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The News Archive of Peter Lebeck
Kern County Chapter of E Clampus Vitus ®
From DRANO Day 2011
Posted -- 2.27.11 (6016)
Welcome Cloggites and Happy Drano Day! "What's that," you say? A new Clamper Holiday? PXL specific?
Well not exactly - It's PXL Drano Day because today is the day we are finally getting the CLOG out. It's been a long and quiet three weeks since our last post, and if you want to know how come it's because some of us still have to work for a living. Not that Clamping isn't important, mind you, but work doesn't pay anywhere near as well when you stay home and work on the CLOG.
So kick off y'er boots and pull up a chair, 'cuz the PXL Clog is back on the air! And we have quite a bit of catching up to do, too.
First up is a report on our 2011 Widders' Ball. January 29, 2011, saw the return of our annual Widders' Ball and Demotion Dinner, but being as how this was our 50th Anniversary Year, this ball was very, very special to us and we were very happy with the outcome. For one, our attendance was larger than usual, with almost 75 Clampers and their special guests dropping by to celebrate with us. We were also impressed by how many ladies and gentlemen were totally into the spirit of the thing and came in costume. We made some new friends, and it was an event that our entire chapter can be proud of. Overall from the opening of our hospitality room on Saturday afternoon to breakfast the next morning a fine time was had by all.
If you click on the little picture above, you can download a panorama of the banquet room and see for yourself. You can also check out the over 300 picture we have posted on Peter's Picture Pages. Much thanks to Tom Gray for his camera work and to Timbo and Ron Naucke for their own contributions to the three photo galleries. In fact a very sincere thanks to everyone who attended and made this a most satisfactory event. We even had a birthday cake most graciously cut by Brother Ira Stone who came in at PXL back when we are told that dirt was still a new concept.
We did engage in some of our usual shenanigans. JoLinda Naucke was selected as our 2011 Noble Grand Widder. This is a tradition that was started last year by our outgoing Clampatriarch, "Doc" Charter. The award is given to the Clamper's wife or significant other who over the past year has done the most to promote the work or reputation of the chapter. JoLinda has been our liaison with the women and children's shelter in Bakersfied which is PXL's designated charity. Also along with Jeannie Johnson, JoLinda creates crafts that they sell to other ECV Widders' each year at Grand Council. That poses a special challenge this year as these ladies's crafts and supplies were lost in the Hawker fire back in July.
Anyway our Widder of the Year Award was supposed to be a secret, but we strongly suspect that JoLinda was tipped off by some husband that couldn't keep his mouth shut. Not that we have any real complaints about that because, as you can see, JoLinda showed up looking like Mrs. America. So congratulations JoLinda, and if Ron ever finds that copy of the Widder of the Year Ceremony he lost we may even be able to formally anoint next year's recipient of the award.
There was also the matter of who won the costume competition for both women and men. Frankly I don't remember who won what and I wasn't even drinking. Joe Szot was supposed to get the names of the ladies as he was filling out the awards, but I don't think he remembers either. As for the guys, I was laughing too hard at their antics to even pay attention. So if anybody can fill me in on this stuff go ahead and email me so I can amend the CLOG. It's always too hard to choose between the ladies anyway.
So there we were dancing and partying and having a good ol' time. We especially liked the music this year. Incoming Humbug Ron Naucke hired DJ Dave Salinas from "JAMZ 2 GO" who put together a solid mix that we think was appreciated by everyone. I've always considered this party a really hard programming task when it comes to music. After all there's country, there's western, there's old school, there's R&B, there's mariachi, but what the heck is Clamper? Anyway, Dave nailed it right on the head. I think he's a keeper.
Then there was that goofy ritual called "The Raffle." I have my own issues with this one, mainly that it goes on for too long, but it is a chance for the chapter to engage in a little good natured razzing and to raise a few bucks to cover the cost of the doin's. Our PXL Treasurer, "Sultan of Swat" Joe Szot, is always insistent that it is unseemly decorum to Hawk at the Widders' Ball, so he won't do it, but there he is, every year, standing at the front of the room handing out raffle prizes. In fact if you look closely at the panorama, that's Joe and XNGH Keith Fraser standing on the dance floor doling out the goodies. Look even closer and you'll see the pretzel jar full of raffle tickets. I guess Joe never saw Mike "Chipper" Johnson Hawking all those raffle tickets earlier in the evening, so don't tell Joe or you're liable to break his heart.
Anyway speaking of goodies, we actually received some serious donations to the raffle prizes this year. Dave "Pinkie" Russell gets an honorable mention for using his welding skills to create the red iron ECV symbol thingee he donated to the goodie table. There was also the anonymous contribution of "Donkey Balls" which, for the record, are both blue and delicious. We also had our usual contributions of left handed smoke shifters and what not, but then there were the stealthy donations from Brother "BeeEye."
Steve "BeeEye" Cox tells me that he would very much like to be more involved with the chapter, but his job schedule is too unpredictable to allow him make the necessary time commitments. But that hasn't kept BeeEye from stepping up and helping PXL financially from time to time. For instance, back in the summer of 2009, BeeEye and Kyle "Hoss" Callaway bought the chapter a new flag to replace the tattered banner first put into service in 1989. Then during the 2010 Fall Clampout at Camp Whitsett, BeeEye stepped-up again and offered the assistance of a certain "Mr. Franklin" to help encourage the other brothers to participate in the raffle as we sought to recover from our Crown Fire losses.
