The Life

August 2006

08/31/06

Desert rats

When you initially move into a desert community, nobody really expects you to stay, until you've survived at least one summer.So the first question you'll be asked at a party is not: "What do you do?"Or even: "What's your sign?"Uh-uh. Upon hearing that you're relatively new in town, people will invariably ask: "Have you been through a summer yet?"And they'll have a certain little gleam in their eyes. They know there's a better-than-even chance you'll turn tail and run, when faced with the scorching reality of the desert's hot season.When I first moved out here--in the middle of a July heat wave, two years back--this valley seemed like another planet. An infinitely hotter, sun-scalded planet. It was strange, stepping outside the car's air conditioning into...

Posted at 02:47 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/31/06

Whatchawannadothisweekend? (31Aug06)

Tonight: At 7:30pm, catch the Redlands Symphony (plus a fireworks show) in the season finale of Palm Desert's Summer of Fun Concert/Movie Series at the Civic Center Park Amphitheater, 73510 Fred Waring. When conductor Co Nguyen wields his baton, even the rowdy horn section listens up.Friday: Legendary singing cowboy Roy Rogers broke ground for the first two buildings in Pioneertown on September 1, 1946, so the town is commemorating its 60th anniversary, tonight through Sunday. As part of the celebration, a film festival of Cisco Kid TV episodes will be featured at the Red Dog Saloon all evening. Sit. Stay. Good pooch.Saturday morning: From 10am to 4pm, it's Wild Bill Holcomb's Mounted Shooting Showdown at Bear Valley Heritage Days. Cowboys, riding around on horses, blazing away at...

Posted at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/31/06

Horse-drawn carriage, anyone?

Catch a ride with Palm Springs Carriages during and after the Thursday-night Villagefest celebration! Also, Coulson Carriage Company offers similar services downtown on Friday from 7:30pm to 10, and on weekends between 1-4pm!Daisy, Daisy,Give me your answer, do.I'm half crazy,All for the love of you.It won't be a stylish marriage,I can't afford a carriage,But you'll look sweet upon the seatOf a bicycle built for two!--Harry Dacre

Posted at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/30/06

Signs of Life: Can't even think straight

Have you ever read a billboard that left you severely disoriented? The one below had precisely this effect on me. Maybe Palm Springs really is the gayest city in the country, if our valley attracts events like this:Biggest question mark: would it be worth attending, just to hear what Anne Heche's mother had to say about her daughter's recovery from that high-profile romance with Ellen DeGeneres?Footnote: this Wikipedia article really dishes some dirt...[more signs]

Posted at 02:15 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/30/06

Is this your doggie?

Then go pick her up! Hurry!! She's been at the Riverside County Department of Animal Services shelter since August 25. Here are directions to the CV shelter, located in Thousand Palms. You can also visit the shelter to adopt a pet. Wouldn't it be nice to have a furry friend?

Posted at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/30/06

Free concert tonight

The Old Town La Quinta Free Concert Series continues tonight on Main Street - R&B and pop favorites with "Evaro," 7pm-9.My curiosity got the best of me, and began yammering in my ear: "How old IS Old Town?" If my research is correct, La Quinta's history began in 1926 when Walter Morgan opened the La Quinta Resort & Club, site of the Coachella Valley's first golf course. So Old Town is actually rather... new. No?

Posted at 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/29/06

Emmy shivs Ari

After seeing Jeremy Piven enthusiastically kiss the top of his Emmy during Sunday's telecast, I exclaimed, "Ouch!" When Anikó asked why, I replied, "Because those wingie-things are SHARP." Sure enough... [From the NY Daily News] Jeremy Piven proudly suffered a self-inflicted wound at Sunday's Emmys. After paying tribute onstage to his mom and dad, the "Entourage" star tells us, "I went to kiss my Emmy and impaled myself on the chin." Piven didn't realize he'd opened a vein until he noticed that everyone he'd just kissed was smeared with blood. [Next year, the statuettes will probably be required to carry a warning sign.]

Posted at 02:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/29/06

School daze

The kids in Palm Springs went back to school yesterday. In honor of this momentous occasion, here's a quaint old song from 1907: School Days, School Days REFRAIN: School days, school days Dear old golden rule days Read-in' and 'rit-in' and 'rith-me-tic Taught to the tune of a hick-ry stick You were my queen in calico I was your bashful barefoot beau And you wrote on my slate "I love you so" When we were a couple of kids Nothing to do, Nellie darling Nothing to do, you say? Let's take a trip on memory's ship Back to the bygone days Sail to the old village schoolhouse Anchor outside the school door Look in and see There's you and there's me A couple of kids once more [REFRAIN] 'Member the hill Nellie darling And the oak tree That grew on its brow?...

