Date:         Mon, 5 Feb 1996 06:29:37 GMT
From: Allan Denchfield 
Subject:      Ah, Toasty Warm - Finally! Or WHTMOMPSV
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L 

        Just HAD to escape the -41 o weather in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and
boogie through Denver's new IMPRESSIVE airport (got my luggage ok) out to
Palm Springs, where the weather's been wonderfully mediterranean.

        In Palm Springs, staying at a "moorish" pensione where Churchill once
visited, and most recently (1995) Ted Danson announced his pending marriage
to Mary Steenburgen. Korakia Pensione does not advertise - no need to, with
all the write-ups and words-of-mouth. Korakia is 'crows' in Greek. The owner,
Doug Smith (an architect who could teach a course on running a B&B),found
these pesky birds a recurring theme both while tooling around Mykonos and
other Greek islands, and while hiking the nearby Mt. San Jacinto Wilderness
State Park and Joshua Tree National Parks.

        Palm Springs - it's a lovely town - perhaps too apollonian with its
manicured neatness - certainly not one I'd wish to be in though when the
summer air pushes the mercury to 110 o!...but it has redeeming qualities like
rejuvenating springs, natural wonders, gambling, great night life, and
artists. What else is there? Oh yeah, occasionally a celebrity (e.g., Bob
Hope) ventures out from a nearby hill and does the town.

        Today, took the "tram" up to Mt. San Jacinto Wilderness State Park,
where the views were breath-taking. The ride up sure proved to be! Ever look
down a mountain from a swinging gondola packing eighty people, and not get
a mite panicked at the prospect of taking the '12 second tour'? From up
there one could see the neatly laid out city quadrants imposed upon the
surrounding desert, and filling up an entire valley like stands of exotic
trees were miles and miles of electricity-producing windmills that
convert the passing zephyrs into alternating current that feeds the
region's electric grid. Mercedes should capitalize on this scene which
everywhere features their logo (without the circle).

        Color changes would have whetted Monet's palet. At the top were
nature and ski trails, and hundreds of tourists from latin, and asian
countries - why even from the Indian sub-continent (judging from their
veddy tusharesque accents) - who seemed genuinely unfamiliar with snow and
winter sports.

        Spent much of yesterday evening in a rubber stamp store, learning
how to make a good impression. Seems one can stamp a figure using neutral
ink, add powder, and get it to look embossed by applying heat from a heat
gun (not a hair dryer). My favorite, "LORD GIVE ME PATIENCE, AND I WANT
IT NOW!" After buying out the store, went into Las Casuelas for great
margaritas and chimichangas. Superb ambiance!

        Dropped some change at a nearby casino, where the odds seem more
skewed for the house than they are in Iowa, then won most of it back.
Those places really clean up! I'm in the wrong business.

        Palm Springs sits over subterranean springs (and also the San
Andreas Fault - through no fault of their own). Sometime this week I hope
to immerse myself in the mineral waters drawn from those springs, and if
this doesn't take the cake, maybe even indulge a mud wrap.

        Six days to go! Surely there'll be a WLM nestled in one of them!

        Ferris Buehler, eat your heart out!


Date:         Thu, 8 Feb 1996 07:55:53 GMT
From: Allan Denchfield 
Subject:      Help with la palabra 'LA QUINTA'- for el Senor Giggles
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L 

Tooling around in the 81 o heat here, past the Mc Callum Theatre (Mules
figure in the history of this place), drove down the desert canyon beyond
Rancho Mirage (wave to Gerald and Betty Ford) to a sumptuous resort that
dates from 1926, and served as inspiration for Frank Capra's "It Happened
One Night".

La Quinta is a splendid 45 acre resort - one that would be a perfect Wordsler
gathering spot, except that around July 4th, temperatures are probably in the
120 to 140 o range.

I can't get the locals to tell me the definitive source/meaning of the word
'la quinta'. My first take, no pun nintendo, is 'the fifth'. A reliably
decent national motel chain also bears the La Quinta name, standing tall
among a number of Motel 6's and Super 8's.

In Iowa, I stay at the Five Seasons hotel - not even a distant relation to the
Four Seasons here, in Chicago and elsewhere. Is there a quintessential
etymological clue?

Bracing for a return to the cold.

-AOBD (in "God's waiting room" with crematoria and mausolea aplenty -
       hard ground to dig six feet down in)