A Conversational Travel Magazine. Sun, 05 Jun 2016 20:31:35 +0000 en hourly 1 Dead Women Crossing, OK. Sun, 05 Jun 2016 20:30:27 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> When your town’s name really is just a seed to a elaborate murder mystery…your town is Dead Women Crossing in Oklahoma.

The origin of the name involves divorce, prostitutes, murder, and even suicide. Not necessarily in the order one would expect. Wiki explains:

On July 6, 1905, a schoolteacher named Katie DeWitt James filed for divorce. The next day, she carried her 14-month-old daughter Lulu Belle to a train station in Custer City. Katie was going to visit with her cousin who lived in Ripley. Her father Henry DeWitt came to bid farewell; her husband Martin James did not come to the station.

A few weeks later, Henry became concerned that he had not heard from his daughter. He contacted a sheriff, who suggested hiring a detective named Sam Bartell. Bartell started his investigation from Clinton, but nobody remembered seeing a woman and a baby there. Then on July 28, 1905 in Weatherford Bartell learned that Katie and the baby spent a night in the house of William Moore. They were brought to this house by Moore’s sister-in-law Fannie Norton, a resident of Clinton who also was known as Mrs. Ham, and reputed to be a prostitute.In the morning Norton, Katie and the baby left in a buggy; Norton returned alone two hours later. Then Norton went back to Clinton.

Later Bartell found out that two women and the baby were seen around Deer Creek. The detective also was able to find the baby. The witness testified that Norton left the baby with a boy, and asked him to take the baby home. The baby was unharmed, but her clothing was covered with blood.

While locals searched for Katie, Bartell tracked down Norton, who denied she murdered Katie. Later that day Norton committed suicide by poison.

On August 31, 1905, Katie’s remains were found near Deer Creek, about twenty miles east of Clinton. Her head was severed from her body. Katie’s father confirmed these were remains of his daughter.

Of course the loose ends on the story were not all tied up.

And now the least surprising part of the Wiki page: It’s purported to be haunted.

When Susan Woolf Brenner went to Deer Creek during her research, she saw a blue light with no particular shape that originated in the creek, and was coming towards her friend and her. Some people claim they have heard a woman crying for her baby around this place.

The Wiki page is called “Dead Women.” Another page on Google lists it as “Dead Woman” which would make more sense.

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Smackover, AR. Fri, 11 Dec 2015 03:24:53 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> It’s long overdue for to create an Arkansas search tag.


And to do it found the town that may lead the land in percentage of (former) population that’s in the college football hall of fame. The Wiki page seems to be guessing there.  And never heard of the players anyway.

Nevertheless, Smackover has a population of over 1,900 and two hall of famers.  What is more interesting, though, is the name. What the hell is with the name?

The name Smackover comes from an anglicization of the French ‘Sumac Couvert’ which translates to ‘covered in sumac’.


The little oil town of Smackover is steeped in pure Americana, as evidenced by the street-mounted antique stop light in the center of town as well as the old western-style store fronts that line Main Street. knows what you are thinking: what if you drove through this small town and you immediately wanted to reminisce about it but in like a detached historic kind of way?

Well, you’re in luck.

It is home to the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources. The Museum depicts the history and culture of Smackover and the surrounding area with an indoor reconstruction of downtown Smackover…

Smackover is also where rockabilly musician Sleepy LaBeef was born. LaBeef was one of 10 children which makes the town’s overall population numbers somewhat surprising.

He received the nickname “Sleepy” as the result of a lazy eye.

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Slaughter Beach, DE. Sun, 25 Oct 2015 22:00:45 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> It’s Halloween season so it’s time to uncover one of the country’s more gruesome names: Slaughter Beach.

Often times, when looking up a cool sounding name, the answer is not as interesting as it would first appear. For example, one might expect the name of the town to come instead from a person’s last name. Here, however, that is only one possible scenario.

It was named after William Slaughter, a local postmaster in the mid-19th century.


The second story claims “the name came from the horseshoe crabs that wash up on shore and die each year.

Alright, well that’s something. The description goes on:

They come near shore to shallow water to lay their eggs and the low tide strands them leaving them to die, thus the “slaughter.”

That’s a pretty colorful tale. Wiki offers a third possible explanation but even they seem skeptical calling the option, “The most contested source of the town name.”

