Monday, December 19, 2011

Philosophy and the Beast

The Idyll-Beast are a philosophical species and through the centuries distinct schools of thought have emerged from their attempts to treat life’s most pressing questions. In general, Beast Philosophy is divided into Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ethics and Gastronomy.

Epistemology deals with questions of knowability: How do we know if an object or being is delicious? Can we truly know if it is delicious without eating it? What if we are deprived even of the sense of smell?

Metaphysics deals with the nature of reality and our minds. Is deliciousness an inherent quality of a thing-in-itself, or does it only exist in the mind (and mouth) of the philosopher?

Ethics treats our behavior as if affects other beings. Is there a Gastronomical Suspension of the Ethical? Does deliciousness transcend ethics? How should we divide shared snacks?

Gastronomy is considered the foundation of Beast philosophy and has many applied and theoretical divisions. Its empirical branches include anatomy, chemistry, physics, geometry and sleight-of-paw. Theoretical topics center around nature/nurture theories of deliciousness, Speculative Gastronomy, Criticism and Analysis.

The Idyll-Beast believe that philosophy exists to sharpen the mind as well as the appetite, and that the examination of insoluble questions teaches humility as well as table manners.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


The Beast watching community will be out in force this Tuesday night, the 13th of December. That's the night of one of Idyllwild's newest traditions, the Inns of Idyllwild Holiday Open House and Tour. Reliable sources report that last year's tour included snacks at each stop, and the these snacks were delicious. Circumstances seem just right for Idyll-Beast sightings.

This year there will be 11 stops:

Apple Blossom Inn
Creekstone Inn
Fern Valley Inn
Fireside Inn
Idyllwild Inn
Peaceful Mountain Inn
Quiet Creek Inn
Rainbow Inn
Silver Pines
Strawberry Creek Bunkhouse
Strawberry Creek Inn

Investigators are readying their cameras in hopes of catching a glimpse of "the most famous animal in our forest." The tour will last from 5-8PM, and those with canned food or toys will find drop boxes for donations to assist the Help Center in providing a little Holiday cheer for our less fortunate neighbors.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Award-Winning Journalism

Idyllwild was recently visited by a crack team of investigative reporters from KPSP Channel 2’s “Eye on the Desert.” These intrepid news-people were on the track of the Idyll-Beast, the animal and the cultural phenomenon. Their hard work paid off handsomely and the results are astounding. The video has been captured and is resting comfortably on the YouTube:

It is a sympathetic but clear-eyed look at the facts and opinions surrounding the Beast and its role in our local culture and economy. Interviews include Café Aroma’s Chef de Cuisine Francis Machine and server Chenay, a Harley riding Beast hunter, and yours truly in my official capacity as Director of the Idyll-Beast Research Center.

The news team took the time to go beyond idle speculation and man-on-the-street sound bites, venturing out into our forest to seek evidence of its most famous resident. Viewing the footage myself for the first time I was impressed with the skill with which a sometimes-rambling interview was distilled into its most important elements. These people ask the right questions and know gold when they find it. From a videographic point of view the segment also broke new ground. Some would say it is the most provocative crypto-zoological evidence since the Patterson/Gimlin footage.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to Carolyn Moloshco of Channel 2 and her technical crew. You are truly friends of Idyllwild. And friends of the Idyll-Beast.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Animal Control

. Recent tragic news from Ohio reminded our researchers of a series of events that unfolded in our own community not so many decades ago. A local business-man who was acting as director of the Idyll-Beast Research Center had started what he called a “Zoo” but county agents declared a “hoard.” Instead of the usual animals, like lions, tigers and bears, he had procured members of the Board of Directors of the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce. The “collection” started with at-large directors and soon the President, Secretary, Treasurer and both Vice Presidents were ensconced in chain-link enclosures out behind the Research Center. Animal Control officers responded to complaints about noise and smell from neighbors and discovered deplorable conditions: creatures stressed by confinement in cages adjoining those of natural predators suffered so much stress that their hair was falling out in clumps. Some of the animals had chewed each other’s tails off. (Chamber watchers say this is where the custom of chamber directors appearing tailless first began.) As for sanitary conditions, the less said the better.

