Madonna Inn, Dist-O-Map Wheel, 1968

The Madonna Inn, opened in San Luis Obispo California in 1958, has nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with the popular singer Madonna. The Madonna Inn, even without the aforementioned musical superstar, is pretty famous. The rooms are themed like something from a Roger Corman movie where they hired Fred Flintstone to be the set dresser. They have to be seen to be believed. As does the waterfall urinal in the men’s room below the restaurant. That’s right men, you can pee on a waterfall at the Madonna Inn. Notice how I have mentioned it was in the men’s room, for men.

Well the waterfall urinal is so popular you don’t know who might show up to use it. Women walk into the thing every day, with no compunction at all, unconcerned that they might find a strange man, holding his Jolly Roger, urinating onto a waterfall. This happened to me once while I was visiting a friend who was attending Cal Poly SLO, and I have to say both Amy, Samantha, and myself handled it pretty well when they walked in on me in midstream, so to say. They were coeds at SF State and were down visiting a person they knew at Cal Poly. They were both juniors, pretty, and they stayed the whole time I was peeing. It did not bother them at all. This distance wheel shows how far it is from the Madonna Inn to all the places that do not have a waterfall to urinate on. And hello to Amy and Samantha, wherever you are!

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“In The Police Court” 6-18-1902, San Francisco Bulletin

“In the Police Court,” was conceived of and executed by Thomas A. Dorgan, or as he is better known to the cartooning and boxing world, “TAD.” At this time one of Tad’s favorite hobbies was to go down to the local San Francisco Police Court and watch what we would now call “criminal arraignments,” and then sketch and report on the defendants. Most of his drawings of the defendants were racist, stereotypical, and funny as hell. TAD definitely had an eye for the absurd in both his observations, and drawings.

JS Cain & Company, Bodie California, July 18, 1906

Bodie California is a ghost town located in California about 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe. At one time in the past a man named JS Cain purchased the complete town by buying it up piece by piece over time. In 1859 gold was discovered there and by 1879 Bodie had an estimated population of between 5000-7000 inhabitants. It was a usual California mining town but the thing that made Bodie different from other boom towns was its’ distance from actual civilization. Bodie was what the old-timers used to call “out there.”

JS Cain came to Bodie in the 1920’s and began buying up property in the dying town and eked out a living working over the old mines again to get what little gold that was still left in them. By the 1940’s the population had dropped to only about 120 residents, and the site was a constant target for vandals. Cain had to hire guards to live on-site to protect the buildings and their history. I believe that sometime in the late 1950’s the Cain Family donated the land to the State of California and in 1962 it became Bodie State Historic Park. It is in a state of arrested decay, which means they try to keep stuff from falling apart, with as little intervention as possible.

The other thing about Bodie is that it is haunted. I personally don’t really believe in curses, ghosts, spells, and superstitions, but if you go to the Ranger station and speak with them for a while they will show you a room filled with hundreds of objects. Many have letters and notes attached stating that they have had nothing but bad, extremely bad, luck since they visited Bodie and decided to pocket a nail/rock/wood chip/or whatever, and take it back home with them as souvenir. So the room is filled with stuff that people have sent back to Bodie, because of the curse. The Rangers can’t put it back in the park because they don’t know exactly where they belong, thus the need for the room.

It could be mass hysteria, people overreacting, coincidence, sensitivity or just bad luck at an inopportune time. But it still is what it is.  There is a room there in Bodie that is filed with rocks, nails, and stuff you don’t know what it is. What’s great about these items is they were collected a man who spent a lot of time in Carson City and knew about the alleged curse on the stuff. A woman, who is not given to lights of fancy told me this and it scared me a little. I usually sell these on eBay for between $20.00 and $30.00 because they came from Bodie are are curse free. This one is initialed by David Victor Cain, who was a son of JS Cain and was also basically running the Bank, when it went under.

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“Old Spanish Days,” August 28, 29, 30, 1947

“Old Spanish Days,” is a celebration/festival/carnival that is held every year in Santa Barbara California. It is meant to commemorate the founding of the city and its deep roots in Spain. However, when it was first started in 1924, it was a straight chamber of commerce ploy to try to draw tourists into what is now known as “Oprah’s Backyard,” and the Spanish roots thing was sort of pushed aside a bit. The reason?

Some have said that the coming of the Spanish and the takeover of California by soldiers and religious people changed the lay of the landscape forever. The mission system reduced the Native American Indians to slaves who toiled for the soldiers and the priests, and often faced death if they did not comply. The usual diseases, alcohol, rape, and other dilutions did to the local Chumash, what was done to other tribes all across the country. So “Old Spanish Days,” is a little bit celebration and remembrance. It draws a ton of people to spend money in a town where money does not go too far and you need a lot of it to fit in. It is very nice, once you get past that wiping out the indigenous people thing.

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