Re: Guest Post: McAllen

1

It's a really dreary two hours, though.

Unless Dick Cheney is out hunting. Geotrivia: Kenedy County is part of the Kingsville SMSA despite having a population of 416 spread across ~2,000 square miles.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 8:18 AM
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Looking forward to reading this one. One of the best reads recently was this FBI-Texas article, about horse ranchers and drug traffickers.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 8:23 AM
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isolated, distant forgotten land, instead of just two hours south of San Antonio

That is the "instead" of someone who has gone native.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 9:27 AM
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I'm also fascinated by the South Texas border despite ...never having been there. I think it may be the largest population area in the US that's genuinely weird and different and most people in the US have no idea about. I have probably unlikely to be executed plans to do a Rio Grande driving trip, starting in NM, hitting Big Bend and I guess Marfa, and then going down the valley.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 10:24 AM
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Nice that the FBI has opened an office there. No word in the article on the volume of automatic weapons that cross the river southbound. It's a better place to park money in a US apartment than Miami, since the basement of the Miami tower is unlikely to stay dry.

Any DC-area people like Cumbia enough to catch a band Thursday night? All my friends are middle-aged.
https://soundcloud.com/lamisanegra


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 10:28 AM
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Oh, they'll be in Brooklyn Friday.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 10:29 AM
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2: Thanks for sharing that. Very interesting!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 11:42 AM
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I have a few regrets about Texas, mostly that I didn't explore more parts of it and didn't go to Mexico back when you could just drive down.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 11:51 AM
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Shorter 4,8: Smearcase Tigre road trip!!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 11:53 AM
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You mean roadtrip-based podcast.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 1:17 PM
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2 really is a great read.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 1:46 PM
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I've never been anywhere near that area and I used to regret it. Then I saw No Country for Old Men.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 1:57 PM
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12 - That's why Smearcase and I are carrying a bolt-pistol-air-tank-combo thing on the murder spree followed by Thelma-and-Louise-style ending road trip.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 2:02 PM
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I regretted seeing that movie because it was so slow and boring.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 2:03 PM
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I watched it at home, so I could read during the parts where nobody was being killed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 2:05 PM
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I watched Jupiter Ascending on an airplane. I can't tell if it made no sense because of the interruptions/bad sound or because of the plot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 2:06 PM
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That's my favorite Coen Brother's movie!

Where'd you get it?
At the gettin' place.

This is going to be an excellent killing spree. I can't wait. I hope I have enough time off.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 2:24 PM
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A bunch of people from Sense8 also appeared in Jupiter Ascending, I think. They are all pretty bad, but not as bad as the writing.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 2:25 PM
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I have a deep affection for the valley, despite not having spent much time there. Or maybe because of that

Probably a bit of both.

I grew up as a very, very white kid in Brownsville and go back to visit family a few times a year. I probably romanticize it a little bit myself. I had to leave it to realize just how different it was. Growing up there affected me in a way that I have a hard time communicating to people. The people are mostly lovely, but it's an incredibly frustrating place, too.

One thing that really shocked me when I moved away for college was the casual racism that a lot of white people exhibit as soon as anyone of color was out of earshot. I had a really hard time making friends for a while.

Do you have many students from the valley at Heebie U? From things you've said about it previously it sounds like it would be a really good fit for a lot of the kids from there.


Posted by: dleifnerT ekiM | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 2:36 PM
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Wasn't it Dorothy Parker who said "That's not writing; that's an Internet-abetted fanboy inflammation, which could benefit from some topical steroids"?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 2:36 PM
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Truman Capote, actually.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 2:43 PM
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I liked Jupiter Ascending.

I mean, all the mean criticisms about it were basically accurate descriptions, but only to the extent that they were all accurate descriptions of The Matrix as well. And I really like that the protagonists final reaction to the whole escalating series horrible realizations/dramatic adventures/etc. was "Fuck this I'm going home.*"

*"But I get to keep my Channing-Tatum-With-Wings right?"


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 3:02 PM
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One thing that really shocked me when I moved away for college was the casual racism that a lot of white people exhibit as soon as anyone of color was out of earshot. I had a really hard time making friends for a while.

I presume because you found white people not there, where you moved away to college to be like that?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 3:03 PM
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23

Yeah, the ones at my university, but that could be because I stayed in Texas. There weren't really enough white people in my social circles for me to really think about white people as a population.


Posted by: dleifnerT ekiM | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 3:25 PM
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Here's another great related piece, on migrant graves (and corruption).


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 3:28 PM
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We went down there annually in the 60s, and so I have vague snippets of memories of hot station wagon rides through places like Alice and Falfurrias. Really nothing even worth looking out the window at from the Spot to Port Isabel. (I'm not saying that the Spot was any great shakes, just signs for miles promoting it. What is it?) This was all before the interstates were built, and we always stayed well east of SA -- I remember driving through Goliad one year, but don't remember what sort of memorial is there.

I suppose there was plenty of migration back then, but I don't think the drug business was anywhere near lucrative enough to attract the kind of violence you see now. On the other hand, my mom is a native of El Paso, and for many years had a caricature map of the city from the 1920s on the wall -- it shows a number of swarthy men with liquor casks wading across the river. I guess borders have always been like that, especially when countries embark of extreme stupidity like Prohibition.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 4:11 PM
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(The internet is failing to indicate either the continuing existence of the Spot, or its ever having existed.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 4:18 PM
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Do you have many students from the valley at Heebie U?

Some, it's definitely one of our main secondary regions that we draw on. Most of our students are from the San Antonio/Austin metro, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 4:23 PM
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Goliad.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 4:25 PM
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Apparently Hodecker Celery is the stuff to go for if you're in there area at some point. It's apparently something that has been around forever but I certainly don't remember it being a thing that people were excited about when I lived there.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 4:30 PM
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Wrong thread, but that does look better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 4:33 PM
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Must we really divide the threads up, one from the other? All threads should come together as one to prevent dumb mistakes live together in peace.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 4:58 PM
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I've been in Lancaster County for five years now, eating at a lot of German / PA Dutch type restaurants and shopping at the locally owned grocery stores and going to the Saturday farmers' market tourist traps, and never even knew they grew celery here, let alone some sort of special celery.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 5:21 PM
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34

Did you use the handshake?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 5:30 PM
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35

Someday, I should go to Lancaster. Or Happy Valley. Or whatever else is in this state that I have never seen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 5:38 PM
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36

I've not been to Scranton, Erie, Harrisburg, or Hershey. I should get out more.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 5:52 PM
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37

I just read that again. Never mind. I should go to nice places regardless of them being in other states.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 5:54 PM
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38

If this is the Mexico thread (or close enough), I can ask my question before 40 comments. My question is: what should one see and do if one has a free Saturday to spend in Mexico City?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 6:19 PM
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Something Aztecy?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 6:26 PM
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Yeah, that's what I was thinking. The Aztecs are basically everything I know about the place.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 6:28 PM
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It sounds like they have a pretty radical anarcho-punk scene there. Seek out people in black Carhartts and ask them where the house parties are.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 6:29 PM
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My lack of Spanish will likely be a problem there...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 6:45 PM
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37 could not be more right about 35 and 36. I mean, you could visit those places, sure, but why settle when you could be visiting Akron Ohio, or whole swaths of Western Maryland! And they're (probably) closer!


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 6:50 PM
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44

Akron smells like tires.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 6:59 PM
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Part of the value of travel is to broaden the mind, to experience the true diversity of ways of living, and to marvel at the ways in which our endlessly adaptable species has found to live in all the different conditions to be found in the world.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 7:08 PM
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Selinsgrove Moby. And Friendship Hill.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 7:09 PM
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If you order your hamburger rumspringa style at the Lancaster In N Out it comes with the special celery but it's off-menu so not everyone knows about it.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 7:13 PM
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A man who is tired of Akron is tired of life tires.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 7:15 PM
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Maybe all the tires are made in China now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 7:22 PM
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No wonder the average Chinese worker is so tired.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 7:29 PM
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Lancaster In N Out Burger? That explains it, this must be Lancaster, California.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 8:46 PM
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38: if you've never been, the archeological museum, Chapultepec Castle, and the Zocalo (especially murals in the presidential palace) are top three and close to a whole day. If you find more time, getting down to the Kahlo and Trotsky Museums is also worth it, as is the neighborhood (Coyoacan & Xochimilco) more generally.

But the best thing about Medico City is the food. Find a good corner taco joint. Find some good Oaxacan food.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 8:51 PM
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I once had a cab driver in Akron try to rip me off, it didn't work.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 9:07 PM
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I was going to recommend Moby visit the National Cash Register offices, but that's in Dayton.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 9:07 PM
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It's Witt who's in Dayton.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 7-15 9:09 PM
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54, 55: And most of those offices are now part of U Dayton.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:04 AM
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The aliens are in Wright-Patterson.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:06 AM
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52: Cool. Looks like I will be in the neighborhood of the Zocalo for my conference-thing anyway. I'll check that out. And anything called a "Castle" is definitely on the list.

I just booked a room in the Centro Historico. Hotel rates seem surprisingly reasonable.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:13 AM
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Stared at 52 for a good ten seconds before realizing it wasn't about Dayton. Disappointed; I like the world where it is better.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:22 AM
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Akron/Dayton

This thread is getting a bit too personal. Just like the fabulous Nat Lamp High School Parody Yearbook which was set in "Dacron*", OH. With roots in both, I've got the full kaleidoscope.

*Although via Wikipedia, I learn that there is an explicit Toledo link. Same diff pretty much other than that one I've mostly just driven through.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:27 AM
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44: Akron smells like tires.

On damp days before about 1975, sure.

Akron: Rubber Center of the World.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:29 AM
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43.last: Far western Maryland has some decent Potomac Highlands terrain. Also very gooberfied. And don't forget Frostburg St.-- James Wolcott's unlikely college (for a couple of years).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:35 AM
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I was there (in the sense of driving) in about 1998 or so. The smell was there still.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:35 AM
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I can ride a bicycle from my house to Western Maryland. Apparently, after the first few miles, I wouldn't have to worry about cars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:37 AM
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63: Maybe I'm inured, but I think it was in your head.

U of Akron has now moved firmly into the 60s with their focus on one word: "Plastics!" (But they call it polymers.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:39 AM
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Maybe I couldn't. But the path exists.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:39 AM
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66: Some friends are doing that this fall and asked my wife and I if we want to join. We would probably need to get back on the bike before that to coin a phrase.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:42 AM
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"Of course it is happening inside your head, Moby, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"


Posted by: Opinionated Dumbledore | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:42 AM
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This blog needs more Texas people to keep things on topic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:43 AM
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McCarthy was pretty specific in his geography, from it I was able to pretty much pin down where the original drug shootout would have taken place in the book. It is the valley but 300or so miles upriver from McAllen.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:51 AM
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17: Big talker.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:51 AM
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69: Grandparents wintered for ten years in Brownsville, ages 75-85. Age 65-75 they toured America in a trailer.
Never visited them, to my regret, never been anywhere near the Rio Grande, ok maybe I 10 around El Paso, never been much out of the DFW area except on freeways.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:54 AM
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I've seen Richardson, which is probably not often mentioned in McCarthy books.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:58 AM
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63: Maybe I'm inured, but I think it was in your head.

Heebie U is next to a Tyson chicken factory. I read lots of complaints about the smell when I was first checking the place out, and how there's a hotline to call if you smell it, etc, but I never did, so I figured the problem had been solved. Eight years later I found out that it smells awful all the time, and I'm the only one who doesn't detect it. But I can smell plenty of other things just fine. WEIRD!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:02 AM
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It takes a great university to make a tender chicken.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:07 AM
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I guess they did have interstates down to SA: http://www.texasfreeway.com/statewide/statewide/roadmaps/images/1967_texas_texaco_main_highres.jpg

I've come to believe that the Spot was connected to the Wonder Cave, which I always wanted but never got to see.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:21 AM
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76.last: See my previously expressed lament about the Blue Hole of Castalia.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:27 AM
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I think I went to some place like that in the Black Hills.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:31 AM
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Some day.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:33 AM
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44 - Hershey smells like chocolate (or at least it did when I was there long ago.)


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:34 AM
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80: I've heard that they use the dessicated remains of cocoa beans as mulch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:35 AM
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OT: "What do you mean the outlets on the stage aren't for audience use?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:36 AM
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76: Based on the this souvenir Wonder Cave ceramic ashtray it looks like they had a "Gravity House" which was probably similar to what I am assuming "the Spot" was. Wonder Cave postcard. And a wonderfully headlined 1987 newspaper article "Tourists have several choices on stretch of Texas highway".

GEORGETOWN, Texas --
On a 100-mile stretch of Interstate 35 in Central Texas. tourists can watch a pig swim, see what a snake pit does to their heart rate and venture below the highway to watch a re- creation of Creation.

I think I still have an original print copy of Roadside Attractions at home, will see if the Spot is mentioned.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:51 AM
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84

We got married at Ralph's swimming hole.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:56 AM
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Is that what kids are calling it nowadays.

82 Is incredible.

(the fruit. So low.)


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:58 AM
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And the gravity house is still operational. We the kids there last year.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:00 AM
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You crashed through the ceiling and didn't tell us?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:02 AM
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88

At four months pregnant, no less.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:04 AM
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That makes three people I know who have done that. The other two are men.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:05 AM
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90

How far along were they?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:06 AM
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One guy went clear through, because he was standing sideways.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:06 AM
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When I insulted my own attic, I was worried about falling through. The joists are 18" apart and some of the attic is about 15' above the floor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:10 AM
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While I was up there insulting it, I added 8" pieces of Owens Corning fiberglass.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:13 AM
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So you added insult to energy efficiency.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:17 AM
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At least my attic is now the minimum recommended level for my climate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:22 AM
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Speaking of PA and roadside attractions, Roadside America in Shartlesville, PA (off of I-78) is worth a stop for anyone in to the kind of thing (or the right kind of kid(s)). Other than being a bit depressing like all such places.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:23 AM
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96: My wife has (not fond, but not un-fond) childhood memories of it, but despite driving past it something like fifty times in the last year I've always skipped by. Definitely strikes me as depressing.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 10:40 AM
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Not finding anything on "The Spot" in Texas, but a couple of nice write-ups on similar places around the country:

1) Mystery Spots: The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, California, Mystery Hole in Ansted, West Virginia, The Mystery Spot in St. Ignace, Michigan, Gravity Hill in New Paris, Pennsylvania, Cosmos Mystery Area in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Magnetic Hill in Morris, New Jersey are just a few places where people revel in the scientifically-unexplained.

2) Gravity Hills (where it reputedly appears as if gravity is reversed).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:37 PM
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And speaking of attractions, this snow/garbage mound still going in Boston might be worth a look. I recall speculating on whether the MIT snow mountain would make it through the summer, but I guess it's gone.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:16 PM
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It looks like a pile of trash. Fifty bucks, I'll give you a tour.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:24 PM
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101

The eggs are placed around the circumference of a branch and covered with a frothy material called spumaline.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:44 PM
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