Wednesday, March 08, 2006


In a recent post, I made a crack about hypothetical tourists from Idaho Falls. This generated a surprising number of search engine hits, all people looking for the phrase "Idaho Falls". It seems the world, or at least part of the world, is thirsting for information about the place, so I figured, hey, I've been there twice, the last time less than ten years ago, so that practically makes me an expert, compared to a lot of people. So I figured I'd see what I could find about the place with a few brief minutes searching the web.

Two very different perspectives on the place can be had from the the local ABC affiliate, and, which describes itself as the city's "virtual soapbox". While the former is the usual local TV mix of lurid crime stories and human interest fluff, the latter is a fairly interesting read. Some urban planning stories, pictures of local architecture and public art, and so forth. Also, the city has a brand new TGI Fridays.

So I ought to make it very clear that the picture above does not have anything whatsoever to do with United Airlines starting a new route from Idaho Falls to Denver. Nor does it have anything to do with a recent incident that got the hardcore "chemtrail" folks all worked up. (Silly rabbit, everybody knows chemtrails are made by black helicopters.)

No, the above picture isn't from Idaho at all, surprisingly enough. It's from Southern Oregon, home of the . Certain local booster clubs in the area have been known to dress up as cavemen, er, cavepersons. The city of Grants Pass actually has a statue of a caveman, right near the freeway offramp. I suppose it's located there to ward away any Californians who wander in off I-5, desperately seeking tofu.

The picture is in a gallery hosted by the Oregon Grotto, a local spelunking organization. I haven't done a lot of wandering around in caves myself. Mostly because there aren't a lot of caves in the area (that the public knows about, anyway), and most of what we do have are lava tubes, like Lava River Cave. Not very big, and once you've seen one, the others hold few surprises.

But I have always liked the idea of caves, at least. When I was a kid, I found a book in the local library called The Longest Cave, an account of the exploration of the Mammoth Cave system in Kentucky. It's been years since I last read it, but I remember it being an engrossing and very well written book. As it turns out, one of the people who features prominently in the book went on to write the famous original Adventure computer game, which was based (rather realistically, we're told) on part of the cave system. I used to love that game too, having played it incessantly back in the old text adventure days. The game, incidentally, is the origin of the magic words "xyzzy" and the lesser-known "plugh", and the phrase "a maze of twisty little passages, all alike".

I actually came across these cave pics when I was, once again, looking for a good picture of a Cyclotram to adorn this blog. Still haven't found one, but I came across someone who saw Unknown World as a child, and apparently loved it. He mentions the movie in two separate columns, one about being a lifelong SF fan, and the other some memories about someone he knew who'd gotten stuck in a cave when he was younger, requiring a somewhat embarrassing rescue.

I also came across a site offering the movie via BitTorrent, with some small screenshots to give you some idea of what to expect. The site asserts that the film's entered the public demain and is no longer under copyright. I don't know whether that's the case or not, but it's not unusual for this to happen with B movies from that era. So maybe I can just grab a screenshot from my dvd of the movie, if that's the case.


No comments :