Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: July 25, 2022

I’m writing this on Sunday night, from the Hilton Garden Inn near Midway International Airport in Chicago.

Being at the Hilton Garden Inn near Midway International Airport in Chicago on Sunday night was not part of the plan. In an alternate universe, the hubby and I made it back to Palm Springs several hours ago, and I’m relaxing rather than getting an early start on the Digest because much of my Monday, the good Lord willing, will be spent on planes.

I could go on about the stupidity of our Sunday—almost six hours of which was spent with one of us on hold or on the phone with Southwest Airlines, and I’m not exaggerating—but instead, I want to write about something that happened at the Midway gate where we were waiting for our flight that was not to be. 

An elderly couple was sitting nearby. The husband was in a wheelchair; the wife was not. A gate agent approached them, and all hell broke loose. I’m not sure exactly what happened; apparently the agent had been calling for the couple over the public address system … but they didn’t hear it. They were expecting someone to come and get them, since the man was in a wheelchair.

The end result was they did not get on their flight.

The gate agent tried to rebook them, but there were no fights to be had on what was an insane Sunday for air travel. And here is where we get to the part where I tell you why I’m writing this.

As the gate agent worked on their reservation, both the husband and the wife called what I’m assuming was a loved one to let them know they were not going to be arriving anytime soon, because they’d missed their flight. 

In both cases, the loved one reacted angrily. Rather than comforting words, there was yelling. Both the man and the woman went into defensive mode, insisting they’d done nothing wrong. The whole thing was, in a word, heartbreaking.

Families can be complex, with lots of emotion and hurt feelings and histories—along with, one hopes, love and affection. I started to wonder how I’d react if I found out a loved one would not be able to be at some important event because they missed a flight. I might be upset, like those relatives on the other end of those phone calls were. Depending on my general frustration level with that relative who missed their flight, I might even raise my voice.

But, really, what good would that do? What this poor, upset elderly couple needed at that moment was kindness. They were upset and probably feeling terrible about what had happened, despite the defensiveness.

The whole mess served as a reminder to me to be kind and understanding whenever possible—especially where loved ones are concerned. Life is hard and annoying and short. Yelling and anger usually won’t help that … but kindness will. 

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Yep to ‘Nope’: Jordan Peele’s Foray Into Sci-fi Horror Is a Terrific Success

By Bob Grimm

July 26th, 2022

As he did with Get Out and Us, Peele in Nope mixes in nice doses of satire, this time focusing on showbiz and the media, and those doses account for some of the movie’s funnier moments.

Calmer Approach: Joshua Tree’s Ryan Traster Gets Set to Release a New Single Aug. 5—and an Expansive Album in September

By Matt King

July 23rd, 2022

After a decade of nomadic living and performing, Traster was drawn to Joshua Tree, which became his home—and what resulted was the singer/songwriter’s most unique and textured album to date.

Belchers on the Big Screen: ‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ Is One of the Year’s Funniest Films

By Bob Grimm

July 26th, 2022

The Bob’s Burgers Movie is easily one of the year’s funniest films, and an instant animated comedy classic.

The Lucky 13: Kelsey Manning, Performing at the Desert Beer Company Aug. 20

By Matt King

July 25th, 2022

Get to better know singer/songwriter Kelsey Manning.

Things Go Boom Yay: Netflix’s ‘The Gray Man’ Serves Up a Great Dose of Mindless Summer Blockbuster Fun

By Bob Grimm

July 26th, 2022

Honestly, a day after seeing The Gray Man, I don’t even fully remember what it was about … and that’s just fine.

More News

And now for your weekly update regarding Palm Springs wastewater levels of SARS-CoV-2. The verdict: Last week’s numbers were pretty similar to the previous week’s numbers. From the report: “The average number of copies (of virus per liter) recorded at the city’s wastewater treatment plant has increased. The average of 937,841 copies/L from the previous week’s average has slightly increased to an average of 954,664 copies/L for July 18 and 19, 2022.” More than 86 percent of the virus detected was the BA.5 variant.