Posted at 10:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/29/06

ShortFest: Fat Weasel

There I am, in the cocktail lounge of the Sweaty Palms Motel, knocking back my 5th or 8th Fat Weasel, when a VP of Acquisitions from the Blueberry Pie Channel ("HD pie, 24/7"™) comes rolling in. He's been locked in a cubicle all day, watching tapes and DVDs of short films, and he's starved for human contact.So Mr. Piehole straddles the stool next to me and begins yammering about the lack of decent Pie cinema: "Where are the flaky crust auteurs? Where are the angst-filled dramas on the rolling of the dough?"After he realizes I'm not taking the bait, he switches topics, to The Ladies Who Lunch: "How do they do it? How do they sit outside those cafés and NOT SWEAT? I'm wandering down Palm Canyon Drive, hallucinating with heatstroke, and they're in the sidewalk...

Posted at 08:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/28/06

Do you remember John Dean?

John was the prosecution's star witness in the Watergate hearings.He was the first Nixon administration official to accuse the president of direct involvement with the break-ins and the resulting coverup.When the existence of secret White House tape recordings was made public, and those tapes were analyzed, Dean's accusations were proved to be true.Yeah, THAT John Dean.Anyway, he'll be at Peppertree Bookstore tomorrow night at 7pm, to discuss his new book.

Posted at 02:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/28/06

Heave your phone!

Finland claims to be the home of mobile phones... and Finns have always been very fashion-conscious about their handsets.In fact, many Europeans wonder why Finns buy brand-new phones when their old ones are still working.According to this Finnish website, the mobile phone has become an essential part of most Finns' daily lives, but when that phone is most needed, "the battery runs out or your sweetheart doesn't answer or someone doesn't return your call. Hope, anticipation, passion and frustration concentrates on the mobile phone."So what happens to the old mobile phones?According to insurance companies, there are lots of mobile phones at the bottom of Finland's many lakes.I guess that's why they decided to hold the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships in Savonlinna,...

Posted at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/28/06

ShortFest: 105°F

Overheard just before one of Saturday's ShortFest screenings: "It's too bad you didn't arrive earlier in the week, when it was much cooler. The temperatures only got up to about a hundred and five." That line, delivered with the utmost seriousness by a Palm Springs resident, got a huge laugh from nearly half the audience. [more ShortFest coverage]

Posted at 08:11 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/25/06

The I Chong

On February 24, 2003, as the U.S. prepared for war in the Middle East, federal agents arrested more than fifty individuals allegedly involved in businesses that sold drug paraphernalia, such as bongs and pipes.Tommy Chong, best known for his stoner movies with Cheech Marin, was among those targeted. His home was raided, and the agents seized all the inventory from his business, Chong Glass. Seven months later, Chong received a 9-month prison sentence and a fine of $20,000. He was also forced to forfeit $120,000 in assets.Tomorrow afternoon at 3pm, Tommy will discuss his experiences (and his new book, subtitled "Meditations from the Joint") at Peppertree Bookstore.

Posted at 03:42 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/25/06

ShortFest: The Falling Man

Dealing with the subject of the Vietnam War in a cinematic way was nearly taboo, for several years after American involvement ended. By the same token, the events of September 11, 2001 have been largely avoided by filmmakers, until recently.This is the year the silence ended: in big ways (Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, for example) and in smaller ways (like this morning's ShortFest program After the World Changed).Today's post-screening Q&A session was much like group therapy. Many audience members wanted to express their passionate opinions about the films, about 9/11, about terrorism, about war. We were all overdue for a discussion on this subject, and these incredible movies lit the fire under us. Each of the films was a gem, in its own special way, and each approached the...

Posted at 02:19 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/25/06

Emmys

NBC will telecast the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at 8pm this Sunday.Conan O'Brien (also NBC) is the host.I'm rooting for the Colbert Report, just to see how much irony Conan can muster...

Posted at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/25/06

Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines

Performing at the festival on Saturday, August 26*: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Daniel Sazer-Krebbers Quartet, Ken Dahleen's Big Band Staff, Peter Pupping Quartet, Pat Rizzo & Patrick Tuzzalino, Rocky Zharp, WEDU, Andy Fraga Jr. Trio, Marcus Burger and the NAJA (North American Jazz Alliance), John Rodby & Talya Ferro & The Marshall Hawkins All-Stars.Performing Sunday, August 27*: Gerald Albright, Marshall Hawkins & The Seahawk Modern Jazz Orchestra with Sherry Williams & Patrick Tuzzalino, Johnny Meza & Kokopelli featuring Lola Rossi, Terry Plumeri Trio, Robin Adler, Yve Evans, Aroma Bondo Therapy, Ana Lia Lenchantin, Johnny Neal and the Bluesprint.Performing both days*: Harry Pickens Trio, Graham Dechter Alumni Trio, Mike Barnett, Change Required, The Greg Jones...

Posted at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/25/06

Yaay! We got 3 awards!!

Desert Publications Inc. (DPI) Receives 3 Pewter Awards in 2006 Gold Ink CompetitionDPI was recognized with three Pewter Awards in the 2006 Gold Ink competition hosted by the North American Publishing Co. and Printing Impressions and Publishing Executive magazines.DPI was recognized in the Specialty Magazine category for the 2005 Palm Springs Life Annual Desert Living edition and Pebble Beach: The Magazine (2005/2006 edition), both printed by RR Donnelley Mendota plant. In addition, Palm Desert Magazine (Fall 2005), printed by Colour Concepts Inc. in Riverside, was recognized in the Tabloid Magazine category."It is a significant honor for DPI to be acknowledged by this year's Gold Ink print production competition," said Richard Palmersheim, DPI's director of publications....

