PhotoInterest – Interacting with our Wildlife

Our Desert Critters - in and around Joshua Tree

The desert is home to numerous varieties of wildlife from the tiniest of insects to big horn sheep, coyotes and Bobcats, and yes, lizards too.


This is a 7-inch Desert Gecko sitting atop the kitchen counter with a pair of US 25 cent coins.





It wasn’t very difficult capturing the little critter. I set ‘em in a plastic box for about 30 minutes, allowing it to settle down while I fiddled with camera settings.



These guys are a bit delicate. If you hold onto its tail, you very likely will see the critter scampering away from you while you’re still holding onto it’s wiggling severed tail.



Posted in Birds, Local Miscellaneous Topics, Misc Topics, Our Desert's Wild Critters, Reptiles, The Local Things, Tourism in our Morongo Basin region, Visitor/Tourist Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wow! How far away was that one?


How to calculate the distance from you to the lightning bolt flash.

In reality and with some scientific accuracy, we can estimate the distance between the flash of the lightning bolt and when the thunder is sounded.

Sound travels through air at “the speed of sound.” But of course! Officially, the speed of sound is 1,087 feet per second (or 331.3 meters per second)  in dry air at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (or 0 degrees Celsius). Raise the temperature to something like 82 degrees F (28 degrees C) the speed of sound is now 346 meters per second. Suffice it to say that the warmer the temperature, the faster sound travels, modified by other contributing factors such as humidity in the air.

As you can see, the math required to come up with an “accurate” distance can be daunting… so, we simplify the math by “rounding off”.  Let’s use something like 1,200 feet per second (or 350 meters per second) as the reasonable numbers to describe the speed of sound. So, using our rounded off figures, sound travels 1 mile in roughly 5 seconds (or 1 kilometer (1,000 meters) in roughly 3 seconds)). For you math buffs, this method translates to 1.1363636 miles — we’ll call it “one mile”.

So, how do we do it when we see the lightning flash?

Start counting the seconds between the flash and the thunder. Count (saying this out loud) “…one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four…….. ” etc. Don’t race when reciting the numbers… use “normal” speech speed.

When you see the flash of a lightning bolt, you start counting the seconds, stopping when the thunder stops sounding off. You then divide the result, the quantity of seconds, by FIVE (5) to see how far away, in miles, the lightning struck.

For example: If it takes 10 seconds for the thunder to roll in after you saw the lightning flash, the lightning struck about 2 miles away. And, the thunder would have been quite loud given the short distance between your ears and the lightning flash.

By the way, lightning does not have to hit the ground or a building to make the thunder sound off. Watch for lightning that seems to go no where but between clouds. These events will not give you the “distance” you seek. So, look for lightning strikes that seem to hit the ground where you can learn just how far away it might have hit.

Want to help your children be much less afraid of these thunderous events? Teach ‘em to count the seconds, then divide the results to learn the distance. Have them log several “hits” for comparison, creating a kind of contest between several children. Using an “area” map showing where you are located, mark the “hits” in the general direction of the strike.

Taking photos of a lightning strike can make for an interesting “show ‘n tell” project. With today’s digital cameras, including cell phones, taking shots of the lightning strike in the darkened sky can be challenging even for pro photographers. But, learning how to successfully take some shots of lightning and be able to publish them or print them for an amateur photographer’s display would certainly be an item the child can store in their own albums giving the child super bragging rights for decades to come. 

Here’s a challenge for you adults and soon to become adults:

I’ll foster the contention that the kids will outshine their adult counterparts both in the observations of the lightning strikes and in the accuracy of the math needed for the project.


