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 piratesforhire.com. 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.