Citations from the county began to pile up, and finally the sheriff was called in to arrest the amateur “zoo-keeper.” Tensions ran high as the possibility of an armed stand-off loomed. When the SWAT team finally entered the offices of the Idyll-Beast Research Center, the zoo-keeper was nowhere to be found. A quick investigation revealed that the animals had all been released, the cage doors left open. A tattered jacket and shreds of what was believed to be the zoo-keeper’s clothing were found outside the cages.

Now the Animal Control Services’ own SWAT team sped into action, fanning out through the valley with nets and tranquilizer darts. Humane traps were placed outside meeting places frequented by the Directors, baited with grant money and Certificates of Appreciation. Finally, on the third Monday of the month, the whole menagerie was captured without incident outside the Water District meeting room. The town’s nightmare was over, and residents could get some sleep.

It took many years to repair the rift between the Idyll-Beast Research Center and the Chamber of Commerce. We are happy to say relations are now once again cordial. Not only is the Director of the Research Center an officer of the Chamber, but an Idyll-Beast has been elected to the Board. And we understand why community support for our proposed Beast Cove Petting Zoo has been hard to come by.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zeke Remembers: Our Proudest Chapter

Readers: From time to time, we hand over this space to our "Rememberer in Chief," Zeke. He remembers things no one else has heard of, and is a living relic of bygone times. Today he discusses the "Beast Flag Republic." Memories made timely by recent events....

Now-a-days folks are talking about secession. And not just in Texas. With the “sesquecentenial” of the Civil War some say the South will rise again. Or take one long step off a short pier and into the historical mire.

Idyllwild has had its share of brave separatists throughout its history, and most have at some point cloaked themselves in the Beast Flag. This was inspired by the California Republic flag, or vice versa. Some say Northerners who’d never seen an Idyll-Beast saw the Beast Flag, liked the color scheme, and slapped a then more common “beast”, the Grizzly Bear, in the place of honor.

June 14th 1846 is the date usually ascribed to both the Northern Rebellion against Mexico and the local Beast Flag Rebellion. The two groups were apparently in communication, part of a network of insurrectionists. Although the Bear Flag over Sutter's Fort was replaced with the Stars and Stripes twelve days later, the Beast Flag lasted longer. Being beneath the notice of the powers that were, the flag continued to wave over the valley until someone stole it. The original may still be in some local attic or man cave. Or maybe in that shed out behind the Town Hall where the Chamber of Commerce keeps its ritual implements, next to the Lost Ark of the Chamber Bylaws.

Since the “Rebellion” was never officially put down, its leaders continued to exert influence in local affairs. They formed a group that sometimes met publicly, sometimes in secret, depending on the spirit of the times. Referred to as the “Ancient and Honorable Order of the Idyll-Beast” they are the closest thing Idyllwild has to Freemasons. Outside the Rotary Club, that is.

Considered by some to be Enlightened Business Men, by others irreligious subversives, the group has passed down secret rituals and symbols from generation to generation. Few among the living still know the special handshake. They say Hill Champion lost his eye sight learning it. Not for the faint-of-heart. From time to time members of this arcane brotherhood have hoisted the Beast Flag as a reminder of our independent spirit.

The story goes that the very first Idyll-Beast Festival grew out of one of these “rebellions.” In 1911 (or there-abouts) a group of local businessmen banded together and once more ran “Idy” up the flag pole. Their complaints included excessive taxation, fiscal irresponsibility in Sacramento, and the high price of paregoric. This time word spread to the Capitol and the State Militia was sent in to put down the scrappy secessionists. As word of the approaching squadron reached Idyllwild, locals banded together to seek a way to avoid armed conflict. In a stroke of home-spun genius, the revolt was rebranded as the “Idyll-Beast Festival.” Banners were hung around the entrances to town, programs printed, events (including the first “Miss Idyll-Beast Pageant”) were hastily arranged. The invading troops were invited to a weekend of music, arts and crafts and cheap beer. (But not so cheap that local innkeepers didn’t make a tidy profit.) The festival ended up lasting into the coming week, and another contingent of troops had to be sent in to shut down the taverns and drag the hung-over soldiers back to their barracks.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

He who makes a Beast of Himself...