Posted in Misc Topics | Leave a comment

Hi-Desert Cultural Center News

Release Date: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 06/21/13
Hi-Desert Cultural Center to Open West Coast Premiere of New Critically Acclaimed Theatrical Comedy, “Home of the Great Pecan”
JOSHUA TREE, CA - The Hi-Desert Cultural Center is proud to announce that the west coast premiere of playwright Stephen Bittrich’s critically acclaimed new theatrical comedy, Home of the Great Pecan, will open for three weekends beginning Friday June 28, 2013 at the Center’s state-of-the-art Blak Box Theater!  Along the lines of Greater Tuna and Almost Maine, Home of the Great Pecan is, in a nutshell, a hilarious new farce and quirky southern comedy set in the real small town of Seguin, Texas in the mid 1980s.  Bittrich’s outlandish tale of UFOs and romance has been literally “cracking-up” audiences and was recently heralded by a critic as, “the most delightful new comedy I’ve seen in a long while.” 
Following the smash success and extended show run of The Dining Room and with an almost fifty-year tradition of staging award-winning live theatre, the Hi-Desert Cultural Center is thrilled to present its fifth theatrical production this season as part of its year-round entertainment and educational offerings.  Directed by popular esteemed local director Wendy Cohen, whose acting and directing has garnered her many awards and honors from the Desert Theatre League, “Pecan” is a gut-busting comedy that will feature a large crew and cast of “nutty” characters: Lorraine Williamson, Brad Holt, Jack Kennedy, Becky Renish, Toni Molano, Marge Doyle, Dennis Priest, Karl Weimer, Tim Kelly, Anja Homberg, Velma Demaray, Richie Sande, Scott Cutler, Michaela Chambers, Kat Anderson, Billy Pomgranite, Dave Jessup, Karl Weimer and Ian Price.
The Hi-Desert Cultural Center’s production of Home of the Great Pecan will run Friday and Saturday evenings at 7pm June 28th through July 13th, with a special 2pm matinee performance on July 7th.  Tickets are $15 for general seating and $20 for Elite Seating. Tickets to performances of Home of the Great Pecan are available online at, on the Center’s FaceBook page, or by calling the box office at 760.366.3777.
Posted in Misc Topics | Leave a comment

WalMart rumored to open July 15, 2013

June 1, 2013
While there are factions that oppose WalMart in general as a “big-box” invader, there are also a few within the Morongo Basin who would put up their life’s savings to help kill the opening of the new  WalMart Super Center at the eastern edge of the town limits of Yucca Valley – which is adjoined by Joshua Tree.
As of April 29, 2013, according to store manager Milagros Robinson, WalMart will hire about 80 new employees. Since May 2013 is already over, those still interested in applying for a job at WalMart can complete applications at one of the three hiring kiosks inside the current store. Do not go to the “new” store to apply. Interested applicants may also apply online at  
According to store manager Milagros Robinson, the store will be hiring both full- and part-time workers. “We are excited to expand the Walmart in Yucca Valley and bring good jobs with great career opportunities to the area,” said Robinson.
Walmart’s full-time hourly wage in California is $12.93 per hour.
The majority of new hires will begin work in May to help prepare the new 184,000-square-foot store, still under construction at this writing, for its grand re-opening at the new location of 58501 Twentynine Palms Highway, east of Wallgreen’s and next door to Home Depot. The new Supercenter construction site is about 25 1/2 acres on the south side of the 29-Palms Hwy at the south-east corner of Avalon Avenue. The Supercenter building itself will cover about 22 acres, according to the company’s environmental report, and would include 920 parking spaces, 3,500 square feet of additional retail space and a 4,000-square-foot fast food restaurant, according to legal documents.
What weighs heavy in my personal assessment of those in opposition to the “big-box” concept is how many familiar faces I have personally observed inside the current Walmart store pushing their partially filled shopping carts….. and those packing their newly purchased goods into their vehicles.



Posted in Misc Topics | 3 Comments

Eclectic shopping in Joshua Tree

In southern California,
is an adventure in discovery.

In Joshua Tree, shopping for vintage, handmade, eclectic and cool stuff is nothing less than an adventure into the unknown   -   Click for Related photos »
Joshua Tree, not an incorporated “town or city” some 150 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and about 40 miles north of Palm Springs, first cast its spell on nature lovers and New Age spiritual seekers. Joshua Tree is in the high desert generally about 2700-3500 feet above sea level in the south-eastern Mojave Desert. The diverse community, since the mid-70′s, have continued to seduce struggling musicians, artists, would-be politicians and other urban refugees with affordable real estate, solitude, dark-dark night skies for contemplating the cosmos, and a community made up mostly of their peers and like-minded transplants. 
Now, the frontier surrounding the internationally popular 800,000 acre Joshua Tree National Park has yet another draw: Joshua Tree’s retail backwater is an emerging eclectic shopping destination that has emerged in the desert community near the national park. Vintage clothing and recycled furniture stores, along with artists working in ceramic, fiber, metal, glass, and more are among those who have set up shop. The “down-town” area of Joshua Tree boasts an almost-mall that’s housed in a former trailer park.
Shopping in and around Joshua Tree, with the city of 29-Palms (92277) 17 miles east and the town of Yucca Valley (92284) immediately on the west along the primary east-west highway that runs through the area (State Highway 62 - aka the 29-Palms Hwy) connects visitors to the Morongo Basin stretching from Interstate 10 next door to Palm Springs, runs north-east and past the 29-Palms Marine Corp Training Center. There is also another highway (Old-Woman-Springs Road (aka SR 247)) that starts in Yucca Valley at SR-62 and connects with Barstow at Interstate 15 then blends into the Victorville area some 75 miles north-west of Joshua Tree.
This is a Los Angeles Times article including a photo gallery of some of the JT retail stores. Clicking on the link will open up a new window on the LA Times web site.


