March 1, 2015 (6020)
Spring Doin's is Coming!
Welcome to "Peter's Pages"
The Web Presence of "Peter Lebeck 1866,"
The Kern County Chapter of E Clampus Vitus ®
Posted 1.01.15 -- By MGM
Thanks to all who came out for PlaquaPalooza and made it a fun and successful outing. We're getting our webpages in order for our Spring Event, so bear with us. We should have our registration pages up in a few days, and the flyer should go out shortly.
Posted 2.28.15 -- By MGM
We were gonna call our event "The Great Leap Forward," but February 29th doesn't happen until next year, and we just couldn't wait. So instead we called it "PlaquaPalooza," and it's PXL's double dedication celebration which starts today at 1:00 in Taft, at the West Kern Oil Museum. If you can't make it out west, then join us in Bakersfield at 4:30, for our second plaquing at Ethel's Old Corral Café, where we'll also be hanging out for dinner and keeping each other entertained.
For this one we ordered up blue skies, palm trees and tropical breezes, but USP told us that, for once, this was one thing Brown couldn't do for us. So bring bring a jacket and an umbrella because Dickhead Weather Central is predicting a high of 60° and intermittent showers. But not to worry because Our Humbug, Jim Bailey, is having the boys set-up the brand new pop-ups that he donated to the chapter in a last ditch effort to keep us from making him Humbug (Sorry, Jim, it didn't work).
So thanks to our fearless leader, we should be fine on the outside, while the rest of our event will be dry on the inside, unless the museum or the roadhouse suddenly springs a leak. Either way, Peter Lebeck has you covered. See you there!
Posted 2.22.15 -- By MGM
Just a quick reminder that PalquaPalooza starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, at the West Kern Oil Museum. Click here for the flyer and directions. Since we'll be doing a little partying as well as celebrating local history, we encourage everyone to keep the reigns of you rig in the hands of a brother or sister of sobriety. The CHP in and around Taft are especially vigilant, so watch your speed, especially on your way into Taft along Maricopa Highway where the downhill slope will cause you to pick-up speed. I'm not saying it's a speed trap…I'm just sayin' (it's a speedtrap).
If you'd like to stay overnight in Bakersfield rooms are still available at the friends and family rate at the Homewood Suites in Bakersfield, but you'll need to call during business hours and ask for Stacy or Nicole to make reservations, (661) 664-0400. You'll save over $50 if you do.
We'll be finishing up at Ethel's Old Corral Café in Bakersfield, which is a celebrated watering hole once run by Arnold Rojas, an old vaquero whom Chris Brewer reminds us wrote many great books on early ranching in Kern County. In fact you can still park your horse at the Old Corral, though I'm assuming most of us will be driving something other than cattle.
The plaquing ceremony at the Old Corral will start at 4:30, followed by live entertainment and "no host" dinner and drinks. There is no age limit at the Corral. Clampers are encouraged to wear their colors. Friends, family and prospective PBCs are also invited. I've included a YouTube video so you can gauge the ambiance. See you Saturday!
- - MGM
Posted 2.14.15 -- By MGM
Welcome back, fellow Cloggites. You're just in time for another scintillating edition of the PXL CLOG. I didn't want to get started without you, so I'm glad you finally made it. I've been practicing that "Just in time" inventory thingee invented by the Japanese. I figure if it works for cars, it's gotta work for CLOGs. All I gotta do is convince all the pieces to show up at the same time in the same place, and voilà, instant update!
It's so simple even a Clamper can do it. Which is why I'm not quite done yet. So bear with me, we've got a lot to cover. In this edition you'll get the latest on our upcoming PlaquaPalooza. You'll download Brother Hole's traveling flyer for our 2015 Spring Doin's, aka "The Rumble on the Ridge Route, Part Deux;'" get a recap of our fabulous Widders' Ball, and learn about our recent website updates, including a personal message from our new Humbug, Jim "NFD" Bailey, and the shaming of his functionaries. On a final note, you'll learn the sad news about the recent passing of one of our best loved Brothers.