Posted at 09:35 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/25/06

ShortFest: Opening Night

Yesterday's Opening Night Gala was packed: Congresswoman Mary Bono was on hand to kick off this year's ShortFest: The Danish Poet (a Canadian/Norwegian co-production, narrated by Liv Ullmann) had the crowd rolling in the aisles, and the après-screening poolside reception at the Hilton was simply magical: [more ShortFest coverage]

Posted at 08:15 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/24/06

ShortFest: Superman+fiancée flying into town?

ShortFest begins tonight, and rumor has it that Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) will attend the Saturday evening screening of Denial.Brandon's Denial costar is his recently-announced fiancée, Courtney Ford.We hear that she'll be there, too. Aren't they a cute couple?[more ShortFest coverage]

Posted at 02:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/24/06

Whatchawannadothisweekend? (24Aug06)

Tonight: Catch a free movie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) at 7pm in Palm Desert's Civic Center Park Amphitheater at 73510 Fred Waring. "Charlie Bucket is a poor little boy who wins every young child's dream when he gets a chance to tour Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory." Don't miss Johnny Depp as Wonka - a performance that's been called "deliciously demented."Friday: From 6pm-9, it's Cool Cars on a Hot Night at Wardman Park in Desert Hot Springs. Food, music and family entertainment at a car show sporting three categories of competition--cars, trucks and motorcycles--with awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each category. Impress everybody with the size of your engine. Vroom!Saturday morning: Stop by the Idyllwild Farmers Market at the Town Hall from 9am-noon....

Posted at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/24/06

No, Pluto-Charon is a double zero

...in answer to yesterday's question: Is Pluto-Charon a double planet?Unfortunately the Pluto-haters at IAU have won.For now, anyway.According to those killjoys, there are now only eight planets.And poor Pluto has been demoted to the status of dwarf planet.But maybe Pluto-Charon can find some comfort in being called a "dwarf double planet"...

Posted at 08:03 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/23/06

Is Pluto-Charon a double planet?

If tomorrow's vote goes well, there may be something new under the sun. Or over the sun. Or somewhere around the sun. Don't confuse me. From the International Astronomical Union site: Q: Why is Pluto-Charon a "double planet" and not a "planet with a satellite"? A: Both Pluto and Charon each are large enough (massive enough) to be spherical. Both bodies independently satisfy the definition of "planet." The reason they are called a "double planet" is that their common centre of gravity is a point that is located in free space outside the surface of Pluto. Because both conditions are met: each body is "planet-like" and each body orbits around a point in free space that is not inside one of them, the system qualifies to be called a...

Posted at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/23/06

Signs of Life: Summer/Winter

I recently noticed this car-dealership billboard out on Ramon Road, and my first impression was that a mistake had been made. Then I thought about our summers and winters, and realized how clever the ad really was:[more signs]

Posted at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/23/06

Road Kill Kings

Saturday night at 7pm, Road Kill Kings will perform at Pappy & Harriet's in Pioneertown:"Road Kill Kings were formed out of a mutual love of traditional country, rockabilly, and bluegrass music with a dash of rock n' roll thrown in for drinkability. RKK infuses traditional bluegrass and country into a potently contagious style of roadhouse music that is sure to win over any crowd."According to the RKK site, they specialize in Rockabilly / Roots Music / Psychobilly. Their logo's a real eye-catcher, too. Poor 'dillo.Did you know:· The armadillo is the only animal, other than humans, that carries leprosy?· It's illegal to sell a live armadillo in the state of Texas?· Texas has adopted the armadillo as its official state mammal?It seems like Texans are a little bit...

Posted at 08:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/22/06

Tibetan Bowl Concert

...tonight from 7pm-9 at the Healing Arts Center of Palm Desert. Enjoy a shamanic journey with 40 Tibetan Bowls from the Himalayas. They "calm the mind and energize the body."Or you can get an introduction to meditation from 7pm-9 at the Joslyn Center in Palm Desert - along with a talk, "What Causes Happiness?" Hosted by the Dharmachakra Buddhist Center.And, just in case you were wondering:Yes, Palm Desert is the healing arts capital of this valley...

Posted at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/22/06

New KCET program guide

KCET Desert Cities (launched earlier this summer on cable channel 218) announces a partnership with Palm Springs Life, beginning in October 2006, when the first monthly KCET Desert Cities program guide will appear exclusively in the desert's most widely-read magazine.Just six short weeks from now, each issue of Palm Springs Life will contain a four-page section with complete KCET Desert Cities listings, as well as program highlights and photos.Cool. Now if they could only invent a device to de-twang Huell Howser, life would be sweet...