Related: COVID has been making a whole lot of people sick at LAX. CBS Los Angeles reports: “According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s listing of active outbreaks at non-residential settings, a total of 220 workers with the Transportation Security Administration has tested positive for COVID in the last week. … In fact, a number of departments at LAX are experiencing large outbreaks, including American Airlines, which has reported a total of 154 infections; and Southwest Airlines with 28 infections, according to the Department of Public Health.”

Also related: Despite signs that the COVID surge may (or may not) be leveling off, Los Angeles is getting ready for the return of an indoor mask mandate later this week—and yet again, business like restaurants will bear the brunt of enforcement. The Los Angeles Times says: “To many, a return to a mask mandate could mean a reprisal of angry and unruly customers, a problem exacerbated by already skeletal staffing. … Maria Salinas, the president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and Jessica Lall, president and chief executive of the Central City Assn., recently contacted Ferrer, writing that the indoor mask mandate ‘puts employees in the increasingly challenging position of enforcing a mandate that many customers no longer wish to — or are unwilling to — comply with.’”

• Moving from one disease to another … the city of Palm Springs is asking for more monkeypox vaccines, and a change in distribution strategy, as the number of local cases continues to rise. From a news release: “In an effort to ensure the threat of Monkeypox is mitigated in our communities, the City of Palm Springs is calling on the Center for Disease Control, (CDC), and the California Department of Public Health, (CDPH), to work quickly to shift their strategy in the acquisition and distribution of the vaccine in order to better meet demand. Last week, Mayor Lisa Middleton sent a letter to Thomas Aragon, director of the California Department of Public Health, requesting that the CDC and CDPH accelerate the purchase of the vaccine and prioritize distribution first to communities already experiencing a high rate of incidents and second to communities with populations more likely to contract the disease. Currently supplies of the vaccine are distributed in California on a population-based formula and extremely limited.”

BBC over the weekend posted a big story headlined “The audacious PR plot that seeded doubt about climate change.” The summary: “Thirty years ago, a bold plan was cooked up to spread doubt and persuade the public that climate change was not a problem. The little-known meeting—between some of America’s biggest industrial players and a PR genius—forged a devastatingly successful strategy that endured for years, and the consequences of which are all around us.”

Related is this dispatch from our partners at CalMatters, about the governor’s steps to combat climate change as the state’s worst wildfire of the year burns: “Newsom on Saturday proclaimed a state of emergency in Mariposa County due to the Oak Fire near Yosemite National Park, which since igniting on Friday has burned through more than 15,600 acres of bone-dry fuel and was 0% contained as of Sunday night, according to Cal Fire. … In a Friday letter to Liane Randolph, who leads the powerful California Air Resources Board, Newsom outlined goals he said would add teeth to the state’s sweeping climate strategy, which regulators are set to consider formally adopting this fall. In so doing, he appeared to agree with activists who said the plan doesn’t go far or quickly enough in transitioning California away from fossil fuels. However, some of the strategies Newsom proposed, such as carbon capture, are unlikely to be embraced by many environmentalists.”

Palm Springs International Airport has jumped a lot higher on the list of the country’s busiest airports. Simple Flying reports (with a hat tip to the Palm Springs Post for the link): “Palm Springs will be the USA’s 62nd-busiest airport this winter. It has jumped 14 places since pre-pandemic winter 2019. Its seats for sale are up by 16% as the recovery across the country remains at 90%. While renowned as a winter destination, Palm Springs has grown even stronger this summer, narrowing the winter-summer gap considerably. It has broken records, but will it continue?”

• And finally … some shameless self-promotion: Congrats to Independent columnist Kay Kudukis for her national award from the Association of Alternative News Media! She earned second place in the column category. Key judges’ quote: “With a wonderful POV feature reporting style and deliciously profane voiciness, this column takes a deep dive into the lives of seemingly ordinary locals and reveals the extraordinary within them and their histories that brought them to the area.” Congrats, Kay!

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Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...