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The News Archive of Peter Lebeck
Kern County Chapter of E Clampus Vitus ®
From "The Great Hawker Fire 2010"
Posted -- August 1, 6015 (as amemded 8.3.10)
Hello Brother and welcome back to the PXL CLOG. Peter Lebeck was seriously affected this past week by the fires raging here in Southern California, in which some of our members suffered losses, and in which our chapter lost its entire store. Fires which started in Acton, Agua Dulce, Tehachapi and the Riverkern areas have made a real mess of things, but despite all of that, we are still here and intend to keep on Clamping. Our trailer and kitchen remain safely parked in Bakersfield and we hope to use them in October when we have no intention of letting the year go by without our Fall Doin's. So here we go!
First on the ugly list is the Crown Fire which continues to smolder in the Palmdale area but which now appears to be under control. For those of you not familiar with the geography, Palmdale is at the south edge of the Antelope Valley which is the western-most portion of the Mojave Desert. Roughly 60 by 30 miles in size, A.V. includes the northern part of Los Angeles County north of the San Gabriel Montains, the southern part of Kern County south of the Tehachapis, and a small portion of western San Bernardino County.
The Crown Fire actually started in Agua Dulce which is just south of the Antelope Valley. The fire traveled quickly north over the southern ridge and down into a narrow canyon area called Leona Valley where Brother Joe Szot has a house on some ranch property. Fortunately Joe didn't lose his place, but he did lose his out buildings, travel trailer, two other trailers and the entire contents of our store valued at over $10,000. Our Brother "Big Al" Eastin also lost his Hobie Catamaran which he had parked on Joe's property.
Joe also tells us that because of the high fire danger in this area none of this stuff was insurable so long as his house was still under construction. So it looks like Joe, Al and the chapter are out of luck unless the contractor that started the fire has some pretty deep pockets. At least four homes have been lost so far, and that's just the start of the line at the courthouse door, meaning that our chapter's chances of recovering anything aren't looking so good. By the way we should also mention that Joe, Al and Dickhead each loaned the chapter the money to buy that now melted pile of Receivenators. Hopefully they at least kept a couple as demonstrator models because it looks like whatever survived the fire have just become collector's items.
By the way, Joe famously doesn't live on the Leona Valley property. He actually lives on a boat in San Diego near his daughter and son in law, but it doesn't look like having been on site would have made much difference. The Leona Valley really isn't so much a valley as it is a canyon, and as Joe tells it, the fire moved so quickly into this narrow area that a neighbor with horses was barely able to get out. By the time she had her four legged buddies loaded onto the trailer the fire was already threatening to jump the road and cut her off. We're just happy that it was just a bunch of T-shirts and man toys, and not Joe and his house. 'Nuff sed about that one for now.
Second on the ugly list is the Bull Fire, which began in the Sequoia National Forest near the town of Riverkern, which is north of Kernville in the northeast corner of Kern County. The fire burned several homes in the Riverkern area and quickly moved south towards Kernville and also east over the Sierras towards Inyokern. As of today this fire has burned over 16,000 acres and is 85% contained.
We were very much concern about our Clampatriarch Doc Charter and his wife, Marti who live in Kernville, and we were even more concerned when we were unable to reach them by phone. Fire destroyed local power and telephone lines and melted the area's two cell towers, leaving us without any effective way of reaching the Charters, that is until Friday, when Dale left a voicemail message letting us know that they were all right.
We were able to finally speak to Doc yesterday over a very iffy phone connection. Doc told us that as soon as he had a good read on the fire's potential for burning down his neighborhood, he sent Marti to the coast then stuck around as long as he could, watching the fire's progress as it jumped the river into the Kernville heights where the Charters live. Smoke grew extremely thick as the fire moved to within a block of the Charter Residence, and it became clear that aggressive tactics would be needed to save the homes in the heights. Hand crews deployed on the ground, literally standing guard on people's lawns and driveways, and air tankers and helicopters made drops on roofs, yards, and surrounding vegetation to keep the fire at bay. In the end the neighborhood - and our friends - were extremely lucky.
Now for ugly bit number three, and if you thought we were done with the Bull Fire, we're not. So listen up as it affects our Fall Clampout in October which we are trying to arrange for Camp Whisett. For those of you who aren't aware, Camp Whitsett is owned by the Western L.A. County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and is available for private use in the off season for a very nominal fee. This is a beautiful place to spend the weekend. We Clamped there once before, back in 2005, when we plaqued "Road's End" on old Mountain Highway 99, near the Kern-Tulare county line. Located in the Sequoia National Monument, it has trees, plenty of space and a private lake. We are often asked by brothers who remember that outing back in the fall of 2005, "when are we going back to Camp Whitsett?"
Well we are hoping to go real soon, but here's the rub: The area has been affected by the Bull Fire. Camp Whitsett is north of Kernville, at the apex of the wide canyon that is the watershed for the Kern River and Lake Isabella. Think of it as a forested mountain area at the top of an upside down "V." According to Doc Charter, the Camp is still there, but power and phone services were knocked out by the fire so we won't know until later this week whether we can lock this location for our fall Clampout, but at the moment our prospects still look good, so keep your fingers crossed. If we can make Camp Whitsett work for us, we intend to invite every Redshirt within hailing distance to come on down and join us. With everyone's help we should be able to raise enough seed money to help revive our store. Make sure to check back soon for current news about our doin's.
So whatever happened to Clamping on the coast you say? Well it turns out that we so far have been unable to make that work for us. As some of you may recall from a few years back, Platrix owes us at least one outing in their territory after Grand Council ruled their Clamping on PXL terrain without our permission was a violation worthy of sanctions, one of them being a free overnight stay in Platrix Territory, which includes all of L.A., Orange and parts of Ventura Counties.
The problem is finding a suitable place within our means in a very developed and Ritzy area. With the help of Brother Walt "Mangler" Stowe, we did find a fine location on high ground near the Cuyama Valley, but that turned out to be both expensive and within the confines of De La Guerra y Pacheco, ECV Chapter 1.5, not Platrix. It would have taken at least a hundred Clampers at an extra $10 a head just to break even on that one. To be safe we would have had to have added $15 to the price of the rub, and that goes against our firm belief in keeping the gate as accessible as possible.
Alternatives? Well one possibility is a piece of land in Ventura County owned by a friend of PXL Brother Ira Stone. Well Ira lives up in Tehachapi and likely has his own issues as fires continue to rage out of control. But after the Humbug spoke to Ira this past week we did let Ira know that we remain interested. But get this. While keping this site in mind for a future event we also understand that the place may have already have been plaqued by (guess who?) Platrix! But never fear! Our Humbug, the redoubtable Timbo Gillespie has come up with a great new method for any future PXL monument for this site. He calls it "Plaquing Prophylaxis."
It works something like this. You go out and reconnoiter the previous erection as an officially designated "ECV plaquing preservationist." You measure the monument and build a plywood form slightly larger than the original. Then you affix the new plaque to the form, place the form over the old monument, pour the concrete, and voilà! A Cement CONDOM! It's enough to make a Clamper weep!
As Timbo points out, this method has some very distinct advantages. For one, it saves on cement, rebar and other building materials; and it permanently protects the underlying erection as all self-respecting condoms should do. No more prying that old bronze plate out of the monument for scrap metal. In fact thieves will hardly know it's still there for the stealing. The underlying monument will be invisible, impenetrable, and better preserved following encasement using PXL's new prophylactic plaquing method. So Platrix, what do you say? Are you with us on this one? Hearing no objection, I think that means "yes."
A few last minor points before we go. Some Brother calling himself "Anonymous" continues to challenge our claim to Tierra del Fuego and wants to see our proof. So here it is, Bro'. Notice how proudly XNGH Clemonsson stands up for his chapter. Go ahead. Just click on the picture and check it out. We have nothing to hide.
With Tierra del Fuego and the three adjoining oceans safely annexed as PXL Territory we'll be able to claim Manhattan. All we have to do is petition Grand Council and find a few bankers on Wall Street greedy enough to sell us the island for a few used T-Shirts and other donated Clamper memorabilia that did not perish in the fire. So to everybody else who doubts our intentions, I have only two words to say, "Goldman Sachs."
Now for mailing lists. Somehow I ended up on the Sam Brannan mailing list. Chapter #1004, is up in Napa, and while I've never been to one of their doin's (and may never get that far north in my Clamping travels), I'm happy and proud to post any recognized chapter's flyers and announcements on Peter's Board. So don't expect to be getting a sick jackass fee from me any time soon, but do feel free to mail us any correspondence, either by snail or email and I'll post it for you. And remember that you are always free to post your doin's announcements yourself on Peter's Board. That's why it's there.
Lastly, we'll really need your support in the fall, especially after the hit we took with the loss of our store. So check back often and make sure to sign up for our fall event. We really want to see you there.
Posted -- July 2, 6015 (As amended 9.3.10)
Hello fellow Cloggites, and welcome back to the PXL Clog! First off, on behalf of the Humbug and all your brothers here at Peter Lebeck, we wish you one and all a happy and safe Fourth of July. So stoke the Bar-Bee, have a few brewskis, and enjoy the company of family and friends. And while you are at it, don't forget to take the time to remember and pray for our troops whose sacrifices make it possible for us to enjoy times like these.
Here in Kern County the temperatures in Bakersfield pushed into the three digits this week, and while relief from the heat of the valley floor can be had by retreating into the mountains, there is no denying that summer is in full swing. The kids are out of school and the big boys are itching for something to do. For PXL that means not having a whole lot to report since our Clampouts happen in the spring and fall, but that doesn't mean that there is nothing to talk about.
If you want something to do, just keep your eye on Peter's Board where ECV members and chapters are always welcome to post their activities. Whether you are looking for Clamping company or just looking to advertise your event, that's what the board is there for, so allow me to refresh your recollection with a few quick notes.
This 4th of July weekend there are at least two events that you might be interested in. Up at Bodfish, here in the mountains south of Lake Isabella, our Brother Jay Corlew is celebrating his 20th year as proprietor of the Silver City Ghost Town with Wild West show performances both Saturday and Sunday by the Tombstone Law Dawgs. Showtimes are at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and the show is free with the modest price of admission: $4.50 for adults, $3.50 for kids, escourted children under 5 get in free. If you present an ECV I.D. card you'll even get a small discount just for being family. All proceeds go towards the expense of restoring and preserving the historic buildings that make up the ghost town. No tax dollars are used to operate Silver City. You can download the press release here.
On Saturday, July 3rd, our brothers at Billy Holcomb will be sponsoring a float in the Jamboree Days/4th of July Parade at Crestline, sponsored by the Crestline Chamber of Commerce. Our brother Karl White, StoreKeeper at Billy Holcomb, informs us that this is a family friendly event. Dress in your Clamper best and bring the Widder and Orphans. The float will stage at approximately 9:00 a.m., with the parade scheduled to begin at 10. If you care to join the parade, Rendezvous at the Rim of The World Tavern in Crestline, at Crest Forest and Highway 138, but be there by 8:30 a.m. Rim Tavern is "EVC Friendly" and owned by Brother Cliff Herington and his Widder Robyn. After the parade make a day of it taking in the sights at Crestline. For directions see the "All Things Clamp'sidered" Board > "Float with Holcomb" thread.
If you happen to be up in Oakhurst (near Fresno), or live in the Madera County Area, you'll want to drop by the Grub Gulch fireworks stand. Brother Mule Skinner, aka Steve Schermerhorn, CyberRecorder for 41-49, tells us that the chapter will be using the proceeds from its fireworks sales to support it monument program, and hopes to continue doing this on a yearly basis. The stand is located on the corner of Howard Avenue and Granada in Oakhurst. The Grubbies could also use a little brotherly help manning the booth from now until it closes, so if you care to man-up call Dave Bohall at (559) 217-8312 or (559) 974-9230, and don't forget to check out Steve's Grub Gulch website. It's quite impressive.
Later in the month, July 24th to be exact, the Frank C. Reilly chapter, which occupies the lower quadrant of Plumas County, will be having its one day summer Clampout at La Porte, northeast of Sacramento. At an elevation of nearly 5000 feet, La Porte is right in the middle of the Plumas National Forest, where the summer weather is quite tolerable. To help you maintain your sobriety (and your driving privileges) camp sites are available at nearby Little Grass Valley Lake, a very popular and very beautiful wooded mountain retreat, so you want to make your reservations early before the campsites are all gone. Follow this link to the flyer.
Last but not least on our list is the Humbug's personal request that I post the late summer doin's for Bodie Chapter #64. Bodie occupies Mono County and takes its name from the famous ghost town and its namesake, W.S. Bodey. Brother Steve "Frugal" St. John, informs us that the bad men from Bodie will be gathering to dedicate a monument to the "Legend of the June Lake Slot Machines." This Clampout is also a one day affair, with the plaquing set to take place on September 11th, at the parking lot of the missing Lookout Tower at the Oh Ridge turnoff on Highway 158. The Slippery will be conducted at a separate location. Stevo promised us a flyer as soon as available and it looks like he's come through. So just click here to download the flyer, or you can call NGH Jeremy Silver Ross at (760) 914-2858, or GNR John Daniels at (760) 932-7023, to give them a piece of your mind.
By now you are probably wondering, "When is he going to get around to ragging on Platrix?" Well the way I figure it, that screed ought happen right about here and right about now, but the truth is that ever since Humbug Paul Meitzler showed-up at Grand Council with our Brothers' most satisfactory peace offering, I really haven't had the heart to stick it to them. But you know I gotta say something, so if nothing else a little whining is in order; and I can think of no better subject for whinning than the minute of the Proctors' Meeting at Grand Council.
If you read carefully you'll note that there is a whole lot of gifting and obsequious supplication going on, and not all of it by Platrix. Still the whole thing remained tolerable, that is until chapters start asking for stuff; and in the case Platrix and Queho Posse it involved a franchise ON THE MOON.
Yep. The proctors have awarded our brothers at Platrix extra-terrestrial rights as "Stewards of Tranquility Base and Protectors of the Moon," plus 90% of "gaming rights" have been awarded to Queho Posse to shut them up after their nearly successful attempts to table the motion. Given the obvious collusion between these two chapters we can hardly expect any wild game on the moon to be safe from the predations of our Brothers from Las Vegas and Southern California. So here's a warning: Gidny, Cloyd, and all of your decendants, you'd best pack up now, for you can hardly expect any help from the likes of Platrix and Q.P. It's now open season on Moon Men. Hey, in Vegas they even shoot dice. "Protectors of the Moon," indeed!
Well if Platrix can do it, so can we. It's been almost two years, but our XNGH Bob Clemensson, made a trek to Tierra del Fuego in 2008, and claimed the tip of South America as PXL Territory. In fact, in my humble opinion, it is high time that our Graybeards petition the ECV Board of Proctors to recognize our annexation and grant us full sovereignty over this newest southern boundary of Kern County. Afterall the benefits are enormous. Consider for instance that up until recently Kern County has been landlocked while Platrix has had both Malibu and Laguna Beach to brag about. While Platrix could continue to flaunt its beach bunnies, PXL would have pengins. And instead of just one ocean, PXL would have three, including highly prized access and contiguity to the Atlantic Ocean, a boast that no other ECV Chapter could make. And while it is true that Platrix and Q.P. would have the Sea of Tranquility all to themselves, keep in mind that it's really, really hard to sunbath in a moon suit. Hands down I think PXL has the inside on this one, and it's high time we circulated a petition to finally make it happen. Next up? We annex Manhattan!
Speaking of Clemensson, Bob reminds us with the accompanying photgraphs that the big blowout in the Gulf is no isolated incident. These things come and go, and with a little luck and good weather, wenting time could come on schedule with the runaway well finally being plugged once and for all in early August. And while a good clog is hardly the beginning of the end for this mess, it hopefully will be at least the end of the beginning, so for now we are going to leave the live streaming video at the top of this page and hope that things start to look less dramatic, real soon.
2010 is the 100th Anniversary of the Lakeview Gusher, one of the worst Blowouts in American History, and it happened right here in Kern County between Taft and Maricopa. Click on the photograph of the plaque to get a good look. Back in 1910 a guy dubbed "Dryhole Charlie" nearly gave up on this well and was forced to sell it to Union Oil which finished the drilling and promptly put this well in the record books. At its peak the runaway well gushed more than 100,000 barrels a day, threatened to ruin the local water supply and creating a tremendous fire hazzard. The Los Angeles Times recently ran a story on the Lakeview disaster, complete with a photo of the artificial lake used as a giant sump. according to this article an estimated 378 million gallons escaped before the well was finally brought under production. We've preserved a copy of the story for you here in pdf form.
Lastly a little local news. We are still hoping to find a place to Clamp along the coast in the fall, but we may have to pass this year due to the lack of a suitable location within our means. While a joint doin's with a coastal chapter is always a possibility, that kind of planning would likely put such a doin's at least a year down the road; but then again, never say never. So if you have any suggestions, feel free to call our Humbug, Timbo Gillespie at (714) 936-8650.
Also our Hawking Crew of Joe Szot and Gene Duncker would like to thank our Brothers at Slim Princess for their hospitality at their recent doin's at Diaz Lake. Both Joe and Gene (aka Dickhead) send their regards. Dickhead regrets that he couldn't stay the whole weekend, and it certainly meant that he had to stay sober for the drive home, but he only had good things to say about the brothers at the doin's and is likely to remeber a whole lot more of you the next time around due to his enforced state of sobriety. So here's hoping that all of you can make it down our way in the fall. And that goes for every brother of E Clampus Vitus. We'll leave a steak out for you. In the meantime if you'd like to join our email list just click on my happy smiling face below. You'll know what to do.
As Amemded -- May 30,6015
Welcome to PXL's Memorial Day CLOG. Timbo's videoed thank you message has been preemted -- we hope only for a short time -- so we can bring you live pictures from the SPILLCAM. I'll refrain from being political only to say that the Gulf Oil Disaster has caused much consternation across the country and Clampers are no exception. So here's hoping that this thing comes to a rapid conclusion, whether it's spunked, junked or otherwise stopped-up. We just want you all to know that here at PXL we believe in CLOG; unfortunately the latest word out of BP is that multiple Top Kill and Junk Shot attempts have failed and the company will once again try to place a bell-like cap over the well. Thanks to brothers Muley and Keyhole for help with the video feed.
Just a reminder. If you are going Clamping don't forget to post a message on Peter's Board. Others brothers may be interested and this is a great way to find out who else is going. Currently several PXL Brothers are headed to the Slim Princess #395 Doin's at Diaz Lake, June 11-13, 2010, so check the All Things Clamp'sidered sub-board for details. Remember that Peter's Board is open to all Clampers in good standing so even if you are not a PXL Member you still have an open invitation to post any ECV sanctioned doin's to our All Things Clamp'sidered sub-board.
And speaking of boards, the brothers at Slim Princess have recently added their own message board. you'll find it at http://members.ecv395.org Congratulations to Brother Roadbeer on that one.
That said, and as summer starts, we hope you have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend. Take a minute to reflect on the price of freedom, and what it costs to preserve and maintain it. Thank a veteran. And don't forget to be grateful for what we have and who we are. For while we may bicker about the direction of our country and the solutions required to meet today's challenges -- whether they be oil slicks or Taliban or the uncetainties of changing world markets -- we are still Americans, and can ill afford to throw away what has been gained for us by the efforts of so many.
In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln recognized America as both a great adventure and a great experiment -- a clever, adaptive and radical political invention based on personal liberty, that even a 145 years after Lincoln's passing remains a revolutionary ideal. His challenge, laid down on that winter's day at Gettysburg, is timeless:
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -— that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion —- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -— that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
As ever, it will remain for us to fulfill our potential and to be the Shining City on the Hill. It is why Americans have sacrificed, and it is something we should never forget.
For more information contact:
Al "The Quack" Price, NGH (661) 867-2414 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark "Pokey" Crawford, VNGH (661) 993-7907 or Crawford562@Yahoo.com
Myrl "Doc" Wallace, Clampatriarch (805) 937-0156 or BigWallace@comcast.net
Mike "MGM" Ramirez-Mares, Cyberrecorder (818) 517-8781 or Cyberrecorder@ECV1866.org
- Clog Closet Last Archived June 1, 2019