Gallup, NM.

Gallup, located between Albuquerque and Flagstaff, is square in the West. It stands to reason that deep in old horse country the town was named after the sound a colt makes…

Oh, wait, maybe not. It turns out, “The city was named after David Gallup, a paymaster for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.”

Gallup still did manage to see its share of horses.

(T)he rugged terrain surrounding Gallup was popular with Hollywood filmmakers during the 1940s and 1950s for the on-location shooting of Westerns… Films made in Gallup included Billy the Kid (1930), Pursued (1947), The Sea of Grass (1947), Four Faces West (1948), Only the Valiant (1951), Ace in the Hole (1951), Escape from Fort Bravo (1953), A Distant Trumpet (1964) and The Hallelujah Trail (1965).”

The historic El Rancho Hotel & Motel has hosted a numerous array of movie stars including John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Kirk Douglas, Doris Day, Gregory Peck and Burt Lancaster… Actors and film crews would stay at the hotel during filming.”

Pretty neat history, but Gallup boasts some pretty substantive history as well considering it has a population of only about 21,000.

(T)he city fought successfully to prevent 800 Japanese American residents from being placed in wartime internment

The Albuquerque City website explains the matter further:

In New Mexico, the issue of internment was considered a local one, and cities and communities were given the chance to vote on whether or not they would intern Japanese Americans during the war. Clovis was the only city that voted to do so; the majority of New Mexicans were opposed. Residents of Gallup prepared petitions to oppose the internment of Japanese Americans in their town. In Albuquerque, the majority of residents were so opposed to internment that the issue never even came to a vote.


Gallup is sometimes called the “Indian Capital of the World”, for its location in the heart of Native American lands, and the presence of Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and other tribes. One-third of the city’s population has Native American roots. Gallup’s nickname references the huge impact of the Native American cultures found in and around Gallup. However, the city is criticized in the novel Ceremony, authored by the Native American writer Leslie Marmon Silko, for the city’s slums.

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McConaughey: Part 2. just watched Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyer’s Club. In that film, McConaughey slims down to shocking proportions to play a homophobic AIDS patient.

The dude has come a long way from the Kate Hudson movies. In July of 2012, wrote about how much he liked the movie The Lincoln Lawyer. He wrote about the movies that McConaughey had in production and how much it impressed

According to McConaughey was in Fool’s Gold in 2008 with Hudson.  Also in 2008, he had bit parts in Tropic Thunder and a movie called Surfer, Dude. In 2009 he was in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. These movies all represent the McConaughey that brings about eye rolling.

In 2010, he made no movies. likes to think he used this year to think carefully about what he wanted to do next. However, evidence might also suggest he was just busy, you know, being married to a Brazilian model and having a kid.

The movies he picked afterwards, though, were an incredible change of pace. has seen all the movies he mentions in his link. After the article was written came Mud and Dallas Buyers Club. Both of those movies fit what is described in the link as well.

That’s not to say all of these movies were great, but he certainly did elevate the quality of all of them. In selecting the films, it is clear that he was no longer willing to just cash checks.

If it weren’t McConaughey these movies would feel like pandering. They seem like movies Will Smith and Tom Hanks would consider in order to win an Oscar. For gosh sakes, one movie’s plot has him hiding out on an island and talking only to children because he is sooooooooo gosh darn in love. McConaughey escapes pandering charges because half of the time he seems like the kind of guy who has never heard of the Oscars. has talked about the past (the article he eventually links to) and the present (Dallas Buyers Club), but the future continues this trend of excellent choices. The HBO show True Detective has him stirring it up with the only person as odd as he is (Woody Harrelson). Meanwhile, in the pipeline, he has movies with Scoresese (Wolf of Wall Street) and Christopher Nolan (Interstellar). These famed directors have no doubt watched McConaughey over the last couple of years.

Okay, so here is the article, Because isn’t scared to consider the career of a guy once arrested for naked bongo playing while wrestling with the political and economic thought processes at the same time.

Oh, and please let True Detective be great.


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Government Shutdown.

The government shutdown has different ramifications for different People.’s inconvenience occurred in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, when the government normally shuts down (snow and the like), usually goes to the bar in sweatpants. The government is currently shut down. So…

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Los Gatos, Ca.

