This just in! Residents of Lake Elsinore have a helluva commute! Census data just extracted from the American Community Survey confirms that it takes the average Lake Elsinore worker—and I think we can agree that they’re all pretty average—about 42 minutes to get to work! Wow! And another 42 minutes to get home! Wowee! That would be . . . let’s see . . . 1 hour, 24 minutes a day! Well, see, it would be, except, to be precise, the just-extracted data from the American Community Survey reports that the average Lake Elsinore worker actually drives only 41.8 minutes each way. And that adds up to . . . ummm . . . 1 hour, 23.6 minutes per day! Point-six minutes! Those jerks from the American Community Survey have got to be kidding, giving us data with a frickin‘ decimal point—that is, a base-10 numerical system—when we’re dealing with a timekeeping methodology based on 12! Anyway, I did my best to work it out in my head and I think the point-six thing at the end of the 1 hour, 23.6 minutes is 36 seconds! So it’s 1 hour, 23 minutes, 36 seconds! Whatever! Really, I think you’ll agree that the whole point is that residents of Lake Elsinore have the longest commute in the region! And maybe you’ll be surprised that it’s 1 hour, 23 minutes, 36 seconds! Because, you know, it feels like an eternity! Well, actually, like a trip to hell and back! And that gets to what makes this just-released data from the American Community Survey so very amazing! No, not the part about the hellacious commute! The part where the residents of Lake Elsinore who have driven 41.8 minutes away from the place, drive back!
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28
The quirky creativity of the music scene that has been emanating from Joshua Tree for decades is chronicled in a documentary by first-time New York filmmaker Don DiNicola, whose Nowhere Now is screened by public television KCET tonight. Among the notables who have been making music happen in the high desert are Eric Burdon—yes, that Eric Burdon, the Animals guy—Victoria Williams, Jessica von Rabbit and the rest of Gram Rabbit, the Sibleys, Harriet Allen and the current owners of Pappy & Harriet’s, Robin Celia and Linda Krantz. Also, some dude named Ted Quinn. Although most of these people believe that the remoteness of the area contributes to the kind of music produced there, some also seem hopeful that the film will help create a buzz for the place. In an e-mail to The Press-Enterprise columnist Mark Muckenfuss, Burdon says Joshua Tree “is like a scene that is about to happen, is about to break nationally. You know, like a new punk wave or something to that effect. But you wait and wait, and it just doesn’t happen.” That Quinn dude thinks the documentary may change that. “We’ll see come Thursday.”
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29
Uhhh, guess not.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30
No, working for San Bernardino County is not a vacation, not officially, although apparently many non-union employees—mostly top administrators, managers and their secretaries—find life on the clock easy enough that they don’t take their allotted down time. Instead, they accumulate vast hours of vacation time and cash it in for . . . well . . . cash when they retire. Thing is, by then they are at their highest pay scale, meaning the vacation time is worth more than it was when they received it. No, you probably don’t want to know how much on-the-clock time those administrators and managers spent calculating that one. But in this era of scrunched budgets, county Supervisor Neil Derry is considering a cap on how much vacation time non-union employees—like members of his own staff—can accrue, similar to limits already imposed on union employees. “The idea is to provide vacation time for people to spend time with their families, to de-stress from a crazy work week, not to pad their pensions at the time of their retirement,” Derry says, asking for a survey of how other counties handle the issue. County spokesman David Wert says there is no timeline for how long it will take to complete the survey and report back to the board. But considering the magnitude of the assignment, don’t be surprised if he can’t take a vacation this year.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31
My mother’s birthday. Yes, Halloween. No, you’re not the first to observe that this may explain some things.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1
Is there a better way to start a new month than waking up with clown makeup on your face?
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2
It’s still baseball season, and that’s wrong. Very, very wrong.