Posted at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/22/06

Signs of Life: ShortFest

The Opening Night Gala for the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films & Film Market ("ShortFest") will take place on Thursday at 6:30pm. Have you seen their cool posters, scattered around the village? [more signs]

Posted at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/21/06

Cab Drivers Appreciation Day

What are your favorite lines from the Taxi sitcom (1978-1983)? Send 'em in and/or read mine, at the bottom of this posting...Tomorrow, from 12:45pm to 2:45, the Coachella Valley Taxi Owners Association (CVTOA) and Palm Springs Life celebrate Cab Drivers Appreciation Day in the Airport Transportation Building at Palm Springs International Airport.This year's Taxi Operator of the Year is Bighorn Taxi, owned and operated by Michael Marchese. The People's Choice Awards go out to Bill Allen of Ace Taxi, Kevin Dumlar of A Valley Cabousine, Josh Baeza of Palm Springs Taxi, and James Braco of VIP Taxi and A Valley Cabousine.CVTOA also announces its association with SafeHouse of the Desert, an organization that provides comprehensive support services for at-risk youth and those struggling with...

Posted at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/21/06

Desert flora: agave

There are a lot of agave plants out here in the desert.Some of 'em grow wild.Some don't. [Click thumbnail image to enlarge.]I think this one is an Adam's needle.But it might be a Spanish bayonet.Or even a Spanish dagger.If you know what kind it is, please set me straight. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer...[more flora]

Posted at 10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/21/06

Wine Night

...is tonight, at Vino 100 in Cathedral City. 5:30pm-8.The tasting is free.Meet the owner and winemaker of Sogno Winery, and nibble on cheese from the Mad French Lady.Or nibble on the Mad French Lady, if she doesn't get too mad...

Posted at 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/18/06

PSP: planespotting

In August 2001, the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission accepted a design concept for the median landscaping on Ramon Road and Gene Autry Trail, directly under the primary final-approach glideslope into the airport. Created by landscape architect Ron Gregory, this project is called "Mountain, Sails." Funding was provided by a federal grant.These artworks borrow from the panoramic backdrop offered by the airport terminal and surrounding mountains. Sculptures that mimic the mountain profile were constructed from perforated metal mesh with tubular steel frames:[Click either photo to enlarge.] A second architectural feature is provided by metal/mesh "sails" located on either end of the medians, recalling the tensioned fabric roof of the airport terminal:Other sculptures...

Posted at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/18/06

PS Citizen's Police Academy

...here: "Attendees are invited to experience simulated live-fire exercises at the Police Range, learn weaponless defense and handcuffing, and participate in a ride-along with a police officer on patrol."The next 13-week course starts on Tuesday, September 5 at 6pm.Related: Neighborhood Crime Stats.

Posted at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/18/06

Lipizzaner Stallions

The "World Famous" Lipizzaner Stallions will be performing at 2:30pm and 7:30pm today, in the Palm Springs Convention Center.This exciting show includes many of the traditional movements and exercises presented at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, including leaps and maneuvers.Check out the Airs Above The Ground videos... my favorite is the Capriole:"The stallion leaps into the air, drawing his forelegs under his chest at the height of elevation, and kicks out violently with his hind legs. The capriole can take many years of training."I know what they mean. I've been trying to learn that move since I was twelve. Still can't nail it.

Posted at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/17/06

BonoRoth: you can't tell the players without a scorecard

CA-45 Democratic Congressional candidate David Roth (no, not Diamond Dave) has (1) a blog, (2) a MySpace group, and (3) a Roth-A-Palooza Rock Concert [tomorrow night, 7pm].Incumbent Mary Bono (R) has a best-that-money-can-buy press release page. But if you click on her face, it produces a 404 error.Allllll-righty then...

Posted at 02:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/17/06

Whatchawannadothisweekend? (17Aug06)

Tonight: Catch a free concert (String Planet, with percussionist Christo Pellanis) at 7:30pm in Palm Desert's Civic Center Park Amphitheater at 73510 Fred Waring. An amplified string instrument called The Stick is wielded by group member Larry Tuttle, who often plays "two ideas at once." Awesome. I can barely handle one idea at once.Friday: From 6pm-9, listen to pianist Alfredo at the Cathedral City La Casita Restaurant. "I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart." (With profuse apologies to Coppola & Puzo.)Saturday morning: At 9am, it's the Coachella Valley premiere of Time to Leave, featuring Melvil Poupaud and Jeanne Moreau. Jeanne Moreau? THE Jeanne Moreau?? I'm there.Saturday afternoon: Register at 11am for the noon-4pm UCP Bowl-A-Thon at Palm Springs...

Posted at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/17/06

McGraw-Hill

...booksellers or performers?[Hubby/wife country crooners Tim McGraw and Faith Hill appear in concert at L.A.'s Staples Center tonight thru Saturday.]

Posted at 08:08 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/16/06

Ceres makes a comeback!

For now.Or maybe not.The asteroid Ceres (currently being considered for a bump up to "planet" status) was discovered in 1801, assigned a planetary symbol, and remained listed as a planet in astronomy books for about half a century, until other asteroids were discovered.But now, the International Astronomical Union might restore Ceres to the roll call of planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon, Xena.However, Xena's name could change. And more planets will probably be added to the list.Unless those pesky Pluto-haters have their way...