When writes a WikiTravel story he tries to follow two loose rules. The town should be largely unheard of and should have a population of about 20,000 or less. He’s generally trying more to uncover lost gems than provide history lessons.

Los Gatos is somewhat different. It’s a town of 29,413 per Wiki so the population aspect isn’t too much of a stretch, but with such a unique name people sort of have heard of it.

Nevertheless, was curious and curious people need to post new content.

Aside from its fun name, there are other reasons people have heard of Los Gatos.

It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area at the southwest corner of San Jose in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Los Gatos is an established neighborhood in the Silicon Valley. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Los Gatos ranks 33rd in affluence in the United States.

Ok, so let’s get to the darn cats already!

The name Los Gatos is Spanish, meaning the cats. The name derives from the 1839 Alta California land-grant that encompassed the area, which was called La Rinconada de Los Gatos, (“Cat’s Corner”), where “the cats” refers to the mountain lions and bobcats that are indigenous to the foothills in which the town is located.

Oh, well that makes sense.

Cats might not be for everybody but Los Gatos own website suggests that it might be.

Los Gatos prides itself as a self contained community. Over 3,000 businesses serve the residents and act as a destination point for visitors who are attracted to its restaurants, hotels and variety of shops within a pedestrian oriented downtown setting. The Town is also an inclusive community with the full mix of ages, family sizes and incomes.

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Mysterious London Caught on Camera.

A movie playing everywhere is about cameras being everywhere. Or at least, that is what the trailer would have you believe.

The movie starts off that way too. You watch a bombing play out in a market by watching a handful of the market’s security cameras. That’s about where the obsession of being electronically surveilled ends really.

From there on out, Closed Circuit is a legal thriller. Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall navigate the British legal system, while occasionally wearing wigs, to learn more about the surviving plotter of the attack.

London is famous for the amount of cameras it has. A movie could be made about that but Closed Circuit is not an English Enemy of the State in that respect. Most of the cameras and bugs depicted in the film are known to the characters. There are no Brian De Palma like slow motion replays of footage of the incident. No police officers say “enhance” as they try to parse out important details.

Instead, the movie is about mysterious old white men who have mysterious government jobs. In that sense, the part of the trailer “From the producer of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” is apt. Jim Broadbent is excellent.

Not all the roles went to white blokes, though. Riz Ahmed, an Oxford educated hip hop artist and actor, appeared to have fun playing a role of a sort of next generation mysterious government agent.

After seeing The Town and The Prestige, is fairly sure Rebecca Hall has it in her contract that her characters must appear apprehensive at all times. She doesn’t disappoint as a lawyer who knows she isn’t getting the full story. Eric Bana, another lawyer, works parallel with her though due to procedure isn’t allowed to communicate with her.

Closed Circuit is not a flawless movie. There is, perhaps, too much law and particular plot points might defy logic. How many lawyers can be replaced in one of the country’s biggest ever court cases without raising some eyebrows?

The London here is overcast one. The best views provided as Bana contemplates life going up and down the Thames.

The world itself in Closed Circuit is also grey. In a world of actionable intelligence and James Snowden that comes off as quite timely.


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Kill Devil Hills, NC.

A place called Kill Devil Hills has got to have a good origin story. However, to’s surprise the devil referenced isn’t based on any conflict or an olden times misunderstanding about different cultures. Nope. Just Booze.

Shipwrecks were common at the time, and many of the ships were transporting barrels of rum. When a ship foundered, local wreckers would scavenge what they could of the ship’s cargo before it sank, hiding their pilfered rum behind.Since rum was called “Kill Devil” by the English at the time the dunes became known as “Kill Devil Hills. Continue reading

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Mount St. Helens.

When learned about Mount St. Helens in grade school it seemed like a big deal. Intuitively, it had to be important because they decide to teach it to kids so early. But then you carry on living your life and, along with names of explorers and their ships, you learn, well, maybe you didn’t to know it that badly after all. went to Mount St. Helens not as a part of any can’t miss travel desire, but more so because it was on route. It was something to cross off between Portland and a Mariners game.

