September 28, 2014 (6019)
The Fall Doin's is Only 19 Days Away!
Welcome to "Peter's Pages"
The Web Presence of "Peter Lebeck 1866,"
The Kern County Chapter of E Clampus Vitus ®
We're Going to Bald Eagle Ranch (instead)!
Amended 09.28.14 -- Per Curium
Important News of the Charles! Our Humbug Charles Topping has decreed that due to circumstances beyond his control, he is moving the 2014 Peter Lebeck Fall Doin's to the Bald Eagle Ranch in Havilah. To help make up for the change early arrivals will be welcomed from Thursday morning, and our VNGH Jim Bailey has offered to host a BBQ Tri-Tip potluck. His meat. Your beans … or other accoutrements.
As usual, official set-up will begin on Friday morning and fooding starts in earnest with Friday night dinner followed by the evening's entertainment. We will be Clamping in a private meadow owned by XNGH Wes Kutzner and his Widder Janet in the mountains south of Lake Isabella. The plaque dedication will also be changed from Saturday morning to Sunday due to this change of location.
Last week the concessionaire operating the French Gulch Group Campground informed Charles that parking for campers and trailers would not be allowed on the campsite's perimeter road due to fire issues, and overnight parking on the adjacent parking lot would not be available. As a result French Gulch is no longer a suitable location for our fall doin's so Charles had to pull the plug. The forest service has also refused to loan us the flush toilets and the lake for use at our Havilah Clampsite, but we have successfully Clamped at Bald Eagle before.
The Humbug so decrees and guarantees, and he will apologize for any inconvenience -- just as soon as we unstrap him from the waterboard. While we may no longer have a lake in which to swim and fish, given the substantial puddle left behind by our Humbug, mud baths will be available upon request!
Click here to download the revised flyer which includes directions. Refresh the page if the flyer doesn't say "Bald Eagle Ranch." As you'll see, the main difference is that we are moving from the lake to the mountains. Our planned activities remain the same. The Bald Eagle Ranch is just off the Caliente Bodfish Road. The entrance is at a bend in the road 7.3 miles south Highway 178, or 1.9 miles north of the Havilah Courthouse, depending on your direction of travel.
You can still use the electronic sign-up and Paypal portal on our Fall Doin's Page to register. Changes to our webpages will be posted shortly so check back soon. The map on the left should also help you out. If you have already sent in your rub, and would like to cancel your reservation, contact Charles at registration@ECV1866.org and we will arrange for a full refund, but we do hope you'll stick with us for this one. Same Clampout, different place, same fun.
As Amended - 09.21.14 -- By MGM
Hello Fellow Cloggites. This is one of those "bad news, good news" posts, but in the end everything is copecetic and we've come out very much ahead! Last Sunday Morning, our Humbug, Charles Topping, received a call from the forest service cancelling our reservation at Tillie Creek due to problems with a faulty water main which won't be fixed until April. That actually turned into be a good thing because by Monday afternoon Charles was able to rent the entire French Gulch group campsite just a bit down the road. So French Gulch, here we come!
In fact French Gulch is a much better fit and a much better facility than Tillie Creek. We'll have the whole place to ourselves with amenities that include a covered pavilion, running water, flush toilets and a location almost right on the lake. And for those of you who love trees, they'll be plenty of those for you to hug. The only downside is that the capacity is limited to 100 Clampers. So if you are planning to attend, just make sure to get your application in pronto for the weekend of October 17th. And don't forget, the prepay discount ends October 7th so get your rub in soon!
Other than that, things should be pretty much the same. French Gulch is right off of Highway 155 just like Tillie Creek. It's just a bit closer to the town of Isabella and a bit farther from Kernville, but not so far as to interfere with Saturday's dedication at the Ardis Walker House or any of our other plans for Friday Night or Saturday. Check out the little map embedded at the end of this post for a good thumbnail sketch. I've spent the last few days revising the directions and other information on our website, including our registraion pages and the Infallible Fillable Flyer, so make sure to click over to the 2014 Fall Doin's Page to get started because the last thing we want is for any of our Brothers to get lost trying to find us.
On a related subject, I've also had some well taken inquiries about "stuff" which I'd like to address here. Sometimes I forget that what's obvious to be me maybe isn't so obvious to others. And sometimes I just miss stuff, which is why I always encourage everyone to double check my work. So don't kvetch, read!
Now here's a few FAQs.
I am a PBC. Can I pay separately or does my sponsor have to do it for me?
PBCs are most welcome to send in their own rub, either by snail mail or by using our Paypal portal. Just make sure to let us know in writing who your sponsor is. If you're sending us a check, write the sponsor's name in the memo space. If you're using Paypal, do this: Go to our Fall Doin's Page and click on the Paypal button. You do not need to fill out the electronic application to use Paypal, but please include the name of your sponsor in the "special instructions" box so we can match up your paperwork with his. Either way, you will not get into the doin's unless you have paid AND have completed an application and waiver. All of those things can be submitted in person at the doin's but you must be there, with your sponsor, before the cut-off time for PBCs.
I'm a Redshirt. If I paid using Paypal why do I have to fill out an application?
Yes. I'm surprised you'd even ask that, Dumbillicus. The application is for the purpose of keeping accurate membership records including how to send you future doin's announcements and whom to call in case you end up in the hospital or are incapacitated. We're serious about this stuff. We always treat your information as private, but part of our job is to look out for both our spring chickens and our more senior members, and the last thing we want is a pullet surprise. We've even gone so far as to provide an electronic registration form and a fillable printable mail-in form -- for OUR convenience -- because no one can expect us to decipher chicken-scratched, beer-stained, application forms completed with 64-color crayon box leftovers and stubby number 3 pencils. If we can't read it you don't get in, capice, Bro'?
What's the tradition behind the "sick jackass" and what is it for?The oldest tradition in E Clampus Vitus is the prohibition against collecting membership dues. In the Days of '49, Poor Blind Candidates didn't just lose the "scales of blindness" by surviving their initiations; they also had to "lubricate" the doin's at their own expense. But here was the deal -- once the Brothers let you in, you were in for good; no dues.
To preserve that tradition modern chapters do not collect dues but will often have a "sick jackass" fund to help with the expense of mailing doin's announcements. As in, "I couldn't make it up to the doin's 'cuz my jackass got sick so here are few bucks to help out." At PXL we build the cost of snail mail into the rub for our paid events, so if you attend our Spring or Fall Doin's or our Widders Ball, we keep you on our mailing list for two years. Paying into the Sick Jackass ensures that if you haven't been to one of our doin's for awhile we'll keep you on the active list just as if you had attended one of our paid functions. Sometimes guys will even send us a few bucks just for the sake of camaraderie. No lie.
I signed up using the electronic registration form, do I still have to send back the form I received in the mail?
Sure, and if you'd like to pay twice that would be great. Well, not really. The whole point to the electronic form is to replace the mail-in application where possible. The web based sign-up goes straight to our Recorder and, because it's always typed, it's always legible. After you fill out the form hit the "submit" button, just make sure that you receive an acknowledgment by email that we have your completed application. When you get to the doin's our damn Fool Door Keeper will have you review your submission. Just sign off, and you're good to go.