Posted at 02:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/16/06

The prom queen won

The new Miss Teen USA (crowned last night, here in Palm Springs) is Katie Blair, from Billings, Montana.Some of her prizes include a scholarship to New York School of Film and Television, and a year of living at Trump Tower.Katie was voted the 2006 prom queen and "Most likely to star in a sitcom" by her fellow students at Billings West High.Hm. Another Kelly Ripa in the making?

Posted at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/16/06

Old Town La Quinta Free Concert Series

...continues tonight on Main Street with the Pop, Rock and Latin Dance sounds of Sherry & Jimmy Evaro.According to Sherry's MySpace profile, she makes "the best Salsa."I demand proof. With lotsa chips. ;-)

Posted at 08:03 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/15/06

Miss Teen USA crowned tonight

A few minutes ago, I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Miss Teen USA set at the Convention Center (thanks Sunny!), just a few blocks away from our offices. On the surface, things are pretty quiet right now, but there's a certain...electricity... in the air:[Click any of the thumbnail photos for a larger version.]This is what the contestants will see from the top of the stairs:Stage left (TV viewer's right):See if you can spot these lips on tonight's telecast:

Posted at 02:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/15/06

PSP: terminal velocity

Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) has a fascinating history, I must say. And it looks pretty darn cool these days, thanks mainly to Donald Wexler. The 2001 expansion design is very eye-catching, too. [Click thumbnail photo to enlarge.] It takes advantage of our valley's desert climate, the perfect place for an attractive, sustainable "resortport." The terminal makes use of energy-saving tents: a lightweight, cable-supported tension structure, its membrane made of Teflon-coated fiberglass, rises about the pavilion to enclose its main hall, and similarly shades pedestrian routes. Other PSP links: FAA flight delay status + FlightAware live flight tracking + current weather (previous 3 days) + Palm Springs Air Museum

Posted at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/15/06

Pluto, we hardly knew ye

"Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto."As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.Schoolchildren have been forced to chant the 9-planet mantra since Pluto was discovered in 1930.But now we have Xena, and all sorts of other pretenders to the Planetary Throne.The International Astronomical Union starts meeting this week to either: (1) expand the number of planets in our solar system, or (2) relegate Pluto to the "D" List of non-planets.Geez Louise. And I just finished memorizing the names of Pluto's new moons...

Posted at 08:02 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/14/06

Newest YouTube celeb: 79 years old

YouTube's demographic tends to skew young... much younger than its latest star, Peter. In his first YouTube video, Peter says, "It's a fascinating place to go to see all the wonderful videos that you young people have produced, so I thought I would have a go at doing one myself." A septuagenarian British pensioner, Peter describes himself as a widower, living alone. He claims the YouTube experience has been one of the "major changes and breakthroughs" in his life and has given him "a whole new world to experience." Kinda makes you wonder what breakthroughs await us, when we reach his age...

Posted at 02:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/14/06

Top Docs

During a gala bash held last Thursday night, the Coachella Valley's top doctors were fêted at Ruth's Chris in Palm Desert: Palm Springs Life Editor in Chief Steven R. Biller congratulates the doctors:

Posted at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/14/06

Miss Teen USA in PS

Tomorrow night at 8pm, NBC will broadcast the Miss Teen USA pageant from our own Palm Springs Convention Center!Hosts: Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson and MTV's Damien Fahey.Jessica Bre Powell (Barstow HS '06) became Miss California Teen USA 2006 eleven months ago, and will compete for the national title tomorrow night.FYI, last year's winner is currently blogging about her experiences here in PS.You can vote for Miss Photogenic - Internet balloting will determine the outcome of this competition, and results will be announced during Tuesday's telecast.

Posted at 08:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/11/06

Perseid meteors

The annual Perseid meteor shower (so named because meteors appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus) will peak tonight and tomorrow night, from 8:30-10pm.This event is also known as "The Burning Tears of St. Lawrence."Lawrence, a young Christian archdeacon, is said to have been martyred by the Romans in 258 AD on an outdoor gridiron. In the midst of a long night of fiery torture, Lawrence jested with his executioners: "Now you may turn me over, my body is roasted enough on this side."The saint's death is commemorated on his feast day, August 10, so the abundant shooting stars seen annually between approximately August 8 and 14 have come to be known as St. Lawrence's "burning tears."It is now known that comets are responsible for shedding the debris...

Posted at 02:40 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/11/06

Round up the posse

Sigh. Is vigilantism really making a comeback, just a short drive from here? Excerpts from PrivatePoliceForce.com:Mexican illegals are stealing from many residents on the Santa Rosa Plateau including La Cresta, Tenaja and the surrounding communities.[...]Americans talk about being a Nation of Laws. We’re becoming a nation of law breakers! Shame on America. Shame on George Bush who won’t enforce the law. Shame on the Border Patrol and the Sheriffs Department.[...]Soon America may be in chaos as those illegals import their corrupt ways and their culture which is nothing more than dog eat dog stealing and payola. Do you want to pay for their multiple childrens education, free healthcare at our hospitals, etc. They have no work ethic and they hate Americans. Do you want a Socialist...

