January 31, 2007
The French Come To The Rescue
A farmer in [old] Jersey was surprised to see his cows giving pink milk after he began feeding them carrots. The cows love the carrots, so what to do? Fortunately, the French, the kings of all food, have white carrots! Genius. The cows like them just as well, and their milk is white again.
More Local Weblogs
Rolling Marbills is the weblog of a couple of snowbirds! Yes indeed, we finally get an inside look at the lifestyle of Canadians in RVs who flock to our valley every year. They travel in Canada, Mexico, Arizona and have just settled their wings at Desert Pools RV Resort on Dillon Road near Desert Hot Springs. They hike a lot too, visiting the Coachella Valley Preserve and the Vargas Oasis near Snow Creek! They've got photos too. Check out this one. Explanatory story here. Amazing isn't it? In Mexico, RVs travel by train! Could you picture that in the U.S.? New Englanders rolling their RVs aboard trains at South Station in Boston, and then set up their folding chairs to enjoy the view as they roll to the west.
Scribblings From The Desert is written by Stephen Lodge in Rancho Mirage. Mr. Lodge is a professional writer, and has written for Hollywood. His filmography. You may recall Rio Diablo with Kenny Rogers, but I'm going looking for Kingdom of the Spiders starring William Shatner.
Most of his weblog concerns daily routine, but he took a break on January 17 to reprint a letter-to-the-editor that he wrote. An excerpt:
I'm really getting sick of the mainstream press comparing our present war to the conflict in Vietnam - a war we eventually lost because of the communist influence within our own universities.
Why not compare the Iraq war to World War II, a war the United States won? Like Bush, Roosevelt tapped phones, interned those suspected of enemy connections, treated enemy prisoners of war a thousand times better than our enemies treated U.S. soldiers and had a very good relationship with Britain's prime minister.
Oh, off the top of my head, I think the reason the Iraq war is not compared to WWII is that Iraq was not a threat to us, didn't attack us, and wasn't in the process of pursuing a successful imperial war that had already crushed many nations that had been friendly to the U.S. Also in WWII we weren't so stupid to go in with no plan for what to do when the government toppled.
OTOH, I have heard some comparisons between the two wars - mostly that we've been in Iraq longer than we were fighting WWII.
$280,000 For Research On Frightening Deer
The idea is to place canisters of wolf urine (you get that in the alley next to the wolf bar) near roadways. The research part is finding out if that really scares the deer away and reduces the number of deer/automobile accidents. Steve Gent, traffic and safety engineer for the Iowa Department of Transportation, acknowledges the root of the problem is the ever-rising population of deer, and that proposals to reduce deer population are "very controversial." Uh-huh. The reason we've now got such a big deer population, spreading diseases, destroying vegetation and accelerating erosion of hillsides is that people removed most of the predators. We can re-introduce wolves in more areas, or we can increase the number of deer killed in hunting season. I think expanding the hunting season would go over better with a lot of people in midwestern farming states.
Or we can spend money on canisters of wolf urine which, if it works, means we will have MORE deer.
Moonlight Hike Friday
I'll be leading another moonlight hike on Friday evening. Meet us in front of Hunter's on Arenas in Palm Springs at 7:30 PM, and we'll carpool down to Rancho Mirage where we'll take a short, easy, but interesting hike up to the oasis at the base of Magnesia Falls. Good shoes and a flashlight are recommended. This is a Great Outdoors hike, so non-members should be prepared to pay $2.
I Hope This Shows Up On "COPS"
A highway patrol helicopter crew spotted some men "moving electronic equipment in a suspicious manner." I think the fact that they were moving it out in the open desert south of Desert Hot Springs was what raised the suspicion. The men tried to flee, but the helicopter called in a patrol car to follow. The article never states whether that was a Riverside Sheriff's car or a highway patrol car, but whoever it was, they managed to corral the suspicious men at the AM-PM store at Palm Drive and I-10. The helicopter then had to land so the two airborne officers could provide backup to the officer in the car. The getaway vehicle turned out to be stolen.
Very likely, the usual morning traffic backup on Palm Drive at I-10 was what brought this chase to an end. The only escape route for the miscreants would have been across open desert.
Mt. San Jacinto Peak In January
Tim of Temecula climbed to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto peak this past Saturday via Devil's Slide Trail. Here's a description of that route. 16 miles RT with 4,500 feet of elevation gain (but after that, it's all downhill). Still, he had the energy to smile for his photo at the top.
Big Morongo Canyon & Palmwood
Earlier this week I decided to go hike Big Morongo Canyon. I only hiked it once before, and that was with the usual vehicle shuttle, so that I could hike only five miles, all downhill. The fence around the future Palmwood development put an end to that. If the lower end of Big Morongo Canyon is eventually re-opened for public access, it will probably be after Palmwood is developed, and we'll have a golf course and lighted, paved streets leading right up to the edge of the preserve's property. And who wants to wait for that?
So I hiked it alone, the five miles downhill, and then back uphill. I saw no lions, no bighorn sheep (but I did see a hoofprint), and I didn't even see a coyote. Saw a lot of birds. The trail seems to get a lot of use, despite the required ten mile hike. There are lots of human footprints all the way down to the motor vehicle barrier across the lower end of the canyon.
I went beyond that barrier, hoping to find some clear line or a No Trespassing sign to tell me where the edge of the Palmwood property is, but I saw no such thing. I suppose I might have wandered a little ways onto the Palmwood property, since I walked to the very edge of the hills and a bit beyond. I've never seen the area cleaner! No couches or loungers, no junked cars, not even a refrigerator! I took a few pictures to show how beautiful the desert view is from there. The whole set is here, and these are a few samples:
Here's a link to a Google satellite image showing the area. The arrow is pointing to the motor vehicle barrier across Big Morongo Canyon. Palmwood would encompass the entire area between Indian Avenue and the San Bernardino mountains.
January 30, 2007
Wikipedia: Unusual Articles
Meta-article in Wikipedia that lists articles that are unusual, for example: 826 Valencia, San Francisco's only independent pirate supply store. Hours of distraction and fun.
Mayor Bias Makes A Half Endorsement
Mayor throws support behind Baker, Sanchez
DESERT HOT SPRINGS -- Mayor Alex Bias would like to see either Karl Baker or Adam Sanchez win the March 6 election for City Council, he has told The Desert Sun.
Five candidates, also including Bobby Bentley, Scott Matas and Ted Mayrhofen, are running for a spot on the council that was vacated when Mayor Pro Tem Gary Bosworth died last summer.
"If I wanted someone to fill in Gary Bosworth's shoes, both (Baker and Sanchez) have done a great amount of work in our city to further the democratic system," Bias said.
"Surviving the diagnosis, surviving Kaiser"
I've recently added a new weblog to my list over there in the sidebar: Surviving the diagnosis, surviving Kaiser. This is the weblog of a friend of mine, and if you read the first entry you'll see he says he's awaiting his diagnosis. He has since gotten that diagnosis, and I don't know if he doesn't want to state it outright, or if his morphine is just clouding his writing. He's been diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the lung. It has metastasized. He's been a long-time heavy smoker. If you have support to offer him, his weblog is open to comments.
Karl Baker's Website
For those who have been asking (and for any DHS voter, asking or not) here's the website for Karl Baker, candidate for Desert Hot Springs city council. His bio is not to be missed! Clearly, he's overqualified for DHS city council, but he's volunteering, so I think we should take him.
January 29, 2007
Sunday Morning Coffee
Sunday Morning Coffee has reviewed breakfast and coffee places around the Coachella Valley including Rick's in Palm Springs, the 29 Palms Inn, JC Bakery & Cafe in Desert Hot Springs, Watercanyon in Yucca Valley, Peabody's in Indio, The Spunky Monkey in Morongo Valley (currently closed), Crossroads Cafe in Joshua Tree, and Ignition on Palm Canyon in Palm Springs.
"Rome" In New Yorker
Sea Mountain Inn On KCRW
It's pledge time at KCRW, and I just heard them announce a premium for a $500 pledge: two nights at Sea Mountain Inn "in Palm Springs," they say. It is, of course, very much in Desert Hot Springs, but I guess they want to fudge that. I listened carefully, and they specify that it is "for couples only," although on their website they say "catering to women and couples, no single men." They are consistently non-sexist when they say "couples," so I think they would accept same-sex couples.
I also see that their website still contains "hidden" text intended to misdirect search engines, it still mislocates the resort next to the Santa Rosa mountains, and it still grossly underestimates travel times: 90 minutes from LAX, 40 minutes from Ontario and 10 minutes from Palm Springs airport. If you add at least 50% to each of those, you'll be closer to real travel times.
January 28, 2007
San Francisco Bay Ships
A fascinating site that allows you to see the movements of ships in San Francisco Bay over the previous hour. There are limited zoom abilities. You can click on any ship for more information. And you can replay. What next?!
DHS Sample Ballot
Yesterday I got my "Sample Ballot" for the upcoming municipal election in the mail. I think "Voter's Guide" would be a more accurate name, since it's more than just a sample ballot. Of the five candidates for the DHS city council seat, two didn't even bother to submit a statement: Bentley and Mayrhofen. If you've got your sample ballot go to page 4 (which, in true governmentese, is actually "RV001-004") to find the statements from Baker, Sanchez and Matas.
I want you to take a look at the statement from Matas. It's puffed up like so much Aerogel. If we remove his broad statements about city government (e.g., The City's job is keeping our neighborhoods and shopping areas clean, well lit and safe.), we will discover that he makes only two statements about his own intentions and qualifications:
- "I want to help make Desert Hot Springs everything it should be."
- "I want to be a part of continuing that trend [of local government getting better]."
If elected, he may propose a resolution that the city of DHS considers breathing air to be a good thing. Compare that to the statements of Baker and Sanchez which are straightforward declarations of qualifications and goals.
Suit to Stop Palmwood
I'm a little slow in noticing this story, but Desert Local News reports that the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club have filed a suit to block the "elegant" (Scott Matas' descriptive adjective) Palmwood development, the one behind the miles of fence on Indian Avenue, that will lie athwart [haven't used that word in a while!] Big Morongo Canyon. DHS city council members Hohenstein and Parks are hot to fight the suit — at the expense of Palmwood. They say that no city funds will be used in the legal action.
The Palmwood development is planned for the southern edge of the Little San Bernardino mountains. It is surrounded by public land near Joshua Tree National Park and the popular Big Morongo Canyon preserve directly to the north. Close to 2,700 homes, over 1 million square feet of commercial space, a 400-room hotel, and two golf courses are proposed in a sensitive ecological area that’s home to protected and rare species including bighorn sheep, burrowing owls, the Palm Springs pocket mouse, Palm Springs round-tailed ground squirrel, Le Conte’s thrasher, and loggerhead shrike.
Noticed This Ad
I happened to notice this banner ad on slashdot and wondered if T-Mobile was doing some outreach for gay employees, or if they have found that all good networking engineers are drawn in by that good ol' male-bonding thing.
DHS Crime Report
I'm a little mystified by The Desert Sun's sense of timing, but here's an interesting article about a ridealong they did with the former interim police chief of Desert Hot Springs. Interesting, as I said, but bear in mind that it was three months ago and the chief was fired a week later.