"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov

Ya ever seen my house?

Ya ever seen my house?
Neither have I Ted! You douchebag.
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Ghost Roundhouses



I've just joined AA..."Anoraks Anonymous". Thirty years ago I thought an anorak was just a pullover windbreaker. Now I find it's a Brit term for... Well, it's too embarrassing.
Here's the definition from Wikipedia: "slang, an anorak is a person, typically a man, who has unfathomable interest in arcane, detailed information regarded as boring by the rest of the population - and who feels compelled to spout said detailed information to anyone within earshot."
All that humiliating housekeeping out of the way, here are the results of a recent low-key hobby of mine. Call it Google Map archeology... or... a bloody waste of time, whatever. And speaking of wasting time; what are you cubicle dwellers doing here? Get back to work. I'm the designated screw-off around here.
Anyway, this came about as a result of an article in our local paper concerning a "toxic bloom" in the groundwater of a neighborhood near to the railroad switchyard. Aparently, some industrial degreasers, spilled over the course of a century or so were filling the crawlspaces of houses with carcinogenic fumes. The source of said toxic stuff being a roundhouse. A roundhouse, says I. How cool. If you don't know what a roundhouse is...then you're an ignorant putz, not fit to talk to an anorak like me.
Sorry, lost my head. Again, here's a definition from our old friends at Wikipedia: "A roundhouse is a building used by railroads for servicing locomotives. Roundhouses are large, circular or semicircular structures that were traditionally located surrounding or adjacent to turntables. The defining feature of the traditional roundhouse was the turntable, which facilitates access when the building is used for repair facilities or for storage of steam locomotives."
Now, I've been a train geek most of my life (anorak, remember?) so I decided to see if maybe, just maybe, I could Google Map this thing and see if this offending roundhouse left a "footprint".
Lordy did it. I decided to pursue this further and see how many I could find. My next attempt was a roundhouse that I probably passed at least once a day in the days when trains were more interesting that girls. That is to say, in my original hometwown, Missoula Montana.
So, I tried to think of railroad towns I knew off and checked them out. I've found a few I'm especially proud off, due to the fact they're almost gone.
So, what follows is my "life list" of roundhouse footprints, in the order of, at least part of, their significance:




I'm going to jump in here and disrupt your rapt gazing at these industrial relics to say that the next has a significance the others don't have. For one, it's still extant and serves as a railroad museum. Additionally it's mentioned in a classic song from the 1870's called "The Dreary Black Hills"
"The roundhouse at Cheyenne is filled every night
With loafers and bummers of most every plight;
On their backs is no clothes, in their pockets no bills,
Each day they keep starting for the dreary Black Hills."









Those were the easy ones. Now for the few that I think I was lucky to find. God, I'm pathetic.





The real feather in my cap is this: Omaha...



So, there's my madness. Anoraks of the world, recognize the unique qualities of all the knowledge you possess and quit thinking that, just because no one sits next to you on the bus, that they don't need to hear this. This is our heritage, man.
The people must be told!
Okay, I'm overwrought. I'm done.
"No knowledge is useless"
Rosetta Stone
1846

1 comment:

Stephen Renico said...

Dan,

I was just over at Ramanon and wanted to refer to your F-S Cobra. Where is it on your site?

Also, do you still have the Sniper Knife? That one's fantastic.

Thanks for the referral there. I owe you. :-)

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