Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Update: The Idyllwild Miniature Chamber of Commerce (see our earlier post) has found a worthy task. First a little back history. It seems that the coalition of local business owners working on our latest tourist attraction, the Idyllwild Miniature Golf course, attracted the attention of a group known as the Global Anti-Golf Movement (GAGM.)

This group has for years been a gadfly to owners of golf courses world-wide. Mostly they criticize the environmental impact of greens-keeping practices. It turns out an astonishing amount of water is used to keep those greens so pretty, so much so that each 18 holes of golf consumes an average of 80,000 (eighty thousand) flushes of an ordinary toilet. And then there are the pesticides and fertilizers. Beyond the envoronmentalist angle, they go on to call Golf a human rights violation and say it fosters elitism.

Our project is an indoor course that takes the golfer through 18 local businesses. Teeing off at the Creek House in Fern Valley, (par 3) avoiding the water hazards in the restroom of the Idyll-Beast Research Center Museum and Gift Shoppe (par 5), a hole in one at Bubba’s books, winding through CafĂ© Aroma (par 7) and ending up, after 13 more stops including Jo Ann’s, the Liquor store and the Hardware store, at the Haunted Trailer Park. The idea of the course is to provide a good, wholesome, non-elitest leisure activity while acquainting visitors with many of our local shops and restaurants. All a shopkeeper needs to participate is a tin can tucked away in a corner and some signs directing the golfer from the “tee” by the front door, past their merchandise and to the “hole.”

When our plan was explained to the good folks at the GAGM they quickly withdrew their opposition to the proposed course. But then a splinter group, the Global Anti-Miniature Golf Association (GAMGA) reared its ugly little head. You know how they say sometimes the smallest arguments are the nastiest? Well, these difficult people mean business. It turns out they are part of the Creationist/Global Warming deniers’ camp. They claim that the little concrete volcanoes at miniature golf courses contribute more green house gases than all the world’s cars and cows combined (they heard this on the radio) and that the concrete dinosaurs embarrass parents trying to bring their children up on the biblical account of creation. Furthermore they claim that those little windmills are part of a socialist agenda to brainwash children into thinking of wind power as a friendly source of clean renewable energy instead of an economy-sinking boondoggle.

So we were more than happy when Idyllwild Miniature Chamber of Commerce head Ken Carlson offered his considerable charm and talent to explain to this latest band of misguided crusaders that our course will be nothing like that. No dinosaurs, no volcanoes, no windmills (yet,) just 18 holes (at least) of retail, dining and service. It’ll be down right patriotic. Eighteen opportunities for enterprising local business folk to come between flat-landers and their money. or pardon me, administer a little retail therapy. Imagine how easy it will be to talk a customer into another (cappuccino, squirrel neck tie, high colonic, whatever) while he or she is trying to putt their way out of Flufffy’s “sand trap” in the bathroom.

And this is so cheap. The clubs and balls we picked up at the Help Center. I don’t even need to get them back when people finish the course. I’m making the little signs myself. When the going gets tough, the enterprising get cracking. Who was it who said “It is only when you are pursued that you become swift?”

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Chamber

A few days back we mentioned the demise of the Chamber of Commerce. It seems we were a bit premature. Chamber President and last man standing Ken Carlson has announced the start up of a new Chamber, the Idyllwild Miniature Chamber of Commerce. "We'll save a lot of money on this," explained Carlson. "We'll move to a much smaller office, for one thing. And we'll focus on really small bussiness people." Various locations have been suggested for this new office. The Idyllbeast Research Center has offered the use of it's back room, with the right to a high traffic corner to display brochures. Wherever you begin accepting new members we'll be there dues in hand. Check OK?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Zeke Remembers

Part of our mission here at the Idyll-Beast Research Center is to commemorate this mountain community’s rich past by remembering. And our memory expert we call Zeke. Zeke used to contribute occasional material to the old “Town Howler” paper. We are proud to invite old Zeke to take us on a trip down Memory Lane

Remember that place they called “the Clam Shack?” Down by where the highway makes a curve. I don’t know if that was the real name, but all the musicians hung out there. And played. And not just musicians, all kinds of unknown jeromes went there to play a spell. People you never heard anywhere else you heard at the Clam Shack, They were what the management called “exclusives.”

Some folks used to call it “the Devil’s Clam Shack,” especially towards the end. Maybe ‘cause the waitresses wore those little horns and tails.

Some real characters could be found there on an afternoon. That guy they called “Wolfie,” ‘cause he filed his teeth down like a wolf. And had a small pack of real wolves. He’d parade them up and down so everyone could get a real good look. Whether there was music or not you’d find him at the clam shack. We hear he got arrested for bombmaking, but that was later on, down in Anza. Real nice picture of him in the Crier with that orange jump suit. Not all white folks look good in orange.

Then there was the Ratllesnake Man. Rattlesnakes you couldn’t say they was a business for him, but they were surely an avocation. Folk would take him up on a neighborly invitation to visit his little shack, maybe smoke a bowl of the local produce and then out came the snakes. He loved to show off how he could handle the critters without getting bit. Kind of a “snake whiperer” thing.

There was the fellow they called “the Cocaine Contractor.” A real contractor, and they say a good one. That wasn’t his wife he was dancin’ with at the Clam Shack though. Wifey finally caught up with him in the parking lot of the local feed store and made a little demolition derby bangin’ her brand new pick-up truck against his brand new matching pick-up truck. Should have seen those vehicles when she was finished.

That’s what we’d call “local color.” Some of these people and places have gone the way of all things, or at least the way of most folks who handle live Rattle Snakes. The Clam Shack, most folks here don’t even remember exactly where it was. It wouldn’t be nice to associate it with any current business. In the end the boss got caught in flagrante delicti with one of the staff. Kind of dried up the financing seeing as how it was the mother-in-law that was paying the bills. Lessons learned.


One favorite topic in the Hill-o-sphere is the shortcomings of local businesses. Either the match of goods and services to local demand, the attitutude of the shopkeepers, or the hours. It’s hard to blame folks for grousing a bit when the economy's in the dumper, but there is some sense to at least puttin’ up a front when flatlanders are present. We try to put an optimistic face on things at the Museum and Gift Shoppe (located at 54785 B North Circle Drive, between the Creek House and Bubba's Books.) We are all about the enthusiasm. And we are always talking up the town.

When it comes to keeping regular hours, however, I see how people could be a little confused. We ask the customer’s understanding. It really does make sense. First of all, the Idyll-Beast Research Center Museum and Gift Shoppe operates as an annex to Bubba’s Books, a place where Bubba can put his more high-end merchandise. So it’s open whenever Bubba’s Books is open: Monday, he’s closed, other week-days he’s open from four until dusk. It gets cold and dark fast around here. And there’s no point in being there when the dump is open. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we try to get out there a little earlier, certainly before noon. And now Maria is bringing her stuff out. A real festival of variety. And with the “woman’s touch,” the place is looking a lot more attractive these days. She’s there sometimes too. And for special events, tours, odd jobs (Rent-a-Beast, Idyll-Beast and Associates, Sightings etc) e-mail me at idyllbeastresearchcenter@yahoo.com or phone me at (951) 306-8501 (Bubba doesn't have a phone.)


One of our lovelier neighbors is seen here saluting the Beast. It's going to be a great year. People get ready.

In one of its last official actions before disintegrating, (see our retraction on January 11th) the remaining officers of the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce have made it official:

"In recognition of the outstanding contribution the IDYLL-BEAST has made to the Culture, History, Ecology and Economy of our Community, we hereby declare 2010 the Year of the Idyll-Beast."