And before I sign-off myself, I'd like to share a gem I found on the web. It's a site called Nature Alley, by Alison Sheehey, of Weldon, California. If you have an interest in nature beyond the "If I can eat it, maybe I can kill one" variety, you really ought to take a look at this fascinating site full of information about the flora and fauna in and around Kern County. If you are into birding, this is a very valuable resource, but there are also butterflies, bugs, fish, reptiles and amphibians; plants and trees; and useful links to nature resources throughout the San Joaquin Valley, Kern River area and Mojave Desert. As an avid photographer, Ali has illustrated her site with hundreds of photos of her subjects and divided them into many useful lists. She also has posted photos from her nature trips out and about. Definitely worth more than a look-see, and it's from years of work by a resident of the Kern River Valley. She also loaned us the cool map of the sites around Lake Isabella because she knows Clampers tend to get lost. (Actually I made that part up, but yeah. You guys do tend to get lost. It's part of our "Natural History.")
I'll be back soon. Until then, you know where to find me.
Posted - 08.24.14 -- By Hole and MGM
Hello fellow Cloggite, and welcome! We've had over 250 Brothers drop by so far to check out our Fall Doin's Pages, so if you are thinking about joining us at Tillie Creek October 17-19, 2014, now is the time to sign up for one of the best weekend outings in all of Clamperdom. Just scroll down to the next post to get the skinny or just click here to go straight to the registration pages. Your Brothers here at Peter Lebeck are really enthusiastic about this one and are just itching for your company.
And while you're cogitating on that, don't forget this -- Our Clampatriarch Russ "Hole" Chapman and our Widder of the Year Kathy Chapman will be hosting the 2014 "Widders Not in Labor Day" Campout at their ranchette in Atascadero, Thursday, August 28th through Monday, September 1st. Designed to give your Widder a break, this is a family event open to all Redshirts in goodstanding, and their non-Clamper guests. It's a way to show our appreciation to our Widders, the object being to get them to chill while the guys do all the work. Kids are most welcome and there are also plenty of things to do in and around town. Hole tells me that the weather is expected to be excellent this year, with temperatures in the low 80's. Here's the Hole Post:
2014 Widders Not in Labor Day in Cushing, Ca. (Labor Day Weekend)
What better way for the brothers of absurdity to celebrate our Widders than to gather in a town that never was, but is still on the map to this day…Cushing, California.
Gather one and all to let the Widders worry about what to do, if everyone has enough to eat, and if the dishes are done. Why will they worry? Because the Redshirts have the duty this weekend!
The originators of this event, and the regulars, knew from the onset that WnILD was not just a Raymond, California event (as fine a center of history as Raymond is), but a Clamper-event to be shared. So, last year with attendance waning and the heat rising, we sought to take the show on the road. Somehow the Widders decided that the central coast would be a good idea…and my list of honey-do's got a whole lot bigger.
This year the schedule is more free-lance. We're trying to get access to the Santa Margarita Ranch as a history tour, but a trip to the Pozo Saloon may have to do. Other than that, here's the rough schedule:
- Gates open for camping at 15920 Chispa Rd., Atascadero, CA (limited earlier arrivals welcome).
- - Breakfast
- - Self Guided tours of local attractions (see below)
- - Open grill and stove for pot-luck dinner
- - fire/chat for the adults, entertainment for the kids (see below)
- - Breakfast
- - Self Guided tours of local attractions (see below)
- - Possible wine tour on Big Red if we can get the insurance squared away
- - Open grill and stove for pot-luck dinner
- - Fire/chat for the adults, entertainment for the kids (see below)
- - Repeat
- - Clean-up, head back home
- Wineries - http://www.slocountywineries.com
- Atascadero Zoo - https://charlespaddockzoo.org
- Pismo Beach - http://www.classiccalifornia.com
- San Luis Obispo - http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g33026-San_Luis_Obispo_San_Luis_Obispo_County_California-Vacations.html
- Cambria - http://www.cambriachamber.org
- Cuyucous - http://www.zvents.com/cayucos_ca/events/show/334615763-cayucos-labor-day-peddlers-faire
- Hearst Castle - http://www.hearstcastle.org
- Pozo and the Santa Lucia off road area - http://www.pozosaloon.com http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pozo,_California
- TV (got Dish here and lots of movies on DVD and tape. Got isolated rooms for kid movies)
- Pets (horses, dogs, donkeys, horses, cats)
- Games (Xbox, badminton, croquet, horse shoes, bocce ball)
- Exploring (got miles of open wilderness next door)
- Outdoor showers, $2 for showers, $7 to watch (just kidding!)
- 4G cell tower so you can keep in touch or… whatever…
Hole der 1st, XNGH firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted - 08.16.14 -- By MGM
Welcome back fellow Cloggites! The Fall Doin's registration pages are now online, but first, inquiring minds want to know whether I got permission from Hoss and Hornhead to post their display of jovial camaraderie in our Jackass Space. Well the answer is "NO." And that means that when they see this they are either going to hunt my corn fed *ss down and smush it into pin-o-le, or they are going to be laughing so hard that they'll end up holding hands together in the hernia ward down at Bakersfield Memorial. Either way, that's good news for you because it means Peter Lebeck will have extra space for you and your PBCs to attend our annual Fall Doin's at Tillie Creek Campground come October 17-19, 2014.
We've made it SOOOOO EASY… because all you need to do is click here to go to our electronic flyer page where you'll find everything you'll need to register and then some -- including the latest copy of Peter's Procs, the latest PBC Handbook, a new and improved Internet Sign-up portal and a link to our Pay Pal Page. You'll even find a map at the bottom and links at the top, all designed to sucker you into coming to our Doin's. Brother, you may never have to walk to your mailbox again!
And even for Brothers who are dead set on spreading their germs by licking 49 cent stamps and writing rubber checks, we've still got you covered. Just click over to the same electronic flyer page to download a copy of our Infallible Fillable Flyer where bad printing and illegible handwriting are never an issue. Just use our form to fill in the blanks. Then print it out, sign it and mail it in with your rub.
Now we here at the CLOG are very much aware that due to crowded Clamping Calendars many of you reading this have never attended a PXL Clampout. Well we've set this one late in the season to give every Redshirt who'd like to come out and join us a chance to attend. We've reserved a good venue, are expecting good weather, and have plenty of space for tents and RVs. And while I don't want to ruin all the surprises of clamping with the friendly Brothers of PXL, here are a few highlights.
First of all for a mere $55 prepaid ($75 for PBCs), our chapter won't make you slippery but we will feed you from Friday night through Sunday morning -- starting with our Humbug's Choked Chicken Poulet -- which is the first of four hot meals plus a continental breakfast on Sunday. Then after Friday dinner you'll want to join the friendly ridicule and madcap mayhem of "The CLONG Show," PXL's version of open mic night. Volunteer a joke, a song, a story, a poem and try to beat the CLONG. Then afterwards kick back to Russ Hole's "Queen Califa Cl'Ampitheatre and Sinerama," and enjoy Hole's collection of absurdist video shorts.
