Author

Buck Hummingbird

Buck Hummingbird has 12 articles published.

U-boat Restorer to Offer Rides at Horsetooth

in Local Flavor by

This year a new feature is coming to the Wings of Freedom Tour that is held the weekend after the Fourth. However, this new entry will not be featured at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport because, well, submarines cannot fly by themselves. Instead of heading to the airport, drive over to Horsetooth Reservoir for the experience of a lifetime with Fins der Fuhrer.

Ray Gilbert, 75, a former Naval submarine officer himself, has painstakingly and lovingly restored a Type IXC/40 German U-boat from World War II. He started the project when he was 30 but only finished it a couple of years ago.

“Yes, it did take awhile to complete; took a bit of money to do so also, and my wife was infinitely patient for the entire length of the project. It’s not like you can just fit the sub in your garage and start restoring. Heck, I even had to learn German in order to read some of the manuals that I found.”

While Mr. Gilbert attempted to find parts through contacts within both the United States and the European Union, most times it came down to using his own machinist, his best friend, Norman New, who was also at hand for the submarine’s voyages in Horsetooth.

“We took her out yesterday,” commented Mr. New, “and she’s running just fine. We don’t go too deep or too far just because we don’t have much of a crew and everything was restored according to strict standards. In other words, this baby does not run with an app or just a push of a button so we don’t want to push her too hard.”

So, does this mean that she will be available for rides to the public during the weekend tour? “Of course, that’s why we brought her out here!” exclaimed Mr. Gilbert.

The two are offering two types of rides: the full experience and the day-cruise. The full experience will have the submarine being submerged fully so that riders will get a feel for what it was like to be in a U-Boat, while the day-cruise will be riding outside. The latter will also perambulate the entire reservoir while the former will be half-out and then back. In between, to refit and refresh the sub, they will be doing short tours.

“To be able to accommodate both the submarine requirements and the fact that we will have civilian riders, we will be taking small groups. We will have a few more crew members as well but not a full complement,” said Mr. Gilbert.  “It squeezes real tight in a U-boat.  Besides that, some of the civvies just don’t pay attention!  Once when I was trying to submerge, someone flooded the batteries instead of the ballast tanks.”  A large plume of toxic chlorine gas ensued, ending tour operations for that day, Mr. Gilbert explained.  “Well, at least nobody got asphyxiated or badly injured.”

There is understandably a price difference between the two experiences as well as the tour. The day-cruise will be $2200 a person while the full experience is $5000 per person. The tour, which will feature the bridge, sleep quarters, gallery and radio room, is available at $430 per person. There is an age limit of 14 or older for all experiences and a legal waiver the size of a Papal Encyclical.

Surprisingly, there are already waiting lists for the two types of rides. “And we’re almost full for just the tours,” said Mr. New.  “I’m gonna have to get creative about the realism of the rides- ya know. Of course, U-Boats back then had no showers or laundry, so I’m thinking of adding a super BO and mold realism feature.”

Last question? “Of course, the guns work,” replied an exasperated Mr. Gilbert, referring to the 20 mm mount on the conning tower. “And we got the ammo for it too, in case the bomber pilots decide to play a re-enactment on us.”

Larimer County Assessor’s Office Winging It

in Local Flavor by

Property tax assessments for 2019 have raised quite a fuss in Larimer County since they arrived in residents’ mailboxes at the beginning of May. With the deadline for disputes drawing near, your intrepid reporter decided to speak with the office on how they created such a hullabaloo.

County spokesperson, Tre Brighter, had this to say, “Well, you see, the previous assessor created his own algorithm for assessment calculations. So, when he left, he took the equations with him, because, you know, intellectual property and all that.”

“To put it more precisely, we had to get something out and, like, fast so we sorta, kinda had to wing it.”

Apparently ‘winging it’ meant a combination of actual data and some rather inventive, and unorthodox, methods. “I don’t know how many other offices use our methods but I’m betting not many,” continued Brighter. What were these methods?

“Well, a Magic 8 ball, darts, a blindfold–you know for impartiality’s sake–and Pin-the-Zero on the House. Like I said, we had to wing it in order to get the new figures out in time for our deadline.”

The new assessment figures have caused quite a stir in Larimer county as indicated by a noticeable increase in disputes and a constant line of some angry property owners outside the county building.

