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Happy New Year!

| It's customary at the New Year to reflect on the year past and anticipate all the good things to come in the next.  more

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Mama mia!

| It's really hard to be a mother, and especially so if your daughter is Michele Bachmann. At the beginning of tonight's Iowa caucus, Michele dragged her mama up on the stage to stand beside her while she wooed the caucus goers. This is dangerous.  more

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Mitt wins(?)

| I stayed up past my bedtime to watch the unfolding drama of the Iowa caucus results.  more

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Of geese and ganders

| Across the nation, Repugnicans have been passing voter suppression laws, which they characterize as preventing "voter fraud" — a problem that does not exist. Kansas, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas all passed laws in 2011 requiring voters to show photo identification in order to vote (ABCNews.com). The fact that millions of legitimate voters do not have identification of the sort specified in these laws appears to be of no concern to the Repugnicans. No, they are concerned about protecting "the integrity of the vote." Conveniently for the GOP, a great many of those millions are people who tend to vote Democratic. Quelle surprise!  more

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After

| Three weeks later, the backyard has been completely redone. The weed patch is no more!  more

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Greedy little bastard

| The day after my backyard was finished, I went to the garden center at Lowes and came home with an empty wallet and a profusion of seedlings for the vegetable and herb gardens: peas, lettuces, chard, tomatoes, spinach, peppers, oregano, mint, parsley, basil, thyme. I tenderly transplanted them to the planting beds, gave them drinks of water, and sat back to imagine the future harvest.  more

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SuperBowla contentiosus

| For the first time since 1999, the usual suspects did not assemble for the SuperBowl. We were going to make a pilgrimmage to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada and combine the SuperBowl with the aurora borealis. It would have been a bi-national event of sorts. Inconveniently, SuperBowl weekend was also the full moon, not an auspicious time for viewing the celestial lightshow, so the decision was made to do the aurora thing in January and forego the traditional SuperBowl party. And as things worked out, I was unable to make the trip due to a small oversight on my part, allowing my passport to expire unbeknownst. Damn those terrorists! Before 9/11/2001 you could cross the Canada/US border with a smile and a drivers license.  more

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On redundancy

| A few days ago I stopped at Panda Express for lunch. Having forgotten to bring my Kindle, I was at a loss for reading material, so I cast my eyes on the packet of soy sauce. Gadzooks!  more

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Living in sin

| A shocking number of my friends and acquaintences have descended into a life of sin. Sin! Shocking, simply shocking!  more

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The face of the Republican party

| I am struck while watching Republican primary election coverage by the faces of the people lining up to support the various candidates. And this morning's NY Times had a portrait gallery of voters on Super Tuesday. What's really cool about the gallery is that by clicking buttons you can sort the pictures in various ways: men/women, party, age. (See selection in slideshow below.)  more

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Opera in the Park 2012

| Yesterday was the annual Opera in the Park, and that's no fooling. It was a lovely day, albeit on the cool side when the breeze picked up. As usual, the singing was splendid, the company congenial, and the champagne freely flowing.  more

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Weekend in Las Vegas

| The usual suspects motored to Las Vegas for a weekend of shows and sightseeing. It was a cold and windy Saturday morning when we left, and remained overcast for the entire trip.  more

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How doth my garden grow?

| It is now almost four months since the landscaping was done in the back yard and by now one might suspect that my black thumb would have killed everything. Au contraire, mon ami!  more

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Cheesecake Kenny

| My friend Kenny from Montréal is famous among our Brunch Bunch for his cheesecakes. They are, first and foremost, divinely delicious. But what sets them apart from most other cheesecakes is that the texture is light and airy.  more

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Last, but not least

| At sea, off the California Central Coast. Three of the usual suspects, Bob, Réal, and I are aboard the MS Amsterdam en route from San Diego to Vancouver, via Victoria.  more

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Thar she blows!

| At sea off Northern California. A whale came by to entertain us at breakfast again this morning, but this was a solitary one and quite a ways off. From time to time he/she would blow then stand on his/her head and wave his/her tail. But it soon disappeared, and we could go back to our omelets and toast.  more