Saturday begins with our Graybeards' Potluck Breakfast. We supply the eggs, you bring us your breakfast meat, tortillas etc. We'll cook it up to kick start a day of massive protein overload second to none --including our Humbug's Super Weenie Lunch, and Timbo's One pound Ribeye Steak Dinner served with all the fixing and his multi-award winning Super Beans!
Saturday's hit parade will also include the plaquing of the Ardis Walker house in Kernville, where after the dedication you'll be able to tour the house and see some of our late Brother's historic Clamper Memorabilia. Then join us back at Tillie Creek for lunch and our self-lubricating Graybeards' Examination. Bring a PBC to one of our Doin's and you can be sure that he'll be getting plenty of personalized attention from our Board and the assembled Brethren. Just make sure he's brought a really good bribe to be remembered by.
I'll have to stop there for now, but there's plenty more details on our registration pages to get you going and to sucker you in. Every admission includes a patch of the day, but don't miss the October 7th deadline to lock-in the prepay price of $55. After that it's $10 more. Timely prepays are also eligible to buy their very own personalized PXL "Bear that Ate Peter" coffee mug for $10. Just make sure to include an accurate and legible spelling of the name you want on your mug.
Now on to some major errata and mea culpas, because I really stepped in it this time, though this boo-boo may actually help us widen our circle of friends. In my post from June 6th I gave credit to our chapter and to the Havilah Historical Society for researching the St. Joseph's Cemetery and discovering its history. Well that is flat out incorrect and I apologize - especially to the lady historians - for my jumping to conclusions when a couple of phone calls would have set me straight.
Credit goes to the "Cemetery Interest Group," which was begun a couple of years back by some history minded friend from Tehachapi. The group has grown since then, and the bunch of them now have regular meetings on the last Friday of each month to discuss their research. Think of it as "Gardenweb.org" for the cultivation of the dearly but planted departed. Important to our our story are members Janice Haggin-Armstrong from Tehachapi, John Codd from Bakersfield and our own Jayne Hotchkiss-Price from Walker Basin.
The real story goes like this. Sometime last year, John was doing research at the Beale Memorial Library in Bakersfield. The Beale is said to have the best collection on the history of Kern County anywhere, and part of this gem includes a room dedicated to Kern genealogy.
So one day, not too long ago, John was tracing his way through these archives and found a reference to a burial in Havilah's old St. Joseph's Cemetery. He thought enough of it to bring it to the group's attention. Little was known about the cemetery. The parish had moved in 1873, about the time that Havilah lost its status as the county seat, but apparently burials had continued sporadically for many years even after the church building had burned down. Janice Haggin-Armstrong offered to follow-up. Janice practically lives on top of a cemetery herself which helps explain her curiosity about this kind of stuff. She picked-up the phone and called the offices of the Fresno Catholic Diocese to see if they could help. If you are wondering how the Catholic Church could possibly lose a cemetery, consider that the Fresno Diocese covers 35,000 square miles, and encompasses eight central California counties, including Kern. Losing a tiny pioneer cemetery established by a 19th Century circuit riding priest is not a hard thing to imagine, and when Janice called her good news was well received. She found herself on the other end of the line with Carlos Rascon, the cemeteries director for the diocese, who is himself a history buff; and Carlos enthusiastically completed the research. Our Jewish Brothers would call that a mitzvah, or maybe even two.
As was reported in the original story, the diocese was quite pleased to rediscover that it owned the little cemetery and Bishop Ochoa decided he wanted to do something special to commemorate the pioneers buried there. That brought our friend Janyne Hotchkiss-Price into the picture. Jayne knew that our Humbug, Charles Topping, was in need of a choice place to plaque. She also remembering that Havilah once had the first Catholic Church in Kern County, and knowing that the diocese was interested in formally memorializing the people buried at St. Joseph's, she suggested our most recent monument on the site of the old church. She also physically helped to raise the erection. What more could a Clamper ask of his Widder?
By the way. The bishop did eventually show up to reconsecrate the cemetery and to bless the cemetery's new headstone inscribed with the names of all those know to be buried at St. Joseph's, but he was a day late. So the question is: If we were to extend an invite to one of these two guy to come Clamping, would we invite Carlos or would we invite the Bishop? They both seem like Clamper material.
As for John, he sounds like our kind of guy. As for Jayne and Janice, they'd likely leave all of you guys in the dust. 'Nuf sed.
Speaking of plaquing and historical outreach to the greater historical community, our Vice Noble Grand Humbug, Jim Bailey has been working hard on both. As reported on the PXL CLOG back in April, Jim and NGH Charles Topping met with the Kern County Historical Society to offer our help and support with future plaquing projects particularly in the Bakersfield area. The good news is that we've been invited back to meet with their new board on Saturday, January 17, 2015. Jim is our "Goto Guy" on this, so any help you can offer our friend "Fury" is appreciated, including you attendance at that upcoming meeting in Bakersfield. Back in the 70's and 80's we mounted a number of plaques in conjunction with KCHS, so it would be nice to reestablish old ties.
Jim has also been working hard on next year's erections, and has already submitted drafts on two projects which have been approved by the owners of those properties. One is the West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, where we would be pouring a monument inside the museum's gated area. The subject matter would be the Jameson #17 oil derrick and the establishment of the museum. The second erection would be a plaque at Ethel's Old Corral Café in Oildale. The building dates from the 1940's, and it's a watering hole and restaurant known for its eclectic clientele. Whether you're riding a car, motorcycle or horse, all are welcome at the Old Corral Café. The dates for these plaquings have not been set, but we would likely be Clamping at Camp Okihi the weekend of the Oildale dedication.
Lastly never say never, but it looks like we are going to see less of our celebrated Brother, Gene "Dickhead" Duncker come January's Widders' Ball, because as fast as you can say "Super Bowl XLIX," he and Widder Lumpy are moving to Nevada where they have purchased a retirement home with a one horse garage. As our Clampcrier, we have always been able to count on DH to do the crying part really well and his PBC History Lesson is second to none; but Gene may not be around next year to help out. So if you have someone you've been wanting to invite into the chapter, you definitely want to bring him in at this next Doin's so that he can benefits from Gene's knowledge of PXL and ECV.
Sorry to have to end on a sad note, Brothers, but the truth is that everything has to change sometime. So when you see Dickhead, made sure to give him a big hug and thank him for everything he's done for the chapter over the last twenty four years. You'll make him cry, but would you expect anything less of Gene?
Posted - 08.09.14 -- By MGM
Today marks the 70th Birthday of that great Ursine-American, Smokey Bear, and before you tell me there is no Smokey Bear, you might as well deny the existence of Santa Claus, because - neener, neener, nearer - I can't hear you! Besides I saw him up at the Havilah Days street faire a couple of months ago, hanging out with these two firemen from the Forest Service and a couple of our redshirted Brethren. He is also prone to giving hugs to small children, and none of them is going to tell you that Smokey doesn't exist.
Now according to Smokey's Wikipedia page (which no one is supposed to cite but I will because I don't want to be accused of plagiarizing), Smokey made his first appearance by way of a lithographic poster on August 9, 1944, as part of a government campaign to boost wild fire awareness. A cartoon bear in blue jeans and a campaign hat was depicted using a bucket of water to put out a rather sketchy campfire, and the rest is anthropomorphic bear history. The beloved, big furry guy has been urging us to do the right thing ever since. And who among you is going to argue with that?