We at the Idyll-Beast Research Center are looking forward with keen anticipation to the upcoming Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce Director's Installation Dinner (Wednesday July 13th, 6 pm, Jo'Ans, $15, no host bar...) As the Idyll-Beast was among the top vote-getters in the balloting, knowledgeable researchers will be awaiting the Beast's appearance. Informed sources theorize that the dinner will be "delicious."

The true highlight of the evening is bound to be the visit by County Supervisor Jeff Stone. All eyes are on the Supervisor these days following his bold proposal for the secession of 13 Southern California counties, to form a new state separate from Sacramento and the North. Look it up, curious people. Although the Chamber of Commerce has yet to release a statement pro or con, and the Idyll-Beast Research Center is not a political organization, we do have a suggestion for a flag for the new state...

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Face Only A Mother Could Love

Above we see a photo from one local eatery where two mothers shared the joy of a visit from the Idyll-Beast. The Beast looks happy too.

Mother's Day is a holiday apart for the Beast community. Mothers are among the most important animals in our forest, closer than other creatures to the mysteries of life... and deliciousness. And mothers have a special appreciation for the Idyll-Beast. Generations of mothers have used stories of the Beast to encourage proper comportment among their little ones. Very few behavioral issues can't be cleared up by a little visit from "uncle Idy."

Sales of Mother's Day cards were brisk this year at the Idyll-Beast Research Center Museum and Gift Shoppe. Favorites included "When I Think of Delicious... I Think of You," and "The World is Full of Mysterious Creatures... You're My Favorite." A selection of heartwarming messages are available. Say it with crypto-zoology. When you care enough to send the very Beast.

Friday, April 22, 2011

And Now a Word from the Candidate

Delicious. That is my vision of Idyllwild. I have seen the cities “down there”, grey and flavorless places where the befuddled masses scurry to-and-fro and the only “idling” is that of their innumerous automobiles. The closest most of them come to nature is the salad bar at “Souplantation.” They hunger for the peace of mind that foraging in our savory mountain community brings. As town mascot I will personally welcome the most delicious visitors. It would be an honor to serve such a tasty constituency. My paws tremble at the thought of the responsibility. If elected I will work tirelessly to spread our “gospel of deliciousness.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


As mentioned in an earlier post, the directors appointed at the March public meeting of the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce will stand for election, with the ballots to be mailed this month and the new terms to begin on July 1st. The top 4 vote-getters will be seated for 3 year terms, the next group of 4 for 2 year terms, and the remaining Directors for 1 year terms. Among the candidates is an Idyll-Beast, and we at the Idyll-Beast Research Center believe that a more representative Board will lead to a better Idyllwild... or at least to more entertaining meetings.

Campaigning has already begun. Contributions for “Beast PAC” (a Non-Connected Political Action Committee conducting political advocacy on behalf of the Idyll-Beast Research Center) are being received at the Museum and Gift Shoppe. Funds will go towards transportation for Idy, delicious snacks for meetings, advertising, security, grooming for the candidate, vaccinations, chew toys, etc.

This is your chance to be in on the ground floor of the most important political movement to sweep Idyllwild since… well, since the Beastly Pines incident. Our speech writers are now formulating a candidate’s statement.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Other Paw has Dropped

Reports are filtering in about last night’s Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce meeting. Director Nick Todd announced new directors, who will fill empty seats until the next election, and included among the names was that of an Idyll-Beast. We at the Idyll-Beast Research Center applaud the farsightedness of the present board. Idyllwild’s history, like that of America, is a tale of ever increasing inclusiveness, as formerly marginalized groups are brought into the franchise, accepted as full citizens. First Steve Moulton and now the Idyll-Beast. The Chamber is now officially safe for cave dwellers.

The Beast made several motions, (none of them threatening) during the meeting. First he suggested that all Chamber bussiness at public meetings be conducted by sock puppets. Should a Director be unable to afford a sock puppet (or lacking in dexterity or socks) one will be provided by the Idyll-Beast Research Center. This would definitely help to make these meetings the kind of family-friendly entertainment this town needs on Monday nights. The Beast also suggested that “tasty snacks” be “invited” to all future meetings. Both these motions will be considered and put to the vote at the next meeting.

