July 31, 2006
Death Valley Draw
July 29, 2006
Photos Around Coachella Valley
Here's a story on "Lizard Lee," AKA Lee Greenwell, the caretaker of the hot springs in Saline Valley. He's originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, and has been living at the springs for 25 years.
The video version of this story can be seen here, but it displays in a popup, so if you have a popup blocker in place (like any sane user) you'll get a message allowing you to override your blocker.
July 27, 2006
Please Open Your Heart And Home For A Turkey!
The Peninsula Humane Society has 40 lovable turkey chicks looking for a home. How fast do they grow? Will they be ready for this coming Thanksgiving?
The sad story starts with Northwest Airlines who were carrying the chicks along with 10,960 of their brothers and sisters from Detroit to San Francisco. The shippers had requested the birds go on two separate flights, apparently knowing the air limits in the hold of an airliner. Northwest overlooked this request and put all 11,000 birds on one plane. Upon arrival in the City By The Bay, 8,960 chicks had suffocated. 2,000 survivors were sent along to their original destination, a shady vacation retreat called Zacky Farms in Fresno, where they are playing shuffleboard and eating ice cream as we write. The final 40 turkey chicks, the ones looking for homes, were found later "somehow left behind." Word is that they had made it halfway to the BART station and were hoping to get into San Francisco itself in time for the Dore Alley celebration on Sunday. Now they find themselves confined in suburban San Mateo. Won't you help these tender creatures?
To adopt a turkey you must live in an area zoned for farm animals, such as the city of Concord, California.
This story is not related to the story (in the same linked article) about an Air Canada jet with 9,000 chicks (whether turkey or other poultry is not specified) that due to mechanical problems cut short its flight to SFO by landing in Las Vegas, where it sat on the tarmac long enough to pre-roast 2,000 of the little ones. Apparently, they then carried them on to SFO where they ended up in a trash compactor.
McDonald's Lifetime Achievement Award
Herb Peterson was presented the McDonald's Lifetime Achievement Award last night for coming up with the Egg McMuffin and the Ronald McDonald costume! One man. All of that. He is currently 87 years old and got his first McDonald's franchise in 1971.
DHS Has A THIRD Aquifer!
I am always astounded at the breadth and depth of my own woeful ignorance. Here I have been explaining to you about the two amazing aquifers under Desert Hot Springs: the cold one and the hot one. Not until this morning did I know that we have a third one: the fire water aquifer. Here's the headline:
Mission Springs Fire Water District helped with wildfires
I will be contacting the water district forthwith to find out why my connection to the water system does not provide me with this fire water. Do I have to install my own well?
Aside from that issue, this paragraph in the story has me curious:
While some may question who will cover the expenses, Marilyn E. McKay, director of administration for the district, said residents would not pick up the tab. Providing the water is a community service which residents do not have to pay
What's a "community service" and who pays for that? Or have we discovered the long sought free lunch?
July 25, 2006
"people are safe to eat about all the fish they can catch at the [Salton] sea" Uh-huh. That's what they say. You are now free to dine on anything you find in the septic tank for the New River.
I wonder, though, if you put a Salton Sea fish on the grill, would the resulting smoke be safe to breathe?
July 24, 2006
Sweet Bison Lovin'
Jiffy Lube Hangs A Banner
A banner here, a banner over on Starbucks, maybe someday they'll open for business.
North Korean Can-Do Attitude
A NY Times article all about how North Korea is able to manufacture counterfeit U.S. currency of such quality that some details of it are better than genuine. They also mention that North Korean Viagra may be more potent than genuine Pfizer stuff. But it would need to be when your erectile dysfunction is caused by starvation.
Have we ever cared about William F. Buckley's opinion? Hardly. But we link to this article so you can admire his face, which we haven't seen for awhile. It looks like he challenged Ted Kennedy to a drinking contest and lost badly.
North Korean Propaganda
July 23, 2006
Lonegan is mayor of Bogota, New Jersey, which is not some farflung little town populated by a bunch of white rednecks. No, Bogota is right next to Hackensack, and you can probably even see the spires of Manhattan from there. Even so, Lonegan has condemned a Spanish language billboard advertising iced coffee at McDonalds, saying it is "offensive" and "divisive." "The true things that bind us together as neighbors and community is our belief in the American flag and our common language" And here I thought it was a shared belief in freedom, tolerance and our Constitution.
I'm gonna guess Mayor Lonegan has never ventured far beyond the boundaries of his little burg. Surely not to New York City or even Newark. If he ever travels to California, he will certainly be paralyzed by a permanent conniption fit.
The Whispering Spring/Pines fire [did it change names during the day, or is it just The Desert Sun?] has spread to 825 acres in an area adjacent to Covington. (I'm guessing it really is Whispering Spring since there aren't any whispering pines in Joshua Tree.)
This is the "radio" tower in Joshua Tree that is endangerd by the Whispering Spring fire (photo by Desertbare). This is the one you see standing on the ridge to the west as you are exiting the west entrance of the park. As you can see, it is mostly a microwave tower, but there are a lot of antennas up there, and some of them are operating in the range of radio frequencies, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, a 40 acre fire is reported over by Anza.
I want to report that I see two plumes of smoke from the San Gorgonio area. It's just like Sunday two weeks ago, so don't expect The Desert Sun to report the existence of these fires until Tuesday.
And while we weren't looking, there was a 3.6 earthquake epicentered near Lake Elsinore this morning.
Mr. Nudist Colony Activity Coordinator
Another New Fire In Joshua Tree
Lightning strikes yesterday evening (oh, it was quite impressive!) ignited what is being called the "Whispering Spring" fire in Joshua Tree National Park near the still smoldering 300 acre Covington fire. This morning I could see the smoke, but it wasn't too bad. The Desert Sun reports Whispering Spring fire was 75 acres and uncontained last night. Not long after sunrise today, however, most of the smoke disappeared, so it looks like the firefighting work is succeeding.
Jesus At Sawtooth
I link to this Desert Sun wrap-up article about the Sawtooth fire mostly because it exhibits one of my peeves that I forgot to include in my earlier list of bitches, and that is confusing the words "cavalry" and "Calvary." The error is fairly common in spoken English, but I don't recall ever seeing it in written form, especially in a newspaper, but there it is: "Aircraft could not see the structure, nor was it safe enough to send in the aerial calvary, Quinalty was told."
The pattern of misuse has reversed itself since I was a little kid, when there were more westerns and fewer Christians. Back then we had to work hard in Sunday School to learn to say "Calvary," and not visualize the battle of Little Bighorn. Now, it's the other way around, and people have got the "Calvary" rushing in to save people left and right.
July 22, 2006
Certainly I'm not one to complain, but our recent stretch of warm weather is approaching monumental. One pleasant form of relief that I've recently found is to go nekkid out on the back porch after dark with an electric fan and my laptop and do my internet-ing from there. Have the men who invented laptops and wi-fi gotten their Nobels yet?
Yesterday was, I guess, a record for July 21 in Palm Springs: 120°. I saw 117° on my thermometer once yesterday, and I didn't see any need to monitor it all day.
But there are currently no big wildfires (that I am aware of - TIAAO), and while there has been rain around us, there is no flooding in Coachella Valley right now, so what is there to complain about?
This is the prediction for Desert Hot Springs. You can see we are expecting a cooling trend. I think the nighttime lows they predict are insane. We haven't seen temps below 80° since way, way back. BTW, if you're keeping track, I think all the snow is gone from Mt. San Gorgonio now. It's been gone from Mt. San Jacinto for a few weeks.
The Desert Sun has highlighted the Seat Chiller, an invention by Natalie Prust of Palm Desert. This is a cooler for kid seats in cars, which made me newly aware of the challenges of having little kids in this desert. You expect adults to be able to deal with some variations of temperature here, but how can you get a 1-year old to learn to deal with a hot car in a parking lot? So the Seat Chiller could help.
It's a thing you unroll down the middle of a kid's car seat and plop your kid on it, and it actually cools them off. One wonders, how does it work? Is it a chemical thing? Or is it something you put in a freezer? Or is it something that really doesn't work in the desert, like the Chillow? Well, you have to do a bit of reading on the Seat Chiller site to discover that you stick the thing in the freezer before you use it. The smart parent will immediately note the further challenge. When you're opening your hot car in the parking lot, your freezer is usually miles away, inside your shady kitchen. So that means you've got to put your Seat Chiller into a cooler to keep it cold until you use it. One more thing for Mom to lug to the car. If you're going to do it right, you're going to need a Seat Chiller for every time you plan to re-enter your hot car, so a multi-stop shopping trip could require a big cooler full of Seat Chillers (double that if you have two kids). At $40 each (plus shipping), you can see that it might be cheaper to leave the kid(s) at the neighbors while you shop.
What I'd like to see is an adult jumpsuit made from similar materials. You could fit it in the freezer of an average household refrigerator if you took out all the food. When the heat gets to you, you whip this jumpsuit out of the freezer and slip into it, pull the hood over your head, and soak up the chill...for the 2 or 3 minutes the effect lasts. The thrill of taking the jumpsuit off and re-experiencing the 3-digit temperature becomes the ultimate pleasure.
July 21, 2006
Bees on Cholla
Saw these on some over-watered cholla in the town of Joshua Tree.