December 31, 2007
When You Read This...
When you read something like this, you know that things have gone just a bit too far:
First, to ensure an extra-added measure of security, along with signing the entry sheets, we will have to institute a mandatory genital check for everyone who attends!
Pat and I paid a visit to Brown Orchards which is his favorite place for citrus and dates. Here he shows how it's done:
They sell you the bag for $6 and you fill it up.
Looping back around to come home we took a drive past Duroville. Here's a Google satellite image of about a quarter of Duroville. Zoom out to see more.
Tecopa Hot Springs, Briefly
Plans made, plans mistakenly thought to have fallen through [Note To Self: check ALL voicemails in future], I responded to the call of Tecopa Hot Springs that I'd been feeling since this chilly weather settled in. A couple of fairly new Orange County men were going up for their first visit, so that was additional motivation. I left DHS in the wee hours and got there shortly after the county baths opened. The drive across the desert under the half moon was gorgeous. The salt flats glowed like snow and I could navigate by the lights of Las Vegas.
I parked next to Tim and Pierre, sweet guys who, when we weren't bathing, fed me and let me help walk the dogs! I soaked for four different periods through the day, going from the hot to the "cool" pool and back again. The air temperature was close to freezing when I arrived, and it was the first time that getting into the hot water felt completely comfortable. For the first few minutes I thought that maybe the hot water was a little cooler than usual, but before ten minutes had gone by I knew that was not correct, as I got thoroughly overheated to the core.
My usual pattern was to soak in the hot pool until I couldn't stand it, move to the "cool" pool (which feels lukewarm when you come directly from the hot pool), soak there until I couldn't stand it, and then stand out in the roofless part of the bathhouse to let the 40-50° desert breezes cool me. Then I'd repeat.
They have taken out those old-fashioned metal shower stalls that were fine for Americans decades ago, Europeans and desert rats, but had become a tight squeeze for some 21st century Americans. Now they simply have plastic shower curtains hung on plastic tubing, which besides being more spacious, are a lot easier to keep clean.
I met a few guys from Las Vegas. About half the people camping and in the tubs were of Korean descent. A goodly number of off-roaders came in for showers. You could pick them out easily by their hugely oversized winter pants covered with sand. They'd drop their sand all over the dressing area floor where it would be tracked into the tubs. A few of them even got brave enough to take a dip in the tubs, but I didn't see any of them last longer than about 90 seconds, skinny young things that they are.
About 8:30 PM, after dinner with T & P, I headed home, having to be up fresh this morning for a desert exploratory with Pat. Driving south on 127 from Tecopa (I'd never done tha at night before) I was a little surprised that I could see the lights of Baker more than 40 miles away as I topped the first crest. But much more surprising was all the light radiating from the temporary cities of RVs at Dumont Dunes. Those people do not spare the generators. So bright were they, that I'm thinking about creeping out of Black Rock City next August just to get up on the highway and look back to see the lights of Burning Man from a distance. I'm sure BRC would be a hundred times brighter than Dumont Dunes, but I'd just like to see for myself.
I had hoped to stop and photograph Poplight.net as I went by, but it was dark and empty when I got there. Maybe she took a night off, or maybe she doesn't stay as late as 10:30, or maybe it was too cold and she wisely snuggled in by a fireplace somewhere.
Boston - Provincetown
A telling documentary on the Boston-Provincetown Axis Of Gay (YouTube 3:39). Brief bits border on NSFW if you work in a place where no fun is ever tolerated.
December 29, 2007
C*O*P*S in DHS
Happened to catch an episode of COPS tonight and they were traveling with a Palm Springs officer. It's always nice to watch when they do Palm Springs or Cathedral City, trying to identify locations as they kindly assist addled senior citizens to find their ways home. But in this episode our Palm Springs officer surprised a burglar in the light industrial area just north of I-10 on Indian. The burglar took off at high speed going north on Indian. What a fool. There's no place to hide and the only escape route is to go up Route 62, and the San Bernardino sheriffs at the other end would have plenty of time to set up for a capture.
But, no, this bright fellow didn't try for Route 62, taking a right at Pierson Boulevard, heading directly into Desert Hot Springs. The DHS police had plenty of notice and had prepared a welcoming committee, but this was back when Pierson was under construction so he hit the dirt before Little Morongo, lost control, rolled and surrendered. The DHS police got the honors of pulling the twit out of the car, searching and cuffing him while the Palm Springs officer (who was miked, of course) got to be the swaggering star.
The arrested man said that he had only wanted to hurry home to tell his sister he was going to be arrested!
