April 6, 2014 (6019)
25 Days to Rockin' JA!
Welcome to "Peter's Pages"
The Web Presence of "Peter Lebeck 1866,"
The Kern County Chapter of E Clampus Vitus ®
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Posted 3.17.14 - By MGM
You know they really don't celebrate Saint Patrick's Day in Ireland like we do here in America. Think about it for a moment. Who the heck is going to waste their time dying the Guinness green when it's already a perfectly good shade of brown and ready for Cinco de Mayo?
So we here at PXL recommend that you buy whatever brand suits your faux Irish fancy, and then do as much CLOG Dancing as befits the season. When you are tired (and unless you have the abs of Michael Flately why wouldn't you be?) just keep reading down into the page to accept our invitation to the Peter Lebeck's 2014 Spring Doin's. We've got food. We've got fun. And we got every cow within 50 mile excited when we told them you were coming.
So please check us out. Postmark your rub by April 20th, or make sure it's in our hand by April 25th. Either way, it's the most fun you can have with your pants on (unless the Brothers find a better use for your pants, so make sure you bring an extra pair).
To get to the Doin's Page just click here!--MGM
Posted 3.11.14 - By MGM
Hello Brother Cloggites, and welcome back to the PXL CLOG. It's been awhile since our last post, so we have quite a bit of catching up to do. I'll try to keep it neat, but you know how mouthy lawyers can be. It's even worse than usual because I just came up for air after spending five weeks in front of a jury. Imagine spending five weeks working in front of twelve strangers and not even being allowed to say hello? So you'll have to forgive me if I start to drivel a bit about the Spring Doin's, our recent Widders' Ball and Charles's plans for the years, but it's all good so here we go.
First up is the Spring Doin's which will be at the Rockin' JA Ranch in Walker Basin, May 1-4th. The Clampground opens Thursday at 10 a.m. for those who want to get an early start. Traditional set up begins on Friday morning and PXL's famous feed bag begins on Friday night starting with Dickhead's Cajun Seafood Jambalaya followed by our "Third 'First Annual Yucca-off.'" And remember, at PXL we do feed you well all weekend, so get ready for a stellar gathering of one of the friendliest chapters in all of Clamperdom. Bring a PBC, bring your Binky, bring your blanky, and don't forget to bring your own adult libations because PXL does not provide alcohol, though there always seems to be plenty of brothers willing to share. And if you want to get a look at how much fun we have at our Doin's just make sure to check out Peter's Picture Pages for photos from last fall's Clampout at Rankin Ranch.
We also want to make sure that everyone is on alert that the date of our Spring Doin's has shifted a bit from our usual last weekend in April. While there are fewer ECV chapters in our part of the state than there are up north, that weekend almost always seems to conflict with someone else's Doin's even in our own neck of the woods. This year it was hard to move the date up because of Easter (Who wants to step on Jesus?), and it was hard to move the date down because of Grand Council. So Charles decided to go with the first weekend in May. I'm sure it will make the workers of the world a bit wobbly when they hear that PXL is stepping on May Day, and our apologies to Billy Holcomb (and our Brother Sid) for forcing their members to make a tough choice between going to their own Doin's or to ours, but a little rotation was in order this year and so our choice will give our Brothers from 1.5 and Platrix a fair chance to check us out.
As usual we have put together a number of webpages to sucker you into joining us. We have a Doin's clampsite page, another for our Humbug's Invite, and, of course, our nifty electronic flyer page where you can check out the schedule, get directions, and peruse vital instructions about our initiation for you and your PBC. You can even download a pristine copy of Dickhead's Infallible Fillable Flyer and prepay using Paypal. Just make sure that your rub is in our hands by April 25, 2014 - no exceptions -- or it's $10 more and you end up in the chow line behind all the prepays.
Now on to news of the Ball! Our 53rd Annual Widders' Ball was a great success. Charles Topping was passed the Staff of Relief by outgoing Humbug Russ Chapman. No body parts were wacked, probed or damages in the making of our new Humbug, though we still have plenty of time for that. So congratulations to Charles and our most sincere condolences to his Widder Pat, who apart from being a very classy lady has always been a very good sport. Pat, we'll take Charles on loan, and with any luck you should get him back at next year' Widders' Ball in only a somewhat used condition.
Attendance was up again, though we didn't hit our stated limit of 100 partygoers. At 97 attendees we did get close enough that there is talk of moving the evening's festivities into a party tent where we can accommodate more people and treat the ladies to a red carpet experience and a longer night of dancing. As you'll see from the pictures, this year's revelers really were a very civilized crowd -- except for all the guys in the redshirts. On the other hand the boys do tend to clean up well and seemed to be on their best behavior around our Widders, so all is good.