Posted in Misc Topics | Leave a comment

Made in America… but which one?

Over the past couple decades or so I have attempted to elicit answers to the ever growing question: Who, in our western hemisphere, is an American and who are not Americans? Suffice it to say that no one seems to want to answer the question, from the U.S. President all the way down to the person sleeping under the local bridge.

Today, I raise the same question. It seems that the “news media” and politicians are hell bent on pushing the “Made in America” notion. I ask then, “which America?” What ever happened to the most accurate statement: “Made in USA”? Politicians declare “… we are Americans, as if to suggest that the rest of the population of the western hemisphere are not Americans. You see, we have North AMERICA, Central AMERICA, and South AMERICA. What about Columbian Americans (South America), Mexican Americans (North America) or how about folks born and raised in Newfoundland — Canadian Americans, or Costa Ricans (Central America). Was dictator Chavez, president of Venezuela, an American? Sure was. Venezuelan American (South America). This list could fill several pages but I dare not bore you with so much trivia.

Everyone born, raised or who took up citizenship anywhere in our entire Western Hemisphere are fully “AMERICANS” regardless of which country, from the South Pole to the North Pole, they live in. Keep in mind there are THREE AMERICAS. North, Central and South America.

I think it is ethnically immoral to label ourselves (those of us in the United States) as AMERICANS exclusive to all others and promote the notion by stripping the non-U.S. citizen of the title “American”. Let me ask, are Canadians NOT American?

Just for the hell-of-it I decided to look for samples of LOGOS, CLIPART and other symbols that declare MADE IN AMERICA. I found one that has (clipart) of a “rubber stamp” image that reads Made in America. After examining the first 60 sample images I decided to just let you folks go to their web site and see for yourself. With the exception of 2 or 3 designs of Made in America, all others declare Made In U.S.A. along with a sprinkling of a few other countries. Wanna see it? Click HERE.

I think you get the message. I first proposed this same issue in October 2011 but got no replies or comments. Take a look at the western hemisphere map provided by the United States CIA. Click HERE.


Posted in Misc Topics | Tagged , | 4 Comments

A Musical History Of The World

JOSHUA TREE PHILHARMONIC’s “History Of The World” in 2013
Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday – May 16, 17, 18 & 19.
Times are 7 p.m. and the Sunday show starts at 2:00 p.m.
The amazing Joshua Tree Philharmonic (JPHIL) returns to delight audiences with “History Of The World”  -  an eclectic and artistic blend of musical selections including “Jurassic Park”, “2001:A Space Odyssey”, “Titantic”, “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves”, “Braveheart”, “Fanfare For The Common Man”, “Some Nights” and more…
Under the direction of Maestro Jarrod Radnich, at Joshua Tree’s BLAK-BOX theater, the JPHIL will take audiences on a sonic journey through timeless masterpieces that the whole family are sure to enjoy! Must be at least five years of age to attend.
Tickets are available at JPHIL’s ticket agent, or telephone local ticket services 760-366-3777.
View our map to BlakBox theater in Joshua Tree


Posted in Local Community Happenings, Local Culture & Music Forum, Local Miscellaneous Topics, Local Public Messages & Announcements, Local Senior Citizen Forum, Misc Topics, The Local Things, Tourism in our Morongo Basin region, Visitor/Tourist Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

JT Nat’l Park officials close popular Park sites


Graffiti forces closure of popular Joshua Tree Nat’l Park sites

The Associated Press Posted:   04/13/2013 08:12:22 PM PDT
April 14, 2013 3:48 AM GMT  –  Updated:   04/13/2013 08:48:25 PM PDT

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif.  -  Acts of graffiti have become so pervasive at Joshua Tree National Park’s most popular hiking spots that officials have had to close them to the public, and they blame the big bump in vandalism displays on Internet social media, such as Facebook and others.

