August 24, 2008
Other's Photos From Burning Man 2008
From the Burning Man 2008 group on Flickr which will include a few videos with audio (maybe you want to turn down the sound if you're at work):
Chiriaco Summit 75th Anniversary
The garrulous Huell Howser, host of KCET-TV Channel 28's "California's Gold," showed up with a camera crew and embraced her.
"Margit is a piece of history," he declared. "In a place like this, that seems so empty, you have two people who came out to find their dream. If that's not an example of California's gold, I don't know what is."
Well, what else would he say?
Joseph Chiriaco came to the desert as a surveyor for the Metropolitan Water District during the building of the Colorado River Aqueduct. He recognized that Chiriaco Summit, being the highest point on the highway between Blythe and the Coachella Valley would be the ideal spot for a gas station. Business picked up in 1942 when General Patton dropped in to let them know that Camp Young would be built in their backyard.
Newest Great Nephew
[Paul] Krassner had been an important leader of the underground press since 1958, when he founded his seminal alternative magazine, The Realist. People magazine called Krassner the "father of the underground press." George Carlin called him "Funnier than Danny Kaye, more powerful than Jerry Lewis, as important as acid."
August 23, 2008
Found Memory Card
Travis S. was out in the wildnerness near Denali National Park when he found a 1 Gb memory card. It was full of photos which he has uploaded to a set on his own Flickr account. This violates the Flickr TOS, and some people would say his Flickr account will be deleted, but let's wait and see.
Another Free Market Lesson For Free
Car sales are down, auto dealers are hurting, so the Cathedral City Auto Dealers Association has asked the city of Cathedral City to pick up their advertising tab for August through December: $53,500. The notion has given everybody who's got a complaint about Jessup Auto's service the opportunity to bitch in the comments on the Desert Sun article.
Do you remember when some of the country clubs in the Whitewater wash tried to get a chunk of the disaster relief funds after the floods in 2005? This request is about on par with that.
Jon Stewart Interviews Joe Biden
It was a year and a half ago, but here's Jon Stewart discussing Joe Biden's opinion of Barack Obama:
August 22, 2008
Extreme Olympic Pics
A big collection of impressive Olympic photos that is as much a testimony to great lenses and fast shutter speeds as it is to the extreme speed and strength of the athletes.
In Case You Got Last Minute Burn Inspiration
This year, for the first time (I believe), Burning Man will NOT be selling tickets at the gate. They have, however, extended ticket sales through Tuesday, August 26. "Will call" tickets must be picked up by noon (at the gate), Saturday the 30th. The man burns Saturday night.
Here you can buy tickets online ($295). Or, you can patronize one of the ticket outlets in Reno, San Francisco, Sacramento, Berkeley, Walnut Creek or Sunnyvale. Come on down! From the Palm Springs area Google says it's a 13 - 14 hour drive if there are no slow VW campers on the road (note: there will be slow VW campers on the road).
National Go Topless Day, August 23
Photo by Sophie Xia.
Tomorrow, August 23, is National Go Topless Day in America. Whether for breastfeeding or just comfort and relaxation, women are encouraged to go topless starting at noon on Saturday.
High Desert Open Studios
October 11 & 12 (east) and October 18 & 19 (west) are the weekends of the Open Studio Art Tours in the Morongo Basin. The map is not yet available on their website, but it will encompass a vast area: Wonder Valley, 29 Palms, Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, Morongo Valley, Pioneertown Flamingo Heights and Landers.
Grand Theft Parsons
I've just watched Grand Theft Parsons, a very fictionalized account of the cremation of Gram Parsons's remains in Joshua Tree National Monument in 1973. You can read the story of the theft of his body and the cremation here. And here you can find some photos I took at the cremation site last year. The National Park Service works diligently to remove all traces of any memorial, but there's always something there.
The movie is a lot of fun, but it's best at simply showing off Joshua Tree and the high desert. You can't use it as any sort of geographical guide. If you were to believe the movie, the range of the joshua tree would extend almost as far west as LAX. Driving from LAX to Joshua Tree, stopping for gas once, would take you more than 12 hours. But who cares? Except for the scenes at LAX, there's at least one joshua tree in the background of every shot. They shot inside and outside the park, but I never saw a shot of Cap Rock, where the cremation actually took place.