We also handed out a few awards, so let's congratulate our winners: Kathy Chapman was voted Widder of the Year by our Graybeards. She and Russ (aka XNGH Hole), made significant contributions to the chapter, both in terms of time and money, during the 2013 Clampyear. The Chapman's hosted a major work party at their acreage in Atascadero as well as the Clamperwide, "Widders not in Labor Day," event. But most of all Kathy put up with Russ, whom she personally nick-named "Hole" for reasons that can't be repeated in front of the kids. And if you really think about it, being the Humbug's Widder really is a big deal because I'm sure we have Brothers who would very much like to work their way up to Humbug but can't expect a whole lot of warm gooey moments at home once they broach the subject. Congratulations again to Kathy Chapman, and thanks again for your generous support.
Pat Topping won for Best Dressed Widder in her crimson satin dress with black feathered boa. Marti Charter, last year's Widder of the Year, won for best period costume for her blue iridescent gown and black chapeau don't-cha-no. Sandi Weissenbach won for styling in her red saloon girl outfit, and Luis Bouza won for Best Dressed Dude, though I still think we should have made him strut his stuff and do the Limbo, just on principle, before giving him the award.
In the Raffle Category, Brandi Muniozguren Bailey won the $300 Widders' Grand Prize, and Luis Bouza won the Clamper Grand Prize of free admission to both of our 2014 Clampouts and two tickets to next year's Widders' Ball (or was it Jannina who won and Luis who'll need the kitchen pass to go? Inquiring minds want to know … so stay tooned).
As for those long awaited pictures. This time you get your choice of displays. I've posted HTML and FLASH galleries on Peter's Picture Pages and I've mounted a YouTube slideshow on the Clampdown Page. None of these come with music unless you're willing to hum it yourself, but each format has an advantage. HTML is low bandwidth and plays on any device; Flash is good on desk tops and more nimble, but doesn't work on some cell phones; and YouTube eats up the most data but lets you see the pictures in HiDef and in full screen mode if you favor a whole lot of purdy and a whole lot of ugly all at the same time.
Thanks again to VNGH Jim Bailey and his staff for their hospitality at the Homewood Suites. They were as gracious as ever and I'd encourage you to contact Hilton and give them Kudos for their performance.
Now on to Charles's plans for the 2014 Clampyear, which are on full display on our Humbug's Page. The gist of it is that he is planning two Clampouts, a trip to Grand Council and two erections in the Kern River Valley Area. He'll need our help to get this accomplished, so I encourage all of you to set aside the time to come on up and help, particularly if you haven't worked on an erection before. I know most of you will deny knowing what I'm talking about, but I know your mothers who dutifully washed your socks can put the lie to that one. Somehow redshirts and erections are just a natural match, so I expect to see more of you this summer, especially our officers and functionaries. And just in case you don't know who's to blame, I've posted their mug shots and contact information on the officers' page for 2014.
Lastly, someone asked me about the backside of beer, whose meaning, to answer you truthfully, I do not know. That's not to say that I haven't admired more than my share of backsides. Some fermented on top, some fermented from the bottom, and some had more positions than a White House intern in a blue dress. Pilsners, porters, ales, stouts, lagers, IPAs, wheat beers, bocks, and that trollope known as "light beer." They all need more serious contemplation, so my suggestion is that we adjourn for now, then meet up at the Rockin'JA in a few weeks for a more flavor-filled discussion. 'Til then!
Posted 1.26.14 - By MGM
Thanks to all who made it up to the Widders' Ball! It was a great time. I'll have a new post up in a few days reporting about the ball and our about our annual corporate meeting. You may even see a few pictures so stay 'tooned! --MGM
Posted 1.24.14 - By MGM
Our Widders' Ball is tomorrow, Saturday, January 25, 2014, in Bakersfield. A quick note for those of you who have not prepaid but still want to come. We are near capacity but still have space for a few Redshirts and their dates. Call Charles at (760) 376-1907 if you are interested, and check the flyer for details. For the rest of you, don't worry because you're on the list. Charles and his Widder Pat even have something special for you when you arrive at the Ball. Hospitality begins at 2:00 p.m. Dinner begins at 7:00.
And don't forget, our annual corporate meeting begins at 11:00 a.m., in the Homewood Suites Conference Room. Russ Promises to make it short and sweet. See you there.