Rangers said they’ve found graffiti spray painted on 17 sites, including the famous rock formations and historic Native American sites, at the Southern California park’s Rattlesnake Canyon. They put historic Barker Dam off limits after vandals carved their names into the cement of the Old West landmark. Continue reading

Posted in A guide to Joshua Tree Nat'l Park, Local Miscellaneous Topics, Local Senior Citizen Forum, Misc Topics, Our Deserts Wild Scenery, The Local Things, Tourism in our Morongo Basin region, Visitor/Tourist Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BOBCAT Assembly Bill AB-1213

Trapped BOBCATS rise 51% during 2012-2013 trapping season.

This priceless photo is from Annica Kreuters photo collection of a bobcat mother and her two cubs within close proximity of her Joshua Tree back yard and home. Kreuters has tracked the growth and behavior of visiting bobcats for years. In the last few months of 2012, Ms Kreuters has seen seven of eight of bobcats disappear. Kreuters fears trappers are responsible for their disappearance. PHOTO CREDIT: Annica Kreuters – Joshua Tree.

AB 1213 is a response to the discovery of bobcat traps on the boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park. It would make it illegal to trap, import, export or sell any bobcat part or product.

By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times

March 4, 2013, 10:02 p.m.

Environmental groups and wildlife lovers near Joshua Tree National Park on Monday applauded a proposed state law that would ban trapping of bobcats for commercial purposes.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced AB 1213 in response to the fury of Continue reading

Posted in Cats 'n Coyotes, Local Community Happenings, Local Government Issues, Local Miscellaneous Topics, Local Public Messages & Announcements, Local Senior Citizen Forum, Misc Topics, Our Desert's Wild Critters, The Local Things, Tourism in our Morongo Basin region | Leave a comment

Dan “O” & BirthDays

Hey there Dan-O !!

Cactus-Thorns has it you just got older. Listen, if yer having difficulty in judging if yer “old” or not, you’ll know yer gittin’ old when ya plop down in that rockin’ chair and can’t git the damn thing going. Have another Tequila/Lime hotdog an’ try again. HAPPY B-DAY ANYWAY

Sadie Kadiddlehopper 


Posted in Misc Topics | 2 Comments

GOIN’ POSTAL ain’t “gone”

Is Yucca Valley’s “Goin’ Postal” Gone?  Ans: Absolutely NOT !!

 Yucca Valley business “Goin’ Postal” is presumed “gone.”
Friday Sept 30, 2011………… (view the original short article HERE)

Today, Monday February 25, 2013, I received a “comment” regarding Lisa Thompson’s thriving and quite active business. Here’s her comment:

Submitted on 2013/02/25 at 2:02 PM

Hi Bill,

I was searching the internet for Goin’ Postal Yucca Valley to find out which search engines we have listings on when I came across an article in The Joshua Tree Star about “Is Yucca Valley’s Goin’ Postal Gone?”

I would like to clarify that Goin’ Postal Yucca Valley is NOT gone. Continue reading

Posted in Misc Topics | 3 Comments

NO TRESPASSING signs – Calif law

No Trespassing – Hunting, Trapping

This article is in response to the discovery of the BobCat trap on Tom O’Key’s private Joshua Tree property (click for orig story) and adjoining the northern boundary line of the Joshua Tree National Park. While advocates for a total and complete ban on trapping BobCats anywhere in California is underway, it will be months and more likely years before any meaningful legislation with teeth in it will be passed and implemented. In the meantime, property owners are left to their own devices when it comes to curbing trespassers upon their private property. Law enforcement cannot do anything if appropriate notices are not posted on the property.
While “trapping” bobcats is legal during the trapping portion of the hunting season in California, trappers are taking advantage of the Bobcat not being able to read. The wild critters pass through the invisible junction of the boundary lines of both private and government owned real estate properties and have no clue they just passed from the safety of the Park into a kill zone. That is, the law allows the animals to be killed right up to the fence (or invisible property line) of the Joshua Tree National Park. Hunting, trapping, etc., is prohibited “inside” the Park… so, the trappers hide their cage style traps outside the National Park fence which may well put the trap inside private property or even inside the National Park. The wildlife continues to travel from the safety of the National Park into the killing zone of BLM and private properties. Continue reading
Posted in Misc Topics | 6 Comments

BOBCAT ATROCITY Discovered by local JT resident

Local resident, Tom O’Key, discovers a hidden Bobcat live-trap on his private property, set to capture a Bobcat (disregarding size, age, gender) solely for stripping the skin and fur off the animal to be sold to a buyer in a foreign country for up to $600 US dollars.