My question is did DHS police get some consideration from the COPS program for being previously unscheduled performers?
A Press-Enterprise article about the conversion of the old Whitewater trout farm to a new Wildland's Conservancy preserve. The Wildlands Conservancy already owns Pipes Canyon and the Mission Creek Preserve, along with other preserved land farther from here. The 291 acre preserve will open to the public for hiking and camping in February 2008.
As workers have removed the remnants of the commercial operation, a bevy of wildlife has returned to the canyon, Haney said. Great blue herons, ospreys, barn owls, red-tailed hawks, California tree frogs and bobcats have reappeared. On a ledge above the canyon wall, now called Bighorn Buttress, members of a herd of 42 bighorn sheep peer over at the makeover on a recent morning, [Wildlands Conservancy manager Frazier] Haney said.
DHS Police & Riverside Sheriff Press Conference
Wednesday, January 2, 1 PM the Desert Hot Springs police department will hold a joint press conference with the Riverside County Sheriff's department at Desert Springs Middle School (on Two Bunch Palms in DHS). The subject will be "a joint Law Enforcement Program planned for the city of Desert Hot Springs."
"Battle At Kruger"
This is supposedly the most-watched video on YouTube this year. It might be better with the sound off as the background human narration can be irritating. For example:
"That is a huge buffalo," the man said.
"That is a huge buffalo," the lady responded.
"That is a huge buffalo," another traveler rejoindered.
It sounds like a bad plot for a bad film: four armed men deactivate several layers of security including a 10,000-volt electric fence, they walk right in front of security cameras that no one is monitoring, and spend 45 minutes inside a "national key point," breaking into the control center, shooting one off-duty guard, and when the alarm is finally sounded, they simply escape into the night, never to be caught. The audience would be hooting in derision at such an unbelievable plot.
But, it really happened, and the facility holds 25 bombs' worth of weapons-grade nuclear material in Pelindaba, South Africa. The attack came on November 8, 2007, and was "underreported," as the Washington Post puts it. The Post put this story on page 29 of the December 20 edition.
Saving Feral Cats
I never heard of this before, but it sounds like a great program. Through the Voice For The Animals Foundation the LAPD is placing feral cats around some of its stations that were formerly overrun with rodents. The rodents immediately depart any area where cats are present. The cats don't even have to hunt them.
[animal rescuer Jane] Garrison worked with two shelters to select the most feral cats possible. (If a cat suddenly gets friendly, the animal is pulled from the pool and, with any luck, is adopted.) The cats were then spayed or neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped and ear-tipped (under anesthesia while the cats are being altered, vets notch an ear tip, the widely recognized sign that a cat is altered).
Then the cats were moved to the Southeast Division, put in large wire holding cages and housed in a shed for a month for the process of re-colonizing.
"You can't just take feral cats and put them in one location and expect them to stay," Kaplan said. "A feral cat will kill himself trying to get back to his old location."
The LAPD officers provide food for the cats, which runs about $100 per month.
December 28, 2007
Apparently This Is Real
Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo. The "Age Restricted Material" trailer is better.
St. Margaret's Cross
Some of us took a hike up to the lighted cross in the hills behind St. Margaret's Episcopal in Palm Desert today. It was my first time up there. According to this Desert Sun article, all the bulbs are now 10 watt compact fluorescents, which is supposed to dim the cross to a less offensive level. I haven't seen it at night with the new lights yet.
You can see my photos here, and these are a few samples:
Crossing The U.S.
We've seen stuff like this before and here's another one. A couple traveling by car from Oregon to New Hampshire set up a camera in the backseat looking out through the windshield to take a photo every ten seconds. The result was 12,397 photos, assembled into this film at the rate of 15 frames per second, for a total of a little under 14 minutes.
December 27, 2007
You've got a minute and 14 seconds to figure out what this guy is singing backwards, then the video reverses itself. Impressive.
Shortage Of Tasers In Bethlehem
When the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic priests went at it trying to defend their bits of real estate in the Church of the Nativity they had to resort to fighting with brooms! How disrespectful! Please, won't you help by donating now to Tasers For The Eastern Sects so that future disputes can be settled in a clean, 21st century manner. The baby Jesus will thank you for it.
Screening Christians At The Door
Scales Of Justice
In Spartanburg, South Carolina, 21-year old Michael Carson surprises his sleeping mother by pissing on her in bed. In response she stabs him six times with a butcher knife. One of them is being charged with aggravated assault and battery and the other one goes free.