For our 2011 Widders' Ball BeeEye made several notable and sizable contributions, including a $200 gift certificate to The Home Depot, and two more gift certificates to Victoria Secrets large enough to give a couple of lucky Clampers a head start to a heart attack - at least by the time their Widders were through with them. Anyway thanks Steve for your continued generosity. It takes a real man to walk into Victoria Secrets and pay for women's underwear.
Maybe the next time we have such generous gifts on the raffle table we can actually talk Brother Szot into telling people about these goodies BEFORE the raffle. And for those of you who were snickering at the guys who won those last gift cards, No, those cute little boxes from Victoria Secrets did NOT contain panties.
We are also reminded that just because Joe doesn't believe in hawking at the Widders Ball doesn't meant that he isn't always looking for new ways to bring in a little extra dust for the chapter. Now we have no complaints about the accommodations at the Best Western where the Widders' Ball takes place every year, but we are aware that Joe's Clamper name is "Roadrunner." So we became more than a bit suspicious when we got a closer look at the competition across the street. Perhaps brother Szot has an explanation for this one.
Of course this was also the annual Peter Lebeck Demotion Dinner so it was time to give outgoing Humbug Timbo Gillespie his honorable discharge and to welcome in a new board. As you can see from this candid shot of our former fearless leader, he is really, really heartbroken about having to give up the reins of power. No doubt he was just getting used to the idea of riding in the drum during the spin cycle, but then someone opened the washing machine door and allowed the poor bugger to escape -- though not entirely.
For the record, Timbo has been cooking for PXL for about eight years now, and took over as principal Clampchef from our late brother Kenny "Cookie" Young after Kenny hung up the ol' apron. He also passed on going "up the chairs" a couple of times in order to make sure that Peter Lebeck was secure in the cooking department. You might even say that Timbo has a "steak" in the chapter.
So much thanks to you our brother, we look forward to your continued service on behalf of PXL, particularly as Clampatriarch, and make my Rib Eye medium rare!
As for the rest of this stuff, it's going to take a little getting used to. It seems like we were just breaking in the last guy. There we were partying and dancing and having a good time (I said that already didn't I ?), and then the night was over. It was hit the showers, hit the sack, hit the lights, and when we woke up, there he was!
In fact so were all these other guys -- the new PXL Officers that is. This group is a mix of old guys and new additions to the line-up. At Humbug of course is Ron "Inspector" Naucke; yours truly, "Medium Green Mike" Ramirez will serve at Vice Noble Grand Humbug, Rick "Nimrod" Hatch is now our Grand Noble Recorder, Joe "Roadrunner" Szot repeats as Gold Dust Receiver, Russ "Hole" Chapman is Grand Imperturbable Hangman, Luis "Vaquero" Bouza will serve as Barkeep, and "Timbo" Gillespie will again be our Clampchef as well as adviser to our officers as PXL Clampatriarch. Gene "Dickhead" Duncker has agreed to remain at ClampCrier (because nobody can cry like Gene), and Joe Szot will continue as Hawker with the help of Dale "Doc" Charter and Don "Sawdust" Johnson, as his left and right tackles, respectively. This is as sorry a bunch of suckers as has ever served the cause. We offer our most sincerest condolences and wish them all the best of luck as we launch Peter Lebeck into its 50th year as an ECV chapter.
So what are our plans for the immediate future? Well "Inspector Ron" has already announced that we will be going to Fort Tejón the weekend of April 15th for our 2011 Spring Doin's. There will be a special 50th Anniversary rededication at the grave of our Clampatriarch Peter Lebeck, and we're also planning something special for those who sign-up early for this event.
Peter Lebeck (the chapter, not the dead guy) will be offering a 50th Anniversary 16 oz. coffee mug for an extra $12 to everyone who pre-pays for this doin's, so you'll want to reserve yours early. This white ceramic mug will sport the artwork seen here, with the commemorative 50th Anniversary Emblem on one side and the Miner and Jackass on the other. We may have a few extras for sale at the doin's but we cannot guarantee either price or availability unless you pre-order.
Joe Szot, with his Hawker hat on, also asked me to tell everyone that he will have 50th Anniversary T-Shirts for sale as well as 50th Anniversary Pins. We will also have Hawker Fire Relief Fund mugs and copies of the special Fire Relief pins developed by Brother Tom Gray. These special "fire pins" mark the wearer as someone who made a sizable donation to the chapter to help us recover from the $10,000 loss of our Hawker store last year. These pins are limited issue and go for $20.
Ron is also working on his erection for the year where he intends to plaque a Bakersfield landmark as part of our 50th Anniversary Celebration. He'll be meeting with an important Kern County foundation soon to pitch his proposal. We know that several of our Graybeards have volunteered to help Ron if he needs their assistance, and we wish them all the best of luck.
As for our next stop, several of us will be going to the Central Valley Tri-Chapter. We know it is the week before our own spring doin's but it's the closest thing our officers have to not having to work for a living. Check Peter's Board if you are interested in joining them.
Ron has also committed to holding regular member meetings for the first time in many years, which is something that will finally put PXL back on the road to being a Clamper Chapter that is active all throughout the year. As soon as Ron provides me with his schedule I'll make sure to post it right here and on our events page. Stay tuned, and until next time, Happy Drano Day !
Posted -- 2.1.11 (6016)
Just a few quick words before we get back to fixing the CLOG. We had a great time at the 2011 Widders' Ball and we hope you did too, but as usual the beginning of a new term is a busy time in CLOGOPOLIS. Think of it as the internet equivalent of draining the swamp and replacing all of the alligators. We're working hard on the Widders' Ball pictures, and we're swapping out pages and links to get ready for our 50th Anniversary Spring Doin's. So don't pay no mind to the clutter and don't fret none if the links don't work perfectly for the next few days.
But even if everything isn't hunky-dory some of our new stuff is already up. We can offer you our new humbug's welcome message about the coming year, a copy of the Spring Flyer, a new officer's page, and our list of coming events for 2011. Just use the links on the left. The pictures will be up shortly, and don't forget that Peter's board is open 25 hours a day, eight days a week. We Count on it, and you can count on it, too.
Enjoy Sunday's Super Bowl, and go BEARS! Let them sack the amateurs instead of you. We're expecting to see you at our Spring Doin's at Fort Tejón so be safe and hang on to your CDL!
Posted -- 1.23.11 (6016)
Welcome back to the PXL CLOG! We offer just a few quick soundbites to update you as to what's been going on at Peter Lebeck. What's that you say? You don't hear them? Well of course you don't, Brother. You have to move your lips. Get ready to read aloud, and don't mumble.
First up. This coming Saturday, January 29, is our Golden Anniversary Widders' Ball at the Crystal Palace Best Western Hotel in Bakersfield, California. If you haven't sent in your dust now is the time or our Gold Dust Receiver may try and charge you a baggage fee. Joe Szot promises to charge even more if you don't pre-pay and also forget your bag, so consider yourself fortunate and don't mess around. At least Joe will take your money; TSA will just kick you off the plane and turn you over to the FBI no matter how much you beg - so get your dust in pronto. Click on the electric purple sign above to download the flyer.
Dickhead Weather Central is predicting good Clamping weather for the weekend, with a high on Saturday in the low 60's and mostly sunny skies. Snow, sleet, rain? Fuggetaboutit. The only thing Gene Duncker is predicting for the Grapevine are lots of trucks, so keep to your left.
Gene is always saying, "You gotta show them the pictures so they can see we're having a good time." But after Gene's Mexican Hat Dance video I'm not so sure that 'showin' them the pictures' is always such a good idea, that is unless you consider blackmail a spectator sport. On the other hand, I think the Youtube slideshow we put together to promote this year's Widders' Ball came out really nice. It's getting one more reprise at the top of the CLOG just in case you missed it.
As for the Widders' Ball itself, outgoing Humbug "Ptomaine Timbo" Gillespie decided to keep the price for the Ball the same as last year. And to make things a bit more flavorful he also added deep pit Bar-B-Q to this year's buffet because he's a deep, deep, Bar-B-Q kinda guy. The hospitality room opens at Twoish, so come by in your comfy clothes and visit for a while. As always snacks and libations are on the house. You can also see the year's pictures on the widescreen TV.
The evening's festivities will start at Six. As usual, period dress is encouraged but not mandatory, but you will want to bring your fancy pants if you've got some. Aside from dinner, dancing and the installation of our new officer, we will be honoring some lucky woman for her work on behalf of the chapter by naming her Noble Grand Widder for 2011. We will also conduct our usual costume competition, with three categories for all honored widder guests who care to participate: Period, Saloon Girl and Absurd. Good luck to all and hope to see you there.
In case you missed the Big Meeting at Frazier Park, its now official. Ron "Inspector" Naucke will be Peter Lebeck's 50th Noble Grand Humbug. He has named the following to serve as his officers for Clampyear 6016: Mike "MGM" Ramirez-Mares, Vice Noble Grand Humbug; Rick "Nimrod" Hatch, Grand Noble Recorder; Joe "Roadrunner" Szot, Gold Dust Receiver; Russ "Hole" Chapman, Grand Imperturbable Hangman; Luis "Vaquero" Bouza, Barkeep; Gene "DH" Duncker, Clampcrier; and Tim "Ptomaine Timbo" Gillespie, Clampatriarch and Clampchef Extraordinaire with Clusters (just don't ask what KIND of clusters). Joe Szot will continue to Hawk with the help of Dale "Doc" Charter, Don "Sawdust" Johnson, and Gene Duncker. We wish them all the best of success.
Speaking of Frazier Park, if you missed the aforesaid annual corporate meeting, then you have some real catching up to do. Aside from Ron naming his officers, this get together had a very serious tone. The Crown Fire, which swept through the Leona Valley at the end of July, didn't just destroy our Hawker Store. Nearly all of our chapter's official records went up in smoke, and that set us to thinking about where our chapter has been and how it needs to be run to survive into the future. We also recognized that our chapter is governed by an old set of inefficient rules that no longer work in our favor. Our conclusion was that Peter Lebeck has to modernize. We voted to review the chapter's bylaws, purchase insurance to protect our officers and board of director, and set up our books to meet standard financial practices.
Peter Lebeck, as a chapter of ECV, has been around for 50 years, but we've only been a corporation since 1980. At the time the whole issue of incorporation might not even have come up but in some ECV Chapters initiations were getting out of hand and guys were getting hurt. That also meant that chapters and their members were exposing themselves to lawsuits. Making matters worse, those once popular one day Clamping events were proving to be more than just a source of 502's, the truth was that people were getting injured and even killed on the drive home. In response, the far sighted brothers who were running PXL back in 1980 invested the time and money needed to incorporate as a way of protecting our members from liability. They also shifted to overnight Clampouts to give the brothers a chance to sober-up and encouraged everyone to "give the reigns to a Brother of Sobriety" when going to and from the doin's.
So in 1980 Peter Lebeck was chartered by the State of California as a charitable corporation and the federal government recognized us as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. That meant that we weren't required to pay state and federal taxes, and all donations to Peter Lebeck became charitable deductions. Our stated purpose was to raise and donate historical monuments to the general public, whether alone or in conjunction with other historical organizations, and to hand out educational materials about our erections. That's the way it was and that's the way it remains today, and so far, so good.
The problem was that the chapter's then new corporate rules (called "bylaws") represented a compromise between a lot of former Humbugs who were used to having their own way in how the chapter was run and a group of officers who were trying to take the chapter in a more sustainable direction. In the end, the old timers won. And that meant that the new bylaws lacked a lot of flexibility.
The old Humbugs -- all of them -- became the board of directors of the corporation. It grew only by adding the incoming Humbug every year, and while all of these guys were theoretically responsible for the chapter's direction it was no one's say in particular. This was a formula that only invited drift as the ever growing number of ex-Humbugs avoided making tough decisions for fear of offending each other. There were other problems as well, but I've gone about this long enough. The board has appointed a committee to address issues like these and to try and make our chapter stronger, so this meeting marks a very positive begining.
We also had other very good news coming out of our Frazier Park conclave. Ron has finalized the date for our Spring Doin's at Fort Tejón State Park the weekend of April 15-17. The flyer is available using this link or you can go to Peter's Board where it is already posted on the Spring 2011 Doin's Board.
This one is part of our Golden Jubilee Celebration so going back to Fort Tejón represents an historic moment for us, and what better place to celebrate our 50th than where our Clampatriarch Peter Lebeck was laid to rest. For those of you who have never been to Fort Tejón, it is the site of a 19th Century U.S. Army Base. Some of the original buildings have been restored as has the parade ground which is now a spacious lawn with oak trees on its perimeters. Peter rests under one of these old majestic oaks. We'll be conducting a special ceremony in Peter's honor so we know you won't want to miss this extra special event. The Clamping area is secluded behind the historic portion of the park, while the park itself is right off of Interstate 5 at the top of the Grapevine, with easy RV access for everyone. Keep an eye on this website for further details.
Also coming up on Saturday February 19th, Doc Charter and his Widder Marti will again be hosting us for Kernville's Whiskey Flat Days Parade. We'll be marching in the parade so come tricked out in you Clamper best and don't forget to bring your widder. For those of you who would like to spend the weekend, some of us will be staked out at Camp James Campground. Click the link for their website and a virtual tour of the grounds or call 760-376-6119, for pricing and availability. Whiskey Flat Days is a very popular Kern County event so you'll want to make your reservation as soon as possible. Click on Dufus to go to their website.
Along with his financial report, Joe Szot also reported on our Norton Day Hawking efforts which proved most satisfactory. Some of the guys always head up to YB1's year-opening Clamping event honoring that sage San Franciscan, the late, great Emperor Joshua Norton I, but this was the first time we had been up there Hawking, at least in recent memory.
Anyway we did quite well, particularly with a couple of special offerings. First there was our 50th Anniversary pin which impressed a lot of the brothers. In fact Joe intends to go one better and for the Spring Doin's he'll have 50th Anniversary T-shirts available in sizes up to 3X. If I can convince him to let me do it, you may even be able to pre-order your shirt when you sign-up for the spring Clampout.
Our other offering also drew a lot of attention. If you have been following the CLOG you'd know that Brother Tom "Gato Pardo" Gray, honchoed a special "PXL Hawker Fire Relief Fund" Pin for the chapter. Tom has been selling the pin where he can, including a special trip to the pre-Norton Day Columbo Dinner up in Oakland. Through the good graces of our Brothers at YB1, and Steve "Iggy" Myers in particular, Tom went from table to table telling our tale of woe and asking the Brothers to purchase our pin. On Norton Day, Joe and Timbo continued to sell the pin, and so far sale of this little disk has helped us recoup over $1,000 of our $10,000 in losses from the Crown Fire Disaster. Many thanks to Tom and to all our Brothers across Clamperdom who have pitched in to lend their support.
Now Tom is a guy who knows how to make an entrance, but we've never seen anything quite like this. Brother Gray showed up at Saturday's meeting riding his Harley and brought with him a flamboyant gentleman wearing a tuxedo and sporting a Spanish accent. Well none of us got the name of this man of mystery, but once the meeting was over he promptly stood up and declared Tom to be "the second most interesting man in the room." He then walked out the door, headed up Mount Pinos, and we haven't seen him since. The guy didn't even stay long enough to finish his enchiladas. Mystery indeed.
Posted -- 12.31.10 (6015)
Happy New Year, Brothers! To you and yours, a very special greeting from your Brothers here at Peter Lebeck. May the coming year be full of good things, prosperity and laughter. We have high --very high -- expectations that this will be a MAH-vel-US Year. So rejoice and be glad. We've got your back. Have a cold one on us, but just be careful out there. There are way too many amateurs out on the road over the holidays. We want to see you at the Widders' Ball and again in the sping, so be safe.
We won't clutter your perception any more than we have to. If you want details about the Widders' Ball read last week's post. But we do have one very important announcement about our upcoming annual meeting.
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL GREYBEARDS AND PXL MEMBERS:
THE MANDATORY ANNUAL MEETINGS OF THE BOARD OF GREYBEARDS AND THE GENERAL MEMBERSHIP HAVE BEEN COMBINED AND WILL TAKE PLACE ON SATURDAY, JANUARY 15TH, 2011 (6016), AT LA SIERRA MEXICAN RESTAURANT, 3500 MOUNT PINOS WAY, FRAZIER PARK, CA 93225. (866) 443-7719.
THIS MEETING WILL START PROMPTLY AT 11:00 AM. THIS IS AN OPEN MEETING.
THE AGENDA AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FOR DISCUSSION WILL BE POSTED ON PETER'S BOARD BY JANUARY 1, 2011.
-- Timbo Gillespie, PXL Humbug #49
Posted -- 12.24.10 (6015)
Hello Cloggites, and Merry Christmas! What's that, you say? You don't celebrate Christmas? Well I'm too broke to make a respectable showing for the eight days of Chanukah (though if you'll supply the latkes, I'll bring my appetite and plenty of sour cream). Kwaanza isn't 'till next week(though I suspect few Clampers in Bakersfield are celebrating it this year); and the winter solstice was called on account of rain. In fact it's still raining. Flooding, even.
So guess what?
Now, didn't that feel good? You know it did. So admit it. After all this is the season to be merry, but just don't take my word for it, our Humbug, Ptomaine Timbo Gillespie sends the following greeting:
"First Widder Jennie and I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Our country has had some rough times, but things seem to be moving in a positive direction. We hope that this momentum continues through the New Year and that everyone gets to share in the prosperity. I thank you again for the opportunity to have been of service to the Chapter this year, and let's tear it up in 6016 for our 50th Anniversary as a chapter of E Clampus Vitus!"
And things are starting to look up. Those of us who have been following the saga of Sally Reynolds, who has been hanging on by a thread, were happy to learn that she has received a liver transplant. It's been almost two weeks now and her condition remains guarded but things are a darn sight better than they were a few days ago. So Sally, JR and Brandi, we're still praying for you and your family. So say an extra prayer for them and for the young man who won't be seeing the New Year but who gave Sally hope. His family did a great thing for our friends. May peace be upon all of them in this difficult time.
One last thought for JR. The Reynolds still find themselves living on the financial edge, so if you can spare a little Christmas, Chanukah, Kwaanza, or for that matter just a little good old fashioned Humanist generosity, you can send you gelt through the Rally for Sally Homepage at http://rallyforsally.webs.com/.
Next up is progress on our own financial situation. Peter Lebeck, for those of you who don't know it, is a rather small chapter. Some say that that is part of our charm. And thanks to some rather prudent fiscal management we have managed to stay solvent over the last few years and have even set a little something aside for emergencies. Well the unthinkable happened back in July when a fire swept through the Leona Valley and incinerated years' worth of invaluable chapter records along with our entire Hawker Store valued at over $10,000. In just a few minutes that cushion that we had taken years to build up got awfully thin.
Our fall Clampout brought us a lot of hope. We restocked the best we could and many a brother donated redshirts, pins and other Clamper memorabilia to our store, but we were frequently asked: Where is the commemorative pin? Well thanks to the help of PXL member Tom Gray, who honchoed the project, we were able to turn Eli Carillo's "Hawker on Fire" into a limited edition pin which will be available generally for the first time next month at Norton Day. The suggested donation will be $20, and if you care to give more, hey, we won't turn you down. We'll be offering this pin throughout the season as long as supplies last, and we promise you that we will put whatever you can give to good use. And hey, don't worry. That isn't an image of Joe Szot. We kept trying to get him to pose but he kept blowing out the matches.
So as of Thursday, January 6th, and with the permission of our brothers at YB1, our pin will premiere at the Pre-Norton Day, Columbo Dinner in Oakland. Tom Gray and Humbug Timbo Gillespie will be there to present our new offering and several of us will be going up on Norton Day itself to help our Hawker, Joe Szot, with the Hawker's Table. So look for Joe, Tom, Dickhead, Donny, Ron and Timbo in Colma, on Saturday, January 8th. If you have a mind to join them, drop them a note on Peter's Board because it's always nice to have company.
And while it is too late to sign-up for the Colombo Dinner itself, it isn't too late to send in your rub for the crab feast at Malloy's which is part of the January 8th Norton Day Commemoration at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma. This doin's is the first important Clamper event of the year and is presented by Yerba Buena #1, the oldest chapter in modern Clamperdom. The deadline (pardon the pun) is December 31, 2010.
Now for those of you who don't have a clue about what I'm talking about when I say "Norton" and "Norton Day," we've posted three videos on "Ye Page of Brasse" which will clue you in about this important Clamper Celebration and why Joshua Norton was an important, if whimsical, figure in California History.
Now a word about this month's holiday graphics. Some of the guys have complained about the banner at the top of the page. It's too fast, it's too slow, the pictures need to be updated, yata-yata-yata. Well one of the problems I've had modifying it is that I lost the original story board and photos in a computer crash not long after I erected the masthead about two years ago. That makes it really, really hard to make modification without starting over from scratch. On the other hand, I figure that at this point we are due for a revision so why not let the brothers decide?
So if you have a favorite photo that you'd like included in the new and improved version of the PXL Masthead, please drop me a line, or better yet, send me a photo. I make no promises - particularly since some of you guys are utterly without redeeming social value, taste or artistic sensibility -- but I'll do my best to oblige. By now we have hundreds of snaps on Peter's Picture Pages from which you can download your favorite poses, or you can always send me your own. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you in either case.
Anyway, I always wanted one of those roaring Yule Logs. You know, the kind you see on TV Superstation KTLA on Christmas morning, with the smaltzy Kenny G. Music playing in the background over the hardwood crackle. But my wife has asthma and all I can manage is the ceramic gas version at the top of this page, but before you start laughing at my meager efforts, just ask yourself, "Can I get my gas log to crackle like Mikee's?" Bet you can't, brother. CQA.
Then there is this finishing touch that you won't want to miss. I've filled the flying jackass space at the top of the CLOG with a flash mob video suitable for the Christmas holiday. While I'm mindful that not everybody who read the CLOG is Christian, or religious, I'm also mindful that Americans rarely engage in the public communal singing that you find in some cultures - with one exception - and that's Christmas. Having had a very devout Jewish officemate who knows all the words to all the Christmas Carols I know and then some, and can sing both me and Neil Diamond under the table, you'll never convince me otherwise. So enjoy the flash mob, and please, sing right along. And after you finish that one, here's one that came in a close second runner-up.
So what happened to Dickhead's video Version of the Mexican Hat Dance that last occupied the coveted Flying Jackass location? Well it will end up on "Ye Page of Brasse" just like all the other cutesy video stuff I worked too hard on to just throw away.
And now for the best part of this post. 2011 is our 50th Anniversary and we are kicking it off with a very special Widders' Ball which you won't want to miss. Both you and your guests are invited to join us for a special day of dinner, dancing and camaraderie, and to convince you all I've posted several new things to help you make up your minds. So check out the 50th Widders' Ball and Clampdown! pages by scrolling back up and clicking in the links box on the left. You'll find a special animated invitation, a link to download the flyer, and a You Tube animated slide show featuring highlights from last year's ball complete with a countdown clock to remind you when it's time to party.
So please accept this personal invitation from our Humbug, Timbo Gillespie:
"We certainly hope that you'll be able to join us for our Golden Anniversary Widder's Ball and Demotion Ceremony on January 29, 2011. As usual, it will be held at the Best Western Crystal Palace in Bakersfield. The more than reasonable room rate of $65.00 includes breakfast for you and your lovely Widder. It's fun, it's fashionable, and it's a great way to lay a foundation for all of the drinking and gorging you'll be doing for Superbowl the following weekend. That'll be the Bears and whoever is brave enough to play them.
"Speaking of the Widders' Ball, this is a great opportunity to introduce your prospective PBCs to the frivolity and fraternity that is Peter Lebeck and ECV. The ability to let potential new members see what a great bunch we are and the chance to let their widders know that we aren't going to take their men out into the woods and do really weird things to them. So feel free to invite along anyone over twenty one who is of reasonably good character and might like to get to see the light.
"New members are the lifeblood of any organization. It is incumbent upon our brothers who have been around awhile to help ECV ensure its continued existence by bringing in members who will be assets (or at least not asses). Even if you aren't part of the leadership, encourage your prospects to consider volunteering with the chapter once they become redshirts. Eventually a lot of us will be too old and tired to do what we do now, so new blood is always welcome.
"Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and see you at the Ball!"
Ptomaine Timbo Gillespie
As for myself, I can only add that this has been my seventh year working the Peter Lebeck webpages and my third year acting as our Humbugs' personal representative and chapter spokesman on the PXL CLOG. It's been both a challenge and a blast, and your comments and compliments over the years have been greatly appreciated. When our Humbug Steve Born asked me to share web duties with him back in 2005, we were using a free website with a 25 page limit and there was serious and heated discussion in some corners of Clamperdom about whether Clampers had any business messing with the internet at all. Besides, they said, you'll never get the older guys to even turn on a computer, even if they have one. The whole thing is too confusing and intimidating to be used as a source of communication, or so they said.
Well here we are. We're about to turn the page on 2011 and our chapter is still growing into the site that we've built here over the last few years, and while I'll be the first to admit that there is still a whole lot to do, one thing is certain: Clampers are on the net and we are here to stay whether it is through email, message boards, webpages, or even the CLOG. So if you have some free time, why not volunteer some of it to our website? We have several long term projects here that could use your help - some serious and some silly. In my next post I'll even lay those out here for you to consider. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday.
Posted -- 11.28.10 (6015)
Thanksgiving is the most American of national holidays. It began with a proclamation by a beleaguered president in 1863, one whom biographers tells us did not believe in a hereafter, but whose sense of religion seemed to ground him so much in the here and now that he was able to pour himself into the bloody work he believed was necessary to see his nation survive. For as Lincoln was well aware, times can be tough, but things can always be worse. He also understood, as a man of deep contemplation, that failing to appreciate our blessings in the here and now is an invitation to a bitter, selfish and miserable life.
Mr. Lincoln's proclamation also created this unique paradox: For Americans Thanksgiving is the most religious of secular holidays, and the most secular of religious holydays, and because we live in a free country we have always had the choice to take this tradition off in one direction or the other. But rather than divide ourselves, over the years, we have chosen to do that which helps us come together. We are a nation that --for one weekend, at least-- sucks it up, and tolerates our obnoxious uncle John who loves to dunk our daughters' pigtails in the gravy. We refuse to bite when bated about Sarah Palin or Barack Obama and instead stuff our politics in our back pockets; and we bask in the glow of our favorite Aunt Tilldie, whom we know is going to hell for converting to that other religion, though we know in our heart of hearts that the woman is a saint.
In Mr. Lincoln's America, we are all free to pray at the Thanksgiving table and no one is turned away because of their beliefs. And if no one religion owns Thanksgiving be assured that every religion has a stake in it. And if any of our fellow celebrants don't believe in the Almighty, well that should hardly keep us from being one with them, or they with us, because counting and sharing our blessings together has become Thanksgiving's overarching gift. It is a charism that fills up our airports, our bus terminals, freeways and train stations around this time of the year: Thanksgiving gives us a longing and desire to be home with family and friends, and has become a great unifying force in American life.
But Thanksgiving isn't just for the settled but also for the new, for it is the most inclusive and user-friendly of American holidays. It is celebrated by the bluest blue blood to the most recent immigrant. As has been the case for generations, many a future American starts his journey at this holiday table, saying Thanksgiving Grace before he even learns to speak English. It is a celebration that gives our country strength and hope as we continue on a journey that Lincoln could only imagine. One for which he thanked the Most High God for His Grace:
"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come…No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
"It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States …to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union."
--Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States October 3, 1863
So pulling ourselves away from the Thanksgiving table long enough for a moment of reflection, what blessings do we count here at PXL as the year draws to a close? Well, family, friends and brotherhood top our list. We also recognize that these are tough times and are thankful for just getting by. We hope that those of us looking for work make it through the season and find employment soon.
The fire up in Leona Valley took us by surprise this past season, and while we could feel sorry for ourselves, the truth is that we are grateful for the support shown by many an ECV Brother, including many from other chapters; and we are still warmed by the generosity of all who attended our fall doin's.
As we approach the close of another fine Clamp year, we are reminded that PXL will soon mark fifty years of Clamping, and a fifty years Golden Anniversary is a most satisfactory thing for which to give thanks.
Peter Lebeck was chartered in 1961 by a bunch of local guys interested in history, who believed that Kern County would benefit from a chapter of E Clampus Vitus. Most were civic boosters with ties to organizations like the Kern County Museum, Bakersfield Californian, and Kern County Historical Society among others. But as best we can understand it, the bonds of brotherhood are not always as strong as we would like to believe them to be, men can lose faith and affiliations recede. There have been times in the past that it looked like our chapter wouldn't make it, and yet here we are thanks to the hard work and dedication of our brothers who are proud to call themselves members of "Peter Lebeck, the Kern County Chapter of E Clampus Vitus." So as we start our second fifty years, we look forward to continuing our task of preserving history, building our membership and our reputation, and reclaiming our place as a trusted member of the historical community of all of Kern County.
That isn't to say that we intend to give-up on the fun and absurdity of being a Clamper. So let's move on to the announcements. We think there is a hair ball or two here worthy of your consideration.
First up, we'd like to congratulate PXL Humbug #19, Chris Brewer, for winning the Governor's Historic Preservation Award for his life's work as a professional California historian. Currently Chris continues his works as an architectural historian for CalTrans; is a collector, and has his own museum up in Exeter dedicated to California History. He has written numerous books and scholarly articles, was interim director of the Kern County Museum many years ago, and is the great-great-grandson of Colonel Thomas Baker. We'd like to see more of Chris at our doin's, but he was injured about six years ago in a near head on traffic collision which left him unable to drive. Chris, get better, and keep up the great work! Maybe you can even convince Arnold to be your PBC this spring. Tell him it's time to stop being a Girlie Man and to suck it up. You'd look good riding shotgun in that Hummer.
Many of you are also aware of our efforts to annex land beyond our chartered domain, and we are actually recruiting Redshirts to our expeditionary forces, which we have provisionally titled "The Order of the Hungry Bear." We originally started out calling it an "Angry Bear" but figured we had long ago run out of hapless French Pioneers to feed it, so why not let it go out and about looking for something to eat? Adding a few modern Frenchmen to the diet might be a good thing, you think? Anyway if you'd like to participate in a little foraging drop us a line for further information.
And speaking of foraging, we aren't above doing a little poaching ourselves when the opportunity arises. For example, just recently I made a foray into the Territory of 41-49, up to Madera County, the land of Corsegold and Oakhurst, and of Bill "Stinky" Williams and Steve "Muleskinner" Schermerhorn, and all I can say is, "Brothers - this is truly some of the most beautiful country in all of Clamperdom."
So I said to myself, "Self? Why should these lucky SOBMs* have it all to themselves? Surely they can afford to give up a tiny sliver of God's Country in favor of their Brothers from PXL?"
So with all due respect to our Central California Brethren, Stinky, Muley and all the rest of you, we just had to plant the flag, and what better place to put it than right next to yours? Looking good, don't you think?
(*SOBM = Son of a Brother's Mother.)
But it's not like we don't have anything else to do. Our fiftieth anniversary is just around the corner and we intend to start our New Year right with a Golden Anniversary Widders' Ball second to none. You'll want to block out your calendar for the weekend of Saturday, January 29th, when we will gather once again at the Crystal Palace Best Western in Bakersfield for a full day and evening of relaxation and merriment. The complimentary libations and hors d'oeuvres start at 2 o'clock, so join us for an informal gathering in our all day hospitality room. Then dress up for dinner and dancing as we retire to the hotel's banquet hall at 6 p.m.
This year we want to emphasize a couple of important things. First of all we've kept the price the same as last year. This is not a money making event for us. The whole idea is to give as many of our Brothers as possible a chance to express their appreciation to the women who put up with them all year long. The Best Western also offers a nice room at a reasonable price, and we'd much rather that you take that little extra we could have charged you for the doin's and spend it on a hotel room where you can safely spend the night. Your widder will appreciate it. It's much cheaper than a 502 and it's our way of making sure that we will see you again in the spring. So sign-up early to make sure you get the benefit of the PXL Discount.
The other thing we'd like to emphasize is that this doin's is open to all Redshirts in good standing and their guests. Take this opportunity to invite that prospective PBC and his wife or girlfriend. They can both see what a fun group we really are. He'll feel more welcome, and she'll feel less threatened when she meet our widders, who are a really, really nice group of ladies. Take this opportunity to help our chapter grow.
As for the rest of this mess, I'm still working on the website. (So what else is new?) But you can download the flyer by clicking here or by clicking on the purple banner under the Peter Lebeck marquee. The Widders' Ball link should be up soon as well. You'll also want to click on the Clampdown! Link as soon as you can. You won't find the usual countdown clock(at least not yet) but I did work really hard on a little movie featuring highlights from last year's Widders' Ball, and unlike our other picture galleries this one is open to the general public. It's also available on YouTube and viewable in high definition. So feel free to pass out this link to Clamper friends and potential PBCs. Let them know about the good things that your chapter is up to.
And while we haven't yet kicked out our current Humbug and his officers, our 'Bug, Timbo "Ptomaine" Gillespie is looking forward to winding down. So go ahead and read his closing remarks on our Humbugs' Page -- but that isn't to say that he is off the hook. We'll have Timbo's happy smiling face around here throughout the Holidays, and rumor has it that he is planning at least one more surprise for our friends who follow the PXL CLOG.
So check back often, Ron Naucke, our PXL Humbug-in-waiting is already planning up a storm of plenty good stuff for next year. We can't emphasize enough how important this one is going to be.
Short Post -- 11.13.10 (6015)
Hello Brothers, and thanks for your patience. Veterans' Day has come and gone and we apologize for not having our act together well enough to post a contemplative thought about the meaning of the holiday: The Eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, marked the end of the slaughter that became known as World War I. Pity that such tragedies should ever have to be numbered, but they are, and so it goes. A not so subtle reminder that freedom is never free.
So as our own country continues to bear the burden of two overseas wars, let us take a belated moment to honor the men and women who have fought for our country, now and in the past, for the right thing to do is to honor their memories.
--As for our insignificant little website, it still needs a whole lot of work. So bear with us as we continue to get it ready for our upcoming, super special, Golden Anniversary Widders' Ball. In the meantime please take a few minutes to join us on Peter's Board. We so very much enjoy your company.
For more information contact:
Myrl "Doc" Wallace, NGH (805) 937-0156 or BigWallace@comcast.net
Al "The Quack" Price, VNGH (661) (661) 867-2414 or email@example.com
Dale "Top" Turner, Clampatriarch (661) 714-7203 or Dalefmda@earthlink.net
Mike "MGM" Ramirez-Mares, Cyberrecorder (818) 517-8781 or Cyberrecorder@ECV1866.org
- Clog Closet Last Archived May 1, 2018