As a boy I learned that there was a real, live Smokey Bear and that he lived in the National Zoo, in Washington, D.C. This is true, and you can read his story on SmokeyBear.com, which is Smokey's official website. Rescued from a burning forest by firefighters who had barely survived the fire themselves, the tiny bear cub was spotted clinging to the top of a tree where he had climbed to escape the flames. His hind legs and paws were badly burned but with some good veterinary care the little guy pulled through. His was also a kind of "ursine interest" story that resonated with the public and which made the cub a symbol of fire prevention across America. It was in that spirit that the Government of New Mexico presented the bear as a gift to the American People. Smokey lived out his days at the National Zoo as an inspiration to all. When he passed on in 1976, Smokey's remains were returned to his native New Mexico, where he is buried at Smokey Bear State Historical Park, in Capitan, New Mexico, not far from where the firefighters rescued him as a cub in 1950.
Posted - 07.27.14 -- By MGM
We just wanted to let you know that it's time for you to sit down, take a deep breath, and get ready for a major announcement. If you haven't checked you chonies lately, about now would be a good time to do that, because what you need to experience is a "change you can believe in," and it's one we'd like to believe in too. But we'd prefer to take your word for it.
So keep an eye on the CLOG, as our Humbug Charles Topping continues to make earthshattering decisions about our Fall Doin's. He's won't change our weekend from October 17th-19th, but he has changed the location from Frandy Park to Tillie Creek campground, which is his way of keeping us away from the curious eyes of downtown Kernville and giving us the additional space needed to let Clampers be Clampers.
So keep your eyes glued to this page, because in a matter of days you'll have access to everything you'll need to know and everything you'll need to sign-up for our most splendiferous Fall Doin's. Peace out!
Posted - 07.14.14 -- By MGM
Yep! It's a Can Can Do Moment, and yes, it is Bastille Day! But before we get your bail together, turn you over to the "sans coulottes," stuff you with Freedom Fries and let them parade you through the streets of Paris, we want to let you know that our Humbug, Charles Topping has decreed that our Fall Clampout will take place October 17-19, 6019, at the Frandy Park Campground in Kernville, CA. There will be a concurrent erection at the Ardis Walker House, probably on Sunday. Please save the date. Additional details will be posted soon here on the CLOG and on our Facebook page. And vive la différence!
Posted - 06.09.14 -- By MGM
Hello, Cloggites! This will be a short post, but one you'll hopefully find worthy of your time. If nothing else you can use it as a convenient excuse to avoid mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage. Just tell your Widder that it's all that %$*# Mikee's fault for putting up a CLOG so soon after the last one, and that you had to stay inside because you didn't have an extension cord long enough to take the computer out into the yard with you. Of course, if you're reading this on a cell phone or laptop, you're on your own.
Anyway here's the skinny on our latest erection and on our Humbug's plans for the coming fall season. And don't forget. You can see bigger versions of many of the photos posted here on the CLOG just by clicking on them.
First of all, thanks to everyone who came up to witness our plaquing of the site of the old St. Joseph Church and Cemetery in Havilah, California. The ceremony was part of the annual Havilah Days celebration put on by the Havilah Historical Society, formerly known as the Havilah Centennial Group when it was established back in the 1960's to celebrate the town turning 100 years old. Aside from putting on the annual street fair which is a whole lot of fun, HHS was responsible for building and continues to maintain the replica schoolhouse and courthouse where the town's museum and diorama are housed.
There is little left of the town's original buildings, but back in the 1860's Havilah served as the Kern County seat, and its downtown boasted over 100 structures including Kern County's first Catholic Church. Well St. Joseph's Church burnt down in the 1870's, and was never rebuilt. The gold fields in and around the Kern River Valley played out, and the parish, along with the county seat, was moved to Bakersfield.
And that left both a 140 year old mystery and a subject for us to plaque. The Havilah Historical Society has an ongoing interest in researching the origins of Havilah, and Charles, our Humbug, had an interest in plaquing something (He told us he was gonna do that when we made him Humbug). The old cemetery about 250 yards south of the Havilah Courthouse held a lot of mutual interest, but nobody knew who the cemetery belonged to, so HHS went to the property records and discovered that it belonged to the Catholic Diocese of Fresno.
Well the Fresno diocese is huge in terms of its land mass. It covers Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Mariposa and Tulare Counties, and it turns out that the diocese had "lost" this cemetery many years ago. It had been part of the old St. Joseph Church, and it only had about 25 people buried in it, with the first burial having occurred in 1875 and the last in 1961. So being the good guys that we are we went knocking on the chancery door to tell the diocese that we had found their cemetery.
Bishop Ochoa really was quite surprised by our find and was happy to get it back. So this past Sunday became a three-fer. Fourteen Redshirts and most of their Widders' attended the Havilah Days festival and had a great time. Then at 1 p.m. we dedicated the concrete and stone monument you see here marking the site of the pioneer church and cemetery which were established in 1866. This plaque was jointly sponsored by HHS and PXL. A short time later, on the cemetery grounds themselves, an emissary from the Fresno Diocese blessed a new, 330 pound granite marker paid for by the diocese and engraved with the names of those known to be buried at St. Joseph's. He also thanked HHS and the Clampers for restoring this place to light and these souls to memory.
I like happy endings. But I also don't want you to think that this was in anyway a sad day. We had a great time making new friends at Havilah Days, and just to prove it, I've posted about a 100 pictures which you can see by clicking the links on Peter's Picture Pages. I've also posted them as an eight minute YouTube slideshow which is easily accessible to the public by clicking the Clampdown link in the links box. There's nothing remotely embarrassing about these pictures so I encourage you to pass this link around so that others - Clampers and non-Clampers alike - can see what we do.
This was a valuable experience for us. PXL can muster the time and dust to erect one and sometimes two monuments a year, but by necessity our plaquing is often accomplished in remote places. At Havilah we had much more than the usual exposure and we had both favorable responses and inquiries about membership. Best of all there were plenty of people around who were able to see our Clampers making a positive contribution to their community.
Now on to our fall plans and New of the Charles! According to Charles the plaquing of the Ardis Walker house in Kernville is back on, and it will be done in conjunction with our Fall Clampout. There is no firm date as of yet, though it is typically at the end of September. A lot will depend on finding a suitable Clampground away from the public that will accommodate RVs. I'll be sure to post and email the time and location of our Fall Doin's just as soon as Charles gives me a heads-up. The full details will follow later.
Charles also says that this erection is going to be easier than the last one. Due to zoning requirements in Kernville we will not be building a free standing monument but will instead be affixing our plaque to a conspicuous location on the outside of the residence itself. Or in other words the Ardis Walker House IS the erection, we're just putting something on it. Consider our plaque to be a prophylaxis against fading historical memory. We should also have some nice biographical materials on Ardis Walker to include in our keepsake. Capice?
OK. That's all for now. I'm getting out of here before my bad jokes get me fired.
