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The News Archive of Peter Lebeck
Kern County Chapter of E Clampus Vitus ®
From Widders' Ball 2012
Posted - 2.05.12
Happy Super Bowl fellow Cloggites and welcome back to the PXL CLOG. January has brought an auspicious start to the Peter Lebeck Clampyear, and the Brothers here at Peter Lebeck are on a roll. So to everyone who made it to last weekend's Widders' Ball, "Thank You!" We hope you had as good a time as we did. To everyone else, well, there's always next year. Or better yet, don't just sit there in your chonies and crying in your beer! Just pack your fine tooth comb, throw in a couple pair of your best red knickers and join the brothers of PXL as we head off across the Clampscape.
More on that in a moment but first, a recap. Last Saturday's Widders' Ball was one of our best on record, and we received a lot of kudos for this one. I can't remember the last time we outlasted the D.J. Chris from Travelin' Tunes had about 10 couples still on the dance floor when the music ran out, and our hospitality room closed down some time after one in the morning. Much thanks to "Vaquero," "Yeti," "Hole" and our other upcoming brothers for the way you all pitched in and managed this event. Graybeards "Sawdust" and "Doc" held up their end as XNGHs, while 2009 Grand Noble Widder Jeannie Johnson did the table center pieces. I also want to thank the Widders who pitched in during the day and kept our hospitality room neat and tidy. Janina Bouza put together those beautiful gift baskets for our raffle, and many other friends were generous with both gifts and time. The raffle went off so smoothly it was like Christmas on steroids.
Debbie Brandt was named 2011 Grand Noble Widder for her selfless contributions to the chapter as a professional accountant. She audited the PXL Books for 2010 and 2011 and is helping us set up a bookkeeping system that will standardize much of this work in the future. Debbie is married to our Hangman, Tom Gray, who is one lucky SOB.
Once again, the Widders who participated in our costume contest were the best of sports, and the men were as goofy as ever. We had the guys dancing especially hard to impress the ladies. All we can say is that we are absolutely certain that these Brothers made some kind of impression, but we won't say what kind - - Nuf'sed.
But the absolute highlight of the evening had to have been the Weenie Roast of our longtime Brother and benefactor, Gene "Dickhead" Duncker for his 22 years of his service to Peter Lebeck. If you didn't see it or simply want to see it again, his Widder Lumpy videoed the festivities and put them up on Youtube to Gene's eternal embarrassment. To relive the moment, just click on this link.
If I left anybody out, my apologies, but thank you, thank you, and thank you! I am SO PROUD of YOU GUYS. And whether I mentioned you individually or not, you really ought to be in pictures…which is why I've mounted more than 300 photos of this Doin's on Peter's Picture pages and have a created a slide show viewable in 1080p High Definition just go to the Clampdown Page to see it. Thanks to Alden Roberts for his shutter work. Dahr-leengs, you look MAH-vel-us!
Now on to other stuff….
On February 18, 2012, Peter Lebeck will be marching in Kernville's Whiskey Flat Days Parade. Once again, XNGH "Doc" Charter and his Widder Marti will host our intrepid little band of Redshirts and their lady guests. So please, come on up for this one, and dress Clamper-style to impress the crowd. Since we started doing this event three years ago, we've actually won two awards in the "Walking Group" Category. After the parade we'll be headed back into town for libations and eats.
For those unfamiliar with Whiskey Flat Days, it's a celebration that occurs in Kernville every year over Presidents' Days Weekend. This is Kern County's most popular themed winter festival, and it celebrates the early days of Old Kernville when it was known as "Whiskey Flat." As many as 50,000 people are expected in town for the weekend, so if you'd like to join us we encourage you to get there early. If you'd like to read more about this event, just click on Dufus's Nose to go to the official site where you can find a link to the Whiskey Flat Days Newspaper.
At 10:00 a.m. we will be meeting up at a watering hole called "The Hut," which is three blocks west of the staging area on Sierra Way. The Parade is supposed to start at 11:00 so we'll be heading out to our place in line at about 10:30. It is also a good idea to bring your cell phone. That way in case you miss us or The Hut isn't open, you can call Doc Charter at (760) 417-0599. Landlines are available at the local pubs.