The third story…stems from a local legend which tells of a man named Brabant who, in the mid-18th century, “slaughtered” several indigenous inhabitants by cannon in order to prevent an impending massacre.

A brief reminder that history is a bummer.

Slaughter Beach has a population of just over 200 people and is not near anything. Even by Delaware standards.

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Rifle, CO. Wed, 19 Aug 2015 16:41:02 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> You’d think that the town of Rifle in Colorado would have been linked to a lot of cool pop culture particularly of the western variety. However, it seems the best it can do was being mentioned in Stephen King’s The Stand.

Even where the town got its name is closer to The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight than Unforgiven.

Rifle Creek is named for an incident involving white trappers in the late 19th century..

…Ok, this should be good….

…According to local lore, one of the trappers accidentally left his rifle along the creek, giving it its name.


However, they take their name to heart.

In Summer of 2014, it became known for its support of “open carry” of handguns; in particular by employees at a popular local restaurant, who are encouraged, but not required, to do so by the owner.


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Ninety Six, SC Wed, 27 May 2015 12:21:37 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> It stands to reason that the more specific the town name, the easier it should be to identify the origin of the name.

Ninety Six exists to dissuade you from that notion.

There is much confusion about the mysterious name, “Ninety-Six,” and the true origin may never be known.


There’s the Native American possibility.

Speculation has led to the mistaken belief that it was 96 miles to the nearest Cherokee settlement of Keowee; to a counting of creeks crossing the main road leading from Lexington, SC, to Ninety-Six.’s own origin has a little to do with the Welsh so he is partial perhaps to their stories. What do they have to say?

“(The name comes from) an interpretation of a Welsh expression, “nant-sych,” meaning “dry gulch.”

Ahh, sure. Makes sense. It was founded by Welshman?

No one is able to confirm that founder Robert Goudey (sic) was Welsh, English, Scottish, or German.


(There is also an explanation how chains used to be used to measure maps – and that Ninety Six was perhaps 96 chains away from so and so- but that description was too convoluted to include in this free flowin’ and breezy website.)

Prior to Ninety Six, the area was known as “Jews Land.”

For a time it was known as “Jews Land” because some prominent Sephardic Jewish families of London bought extensive property there. The Salvador and DaCosta families bought 200,000 acres, intending to help some poor Sephardic families to relocate to the New World.

While one Jewish resident’s history seems to be…mixed.

Francis Salvador (1747-1776), bought land in Ninety-Six District, and was the first Jew to be elected to public office in the colonies (1774, to SC’s Provincial Congress); after joining the militia, in 1776 he was the first Jew killed in the American Revolution in a battle with Loyalists and Cherokee

At least one resident was good-natured about where he was reared.

Bill Voiselle, pitcher for the New York Giants, Boston Braves, and Chicago Cubs, wore his hometown as uniform number “96″ when playing with Boston and Chicago.

The town has a little under 2,000 people living in it.

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Horseheads, NY. Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:41:13 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> Ahh a town name that the creators of Godfather would be proud of.

Horseheads is a town in Chemung County, New York, United States. The population was 19,485 at the 2010 census. The name of the town is derived from the number of bleached horses’ skulls once found there.

Ok. Wait, what?

It was the first of September 1779. Under orders the forces of General John Sullivan, burdened down with heavy military equipment, marched north in their 450-mile (720 km) journey through a wooden wilderness from Easton, Pennsylvania, over to Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and on up the Susquehanna River to Newtown (Elmira). They continued north through what is now known as Horseheads to the Finger Lakes region and west to Genesee.[2] They returned about three weeks later, having accomplished the purpose for which they had set out. The larger portion of the army under the immediate command of General Sullivan returned by the way it went.

The journey had been particularly severe and wearing upon the animals, and their food supply was found insufficient. Arriving about 6 miles (10 km) north of Fort Reid on September 24, 1779, they were obliged to dispose of a large number of sick and disabled horses. The number of horses was so great that they were quite noticeable, and the native Iroquois collected the skulls and arranged them in a line along the trail. From that time forward, that spot was referred to as the “valley of the horses’ heads” and is still known by the name given to it by the Iroquois.