As Amended - 06.01.14 -- By MGM
Hello fellow Cloggites, and welcome back to another shameless but exciting edition of the PXL CLOG. For those of you who logged on to see the Pole Dancing, we're sorry to have to disappoint you, but we've had to cancel this most special event due to gout. Injuring anyone of eastern European or Slavic descent just to promote the CLOG is unacceptable to our editorial staff here at PXL, though we are certainly not above bruising a few egos or eating our share of kielbasa.
Still we hope that you will stick around because we have quite a few things to cover. We have a summer erection coming up next Saturday, a recap from Grand Council, news of our recent Spring Doin's, and other significant tidbit and detritus that are sure to entice you to delve into the bowels of our website, so stick around.
First off, our Humbug Charles Topping invites one and all to our summer erection commemorating the old Catholic Cemetery at Havilah, California, on Saturday, June 7th at 1:00 p.m. This monument dedication is part of the annual Havilah Days celebration which starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 4 in the afternoon so make sure to come early and bring your family. In between you will be able to tour the town museum and sample the food and refreshments, but make sure to bring some coin and your best redshirt. Full regalia is appreciated but expect it to be warm, so you'll also want make sure you're well hydrated if you expect to stick around. Contributors to this event include our newly minted brother Al Price, his Widder Jayne, and the Havilah Centennial Group, which will be sponsoring a barbeque. XNGH Wes Kutzner and his Widder Janet are also contributors to this effort as long time Havilah Boosters, and Charles and his Widder Pat will be serving sarsaparilla.
The cemetery dates from 1866, back when Havilah was still at the center of mining activity in and around the Kern River Valley and was vying to be the county seat of the newly incorporated Kern County. The cemetery is located about 300 yards uphill from the historic Havilah Courthouse. The Diocese of Fresno will be celebrating a second memorial with the names of those laid to rest at the Havilah site. For additional information call Charles at (760) 376-1907, or email him at ccTopping@gmail.com.
The Grand Council of E Clampus Vitus was convened at the Sonora Fairgrounds in Sonora, California on May 16-18, 2014. While many regular Redshirts and their Widders make a point of showing up and starting the party ahead of time, it is in fact the annual get together of Graybeards from all over E Clampus Vitus. The formal parts of this conclave includes meetings of the Board of Proctors, where problems are addressed, new Sublime Officers are chosen and proctors who are termed out are replaced. There is also a meeting on Saturday, analogous to a corporate shareholders meeting, where only Graybeards are allowed to attend. The new corporate officers are announced and installed and each chapter's current Humbug is expected to give a report. Other side meetings include a gathering of the Dumbillican Brotherhood, a report by the "Committee of One," and the selection of the Clamper of the Year.
Out most esteemed Brother, Gene "Dickhead" Dunker, PXP, has this report about this year's Grand Council:
First and foremost; CONGRATULATIONS to Dave "Soggydough" Bond for being chosen as Clamper of the Year. It is an honor long overdue him. Dave goes everywhere and helps everyone. Dave is the perfect blend of history, frivolity and fraternity. I've known him for 20 years, and consider him as one the treasures of ECV, as well as my friend.
Now, on to the political news: Our new Sublime Noble Grand Humbug is Ken "Dorsal" Berry, from Lost Dutchman Chapter. The "Nameless" position was filled by Jim Waterman (Chapter 58). The new SGNR is Brian Nash (Billy Holcomb). Three new Proctors were appointed to replace the three "has beens." They are Mike Eckley (Mt. Charlie), Dan McCormick (Doc Maynard) and Greg Simas (Bodie). Greg will be the contact Proctor for PXL.
We have a new Chapter in ECV! James Marshall Chapter was granted their Charter, after many long, hard years of struggle. Their territory is in Amador County and parts of El Dorado County. No news yet on the date and place of their Charter Doin's. Also, there is a group in Montana who has been granted "fledgling outpost" status. That is the first step towards becoming a Chapter. They're calling themselves "The Four Georgians", #4681. There is also a group trying to get some recognition and activity going in the "lesser seen" parts of Nevada. Maybe they will apply for fledgling status next year.
Things were sure different for PXL this year at GC. No tents, no spaghetti or jambalaya, no bar, no flags, etc. They hardly knew we were there at all, with only five of us in attendance (Bond, Charles, No-Eye, Captain America and DH). But, we had fun and the store made a few bucks. So, all was well.
Just to elaborate a bit on Dickhead's commentary. Yeah, PXL has had a greater Grand Council presence in past years, and yes we do need to beef it up where we can, but no one can complain about the quality of our presence - as in Dave Bond, Charles Topping, Kevn Horton, Dale Turner and Gene Duncker.
So let me brag a bit on Dave Bond, because he's one of our own. Many of you know him as that quiet guy in the little white pick-up truck. He is a friendly and generous man. If he sees that you've had a rough night, he's the first one to offer you a cup of coffee. Though Dave travels all over Clamperdom, he's a Lebeckian Brother who rarely misses a PXL Clampout even though he has to drive down all the way from San Francisco to join us. And though Dave was Humbug of YB1 back in 1997, he never puts on airs.
As most of you know, I've been taking picture of all your ugly mugs for some years now, but the truth is that some of you guys just seem more photogenic than others. One of my favorite subjects is Dave Bond, probably because when I get to post production something about his images always seem to say, "No matter how stressful life can be, life is still good." A relaxed slouch and hands in pockets; when I see Dave doing the "Soggy Shuffle" I know things are going to be all right. Congratulations on being named "Clamper of the Year," Dave, you truly deserve it.
Gene's comment about how few of us, both Graybears and non-Graybeards, showed up to Grand Council also brought to mind our friend and mentor, Kenny Young, whom I think had a lot to do with our past attendance.
Some of you never got to know our Clampcook Emeritus, Kenny "Cookie" Young. He served as our Humbug in 1985 and 2000, and in later years, became quite a fixture at Grand Council. PXL would set up in a prominent spot, with our awnings and trailers and bar, and Kenny would cook up a big pot of spaghetti back in the days before hospitality became a "thing." Hungry brothers and their Widders could count on Cookie's Friday Night pot of spaghetti. The tip jar was out, but no one was turned away.
In 2008, Cookie came down with cancer. It was his last year on this side of the Golden Hills, but it was also the year he had been elected to the "Committee of One," which -- but for his health -- obligated Cookie to make a report to the Dumbillican Brotherhood on Grand Council weekend. No one would have criticized him had he chosen to stay home, but Cookie was a committed Clamper; and as sick as he was Kenny Young made the trip to Sonora, made his report, and with the help of Dickhead and others, served up that free spaghetti one last time. No one who knew our Cookie passed up the opportunity to say goodbye, and a few days later he left us having done what he loved to do. So, yah, if we take Kenny as a benchmark and as an example, there should be more of us at Grand Council next year.
Now on to news of the Spring Doin's!
First of all congratulations to our new members, Al Price, Andre Villaseñor and Scott Gow, and to our Hangman Brian "B-Dog" Fox who did a great job shepherding his flock into enlightenment. As PBCs, our FNGs pitched in cheerfully from the time they arrived. There wasn't a pissy guy in the bunch. Even Dickhead remarked that this was the first time he had three guys in the kitchen who actually knew how to cook and understood the magical significance of Teflon.
