecrated funeral industry has been driven to its knees today with the announcement that the bereaved can now jerky their dearly departed. 

     The somewhat drastic, yet prudent, escape from tradition and common procedure has been approved by the USFDA, the International Brotherhood of Meatpackers and the Latin American Council on Land Use among others. Even NASA has nodded a vague approval while the Rocky Mountain Association of Cattlemen has enthusiastically supporting the new technology.

It is a safe and cheaper alternative to burials or even cremations. 

Jerkosuction—Innovative yet Controversial

     The process has been condemned as communist and unpatriotic by the funeral industry name here and Congressmen on their payroll.

     “Jesus wants you to bury your dead relatives,” said one funeral director who works nights as a preacher in a Bethesda strip mall. “There’s nothing in the Bible about jerking anything.”  

     In a backward society that has only recently accepted cremation as a viable alternative to burial, the concept of jerky in this context is alarming to many. The thought of a final farewell sans limos, flowers and caskets is often unsettling but the families of the departed generally accept a logical consensus when they compare the cost and the ritual, the morose and the flamboyant, the the church bell payola.

     “Most death arrangements in Western society are barbaric in that they fail to celebrate the life of the departed one,” said Dr. Stillton Winkewoode of Director of Swimming Orgasms at Cal Amari Institute. Winkewoode, author of the best-selling paperback “The Jerky Method”, is recognized as the father alternative meat curing and creative preservation. The Winkewoode method is employed in all 50 states and, at the time of this writing, in Grand Junction.    

– Kashmir Horseshoe

Ouray Making Fortune on Tourist Soup

(Dexter Creek) Progressive marketing icons in this landlocked county seat have developed a recipe for Pahgre Tourist Soup, which is reportedly brewed daily in the town’s municipal swimming pool.

     Every spring town workers clandestinely prepare the pool (or potbelly as they call it) for the arrival of the “soup meat”, or tourists, starting in June. The thermal waters must be monitored hourly to insure a proper heat is maintained. The vegetables must be smuggled in and distributed in the now murky broth then the spices and herbs must be added in just the right measure so as not to distract from or dominate the final taste and aroma.

     Then the soup is trucked over Red Mountain Pass to be sold to brokers in Durango for distribution, mostly to unsuspecting Third Whirled Countries and Grand Junction.

     Our cookie-cutter little tourist economy is nothing more than a front for this more lucrative operation,” said Jimmy Scoggins who has gone so far as to serve the soup in his lavish Ridgway hardware emporium.

     “In rare instances a complete tourist ends up in the final concoction but we go to great pain to avoid this due to strict county ordinances on cannibalism, which he called reactionary.

     The soup itself, canned under the jurisdiction of Alf Bisque, comes in a wide variety of flavors including Okie, Texan and Kansas Chowder. Gourmet versions are available using Californians and Front Rangers.

     Authorities became suspicious last season after a Utah man reported several masked men dumping industrial loads of vegetables into the deep end after dark. He claimed that carrots, potatoes and onions were boiled live in the curdling waters in direct violation of another county ordinance. He shared his concerns with police and has not been heard from since.

     “The soup cartels are making too much money for some nosy flatlander to ruin everything,” said a former executive now mouthpiece for the Vegetarian Curmudgeons, a militant garden club. “Just wait until the little ice climbers show up this winter. We’ve got to keep up with supply and demand and there are a lot of people out there who want more of Ouray than an RV slip and a personalized license plate.”

     The entire episode appears earmarked as just another version of the same old story: “Cooking with a hundred is always more difficult than cooking with a few” Bon Apetite!


Trusting tourists from all over the world frolic in the Ouray Hot Springs Pool, unaware they are up to their necks “in the soup”. A widening investigation has linked almost every able-bodied citizen in the mountain burg with what police are now calling a conspiracy to produce and export tourist soup. No arrests have been made at depress time.

From the editor’s pen…

As she lowered her slinky babushka I noticed the third eye, the eye of a shortstop right in the center of the infield…Curiously I was drawn to this woman, of Russian peasant stock, and a cannon for a right arm. I tried repeatedly to google her but each time she threw the brushback pitch a little tighter. Her propensity for survival in these lusty times indicates prosperity in the wake of a poor performance by the middle relief corps…

     Oops! I hope you’ll excuse my meanderings into erotic sports literature. Since the demand has surfaced on the Internet I have been trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of this bandy-legged economy. Now let me move over to my editor’s desk. I don my Mr. Rogers cardigan, adjust my spats, have a sip of writer’s juice and light my pipe. Ready to go.

Warm salutations to the survivors of a planet gone completely mad. The saving grace is that the world actually went nuts about a million years ago. We are only the latest episode, our circumstances hurried along by the Big ‘Ol Information Age . I remember when as a kid my grandfather told me to go out in the garden and fill a bucket of potatoes for dinner. Now I’m filling up pages in a newspaper. Pretty much the same to me (but you can eat the spuds). Both have a clear destination in mind although I cannot pinpoint it at this time.   

You don’t want to get carried away with yourself in either case. That awareness alone staves off madness and deer flies too, if you’re lucky.

I’m so relieved and glad that we had this little chat…clear the air and all. Right now the air is smokey with fires raging. We can’t even see Uncompahgre from the Colona Skunkworks! The wind continues to flow with the traffic on Highway 550 Pinball. Maybe if we all just stayed indoors nature could figure herself out.

Brushing off mounting accusations of chronic bemusement and shoddy workmanship, we are delighted to present another thoughtful yet mindless trip into the wonderful window of words. Most of the stories were penned by starving summer interns who are kept in chicken coops and fed weevil-ridden oatmeal and meatball lattes, while working far into the fetching night. Here are a few highlights:

Despite titanic efforts, our story “Giant snails panacea for sprawl in South Florida?” is moving rather slowly and has been replaced by a photo essay entitled “GMOs – They’re not just muscle cars anymore!” which should entice racing fans out there a group that spends an inordinate amount of its expendable income on sunglasses and rubber.

Closer to home, here in Puritania, we document problems encountered when large visitors attempt to get out of their cars in Ouray’s new mini parking spots. Then we follow along on the Strawberry Path arriving at our popular “Tales of the Brave Hempsmen” accented by “Ptarmigan in Trauma” and a short piece about a Montrose man who translates Leo Tolstoy into conversational Zulu for fun.

Here’s an excerpt from the serial portion: “It appeared to many that O’Toole was still off about a half-click off since his free-fall from a hollow bar stool in Balombolo, Antioquia. Blaming the metric system for his descent, the scribe hit the wood, his cell phone going off simultaneously, a little too close to his forehead.” 

What would you expect from the member of a social order prone to jigs and lullabies?  

According to the evangelical professional wrestler who lives upstairs from my office, O’Toole is proof that evolution is a fairy tale. With the failure of his new invention, Snowboarder in a Box, the part-time grappler has threatened to produce a rival humor rag which he intends to call Western Colorado Job Opportunities. Look for it soon.

Now we’d like to welcome Bicycle Bill, Hummingbird Harriet, Bear Bait Betty and I’m in a Hurry Harry to these summer mountains. Tip # 611: If your waitperson has the personality of a dead herd animal why not rough it a little and eat at one of the many chuck-wagon barbecues that pop up every summer. You know the kind where the old grizzle hasn’t washed his apron, his hands or his opinions since 1957.    

 And if that’s not enough to tip your apple cart we have strong indications that the Rapture may have already gone down. If you weren’t taken up maybe your sincerity was deemed lacking. Peruse your options in this month’s feature piece and better luck next time.

 In closing, we would like to thank the lovely angels over at Red’s Gravy Heaven for the kim chi cheese rolls and aged mango cider. Terra incognita, damas!

Cookie Tree "Treasure" Map Surfaces

Cookie Tree “Treasure” Map Surfaces

(Ridgway) What appears to be a valid treasure map to the legendary Escalante Gold, reputed to be buried somewhere beneath the former Cookie Tree Ranch, has surfaced here according to local geologists. The former ranch, now cooling its heels under the Ridgway Reservoir, was flooded back in the late 70s as a water storage project for the lower reaches of the Uncompahgre Valley.

     The map, which was discovered during an excavation at Elk Meadows (some 12 miles away from the said lake, looks to be authentic according to unreliable sources high above Ridgway. Although it has faded over 235 years since the treasure was lost along what is known as the Spanish Trail, the map is readable despite extensive water marks and fraying caused by the seriously dry climate.

     Believed to have been drawn between October and November of 1776, the map could lead diggers to a fortune in gold, silver and Spanish coinage of high value. Most of the loot was stolen from various indigenous tribes in return for promised salvation. Historians, still out to lunch on the origin of the map have been slow to draw conclusions.

     It is now in the hands of the local police who say it will remain locked up until priorities can be established. Several families associated with the ranch have been contacted but as yet no one has come forward to claim anything. Police expect their share of quacks and schemers insisting the map is theirs or posing as heirs of a sort. Already rangers working at the reservoir have reported suspicious behavior and signs of forced entry on remote fence lines. They arrested one man who was “out fishing” with 400 pounds of dynamite stashed on his boat and detained another who was taking photos of military installations on the evaporating body of water.

     Already the news has created a domino affect in a land known for high stakes poker. Real people living here are accustomed to creative survival and the thought of glorious riches has them all giddy. Even newer residents who brought their money from other environs have been concocting secret plans, drenched in dreams of more, stunned by fantasies of increased wealth.

     “What are we going to do…drain the reservoir and start digging?” asked Rory Silvers, who with a handful of former mining enthusiasts have been stockpiling earth moving equipment and fuel depots just north of Ouray. “If the mythical treasure exists and is under the former ranch/reservoir the authorities will have their hands full keeping people out.”

     Another miner went on to say that a retrieval operation might impact the valley beyond belief.

     “This could make Cherry Creek or Sutter’s Mill pale by comparison,” he spat. The search may last years and net nothing or, with laser and satellite technology at our disposal, we could see the treasure exhumed in moments. Other experts in the field questioned Markey’s tech references saying that dynamite and shovels would dictate the progress while drilling probes would be the order of the day.

     “This Silvers guy is dreaming,” said one retired mining engineer. “If there is treasure at the bottom of all this it is certainly irretrievable. After all of these centuries underground it is one with the earth, gone forever from the hands of man.”

     Many here compare the chances of finding the treasure to the chances of winning a state lottery which has been equated to being struck by lightning at the bottom of the ocean or stung by a bee from China. The numbers don’t lie but that doesn’t keep prospectors from eyeballing a claim. 

     Already the trappings of wealth have invaded the once pristine reservoir as permits have been secured to build several restaurants, a general store and a brothel lakeside. Sources tell us that there is not a shovel or pick to be had in Montrose and Delta Counties and that streams of miners from the West End can be seen making their way over Highway 90 “toward the big bonanza’.

     “We sure don’t want this map to fall into the wrong hands,” said one police officer, “which would pretty much include anyone and everyone who needs cash and can handle a shovel.”

     Meanwhile the elusive cache cries out for liberation. Although many have surmised on the content of the treasure none know for sure what awaits the finder. One group vying for position on the matter is the Timpanog Ute tribe who claim dominion since it was they who guided Escalante and Dominguez through the region in 1776.

     Fathers Escalante and Dominguez could not be reached for comment since the inconsiderate Escalante died in 1780 and baffling Dominguez in 1803.

– Uncle Pahgre

Not so fast there Saint Whosit:

with Rev Phillip Pharisee 

former WWF champion turned man of the cloth

Sometimes our sacred concept of forgiveness a little more involved…a little more give, and less take. It’s like cheating at golf – the cheater loses before the first ball drops into the cup…instant karma strikes again! The self-canonized goes down in flames….You can sin but you can’t hide. 

We have heard yearnings of late as to the many Biblical cherry pickers screened/detained at the Pearlies. Apparently they must show proof that they indeed have a soul. A lack of compassion while on earth could net a long wait in Purgatory until your case can be reviewed.

Earth’s relentless spinning is blamed for social disorder and Strife. The human predicament. We suffer from a subconscious desire to remain stupid even though the options to upgrade the intellectual experience are close at hand. Looks like we’re in for another bumpy ride. 

Everyday, it seems someone new is asking me: Rev Phil if I paint the church will I automatically go to heaven when I die? The answer is a great big “Yes!” but don’t forget to tithe as well to make sure all the palms are greased on the way up the stairway. While bigwigs like Peter and Paul don’t expect a tip many of the underling angels and even some of the minor saints rely on gratuities to get by. Who knows, one might end up living in close proximity to some of these celestial glad-handers and eternity is a long time to harbor petty resentments.

And in a related announcement: Good news for armies and preachers: US schools post lowest reading and math scores in decades. Why dwell on the negative. Don’t worry – you are the chosen ones. Everything is fine.

Next Sunday:

“What do animals in the zoo think about all day?”

Man walks off cliff near Chief Ouray Mine

A Missouri man today fell 220 feet from a cliff trail that, despite his GPS reading, ended abruptly. 

With the exception of a few bruises the injured hiker, identified as Syd Fahrt, 46, was pronounced satisfactory, cheated and released from Mao Clinic this afternoon. 

Companions told The Horseshoe that Fahrt, a resident of Farmington, was maneuvering behind an extensive aspen grove and became disoriented when the trail petered out. 

Although he was warned to be careful in the undergrowth he insisted that the trail had to be there because it was clearly shown on his hand-held chaperone.

“He just kept walking, looking down at his phone, then fell over the side,” said one fellow hiker. “Here one minute – gone the next. He got very angry that two plus two no longer equaled four. He lost his cell during the fall. He’s lucky to be alive.”

Hikers are reminded that in the forest certain gadgets may not be as effective as they are on main street. Local authorities suggest using natural instincts and opening one’s eyes to the glories of the Rocky Mountain backwoods.

“Texting and hiking don’t mix,” said one ranger who reminded onlookers that the possession of a smart phone does not guarantee intelligent decisions. “Leave your crutches behind. Slap on some good shoes and bring a jug of water. Try getting in touch with the natural world again.”

Fahrt plans to sue the trailbreakers, the local rescue team, the chamber of comments, The Ute Nation, and the Uncompahgre National Forest for negligence in the matter.

-Pepper Salte