Posted at 10:50 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/11/06

News Remix: Beetlemania!

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) suspects we might need to save the life of a beetle.No, it's not Ringo or Paul.It's Casey:"Currently, the only known population of the Casey's June beetle inhabits about 600 contiguous acres of land in southern Palm Springs, California. One of the areas inhabited by the species is Smoke Tree Ranch, a large residential/commercial property."FWS thinks Casey's June beetle may require protection under the Endangered Species Act, but they're going to do a 12-month in-depth review, just to make sure. FYI, they've already spent 90 days on this beetle.It sorta makes you wonder whether the Smoke Tree folks are rooting for or against the bug. If they see one crawling on the sidewalk, would they walk around it? Or will they later scrape the...

Posted at 08:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/10/06

Top time-waster = Internet. Duh.

If you spend less than 1.86 hours in "desk skiving" activities each workday, you're more industrious than the average American worker. So says the research recently conducted by AOL and Salary.com. My favorite quote: "The biggest distraction for respondents was personal Internet use. 52.0% of the 2,700 people polled cited web surfing as their #1 distraction at work. Socializing with co-workers came in second at 26.3%." Would you care to guess what was in 4th place? "Spacing out." By the way, reading this posting counts very little toward your daily 1.86-hour quota. Unless you read some more, you're not really trying hard enough...

Posted at 02:44 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/10/06

Whatchawannadothisweekend? (10Aug06)

Tonight: Catch a free movie (Dreamer) at 7pm in Palm Desert's Civic Center Park Amphitheater at 73510 Fred Waring. Based on a true story about a racehorse who made a miraculous comeback after a serious injury. The rugrats will love it.Friday: The Salsa Summer Splash at Cathedral City's Doral Desert Princess Resort runs 18 hours a day, 10am-4am, thru Monday morning. I'm gonna wear a bib just in case, so none of that salsa will spill on my new Hawaiian shirt...Saturday morning: From 10am-6pm, it's the Big Bear City Renaissance Faire. They have a special language - Okay: "Very well." Perhaps: "Mayhap." Beautiful: "Beauteous." Wonderful: "Wondrous." How the heck can you crack a complex code like that?Saturday evening: At 7pm, the Summer Music Festival...

Posted at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/10/06

Polari, the anti-language

Who used Polari? "Mainly gay men, although also lesbians, female impersonators, theatre people, prostitutes and sea-queens (gay men in the merchant navy). It was not limited to gay men, however. Straight people who were connected to the theatre also used it, and there are numerous cases of gay men teaching it to their straight friends."For me, the most interesting example was this King James Bible produced by the Manchester (UK) house of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence:1 In the beginning Gloria created the heaven and the earth.2 And the earth was nanti form, and void; and munge was upon the eke of the deep. And the nanti lucoddy of Gloria trolled upon the eke of the aquas.3 And Gloria cackled, Let there be sparkle: and there was sparkle.

Posted at 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/09/06

20-second hug = instant trust?

Guys: The next time you want a gal to trust you, just hug her. For at least twenty seconds.Gals: Sorry, this trick doesn't work on guys.According to a recent article in the SF Chronicle, research shows that the female brain naturally releases a pleasure-boosting hormone after a 20-second hug. The embrace bonds the woman to her hugger and triggers her trust circuits. [Re: Dr. Louann Brizendine's new book, The Female Brain]Note: I'm not sure this ploy will work on married women. I tried a long hug on my wife when I arrived home yesterday, and she immediately became suspicious: "What are you up to?"Maybe I should have hugged her silently, rather than whispering sweet nothings in her ear: "One-hippopotamus, two-hippopotamus, three-hippopotamus..."

Posted at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/09/06

Sturgeons clearly hate jet skis

I'm not sure if it's related to the Sturgeon Moon, but AP just posted this story from the Suwannee River in Florida: "A man riding a personal watercraft was injured after a 4-foot-long sturgeon jumped out of the water and hit him [...] Officials at the time said similar accidents occur once or twice a year on the river and that the fish can jump as high as 8 feet in the air and can weigh up to 200 pounds." Way down upon de Swanee Ribber, Far, far away, Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber, Dere's wha de old folks stay. All up and down de whole creation Sadly I roam, Still longing for de old plantation, And for de old folks at home. All de world am sad and dreary, Eb-rywhere I roam; Oh, darkeys, how my heart grows weary, Far from de old folks at home! --Florida's...

Posted at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/09/06

William Asher @ 85

If you look up William Asher at IMDb (the Internet Movie Database), you can't help but be impressed. As B.W. Cook wrote in the 12/99 issue of Palm Springs Life, he's The Man Who Invented the Sitcom. Yesterday evening, a group of Bill's friends joined him to celebrate his 85th birthday at the Viceroy, right here in Palm Springs. It was a night to remember: William Asher with his wife Meredith - August 8, 2006. The Mayoral Proclamation. The Director's Chair.