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Home again

| It's so nice to be home again and not have to layer-up on clothes.  more

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Memorial Day 2012

| Yesterday being Memorial Day, the usual suspects did what they usually do — eat. Ken, Bob, and Réal came in the afternoon, one later than the others (another story altogether!), for a picnic-style supper, albeit one eaten indoors inasmuch as Mother Nature turned up the furnace in the late afternoon.  more

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Lost … and found!

| Faithful readers will recall that at the end of the recent cruise, my trusty camera had gone missing, and a call to the hotel failed to result in its being found.  more

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Cruise in pictures

| Thanks to the kind folks at Accent Inns in Vancouver, I have my camera back. So, here are some pictures to augment the visions you had to conjure up from the image-less articles I posted about the trip.  more

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When life gives you tomatoes...

| When I planted my garden I thought three tomato plants would give me a nice supply. Yes, indeed!  more

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Fail!

| This morning's email delivery brought the monthly notice from Time-Warner that my statement is ready and can be accessed by clicking the appropriate link:  more

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Another garden predator

| While harvesting my bumper crop of tomatoes, I noticed that a few of them had holes in them, as if something had taken a bite out of them. Surely that's not possible, I thought to myself, considering that the plants are enclosed in a cage with ½-inch mesh. Oh, how wrong I was!  more

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A rose, is a rose, is a rose

| Well, thank goodness that's over!  more

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What?

| Having spent two very unrestful nights Sunday and Monday, I was relieved to get a good night's sleep last night, and deeply chagrined to be awakened about 4:30am by what sounded like running water.  more

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Independent gluttony

| The usual suspects assembled chez Bob to celebrate our independence — from dietary restraint, apparently.  more

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Geezer passing through

| Friend Ray took time off from his tours of World Heritage Sites to drop by last month on his way to spend the summer in an undisclosed location in the mountains of northern California. The man does like to travel and you may find his travel blog interesting.  more

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Hot enough for you?

| There's vehement agreement among scientists that the earth is getting warmer. Indeed, the last 12 months were the hottest ever, since record-keeping began in 1895 — do the math: that's 117 years! (NOAA National Climatic Data Center's "State of the Climate: National Overview for June 2012").  more

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More wildlife

| I seem to have been adopted by a rabbit that spends a lot of time in my backyard. Rabbits crack me up — whenever they feel in the least bit threatened they freeze, presumably on the theory that if they don't move we can't see them. Which is actually a pretty sound strategy, since many predators are keen on detecting motion.  more

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Discord in Harmony, Kansas

| The usual suspects went to San Diego yesterday to see the production of Harmony, Kansas, "a brand new American Musical," at the Diversionary Theatre.  more

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What's wrong with this picture?

| While at a stop-light a few days ago my eye was arrested by the pickup truck ahead of me, waiting to make a left-hand turn.  more

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Road trip to Twain Harte

| After a day spent trying to convince Sophie that I really wanted to go via the route I wanted to go, I set out on Saturday morning for Twain Harte for a visit with Bob and Carolyn. I was vindicated in my judgment of the route, inasmuch as I hardly saw a car for the first two hours of the trip, and accomplished the 463 miles in 8hrs 45min.  more

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Downpour

| Tuesday the weather service issued flash flood warnings for the Coachella Valley, followed by two or three drops of rain (at least where I was). Yesterday, there was another warning with a very specific, very short timeframe attached. And then it began to rain.  more

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Dazzling dawn

| Today has dawned cool (mid-70°F), relatively dry (38%), and without the putrid stench of the Salton Sea in the air. Thank you, Mother Nature, for turning off the southeast wind!  more

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Labor Day 2012

| The first Monday of September is designated as the day to celebrate Labor.  more

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Miasma and a silver lining

| For many days now a stench has suffused the air here in the desert. Indeed, people as far away from the desert as Los Angeles have been turning up their noses (see sidebar). It is, of course, the Salton Sea, which isn't a natural sea at all but an engineering mistake. It is shrinking and becoming more salty. During the summer, it heats up, algae flourish, the oxygen content drops, and the fish die.  more