Posted 1.17.14 - By MGM
Brothers, the deadline to sign-up for the Peter Lebeck Widders' Ball is here, and if you haven't done your good deed then your Widder is truly in need. Last year's party got rave reviews and we nearly sold out. So if you expect to attend, now is the time to get you dust in the mail or register using Paypal because the deadline is tomorrow January 18th and if we don't have your rub in hand by the time Sawdust Johnson checks the mailbox on Tuesday morning, then you're probably out of luck.
Your buddy Rover knows what I'm talking about because he's used to sleeping in the doghouse, but he'll have plenty of male company when your Widder finds out that you messed up. So what's it gonna be, amigo? A fun filled afternoon and evening for your Widder of dining with friends, dancing and libations? Or cold nights with no sheets, spent telling Rover to move it on over?
There's only one known cure as far as we're concerned and that's to sign up for our 53rd Annual Peter Lebeck Widder's Ball before it's too late. To get started just click on the link to our 2014 Widders' Ball Page. There you'll find everything you'll need to make it to the party, including special discounted accommodations at the Homewood Suites Hotel in Bakersfield. So do it now before it's too late, because you can order pizza, but we don't deliver dog chow.
Posted 12.28.13 - By MGM (as amended)
Happy New Year's, Brothers! This isn't so much a new post as it is an addendum. Our last two posts are very much what is currently going on at Peter Lebeck so I urge you to read them, but I did want to let you know that our outgoing Humbug, Russ "Hole der 1st" Chapman, has posted his closing report to the membership on The Humbugs' Page. Please take a minute to read what he has to say as he prepares to pass on his authority to our incoming Humbug, Charles Topping. I'm personally very proud of Russ for what he has done for us here at PXL, both in his turn as Humbug and for the help and brotherly support he gave me during my turn in the bucket in 2012, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who is grateful to Russ for his work which has helped us continue to thrive as a chapter.
Also the latest version of Peter's Procs will be going out in the mail this week including the Widders' Ball announcement and sign-up sheet. For those of you who read the CLOG there should be no surprises, but if you want to get a jump on the mailman you can download your advanced copy from the Peter's Procs! Page. Of note is the fact that Charles is still looking for someone qualified to fill the slot at Clamps Hostrix. It's not a tough assignment but it does require a certain degree of sacrifice and the ability to play well with others. It's a great slot for anyone looking to advance in Clamperdom. Email Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Lastly don't forget to check out the 2014 Widders' Ball Page for our latest shameless groveling and commercial pitch for this most spendiferous event. Just click on the football! Once there you can easily find your way to a copy of the flyer and a convenient link to our Ball's Paypal Portal. Just make sure to get your rub in right away because space is limited and you do not want to miss out. If you want to sign-up electronically and you are unable to see the sign-up form at the top of the Paypal page, don't worry. Just make sure you include a brief note with your Paypal registration or check. See you at the Ball!
Posted 12.25.13 - By MGM
Merry Christmas! And before you get any ideas, that's a picture of Tony Weaver doing his community service, which I'd like to say was court ordered, but it was actually Tony's idea. He plays Santa every year for the community where he grew up. Seems to me he's struck a nice balance that properly reflects the true spirit of Clamperdom. Besides, I can see where he put his hands, so no worries.
So t'is the season I say! But before I pass on our holiday wishes, there are a few quick things I need to broadcast in order to catch you up, though I do promise to be brief.
First of all the Widders' Ball announcement and Paypal pages are up and functional. I know we got a bit behind on this, but seeing as how we are only a month away you're going to want to make your reservations as soon as you can. Seating is limited, and judging by how we did last year, we could sell out. Whether you wish to use Paypal or not, you can download the flyer from the announcement page. So don't wait for the flyer to arrive in the mail.
Then there is the matter of our annual corporate meeting, which we are required by charter to conduct in January. Since we just had a meeting in November where we got quite a bit done, Hole wanted to save everyone from having to calendar two January trips to Bakersfield, especially for a meeting that will likely take less than an hour.
So here is the formal announcement: Our annual corporate meeting will take place at 11 a.m, on the day of our Widders' Ball, at the Homewood Suites Hotel, 1505 Mill Rock Way in Bakersfield. It will be a combined General Membership and Graybeards' Meeting with the following agenda:
- --Read and approve the minutes from our 2013 annual corporate meeting (Kevin Oviatt, 10 minutes)
- --Report on Chapter finances for 2013 and for our last doin's. (Luis Bouza, 5 minutes)
- --Report on Hawker Store finances and inventory. (Russ Chapman /Kevn Horton, 5 minutes)
- --Set a calendar of events, budget and officer line-up for 2014. (Charles Topping 10 minutes)
- --Formally approve officers and functionaries for 2014. (5 minutes)
- --Selection of Widder of the Year (5 minutes)
- --Adjourn until the formal passing of the Staff of Relief at the Ball.