First up, you, your family and friends are invited to our upcoming PlaquaPalooza! It's set for Saturday February 28, 2015, two weeks from now, and begins at 1 p.m. at the West Kern Oil Museum. You are encouraged to wear your Clamper Best. During our traveling celebration we'll be unveiling two plaques before the general public. Use the golden PlaquaPalooza icon in the links box to download the latest version of Peter's Procs for directions and hotel discount information for those who'd like to stay over.
Our first dedication will be at the entrance to the West Kern Oil Museum in Taft. Encompassing eight acres, the museum is run entirely by volunteers, "dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting artifacts, books, and equipment that tell the story of oil in California, particularly in West Kern County." Plans for the museum include creating a replica of "an old time oil company camp set in the oilfields." The crown jewel of the collection is the #17 Jamison oil derrick, believed to be the last remaining wooden derrick in the U.S.
First explored in the 1860's, West Kern's oil reserves are estimated at over three billion barrels, and include the Midway Sunset, Elk Hills, and South Belridge Fields, among others -- which are responsible for nearly half of the oil produced in California.
Following our tour of the museum, plan to pack up about 3:15 to give yourself plenty of time to get to the north edge of Bakersfield for our second dedication at Ethel's Old Corral Café in Bakersfield, where we'll be dedicating a second plaque at 4:30 p.m. and designating this establishment as an official PXL Watering Hole. Click on the link to see the YouTube Video review.
Situated on the north side of the Kern River, the Old Corral dates back to the 1920's, and harbors many a fond memory for those who have stopped there over the years on foot, by horse, by car or by motorcycle. Its clientele is as varied as its history, and all are welcome. Plan to have dinner and libations with us after the dedication. It's pay as you go, but we're expecting live entertainment, so this should be a festive and memorable afternoon.
Our Spring Doin's is set for the weekend of April 17-19, 2015, at Fort Tejon State Historical Park. Those of you who have joined us there in the past know that this is a very nice and convenient place to Clamp, especially in the spring. Click on the link above for the official state brosure which tells about the park. You'll get the full web treatment when I get around to it, including our electronic registration, but in the meantime, Brother Russ "Hole" Chapman has prepared a "traveling flyer" for you to download and distribute as you make your way across Clamperdom. We would very much appreciate it if you would do that for us. Please print as many as you'd like.
Now that the Humbug has let Hole out of his cage, I'm not sure how Peter (who lost the first round in 1837) is supposed to get a rematch with an "X" Bear (the last one in California became arguably caput in 1908), but anyone who knows his Holiness, also knows he's probably got something outrageously funny up his sleeve. So plan on showing-up at Fort Tejon to find out. Click on the "Rumble on the Ridgeroute" icon to download the traveling flyer.
Our 2015 Widders' Ball was a lot of fun. We didn't sell out, but we did get 35 couples to come on down and party with us despite some illnesses in the family and an unfortunate conflict with the James W. Marshall Inaugural Doin's. We knew we were going to miss some of the regulars because of the Doin's, but due to our bylaws and the holidays we're locked into a late January date, so this was it. What did surprise us was that someone would plan an important Doin's for midwinter in the Sacramento area. The weather can be very fickle, but I understand they lucked out and had both good times and good weather. Congratulations to the Brothers at JWM #49, for earning their way back into the fold.
As for us, this year's treat was our very first "Redneck Red Carpet." As incoming Humbug, it was Jim Bailey's responsibility to host the party, and he put Stacy Persons, who works at the Homewood, in charge of decorating for the Ball. Her sense of whimsy earns top, top honors, along with many thanks from her fans here at PXL. "Gold plated" thrones and naked Ken Dolls, Mr. Moose in the red hat, pink flamingo centerpieces spouting redneck aphorisms, and a chandelier made of Bud Light cans draped in red streamers - all were her idea. We even heard that she convinced her significant other to empty all those cans just to make sure Stacy still had a job in the morning. Way to go, Stacy!