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Visit from a hawk

| I went out for a lunch meeting today, and when I returned I happened to glance at the waterfall in the back yard and could hardly believe my eyes — a large hawk was taking a shower in the waterfall!  more

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Fall sunrise

| It's the first day of fall, and the mornings of late have been cool and crisp, and as a result of being outdoors in the early hours, I've been privvy to some incredible sights.  more

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Another sunrise

| The sky was dark with clouds this morning, portending another marvelous sunrise. And I was not disappointed.  more

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Margin of error

| It behooves me, I suppose, to say a few words about the impending election.  more

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Well, doh!

| I keep a weather gadget on my desktop (see right). This afternoon, a beautiful fall afternoon, I was startled to see the symbol calling my attention to a weather alert. Goodness, gracious, whatever is going on?  more

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Parade of Planes 2012

| The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association held their annual Aviation Summit in Palm Springs this week.  more

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Max My Speed

| You've seen the slightly geeky-looking guy on TV, telling you about "new technology" that lets you speed up your computer without having to "drop it off at some store." This is followed by glowing testimonials, veritable encomiums, by supposed customers that their computers now run "100% faster" yadda yadda yadda.  more

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Apple time!

| When it's apple season, the usual suspects head to Oak Glen.  more

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A pox on Time Warner Cable

| I have had Time Warner Cable ever since I moved to Palm Springs in 2002. Over the years what started as a reasonable monthly rate escalated and escalated until it became completely unreasonable.  more

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Palm Springs Pride 2012

| Palm Canyon Drive was for two hours this morning the scene of outrageous costumes, marching bands, bodies that noone should be allowed to have (well, actually everybody should have), horses, dogs, and just about anything else you could imagine. It was the annual Pride Parade, and a fine day it was for a parade — clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Even Mother Nature loves a parade.  more

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End of world dawns bright and clear

| It's election day. Finally. And as everyone has told us, over and over and over again, the very future of civilization is at stake.  more

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Why Obama won

| Thank heavens! The country has pulled back from the political cliff.  more

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The Citracal walk

| You've seen her plenty of times, always barefoot, always dressed in white on an all-white set, telling us about the glories of Citracal. Her voice can only be described as mellifluous. Her name is Kate Hodge, and she has a long list of acting credits to her name.  more

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Coming to LA?

| Here's a tip: go to hollywoodclassictours.com and book a sightseeing tour. After decades as a reporter for Variety and years driving tours for other tour companies, Doug — a friend of a friend — has started his own tour company and keeps his passengers enthralled with his insider's knowledge of Hollywood and "the business."  more

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Thanksgiving 2012

| Thanksgiving Day was a gorgeous one — skies: crystal clear; temps: mid-70°s; wind: none.  more

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Festival of Lights parade 2012

| It's that time of year again. You know, when the light begins to fail at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and, although it seems quite silly and extravagant, you think about turning on the lights. It's also time for the annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade, for which organizations, businesses, and people drape themselves in as many battery-powered lights and parade the length of Palm Canyon Drive.  more

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Breaking news!

| 11 December 2012. I tuned in to MSNBC this afternoon for my regular dose of progressive propaganda, only to find that the channel had been overtaken by "Breaking News" of a shooting in a mall near Portland, Oregon. OK, fine. This is good for 20, 30 seconds.  more

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When is enough enough?

| I turned on the TV late Friday afternoon only to find that all programming had been taken over by yet another performance of that ever-popular melodrama, Tragedy in         . Fill in the blank. This time it was Tragedy in Connecticut. Last week's performane was Tragedy in Oregon. Earlier this year it was Tragedy in Colorado, Tragedy in Milwaukee. We just love this show. Or, more properly, televised media just love this show.  more

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The tyranny of technology

| The promise of technology was that it would improve the way we do business, enabling new services and new ways to interact with customers. It has become a tyrant, an impregnable wall to keep customers at bay.  more

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