Hole encourages everyone who is interested to make this meeting. Afterwards you can help set up for the Widders' Ball.
Now on the lighter side, Hole has decreed that before the Staff of Relief can be passed on to our incoming Humbug, Charles Topping, we need to give Brother Charles a real PXL name. Not that there is anything wrong with "AL VII," which was the name that Charles inherited from his time as Humbug of De La Guerra y Pacheco, some years ago. But honestly? Guys from Kernville don't go around with Roman numerals stuck to their names. Charles may as well go around with a sign taped to his butt that says "kick me." Besides, at PXL we're more Brats 'n' Beer than Sword 'n' Sandals.
So in the spirit of the day, we have got to find Charles a proper PXL name, one that will fit him like a glove and stick to him like fly paper. So make sure to bring your own ideas to the Widders' Ball. We'll be passing the hat where you'll be able to deposit your anonymous submissions to be read later. It's the least we can do for a good Brother as he's about to take a turn in the barrel.
If you are curious about what we've been up to, or want to know what we're about, then I encourage you to continue reading down the CLOG. The last post was quite extensive, but I noted a serious omission from our posts which followed our Fall Clampout at Rankin Ranch. So to correct this mistake let us publically welcome and congratulate Mario "Maverick" Orellana and Carlos "Loaf" Lemus on their successful passing of the staff of relief and admission to our order. Both Maverick and Loaf are very young guys -- which suits us just fine because we'll have that many more years to have a laugh at their expense. Welcome, Brothers!
Finally, on behalf of the chapter, please accept our best holiday wishes for you and your family, not just throughout the season but throughout the coming year. As 2013 comes to a close, I'd like to note that though we had a few close calls this year, it looks like all the Brothers of Peter Lebeck will be making it through to the New Year.
That said; let us not turn another page without taking the time to remember the Brothers who have gone before us. Because as Gene Duncker reminds us, if there ever was a problem with E Clampus Vitus, it's that it introduces you to men who begin as friends and that you come to love as Brothers, and then it breaks your heart when you have to let them go. Yet isn't this the very essence -- and mystery -- of Credo Quia Absurdum?
Jose Alfredo Jimenez, the Mexican lyricist and song writer, called it "el más allá" -- a place so far away that once a man goes there he can never return; a place so far in the distance that from here you can never see it; yet we want to believe in it, because it's that place in memory that Clampers call "The Golden Hills."
So to Doc Charter, Kenny Young, Steve Born, Jack Hogue, John Hagelstein, Ed Kuntz, and to the many other beloved Brothers who enriched our lives, taught us so much, made us want to pull our hair out, and more often than not, made us laugh out loud. We sense you in the distance. Please know, dear friends, that we haven't forgotten you. You are sorely missed and warmly remembered on our side of the Golden Hills.
Peace be upon all of us, our families and friends. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from your Brothers at Peter Lebeck.
Posted - 12.4.13 - By Hole and MGM
Congratulations, greetings and blessings from Castel Gandolfo West, on the central coast.
It's been a few days since I flew in from our chapter meeting at Frazier Park, and boy my arms are still tired (ba-da-bum!)
We had a larger than usual turnout, showing renewed interest within our ranks. Thanks guys!
In a nutshell, here's what happened. We got the charter/bylaw moving again, confirming who's on the committee and setting some due dates. We also confirmed Charles Topping to be Humbug next year, with Jim Bailey as his Vice Humbug, while Luis Bouza and Kevin Oviatt are both recycling in their current positions of Gold Dust Receiver and Grand Noble Recorder.
Other Clampfunctionaries are to be announced. Charles is still looking for a Hangman, so if you are interested I suggest you contact Charles or Jim Bailey to throw your hat in the ring. The Hangman is a fun job, but it has HUGE responsibilities, so make sure you find out what the job requires prior to volunteering. The Hangman is one of the brothers who have to provide the "adult supervision" at the doin's. We'll get the rest of the roster filled out by the Spring Doin's.
We also have a new Hawker. Kevn "No Eye" Horton from Tehachapi. (No, that's not a misspelling. Apparently Kevn lost an "I" when he was a kid.)
THANK YOU KEVN!!!
I also had the honor of presenting Timbo with the donations from all the brothers. (Thanks MGM for making this happen!)