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Puyallup, Wa. Thu, 09 Oct 2014 19:05:28 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> is not above pandering. At one point the state with the most site views on was Washington. So hello, Washintonians, do you know where the town Puyallup got its name?

Named after the Puyallup Tribe of Native Americans, Puyallup means “the generous people”.

The Puyallup Indian Wiki page keeps going.

“Generous and welcoming behavior to all people (friends and strangers) who enter our lands.”

Puyallup is in Pierce County, Washington and was founded by “Oregon Trail pioneer Ezra Meeker and his wife Eliza Jane Meeker…known as the Hop King.”

As a 30+ year old, is in the minority of Americans who have mostly played Oregon Trail as a learning exercise. He does not get any of your jokes.

A reminder:

The Oregon Trail is a 2,200-mile (3,500 km) historic east-west large wheeled wagon route andemigrant trail that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas and nearly all of what are now the states ofNebraska and Wyoming. The western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Idaho and Oregon.

Meeker was the first mayor or Puyallup. Wiki has an absolutely amazing photo of him from 1921. He died in 1928 at 98 years old. In the years before his death he was known to travel the Oregon Trail repeatedly and leave monuments so that people would not forget about its influence.

A reminder that those looking for the meanings behind Native American town names should always start with the haunting Oskaloosa.

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Manns Choice, Pa. Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:54:58 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> Manns Choice seems like a poorly spelled and punctuated name for an ill-advised happy hour from a bygone era. It’s also a town name.

In 1848, Congressman Job Mann pressured to have a post office at an unnamed village in Harrison Township. The Post Office Department approved the new post office, but as the village had no name, Congressman Mann was to give it one. Before he did so, postal maps were made with the temporary designation “Mann’s Choice” written on it. The name was never changed, and became the permanent and official one.

And there we have it. No word on where the punctuation tends to go with this kind of thing.

And a real person named Job.

Mann was elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-fourth Congress. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1836 to the Twenty-fifthCongress. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1839 and commenced practice in Bedford, PennsylvaniaMann was again elected as a Democrat to the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Congresses. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1850. He resumed the practice of law and died in Bedford in 1873. was recently in Bedford. It had a delightful little downtown and had a beer at a place where it is even possible to be called both a newsstand and a pub.

In fact, the town was so nice that was pulled over for speeding and an expired Registration. He got off with directions to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. (He had the registration, it just wasn’t updated on his license plate)

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How Ruined Atlantic City. Tue, 02 Sep 2014 03:03:25 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> ruined Atlantic City.

In the whimsical years pre-recession he used to go to Atlantic City maybe once a week. Especially in summer. He would gamble every time. Win or lose he’d spend money on booze. When he’d win he’d spend some of it shopping and more booze.

He once tried to buy a whole poker table pizza simply because he was up that night and a stranger dared him to. They couldn’t find a place that delivered at that hour.

After one particularly successful night, he took a cab to his (parent’s) house a full hour away.  He asked the cabbie what was the furthest he had ever took a fare. The cabbie said, “Delaware.”’s parent’s house wasn’t as far as Delaware therefore, logic would have it, it wasn’t far. He told the cabbie to skip the train station.

Then the recession hit and had gone to Pennsylvania.

Those are merely symbolic events in the relationship between and Atlantic City but the timeline works.

Back in’s once-a-week gambling prime – when he could say he’d played poker in as many as ten casinos – Atlantic City was still in the growing mood. They were building what would become Revel Casino for a couple billion. Atlantic City was trying to become Vegas. Ceasar’s and the Tropicana had showed “A.C” that it was possible. The Borgata had perfected it.

Construction at the Revel started before the recession. It paused as the recession heated up and continued again after the world showed some positive signs. It officially opened in 2012.

It closes today. hadn’t gambled at a casino since the construction of Revel started. He always remained employed but around that time many people had real reasons to focus on their own money. It wasn’t a good time for disposable income – remember that(?) – at a casino.

The other problem Atlantic City had was that financial problems hit states as well as much as it hit people. States were forced to get creative. Many, including Pennsylvania, adopted gambling and Atlantic City lost its advantage. People stayed in their home states to gamble.’s reason to be in Pennsylvania was mostly to follow a job, but, truth be told, he also likes it there. Recently he went back to Atlantic City to take the Bar exam.