Kevin Nouveau-Riche, a resident of Laporte, was furious. “You bet your ass I’m disputing!” he fumed while standing in front of his two-bedroom concrete bungalow. “How the hell did something I bought in 2016 for $250,000 end up coming in at $1.4 million. This piece of craptastic house ain’t worth that; it’s not like I live on Mountain [Avenue] in FoCo!!!”

Brighter wringed his hands when your reporter told him about Mr. Nouveau-Riche’s discrepancy. “Yeah, that was probably a Magic 8 ball prediction or Pin-the-Zero.”

Mr. Brighter did have this to say. “We’ll definitely be more prepared for the next assessment. Right now we’re using Monopoly to help us create the necessary equations for next time.” He paused, “Or are we using Sorry?”

I-25 High Speed Chase Catches Motorists by Surprise

in Local Flavor by

While police departments across the United States have been changing their policies regarding high-speed chases in urban areas, there are still instances of such follies upon the motorways. A recent incident on the north-south corridor of I-25 is a case in point.

Motorists traveling northbound on that section between Johnstown and Fort Collins witnessed the unusual occurrence. “I haven’t seen something like this since that right-wing bank robbery one on 285 [referring to a 1996 incident]!” gushed one excited young woman, who asked to remain anonymous.

Onlookers were treated to an exhilarating 45 MPH high-speed chase of one wanna-be Chevy Volt bandit followed by three police vehicles.

Another driver, 25-year-old Adam Summerfeld, who happened to be on the road, was amazed at the speed. “45 on I-25!?!?! Can you believe it? I wish that happened a lot more for just us regular drivers. I just got over to the right lane and let them do their thing. But it was a sight to see!” He walked off, muttering, “45! Man, 45!”

Police spokesman Colin O’Keefe acknowledged the irony of a “high-speed” chase being classified as anything else than an extreme speed. “Yes, the legal speed limit is 75 MPH but that rarely happens on I-25 anymore. So when we attempted to stop this person for a broken taillight and he took off, we had to step in. Eventually we clocked him at speeds up to 45 MPH! We didn’t expect that he would flee and then not follow requests to respectfully pull over.”

The police eventually barricaded the individual on the exit ramp for US-36 eastbound due to lack of volume at that particular location. “It was an emergency decision. We needed lots of room for the number of vehicles involved and in case he came barreling off the highway and a physical incident occurred,” intoned O’Keefe, “And that exit just doesn’t have lots of cars sometimes.”

The driver 46-year-old Ziggy Smith only had this to say in his defense. “Man, I just wanted to get home. I’d already been traveling from south Denver for over 2 hours.”

Downtown Lights Receive Help From the Moon

in Environment by

It is once again the holiday season and Fort Collins officials have put up the downtown lights. This year is a little different than years past.

“We’re more conscious than ever of needed sustainability issues especially electric ones. Coal is used in electricity production so we took that into consideration when looking at how we can keep this lighting tradition going and still reduce our carbon footprint,” said Business of Old Town Federation Board president Mohammad Gordon.

The answer appeared during the summer when officials were busy reading through proposals for various solar-panel projects. “We realized that although solar-panels can’t be used during the evening what about lunar-panels? The lights are on during the night really and so if we can replace their electricity source from electric to lunar power, we could be saving money and doing our bit for the environment!”

It soon became obvious that this was an easy concept to write down on paper but much harder in its implementation. For one, the panels had to be invented.

Enter BillyJoe Boom. “Now, if ya see here, the moon don’ cast as much light as the sun,” commented the panels’ inventor, a resident of Severance. “So that mean you don’t get as much in terms of power.” Mr. Boom describes himself as an innovative entrepreneur. “I mean how many other people coulda thought to do lunar power? Genius!”

Mr. Boom markets his invention for smaller companies and seasonal projects. “’Cause you don’ have that much power so big projects ain’t gonna really work with these things. But seasonal or small ones, don’ that just fit!”

“In the long run we’re going to be saving money,” replied Commissioner Gordon, when asked about cost. “Yes, they were a little expensive up front but now we don’t have an electric bill for these lights either. So win-win for all; it was the best $1.5 million dollar investment of other people’s money we’ve ever done.”

