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Happy New Year!

| It's that time again — time to look back at the year just ended and time to look ahead to the coming year with a few New Year's resolutions.  more

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Black thumb strikes again

| Alas! The plants set out last December with such optimism have already suffered their first casualties.  more

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Santa Ana winds

| The song says, "On a clear day, you can see forever." But today's anything but a clear day.  more

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More appliance tales

| As they say in the news business, some stories have "legs." A perfect illustration is my tale about the replacement of my coffee maker and coffee grinder. The story has clearly touched a nerve; it continues to resonate with the experiences of others.  more

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Growing a Joshua tree, day 1

| When he was here in November, my friend Dave from Vancouver made a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Ever the good guest, he came back with a small kit to grow one's own Joshua tree, which he gave to me to express his gratitude for the fine hospitality he had received Chez Paul.  more

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Growing a Joshua tree, day 5

| Is that a sprout I see peeking from the soil?  more

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Appliance doping

| Andy's tale of replacing his clothes dryer has sparked an indignant and empassioned response from my friend Jim.  more

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Is anybody watching?

| I've always known that at least some people were looking at my site. My buds at HP Rack Solutions occasionally send a note saying "Enough with the car already!" or "Turn around and wave at the camera!" And my friend Jim occasionally goes off on something he's seen on my site; he takes a keen interest in my appliances. Anecdotal evidence is always good, but I wanted some real data, so I turned to the logfiles kept by my webserver.  more

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Growing a Joshua tree, day 15

| The first Joshua Tree sprout has undergone significant changes in the past two days, this after nearly 10 days of no apparent change.  more

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Superbowl party

| Thanks to Bob for the recap  more

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Growing a Joshua tree, day 21

| Young Joshua is growing like a weed, or, more aptly, like a blade of grass. What began as a small nub on the side of the main sprout one week ago has shot up to become pre-eminent.  more

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Year of the sheep

| It's New Year in the Chinese calendar, and this is the year of the sheep, sometimes called goat.  more

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Only in Palm Springs

| A new bridge is set to open later this month in Palm Springs, and it has stirred up a lot of excitement — everywhere but here!  more

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Bob Hope Chrysler Classic

| I volunteered to work as a marshal at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic golf tournament during the last week of January. I was assigned to the Indian Wells Country Club, one of four courses used for the tournament.  more

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Whitewater

| Sunday was a beautiful day in the desert, and after brunch my friend Bret and I decided to go for a drive up Whitewater canyon.  more

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Day trip to Joshua Tree National Park

| Another nice day after a series of cold, rainy ones was a good opportunity for a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park. "They say" that the Joshua Trees bloom between February and April, and we hoped to see them.  more

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Snow in the desert

| The recent rains in Southern California have dumped piles of snow on the tops of peaks lining the Coachella valley. Early this morning the clouds retreated long enough to reveal a cover of snow that extends quite low. Beautiful now, the snow also holds out the promise of water running through many of the dry washes when the snow melts.  more

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Attacked!

| Residents Chez Paul were shocked this morning to discover that Split Rock cactus had been viciously assaulted and wounded during the night. Great chunks of its flesh are missing from both sides of its body, and toothmarks — presumably those of the attacker — are clearly visible.  more

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Lost in La Mancha

| Lost in La Mancha is a documentary film about the making of a movie that was never finished and doesn't exist.  more

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Another attack!

| The malacious marauder that inflicted severe wounds to the Split Rock cactus was caught in the act this morning!  more

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Growing a Joshua tree, day 62

| Young Josh now has three leaves and it seemed time to move him to larger quarters.  more

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The nose knows

| The citrus trees are in full bloom, and the scent simply fills the air. You know, like being in an elevator with someone who has been overly generous while applying perfume or cologne. This is especially true the last couple of days while the temperatures have warmed up into the 80s, making those little molecules of odor more agile.  more

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Get a grip!

| Following the impressive — awesome, even — start to coverage by the major networks of the war between "coalition forces" and Iraq, old habits have taken hold and coverage has deteriorated to being irritating and stupid, albeit occasionally amusing. (But what do I really think?)  more

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Shock and awe

| For weeks the Pentagon promised that the war plan with Iraq would produce "shock and awe" in the Iraqi antagonists. Having set our expectations, the Pentagon confused everyone with an attack on a "target of opportunity" that looked just like the 1991 Gulf war and left us underwhelmed: This is shock and awe? "You'll know it when you see it," they reassured. This article is a few thoughts on the war and how it has been covered on television.  more

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Hike in Palm Canyon

| Today was another one of those sparkling, clear, fresh days that simply demands that one get out and do something. I chose to go for a hike in Palm Canyon, one of several Indian Canyons at the south end of Palm Springs on land owned by the Agua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians. Three of the canyons are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. According to the brochure, "Palm Canyon has the most palm trees in the world; Andreas Canyon has the second most, and Murray Canyon is listed fourth."  more

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April Fool!

|    more

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FtpPutFile Error: 0

| One day last week, I noticed that the webcam pictures on my site were over 24 hours old. "That's odd," I said to myself. And therewith began the slide down a slippery slope into the rathole of troubleshooting.  more

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Cactus update

| The split rock cactus is recovering nicely after a vicious attack by a northern mockingbird last month. New lobes are pushing out from below the damaged ones.  more

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Grass again

| The cycle of reseeding all the grass twice a year continues with the spring re-seeding.  more

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Naked bridge update

| Inquiring minds want to know. Or, perhaps, that should be prurient minds. The newly opened Baxandall Bridge — a pedestrian span over Indian Canyon Drive, better known as the 'naked bridge' — continues to attract attention. Take this email inquiry for example:  more

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Tribe has spoken

| In what is fervently hoped is the final episode of the ultimate reality game, it appears that Saddam Hussein has been voted off by the trival council.  more

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Shoe to the face

| At the beginning of the war in Iraq, my attention was piqued by a news report read on Fox News that included the phrase "pound on your face with a shoe," and subsequently I had noticed that many of the broadcast images showed Iraqis literally using their shoe to beat on Saddam's face in fallen pictures and statues. I remarked in yesterday's article that I had tried to find out about this expression and practice but had been unsuccessful.  more

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Who's next?

| All this saber rattling in Washington leaves me with a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. A bevy of bellicose hawks in the Bush administration has begun to ratchet up the rhetoric against Syria before the dust from all the bunker busters in Iraq has hardly had a chance to settle yet.  more

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Expectations game

| Since September of 2002, shares of Select Comfort Corporation (SCSS) have climbed steadily from around $4 to more than $12 at the end of January 2003. Then, after a brief retrenchment,shares resumed their climb, especially after the company boosted its earnings estimate for the first quarter.  more

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Dead at 132

| Chez Paul mourns the passing of Rosemary, also known as Tuscan Blue, at the age of 132. She is survived by her cousin, also 132, known as the Other Rosemary. The two were neighbors.  more

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Righteous remorse

| It's the "earnings season" on Wall Street, a time almost guaranteed to raise blood pressure and increase demand for anti-anxiety medications. One minute the market is up on news that earned a penny more than expected. The next moment it's down on news that gave cautious guidance. Throw in SARS and Alan Greenspan's prostate, and you have a recipe for high drama and disorder.  more

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Well duh!

| When Carly Fiorina became CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) she exhorted all of us to "look in the mirror and see an honest reflection." Good advice; HP needed to do that. It's in that spirit of self-improvement that I started to hold up the mirror to some of my fairly recent trades in the stock market to see what lessons can be learned.  more

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Three score and counting

| Three score years ago today, I was born in the town of Hastings, Minnesota. Although I have no recollections of the day — let's face it, at my age there are a lot of things I don't recollect — I assume that I greeted the world with a lusty scream, and some would say that I've been complaining ever since.  more

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High dudgeon over Dannon

| This spring, Dannon reduced the size of their Light 'n Fit™ yogurt from 8 ounces to 6 ounces. This 25% reduction in the amount of yogurt you get has not been matched by a corresponding reduction in the price you pay.  more

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Leapin' lizards

| Lordy! There are suddenly lots of lizards around the patio. I espied one yesterday hanging on the screen over the window next to the patio door. The good news is that I was carrying a still-sealed container of yogurt (not Dannon) and not a cup of hot coffee.  more

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Greenspan

| New York City, sometime in the future Alan Greenspan died earlier today at his office at the Fed, apparently of natural causes.  more

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Chocolate

| Bay Area friends Andy and Chris were visiting the desert last week and went away with another of those Palm Springs experiences. Andy is another ex-HP who retired in the great "workforce restructuring program" of 2002, following the HP-Compaq merger. We had a long lunch (OK, three hours) with Ken, yet another ex-HP retiree in the same cadre, who has since started his own business here in Palm Springs.  more

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Separated at birth?

| On May 5th the US Senate made public — with considerable fanfare and lofty words about "a cautionary tale to future generations" (Sen. Susan Collins, Republican of Maine) — transcripts from "secret" hearings by Senator Joseph McCarthy's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in the early 1950s.  more

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House with a view

| I've lived here for almost a year now, and I finally decided to take a walk up the road on the other side of South Palm Canyon Drive. This is the street that leads up to the "quonset hut" that I always use as a landmark for where to turn into my own street.  more

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Poor John Snow

| President Bush wants his tax cut, no matter what, and has launched a full-court press to get his way. This puts poor John Snow, Secretary of the Treasury, in the awkward position of having to explain his dramatic conversion from deficit hawk to deficit dove.  more

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Dannon redux

| I am not alone. The switcheroo by Dannon yogurt from an 8-ounce cup to a 6-ounce cup has come to the attention of Consumer Reports. "Selling It" in the June, 2003, issue calls Dannon to task for its new-and-reduced packaging at the same price.  more

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Shopping for water

| My previous rant about the price of yogurt (May 2, 2003) prompted friend Jim to write with a provocative rumor about water. Jim wrote:  more

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Camping at Lopez Lake

| "The Gang" has gone on camping trips together nearly every summer for the past fifteen years. Over time, the constituency of the gang has changed as people have drifted in and out, but the truly hardcore have never faltered. The first (?) of this summer's outings was to Lake Lopez on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo.  more

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Haircut day

| All over town, the palm trees are getting their spring haircut. What I want to know is, Who gives the signal? Somebody must give a signal. How else to explain coordination that would do a synchronized swimming team proud?  more

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Happy birthday, Bob Hope

| Bob Hope is 100 years old today. I wonder if Willard Scott will show his picture on a Smucker's jam label?  more

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Well, duh!

| I had thought to do a June 1st entry around the theme — everybody sing now — June is busting out all over! I would even embed a MIDI of the song from Carousel. Then I did a Google search on the phrase (Google: june busting out all over) and found that it retrieved 46,700 hits. Been there, done that!  more

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Joshua at day 145

| Young Joshua — yet another member of the J generation — is thriving. No small accomplishment that, given my track record with plants.  more

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Laptops

| The technology industry is fond of television ads promoting the concept of mobile computing. The ads show people in all sorts of places merrily computing on their laptops. Intel is getting into the act with their ads for Centrino™ chips that provide built-in wireless capability.  more

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Trader Paul

| I've written several times about my adventures in the stock market. Today I'm introducing a new section of the web site: Trader Paul.  more

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Your membership has been approved

| I am humbled and honored. And so relieved. My membership in the Handyman Club of America has been approved! It's made me positively giddy!  more

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Three good reasons to leave Martha Stewart alone

| Martha Stewart was arraigned June 4th in federal district court in Manhattan on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and securities fraud. The US attorney said in a news conference announcing the charges, "This criminal case is about lying — lying to the F.B.I., lying to the S.E.C., lying to investors."  more

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Cross currents in the gene pool

| My friend Jim is fond, as am I, of the Separated at Birth? type of photos, a hugely popular regular feature in the now defunct Spy Magazine. Jim, himself, was apparently separated at birth from the Chief Propellerhead at Microsoft. Scroll to the bottom of page when you get there.  more

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Cawabunga, dude!

| My friend Bob has been mentioned often in these pages. Bob retired from HP at the same time I did, thanks to the Enhanced Early Retirement program (aka layoffs) following the HP/Compaq merger.  more

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The life of palms

| The spring haircuts being given to all the palm trees around Palm Springs has focused my attention and made me appreciate more this signature tree. In addition to the peculiar haircut ritual that surrounds it, the tree itself is quite amazing.  more

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Toffee butter popcorn

| So there I am, in the snack aisle at the supermarket. I don't know how it happened. I didn't intend to go down the snack aisle. It just happened. Somehow.  more

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Summer solstice sunrise

| I usually see the sun rise indirectly. That is, I see light change on the walls of Palm Canyon from the vantage point of my patio. Today being the solstice and the first day of summer, I decided to go around to the front of the house and watch the sun as it actually rose over the other side of the valley.  more

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Major milestone

| It was eleven months ago today that my friend Bob and I pulled the big blue Budget truck into the driveway in the move to Chez Paul, Palm Springs. We brought the furniture and the Bombay sapphire gin into the house and disgorged everything else into the garage.  more

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30000 mile service

| Last week I took my car to Palm Springs Motors, the area Ford-Lincoln-Mercury dealer, for its regular 30,000 mile service. My experience there may not happen only in Palm Springs, but I've never heard of anything quite like it happening anywhere else.  more

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New resident

| About a week ago I noticed that a new critter has taken up residence Chez Paul.  more

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One!

| One year has passed since I retired from HP. If it were a wedding anniversary, it would be the paper anniversary. But retirement is not a wedding — more like a divorce, really. After all, your former employer gives you alimony of a sort and, if you're lucky, a big fat settlement. In my case, I took the Tiffany candlesticks; I "don't need no stinkin' watches!"  more

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Car repairs

| Everybody has their Nordstrom story, and everybody may also have their car repair story. It's safe to say, however, that the two stories usually have a very different tone.  more

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The great flood

| Precisely one year ago today I began life Chez Paul amid the jumble and confusion of unfinished remodeling projects and having all my goods and chattels still in packing boxes. Ominously I begin my day one year later once again amid jumble and confusion.  more

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Winged migration

| I usually hesitate to give movie recommendations. One person's "great movie" is another person's "ho-hum movie." But I will make an exception.  more

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Righting wrongs

| On Sunday, 60 Minutes re-broadcast a story on Title IX. Coming as it did on the heels of of two Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action, the story got me thinking about how easy our society finds it to screw up a really simple idea.  more

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Wanted dead or alive

| They told us Saddam didn't matter. Dubya told us. Ari Fleischer told us. Donald Rumsfeld told us. Tommy Franks told us. Condoleeza Rice told us. Colin Powell told us. They all told us. Saddam Hussein didn't really matter. What did matter was that Saddam's regime was no more. It was not about one man, it was about regime change.  more

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Rockets red glare

| It was a red, white, and blue, flag-waving, patriotic song-singing, fireworks 4th of July in Palm Springs. In a subdued sort of way.  more

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Save the petticoats

| A few weeks ago, I wrote about the spring ritual of giving the palm trees a haircut, for no apparent reason.  more

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Anybody can be president

| The US presidency is not hereditary, but in the history of the republic there have been two father-son presidents:  more

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Overwrought?

| Unless you've been in a coma or have not watched a television newscast for the last week, you can't have missed seeing endless repetitions of a clip of our President, George W Bush, making a flat-out declaration in the State of the Union address last January that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Africa. We can imagine the speaker notes: [Note to W: Pause for dramatic effect. This is your trump card.]  more

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Waffles for Sunday breakfast

| It was déjà vu all over again! This morning on Meet the Press (which I saw) and This Week (which I couldn't see because it is on at the same time), Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, gave a performance fully worthy of Bill Clinton's parsing of the word is. Giving no ground, he maintained — with a straight face, amazingly — that the President's statement in the state of the union address was "technically correct" because British intelligence did say that, nicely sidestepping the fact that US intelligence services thought the evidence was too flimsy to rely on.  more

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A cruel reminder!

| Just when I thought it was safe to go to the mailbox!  more

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A cruel reminder!

| Just when I thought it was safe to go to the mailbox!  more

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Dear W

| The White House has implemented a new system for sending email to the president.  more

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Right to remain anonymous?

| This summer has been an absolute bonanza for the media. Cable TV reporters are practically delirious over the seemingly endless supply of stories that capture the imagination and send ratings and circulations soaring: Iraq, Laci Peterson, Brian Denehy, and now Kobe Bryant.  more

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Mabry Road

| Mabry Road isn't Mabry Road anymore, and it's a damn shame.  more

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We're expecting!

| Donna the Dove has checked in to the maternity ward Chez Paul.  more

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Flood update

| After three days of 24-hour fanning and dehumidifying, Chez Paul can once again claim that it's "a dry heat" and not a sauna.  more

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All hail

| Yesterday afternoon, about three o'clock, the sky darkened, thunder rolled, and the winds suddenly blew fiercely and chill. Huge raindrops began to fall, and mixed among them were hail. The lawn sprinklers were all going at the same time. It was quite fun.  more

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Against all odds

| It was an overly-optimistic attempt from the outset. Plucky. Brave. Courageous even — or simply foolhardy.  more

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Vancouver diary

| The airlines have been desperate to get passengers onto planes this summer, and Alaska made an offer I couldn't refuse: $200 round trip for Palm Springs to Vancouver, an ideal place for a short break from the dry heat of the desert and an opportunity to see several friends.  more

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Dramatic rescue Chez Paul

| Valiant efforts are underway at this hour to save the next generation of a colony of the Formicidae family Chez Paul. For the second time in as many weeks, a flood has wreaked havoc in the desert.  more

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Election circus?

| The consensus opinion across the country seems to be that the California gubernatorial recall election is a circus.  more

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Laid back in Laguna Beach

| An outing to Laguna Beach has become a summer tradition in order to attend the Pageant of the Masters. This year we were a gang of seven: Jim and Angela, Bob and Carolyn, Bob's cousin Kathy and husband Chuck, and myself.  more

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Knocker's up

| But that's not it. It's all about the apostrophe!  more

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Why the US attacked Iraq

| This was sent to me. It definitely falls in the category of "wish I'd said that." But I didn't.  more

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I would like to thank

| The International Association of Web Masters and Designers announced today that "Chez Paul has been reviewed and chosen to bear the 2003-2004 Golden Web Award."  more

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Cuffed for God

| In July of 2001, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore installed, in the dead of night, a two and a half ton monument to the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court building. Since then a series of lawsuits have sought its removal, and recently a federal judge in Alabama ruled that the rock must be removed on the grounds that it violated the constitutional separation of church and state, and the US Supreme Court refused to intervene.  more

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One that didn't get away

| Fearful, perhaps, that I would sink into despondency over the fish from the Sawdust Festival in Laguna that got away, Kathy has sent me a replacement.  more

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Iraq coalition

| The Bush White House published a list of all the members of the vaunted "coalition" and the number of troops they are committing to it.  more

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Letter from Crawford

| President Bush took time out from his busy vacation schedule to send me a letter about the Iraq coalition from his ranch in Crawford, Texas.  more

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On the road

| When did they stop teaching slower traffic keep right in driver education?  more

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Labor Day

| This is the US holiday to honor all who work. I am spending it in Twain Harte at the cabin of friends Bob and Carolyn, along with Jim, Angela, and Ray. We are celebrating in the usual fashion.  more

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Twain Harte MovieMax outdoor theater

| Chez Paul is proud to bring you exclusive coverage of opening night at the Twain Harte MovieMax Outdoor Theater. This is news you won't find anywhere else!  more

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Home again, home again, jiggity jig

| After a wonderful Labor Day weekend and a great visit with HP folk in San Jose, I headed back to the desert once again. This time I decided to take a more scenic route to the southland, along US 101.  more

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On fire

| A friend in Vancouver sent me a batch of photos taken by friends of a friend of one of the fires burning in British Columbia near the town of Kelowna. Kelowna is in the Okanagan region of BC, one of the province's prime tourist destinations.  more

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Nothin' but blue skies

| After nasty, humid air for much of July and August, September has brought back to the desert the weather we all know and love — clear blue skies, clean air, low humidity, cool mornings.  more

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What a tangled web

| The world wide web will surely go down as one of the wonders of the modern world. Almost anyone with a few bucks in their pocket can become their own publisher, and hyperlinks interconnect all those words and ideas in the most amazing way. The degrees of separation between any two people or ideas can be reduced to one with a simple mouse click. Even more amazingly, a real-time history of those links is generated in the traffic logs kept by virtually every web server.  more

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Moisturizing hydratant

| Just when you think it's safe to shave your face.  more

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Hydratant redux

| I have such literate and helpful friends. Take the immediate response to yesterday's screed about Gillette Foamy "moisturizing hydratant."  more

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Can you hear me now?

| Once upon a time, telephones were simple things. Like Model A Fords, you could have any color you wanted, as long as it was black. It never didn't work. Yes, the phone lines might be blown down from time to time, but the phone itself always worked.  more

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Agree with Bush

| Yesterday, Our President, George Bush the Younger, said that the nation's capital is a national disaster area:  more

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Spying at Gitmo

| Yesterday, the New York Times reported that an airman at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had been charged with espionage:  more

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Gone to the dogs

| Everyone, it seems, looks for a role model. What seems oddly coincidental is how frequently men choose to model themselves after man's best friend.  more

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Kill grass!

| It's the end of September, and that means it's time to kill the grass.  more

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Barking up the wrong tree

| I don't like politics, nor politicians. In my personal pantheon of low-lifes, politicians are right there with telemarketers, television evangelists, class action lawyers, and used car salespersons.  more

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Thank you, Time magazine

| The latest issue of Time Magazine contains a special report on how President Bush screwed up the task of winning the peace in Iraq.  more

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What are they thinking?

| I've written before about the peculiar horticultural practices here in Palm Springs: the twice-yearly replacement of the grass, the annual haircuts for the palm trees.  more

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Lions and tigers, oh my

| Roy, of Siegfried and Roy fame, was attacked by one of the tigers while on stage during the show Friday night (3-Oct).  more

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I voted

| I did my civic duty. I cast my ballot in the California recall election.  more

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The morning after

| Californians have spoken: They're mad as hell, and they want a change. As my momma used to say, "Be careful what you ask for!"  more

duh_tn

Career paths

| Is this the Peter Principle at work?  more

babel_tn

Seized of the matter

| After weeks and weeks of wrangling, negotiation, and debate — and, one suspects, a lot of behind-the-scenes making nice by Colin Powell — the United Nations today passed by a margin of 15-0 a U.S.-sponsored resolution on Iraq. Since the NY Times was thoughtful enough to provide the complete text of the resolution, I thought it might be interesting to actually read the resolution.  more

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Veo online cocktail party

| So Jim said, "Want to get together for a drink on Thursday before Survivor?"  more

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WMD hype and hope

| Before the war with Iraq, the Bush administration went out of its way to scare the bejeezus out of the American people. Now they hope to find something, anything to justify the hype.  more

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HOG heaven

| Officially, it's the American Heat Motorcycle and Hot Rod Weekend. I prefer to think of it as HOG Heaven.  more

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Heatwole feels the heat

| The full force of the US government's hammer of justice is being brought down on Nathaniel Heatwole. And what has he done? According to the FBI affidavit, Heatwole is charged with violating Title 49, US Code Section 46505(b)(1) for carrying onto an aircraft "a concealed dangerous weapon that is or would be accessible to the individual in flight."  more

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Biker Paul

| This morning I was remembering a morning in late October of 1984 when I was training for the Honolulu marathon.  more

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Where there is smoke

| On Monday morning I drove to San Bernardino to collect my friends Patrick and Bret at the Metrolink station for the drive to Las Vegas. And thus begins a tale of smoke and no mirrors.  more

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Parades aplenty

| Coachella Valley had a choice of parades on Sunday. In Palm Springs, the Gay Pride parade stepped off at 11am, followed by the Golf Cart parade in Palm Desert at 1pm. It was a lovely day for a parade: sunny and warm, without being sweltering.  more

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A day of firsts

| Today was a day of firsts Chez Paul.  more

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Empty nest

| On Monday I took Bret and Patrick back to the airport after their stay Chez Paul.  more

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The signing

| With great pomp and circumstance, President George W Bush, aka The Shrub, yesterday signed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. Bush declared that the act puts an end to "a terrible form of violence...directed against children who are inches from birth." The White House transcript show Bush's remarks interrupted by applause some 25 times.  more

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London bound

| I'm off to London later this week. United Airlines offered a fare too low not to go: round trip for just over $300, non-stop from LAX.  more

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It must be London

| It must be London. That's what my ticket said: London Heathrow. Everyone is dressed in gray, black, and brown, and the natives eat by piling their food on an upside-down fork held in their left hand (left-handed persons, one presumes, hold their upside-down fork in their right hand).  more

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Plugged and wireless

| I feel so high-tech, so 21st century. I have successfully solved two problems: plugging in my laptop to a UK outlet and making a wireless connection to the internet. Doesn't sound like much, but I am please with myself!  more

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Random Ramblings

| Most theatres in London are dark on Sunday, so I spent the day rambling about the city. After breakfast I strolled down to the National Portrait Gallery and had a look at the Tudor and Stuart galleries. I'm always amazed at how life-like really good oil portraits look.  more

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While the cat's away

| I've been taking advantage of the time difference to check in on my webcam in the wee hours of the Palm Springs night.  more

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Break out the brollies

| Yesterday HRM's skies opened and let fall the rain most of the day, nearly horizontally at times. Although rain had been forecast for the entire time of my trip, this was the first time I actually had to use my brollie. The alert status had to be raised another notch — I cause enough disruption walking on dry pavement; with an umbrella I become quite dangerous, indeed.  more

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Besieged by Bush

| The city is in a tizzy over the impending arrival today of Our President, The Shrub. Some 14,000 extra policemen will patrol the streets, the city has been declared a no-fly zone and fighter jets will be ready to shoot down errant aircraft, snipers are positioned on rooftops; combat units are stationed strategically in the city. News reports are that a Secret Service contingent of 250 will accompany W. Words like assassination attempt and terrorist attack are being bandied about.  more

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At the Slug and Lettuce

| When Jim, Angela, and I found out that we would all be in England at the same time, it just seemed that it would be so jet-setty to "do lunch in London." And so we made our plans: Let's meet at the Starbucks in Leicester Square.  more

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Brown stuff, white stuff yes

| There are many differences between American and British attitudes toward food, of course, but one that stands out to me in particular is the attitude toward sweeteners. As a diabetic, I must be constantly alert to the ingestion of refined sugars (and a whole lot of other things as well).  more

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Mind the gap

| All good things must come to an end, I suppose. On Wednesday morning I got up before dawn cracked, had one last breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon on toast at Cafe Fiore, and then took the Underground back to Heathrow.  more

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Things I know I don't need

| You can tell Christmas is coming — every day the mailbox is stuffed with catalogues.  more

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Michael Jackson

| If you came to this article looking for insight and trenchant comment about the Michael Jackson imbroglio, I'm afraid I shall have to disappoint you. I really have nothing new or original to say about Michael. I simply didn't want to be the only website on the internet without a copy of Jackson's booking shot.  more

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Drug benefit

| This morning the Senate passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. The bill will now go to President Shrub who is sure to sign it so he and Republicans can take credit for having delivered a great benefit to America's seniors. As usual, the devil is in the details.  more

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Thanksgiving 2003

| Ken invited me and some other friends to have Thanksgiving dinner at his house. We all contributed dishes, making it a sort of pot luck.  more

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Baghdad Bush

| Yesterday, I drove a few miles to have Thanksgiving dinner with friends Ken, Phil, Jody, and Gary.  more

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Two fingers Dan

| The New York Times reported yesterday that Dan Rather watches replays of his NBC and ABC competitors every night fortified with "two fingers of Wild Turkey, no ice, no water" (NYTimes, 30-Nov-03). I was struck particularly by two things in the Times' article.  more

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Deck the halls

| It is December — already — and Chez Paul is starting to look festive.  more

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Flora's excellent outdoor adventure

| Flora the flamingo became a resident Chez Paul when Patrick "rescued" her last month from Toucan's bar. She begged and begged for a chance to take some fresh air and enjoy the view on the patio Chez Paul. I gave her her wish.  more

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Liar, liar

| The Bush administration has been caught again taking liberties with the truth.  more

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Today I ate a tangerine

| Today I picked and ate the first ripe tangerines from the tree next to the patio. They were scrumptious!  more

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Roto-Rescue

| What is it with this house and water? First there was the flood. Today the sewer backed up and required the services of Roto-Rooter.  more

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Size queen

| Scientists have discovered a 425-million-year-old fossil in England with a prodigious penis. They have dubbed the creature Colymbosathon ecplecticos which means "swimmer with a large penis" (NYTimes, 5-Dec-03).  more

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Festival of Lights Parade 2003

| The annual Festival of Lights parade proved spectacularly phototropic, drawing practically everyone in the Coachella valley to line Palm Canyon Drive. If it could be driven, pulled, or walk on two legs or four, it was in the parade: marching bands, horses, cement mixers, beer trucks, fire trucks, ice cream trucks, convertibles, whatever!  more

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Opening Pandora's box

| My momma always said, "Don't ask a question unless you want to hear the answer." Well, I didn't listen to a lot of things my momma said.  more

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Saga of young Joshua continues

| If you have been wondering whatever happened to young Joshua, the Joshua tree started from seed, but were afraid to ask in case it might be a sorrowful subject, you can relax. Young Joshua is alive and reasonably well.  more

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New front in the advertising war

| Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse! The folks at America West airlines and SkyMedia International have cooked up a scheme to put advertising on your tray table.  more

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Mixed messages

| The Iraq war was the ultimate faith-based initiative. Bush and the neocons launched a preemptive war against Iraq with a meticulous and detailed plan for the attack and nothing for the aftermath but faith that democracy, peace, and light would emerge, all at minimal cost to the US. Iraq's oil riches, it was said, would enable Iraq to pay for its own reconstruction.  more

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News flash

| The mind boggles. I haven't been the same since I saw the following brief item in the Dow Jones news summary:  more

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Class-action action

| I've completely lost track of how many notices I've received in the last few years about class-action lawsuits, in which I was a potential member of the class.  more

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Winter solstice

| You go along, minding your own business, sure in your mind that you understand things, and Bam! Kerpow! Just like that, nature takes you down a peg.  more

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Christmas in Canada

| I got up "at the crack of stupid" (as Patrick would say) on Tuesday, 23-December, for the drive to Ontario. Although my flight wasn't until 10:45am, the terror threat level had been raised to orange, and I wanted to give myself plenty of time to cope with the traffic and airport congestion that I expected to be heavy.  more

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More fun with Veo

| Friends Jim and Angela are visiting Chez Paul for a couple of days before submitting themselves to their annual purification ritual at the spa. Just as we walked in the door from brunch, the Veo webcam began to blink, indicating the someone was watching.  more

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