Posted at 08:21 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/08/06

Sturgeon Moon

According to Native American lore, every full moon has a special name.The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving a distinctive moniker to each recurring full moon.Later tonight, the Sturgeon Moon will wax to its peak.Why did this particular full moon get that name? Because the Great Lakes tribes fished for sturgeon in August.Oh, shine on, shine on, Sturgeon Moon / Up in the skyI ain't had no lovin' / Since January, February, June or July.[with apologies to Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth]

Posted at 02:51 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/08/06

Jefferson: a state of mind

"There have been many attempts at forming a new state comprised of northern California and southern Oregon, but none has gained so much attention and retained it as the secession movement of 1941. [...] On December 4, Judge John L. Childs of Crescent City in Del Norte County was elected governor. A torchlight parade complete with horses, marching bands and sign-carrying young people riding in trucks was held in Yreka followed by a ceremonious inauguration held on the courthouse lawn."

Posted at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/08/06

Desert fauna: French-toast lizard

The endangered Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata) has several specialized adaptations: elongated scales on its hind feet ("fringes") for added traction in loose sand, a shovel-shaped head and a lower jaw for diving into and moving short distances beneath the sand, elongated scales covering the ears to keep out sand, and a unique structure of internal nostrils that allows breathing below the sand without inhaling sand particles.Tempers flared during the fight between developers and conservationists to establish the Coachella Valley Preserve, and this lizard was derisively nicknamed the "French-toast lizard" or simply "that damn lizard."[more fauna]

Posted at 08:29 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/07/06

Wikipedia: Your truth or mine?

Found in a recent issue of The New Yorker: Stacy Schiff's Know It All - Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?:[...] Wikipedia is an online community devoted not to last night's party or to next season's iPod but to a higher good. It is also no more immune to human nature than any other utopian project. Pettiness, idiocy, and vulgarity are regular features of the site. Nothing about high-minded collaboration guarantees accuracy, and open editing invites abuse. Senators and congressmen have been caught tampering with their entries; the entire House of Representatives has been banned from Wikipedia several times. (It is not subtle to change Senator Robert Byrd's age from eighty-eight to a hundred and eighty. It is subtler to sanitize one's voting record in order to distance oneself from an...

Posted at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/07/06

Signs of Life: Tenent

[Sighted near the corner of Alejo and Palm Canyon.]Note: "Tenent" is an alternative spelling of tenet (a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true). But I don't think this sign is referring to any beliefs, other than the sadly mistaken belief that there's no discernible difference between "tenent" and "tenant."As you may have guessed by now, misspellings on signs drive me nuts. I've probably screwed up a few words in this blog, but there's a plausible excuse: The Desert Quidnunc is a one-man show. It seems like many pairs of eyes would need to approve a public sign, before it's emblazoned on steel.But noooooooo, they just slapped it together, like words and apostrophes don't really matter.Funny thing is - there are five exact duplicates of...

Posted at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/07/06

Desert flora: Mexican fencepost

It's not just a name. In Mexico, these cacti (Lemaireocereus marginatus) are actually planted close together and used as fenceposts.They can grow up to 20 feet tall. [Click thumbnail photo for a larger view.]Look at those sexy curves. ¡Ay, caramba![more flora]

Posted at 08:09 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/04/06

The ultimate power trip

See where power is born!Take an eco-adventure tour of the world-famous Palm Springs windmills!Hear about wind energy, a sustainable renewable energy source!Travel through a forest of gigantic wind turbines!Learn why some of the turbine blades are turning, while others are stopped!The wind rushes through the fabled San Gorgonio Pass while these stupendous blades spin silently overhead, with a rotor sweep half the length of a football field!Find out where our baseball team got its name!Keep me from using any more exclamation points!!Seriously, you can schedule a 90-minute narrated tour of a working wind farm.If only they could show me how to install a wind turbine on the car...

Posted at 02:42 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/04/06

Let's NOT save the Salton Sea

The Salton Sea's annual tilapia die-off is killing millions of fish.Again.If cleanup measures are not implemented properly, we may have another bird die-off, too.Background: the Salton Sea is just the latest incarnation of a body of water which has appeared and disappeared repeatedly in the past few millennia:Filling of Lake Cahuilla occurred several times during the Holocene, and each time the filling was the result of natural diversion of the Colorado River from its delta in the Gulf of California to the, below-sea-level Salton Trough. It is estimated that at present discharge levels it would take three years for the full flow of the Colorado River to fill the area of Lake Cahuilla. Once filled, the lake would overflow its natural levee to the south, allowing the Colorado to...

Posted at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/04/06

Lukewarmth

Me and the missus like to sit out in our backyard every morning. It's a pleasant way to start the day, eating some Cap'n Crunch and wondering what's going through that hummingbird's tiny brain, when he loudly zooms up to within a few inches of your head and just hangs there in midair. You could try offering him some cereal, but he'd just zoom away. Loudly.During last month's record-breaking temp spike, the 6:41-7:00am time slot was the last chance to enjoy relatively comfortable temperatures before The Great Chef In The Sky turned on His/Her oven. It was like basking in a sauna. You'd start to sweat after twenty minutes in the triple-digit temps, but if you retreated back into the air conditioning at the 19-minute mark, you'd be okay.However, it's felt downright chilly the past few...