B-Dog's hard work and creativity also shone through in the comic performance of his PBCs as we kicked off the our Graybeards' Examination. Both a sense of camaraderie and humor is expected of anyone who is initiated at PXL, and Brian was able to impart that spirit to his charges in a way that will benefit all of us for many years to come. Clamping is no place for guys who can't laugh at themselves or take a joke at their own expense, and Al, Andre and Scott all were able to inhabit that spirit. They also worked well together, often suggesting themselves where they could help whenever they saw something that needed to get done.
I know you've heard me say this before, and the theory behind it really comes from Dickhead, but an initiation is both a teaching and a learning experience, and it's a one shot deal. It's why we give a history lesson and why we let the PBCs chill with us until we put them to work in earnest at 5 a.m. on Saturday Morning. If we roll them around in the mud, then what leaves an impression is that ECV is about rolling guys around in the mud; but if we instead let them experience who we are, and then show them what is expected of them, we've made a better use of our time together. We are going to get a better fit, and hopefully a better Clamper who gets what we're about. Other chapters do it differently, and I'm not saying that they are wrong, but that's how we do it here. Congrats again to B-Dog and the new Brothers. Youse dun gud.
So, soapbox aside, here are the highlights from the Doin's.
Despite the fact that there were four other doin's going on that weekend, we still had over 50 guys show up, and it proved to be a very pleasant and laid back experience. The weather for Walker Basin really was as advertised. Not too cold at night, not too hot during the day, beautiful blue skies, a light breeze and plenty of fresh air - all of which encouraged plenty of shenanigans. For this one Charles tried to go nontraditional, substituting the usual Clamper beans for baked potatoes cooked over hot coals in cast iron Dutch ovens.
While this made Clampchef Timbo's life much easier, it also sparked the first ever "Great Bean Rebellion of 6019." When XNGH Bob Cordes learned that this would be a "no bean event," he opined as to how in over thirty-five years of Clamping he had never heard of such a thing. Cookie and Cordes's dad would be spinning in their graves. "Oh the humanity!" etc., etc. So a bean recon was launched, and off to town went Cordes and Kenton "Airdale" Miller.
As it turned out, the bean expedition proved at most mildly successful. The only practical thing that the rebels were able to find were a few cans of precooked legumes. Nevertheless, the chapter's honor had been saved, and there was at least a few beans (with catsup) available to pour over the sausage sandwiches served as part of Saturday's lunch. The chapter had been saved from the ignominious fate of a no bean Clampout. Honor and memory were served -- Huzzah!
By the way, the baked potatoes were delicious. So thanks, Charles.
Then there was the matter of the Yucca-off, won by our Brother Kyle "Hoss" Callaway, with his non-traditional coconut and fruit based yucca. As it turned out yours truly also produced two fine but more traditional specimens, but they ended up losing to Hoss's concoction.
The trouble began when our celebrity Yucca Judge failed to arrive on Friday. When the Yucca-off didn't occur as scheduled, I assumed it was never going to happen so I took out my jars and began traveling with them up and down the Clampsite. It was during this little expedition that I ran into Hoss, Nick and B-Dog at their camp, and Hoss's Yucca also joined the parade. Well, by the time we made it back to the cook shack the shaking and the sharing had become a veritable, full-on, Yucca Explosion throughout the Doin's.
And that's when I ran into Charles, who informed me that he had decided to postpone the Yucca-off until Saturday Night. When I told him he was too late and that the Yucca was gone, he handed me the awards and told me to go ahead and pick a winner. Now faced with a full-on CONFLICT OF INTEREST, I had no choice but to disqualify myself, and that's how I lost the contest. So congratulations to Hoss, and as they say on Iron Chef, I'll meet you again in next year's "Battle Yucca."
Saturday's Clamping activities were also memorable (which as Charles would remind us, is an oxymoron).
Dale Turner presented Charles Topping with a plaque that he and two Brother Clampers had rescued from the site of the 1991 De la Guerra y Pacheco, inaugural Doin's. The land was being sold, and the plaque would likely have been cannibalized for its scrap value. So with the permission of the property owner, Dale and his two Red Shirted Marine Veteran Brothers, "Wild Bill" Maker and John "Duke" DuMong, rescued the plaque.
It's an impressive piece that celebrates both the chartering of 1.5, and it's territorial claim which is cast along its edges and reads, "Westerly to the Sandwich Iles with Floating Whang #8 1846 - South of the Brethren in Yerba Buena Chapter 1 1852 - To the East, Peter LeBec, Chapter 1866 - North of our Brethren of Platrix, Chapter 2." At the top left corner, a miner and jackass prominently featured in high relief, and along the bottom right hand edge, in tiny letters, is the name of the plaque's designer, "TOPPING." Yes, that would be our Charles Topping.
And that's a big chunk of what went on, but none of this gets done without a lot of help. So at this point let me abbreviate the rest of my report and demonstrate that we really are a class outfit. On behalf of the chapter, I'd like to thank Jayne Hotchkiss-Price, Al Price's Widder, for allowing us to Clamp on her ranch. Fred "Flintstone" Fenski and Dave "Boulder" Staley, the Boys from Bedrock, and everybody who contributed to the Flying Circus, as usual stepped up and did a great job assembling and repacking our kit. Sorry that you didn't get the commemorative tokens that I promised but I will make it up to you. Also much thanks to everyone who bought something from our hard working Hawker, Kevn "No Eye Horton, at the PXL Store, and to everyone who contributed or helped out with the raffle. Carlos Lemus, Sr., Carlos "Loaf" Lemus and Mario "Tattoo" Orellana gave up some chill time to hawk raffle tickets; and XNGH Bob "CCF" Clemensson most generously contributed the "C" Note that was the featured raffle prize of the evening.
Andy "Stagecoach" Vilapando and Nick "Basco" Muniozguren, were our Vigilantes, and Kevin "Yeti" Oviatt and Luis Bouza worked as both our grill and raffle masters. Luis and Bob "Baby Booey" Hernandez, helped with photography, and if you didn't smile you'll be very, very sorry 'cuz we took a lot of friggin' pitchurs. Of course Gene with the history lesson, Joe with the canopies. Cordes and Airdale towed the barbeque. Hoss offered his place to store our kit. And hey? If I left you out it isn't that I don't love you. After all, we are Brothers, aren't we?
The point is, it takes a lot of help from our Brothers to go Clamping, and our guys are doing a marvelous job. Feel free to help out because it's most appreciated and always welcome, and thank you to all who made our Doin's a success.
Now before I move on, I do want to mention our new improved bar. And while you are all aware that the chapter does not provide alcohol, we have something new and very unique going on at PXL. I can't mention it here, but you can see it by going to Peter's Picture Pages and checking out the 571 photos I've posted from the PXL Spring Doin's. If there are particular ones that you'd like to have, just drop me an email and I'll send them to you. You can then upload them to your local Costco, Walmart or drug store and make prints big enough to frame poster size if you'd like. Most of these are just snaps but I also came away with some very nice portraits of you and your friends.
Now on to news of the Charles. Some of you have written me to complain about the way our Humbug, Charles Topping summarily dismissed our deposed Clamps Hotrix, Sutter Brown and replaced him with a human being. Now I've heard from Sutter, and he's aware of your concerns, but Sutter has moved on to bigger and better things having now gotten a job as a Corgi Spokesdog and K-9 fashion model. He sends his regards but we won't be seeing him again anytime soon. He wishes us all the best and only asks that we pee on Charles's leg the next time we see him.
Speaking of decisiveness, Charles continues to work on the Fall Doin's which will be in the Kernville area on a date yet to be determined, but hopefully will be determined soon. His fall plans are still focused on the Ardis Walker House, but it appears that the location is embroiled in a dispute over how to spend its endowment and how best to preserve the Walker Collection of historical documents and memorabilia, including whether to build a separate facility on a nearby lot. As I've laid out here before in greater detail, Walker was an engineer, journalist and important local political figure, as well as a Clamper. Plaquing the Walker House would be a great way of commemorating one of our own, but due to issues beyond our control, there is a good chance that it may not get done this year. Check back here for further developments.
And finally an update on two of our favorite guys. You likely noticed the absence from our Spring Doin's of PXL XNGH Jim Adams and of our defending Yucca Champion, Brother Mikey "Maggot" Ralles. Well both of them had some pretty good excuses for not showing up.
Jim underwent spinal surgery about three weeks ago to alleviate some serious compression issues. Jim's surgeon is very pleased with our ex-Humbug's progress, and Jim has been out walking up to three miles a day with a cane assist. Our stalwart friend asked me to "Tell all the guys I'm doing OK, and I'll be seeing them soon!" And I'm sure Phoebe won't mind loaning him to us for a weekend especially if Bob Clemensson is around. Clampers tend to create their own man clutter when they stay too long in one place.
As for Mikey Maggot, he's been a constant for us. We missed him and his wife, Carol as far back as the Widders' Ball, but not for trivial reasons. Mike spent seven months in the hospital and was just released last week. The unexpected bone infection in his foot is gone, but Maggot is noticeably shorter on one side. I told Mikey that I wouldn't go into too much detail, but it was quite an ordeal, and Carol is relieved to finally have him back home. Given the progress of his ongoing therapy, Maggot is also hoping to see us in the fall. He says he really needs a good Clamp with his Brothers at PXL.
Jim and Maggot represent the good natured side and brotherly spirit of our Order. Whenever you see them next, don't pass up the opportunity to greet them. Accept their camaraderie and share yours with them. You will be a better person for it.
As Amended - 05.28.14 -- By MGM
OK. So it's been four weeks, but I'll have a new report up very soon. In the meantime the pictures are up. So enjoy. Just head for Peter's Picture Pages and click on the appropriate link. Make sure to refresh the page if you don't see the links to the Spring Doin's Galleries. I've posted 571 photos so if your mug isn't in there somewhere, you must have missed it!
As Amended - 05.01.14 -- By MGM
Hello Brothers! Well the Doin's is here and the prepay discount window has come and gone, but if you'd still like to come on up and join us at the Rockin' JA Ranch, you are welcome to drop-in starting Thursday morning at 10 a.m. If you haven't prepaid, and you still intend to come, we won't turn you away but we would appreciate a head's up so we can include you in the count. Since firearms are forbidden at Clampout, the last thing our cook crew wants to do is to go hunting for coyote haunches using bows and arrows just to feed you. Remember,there are no minimarts, Burger Kings or 7-11's within an hour of where we are clamped, so please do us the courtesy if you can of letting us know you are coming by dropping us a line at Spring14registration@ECV1866.org. On the other hand, if the ol' lady has thrown you out, you've got but one tank's worth of gas to spare and you need a place to lick your wounds, then we are your Number One weekend destination.
Sorry, we may be ugly, and you'll probably think we smell bad by the end of the Doin's -- but we're still your Brothers.
So here's the weekend update from Dickhead Weather Central, with a caveat. (That's lawyer talk for "what I'm about to say doesn't mean anything.") Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy improving to sunny skies through the weekend, with daytime highs in the mid-80's and nighttime lows in the low-50's. Expect mild winds with occasional gusts up to 25 MPH. Just bear in mind that we are camping in the mountains, and while rain is unlikely, it can get cold and suddenly windy, so plan to dress accordingly. Burn barrels will be allowed provided you rake the area before hand and keep a bucket of water handy to take care of business.
Also keep in mind that we will be out of cell range, however in the event of an emergency your Widder can reach you by calling the Ranch House Phone at 661-867-2414. Our host, Jayne Hotchkiss-Price will make sure our Humbug relays the message to you so you can call your Widder back.
Posted - 04.22.14 -- By MGM
Hello fellow Cloggites, and welcome back to the PXL Clog. Well you knew it was coming and now it's finally here -- my harangue about signing up for the Spring Doin's, that is. Our deadline is this Friday, April 25th. So if you haven't mailed in your rub or signed-up through the internet, what are you waiting for? You're about to miss out on the most fun you can have with your pants on this side of Tulare County. (Just don't ask me what they do fully clothed on the other side of Tulare 'cuz I'm still looking for my pants.)
So for those of you who haven't gotten it done, your friends here at PXL continue to make it easy for you to sign up. Just take both hands, pull up your chonies and then click on the Spring Doin's link to get started. You'll figure it out. By the way, that's Brother Ron "Finley" Woodworth from LSD #3, who volunteered his services as the Clamp Velocity Gnome. He doesn't mess around so you'd better take his advice seriously because in real life he's the Easter Bunny and that's not a life form to be trifled with.
And now that I've veered into the land of "TMI," let's talk a little bit about the Doin's. This one is going to be super special. The Clampsite opens up on Thursday for your Clamping convenience. We'll have porta potties and wash stations available, but bring water because this is a dry camp. Friday begins in earnest with Dickhead's Seafood Jambalaya for dinner followed by our Third "1st Annual" Yucca-off. So bring you fixxin's, start a shakin' and be prepared to share because Yucca Sensei Dave "Warthog" Otero is on deck as the evening's celebrity judge.
As usual there will be plenty of camaraderie on Friday Night, but please, no harassing the cattle or the PBCs, both groups being our guests for the evening. If you're bringing a Poor Blind Candidate please make sure that he has his bribe, history presentation and the latest version of our PBC Handbook engraved on the back side of his eyelids. Remember . . . there are consequences for those who fail to comply, but those are the rules and they're intended to make sure that a good time is had by all. Our PBC initiation begins early Saturday Morning and PBCs must be sober to participate.
And don't forget. Pitching in on Friday Morning's Official Clampsite Erection or Sunday Morning's Teardown earns you membership in Petey's Flying Circus. So please join in the fun. Look for Brothers Fred Fenski and Dave Staley for directions and make sure to stick around to collect your badge of honor.
And now on to some more serious sh*, shh*, shh*…uh, stuff.
First of all, it is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing to the Golden Hills of our Brother Bob "Barbarosa" Haines, a member of our chapter and order who made us all proud. Bob will be remembered prior to the Hall of Comparative Ovations at our upcoming Doin's. He was initiated at Peter Lebeck in 1992, and went on to found the Snake River Chapter in Idaho which was chartered in 2012. Bob's diligence, perseverance and generosity were in the best Clamper tradition, and he left a great example for all of us to follow. Gene Duncker, who sponsored Barbarosa, had this to say about him:
Twenty-two years ago I sponsored Bob Haines into PXL and gave him the name "Barbarosa." Bob was my neighbor, a great friend and one of the best Brothers in all of ECV. When he moved to Idaho, he became the ramrod for the Snake River Outpost and their first Humbug when they got their charter a few years ago.
Today, April 6, 2014, Bob went on to the Golden Hills after suffering a massive stroke a few days ago. He was only 62 years. I may have f*cked-up a lot, but I know I did a good thing when I sponsored Bob. His funeral will be at the VA Cemetery in Boise at 3 p.m. on the 17th, and at 4 p.m. there will be a gathering at Sully's Bar in Star, Idaho. If you would like to send a remembrance address it to: Snake River Chapter, ECV P. O. Box 1002 Boise, Idaho 83701.
God bless and keep you, Brother!
Let us all wish Barbarosa Godspeed on his journey through the Golden Hills.
Now for a plaquing update. If you've been faithfully reading the CLOG then you already know that Humbug Charles Topping has proposed two plaques for his tenure: One for the summer and one for the fall, and both proposed for the Kern River Valley. What you probably don't know is that Charles and his Vice Humbug Jim Bailey have also been working hard to establish connections with other groups in the San Joaquin Valley that share our interest in preserving the history of Kern County.
To that end, on April 3rd, Charles and Jim met with the Kern County Historical Society, a long established group with which we have successfully collaborated in the past. During the late 70's and early 80's PXL and KCHS jointly mounted several of the erections pictured on our plaquing pages, and collaborating on monuments with the KCHS is something we'd like to do again in the future.
From all indications the meeting went very well. Charles and Jim's presentation focused on reacquainting the society's membership with Peter Lebeck, E Clampus Vitus and our past work with the historical society. The guys also let the members know that as a chapter we are very interested in collaborating with KCHS on future projects, particularly in the Bakersfield area. Jim says that Brother Charles's silver tongue and knowledge of Clamping really made our presentation shine and that we should hear back from KCHS soon after its new officers are in place. So here's to reestablishing connections with old friends!
Next up, Brother Jim is working on a meeting with the Basque Club and an altogether different get together with an association interested in preserving the history of Kern County oil. No doubt the plaquing possibilities are going to be good for Jim's Humbug year, so let's all look forward to helping both Charles and Jim with their upcoming constructions. For as they say in Clamperdom, "If you're not plaquing, you're not Clamping."
Our Spring Doin's will also mark the official roll-out of "Petey's Power & Light." As many of you are aware our old gas powered generator finally died during our fall 2013 Doin's. Hole, our resident electrician and nuclear power expert, had been anticipating the problem for some time and had pitched the notion of downsizing or possibly even doing away with our gas generator altogether by upgrading to solar powered LED lighting. We already have a sound system that runs off of batteries so no problem there, and going to LED would allow us to ditch the florescent light fixtures, gas cans and a whole lot of two-cycle engine noise. Even if we ultimately had to include a generator in our kit, we could do a lot better than that old noisy behemoth that existed on what looked like an oversized cafeteria food cart.
So it seemed that the only thing that stood in the way was cost and the conversion of our light-sucking 350-watt coffee urn into a gas fired coffee pot.
Well the debut of Petey's Power and Light has finally arrived. The solution to the coffee pot was literally to stick a sock in it - of course you have to fill the sock with coffee, fill the pot with water and dangle the whole thing over a gas flame - but that part of the problem is now solved. As for upfront costs, we would still very much appreciate a few donated batteries of the appropriate type and size, but with the price of solar panels and rolls of LEDs coming down, we are finally able to go completely solar!
So this is one you are absolutely going to have to celebrate. It's even better than Hole's debut of PXL's electric bar at GC. You'll be telling generations of Clampers for many years to come just where you were when the light went on at Peter Lebeck. And you'll definitely have to tell your Widder that you just can't miss this doin's or the shame will be upon you for missing the lights. Yes, Brother! This is our time!
On the other hand if you can't make it, you certainly can help make up for your absence because we will soon be debuting our new PXL Wish List Page. This one always seem to occur to us after tax time but Peter Lebeck is a recognized 501(C)(3) charity which entitles you to a tax deduction for donations of money or goods that you make in support of the chapter. It's the same as that saw buck you drop in the collection plate on Sunday.
But since by custom we do not pass the plate at Clampouts, except for extraordinary causes, we have decided to create a Wish List Page where, when the time comes, you can remember us as one of your regular charities. The chapter always has some capital project or doodad that we would like to acquire to make us more effective, and it only make sense that we tell you about it so you can see where your donation is going. Those batteries I mentioned are only one example, but as our chapter expands and our kit ages we'll need extra dust to keep abreast of the times and to attract new members.
Speaking of which, Charles has approved the purchase of a new gas-fired Clamping griddle. Think crispier bacon for starters, but if the first one works out we'll likely put a second one on the Wish List. With the possibility of French Toast for breakfast and tacos for lunch, PXL may become a regular "Cordon Rouge."
Fans of Sutter Brown will be disappointed to learn that Jerry Brown's best friend has been unceremoniously dumped by our Humbug, Charles Topping, who has named Dale Turner to replace Sutter as our incoming 2014 Clamps Hostrix - not that it was much of a contest. Sutter is short. Dale is tall. Dale is sartorially splendid, while Sutter can lick his own …. Um, well maybe it was a much tougher call than we first thought, but in any case we do wish Sutter all the best as he heads out the doggie door, while we want to let Dale know that he deserves whatever happens next.
Seriously folks, Dale, aka "Captain America," is a solid addition to our list of Clampfunctionaries. He has been a Clamper since 2006, served in Viet Nam with the United States Marine Corps, and retired after 33 years with the LAPD as a Sergeant having been decorated with the department's highest award - the Medal of Valor. Dale's children are grown so he's ready to go Clamping in serious fashion. His experience working with volunteer organizations, keeping books and drafting procedural documents are skills that can benefit our chapter particularly as our officer corps continues to mature. So please welcome Dale. He's only been with us for a couple of years, but whatever you can do to get him completely immersed in the PXL Culture will benefit us all.
Lastly, a contingent from Peter Lebeck went up to the John A. Sutter Chartering this past April 3-6, 2014, at Nelson's Grove outside of Sacramento. A chartering is a rare and special event in ECV and anytime you have the opportunity to attend you can consider yourself extremely lucky. Clampers in good standing who attend are awarded charter membership, and you can expect to meet the most active and vivacious men from all over Clamperdom at an outing like this. Whether you made it or not, I've posted about 200 photos from the Sutter Doin's on the outies portion of Peter's Picture Pages. Make sure to drop by and have a look. Thanks again to Humbug Russ "Christ" Holder for his hospitality and congratulations again to the Brothers at Sutter for their elevation from outpost to full charter membership for John A. Sutter #1841.
As for the rest of you, see you in a few days up at the Rockin' JA Ranch. Just remember to bring your long johns 'cuz there's no Walmart in Walker Basin and the coyotes don't take American Express.
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 email@example.com 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.
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