He stopped at the Showboat. The Showboat was Revel’s neighbor and had sat on the Atlantic Ocean for 27 years. It also closed this weekend.’s reunion with poker was everything one could realistically hope for. He played two straight days and won both times. The fact that his total winnings were $37 dollars barely matters.

When he sat down on the second day he started a new table with two old Atlantic City poker table lifers. He spun his wheels with them for about 15 minutes and survived as the table filled with others. By the time he had left the table a couple hours later he had achieved the success all young players can only dream of: one of the lifers had winked at him as if to say, “Good job, kid” and the cocktail waitress said, “You’re leaving me, hun?”

Not everybody has been so fortunate. The poker table provided random bits of what faces Atlantic City going forward. The best poker rooms and tables have a collegial feel. Employees of the casino had talked with the freedom of knowing their jobs wouldn’t be there in a few weeks.

One dealer was asked what he would do once the Casino closed. “They said I’d have a job in Maryland if I wanted it.” He paused and then said, “I’m not going to Maryland.”

Another dealer was asked the same question. She said, “I’ve been doing this for awhile. It’s time for something different, I think. Maybe nursing.”

A manager holding court at a poker table nearby addressed the whole situation broadly. “(Showboat) lost money for awhile. We’ve actually made money the last couple quarters. Just not enough.”

All three had maintained a civil face. None of the employees was complaining just answering questions that were asked. They knew it wasn’t their fault. They knew they were just dealt a bad had.

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Jackpot, Nv. Fri, 04 Jul 2014 00:43:28 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> It’s not surprising that Nevadans – with their cowboy streak – might have a roguish twinkle in their eyes that says, “We are going to do what we want and we are going to do it our way.”

In Jackpot they have taken it to another level. Heck, they don’t even recognize Nevada time.

Jackpot is legally in the Pacific Time Zone, but, along with other Idaho border towns such as Jarbidge, Mountain City and Owyhee, unofficially observes Mountain Timedue to its economic ties with the Magic Valley region of southern Idaho.

Meanwhile, one of the most instrumental people from the town sounds like a character from The Simpsons.

After Idaho outlawed all forms of casino gaming in 1954, “Cactus Pete” Piersanti and Don French moved their slot machine operations from Idaho to the Jackpot townsite….Piersanti in particular is credited for founding Jackpot as well as for naming it.



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Geneva, NY. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 12:43:22 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> It would seem fairly obvious where Geneva got its name from. It’s located in a state, New York, that was named after a foreign city after all.

As foreign cities go to be named after, Geneva isn’t too bad. It’s become a center for peace. It’s a beautiful place, too. has been there. It sits on a Lake in which taking this picture is even possible:

Lake Geneva from Lausanne.Wiki, at first, backs up this Swiss notion:

(S)ome claim it is named after the city and canton of Geneva in Switzerland...

So far so good.

(O)thers believe the name came from confusion over the letters in the word “Seneca” written in cursive...

Wait really?

First of all an explanation of Seneca.

Geneva is a city in Ontario and Seneca counties in the U.S. state of New York. It is located at the northern end of Seneca Lake put the theory to the test:

Those are all from Microsoft word. Six and Eight seem to back up the story somewhat.

At least, Geneva is better than its nickname, “Lake Trout Capital of the World.”

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Half Day, Il. Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:29:21 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> Half Day sounds like what a town would be called if the movie Office Space was re-imagined as a cartoon for third graders.

Alas, we don’t even have to be that creative because the name already exists.

Half Day is a former unincorporated town in Lake County in the state’s northeastern region. It is about 30 miles north of downtown Chicago via Milwaukee Avenue.

The name, though. What about the name?

Many people mistakenly believe that it was named Half Day because it was regarded that Half Day was a half day’s distance from Chicago by horse and carriage.

Not so fast.

In reality, a horse and carriage could make it to Chicago in a half day but some believe the area was actually named after Potawatomi Chief Halfda, the chief at the time the area was settled. A cartographer spelled it “Half Day”, and the misnomer stuck, giving rise to the reputed, but erroneous, derivation of the name.

“In reality..some think.” is always happy to add some clarity to the topics at hand.

The town was forcibly annexed by the village of Vernon Hills in 1993.

