Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: Aug. 23, 2021

Hey! You should know that nomination-round voting is now under way in the Independent’s Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll, presented by News Channel 3. Click here to offer your two cents.

We recommend voting early, but NOT often: Unlike those other readers’ polls that are run by publications pathetically desperate for web traffic, we only allow people to vote once per round. We think good results are more important than a temporary web-traffic boost.

On a personal note: Every year, the start of Best of Coachella Valley voting feels like a milepost, of sorts, indicating the long, hot summer’s end is drawing near, and the crazy, event-driven madness that is fall/winter in the CV is almost here—that is, every year but last year, when nobody had any idea what in the heck was in store for the upcoming season, other than, well, probably not much.

This year, somehow, things feel even more confusing. Almost all of the big, normal happenings here are as-of-now proceeding as scheduled, and life seems to be moving forward as normal, albeit with some mask and vaccination mandates (thank goodness).

But then again, according to Kevin Duncliffe (who’s been tracking local hospitalizations for much of the pandemic), the number of COVID-19 patients in the valley’s three hospitals jumped by 17 yesterday, to a total of 107—the largest number since Feb. 18.


To bring this ramble back to the Best of Coachella Valley: Last year, we pondered whether it even made sense to do the readers’ poll, since so many places were closed, or limited, or otherwise struggling. Ultimately, we decided to go ahead with the poll, precisely because so many places were closed, or limited, or otherwise struggling. What better way is there to support area businesses, organizations and institutions than by shining a light on them—which is exactly what the Best of Coachella Valley process does?

(It should also be noted that the extra revenue brought in by the BOCV supports the journalism the Independent does—and in these uncertain times, we need all the support we can get.)

So, please, sometime between now and the end of nomination-round voting on Sept. 13, head to

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Mid-Week Laughs: Oscar’s Palm Springs Brings the LGBTQ-Themed Funny on the Last Wednesday of Every Month

By Kay Kudukis

August 22, 2021

Max Mitchell is bringing LGBTQ comedy to Oscar’s Palm Springs the last Wednesday of each month.

On Cocktails: Reflections on How the Service Industry Is Depicted in Movies, TV and More

By Kevin Carlow

August 23, 2021

Our intrepid imbiber’s been away from bartending for two months due to an injury—so he’s had a lot of time to watch, and ponder, TV and film about bars, food and the service industry.

Choose Your Own Interpretation: You’ll Leave the Theater Deep in Thought After Watching Psych-Horror Film ‘The Night House’

By Bob Grimm

August 23, 2021

There are mirrored explanations for what happens in The Night House—to such an extent that you could watch it twice, and each viewing could have a completely different impact.

The Indy Endorsement: The Combo Banh Mi at La Baguette

By Jimmy Boegle

August 23, 2021

The combo banh mi at Palm Desert’s La Baguette is a meaty, crunchy, pickle-y delight.

The Lucky 13: Bob Gentry, Singer/Songwriter, Releasing Debut Album ‘Fortune Favors’ on Sept. 10

By Matt King

August 20, 2021

Get to know Palm Springs singer/songwriter Bob Gentry, whose new album Fortune Favors will be released on Sept. 10.

More News

• You may have heard about this already, but it’s worth noting here regardless, because it’s both historic and hugely important: The Pfizer-produced COVID-19 vaccine today received full approval by the FDA. ABC explains: “The full approval will likely give legal cover to many organizations who want to require vaccinations for their employees as the delta variant surges nationwide. The U.S. has so far vaccinated 71% of the eligible population, but under-vaccinated areas like the Southeast have proven that the virus will continue to spread wherever there is not ample protection.”

• However … what in the ever-loving frick is Pfizer thinking with this? From now on, the company’s COVID-19 vaccine will be named … Comirnaty. We’ll let The Washington Post take things from here: “As one (Twitter) user put it, ‘Achievement unlocked: full FDA approval. Also unlocked: crappy hard-to-pronounce word—Comirnaty. Thanks, marketing.’ Indeed, though the FDA announced that it’s pronounced ‘koe-mir’-na-tee,’ much has been made about the difficulties in actually saying it aloud. Writer Drew Magary likened it to ‘a Philly resident trying to say “community.”‘ He also suggested it would ‘be amusing if Pfizer did a big ad blitz for Comirnaty without mentioning it’s the COVID vaccine AT ALL. Like if they just said “Promotes lung girth!’ and jabs suddenly went up nationwide by 60%”‘—which naturally led to a flood of jokes about Viagra, which is also produced by Pfizer.

• Meanwhile, the Delta surge means there, yet again, are not enough health care workers to go around. Politico explains: “Hospitals and lawmakers in states gripped by the Delta variant are offering nurses tens of thousands of dollars in signing bonuses, rewriting job descriptions so paramedics can care for patients and pleading for federal help to beef up their crisis-fatigued health care workforces. The alarming spread of new cases is draining the pool of available health workers in ways not seen since the pandemic’s winter peak, forcing officials to improvise and tear up rules dictating who cares for whom. Governors and hospital directors warn that the staffing crisis is so acute that patients, whether suffering from COVID-19, a heart attack or the effects of a car accident, can no longer expect the level of care that might have been available six weeks ago.”

• Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch threw much of the state’s so-called “gig economy” into potential chaos on Friday when he declared Proposition 22 to be unconstitutional. The Los Angeles Times says: “That’s in part because the law, Roesch wrote, infringes on the power of the Legislature explicitly granted by the state Constitution to regulate compensation for workers’ injuries. ‘If the people wish to use their initiative power to restrict or qualify a “plenary” and “unlimited” power granted to the Legislature, they must first do so by initiative constitutional amendment, not by initiative statute,’ the judge wrote. By including language aimed at preventing drivers from unionizing, the ballot measure also violates a constitutional provision that requires laws and initiatives to be limited to a single subject, Roesch ruled.”

SFGate pays tribute to Felisia Thibodeaux, a woman who has reportedly encouraged 1,270 people to get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2: “Thibodeaux is the executive director of the Southwest Community Corporation, which operates out of the I.T. Bookman Community Center in San Francisco’s Ingleside Heights. Before the pandemic, Thibodeaux’s job entailed running the day-to-day operations of the primarily senior-serving organization. But as the coronavirus began hitting the U.S. in 2020, her priorities shifted to ensuring that her community was protected against COVID-19. Seventy-six percent of residents in the Oceanview/Merced/Ingleside area are vaccinated, as of Aug. 9, according to city data. That works out to about 21,000 people—a chunk of whom Thibodeaux personally called to ensure they had access to the vaccine.”

• This is one reason why booster shots are coming very soon (and, in fact, are already being given to some immunocompromised people), as explained by Reuters: “A third dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has significantly improved protection from infection and serious illness among people aged 60 and older in Israel compared with those who received two shots, findings published by the Health Ministry showed on Sunday. The data were presented at a meeting of a ministry panel of vaccination experts on Thursday and uploaded to its website on Sunday, though the full details of the study were not released. The findings were on par with separate statistics reported last week by Israel’s Maccabi healthcare provider, one of several organizations administering booster shots to try to curb the Delta coronavirus variant.”

Our friends at the Palm Springs Post talked to some area veterans who worked in Afghanistan about the disaster that has unfolded there in recent weeks, as the Taliban re-took the country. Key quote: “(Scott Grasser, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces captain who spent seven years in Afghanistan working as a security director for a private company) and other veterans, many of whom gather at the city’s Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts, said the scenes playing out in Afghanistan are hauntingly familiar and equally upsetting as past U.S. missions that ended unceremoniously. ‘Looking at the helicopter lifting off the roof in Saigon and the one this week in Kabul, of course they look the same,’ Grasser said. ‘There are a lot of bad feelings, and old feelings are coming back. I try to not watch too much news, but that’s difficult.’”

• You know the supply-chain issues that have caused problems for supermarkets (and virtually every other goods-selling business) since the pandemic arrived? Well, those problems persist. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required to read the whole article) reports: “Industry executives say new problems are arising weekly, driven by shortages of labor and raw materials. Groceries including frozen waffles and beverages remain scarce as some food companies anticipate disruptions lasting into 2022. A wider range of products is running short and logistical challenges are compounding for many retailers. Donny Rouse, chief executive of Louisiana-based Rouses Markets, said he is struggling to fill shelves as his company runs low on everything from pet food to canned goods. The chain of more than 60 supermarkets is sometimes receiving as little as 40% of what it orders, prompting Mr. Rouse and his staff to try to secure products earlier and more often. Before the pandemic, Rouses received well over 90% of its orders.”

• Hey. if you’ve ever wanted to work at the Palm Springs International Airport (which just announced another record-setting month of traffic, pandemic be damned), take note, according to this news release: “Palm Springs International Airport is holding its first job fair to help tenants fill more than 80 open positions at the airport. … There are many full-time and part-time positions available from companies such as United Airlines, Hertz, Signature Flight Support, TSA, Atlantic Aviation, and more. Open positions include aircraft line maintenance, airline ramp agents, airline customer service agents, bartenders, taxi drivers, servers, cooks, passenger service supervisors, and rental car sales agents to name a few. … Job seekers are encouraged to apply online at prior to attending the job fair. The airport requests that applicants bring plenty of resumes and a face covering with them for the interviews, which will be at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Tuesday, Aug. 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• And finally … The Press-Enterprise takes a compelling look at Desert Center, which 1) you’ve driven past if you’ve ever taken Interstate 10 east to the state line; 2) hasn’t really been a thing for two decades or so, and 3) just sold for 6.25 million: “Desert Center is a largely empty desert outpost in the Chuckwalla Valley, about 50 miles from either Blythe or Indio, almost exactly halfway between Los Angeles and Phoenix. The land (Riverside resident Balwinder Singh) Wraich bought includes two gas stations, a cafe, a hotel, store, school and the gravesite of a former cafe cook—all abandoned. Desert Center has no city council or other government. But the U.S. Census Bureau lists it as a spot where people have come together, even though it’s not a formal town or city. The bureau estimates 216 people lived there in 2019, with a median age of 70.6 years old.”

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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...