Until then keep thinking of spring, people.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Idyll-Beast Sighted at District 3 Economic Forum

Once again an Idyll-Beast was sighted at an event linked to the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce. This Thursday the Soboba Country Club hosted the District Three Economic Forum. Chamber Director Steve Moulton was seen pulling into the Idyll-Beast Research Center Resort Sanatorium around 5:30 AM that morning, and it is likely that he and his henchman Peter Buhl lured the beast into the car with promises of a buffet breakfast. During the event the Beast was seen seated at the table set aside for Idyllwild Chamber members quietly munching from a well stacked plate of sausage (“Succulent!), and bacon (“Crispy!”).

Speakers included Sheriff Sniff, the County Controller, the Assessor, the Tax Collector, and Supervisor Jeff Stone. The creature displayed super-human patience during the seemingly interminable speeches, filled with random statistics, pie charts and graphs. It did seem to take an interest in Supervisor Stone’s description of the new Mount San Jacinto Junior College Animal Campus, and also perked up when photographs of Idyllwild were flashed on the screen.

Why would an Idyll-Beast be interested in human politics? Could it be the aroma? Or could his appearance just be an attempt by Chamber Directors to fill an empty seat?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

An Idyll-Beast at the Los Angeles Times Travel and Adventure Expo

The Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce had a (furry) presence at this year’s “Los Angeles Times Travel and Adventure Exposition”, thanks to their partnership with the Inland Empire Tourism Council. The Council provided a colorful booth featuring images of Inland Empire Tourism, and staffed by a team of well scrubbed professional Pirates courtesy of Our Chamber provided something none of the other exhibitors had: a living, breathing Idyll-Beast.

I was not aware that the inland empire had a pirate problem, but the buccaneers explained to me that there is a local tie-in with the “Pirates of the Carribean” franchise: some of the scenes were actually filmed near Palmdale. The pirates were very welcoming, to the point of adopting the Idyll-Beast as one of their own. The Beast has a very evolved sense of humor and took no offense at their “salty” remarks about “house training” and “furballs.” There may have been a bit of friendly rivalry, as it seems the most delicious looking visitors preferred to have their photos taken with the Idyll-Beast. It is probable that most of them already have pictures of themselves with Pirates.

The Beast handed out postcards (the new ones include an invitation to this summer’s “100th annual Idyll-Beast Festival”) and posed with the more photogenic visitors. He is getting to be quite skilled at answering questions, and was able to point curious attendees to the stack of Visitors Guides and other attractive propaganda supplied by local chamber members. The postcards and visitor guides disappeared as fast as I could replenish them, so there is reason to hope that people are ready to hear our message. They certainly are ready to embrace the Beast.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spreading the Gospel of Delicousness.

In a fit of civic mindedness I recently agreed to supply an Idyll-Beast to supplement the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce presence at this weekend’s “Los Angeles Times Travel and Adventure Exposition.” Idyll-Beasts are not known for their love of long drives, so I was somewhat apprehensive about the outing. In fact I got little sleep the night before, and morning found me drained and edgy. After I (somehow) finished my usual Saturday morning gig at Cafe Aroma, I headed back to the Research Center to capture a "volunteer."

I laid out several trays of canapés, one with salmon and goat cheese, another with bacon and shrimp, in the back seat of the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce "Limousine" (which we also use to haul trash to the dump), left the door open, and started in with the Idyll-Beast calls. It wasn't long before “Idy” lumbered out of the forest and after an initial inspection entered the limo and began sampling. The creature didn't even know we were moving until the canapés were gone, somewhere west of Hemet. So far so good. The Beast, having eaten his fill, actually began to nap.

After a little over two hours we arrived at the convention center. I loaded up my back pack with attractively printed propaganda the Chamber had provided, grabbed an additional tray of Beast snacks and postcards, and proceeded to "herd" Idy toward the convention hall. I quickly came to a shocking realization. No one seemed to know anything about the Travel exposition. Instead, the center was booked for something called the “Religious Education Congress.”