The panels are located on top of a building on a main stretch of downtown College. Officials are not forthcoming as to where they are exactly due to fears of vandalism or outright theft. Mr. Boom is remaining on staff for this season just in case kinks or other issues arise. “This is the first commercial outfit for me, so’s I best help to make sure ever’thing goes smooth-like. After this, I’m gonna peddle them in Boulder too; them folks are just as rich and just as self-conscious of being seen as environmental friendly-like.”

So as you enjoy the holiday lights this season, remember that Fort Collins is at the vanguard of sustainability efforts by harnessing the power of the moon.

Trump Museum Set to Open in Old Town

in Arts and Entertainment/Local Flavor by

As Old Town Fort Collins bids farewell to yet another staple business, another one is already lined up to take its place. Old Chicago has shuttered its Old Town location but unlike with Bisetti’s (which rumor has it will become a biker gang clubhouse), this area has already been rented out.  A life-size bronze statue of America’s 45th president gave Focopolitan Tribune reporter Buck Hummingbird a clue as to what the space will now be.

Billy Floogul has taken over the lease. A retired  part-time outhouse digger and maintenance man who just sold his family’s business because, “damn kids don’t know what hard work is anymore!” is opening a different type of establishment. Larimer County’s sole Trump supporter is opening a museum and gift shop dedicated to his hero – Donald Trump.

“I needed to do something; I ain’t dead yet! I see all these museums to Mexicans and women and crazy artists who can’t draw worth shit and I thought, man, none can compare to this guy who went from businessman to president!”

Having plenty of savings and time, Mr. Floogul followed Mr. Trump on his entire presidential campaign collecting memorabilia, videoes, interviews, and other such collectibles. “I was also a big fan of The Apprentice and so that’ll be in there too.”

Starting from his childhood Mr. Floogul’s museum documents Mr. Trump’s life all the way to his current occupation as president. Many of the displays feature one-of-a-kind artifacts that Mr. Floogul personally collected and kept, “Just in case, you know; some people collect cows, others pigs, others books. I collected anything that I could about Donald Trump from books to hats to sayings- including what he said about [44th president, Barack Hussein] Obama’s birth certificate, which I believe to be true- to a signed piece of toilet paper because I didn’t have nothin’ else on me when I ran into him.”

And as with all museums, there is a gift shop that will be open to the public and not solely to museum goers. A wide-range of eclectic items await to be bought – facsimiles of some of the displayed artifacts to serious tomes on Mr. Trump to books that “the Donald” wrote himself. “I even have gifts for the kiddos – bobble head dolls and such.”

The museum is set to open Spring of 2019.

CDOT Debuts “I-25 Wild Ride”

in Local Flavor by

For anyone who has experienced the sheer unbelievable screw-up that is the North-South corridor known as I25, it seems like improvement needs to be a by-word or, at least, part of the conversation when talking about the heralded, and oftentimes cursed at, road.

“Over the past few years, with Colorado’s population explosion that would rival Bangladesh’s, we realize that travel along I25 isn’t so much traveling as kissing-your-ass and hoping for the best,” CDOT spokesman Hank Kissinger explained to Focopolitan Tribune reporter Buck Hummingbird. “We sympathize, really, we do; we’re also sitting in that clusterfuck of a highway just as much as anyone else.”

Using observational studies, and a lot of outside-the-box thinking, CDOT came up with a plan to try and help alleviate some of the congestion causing problems. “We focused on the issues that cause fuckups. You know, those assholes who want to go 100 in a 55 or the dingbat who assumes that you can fit a Ford F150 in between two semi-trailers without looking first. It was found that these types of drivers caused the majority of inconveniences that other people had to endure. We thought: what if you take out those inconveniences?”

Thus appeared the state-sponsored initiative “I25 Wild Ride.” Utilizing the express lanes through downtown Denver, drivers are encouraged to do everything that they normally aren’t allowed to do in the civilized driving world. “You want to experience texting and driving before flipping your car over a guard-rail? Be my guest. You want to see what it is like to do 120 on those curves? Have at it. Driving backwards at high speed? Wonderful. You now have a place to do it in, and get it out of your system, before you drive home and piss everyone else off trying to do those same things,” explained Kissinger.

