TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16
Today’s moment of spiritual reflection is brought to you by Andy Ma, the feng shui devotee who three years ago convinced the Moreno Valley City Council to change the street plan of a proposed housing development because it would have fucked with his luck. Originally, the development included a street that would have placed a T-intersection in front of Ma’s house. Everybody can see how screwed that would have been. But because Ma practices feng shui, the ancient Chinese tradition that professes that the environment and the positioning of things within that environment can bring good luck, bad luck or even evil, he spooked the Moreno Valley City Council—who probably didn’t know what the hell he was talking about—to change the plan. How is Ma’s luck these days? The housing tract hasn’t been built at all! That’s a pretty impressive testimonial to the power of feng shui—or a fucked up housing market.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17
It’s only a matter of time until the relentless push of development reaches the The Pumpkin Patch at the Live Oak Canyon Christmas Tree Farm, destroying a holiday tradition—well, two of them, actually . . . Halloween and Christmas for thousands of Inland Empire families. In fact, there’s so little time left that lots of people assume the 25-acre plot off Interstate 10 in Yucaipa is already gone, about to be replaced by a Target shopping center. That makes for a bit of a problem for Gregg Palmer, the 50-year-old Redlands man who owns the big farm. He’s harvested a 100,000-pound crop, assembled petting zoos and children’s rides, and now his profit margin depends on dispelling rumors that the place is closed. Poor guy. Well, maybe not exactly poor . . . since selling off the valuable Inland Empire family tradition to shopping center developers is actually his family’s goal. The Palmers have owned 405 acres of pastureland since Lowell S. Palmer bought it in the 1950s. “My grandfather’s intention all along was to develop the property as soon as he could,” Palmer tells the Press-Enterprise. Happy Halloween! We’ll see about Merry Christmas.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs two gun laws. One requires all semiautomatic handguns sold in California to “stamp” the serial number of the gun onto each bullet as it leaves the chamber—you know, in case it kills somebody. The other bans lead ammunition from being sold in the state, the better to keep the endangered California condor—a vulture-like bird—from eating poisonous lead when it eats carcasses shot by hunters. Assemblyman Anthony Adams (R-Montclair) says: “It’s disappointing that liberal politicians are succeeding in slowly carving away at our Second Amendment right with these irresponsible bills.” He puts the “ass” in “assemblyman.”
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19
Scanning the website of The Desert Independent in Blythe, trying to decide exactly which of editor Howard Markle’s six rants to excerpt this week as the best example of irascible desert integrity, and I give up. With headlines like these—“You Son-of-a-Gun,” “Upcoming Elections,” “Questions Without Answers,” “Character Assassination,” “Two Fat Czechs” and “Sitting On Yer Arse In Blythe”—it’s simply impossible to choose. Just go to the page, yourself (www.thedesertinde.com).
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20
The Big Bear Grizzly tells the story of a resident who had been arguing for years that drivers go too fast near the intersection of Eureka Drive and Park Avenue—a fact he knew from personal experience, having lived near the intersection for nearly a quarter century . . . and a fact he now knows from even-more-personal experience, having been riding in a dial-a-ride bus that was recently hit by a speeding pickup truck. Maybe now, with this publicity, people will finally listen to him and place speed bumps on Park Avenue near Eureka Drive. I mean, who knew the guy who wanted drivers to take their feet off the gas was named Gene Longbrake?
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21
Fire and brimstone—I think it was brimstone, anyway . . . that’s an igneous rock, right?—are whipped around by gusts of Satan’s own breath, a revival of a Southern California meteorological phenomenon every bit as traditional as sparkling New Year’s Day sun for the Rose Parade. Just a terrible day. But down in Long Beach, where it is pretty damn breezy, too, the UC Riverside women’s soccer team bravely takes the field intent upon continuing a tradition of its own—their unbeaten record against first place Long Beach State under the 49ers coach, Mauricio Ingrassia. Okay, so that record was one win and three ties. Anyway, with the wind whipping, UC Riverside was dominated from start to finish in a 1-0 loss that was not nearly as close as the score would indicate. The Highlanders were smothered offensively, accumulating barely any time of possession until late in the game and attempting only three shots—none on goal—and just two corner kicks. Just a terrible day.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 22