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    an idyllwild weather clam!

    Our gal, The Idyllwild Weather Clam thinks that it will rain again today.

    Tuesday 22 August 2017
    Currently at 4:54 AM 57°

    Up to the minute now-casting provided by: Idyllwild Weather Clam Mega-Skyview Ultra-Precision Doppler 160000 Super Computron Forecast in Full Spectrum HD

    Entries in This Crappy Year (21)


    Toddler Watch: Adult Supervision Without Adults Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a book

    The vice president of these here United States cut his overseas trip short to return to view the smoldering wreckage of the Executive branch of government. I'm sure he'll keep our democracy in his thoughts and prayers as he digs through the debris, past the confederate flags and Post-Its with Twitter passwords scrawled across them, as he looks for a way to salvage his career.

    After all, the albatross that is 45's presidency is going to be very heavy, covered in cheap bronzer and smothered in fried chicken grease.

    Your best pal,

    - bob


    Toddler Watch: Aw, Do I Have To? Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a book

    Yesterday, the president of these United States, days after the riot in Charlottesville, Virginia started by white nationalists, finally said that violence by white nationalists was bad.

    "Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America."
    - The 45th President of the United States

    Would he have said this if his donors hadn't pressured him to revise his "all sides" statement? Probably not.

    Will he go to Charlottesville to meet with the victims and their families? Of course not.

    A normal American president would denounce Nazis (I can't believe I even have to say this) and meet with the victims right away. This, dear friends, is not normal.

    Your best pal,

    - bob

    UPDATE: Good gravy. He held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon and doubled down on the "both sides" argument. Then, as you do when you're the president, you equate George Washington with Robert E. Lee...

    "George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So, will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down—excuse me—are we going to take down—are we going to take down statues to George Washington?"


    The American Experiment: Testing The Low Values Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a my driveway

    Whether it's stripping healthcare out of a healthcare bill because it's too generous, hunting bears while they're hibernating, or removing online privacy protections so ISPs can make a dollar, the majority party in this United States Congress has been busy. Why do they hate people, sleeping bear cubs and people? Because there is a dollar to be made, and your modern Republican Party is chock full of people who have no interest in you.

    I propose that while we bide our time until they can be voted out of power, we have a little fun at their donor's expense: keep as many browser windows open and search for as many different things as your computer will allow. Let's work together to make our browsing and search histories worthless!

    Your best pal,

    - bob

    The 2016 Jaunty Election Guide: 50% Turnout Edition


    The election results are in and with only 50% turnout in one of the most acrimonious, contemptible races in the modern era, this country has elected a fascist as the next Commander-In-Chief. Congratulations!

    To everyone who voted for Tangerine Mussolini, please take a moment to explain to all of the black, hispanic, Jewish, Muslim, and female people in your life why you don't care about them. While you're at it, I'm interested to hear why you apparently value party over country, bonkers ideology over security, and choosing a carnival barker to represent the United States to the world. Also, considering that the dead-eyed granny-starving Speaker of the House is champing at the bit to dismantle Social Security, please explain to the elderly people why you don't care about them either.



    Difficulties, Technical and Otherwise



    Quite a lot has transpired since the last post in mid-September. Well, it's the last post that you can see. There are a bunch of posts hiding in a tin, buried in the basement of this blog that we can never talk about if I wish to remain employed. Sort of screedy, kinda stabby. The less said about them, the better.

    What I do know is that a bunch of things just aren't working right now. The webcam is failing to upload due to a server configuration issue (bad certificate?) so the last picture you see is from the morning before the earliest snowfall I can remember. No snow pictures for you, I'm afraid. There are plenty on the internet though, just do a search. You'll be okay.

    Also, for some damn reason, The Idyllwild Weather Clam is unable to update her spot on the Blogger clone of this site. Maybe it's time to finally pack it in over there and redirect to Squarespace. They were great when we started this hot mess, but it seems that functionality is slowly falling away. Maybe Google's losing interest in Blogger. That wouldn't be surprising.

    More later today...

    - bob


    New Feature: The Destruction of Time!

    My office desk.

    View of my office featuring state of the art high tech equipment.


    My work schedule has been changed to what amounts to a trip to the Central time zone and back again every week, or starting and ending Daylight Savings Time twice a week. This is the first week of this and if I don't get another cup of coffee in me very soon, there's a very real risk that I'll fall asleep at my desk and my head will land on the red button.