I'll let our Cyber Recorder, Mikee "MGM" Ramirez, fill in other details. It's been quite a year for all of us and it's time to take a break, but before I head back to the Turkey there's one more thing.
We've got to get Charles a PXL Clamper-name to replace his 1.5 Clamper-name ("Al the 7th-53rd?"). Somehow that "Al VII" doesn't fit him anymore. If we make up a good one we can let him have it at the Widders' Ball. What do you say?
Hole der 1st PXL XNGH #52
Mikee, here! And the best to all of you during this holiday season. Before moving on to other business, I'd like to congratulate Brother Hole on a very successful year as our 52nd Humbug. It's tough being one of the only adults in the room, let alone being the only real grown-up at a Clampout, but he was able to get us through two great trips without a mishap. We made lots of new friends and lots of happy memories. Our reputation continues to improve, both in the community and throughout Clamperdom, and our chapter continues to grow. So here's to Hole and to all of us. We done good, my Brothers. It's been another successful year!
Now to fill in a few blanks. Hole mentioned the collection that we took up to help out our XXNGH Timbo Gillespie after a medical mishap that nearly stopped his heart and put him in ICU without insurance. Your generosity was very much appreciated. Here's a thank you from the man himself:
Hello My Brothers,
Since joining ECV and the Peter Lebeck Chapter, I've always felt that I was a part of something special. For such an eclectic mix of guys to be able to fraternize, enjoy history and frivolity the way we do, and take an interest in helping others is something phenomenal to see. And being a Redshirt has also always been a source of pride, bringing a sense of satisfaction at being part of something which the general public doesn't have a clue about.
However, the nature of how truly special Clampers really are was recently brought home to me. After being bitten by the Evil Cardiac Fairy (atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure) and making a long visit to the ER with a few days in ICU, I found my uninsured self with a whopper of a hospital bill. My generous brother Redshirts chipped in and took a good chunk off of what will be a long term obligation for me.
For one so used to being on the giving help end of things, being on the receiving end is a humbling and enlightening experience. Even my relatively prodigious vocabulary has left me unequipped to adequately express my gratitude and love for you guys. I know that I shouldn't be surprised, yet I am. Clampers are the finest group of guys I have ever been or ever hope to be associated with. It has been an honor and a privilege to sling vittles for you for some time, and those of you that are new enough members and served part of your initiation in my kitchen know what I mean.
All I can say is a million thanks from the bottom of my heart, and I thank God for affording me the opportunity to be associated with such a fine bunch of fellers. You are honestly the finest people I know, and I'm incredibly grateful to you all for the love, support, and good wishes you have sent my way. Although the word comes a long way from covering my gratitude, I can but say SATISFACTORY! And I can tell you that it's been recorded Upstairs.
Timbo Gillespie PXL XXNGH #49-50
Hole also mentioned that we have a new Hawker. His name is Kevn Horton and he will be ably assisted by his good buddy, Brian St. John. Both Brothers live in Tehachapi, so we can count on some additional serious involvement from two more Kern County residents. Both Brian with an "i" and Kevn without an "i" are experienced Clampers; and Kevn and his wife have a store in Tehachapi where they sells custom souvenirs to the tourists, all of which makes Kevn's business experience a good fit for our Clamper store. So congratulations my Brothers, and may the CARP be with you!
Kevn and Brian represent a good, solid change for our chapter at a very important Clampfunction. But to understand how important and serious this is, I need to give you a little background first.
Part of the ongoing improvement of our chapter has been to make our finances more transparent. For years our finances were a closely shared secret between our Gold Dust Receiver and the Humbug. That's less of a criticism than you might think because we were lucky enough to have good, honest people overseeing our books; but transparency is about more than just making sure that our once and future officers are honest.
Open balance sheets represent our financial history. They show how we bring in revenue, how we spend it, and how much we have. Without that kind of knowledge being available, it makes it much harder for someone new to an office to pick-up where the last guy left off. Cooks budget, Hawkers budget and Humbugs certainly budget: It costs money to put on Clampouts and build monuments and to stock the store and take it around Clamperdom, and costly mistakes can endanger our chapter's future. Moreover Brothers who want to progress through the chairs need to understand how the chapter works financially. Open books promote better planning, sheds light on the effectiveness of our officers, and allow for more informed discussions among all of us about the directions that our chapter should be pursuing and whether we can afford it.
Some feared that if we opened our books there would be pressure to spend what some might regard as surplus revenue. But in my humble opinion the key to solvency has never been secrecy but rather having a competent Humbug and diligent officers who recognize the value of saving for a rainy day and planning for the chapter's future. Or to put it another way, smart is good and ignorant is bad, especially when it comes to the guys spending the money.
That kind of transparency is no less important for our Hawker's Store. Maybe more so. In a good year, our Hawker may bring in as much as two-thirds of our revenue and is entrusted with thousands of dollars of the chapter's money, much of it coming to him in cash. His authority comes directly from our Humbug, who expects the Hawker to take good care of our store, keep an accurate set of books, maintain a list of his suppliers, and deposit all the proceeds in the Hawker Account after each doin's.
Moreover our Hawker doesn't just sell goods at our own doin's but travels with the store around Clamperdom. He procures, and often designs, t-shirts, buttons and other ECV specific items suitable for sale to Redshirts and their Widders, and he often buys these in bulk. At the beginning of each year our Hawker will meet with other Hawkers before the LSD "Bean Feed" up in Auburn, CA and trade for desirable goods, sometimes for barter and sometimes for cash. In a busy year our Hawker may make as many as ten or twelve trips in support Peter Lebeck. And you were wondering why Hole was so jazzed?
So now that Kevn and Brian have bit off as much as any one of us can chew, here's your chance to pitch-in. As our new "Eye Men" take the PXL Store around Clamperdom they could use an extra hand or two willing to help set-up and mind the store. Especially if you have not traveled around to other chapters' doin's, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to gain valuable experience, meet new friends and make new memories. Even one or two trips will improve your outlook on life; make your whites whiter and your colors brighter. And by next year I guarantee that you won't smell so bad (at least not to me). So if you have a spare weekend on your calendar, email Kevn to see when he and Brian are going out to Clamperland. You will have a blast.
Now on to News of the Charles!
We had about thirty guys show up to our meeting in Frazier Park on November 9, 2013. We met in the back room of La Sierra, and I think about all the space we had left was a couple of seats at the bar. From seeing so many familiar faces I can tell you that our chapter continues to grow both by attracting new friends from within Clamperdom as well as by bringing in new PBCs. I personally think your friendliness and spirit of camaraderie has a lot to do with it, so keep it up. We must be doing something right. Fair and balanced, I say!
Anyway to recap, outgoing Humbug Russ "Hole" Chapman, nominated current VNGH Charles Topping to be Humbug Erectus. Luis Bouza and Kevin Oviatt were asked by Charles to stay on as Gold Dust Receiver and Grand Noble Recorder, and Charles nominated Jim Bailey to be his Vice. Kevn Horton was also put forward as Hawker. All nominees were approved by acclamation, and Charles was given leave by the board to name the balance of his clampfunctionaries as he sees fit - but more on that later.
Now a little background on our Humbug Erectus. Charles Topping has the patient demeanor of a man who long ago learned not to sweat the small stuff. Charles is a multitalented guy. He is an accomplished metal smith, has a master's degree in fine arts, has taught at the college level and is a past president of the Kern River Valley Historical Society. Charles claims to be retired but you can often find him in his home workshop laboring over intricate castings, or conducting demonstrations at the Kern River Valley Museum. He has also been a Clamper for about as long as anybody currently active in our chapter, having been elected Humbug of de la Guerra y Pacheco Chapter 1.5, in 1995 (6001). I would characterize Charles as one not prone to nose bleeds and never afraid to get his hands dirty, which makes him a good fit to be Humbug number 53 for Peter Lebeck, where we like to believe we have room for everyone from brain surgeons to drain surgeons.
Jim Bailey, Charles's second in command, is also a great choice. While Jim has not been with us anywhere near as long as Charles, Jim has deep roots in Bakersfield and has the kind of business sense that we are looking for in a future Humbug. Jim is the day to day, hands on manger of the Homewood Suites where we held our Widders' Ball this past January. Both Jim's father and grandfather were in the hotel business; and together with his late father, Jim "Chum" Bailey, our Brother Jim Bailey #2 built two local hotels and earned a general contractors license from the State of California. Jim is also responsible for bringing in a number of solid members to our ranks from the Bakersfield area. I would characterize our Jim as a good church going Brother -- conscientious, generous to his family and friends, and always willing to pitch-in where needed.
But now for the rest of the story . . . Charles is still looking for Clampfunctionaries. He has an immediate need for a Hangman, a Clamps Hostrix, and a Damnfool Doorkeper; but he also needs Hawktackles, Sous-chefs, Libation Tenders, Vigilantes and Circus Members. Also keep in mind that we are not a Camping Club. We build monuments, commemorate history and do good deeds. So while it is against our charter to collect dues, consider your active participation now and again to be the "price" of membership. Not everybody has the resources, patience or time to work their way to being Humbug, but asking your Widder for that kitchen pass now and again to help good ol' PXL to build a monument or prepare for a doin's will definitely grow hair on your chest and cure your Widder's complaints about your "low T."
Also keep in mind that at the moment there is no set upward progression through "the chairs." We are recycling our Gold Dust Receiver and Grand Noble Recorder to make sure that we are solid at those positions for the coming year, but the chapter is always in need of talent up and down the ladder as well as at our doin's. While I'd like to think that our more established members should be the ones guiding the chapter forward, I also understand that we can only get so many volunteers out of a given group of guys at a given time which is why I'd like to see the chapter continue to grow. A Brother who might make a great Humbug if all things were copacetic might still have small children at home or may not have the financial resources to carry off a successful year. That's not to say that we should give up on him, but it does suggest that we should make allowances for our chapter's realities. Only if we all pitch in to help will our chapter thrive.
So . . . If you are interested in volunteering or advancing through the leadership -- regardless of your experience or time with the chapter -- my suggestion is that you give Charles a call or email him. He'll find something for you to do. Most pressing at the moment is for someone familiar with our initiation style to step forward and volunteer to be Hangman. A Brother with a good sense of humor is preferred, but no sadists need apply. PXL initiations are about weeding out pissy guys who aren't cut out to be Clampers and to show the rest of the PBCs why it's so great to be a member of PXL. A good "Hanging" is not about who can absorb the most abuse or inflict the most pain.
Charles is also in need of a Clamps Hostrix to act as a site manager, and to stock and recruit hosts for the libation center. If you are interested but cannot commit to successive years, give him a call anyway. Help is always needed; guys who succeed at their post remain bright prospects for the future.
Now on to the Widders' Ball!
Every Widder knows that the Widders' Ball is about them right? Well at Peter Lebeck it has a dual purpose and that's to make sure that the current Humbug gets thrown out in proper fashion, and by custom that job falls to the incoming Humbug. It's totally subversive, but it's also the incoming guy's chance to show off his mettle . . . just don't tell yer Widder. Remember? It's all about her.
So clear your calendar for Saturday, January 25, 2014, when PXL will be going to the Homewood Suites in Bakersfield for our 53rd Annual Widders' Ball and Demotion Soirée. I'll be posting more about it as we get closer to the date, including the flyer; but many of our guests were so impressed with both the new venue and the party that they were urging us to raise our prices to as much as a $100 a couple.
Well Charles, who is in charge of the Hole Ambush, has said no to that, but he has had to set certain limits in order to keep our party affordable. That means that for the second time in our history attendance will be limited to the first 100 prepaid attendees. So if we sell out, you're out of luck. No exceptions.
If you want to know why, it's because going over that number would raise the cost about $10 per person for every guest, and we'd rather that everyone put that money towards staying overnight than trying to drive home after the party. The last thing we want is for any of our Brothers or their Widders to become highways statistics.
This year the couple's price is $70 and stag is $40, which covers our traditional hospitality room, dinner and dancing, and a complimentary open bar. You will also qualify for a very comfortable accommodation in a very classy place. Brother Jim Bailey's Homewood Suites in Bakersfield is a Hilton business class hotel. The beds are the best in any commercial establishment, and each room includes a full kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Jim has reserved a block of rooms for our Doin's at $79 for a king, and $89 for an upgrade, and most rooms at either price comes wih a pull out sleeper sofa. You gott a admit that when compared to a 502 and that age old prisoner's lament over "La cama de piedra," is the hands down best deal you are going to find in all of Clamperdom, the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Virgin Islands (with or without the virgins).
I'll be posting more about the new "Widder Friendly" menu and special raffle prizes in a an upcoming CLOG, but for now just keep an eye on this space and plan for to join us in Bakersfield on Saturday, January 25, 2014, the weekend before Superbowl Sunday, for our 53rd Annual PXL Widders' Ball! Our electronic sign-up is coming soon, in the meantime check out pictures from last January to ogle the fun.
Plans for the "Year of the Charles."
Charles also announced the location for our Spring Doin's and his plaquing ambitions for the year 6019. Come April 25-27, 2014 (6019), we'll be headed to the mountains above Caliente to be the guest of Jayne Hotchkiss-Price (proprietor) and Al Price (husband), for the 53rd PXL Spring Doin's.
