Bad Moon Rising

In 1979, K.T. Smith offered to buy a drink for anyone willing to moon the next train that passed the Mugs Away Saloon in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Since then, the second Saturday in July has become “Moon Amtrak Day,” when hundreds of drinkers bare their bottoms at the 25 trains that pass through town.

The trains are reportedly booked solid for months in advance.

Have Gun, Will Travel

Letter received by William McKinley in April 1898, shortly before the outbreak of the Spanish-American War:

Dear Sir I for one feel Confident that your good judgment will carry America safely through without war —

But in case of such an event I am ready to place a Company of fifty Lady sharpshooters at your disposal. Every one of them will be an American and as they will furnish their own arms and ammunition will be little if any expense to the government.

Very truly

Annie Oakley

“Get Thee Behind Me”

Here’s one way to beat temptation: file a lawsuit. In 1971, Gerald Mayo sued “Satan and his staff” in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He alleged that “Satan has on numerous occasions caused plaintiff misery and unwarranted threats, against the will of plaintiff, that Satan has placed deliberate obstacles in his path and has caused plaintiff’s downfall” and had therefore “deprived him of his constitutional rights,” a violation of the U.S. Code.

The court noted that jurisdiction was uncertain; legally the devil might count as a foreign prince. Also, Mayo’s claim seemed appropriate for a class action suit, and it wasn’t clear that Mayo could represent all of humanity. Finally, no one was sure how the U.S. Marshal could serve process on Satan.

So the devil got away. Mayo’s case has been cited several times, and has never been overturned or contradicted.

Extreme Hospitality

Photo by Tom Corser, Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 England & Wales (UK) Licence:

Except for the beds, Sweden’s Ice Hotel is made completely of ice blocks — 60 rooms and suites, a bar, a reception area and a chapel, 30,000 square feet in all. Even the glasses in the bar are made of ice. You can book a room for about $400, but hurry — it melts in May.

Its alter ego is the Uyuni Salt Hotel, in Bolivia, where everything — including the beds — is made of salt. (Photo (c)2005 Tom Corser,


Until 2000, calling 760-733-9969 would connect you to a single phone booth in the Mojave desert, 15 miles from the nearest interstate and miles from any building.

Tired of vandalism, Pacific Bell finally took down the booth. Fans put up a headstone, but they took that down too. Killjoys.

Formal Thai
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Bangkok’s full name is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

It means “the city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous royal palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.”

Landmarks in Medicine, #1

Treatment for sore throat, diphtheria, and scarlet fever from The Confederate Receipt Book, 1868:

Mix in a common size cup of fresh milk two teaspoonfuls of pulverized charcoal and ten drops of spirits of turpentine. Soften the charcoal with a few drops of milk before putting into the cup. Gargle frequently, according to the violence of the symptoms.