Actually, we don't really know what happened to the beer other than we know the cans were empty by the time Bailey personally hung that chandelier from the ceiling and managed to make it down off the ladder without killing himself. Had his vice, Luis Bouza, actually known how close he might have been to becoming acting Humbug, he probably would have been holding the ladder - and sweating -- the entire time.
As for the photos, I did take a bunch, but I have to say that I screwed up this time and with a few notable exceptions, you're going to have to wait for me to put them together in some non-embarrassing, cognizable form. Where I will take some immediate credit is for the Red Carpet pictures of our handsome couples which for the time being you can stream in HD off of the Clampdown link in the links box. You all looked so marvelous! If you made it to the Ball, you should have also received by mail a packet of souvenir photos and a thank you note from the Humbug as a keepsake for you and your sweetheart. If you didn't get yours, let me know.
I'm also posting a photo here that I took from the front of the room towards the back, where I caught just about everyone in range looking into the camera. I probably just got lucky because Clampers have a notoriously short attention span and I can never get these kinds of shots no matter how hard I try. If you click on the small version of the photo you'll be able to download the full 18Mpixel version and pan through all the faces.
Jayne Hotchkiss-Price (pictured at the top of the CLOG) was named PXL's Noble Grand Widder for 2015. The award is given to a lady who has made a significant contribution to the chapter's welfare during the preceding year, and preference is given to someone who has not won the award in the past.
In Jayne's case her first association with ECV was nearly accidental, as she and her then fiancé, Al Price gave a historical talk to the assembled Graybeards during ECV's TRASH XL which was held in and about the Kern River Valley in 2013. It turns out both Mrs. And Mr. Price have some serious chops when it comes to local history.
During 2014, Jayne donated the use of her place for our Spring Doin's and sent Al out to pasture in a horse trailer so he could earn his red shirt. Since then, Jayne has helped both research and erect our monument at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Havilah, and has helped us reestablish ties with the Kern County Historical Society where she is currently serving as vice-president. Congratulations, Jayne, and many thanks again for your help and support.
As for the rest of the awards I can't say I know what happened to them because I turned in while the party was still going strong. In my opinion I probably would have won the "Best Dressed Dude Award," but by that time I was already in bed. No one gets an award around here for taking their clothes off, no one. So don't even think about it.
On the Raffle side, Jeannie Johnson, who is a past Noble Grand Widder, won the $300 Widders' Grand Prize. And "Uncle Mikey" Halloran, won the Grand Redshirt Prize of one free year of Clamping with PXL including admission to next year's Widders' Ball for Mike and a guest. Congratulations to all who won the special gift baskets, you all know who you are, and I'm jealous.
A very special couple was also celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary with us. Phoebe and XNGH Jim Adams, have been together longer than most of our guys have been alive, and these two exude togetherness with a capital "T." Congratulations again to our good friends, may they be together for many more.
As for web updates, please check out our latest offering. The Humbug has posted his opening statement on the Humbugs Speaks Page, and you can see who's who this year by going to our 2015 Officers Page. I'm still working on updating the rest of the website as I find the time. As I've already mentioned you can get to the PlaquaPalooza and Spring Doin's announcements and to the Red Carpet Pictures by clicking on the links in the navigation box on the left.
Jim Bailey mentions in his post that he may now be PXL's youngest Humbug, but he's going to have to card Chris Brewer, PXL's NGH from 1980, who has moved from consulting Historian to Historian Emeritus this year. The fact that he was so young when he was demoted to Humbug actually has proven quite valuable to us because until Linda "Hazel" Johnson handed me a book with Chris's (half) smiling face on the dust jacket, most guys assumed that anyone who had been Humbug so long ago was probably dead. Not only is Chris very much alive but is still publishing at Bear State Books, in Exeter, CA, and has offered some very valuable guidance about a whole bunch of stuff since we "resurrected" him in 2010. Chris and a Bakersfield attorney were the redshirts who incorporated PXL and secured our nonprofit status back in the day, and it turns out that Chris is well known among historians in and around Kern County.