My mistake sickened me. Yes, I had read "LA Convention Center" when preparing my plan for the weekend, but somehow I had thought "Anaheim Convention Center." Where I now was… with 40,000 Catholics and a loose Idyll-Beast. Which incidentally had no trouble getting through security even without an exhibitor’s pass. If only I could take one of these creatures with me to the ariport.

I ran through my options. If I could get Idy back in the car and if I could make my way north through afternoon traffic we would arrive at the correct location an hour before closing…maybe. My mind was still reeling with the implications of my stupidity when I found myself being inexorably drawn into the “Nation’s largest gathering of Roman Catholics.” My blood ran cold when I realized that I had lost sight of the Idyll-Beast among the milling attendees.

I plunged into the mass of believers and after a few terrifying moments found Idy, perfectly at ease, working the crowd. And the crowd seemed surprisingly responsive.

Desperation is the handmaiden to inspiration. If there is one thing I have learned at the Idyll-Beast Research Center (and at the Chamber of Commerce) it is that the Beast moves in mysterious ways. Perhaps we were in the right place after all. I myself am not a religious man, but the Idyll-Beast is said to be "catholic" in its tastes. And indeed there was something “pastoral” in the sight of this furry emissary of Idyll-life working his way through the movers and shakers of the archdiocese. I think Archbishop Gomez kissed his hand! I felt like I was trying to keep up with Bill Clinton at a Little Rock Rotary Club barbecue.

I began to think; weren't we missionaries? Was not our gospel of deliciousness one for all nations? Who was I to turn my back on my neighbors, so obviously in need of rest, relaxation and snacks? I waded in after him, handing out brochures from local inns and copies of the "Idyllwild Life" visitor’s guide. The people seemed grateful, or at least curious.

The afternoon became a blur of fur and vestments. Idy ducked in and out of a number of workshops. There was one called "How to Have Supper" in which a well-fed pastor discussed the "theology of food." This seemed to keep Idy's attention for almost as long as that package of beef jerky in the back seat of the limo. There was another workshop called "Feed the Shepherds or They'll Eat the Sheep: Nurturing Healthy Ministers;" this the Beast found disappointing.

To make a long story short I did manage to get Idy back in the car. Except for the episode with the communion wafers things went quite well. But don't be surprised if Idyllwild is visited by a bus-load of singing nuns.

Tomorrow: An Idyll-Beast at the Los Angeles Times Travel and Adventure Exposition (at the Los Angeles Convention Center).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Your Tax Dollars at Work!

As some readers may know, supervisor Stone provided assistance that allowed our Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce to send "emissaries" to the Riverside County Fair and Date Festival. The Chamber assembled a colorful and informative booth stocked with literature describing the attractions in our local community, including opportunities for leisure, recreation and snacking.

The booth was staffed by volunteers, and on at least two occasions the Idyll-Beast Research Center managed to produce an actual Idyll-Beast to add a little local color to the event. Our furry good-will ambassador invited the most "delicious" looking fair-goers to visit Idyllwild. "These tasty looking morsels. they must be your offspring? Look me up when you're in town!"

Those accosted seemed delighted by the attention, especially the children. Dozens of families took home pictures of themselves with the Beast (for evidence) and the Beast apparently took home a few phone numbers from the ladies (for research.)

Thank you Supervisor Stone, and Thank you Idy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

freshly decanted evidence

Beast watchers:

This has just come in, an image circulating on the facebook. Its low resolution does not allow us to read the label on the bottle, but the wine does seem to be from Middle Ridge Winery and the color suggests meritage. Analysis shows someone has retouched the creature’s nose to take some of the shine off.

The Beast's fur appears almost feather-like, and the shape of the face implies a kinship with the owl. One can assume that the meritage would go with beast or fowl. He or she appears either to be toasting or examining the color of the wine. But shouldn’t they be holding it up to the light?

Research often develops questions as much as it defines answers. What kind of questions you ask goes a long ways towards determining what kind of answers you’ll get. It also depends on who you ask. Comments from photographers and vintners will be welcomed.