Here's one easily recognizable scene of the hearse driving inside the park. That's Ryan Mountain in the background and the hearse is actually headed away from Cap Rock, which is not visible here, as though they were heading to the western exit. If they took a right turn here they'd be heading down the road that leads to Barker Dam and Wall Street Mill.
Will They Finally Drop The Hammer On Gomsi?
The board of trustees of the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, in an attempt to displease me, have scheduled a special meeting while I will be away at Burning Man. Monday, August 25, the board will meet at 5 PM at the district's headquarters in Indio.
The agenda is not yet up on the website, but the Desert Sun article says almost the whole meeting will be a closed session, during which the board will discuss Don Gomsi, Robert Mann and Brian Passaro.
The agenda is up. It's all closed session, but before the closed meeting there are the public comments, for anyone who has a comment...just grab one of those slips of paper when you come into the room, fill it out, give it to the clerk.
Larry Sagely Ignorant of "Free Market"
The L.A. Times reports on the situtation in Santa Paula, California, where some people think the town's problems are due to too much "low-end" housing. A moratorium on new construction of such housing has been proposed, as though the housing market was like a water ballon - squeeze it at the cheap end and the rich end will swell with the construction of beautiful new estates paying high taxes. Larry Sagely is one of the main supporters of the moratorium. The Times quotes him saying "Let the free market run." Now, maybe he meant that as something like "We should run the free market out of town," but I think he actually intended to suggest that a city ban on cheap housing is an expression of the free market. He's probably the sort of Republican who would do well in our state Senate.
"I think it's discriminatory, I think it's divisive, I think it's mean-spirited," Councilman Gabino Aguirre said of the moratorium. He proposed pushing for higher wages, encouraging city residents to shop locally, providing housing for all income levels and stepping up code enforcement.
[Mayor Bob] Gonzales agreed with Aguirre on code enforcement. He said he has heard complaints about overcrowded living conditions.
Anti-Texting Bill Approved By Senate
In attempting to close a glaringly huge loophole in the recent ban on using handheld cellphones while operating a motor vehicle, the California Senate approved a bill that would ban texting while driving. It was opposed by the Republicans who suddenly re-discovered their libertarian background. I'm sure they got over that before the next issue came to the floor.
Since punching in a phone number on a cellphone while driving remains legal, I suppose a police officer will have to observe a driver closely in order to distinguish between texting and dialing. Will anything more than 11 keystrokes (10-digit phone number plus pressing the connect button) be presumed to be texting?
Architecture Progresses at Burning Man
Somebody's builidng a steel 10-story tower at Burning Man. Will we ascend via a system of ladders and staircases, or are they going to go all the way and put in an elevator...or maybe a cable chair and pulley system.
Another Pink Toy Victory
About a year ago I wrote about my acquisition of a lovely Fisher-Price pink toy camera, the Kid Tough Digital Camera. I took some static at the CMEN Gathering for having what superficially appeared to be an unmanly camera, even though it is, literally, the only two-fisted camera I have. Regardless, it obviously captures lovely, sleek images like the one to the right.
Today comes to us a story of another pink toy success. Alyssa, age 3, was fishing with her pink Barbie doll rod and reel, and not doing too badly. But then a 21-pound channel catfish grabbed onto the hook. Grandfather David Hayes did the actual landing of the fish, which took 25 minutes.
Unfortunately, in the tiny photo on the news article you can hardly make out the hero of the story: the Barbie Spincast Rod and Reel, so I'm posting this photo so you know what to look for when you go buy a new rod and reel for your fishing buddy this Christmas.
Back in May I wrote here about the Typo Eradication Advancement League, two men who traveled around the country correcting spelling and punctuation errors on public signs. Ha, ha, very funny. Their hubris knew no bounds, however, as they failed to distinguish between, say, a sign hanging in front of your corner barber shop and historical signs in national parks. This seems to be the end of their project. Their website is down. They have been banned for one year from all national parks and will pay $3,035 to undo their vandalism in the Grand Canyon.
August 21, 2008
Just walking the streets of Desert Hot Springs:
I'm sure we all ooh and aah over the fine job they've done of mounting the Century 21 sign on the Windermere sign. Yes, of course it's up to code, or else they wouldn't have done it. Right?
But it's the graffit that's interesting. You might want to view it full size to read it. I think it says "Varrio South Side Florencia 13 Termites Lokotes Gang." Corrections are invited.