Anyway, we'd like to congratulate Cris on his retirement from CalTrans this years, where he was the guy that the state would call to the scene whenever one of their workers dug up something suspiciously old or dead. Chris's historical work is meticulous, and in 2010 it earned him the California Governor's Historical Preservation Award. Unfortunately due to a near head-on traffic collision that almost killed him and has left him with serious medical complications, Chris's travels have required a driver for some years now, and finally enough was enough.
So that explains why few of us have actually met Chris in person, shamefully, myself included. But I have communicated with Chris many times by phone and email over the last five years, and he has proven to be a valuable source of information about our chapter's history and the history and politics of Kern County. Chris has often expressed a desire to meet with the club's current membership, and maybe that will happen one of these days. In the meantime, thank you, Chris, for your work on behalf of the chapter and for your continuing support.
I especially want to welcome Timbo Gillespie, XXNGH, and Historian Al Price to our Cyberstaff because, Lord knows, I could sure use some relief. Tim is taking over for Gene Duncker at the Clampcrier position, and Al has offered to help update our plaquing pages. Both positions are basically research and writing assignments. Tim will be writing the PROCS and Al will be filling in the missing background on our plaques. I know people think of websites as "bells and whistles" affairs, but the truth is that graphics and coding are only a part of what is required. Websites are about information, and without written content a homepage becomes pretty useless in a relatively short amount of time. Scan the web for other ECV websites and you'll see exactly what I mean.
Having a literate staff, willing to roll up their sleeves, is priority number one, but even the bells and whistles part can be very frustrating at times. We have over 250 active pages on-line which makes keeping an eye out for broken links something I'd prefer not to even think about. There is something called a "sitemap" which can help, but it doesn't help with a problem I recently discovered which is that a program I've been using for years to automate changes occasionally overwrites pages with the wrong page.
So one more thing to do. Fortunately I did find some old versions on my hard drive that I can cannibalize to make repairs to the 15 to 20 pages that have gone missing. In the meantime we'll just keep plugging along, but please, if you can write, code, take pictures or are handy with Photoshop, your help is still needed. Don't be shy about volunteering. Your work will be appreciated and acknowledged, and we promise not to pay you for your time.
Lastly, it is with sad regret that I must inform you of the passing of our dear friend Mikey "Maggot" Ralles, who has left us for the Golden Hills. Mike's struggle with complications from diabetes had put him in the hospital and ultimately left him "short" on one side, but he had expressed a strong desire to go Clamping with us in the fall, and knowing his enthusiasm many of us were surprised not to see him up at Bald Eagle Ranch. Also he and his Widder, Karyl, have been a constant at our Widders' Ball for some years now, but when they didn't show it was because Mikey was in the hospital. We received this sad note, on Wednesday.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I let you all know that my beloved Maggot has passed. He died on February 3rd at 3:40 p.m. here at home after a one month stay at the Bakersfield Heart Hospital. It was congestive heart failure along with renal issues brought on by complications associated with his diabetes. Like his birth sign, Leo, he fought bravely to the very end with optimism and humor. It was a long, hard two-year battle. His passing was peaceful here in our home that he loved.
He will be cremated in Bakersfield and interred at the Bakersfield National Cemetery at a date to be determined.
He was so very proud to be an ECVer and enjoyed so many of the gatherings he attended as well as all of you terrific brothers. Please let his brethren know of this event.
God Bless and love you,
Mike's broken-hearted Widder Karyl
The traditional ceremony for our departed Brother, Michael "Maggot" Ralles will be celebrated in his honor within the Hall of Comparative Ovations, on April 18, 2015, at Fort Tejon, Kern County, California. God speed our Brother on his journey through the Golden Hills.
MGM, XNGH -- "Recording No Cyber Before Its Time." ...and remember to Love us on Facebook
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