That’s the first thing, though. You CAN do it between leaving Portland at a normal hour and be in Seattle by 7pm. It’s that close to civilization. It’s about 100 miles from Seattle and about half that from Portland.

Driving through the affected areas imagined what kind of pictures and film of the event we would have if it erupted today. Think of it, we could have those high definition National Geographic photos. We could have a non-controversial use for taking drone pictures over US soil. learned at the Forest Learning Center‘s free museum that there were good pictures and footage of the event. The footage looks like a horror movie partially because it WAS a horror movie and probably also because it looks a bit like Silent Hill.

The pictures wouldn’t stand up to pictures from today, but in the scheme of things the pictures are pretty recent. That’s when it hits home. This really wasn’t that long ago. A volcano erupted in the US in 1980.

Again, a volcano erupted 50 miles from Portland and 100 miles from Seattle not that long ago. In that context it makes sense they teach grade school children. It’s just a pity they let people forget.

In one video playing on a loop in the free museum, somebody mentioned to Jimmy Carter the surrounding areas looked like the surface of the moon. Carter said, “Mount St. Helens devastation makes the moon look like a golf course. was blessed. On the way out of the Learning Center the pleasant lady at the front desk indicated the clouds were starting to clear. That is the problem some visitors can have with Mount St. Helens. It is so high that the views are obstructed.

Little did the attendant know the clouds would continue to clear making for some spectacular sites all the way up to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Johnston was a volcanologist who watched the eruption (and died).

The Observatory is a pay site but offers some extraordinary views.

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Night Time in New Jersey.

Sunset at Sunset Beach near Cape May New Jersey.

Over night in the Pine Barrens, NJ.

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Liberal, Ks.

Unlike Weed being located in California, Liberal is probably not where you’d think.

Liberal is located in Seward County in Southwest Kansas with a population just over 20,000.

Kansas has a history of coming up with big ideas such as, well, Pizza Hut. However, politically it has long been considered solidly red.

That being said there is another definition of liberal and that applies to what many would consider midwestern politeness and that is how Liberal got its name.

Early settler S. S. Rogers built the first house in what would become Liberal in 1872. Rogers became famous in the region for giving water to weary travelers. Reportedly, Liberal gained its name from the common response to his acts of kindness, “That’s very liberal of you.” In 1885 Rogers built a general store, and with it came an official U.S. Post Office. Rogers named the post office ‘Liberal’.

Meanwhile, Clark W. Griswold was a tad liberal with the town’s claim to fame.

In the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation, Clark W. Griswold mentions departing the route of travel to Liberal to see the world’s largest house of mud. The idea is rejected by his wife, Ellen, in favor of getting to her cousin Eddie’s home.

It is likely not a boasting point for the local Chamber of Commerce to be turned down in favor of Uncle Eddie.

If you are in Kansas anymore, you might not be able to see mud houses, but you can stop by a recreation of Dorothy’s House from the Wizard of Oz at the Land of Oz.

For a town of modest size, Liberal actually has a lot of activities. Adventure Bay is a water park in town. The fifth largest collection of aircraft in the US is located at the Mid-America Air Museum. Native American artifacts are also located at the Coronado Museum.

This unassuming town in a landlocked state also holds an annual Pancake Day race against the town of Olney, England.

Since 1445, a pancake race has been run in the town on many Pancake Days. Tradition records that back in 1445, on Shrove Tuesday the “Shriving Bell” rang out to signal the start of the Shriving church service. On hearing the bell a local housewife, who had been busy cooking pancakes in anticipation of the beginning of Lent, ran to the church, frying pan still in hand, still in her apron and headscarf.

The women of Olney recreate this race every Shrove Tuesday (known in some countries as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday) by running from the market place to the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, a distance of about 380 metres. The traditional prize is a kiss from the verger. In modern times, Olney competes with the town of Liberal, Kansas in the United States for the fastest time in either town and winner of the “International Pancake Race”.

And because we are all here to learn:

Verger is a person, usually a layperson, who assists in the ordering of religious services, particularly in Anglican churches.

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The Downside to Travel Writing (Manzanita, Or.) is in law school. Naturally, he intends to be a law abiding citizen and follow all necessary model rules. Nevertheless, there’s one downside to having an online conversational travel magazine. Continue reading

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