Actually I'm being a little bit hard on Al, only because we plan to induct him that weekend, and I'm obligated to give him a good slice of "what-for?" The truth is that Al and Jayne are both local ranchers and civic boosters. Jayne recently made an honest man out of Al when she married him shortly after our recent fall doin's. They've both offered to help us out, but it happens that Jayne's ranch is the more suitable to our needs for a spring Clampout so she was happy to offer it - and Al - for our upcoming initiation.
All kidding aside, having Al and his Widder aboard is a big deal for us in the history department. Both are well versed in local history and are members of the Kern County Historical Society. In fact they are held in such high regard that they were each asked to address the Graybeards at this year's TRASH Trek. They spoke on the history of the Onxy Store and its 19th Century context.
Charles also has plans for two plaques. First up is the Ardis Walker House, which was the home of noted local historian and politician, Ardis Walker, who died in 1991. Left as a legacy to his alma mater USC, the Artis Walker House contains Artis Walker's personal library of writing, historical references and Clamper memorabilia which span well over sixty years. After graduating from USC in engineering in the late 20's, Ardis went to work for Bell Labs in New York before deciding to return to Kern County in 1932. He went to work as a journalist for the Bakersfield Californian, often writing about the history of the Kern River Valley and its people. Ardis later used his combined expertise in history, engineering and current affairs during his time as a county supervisor in the 1950's, to negotiate with the federal government over the building of the Isabella Dam and the water requirements for Lake Isabella.
As his second offering, Charles would also like to plaque the Noriega Hotel in Bakersfield during the summer doldrums. This will likely be a Saturday or Sunday afternoon family affair, and it's a unique experience that you will not want to miss. The Noriega is a Basque Restaurant that has been serving meals boarding house style in its central dining hall for over a hundred years. Tickets will likely be sold on a prepay basis so make sure you reserve when they come on line because the Noriega typically sells out on summer weekends. The price will be reasonable and you won't be disappointed.
Sounds like great plans for another auspicious year. Charles is still deciding on his calendar for our Fall Clampout which typically falls on the last weekend of September, but this year Rosh Hashanah does not end until sundown on Friday, September 26th. The following weekend is definitely out because it is Yom Kippur, so there is a good possibility that we will be moving our date up into mid or early September. Due to the importance of the Jewish High Holydays for many ECV members, the calendars of the southern chapters tend to shift to avoid conflicts, and we don't want to set our doin's concurrently with too many other local chapters if we can avoid it.
Final Serious Scatological Stuff...
Speaking of Holidays and the like, Brother Tony Weaver donates his time every year playing Santa Claus for the Fountain Valley Historical Society's "Christmas in the Gazebo," down in Orange County. So as Tony says, you can, "Skip the malls, and all the crass commercialism! Come join us for Fun, music, and a visit with Santa. There will be carols and hot cocoa. Admission is Free!!!" Heritage Park, 17641 Los Alamos, Fountain Valley, California. December 14, 2013, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
I think I'm starting to get why Tony likes to play Santa.
Lastly I have this serious note from Dickhead about our Brother Mikee "Maggot" Ralles. DH says he got a call from Carol Ralles, Mike's Widder. "Mike is in the Bakersfield Heart Hospital with a very serious foot infection. He will be there, or in some other hospital, for a few weeks. You can reach him at (661) 316-6000, room #226. Give him a call and let him know how much his redshirt Brothers love and miss him."
'Nuf sed. Peace out. As for me, Thanksgivukkah doesn't end until tomorrow. Think I'll go eat some latkes with my turkey leftovers.
Want to Go Back in Time?
Have a Comment?
Have submissions, errata, or simply want to punch out our cyber-geeks for plastering your mug across the dark regions of the internet? Do it right here. If your wondering what happened to the old Grizz's Notebook page, let's just say it was last seen on an ice flow at freewebs. The new electronic forum is intended to give us all way more room to vent.
We are always looking for good things to add to this site, and for contribution from our members to Peter's Procs, our official chapter news letter. Active members receive the Procs by snail mail along with notices of upcoming events. If it's of interest to you, it may be good enough for us so don't be shy and send it to:
Clamp Crier Gene Duncker, Clampcrier@ecv1866.org
Have photos, comments or stories about a Clamper event you've attended? The PXL website is looking for pictures and comments to add to our site. Our events will be given priority for posting, but since many of us make it around Clamperdom let's make our presence known. Send your comment and digital photos with descriptions to our CyberRecorder-in-Chief:
Posting is restricted to the limits of good taste (though we've been accused of not having any), and to Grand Council Rules. Contact us if you have hard copy worth posting but needs to be scanned for the internet.