Participants must sign waivers and provide their own transportation; emergency crews will be available for assistance if needed; all express tolls will be waived as well. “Though donations are appreciated,” intoned Mr. Kissinger.

Ms. Hummingbird spoke to one participant of the program, Randy McCogill, who decided that drifting interspersed with multiple doughnuts, all while at high speeds, had always been a bucket-list item of his. “I didn’t really know what I was going to do until I did it. But it was so much fun! I didn’t have to worry about other drivers as I had the lanes to myself and there were people there to help if I truly screwed myself! And I didn’t interrupt the regular flow of traffic, which was actually pretty cool now that I think about it.”

The plan appears to be gaining in popularity as CDOT already has a 50-person waiting list. “If things continue as they are, we’re already looking at viable spots to implement the idea for northern Colorado, the Monument-Colorado Springs area, hell, even I70. Just pray to God that this works, otherwise, what are we gonna do? Double-decker the thing?” Kissinger finished.

 

Civil War Reenactors Cause Delays at Denver International Airport

in Local Flavor by

Dusty Chivington and his wife, Betsy, were on the layover part of their flight. The 17-years married couple, who are civil war re-enactors from Minnesota, were on their way to participate in the annual Festa Confederada, an annual celebration held in Santa Bárbara d’Oeste, Brazil to commemorate and celebrate Southern culture. It is held around April 26, Confederacy Day in the United States.

While the couple had no trouble in their home state, they soon wreaked havoc at the security line at Denver International Airport. The trouble first began with a saber.

A TSA x-ray technician spotted the sword as Dusty placed it on the conveyor belt for the scanner. When asked if it was a weapon, the reply was negative. “It is an historical artifact,” offered Dusty. Skeptical, the official placed a hand on the offending item only to be rebuffed by an emphatic neigh. Dusty’s horse, Binky, standing behind his owner, appeared to be upset.

“Is that real?” was the only response the TSA technician could get out with no one quite knowing whether he was referring to the horse or the saber.

“He’s my emotional support animal,” Dusty explained, “He has to travel with me all the time; I even have a doctor’s note explain’ the situation. He did perfectly fine on the first flight; he’s a good horse and I even clean up after him if need be.” Mr. Chivington showed reporter Buck Hummingbird the industrial sized plastic bags he carries with him at all times just in case Binky has an accident. Also with him was a 50 lb. bag of oats, a bale of hay, and all the gear needed to ride. “It all fits in the overhead compartment,” Dusty proudly offered.

The Denver officials balked at the presence of a horse in the security line but, “They only noticed once me and Binky were waiting in line for the X-ray thingies,” said Dusty.

Meanwhile Betsy was having her own problems with security. True to form, the couple had decided to dress up for the occasion, Dusty in his grey-colored uniform and Betsy in a hoop skirt. Such skirts were not made to easily fit through an airport security scanner and the poor woman became trapped when the sides of the scanner twisted her skirts around her, causing the machine to jam.

Ms. Hummingbird interviewed Betsy through one of the windows as firefighter personnel attempted to free her. “We are quite proud of our heritage. Dusty grew up in Georgia, while my Daddy was from there. When we heard that there was a celebration of Southern culture, complete with barbecue, dancing and hoop skirts, we had to be a part of it, no matter where it is located! It’s my first time traveling outside the United States,” Betsy added.

DIA spokesman, David Bragg, was left speechless. “I really, REALLY don’t know what to say. How the hell did that horse even make it on the first flight?” he muttered to himself.

Other expectant passengers were a little more peeved. “The fuck you bringing a horse on a plane for?” yelled a man dressed in a ‘Hillbilly Treasure’ T-shirt, cut-off jean shorts and flip-flops. “No self-respecting woman should ever dress in that!” another passenger yelled. Extra TSA personnel had to be called to the South terminal screening area as the scanning machine had to be shut-down for extensive repairs and those passengers shuffled into line for the other three.

David Bragg did say one thing, “Criminal charges? Who the hell knows…”

As your reporter found out later, Dusty and Betsy Chivington, along with Binky, made their flight.

 

Boulder Hippies Conscript Native Americans for Help in Moisture Dance

in Local Flavor by

To help entice Mother Nature in this time of oppressive heat and extreme drought, self-appointed hippies have decided to hold a moisture dance in downtown Boulder near the Pearl Street mall.