Posted at 08:09 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/03/06

Signs of Life: Are you turning 78?

This billboard, sandwiched between the Union Pacific right-of-way and Interstate 10, has prompted some interesting reactions, mostly along the lines of: "I can never guess the age of those [insert name of ethnic group here]. They look so young."Clicking the photo will reveal that it's a plea for energy conservation (78°F=25°C) from the Imperial Irrigation District, a local water/electric company.[more signs]

Posted at 02:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/03/06

Whatchawannadothisweekend? (3Aug06)

Tonight: It's another bountiful Thursday evening - you can choose between the Annenberg's free screening of Whisky at 5:30pm, or a free concert at 7:30pm in Palm Desert's Civic Center Park Amphitheater at 73510 Fred Waring. The featured band, Upstream, plays "rock influenced Raggae", among other styles. I'm told that Raggae is like Reggae, except bitchier. ;-)Friday: At 7pm, the Rojer Arnold Band plays at Pappy & Harriet's in Pioneertown. After the recent wildfires, visiting the high desert has become our local version of Pyro Tourism.Saturday morning: The CoD Street Fair runs from 7am-noon in Palm Desert. Need a birthday gift for mom or dad? I hear that vendors still have plenty of velvet Elvis paintings.Saturday afternoon: From 11:30am-1pm, you could visit Urban Yoga to...

Posted at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/03/06

Wikiality!

As we mentioned before, Wikipedia--in spite of its many useful qualities--is sometimes susceptible to vandalism... and Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert recently did an excellent job of satirizing that weakness. [video]The Onion's earlier take on this subject (Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence) was quite funny, too.Wish it had video. ;-)

Posted at 08:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/02/06

Desert fauna: prey for our sins

Today's factoid: the female praying mantis often bites the head off her male partner during or just after mating. A male praying mantis took up residence in our front garden. I had no idea why, but he was very cool. When the local newspaper asked folks to send in photos of their favorite pets, I eMailed a snapshot of the mantis, and wrote: "Our Sparky is the best darn pet in the world. He is very docile on the leash, and never bothers our neighbors with loud barking or whining. He's completely housetrained (unless you put him under a magnifying glass) and loves to rough and tumble on the floor. He's got a new girlfriend, and seems to be very much in love with her. In fact, they're hugging each other right now... Ohmigod! SPARKY!!" [more fauna]

Posted at 02:08 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/02/06

Eightysomething bloggers

I was happy to find out that the AARP Older Bloggers List has been expanded by The Ageless Project, to include a dozen or so bloggers born in the 1920s!Among the best is Mort Reichek's Octogenarian, the "musings of a retired journalist who recently turned 80." One posting, The Holocaust and me, powerfully describes his search for family members in a database of Shoah victims.

Posted at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/02/06

Steve Maloney - heir extraordinaire

"Since retiring in the late 1980s, Steve Maloney has spent most of his time making art. Although heir to the fortune of W.E. Upjohn (scion of the pharmaceutical company, now Pfizer), he's hardly a household name. But he's working on it. He has publicists in California and New York City to spread his name as thickly and evenly as the resin and acrylic he uses on his collages and assemblages.""Slowly, surely, it's working. Especially since he unveiled Banned Booty, a portfolio of 12 works (10 sculptural paintings and two installations) assembled from items that the Transportation Security Administration confiscated at six California airports after Sept. 11, 2001. [...] He bought the items at auctions sight unseen for $1 a pound. The contraband cache included everything from...

Posted at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/01/06

July temp spike redux

Reference: July temp spike (The Desert Quidnunc)Also see: Records melt in scorching July (The Press-Enterprise)* = I live in Indio.Hm. If the Governator can offer Tony Blair a neato keen iPod, a rad global warming deal, and even a kewl movie role, maybe he can help us out...

Posted at 02:51 PM | Permalink | Comments

08/01/06

Desert fauna: chuckwalla

The stout-bodied chuckwalla is the second largest lizard in the U.S., surpassed only by the gila monster. A male can weigh up to 2 pounds, and sometimes reaches 18 inches in total length. When disturbed, it crawls into a rock crevice and gulps air, thus wedging itself in a crack and making extraction by predators extremely difficult.Funny. When I feel threatened, I do exactly the same thing.How much walla would a chuckwalla chuck, if a chuckwalla could chuck walla?[more fauna]

Posted at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments

08/01/06

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

The tramway is scheduled for a maintenance closure from September 15 through October 8, so now's the time to take a ride...A young electrical engineer named Francis F. Crocker first dreamed of constructing a tramway up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon in 1935, but "Crocker's Folly"—as it was soon dubbed by one newspaper woman—was not finished until nearly 30 years later.Construction financing was eventually raised by the sale of $8.5 million in private revenue bonds, which means that not one cent of public funds has been used for either the construction or operation of the tramway. The bonds were paid off in 1996.This engineering challenge was soon labeled the "eighth wonder of the world," due to the ingenious use of helicopters in erecting four of the five...

Posted at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments