Happy New Year!

| As the cold dawn of 2008 breaks I cast my jaundiced eye upon the sorry state of the world and hereby resolve not to resolve. I won't go quite as far as Maureen Dowd and opt for exorcism (NY Times, Dec 30, 2007) instead of resolutions, but in my maturity accept the futility of compiling lists of heartfelt, albeit utterly unrealistic, resolutions for self-improvement in the new year. Reality is a stubborn thing, and eventually must be recognized; towit, January 1, 2007, 2006, 2005...  more


Up, up, and aw—

| This past weekend was the Ford Trucks Red, White, & Blue Polo and Balloon Festival in Indio. Balloon aficionados converge upon the Fantasy Springs casino, turning an overflow parking area into a launching/landing field. At the crack of dawn they fire up their flamethrowers, float in their balloons over to the polo grounds for a noon polo game, then return in the afternoon for more festivities and a "balloon glow" after dark.  more


The body politic: Clinton

| I've been fascinated to see the editorial cartoonists draw the presidential candidates. Who they draw tends to follow the horse race. Hillary? Lots of cartoons. Kucinich? Not so much. But how they draw them can make you notice things you haven't paid attention to before. I've been collecting cartoons for a long time, mostly those published in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and I recently sifted through the most recent several months to see how they are portraying the various candidates. I'll start this series with Hillary — she's easy and likely to be around for a while.  more


The body politic: Giuliani

| Rudy Giuliani dropped out of the Republican presidential race yesterday, having been soundly trounced in every primary or caucus to date. Not to be too churlish about it, but I say, Good riddance!  more



| Thank goodness that's all over! A person can take only so much excitement.  more


Cruising the Caribbean 2008

| Two years ago, Réal, Ken, and I took a cruise together and had a blast (See Chronicles, March 2006). This year, the entire Brunch Bunch set sail aboard the ms Zuiderdam for fun in the sun.  more


Home improvement and Murphy's Law

| What was I thinking? The economy is sliding inexorably into recession, the stock market is acting like a yoyo, and I had already planned a costly cruise; nevertheless, I decided to re-do most of the floors. An enterprising young man from Whittier, Alex, recently did an excellent tile job for my next-door neighbors, and I engaged him for my project: replace the carpet in the living room and den, and the existing tile in the kitchen and hallways, with travertine.  more


At the end of the Rainbow

| Sunday was our last brunch at the venerable Rainbow, née Rainbow Cactus. On Monday night it closed its doors.  more


Bowling in the basement

| After 8 weeks of the season, the half-way point, our bowling team, The Gutter Dusters, languishes in last place, having won only 8 games so far — and 4 of those were last week!  more


Welcome to Medicare

| I'm here to attest: the US healthcare system is dysfunctional and crazy.  more



| If Bill Gates is so smart that he can start a company (Microsoft) that has practically taken over the entire market for desktop operating systems and applications, why can't Microsoft programs — any programs for that matter — even come close to figuring out how long it's going to take to do something?  more


April Fool!

| And the Fool of the Year award goes to Vice.  more



| My friend Jenifer, fairly recently retired from HP, decided to turn her dressmaking hobby into a real business, and she asked me if I would build her a website. How could I say no? The site went live yesterday, and that's no fooling.  more


Visit to the poppy reserve

| The last time we went to see the poppies, it was so cold and windy the poppies went into hiding, and we nearly froze. This time it was perfect. The poppies were at their peak, and the weather was delightful, with temperatures in the 80s and gentle breezes.  more


Opera in the Park 2008

| Sunday was the 10th annual Opera in the Park, presented by the Palm Springs Opera Guild. Encore! It was a perfect day — warm, clear blue sky, slight breeze, thousands of appreciative people with their lawn chairs and picnics, and dauntingly talented young singers singing their hearts out, all for free.  more


Make it stop!

| The nation has been condemned to Purgatory. There can be no other explanation for this presidential primary season that will not end.  more


May Day / Birthday

| There are no catchy tunes to celebrate one's sixty-fifth birthday, unlike the sixty-fourth (See Chronicles, May 2007). I suppose "The old gray mare she ain't what she used to be" might be suitable, but that would be going too far.  more


Palm Springs Rodeo 2008

| The rodeo came back to Palm Springs last weekend, and it was a great success. The Usual Suspects cowboyed up and headed to the equestrian center in Banning, where the events were held, on Saturday and Sunday to take in the fun.  more


Tales of the tile, part II

| While I was cruising the Caribbean in February, the house was transformed into a construction zone while the floors were being re-done in travertine. That was the good news. The bad news was that before my tile guy Alex could finish the project he broke his leg and was unable to work. Consequently, I've been living in chaos for over two months, with nothing in its rightful place and dust everywhere!  more


Bowling finale

| The bowling season is over, and not a moment too soon.  more



| When I decided to tile the floors, that was the full scope of the project: remove carpets, lay tile, done.  more



| The summer Fun Handicap League started Monday night, and a reconstituted, renamed Brunch Bunch will compete for fame and glory — well, for fun at least. Réal has rejoined after a long hiatus, and Ken has gone on sabbatical for the summer, replaced by Rick. With Bob and Myself making up the foursome, we've dubbed ourselves the CCBC Four Play. CCBC because they're our sponsors; four because that's the magic number, and play because that's what it's all about. And taken as a whole, CCBC Four Play lends itself to wonderful double-entendres.  more


Painting prep

| As promised, Patty and the paintbrushes showed up yesterday to begin prepping the house for its confrontation with color! They — Patty, son Chris, and a helper — quickly took control and began creating the Shroud of Chez Paul.  more


Say goodnight, Hillary

| Yesterday Barack Obama garnered enough delegates to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination. Hillary convened her partisan devotees — a not entirely redundant phrase — at Baruch College in New York City to make a valedictory speech — except that it wasn't any such thing!  more



| It's been 3½ months, but the renovations Chez Paul are finally finished! Patty and the Paintbrushes finished up on Thursday afternoon, Réal helped move the furniture back in on Saturday, and on Sunday we held an inaugural brunch in the newly decorated digs.  more


Brunch in Idyllwild

| A week ago, when the now inevitable question arose, "Where shall we have brunch next Sunday?" Phil suggested Idyllwild. As it turned out, the timing was perfect, because the valley floor was abroil in pre-mature August.  more


LA Rodeo 2008

| On Saturday, Réal and I went to the LA rodeo, which wasn't in LA at all but way out in Ventura county, almost to Oxnard.  more


Uneasy lies the head…

| The presidency is not kind to the visage of those that hold the office. George W Bush is no exception. I was struck last week by a picture taken at the announcement of agreement with North Korea to dismantle their nuclear program, about the only positive accomplishment of the last seven years.  more



| The Supreme Court recently decided that the death penalty was too extreme for those convicted of child rape. I've got a better case for them: How about spammers?  more


Independence Day 2008

| Get out your fireworks ("safe and sane" of course)! Fire up the BBQ! Have a parade! It's time to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  more


Brunch bonanza

| Oh my, sometimes we outdo ourselves. Sunday was another brunch chez moi, and, as usual, it was pot luck. The pot was very lucky indeed!  more


President Screenbean?

| Barack Obama seems to be the answer to a cartoonist's dreams. He has features that can be easily caricatured, and there is no doubt about who the drawing is. For me, Obama — and the drawings of him — looks remarkably like one of the screenbean characters in the Microsoft PowerPoint clip art collection.  more


Hole in one

| If I had been playing golf, it would have been a cause of great celebration, making a hole with one shot.  more


A real gully-washer

| Mother Nature decided to give us a summer cleaning this morning, just before sunrise. I woke to an intense pounding on the roof accompanied by vigorous flapping of the patio curtains and palm trees.  more


Interlude in Laguna Beach

| The usual suspects — Jim, Angela, Bob, Carolyn, and I — made our annual visit to Laguna Beach to see the Pageant of the Masters, to eat, to sit, to chat, to eat, to eat, to eat.... With the exception of last year, we have made these trips every year for several years.  more


From the sublime to the ridiculous

| It's only August, and already the presidential campaign has turned disgusting. Having been defeated by it in 2000, collaborated with it in 2004, John McCain has embraced the Rove/Bush slime machine in 2008. The "straight-talk express" has been replaced by innuendo, misstatement, sloganeering, and mudslinging.  more


Terra Cotta Warriors

| Last Saturday, Bob, Phil, and I went to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana to see the exhibit of Terra Cotta Warriors from China. It was incredible!  more


Storm before the calm

| There's an awful lot of attention being given to possible candidates for a job famously described by John Nance Garner (Vice President for Franklin Roosevelt) as "not worth a bucket of warm piss." (I know, you thought it was "bucket of warm spit" — and so did I — but according to Wikipedia Garner used a more pungent noun.)  more


Conventional wisdom

| That loud whooshing sound you heard was the huge sigh of relief that went out through Demo-land when the minefields of the first three days of the convention had been negotiated. Michelle Obama was been choreographed into an updated version of June Cleaver. The PUMA wing of the Democratic party (Party Unity My Ass) was effectively defanged by Hillary's speech. Bill Clinton recanted all the nasty things he had said and implied during the primary campaign and pronounced Barack Obama "ready" to be president. And the Bidens filled the stage with a multi-generational tableau worthy of Norman Rockwell.  more


Look, Ma, no net!

| Give 'em credit — they've got nerve! I wouldn't like to play poker against either Barack Obama or John McCain.  more


Let me be unkind

| Barack Obama chose a seasoned veteran as his running mate. John McCain chose a cheerleader.  more


Bristol is preggers!

| Sarah Palin's campaign released a statement today acknowledging that the Palin's daughter Bristol is pregnant and asked the "media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy."  more



| Well, Sarah Palin finally came out of hiding last night and showed she can shoot from the lip with the best of them. Her performance rocked the house in St Paul, and made me sick to my stomach in Palm Springs.  more



| It's a win-win! We can't lose! Both candidates want change!  more


Sophie has a boo-boo

| Sophie has a big boo-boo on the left front side, just above the wheel. This may have happened:  more


Lipstick and lies

| Barack Obama is being swiftboated, and apparently the only one who doesn't realize it is Barack Obama.  more


Trivial pursuits

| If you were to judge by most of the recent television coverage of the presidential campaign you might think that Barack Obama called Sarah Palin a pig and wants to teach kindergarteners all about sex.  more


About face!

| Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave! The party that invoked his name repeatedly during the recent GOP convention has now repudiated utterly Reagan's maxims:  more


Road trips

| The last two weekends have been spent on the road. This past weekend the Brunch Bunch took a quick trip to Las Vegas, culminating with Cher's show at Caesar's. The weekend before, Réal and I went to the rodeo in San Diego.  more


To the rescue!

| It's enough to make your head spin. George W finally came out of hiding last night to say a few words about the financial crisis. Looking like a rookie news reader at his first try-out, Bush recited the words on his teleprompter in a near monotone. Most of what he said would pass for an Econ 101 tutorial.  more



| The bastards at Microsoft have done it again!  more


High drama on the hill

| One for the money, two for the show — oops, it's a no-go!  more


The I-hate-debate debate

| The picture tells you all you need to know about last night's debate between presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. McCain played the part of grouchy old man, resentful about being forced to share the stage with a young whippersnapper who thinks he can run the country better than McCain can.  more


Hearing voices

| Total breakdown. Of the economic, social, and political systems. Total breakdown.  more


The Palin shuffle

| They say she's a "quick study," and you have to give credit where credit is due — Sarah Palin clearly memorized a prodigious number of 90-second speeches while sequestered at one of McCain's many houses in Arizona. But she was like a CD player set on Random. It didn't matter what the question was, Sarah just played one of her pre-recorded messages, almost without regard to subject matter. In fact, she was quite brazen about it, saying early in the evening, "And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people…"  more


The Unthinkable

| The thought of John McCain as president makes my blood run cold. He's prone to high-risk, rash decisions. "Ready! Fire! Aim!" He can't imagine a war that doesn't need fighting. He calls himself a man of honor, a patriot who puts country first, but his campaign for president dishonors him by repeated mistruths, half-truths, and outright lies, and his choice of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate shows he's putting himself first, not his country. He'd rather win an election, even if Sarah Palin is in no way ready to be vice president.  more


Looking back

| "There you go again," chided Sarah Palin, "pointing backwards again". John McCain and Sarah Palin are trying their darndest to distance themselves from their own past, the Bush administration, while using Barack Obama's past as a weapon against him, calling attention to associations, real or imagined, with various figures whose paths have crossed his.  more


McCain 0 for 2

| Go to any zoo and you'll see animals pacing back and forth in their cage. That's what John McCain reminded me of in last night's debate. When he smiled it was forced with clenched teeth, and any hint of bonhomie was belied by the anger in his eyes. For all that the "town hall" format was supposed to be McCain's forte, he did not look at all happy to be there. And he didn't hang around afterward — while Barack and Michelle Obama stayed about 15 minutes and chatted with audience members, McCain and Stepford Wife left as soon as the closing formalities were over.  more


McCain's angels

| I'm beginning to understand why thousands of people are turning out for McCain-Palin rallies: It's the same reason people go to professional wrestling matches. Professional wrestling is basically a stunt show mixed with show biz.  more


Are we there yet?

| It's now official — this is the worst stock market correction since 1900.  more


Guys named Joe

| It turns out that "Joe the Plumber" was vetted about as well as other parts of the McCain campaign:  more


Election shenanigans

| The fabric of my personal democracy has been seriously ripped, but contrary to Mr McCain's hyperbole, it has nothing to do with Acorn. Instead it is the US Postal Service that is to blame.  more


Powell endorses Obama

| Yesterday on Meet the Press, Colin Powell demonstrated what the Powell Doctrine is all about: overwhelming force — in this case, force of argument. Uninterrupted for several minutes, Powell laid out both his conclusions and how he arrived at them. It was a tour de force befitting a famous general. However, along with his reasons for Barack Obama, Powell laid out an equally impressive and devastating argument against the Republican party.  more



| So there was Alan Greenspan sitting at the witness table before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:  more


Who happens to be black

| "Change has come to America." That may well be the understatement of the year.  more


Morning in America

| The sense of relief and hope following the election of Barack Obama to the presidency is almost palpable. For the past eight years America has taken a scary walk on "the dark side" where the ideals that America has long aspired to were abandoned and words lost their meaning: where torture became "enhanced interrogation techniques"; where abducting people without a trace became "extraordinary rendition"; where war became a choice, not a necessity; where promoting "the general Welfare" became every one for himself; where the moral high ground was replaced by amorality and immorality.  more


Pride and prejudice

| Last weekend was the Palm Springs gay pride parade and festival. The usual suspects were out in force: drag queens, muscle boys, leather men, celebrities, politicians, wannabes.  more


Three stooges go to Washington

| This week the "Big 3" stooges of Detroit — Richard Wagoner (GM), Robert Nardelli (Chrysler), and Alan Mulally (Ford) — went begging on Capitol Hill and were sent home empty-handed. And rightly so.  more


Health care system on life support

| If you're like 47 million Americans (16% of the population) you have no health insurance. If you're among the other 84% of the population, you have health insurance, but may be under the delusion that it is protecting you. The American health care system is severely broken, and most of us never realize just how broken it is until we need to use it.  more


Happy Thanksgiving 2008

| Times are tough all over, true enough. But there are still things to be thankful for.  more


Oh, the weather outside is delightful

| Here it is, December 1st, and it is still a balmy 82°F. outside. Mt San Gorgonio has a new cap of sparkling white snow, and they say that Mt San Jacinto does as well, although you couldn't prove it by me. I haven't seen it, personally, although I looked while out for a bike ride yesterday.  more


Recession concession

| On Monday morning the NY Times sent a "Breaking News Alert":  more


When opportunity knocks

| Conventional wisdom is that times are tough all over; people are struggling, looking for a way to keep it together in perilous economic times. It should be easy to recruit people for a project. Shouldn't it?  more


Light parade 2008

| Last Saturday evening was the annual Festival of Lights parade in Palm Springs, featuring brightly lighted floats, marching bands, vehicles of all types and sizes, horses — yes, even camels! Réal, Ken, and I planted our chairs in front of Koffi, where we could watch secure in the knowledge that a warming cup of latte was only a few steps away.  more


Blago, how could you?

| This year's award for swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool goes to Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) of Illinois.  more


The shoe fits

| So, George W sneaked into Baghdad on a farewell tour, tried to give a press conference, and had two shoes hurled at his head by an Iraqi TV journalist who shouted out that Bush was a "dog."  more


Stir up a hornets' nest

| It was bound to happen. Barack Obama is about to enter "the bubble" of the White House, but he just popped the bubble of acclamation that has surrounded him since election day. Until today, he had glided effortlessly through the minefield of opportunities to screw up before even taking office. Cabinet appointments? Great choices. Staff? Excellent. Public statements? Presidential, measured, confident.  more


Things are so bad—

| Things are so bad, I saw a preacher who had to have his hair cut in the parking lot of Elmer's.  more


League champions

| Last week was the final week of our league's fall season and — who would have thought? — the Brunch Bunch emerged as league champions. OK, it's not that big a deal when there were only six teams in the league, and one of those was a dummy team, but first is first.  more


They call it 'smart'

| Sophie was due for her 10,000 mile service, so I took her in last Thursday. Bah, humbug!  more



| Ever since I got a laptop with Windows® Vista®, I have been consumed with the question, "What is it doing?" You wake up the computer in the morning, ready to read e-mail, check the news, surf for porn, or whatever you do in the morning, and that little light for disk activity goes wild. Even when you're not doing anything more than just sitting there looking at an empty screen, no programs running, that light is blinking, blinking, blinking — sometimes so fast it is solid on. What is it doing? you wonder.  more



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