To get to The Hut and the parade staging area, just follow the only road north into Kernville. It becomes Burlando Road as you approach town. Once in Kernville this street changes names a couple of times but continue to go straight. Follow it over the Kern River Bridge then park wherever you can find parking. The Hut will be on your right two blocks past the bridge. The staging area will be three blocks beyond that at Sierra Way.
February 10-11, 2012, this coming Friday and Saturday, Doc, Dickhead and Timbo will be headed up to the Annual LSD Bean Feed & Hawkers Faire in Auburn, California. The CARP Dinner is on Friday night starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Sizzler in Auburn. The trading, schmoozing and beaning begins on Saturday at 7:00 a.m., at the Gold Country Fair. For more details click here. If you are interested in joining them call Doc at (760) 417-0599. Lodging is available at the Easy 8 Motel.
The weekend of April 13-15, a bunch of us will be headed up to the Central Valley Tri-Chapter (location to be announced). We had originally picked this weekend for our own Spring Doin's but so many of us actually attend this event that we pushed our own date later into the calendar to avoid the conflict. Besides, when we do the Tri-Chapter we just get to hang out and don't have to work as hard. I personally am looking forward to meeting the Beluga Brothers and watching Brother Stinky's Studebaker Rides. We'd be doing Studebaker Rides at PXL but they work so much better when you can add water. We'll be posting the flyer on Peter's Board when it becomes available.
Two weeks later, April 27-29, we'll be headed to a flat spot in the Mojave Desert for our 2012 Spring Doin's. It won't be as pretty as our last event, but it will be a lot of fun. Back in 1963, PXL and Platrix were part of a ceremony recognizing Walker Pass as a National Historical Landmark. As part of that celebration, the Brothers of E Clampus Vitus created a colorful stone and mortar encasement for the existing monument on Walker Pass and added a joint plaque donated by the PXL and Platrix chapters of ECV. That plaque was our chapter's first erection, dedicated on October 19, 1963, about a month before the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a long, long time ago.
Awhile back - no one seems to know exactly when - our little plaque disappeared. The goal for our fall doin's will be to replace our missing marker. We hope you'll set time aside to join us for this important and meaningful erection.
Lastly I want to thank everybody for their support. For the last seven years I've been helping out with the PXL website. Most of what you see here is my work. It's not perfect, and it's no longer all that modern; but hopefully it continues to serve the purposes for which it was intended.
For years now I've been looking to the Humbug to make sure that what I posted here wasn't out of line with how he wanted PXL to be represented. Usually I got it right, on occasion I got it wrong, but it was usually just me and another guy sorting out how we wanted to present the public face of Peter Lebeck to our Brothers of E Clampus Vitus.
Now I find myself in the position of actually being the Humbug. It feels a little weird, and a little lonely, though I suppose I always have the option of talking to myself. But as I look to the officers that we have coming up and to our active Graybeards, I realize that our chapter has come a long way since Steve Born started experimenting with a few webpages in 2005. For one, the membership has gotten a bit younger. For another they have also gotten much more tech savvy. But most of all, regardless of their ages, they have plenty of energy and lots of new ideas about where our chapter should go next.
So as the duties of Humbug get thicker, I'm sure I'll be able to rely on my Brothers from another mother to fill-in here on the ol' PXL CLOG. We have plenty to look forward to my friends.
And, oh yeah - wish me luck.
Quick Note - 1.31.12
It was a great time! Thanks again to all who made our event a success. A new CLOG will be up soon, but in the meantime enjoy the photos. You can access the Youtube slideshow by clicking on the Clampdown! link. You can expand it to fit your screen and you can even watch it in 1080p HD if you have a fast broadband connection. You'll also find the pictures posted in a more traditional fashion on Peter's Picture Pages by tomorrow. Enjoy!