    Did you hear me? The RED BUTTON, PEOPLE!

    - bob





    America's space shuttle program ended today with the successful landing of Atlantis. Times are tough in this country right now, but this really drove it home.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    P.S. Image courtesy NASA's photo stream on flickr.


    Small Stories About Disappointing Things

    Don't look away.

    As the tags indicate, I think these things are related to each other in some way. I'm not sure you'll agree, but let's throw this stuff in the pot and see if we end up with stew...

    • There were a couple little automobile races on Sunday, starting with the American classic — the Indianapolis 500. My houseguests and I didn't care so much, but we watched the thing anyway and towards the end, fell in love with the pluck of rookie JR Hildebrand. What a clever fuel strategy! What skill staying out of trouble and holding his line! Look! It's the white flag and this kid's in front! And then he crashed on Turn Four, right before the finish line. On to our next story...
    • Nascar certainly can't let Indy Car have all the fun, so they decided to run a longer race on the same day. Again, we didn't care until the very end, but what's this? Dale Earnhardt Jr. is winning in the last lap! What skill staying out of trouble and holding his line! What a clever fuel strategy! Then he ran out of gas and some other guy won. Now for weasels.
    • My dear friend called this evening with a story that gives sharks and bastards a bad name. Her father is struggling with Alzheimer's Disease, but lawyers would like to depose him to testify in a dispute over a land deal from the 80s. His lawyers protested that he was too ill to travel and sit and speak under oath for hours, but the opposition hired an investigator to prove this wrong. Video camera at the ready, the investigator ignited an M80 outside his front door and recorded him ambling to the window to determine the source of the commotion. See? He can move around just fine, your honor. One more...
    • As long-time followers of this mess surely know, my hours at the Far Eastern Outpost of San Diego's Omnipresent Charitable Organization have been cut in half. In fact, my Wednesdays are literally cut in half to make the timing work. This knowledge did not prevent one of the bosses from getting huffy that I was not available to solve problems with his personal home computer not receiving company email in a timely manner. Allow me to clarify — one of the people who got together and decided to send me halfway out into the dodgy financial wilderness has the gall to protest that I'm not there often enough? Really? Seriously? I find this behavior stunning.

    So, how was your Wednesday?

    - bob


    The Bright Side



    It would be easy to sit around and mope during times like this. The job market here in rural, unincorporated southwestern Riverside County is pretty grim. We appear headed for an inflationary period in the next six months (or less! -ed). The California state budget is a shambles. Political parties are at each other's throats. There are natural disasters, manmade disasters, wars, strife, insurrections—what's a sane American to do?

    I don't know about you (that's not entirely true. -ed Shhh!), but I think there's a lot of opportunity out there right now. Sure, I don't know exactly what it looks like yet, but there's surely a way to play the hand we've been dealt without losing our shirts, don't you think?

    I think I'm going to go ahead and call this "guarded optimism" for now. How are you doing?

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday Part III: Enjoy Your Cheese Sandwich Edition

    Nagasaki burning. Good lord.



    Actually, there are many high-powered fans ready to receive many thousands of pounds of solid human waste for distribution throughout our little, unassuming Festival of Dirt this Friday. Some people call this "creative destruction." As you know from, well, life, this never works in the real world. Ever.

    We're doomed.

    - bob


    Division By Zero, Imaginary Numbers Confound The Elderly

    Another aspirational photo.


    There are people who live in this world who seem to embrace the rut their lives have fallen into. That's not surprising. What makes my head spin around is when those people become angry that something out of the ordinary has occurred within their scope. I was heading home this afternoon and had to perform a marginally flashy lane change to get around one of these people to hit the waning green arrow to make the left turn up the hill.

    This garnered me the number three spot at the next light with the time to look in my mirror to see the passing victim plod through the intersection against what was surely a red light by this time. He ends up sitting in the other lane about three more cars back and leans out his window, "Hey! What's your f[***]in' hurry!" I turn around and shout back, "I gotta get out of here!" This was true.

    True, but not complete. Ever since my friend Clare implanted the notion that the Valley is a vortex, sucking alumni back in if they're not careful those decades ago, I haven't been comfortable spending any more time than absolutely necessary. It has become a creepy place that must be avoided, or at least visited only briefly with a clear exit strategy. At the end of my workday, I gotta get out of there and I do with all the muster that the teensy tiny racecar can bring to the fight. My week-daily mania also extends to the people who would stand in the way of my goal of scratching and clawing my way out of their sea level hell.

    Mr. Shouty was disturbed that I made my way around him. Around the lumbering chicane he was piloting without aim, heading back to what must be a just barely adequate home to wait out yet another few hours in his poorly drawn life. He was an em dash in the sentence of my day, but his outrage made me stop and consider my own motivation. Why had I considered him the embodiment of all that's wrong with that dusty waiting room called the Coachella Valley? Why?

    My real answer to him should have been, "what's the hold up?" This beautiful life and the lovely things in it, particularly at the higher elevations where I reside, aren't going to last. That's obvious, but I'm also concerned that today's angry man doesn't approach this brief time afforded us with more urgency, or at least understand why somebody else might. His finger wag seems to be a surrender. He doesn't have much of a destination and isn't too fond of anybody who might have one of their own.

    Of course I'm reading much more into this than the plain facts present, but I don't care all that much. What I do know for sure is that the interchange was helpful in clarifying where I stand. Gasoline up here in my little burg is up to $4.19 a gallon for regular, which is an outrage, and slowing down for fuel economy's sake seems like a good idea, but there's no place like home. And there's no place like this home.

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday Part II: Everything's Still Perfectly Fine Edition

    Hindenburg burningHindenburg burning



    There is absolutely no reason to be alarmed. I mean, seriously, it's not like there's anything going on at the corporate headquarters today. Don't be silly.

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday!

    Hindenburg burning



    I'm sure everything will be just fine today at the Festival of Dirt. No reason for concern. Nothing to see here.

    Move along, people.

    - bob

    UPDATE: Yeah, not a big deal. Just a little something about money and services and jobs. Nothing to be concerned about.


    Meme Alert: California is Greece

    Yes, we grow them with the pimentos in, but that won't save us now.
    Wait, it's more than the climate?


    This internet meme that's been floating around for two or three weeks is really starting to grate on my last frayed nerve. I get that California is facing a huge budget shortfall and a much larger underfunded pension system, but are we really like Greece? I guess it would be instructive to think about what would happen if either state defaulted on its crushing debt instead of Greece receiving an EU/IMF bailout package and California firing school teachers. It's possible that Greece could have brought down the Euro as it tumbled off the cliff. Our state, on the other hand (or paw), has been looking for a handout from the Federal government to pay the bills, which to me seems a bit pathetic.

    At this point, I suppose I could say that the legislature could suspend Prop 98—the initiative to tie school funding to revenues—until the budget is repaired. Maybe we could scrap our imaginary high-speed choo choo train. I'm sure Union Pacific wouldn't mind. We could close that $20 billion hole in the General Fund pretty quickly, but we won't. Yet.

    If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go dunk my head in a bucket of lye.

    - bob


    Saab Dead

    Saab 96

    Since GM can't find a real, funded buyer for Saab, they've decided to fold the brand known best for its weirdness eccentricities. Its U.S. consumer base seemed to me to be centered in Vermont consisting largely of retired professors wearing tweed sportcoats with suede elbow patches. The pipe-smoking intelligentsia seems to have passed, or at least passed the flame to Subaru nowadays. Here's the grim truth from our friends at The Truth About Cars...

    The company’s U.S. high was 48,181 in 1986. In 2009 YTD, Saab sold 7,812 cars in the US.

    So long, Swedish weirdos. We hardly knew ye.

    - bob


    Happy December First!

    Mme. Puppy Dog

    The little girly puppy dog is sick. Could be the religious extremist** in town poisoning dogs to remove the demons on earth, could be that she ate something bad while in the desert. It's hard to know at this point, and while she didn't eat at all yesterday or her breakfast this morning, she looked well enough that I decided to head down to the Festival of Dirt this morning.

    I suppose I should be honored that the Indian Wells Police Department thinks my elderly Jeep Grand Livingroom can go as fast as they say it was going this morning, but there's a reason that Lidar is pronounced "LIE-dahr."

    Stupid Tuesday, indeed.

    - bob

    ** Thanks to frequent commenter KC and her finely tuned lingometer for pushing me in the direction of using "extremist" instead of "fundamentalist." There's a huge difference between the two, but I think the former is much more accurate in this case.


    I'm The CEO! Product Planning Edition

    Oooh. Trucklet.

    General Motors, the global manufacturing behemoth that we American taxpayers *cough* own, just doesn't seem to understand what vehicles Americans can actually use. I haven't been shy about my hope that somebody will bring back the compact pickup of the 70s. No, not the metal dashboard, lowest common denominator death wagons we drove back then, but not the squished versions of full-sized trucks Nissan and Toyota are pushing.

    Could we use Brazilian front wheel drive unibody pickup with a 1.8 liter flex fuel four? Could GM own the segment for small pickups with a vehicle they already build with a motor they already (I think) sell here? A segment that Volkswagen and Chrysler abandoned in these United States nearly thirty years ago?

    Could they sell enough to make enough money to give you and me back our money? Could you use one? Discuss.

    - bob

    NOTE: The '84 Dodge Rampage picture in the Chrysler link is our friend Nick's very own trucklet seen at Nick's Garage. He's a good guy, really knows his stuff and I'm sure this Fiat thing is killing him. Thanks, Nick!


    I'm The CEO! What Did We Buy?


    You may remember back a few hundred days ago when we bought a ten percent stake in the Chrysler Corporation, then gave the company to the quality mavens at Fiat. The day before yesterday, the new bosses unveiled their plans for new products. If the company lives long enough, it appears that they're looking to build some real crap. I'm really only interested in Jeep though, and there was a presentation for that (warning: PDF link). Let's take a look at how little they understand the American market!

    What first caught my eye was their discussion of the history of the brand...

    Was that their logo in the 60s? AMC is notably absent.
    First crossover? (it's not hyphenated, by the way. and what the hell is with the greengrocer's apostrophe? -ed That's my gig, isn't it?) Are they talking about this, perhaps?

    That's right. The mighty Jeepster (Commando).
    Elegance WITH capability is clearly evident here, so we can't quibble there. Just look!

    But what about the children? Jeep appeals to everyone, after all. But how on earth can we indoctrinate the children? It's already happening, people...

    Unmentioned is the use of Jeep in sex ed...
    Oh, James.

    Jeep has also inspired people to join together all over the world to chase oil leaks and replace broken axles. Even in Hemet...

    No shout-outs to the Anza Jeepers?
    But moving forward, how will Jeep keep the hardcore fans involved while appealing to new buyers? The lifestyle set, if you will...

    She wants a Compass, clearly. No spring in her neck though.
    Um, holy crap? Is this the new face of Jeep? The clip art lady with a cheap hat? I'm sure we'll see her at the next Jamboree in her Compass. Along with this guy...

    Welcome to the Rubicon. Are you from around here?
    He might be from Hemet. Or somewhere else...

    Oh, you young aspirationals. So furry. Maybe you're not interested in rockcrawling after all. We can help...

    You don't need all that stuff.
    Can we talk about genetic mutations for a moment? Perhaps you'd like a Fiat Panda with a seven-slot grille in 2013.


    - bob

    UPDATE: Oops! Forgot to credit The Truth About Cars and Allpar. Thanks guys!

    UPDATE II: It turns out that Chrysler Corp. dealers hate the new ads too. Kinda like saying that leeches are sick and tired of the whole vampire meme, but we'll take it where we can get it.


    Can't Afford The Cake

    We can't afford color either.

    Today marks the 159th anniversary of the Great State of California becoming a state. Truly a momentous occasion, considering that we're the third largest state by land mass and first in population. We still have one of the largest economies in the world despite the fact that the legislature as a whole couldn't be trusted to put the cream filling in an Oreo.

    This calls for a celebration! What is the state government doing to mark this historic event?

    Um, wow?
    It's hard to tell from the screen shot, but I think what we're doing in this year of budget constraint is that each citizen takes turns applying eye makeup to Maria Shriver. You've gotta give credit to the party planners in Sacramento. I never would've thought to do that.

    It looks like loads of fun though...



    R.I.P. Ted Kennedy

    Well? Is he?

    In all my excitement about the 19th Amendment, I completely forgot to note the passing of the senior senator from the state of Massachusetts. All of the mainstream media sites have had obituary packages set up for months, so I won't bore you with any of that. There's this to think about though—does this mean healthcare reform gets forced through more quickly in honor of the Liberal Lion of the Senate? Some people think so...

    - bob