Photo Credit: Feb 2009 by “Martha”, a resident of the south eastern portion of Joshua Tree, at her “pond”. While Bobcats get thirsty for fresh water from time to time, they will depart from their otherwise nocturnal habit and venture out of their night-time comfort zone to partake in a hand-out of raw chicken, during daylight. This gal would appear 2, maybe 3 times a week.
A Los Angeles Times article – By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times – February 11, 2013
JOSHUA TREE —  Annica Kreuter’s backyard on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park has been a perfect place to chronicle the adventures of eight bobcats.
Over the last decade she has watched a young bobcat chased up a tree by a coyote; an alpha male surveying the landscape from the hood of her car; a kitten sauntering into the yard as she gardens; a matron sniffing the back of Kreuter’s neck as she napped on a hammock.
Lately, seven of the eight have vanished. “At sunrise, I hear the one that is still here crying for his family,” Kreuter said.
She and others in this high desert community of about 8,000 say bobcats have been disappearing lately, killed for the value of their pelts by trappers who often trespass on private property.
The trappers come armed with wire cages, squirt bottles of potent scent and bobcat lures: battery-powered vibrating pet toys festooned with feathers to resemble dying birds. Continue reading
Posted in Local Government Issues, Our Desert's Wild Critters, Tourism in our Morongo Basin region | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Joshua Tree Philharmonic Spring/Summer Season


Joshua Tree
Philharmonic Spring Season

JOSHUA TREE, CA – After December’s sold-out concert series featuring the music of Mannheim Steamroller, and sponsored by Chip Davis himself, musicians from the Morongo Basin, Coachella Valley, and Inland Empire regions are returning to the Hi-Desert Cultural Center in Joshua Tree to prepare for this new season of music that will boast selections including “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Fanfare for the Common Man”, “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves” and more.  Under the direction of Maestro Jarrod Radnich, the all volunteer Joshua Tree Philharmonic, or “JPHIL,” welcomes new members to join the orchestra for the launch of its 10th Spring/Summer Season that will culminate in a spectacular concert series in May of this year.
The JPHIL accepts members with a wide range of musical skills….. Continue reading
Posted in Local Community Happenings, Local Culture & Music Forum, Local Miscellaneous Topics, Local Public Messages & Announcements, Local Senior Citizen Forum, Misc Topics, The Local Things, Tourism in our Morongo Basin region, Visitor/Tourist Resources | Leave a comment


Delivery of common “mail” on Saturdays to stop in one of the most significant steps taken by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to cut $2-billion costs at the struggling U.S. Congress controlled agency.

Packages (parcels) will continue to be delivered on Saturdays. Delivery of common “mail” to POST OFFICE BOXES will continue on Saturdays. Continue reading

Posted in Local Government Issues, Local Miscellaneous Topics, Local Public Messages & Announcements, Local Senior Citizen Forum, Misc Topics, The Local Things, Tourism in our Morongo Basin region, Visitor/Tourist Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


The following is a direct copy of the PRESS RELEASE excluding the graphic.

Contact: Therese Everett-Kerley / Lisa Herman
760-834-8599 /

Project Will Bring Eagerly Awaited Jobs and Increase Tourism to Area

Coachella, California – January 28, 2013

The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians located in Southern California will break ground on a new, boutique casino just outside Palm Springs in Twentynine Palms.

The project is expected to infuse the local High-Desert economy with a welcome boost in construction, retail, and gaming employment, as well as an increase in tourism to this quaint desert enclave.

The new tribal gaming venue called Tortoise Rock Casino  Continue reading

Posted in Local Community Happenings, Local Government Issues, Local Miscellaneous Topics, Local Public Messages & Announcements, Misc Topics, The Local Things, Tourism in our Morongo Basin region, Visitor/Tourist Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments