January 31, 2006
The Bronson Cave is in Bronson Canyon in Griffith Park. According to this L.A. Times article, this spot has been used in uncounted movies and TV shows.
The finale to director John Ford's 1956 masterpiece western "The Searchers," where John Wayne pursues Natalie Wood to the entrance of a cave, was filmed in Bronson Canyon. So were parts of 1962's "Ride the High Country," Frank Capra's 1937 epic "Lost Horizon" and "The Sword and the Sorcerer," released in 1982. The Batmobile roared out of one of the cave's openings in the title scene of the 1960s "Batman" TV series. Episodes of "Gunsmoke," "The Lone Ranger," "Rawhide," "Bonanza," "Little House on the Prairie," "Have Gun, Will Travel," "Bat Masterson," "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin," "Star Trek Voyager" and "Wonder Woman" were shot there.
The classic 1956 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" owes part of its look to Bronson Canyon. So does 1941's "Adventures of Captain Marvel," 1938's "Dick Tracy Returns" and the 1933 version of "The Three Musketeers."
Those with sharp memories and creative imaginations can probably look at the area and recall specific scenes, but not me. Nonetheless, here are photos:
Photos of Me In Death Valley
JT has posted some photos of me in Death Valley.
- In Golden Canyon.
- Also in Golden Canyon, I think.
- Grabbing some trash near Tule Spring.
- Posing with JT along West Side Road.
This does not mean I'm finished with my own Death Valley photos. Oh no sirree! I've got lots more to serve up, and I'll get to them as I can.
Three Celebrity Graves
Yesterday I was in L.A. visiting with Andy from the other coast, and we paid a visit to Forest Lawn. That is, the Forest Lawn that's adjacent to Griffith Park. Most headstones there are flat on the ground to make it easier to mow the lawn. It's a lot of work to find a celebrity in a cemetery like that, even if you have good directions to their grave. But we didn't even have directions, because I left my guide at home. Even so, we hit paydirt big time:
January 30, 2006
Based on my observations, lazy ass litterers don't penetrate more than a mile into the wilderness...unless they have a road they can drive on, and then they go as far as two miles. It's really nice once you've hiked beyond the litter limit.
January 29, 2006
Today was a Great Outdoors hike starting at the museum and proceeding up the mountainside to an elevation of 4300 feet. It was basically sort of an intro hike to the possibiity of hiking all the way up to the tram. Just double the distance, double the elevation, cut the oxygen in half and you're there. It was warm and sunny and we got good vistas of Palm Springs and Tachevah and Tahquitz Canyons. Photos:
January 28, 2006
The Washington City Paper assists citizens by identifying feces they might find in their city. I'm disappointed that they were too shy to include real photographs, but rely on drawings. Out here in our little desert town identifiable feces are usually domestic dogs or coyotes. Coyote poo is smaller and much drier, and if their not urban coyotes, may contain easily identified rodent fur or vegetable bits. Out in the desert we also get rabbit and big horn sheep crap, which are not all that different from each other.
Folding a T-Shirt
If, somehow, you find it difficult to fold a t-shirt, but excel at assembling purchases from IKEA, then you will benefit from this video which shows how to assemble a t-shirt folder from corrugated cardboard. If you're at work, you might want to lower the volume.
Artists Palette - Death Valley
Artist Drive by itself would be quite nice enough to be worth your while to take a side trip and slow down to admire the colorful minerals. But the whipped cream on that sweet treat is Artists Palette, a little turnout along Artist Drive. There's the spot where all the colors come out most intensely and you can either stand there and look or go climb amongst their dustiness. It's a bit like colored chalk dust. Photos:
On the way back from Quartzsite I stopped at the George S. Patton Memorial Museum. It had closed for the day, but I got a few shots on the grounds in front of it.
January 27, 2006
Today I visited Quartzsite for the first time. I've driven through it a few times, but I've never seen it at the height of season. What a place! It becomes a vast city of white-roofed RVs and trailers. I did a lot of walking and managed to pick up a couple of essential items: a pink cowboy hat (for some reason, the pink cowboy hats for sale around Palm Springs nevere come large enough for my head) and a cow skull. I kept an eye out for religious kitsch and was very disappointed at the almost complete lack of Christian symbols for sale. Hundreds of Buddhas, but not more than a half dozen Jesuses (there's that plural of Jesus again) to be found. Not a single BVM. Is there possibly another place like Quartzsite, but for Mexicans?
Most of the graves are fairly recent, 1970s and later, but I did spot a very few from the 1930s. The oldest grave, and most interesting, is that of "Hi Jolly." That's an Americanization of his Syrian name, Haiji Ali. He came along as caretaker with a herd of camels brought to the U.S. by the Army in 1856. The whole story is on the sign I photographed. Hi Jolly died in 1902.
New Space Adventure
NASA might be the only space agency around right now that's able to launch huge projects like a mission to Pluto, but the Russians are much more creative at getting the average man on the ground involved in space. As an example, on February 3, the crew on the ISS will boot an old Russian spacesuit out through the airlock. It will be empty, and the environmental controls will be turned off. But it will be equipped "with three batteries, a radio transmitter, and internal sensors to measure temperature and battery power." It will transmit an FM signal at 145.990 MHz.
SuitSat transmits for 30 seconds, pauses for 30 seconds, and then repeats. "This is SuitSat-1, RS0RS," the transmission begins, followed by a prerecorded greeting in five languages. The greeting contains "special words" in English, French, Japanese, Russian, German and Spanish for students to record and decipher. (Awards will be given to students who do this.)
I am pretty sure the "special words" will not be "Open the pod bay door, Hal," nor will it be a quote from Karl Marx. Do you think it may be politically significant that it won't transmit in any dialect of Chinese?
Not counting the original cost of the spacesuit, this little project probably cost about $100, and who knows how many young space scientists it will inspire!
America Is Still The Land Of Innovation
Cingular has just patented use of emoticons :( but only on cell phones :). It's not clear if they've patented every single damn one, or just the more obvious ones ;)-<-<
Further Proof Of The Inherent Anti-Virus Abilities Of Macintosh!
Techies have been unable to infect a new Intel Core Duo based Mac with the world's most insidious virus: Windows XP. So, now Colin of Houston has started a contest. Whoever is first to accomplish this vile deed will get whatever money is in the pot, which pot is open for your donation. As I write, the bounty stands at $7535.
January 26, 2006
Desert Hot Springs
Artist Drive - Death Valley
Artist Road is a short, windy side road in Death Valley that takes you on a tour of some of the most intensely colored geographic formations in the valley. The sign at the start of the road strictly forbids any vehicle longer than 25 feet, but at the visitor center in Furnace Creek the rangers laughed remembering how often that sign has been ignored. Photos:
Another Piece of History Gone
Because of the comment by Michael Dare on this post on Ron's Log I drove by the site on Varner Road where there used to be the remains of a beautiful stone building. No doubt about it, the area has been swept clean.
Here's my before photo.
Here are the after photos:
The following photos show some small traces of structures in the area:
These instructions on a new Mobil gas pump in Cathedral City remind me of the episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Barney Fife read out the jail rules. Rule number one was "Obey all rules."
Yesterday was another day of trail maintenance work at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Nine of us from Great Outdoors showed up to repair some bits of the trail that were damaged by last winter's rains and last summer's fire. Here are the photos:
So Bad It's Good
Can't Stop The Music is a surprising film. It had drifted to the top of my Greencine queue, and I just popped it into the DVD player to watch it, having completely forgotten anything I knew about it. At first I thought it was a recently-made retrospective of The Village People. But it looked low budget, and I wondered how they could have afforded so many antique cars to fill the streets of Manhattan. Checking at IMDB I saw that it really was made in 1980. It is terribly written and badly acted, except for Steve Guttenberg in one of his earliest movies.
The basic story is that a bunch of white heterosexuals got together and created The Village People from a bunch of guys who brought nothing to the group except their voices and costumes. The movie doesn't pretend to be a documentary, but that basic story is not too far from the truth. Among the other heterosexuals propelling The Village People is an attorney played by Bruce Jenner. Yes, really, THE Bruce Jenner, Olympic gold medal winner. And here we get to see him skipping down a Manhattan street in hot pants, a midriff-baring t-shirt and high white socks.
You'll suffer through some intolerable crap before you get to the first recognizable Village People hit at about 1:15 into the film. In fact, you might be tempted to skip ahead to this ahead-of-its-time "video" (well, it was film, not video) of YMCA set in a gym featuring genuinely naked men (with penises) in a shower. Pause mode helps a lot.
At IMDB this movie gets only 3 out of 10 stars, but on my 5-star system this piece of history gets 5 STARS! Your enjoyment will be enhanced by age, alcohol and/or marijuana, I'm sure. I don't know why I didn't hear of this movie when it was released in 1980, but it's entirely possible that it never came to Boston.