Posted - 1.22.12
Hello, Cloggites, and welcome back to this Widders' Ball version of the PXL CLOG. We're all set for this weekend's Widders' Ball and Demotion Dinner, and if you haven't RSVP'd by now, then you are probably out of luck. I say "probably" because we still do have a handful of seats left though you may find yourself in the bleachers for this one. We are expecting over 70 for Saturday's Soirée, so if you're just expecting to drop by and cruise under the RADAR you'd best contact Timbo at email@example.com to make sure that you can still get in. If you've already pre-paid and lost your flyer, you can still get it here. Just click on the little flyer on the right.
Dickhead Weather Central reports that climate conditions for Saturday afternoon's reception at our Hospitality Suite should be quite moderate, with temperature predicted to be in the mid-60's. You may want to bring a sweater, but no houses are expected to fall on anyone's sister. In any event there will be plenty of complimentary snacks and libations to keep you warm.
If you are wondering what Louie, Big Al and I are doing in that picture overhead with the nice lady with the feathers in her hair, it's mostly blushing, I think. Actually we're shamelessly trying to remind you that Saturday's Dinner Dance is an excuse to be nice to the woman you love, and that showing off your finest period attire is gently encouraged. (At least that's what we told our Widders. It's something government officials call "plausible deniability.")
Anyway you'll most certainly want to dress casually for our hospitality room, but you'll also want to dress up nicely for dinner. Your Widder will appreciate it. If you've never been to one of our Widders' Balls you'll want to check out the video slide show on our Clampdown Page. We're a friendly bunch, and our greatest desire is to make you feel at home.
Now here's what we have planned for Saturday Evening…
Dinner will be your choice from the buffet complete with a little mood music. Then of course they'll be after dinner business. We'll have to throw the old bums out and drag the new bums in. We'll be handing out awards to our top supporters. We'll be celebrating the "Widder of the Year," and we'll be having our usual costume contests. We'll also be conducting a raffle, and once that's over - y'all 'll get to dance: Light on the country, nix on the hip hop, a little line dancing, a little contemporary, a touch of soul … and a lot of romance.
In keeping with our dubious sense of taste, the men's dress contest will be as rowdy as ever, so ladies, cheer them on! But the Widders' Contest will be more gentile. We want every lady in costume to participate without having to feel like she's wandered into a meat market. And once again we'll have costume awards for Period, Saloon Girl, and Absurd.
We also promise to keep the raffle short. As usual we'll be accepting donation in kind to the raffle pot, so don't forget to bring a gift; but this year we'll be dividing the prizes into groups. Buy as many tickets as you'd like and then divide them up amongst the various prizes.
So don't forget to join us for a most Satisfactory time as we celebrate the women in our lives, this Saturday, January 28th, at the Peter Lebeck Widders' Ball in Bakersfield. See you there!
Bulletin - 1.15.11
Before you move on to read the latest (and greatest) CLOG, we just want to remind you that there is a General Membership Meeting scheduled for this coming Saturday, Januaury 21st, at 10:00 a.m., at Flintstone's Pizza, 6032 Frazier Mountain Park Rd, Frazier Park, CA 93225; located 6.4 miles west of the Frazier Park exit on Interstate 5. Then the following Saturday, January 28th, we'll be gathering in Bakersfield for our 51st Annual Widders' Ball. If you haven't signed up and you intend to come please go to our Paypal Page and RSVP using our BIG ENVELOPE, just click here. You don't have to use Paypal to prepay but you do need to RSVP/ASAP because we need to give the hotel a count by next Friday for this prepay only event. As always you can mail your dust to, "Peter Lebeck #1866, P.O.Box 384, Bakersfield, CA 93302.
Posted - 1.15.11
Happy New Year, Brothers, and welcome back to the PXL CLOG! The latest edition of Peter's Procs, the invitation to the Widders' Ball and the announcement about our January 21st Annual Membership Meeting have all gone out, and if you haven't received our mailer yet, rest assured that it will arrive shortly to all who are on our mailing list. So please open it and take a few minutes to read it, because we really would like to see you in 2012 at one or more of our events. We enjoy visiting with our friends just as much as we enjoy making new ones because we take pride in being one of the friendliest chapters in all of ECV. And how the heck are we gonna do all those good things if you don't drop by and visit, huh?
Anyway if you've not on our list or have simply fallen off the sick jackass, you can still download a version of the January 2012 Mailer by clicking on the little picture of the Widders' Ball Announcement to your right. Our Clamp Crier, Gene "Dickhead" Duncker has done a fine job with Peter's Procs explaining where we've been over the last year. Between that and past posts on the CLOG you should be able to tell just how chaotic the recent past has been for PXL, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Personally I believe that over the last year we have become much stronger as an ECV Chapter than we've been for a long, long time. But we have also been undergoing a lot of changes. Some longtime members have asked me to explain what it all means. So what I want to do in this post is to go over with you a few of our most recent developments, and to explain where we are going as a chapter, and why. Hopefully by the time I'm done -- whether you agree with me or not - you will understand what we are trying to accomplish and where PXL fits into the modern version of E Clampus Vitus.
So let's go from front to back, starting with our upcoming Widder's Ball. Come January 28, 2012, yours truly and my slate of Redshirted Bucketeers will be installed as PXL's Officers for 6017. That means that Peter Lebeck will have the only "Green" Humbug of any shade in all of Clamperdom.
Or as Humbug Timbo Gillespie would say, "We highly recommend capping your holiday season and laying in a base for Super Bowl weekend by attending PXL's Widder's Ball and Throw the Bums Out soirée. This festive and suitably raucous bacchanal takes place on Saturday January 28th at the Best Western Crystal Palace in Bakersfield. It is conveniently located just off the freeway, right next door to the famous Buck Owen's Crystal Palace and the famed Bakersfield Arch. We'll be opening our Hospitality suite at 2:00, replete with grand libations, great snacks, and a rotating slide show of recent PXL adventures and tomfoolery. Following that, we'll have dinner and dancing complete with a no-host bar. The special room rate includes a breakfast the next day. And, for ease of sending in your rub, we have established the ability for you to pay using PayPal. So for all of the salacious details, click here!"
But before we let Timbo off the hook for the second year in a row, I caution you not to think of this as a change of administrations so much as a continuation of the work that Tim and I both believe needs to be completed in order to operate PXL in a solid business-like manner.
Back in mid-2011, when the guy who had been appointed Humbug quit in the middle of his term, having left us with a whole lot of stuff undone, it seemed logical to some to "elevate" the Vice Humbug (me) to Humbug for the rest of the 2011 Clampyear. But as I told the Graybeards then, I never considered myself the best choice for the task. The chapter had to have someone who already had the chops to drive the chapter out of the quagmire quickly, and as far as I was concerned that was our most recent Humbug and Clampatrairch, Timbo Gillespie.
The Graybeards met at the end of June and in the presence of the General Membership they elected Tim Humbug #50 by acclamation. This turned out to be a great decision because with Timbo at the helm we avoided what could have been a sour ending to our 50th Anniversary Year. Instead our Fall Clampout turned out to be one of the best we've ever had.
The Graybeards and the membership also lent their support to our efforts to reform the way Peter Lebeck operates. The July 2010 Leona Valley Fire, where the chapter had lost its entire Hawker Store and nearly all of its records, caused us to consider whether PXL needed to do more to protect its status as a tax exempt charitable corporation. After all, our corporate status protects individual members from being sued for things done in the name of the chapter.
We also looked at our bylaws and found that some of these rules were still quite good (like the timing of state mandated meetings, requiring corporate minutes and the production of an annual audit), while others no longer reflected how our chapter functioned (like provisions for two vice humbugs and no provision for a Hawker Store). Some rules actually discouraged active, responsible management of the chapter (like board members appointed for life without any obligation to attend board meetings); but even worse, some rules had been so badly misunderstood that few members had any idea who was supposed to be in charge of managing Peter Lebeck.
To his credit, Tim established himself as a strong executive officer and set out to fix this stuff, and I believe we have a slate of incoming officers equally committed to completing this work. But if you want to know why this is important, just consider it a matter of self-preservation: If we can't get our act together, we'll have failed despite being the guardians of Kern County, one of the largest Clamper protectorates in all of California. As far as I'm concerned, that's just not gonna happen. The Brothers of PXL are a solid, friendly group of guys, and we have a lot of potential. All we have to do is sort this mess out.
And that just happens to be the hot topic for our upcoming "Annual Corporate Meeting" on January 21, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., at Flintstone's Pizza in Frazier Park. This is a meeting that you do not want to miss. Following our annual reports, we will be discussing potential changes to the PXL Articles and Bylaws and the various options available to us for the restructuring of the Board of Graybeards, establishing membership rights in Peter Lebeck, normalizing our business model and other important topics that must be considered before a new set of bylaws is submitted to the membership for ratification. If you consider yourself a member of Peter Lebeck, either because you came in at PXL or because you have adopted us as your home chapter, then you want to attend this meeting and be heard.
I also want to highlight for a moment another reason you will want to attend this meeting: This is your chance to volunteer. Tim and I recognized that part of modernizing our chapter was giving as many brothers as possible a chance to step-up and pitch-in in a more formal way. Some of you would like to go "up the chairs" someday, but being somebody's buddy hardly seems like a fair way for the Redshirts in charge to pick a future Humbug. So with that in mind we added a few new officers and expanded a few roles to do some of the things that we had often relied on more senior members to do informally. Some of these slots are new, while others are now "managerial" and create opportunities for others to pitch in for a few hours and be noticed without having to dedicate an entire weekend's doin's to helping out.
For example our Clamps Hostrix (formally the "bartender"), is now our official master of ceremonies and time keeper, but will need several volunteers to host the bar for a few hours during every doin's, something that can be a lot of fun and a way to meet the other brothers. Our Hawker is looking for Hawk-Tackles (assistant Hawkers) to accompany him to outside Clampouts even if it's just for one or two events a year. Our Clamps Rolestrix is looking for volunteers willing spread the word about PXL at other doin's, and to phone current members in order to flush potential PBC out of the bush. Our Clamps Thespian is looking for closet Shakespearian types who want to perform the HOCO. Our Hangman is looking for Vigilantes. And our ClampChef is always looking for people who won't eat him for lunch. All of these are good things to do. It's a way to get involved, get noticed, and if you like it, you may even want to do more.
I want to talk about our upcoming officers, but before I do that I want to address PXL's place in modern Clamperdom.
I know that having an "organization" and having people in charge often doesn't go down well with some of our Brothers. I've heard red shirts complain about the way they have been prevented by the Board of Proctors from engaging in the style of dirty initiations to which they had grown accustomed. And over the last several years we have even had several breakaway chapters cite their independence by way of the ritual. After all, doesn't it say that "all members are officers" and "all officers are of equal indignity?"
But the truth is that while I believe first and foremost that we should always try to accept each other as equals and as brothers, "no matter what," E Clampus Vitus Redivivus has never stood for the kind of anarchy idolized by the renegade chapters. That's because from the beginning the revivers of E Clampus Vitus saw its mission very differently from that of the Clampers of old from whom the ritual derives.
While we idealize doing what we do for the "Widders and the Orphans," and want to believe that the Clampers of the Gold Rush provided for the needy, the truth is that there were few widders and orphans in the mining camps. Such places were comprised mostly of men, and life was often short and brutal. The redshirts who lived in these places were often here today and gone tomorrow, off chasing that next elusive lucky strike. If the ritual meant anything, it most often meant temporary relief from a hard life and a chance to create a sense of camaraderie.
The Redivivus -- the modern version of E Clampus Vitus -- was begun by a bunch of academics and history buffs, mostly associated with the University of California at Berkeley. And by saying "academics," I don't mean to disparage these men. Guys like Carl Wheat, G. Ezra Dane, Leon Whitsell, Al Shumate, Herbert Bolton and Edgar Jessup, just to name a few, are our benefactors, our most honored Redshirts and our Brothers. They loved a good joke and a strong drink, and would have been at home at any of our doin's. The lore of E Clampus Vitus was an attraction for them because they loved history and saw the value in reviving and linking themselves to the most whimsical fraternal order ever invented.
Eventually it was their camaraderie - with the help of Adam Lee Moore - that brought E Clampus Vitus back from the edge of extinction and turned it into a robust civic organization dedicated to teaching the public about local history. We may not be the Masons, the Elks, the Odd Fellows or the Westerners, but we are unique.
So what does that mean for us? Well first and foremost it means that if we're not plaquing, we're not Clamping, and at PXL we should try for at least one, maybe two, well researched monuments a year. At the same time I don't believe we should ever abandon the ideal of helping the widders and orphans or doing some other kind of charitable work that benefits our community. By doing both of these things we honor our members traveling the Golden Hills and honor the spirit of Clamperdom. Best of all, between these two ideals there is room for everyone who wants to be a Clamper.
While I would love us to have the help of multiple historians to guide our work here at PXL, you don't need to be a historian to be a member. On the other hand, if we expect to carry out our obligation to help educate the public about history, we need to foster a love of history in ourselves. It's something to think about and something to work on.
Over the years I've heard too many discouraging comments coming from our own members, things like, "PXL is just a bunch of blue collar types. You can't expect us to be interested in history and most of us just want to party." "Just as long as we can get together and put on a good Clampout you shouldn't worry if nobody wants to do anything else." We're too spread out to have regular meetings." And the one that really jerks my chain -- "We've always done it that way."
So what do I really think? Glad you asked. I think it's all B--- S---. Celebration will always be part of our Clamping Traditions and we're never going to give that up, but if Clamping is worth doing, then these problems are worth solving. We've already started using teleconferencing to get our officers together for long distance meetings, which is a first step towards getting rid of the "we've always done it that way" excuse.
As for Blue Collar? Hell, I love Peter Lebeck. Guys that put on airs are best advised to leave them at home when they come to one of our doin's, because if they do, there is no friendlier place in all of Clamperdom than PXL. But the word that best describes Peter Lebeck isn't "blue collar," it's "egalitarian," or as Timbo Likes to say, we've got a chapter with room for everything from "Brain Surgeons to Drain Surgeons," and no matter what you end up calling us we are one big friendly bunch of broadly talented guys.
Me, personally, I PBC'ed at Peter Lebeck in 1992, and was sponsored by Dickhead when we worked together in Lancaster. I graduated from UCLA Law in 1985, but before that had earned my journeyman's card as a Toolmaker in 1979.
And truth be known our incoming officers are a no less experienced and eclectic bunch. VNGH-to-be Russ Chapman is a talented electrician who likes to stick his fingers in light sockets when he's not busy keeping the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant from glowing in the dark. Incoming GNR and Clamps Thespian Luis Bouza is a Sales Manager at AT&T Mobility with a degree in Computer Science from CSLA. Our Rolestrix and Hangman to be, Tom Gray, is an attorney who graduated from UCLA Law, but is also a skilled mechanic who maintained his own auto shop while working his way through law school. We also know our new GDR and constant Clamp Crier, Gene "Dickhead" Duncker, to be a public defender, but did you know that he was also a policeman, and that in his spare time he works for his Widder Lumpy breeding horses and mucking out stalls?
Our New Hawker, Doc Charter, is a retired fireman and managing paramedic with great people skills. Hawk Tackle Don Johnson is a highly skilled loadmaster. Hawk Tackle Jim Bailey manages a business-class Hilton in Bakersfield. Clamps Hostrix Kevin Oviatt is a technician who repairs those humongous Xerox Machines that seat six. Clamps Sous Chef Joe Rivera is working towards becoming an electrical contractor, and Damnfool Doorkeeper, Ron Moen, is in real estate.
And Clampatriarch Timbo Gillespie? He's a safe cracker. Well actually he owns his own security firm. He's a locksmith, certified welder, graduate of Southern Illinois University, and was last seen drilling open a safe on Storage Wars - which I guess would make him PXL's only TV Star.
So guess what? There is no one on this list who is afraid of getting his hands dirty, and they have all the talents we need to make our chapter grow. They'll need your input, but these guys will be taking our chapter where it needs to go and planning for the future. Wish them luck, and lend them a hand.
So Brothers, I look forward to the coming year, and you should too. In the spring we'll be Clamping in the desert and we're expecting to replace our missing plaque up on Walker Pass. We are also working on a new erection for the fall, so stay tuned.
See you at the General Meeting and at the Widders' Ball. Wish me luck.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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