Well, that doesn’t sound pleasant.

Admittedly, forced annexation sounds like the results of bad politics for Half Day. However, it does have one positive political claim to fame.

Half Day appeared in a news article in 1952 when then Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson flew there to vote in the presidential election (Stevenson was a candidate the same year)

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Show Low, Az. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 03:03:35 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.

How about that for a town origin? That’s what you get in Arizona.

“According to the legend, the city was named after a marathon poker game between C.E. Cooley and Marion Clark. The two men decided there was not enough room for both of them in their settlement. The two men agreed to let a game of cards decide who was to move. According to the tale, Clark said, “If you can show low, you win.” Cooley turned up the deuce of clubs (the lowest possible card) and replied, “Show low it is.”

That is sure to give Show Low an outlaw vibe. So does this…

Show Low’s main street is named “Deuce of Clubs” in remembrance.

Wiki offers a story with less bravado, too, if that’s your thing.

Another belief about the name is that the two men were in a race for mayor and the vote ended in a tie. The agreement was to open a fresh deck of cards, shuffle them and on the flip of a coin, begin taking turns flipping the cards until one turned over the deuce of clubs, making Cooley the first mayor and the name of the town.

Show Low has about 10,700 people and is located in east central Arizona.

It is the home of George Takai.

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Icelandic Wolf of Wall Street Page. Wed, 12 Mar 2014 19:22:33 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> Usually when an American flag appears on the top right of an international site, it’s about what language you wish to use while browsing. Not so with this news site.

Some evil looking American flags here. The film in the US tried to promote itself as anti greed but not necessarily anti-American. It doesn’t look like the international vibe of the marketing is only indicting Wall Street.

The website is explained on Google as,  “Morgunblaðið is a newspaper published in Iceland, founded by Vilhjálmur Finsen & Olaf Björnsson, brother to the first president.”

The beer drinking looks fun. has no idea what the context of that is.



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Monuments Men, George Clooney, and Europe. Fri, 21 Feb 2014 16:04:22 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> In The Monuments Men, George Clooney just saved Europe, but if you were to look around Switzerland, it would seem like he already had.

The film, based on a true story and book by Robert Edsel, follows a group of mostly Americans who try to save historic art – and by extension their culture – from both sides during World War II. They are especially motivated to save the art from the Nazis who were said to be under orders to destroy large collections if Hitler was to be killed.

The charm of the movie also comes from the true aspect of the story which is these were professionals in the art community. They weren’t soldiers. They weren’t young enough to be soldiers. They were not especially fit to be soldiers. It also makes it possible to say the phrase, “Bill Murray Nazi movie.”

Along with Murray, John Goodman was cast with serious actors of Matt Damon, George Clooney, and Cate Blanchett. While both Goodman and Murray have shown skill in dramatic roles, their casting here was to bring their general silly personas.

Which brings to the tonal issues of the film. It’s a hard to bring about an evenness to a somewhat silly World War II film. Clooney, as director, has struggled with tone in the past. Leatherheads never reached that Coen Brothers level of zaniness Clooney was clearly going for. On the other hand, Good Night and Good Luck was successful enough to get into  the rarefied air of Oscar conversations. Meanwhile, Confessions of a Dangerous Minds is one of’s favorite films.

The Monuments Men certainly won’t be considered when award season approaches. The question the movie presents is: is that fair?

We have a certain expectation now. When World War II movies come out it is either Oscar movies or bust.

In that calculation, The Monuments Men would have been a failure. The movie wasn’t without flaws, either. Early on it looked like there were a lot of effects that did not look real. There was also some overly old-timey dialogue.

The concerns were small though compared to the weightiness of the project. Clooney clearly wanted to ask the question: How many lives is it worth to lose to save some art? What if that art was the symbol of the Catholic Church? You get the idea.

In that sense, the movie is not an Oscar movie, but it is not a bust either. It almost feels like a World War II movie made by Disney or like a network television station. They wanted to tell an interesting story, but only wanted it to be dark enough to establish that the stakes were real. In that sense, it is also screenable to a younger audience.

There has to be something salvageable in that endeavor. Especially, when in the process you get to see Bill Murray point a gun at a Nazi.


Meanwhile, here is an article wrote in the summer of 2012 about all of the advertisements featuring Clooney in Switzerland. considers what it says about us in the eyes of Europeans if they were to consider Clooney our ambassador.

The truth is with a house in Italy and his having made several movies in Europe, the admiration appears to be mutual.


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Mount Diablo, Ca. Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:51:49 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> was surprised to learn a place existed called Mount Diablo because, well, because:

Arthur Mijares from the neighboring town of Oakley, petitioned the federal government to change the name of the mountain, claiming it offended his Christian beliefs.

Not surprising given the politically correct culture that exists. Mijares doubled down on the logic, though:

Additionally, he claimed that Diablo is a living person, and so is banned under federal law.

Mijares has been unsuccessful to date and according to Wiki it appears unlikely that he will ever be. The United States Board of Geographic Names has sited “historical significance” as a reason to stick with the status quo.

Since, we have to get used to it we might as well learn what it means. It’s somewhat more mysterious than some of the guesses you might have for a part of the country with so many religiously Spanish town names.

The peak derives its name from the 1805 escape of several Chupcan Native Americans from the Spanish in a nearby willow thicket. The natives seemed to disappear, and the Spanish soldiers thus gave the area the name “Monte del Diablo”, meaning “thicket of the devil.”

Of course, “Monte was later misinterpreted by English speakers as mount or mountain.

So the name is pretty sweet. That doesn’t mean the locals haven’t made attempts to reverse justify it.

One attribute that makes the name Mount Diablo appropriate is that the mountain glows red at sunset.

The name appears to be somewhat ironic, because not only is the area not evil, but according to legend, the opposite. It is the spot of creation.

Mount Diablo is sacred to many California Native American peoples; according to Miwok mythology and Ohlone mythology, it was the point of creation. Prior to European entry, the creation narrative varied among surrounding local groups. In one surviving narrative fragment, Mount Diablo and Reed’s Peak (Mount Tamalpais) were surrounded by water; from these two islands the creator Coyote and his assistant Eagle-man made Indian people and the world. In another, Molok the Condor brought forth his grandson Wek-Wek the Falcon Hero, from within the mountain.

Mount Diablo is a state park of about 20,000 acres with two peaks and is visible from most of San Francisco Bay. It costs $10 for a vehicle to enter for the day.

Today, some folklore has helped fill in the blanks that forgotten history has left.

Mount Diablo has long been the site of numerous reports pertaining to cryptozoology, hauntings, mysterious lights, and various other Fortean phenomena (it is rumored that the name “Mount Diablo” is derived from the propensity for such weird events to be alleged at, or in the immediate vicinity, of the mountain). Phantom black “panthers” are seen with unusual frequency on the slopes of the mountain, as well as at the “Devil’s Hole” region of the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. As early as 1806, General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo reported an encounter with a flying, spectral apparition, while engaged in military operations against the Bolgones band of the Bay Miwok tribe. In 1873, a live frog was said to be found within a slab of limestone at a mine on Mount Diablo.

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Trophy Club, Tx. Tue, 21 Jan 2014 04:03:24 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> At first blush, Trophy Club would seem likely to have an interesting story behind its name.

Well, it doesn’t.

The community was developed in 1973 by developers Johnson and Loggins, who created the community as a housing development surrounding the country club. The town was named for the original plan that the Country Club would house the trophy collections of golf legend Ben Hogan.

Sorry to have wasted your time.

Sincerely, knows your time is valuable.

Ok, calm down. It’s not like you are an astronaut*. You’d have wasted your time anyway.


*Are you???? What’s that like?

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Happy, Tx. Mon, 13 Jan 2014 14:07:04 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> In most of the country it is cold. It has been cold. It will likely be cold for the rest of of your lives.

It’s worth remembering hardships with mother nature aren’t new thing. Imagine being in Texas, for example, and being so elated to find water that you named the town after the emotion you saw when you next saw it.

Happy, on U.S. Highway 87 in northern Swisher County, derived its name from nearby Happy Draw, so named because cowboys were elated to find water there.

Happy, Texas might sound familiar to you. Perhaps, you remember, “A 1999 movie named Happy, Texas starring Jeremy Northam, Steve Zahn, Ally Walker, Ileana Douglas and William H. Macy was named for but not shot in the town.”

If that cast were to have moved to Happy the town would have considered it a boom in population as there are only about 600 residents. However, they seem to be a professional lot because there are also 47 businesses.

And as has learned with his WikiTravel series, towns can not be too cheesy in incorporating their town name into their motto.

Happy uses the slogan “the town without a frown.”

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Oskaloosa, Ia. Thu, 09 Jan 2014 16:15:39 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> It is certain the town of Oskaloosa when translated breaks down into something as deep and as mysterious as a True Detective trailer. It’s just a matter of interpretation what it exactly means.

Wiki declares, “It means “last of the beautiful.”

That is sort of haunting and romantic when used to describe anything, but here it was used as a name of Native American woman.

Oskaloosa derives its name from Ouscaloosa who according to town lore was a Creek princess who married Seminole chief Osceola.

However, Wiki backs off this version of the story.  Instead, it is parenthetically said to mean simply “Black Rain.”

This interpretation of “last of the beautiful” is not correct. “Oskaloosa” in the Mvskoke-Creek language means “black rain” from the Mvskoke words “oske” (rain) and “lvste” (black). “Loosa” is an English corruption of the Mvskoke word ‘lvste’.

How mysterious are the words “Black Rain”?  Well, for starters, it was once the name of a Michael Douglas’ movie during his dark phase and was directed by Ridley Scott who is always in a dark phase. explains,

Two New York cops get involved in a gang war between members of the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia. They arrest one of their killers and are ordered to escort him back to Japan. In Japan, however, he manages to escape. As they try to track him down, they get deeper and deeper into the Japanese Mafia scene and they have to learn that they can only win by playing the game the Japanese way.

There is no film, however, entitled, “Last of the Beautiful” which is actually a travesty. It really would fit any any genre of movie. Star crossed lovers? Sure. Environmental movie? Probably. Environmental movie with star crossed lovers at the center? Oh, noooo, did we just write a movie?

Okay, let’s focus. Oskaloosa also has a fair share of history.

The first white settlers arrived in 1835 led by Nathan Boone, youngest son of Daniel Boone … selected it to be the first site of Fort Des Moines on a high ridge between what Skunk River and Des Moines River. The ridge was originally called the Narrows.

Meanwhile, have you ever watched a movie like Lone Ranger and thought, “man, they couldn’t have had explosions that big back then?” Oskaloosa is quick to dispel that notion.

On January 6, 1882, most of the buildings in the north half of Oskaloosa were severely damaged and most of the plate glass windows in the area were broken by an explosion. Three boys were killed in the explosion. The boys had been seen shooting at the A. L. Spencer gunpowder magazine half a mile north of the town center.

HALF A MILE? That is crazy, but, ok, it was just once, maybe it was just sort of one of thos unfortunate combinations of once in a lifetime facts. Wait, then 20 years later:

On January 24, 1902, there was a mine explosion in the Lost Creek No. 2 mine… A miner setting shots to blast coal from the coal face re-used a hole left over from a previous failed shot, and the result was a coal dust explosion that detonated barrels of gunpowder stored in the mine. 20 men died on the site and 14 more were badly injured.

Geez. Maybe the town has earned a dark and mysterious name after all.

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Soldier, Ks. Mon, 06 Jan 2014 17:22:38 +0000 Somebody Continue reading ]]> A town existing with the name Soldier is not altogether surprising. After all, there are a lot of forts and bases around or, alternatively, it never hurts to show a little patriotism and honor the real heroes.  Or so logic would have you believe.

Turns out Soldier Kansas was named for different reasons. “Soldier Creek was first named in the early 1850s when government surveyors were moving through the territory plotting out the 39th parallel,” because that was something that was once important Somebodyisfromhere figures, “and they found two army soldiers camped along the local creek.

With a population of just about 140, Solider is not that imposing:

Beside its post office, only one business is located in the city: the Soldier Grill, a restaurant.

There are however two churches. Maybe they are needed because Soldier’s Wiki page is oddly focused on death.

Soldier’s first recorded death occurred with the passing of Mrs. Tamsa M. Cline in May 1857…

Soldier was affected by the June 2008 tornado outbreak sequence: a man was found dead outside the city on the morning of June 11, 2008, killed by a tornado estimated at ½ mile (0.8 km) wide.

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