Reporter Buck Hummingbird met up with members as they were finishing a rehearsal. Group advisor Summer Tingle explained, “We must be inclusive of all types of precipitation, not just rain, which means this is a moisture dance and not a ‘rain dance,’ okay? Mother Nature needs to know that we aren’t discriminatory because if we use too exclusive of a name, she might not bless us.”

 “Since there isn’t a movement-type of prayer built into Christianity or any of the other monotheistic religions, we had to reach out to the Native American population of Colorado to help us ensure the success of our undertaking. From which deity to make supplications to; to the types of prayers to be uttered; to subtle hand movements, we needed guidance!” intoned Ms. Tingle.

As Ms. Tingle related the group found that guidance from the recently re-introduced Soapstone Prairie Indian Reintroduction Project (see Focopolitan Tribunearticle from May of 2017), which occurred in tandem with the highly successful Soapstone Prairie Bison Reintroduction Project in Larimer County. “We were required to actually drive our hybrids out to Soapstone to do our rehearsals.  The senior naturalists explained that you can’t just let the Indians leave the habitat lest the bison lose their highest-order predators.”

A small committee decided upon choreography and music selection and rehearsals were held at Soapstone until recently. But when it came to the dress rehearsals, the committee decided to move them to Boulder. As dance participant Autumn Beach explained, “We needed to get the feel of Pearl Street. I mean, people walk it everyday but dancing on it is new and so we had to see what we were going to stir up. I was afraid of something untoward reaching through the ether but so far, we have been accepted.”

As for the Native Americans, the committee conscripted them into not only being the directors but also as participants in the main event. During a transition moment, one dancer, identifying himself as Yawing Coyote Pratt, stood off to the side and commented, “Damn if I know what a moisture dance is but I finally get to go shopping! Shit, you have no idea how long I’ve have been waiting for this!” He gleefully eyed the array of merchandise that could be found at the mall.

The dance will be held at the next instance of Mercury and Venus crossing each other. All peace-loving people are invited to observe.

“Even if we have rain before the dance, we will continue the event but as more of a thank-you rather than a plea,” finished Ms. Tingle as participant members collected their belongings and left for their Priuses and bicycles.

Ms. Tingle is also hosting a communal drum-circle after the dance for general healing purposes and as a call for prayer for peace.

Bird Nuisance Plagues Old Town Lights

in Local Flavor by

There are many local traditions here in Fort Collins that are beloved by residents, and visitors, alike. During this season the Old Town Christmas lights are one such happening. While the Lighting Ceremony went off grandly, this year officials are being plagued by a new nuisance that seems intent on making sure that the lights stay off.

“It’s a stupid parrot,” grumbled one official to FoCo Tribune reporter, Buck Hummingbird, as the two stood at the intersection of College and Mountain. “We’re used to having replace lights and possibly reposition strands because of wind and such but this fucking bird…”

The brightly-colored avian menace has taken it upon himself to single-handedly try and destroy the Old Town lights.

“I don’t know if he’s pissed off about the lights at night or we put a strand too close to his nest but he is one determined little piece of….THERE HE IS!” The official took off running.

Apparently, the Lighting Committee has had a hard time trying to catch the flying destroyer even with near-constant surveillance and the position of strategically placed bird traps.

So, what is the parrot doing?

“He’s a smart one. He knows how to twist individual lights off; he just pops’em off and flies off with the light to who knows where. He’ll finish off a set of flights in minutes like this! He’s also repositioning strands; figures he’ll probably kill himself if he bites through them so he just kicks’em away. And don’t even get me started on how encrusted he makes light strands with his poop.” The actions leave dark spots in an otherwise perfect tableau of light, while also costing the city money to replace the missing bulbs.

“We even had an incident where a biker got twisted up in a strand he had managed to move.” This was the event that precipitated the Committee’s action to rid Old Town of the parrot.

He has become a delight for tourists who seemed concerned that the cold weather may harm the fellow. Your intrepid reporter stood by a group who tried to get selfies while he sat preening himself on a cool, sunny weekend afternoon.

“Isn’t he adorable?” gushed one woman from Pennsylvania. “You don’t see many free-flying birds like that in Colorado I bet. Will he be okay when it snows? I mean he’s not from around here obviously so where does he go when it gets cold?”

Committee officials have teamed up with biology experts from CSU and animal rights activists, as well as local volunteers, to try and catch the bird.

Julie Harmful, one of the activists, had this to say, “We’re concerned that he’ll hurt himself but also that someone may hurt him as well. We want to be able to get him away to a warmer place where he can be taken care of as we near colder temperatures. Everyone is concerned about him and rightfully so.”

Missing bird posters have also been placed in vet offices and pet stores throughout the city in the hopes that he is actually someone’s pet that accidentally escaped. Julie teared up, “He’s probably missing his carer.”

Officials would just be happy to be rid of what is becoming an expensive menace.

“I mean seriously,” replied the official as he returned from trying to catch the parrot, “what the hell did we do to him that he goes after the lights?”

The parrot did not return your reporter’s inquiries.

Fort Collins Poetry Piece Successfully Ends Syrian Civil War

in Arts and Entertainment by
By Bashar_al-Assad.jpg: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom / ABrderivative work: César (talk) - Bashar_al-Assad.jpg, CC BY 3.0 br, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16144552

In a move declared by the US Department of State as “stunning,” Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has unilaterally, independently, and under no apparent duress, foresworn violence altogether.  At a press conference, Syria’s dictator gave his solemn motive for the farewell to arms: a small group of pacifists who happen to call Fort Collins home.

The group, calling itself Poetry for Peace, is composed of CSU students and aging, local hippies.  Weekly gatherings along the banks of the Cache la Poudre River, or at low-rent watering holes, have them exchanging verses and ideas for such causes as the environment, racial reconciliation, gender, economic equality and of course, world peace.  It appears that their poem, “A Call to Compassion” so moved the hearts of readers that even Bashar al-Assad was compelled unilaterally to end his country’s 6-year long civil war.

The Focopolitan Tribune has been unable to reach president Assad or his press secretaries, but we were able to contact a capable spirit medium who, after hours of ecstatic dancing, a sacrificial chicken and the appropriate hallucinogens, contacted Richard Holbrooke. Holbrooke’s 40-year career in the State Department and the Peace Corps spanned the globe; he is probably best remembered for his role in the Dayton Peace Accords ending the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as for his role in the Kosovo War, which culminated in the arrest and trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

Asked about Poetry for Peace’s accomplishment, Holbrooke said, “I can’t believe these people!  They write one poem, ONE POEM, and boom!  Peace. As for me, I spent 40-plus years in public service paying my dues, navigating bureaucracy, kissing the right asses only to get to the top and have warring sides barely want to talk to me, let alone each other.  Then what?  I patiently take miniscule steps and put up with their idiotic bullshit only to get a string of fragile agreements that over time, my team and I turned into a feeble peace.  I used to think that these people were a bunch of useless quixotics, involved in nothing better than pseudo-intellectual circle-jerking, but I was wrong.  I should have been a poet.”  Asked for more comment on the matter, Holbrooke ended the seance by stating, “I can’t believe it!  When I was alive, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal would go out of their way to get an interview with me, but now that I’m dead, the only ones who want my opinion are two-bit muckrakers from fourth-rate newspapers like yours!  I’ll tell you, being dead really sucks; now fuck off, I’m done!”

It was at this point that the spirit of the late president of Kosovo, and frequent Holbrooke interlocutor, Ibrahim Rugova inhabited our intrepid spirit medium.  “Really, man.  I envy these people.  I spent decades writing literary criticism and pushed for peace, but I only got it after I abandoned literary life, and embraced the squalid, frustrating world of politics.  What are they doing that I didn’t do?  Seriously, tell these people to fuck off, and while you’re at it, go ahead and fuck off too.”

Focopolitan Tribune reporter Ludwig Schnee met up with Poetry for Peace at Lions Park and after a good sharing of a group joint and the obligatory sing-along to John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine”, spokes-human Puffy Snuggle, who is gender non-conforming, gloated on the group’s accomplishment, “I wanna see Boulder top this, bee-yotch!” Snuggle continued, “We’re probably gonna write our next poems with the titles ‘Let the Poudre Live’ and ‘Give Impeachment a Chance’.”  We at the Trib can’t wait.

 

Go to Top