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Earth, “Mad Men” location (and some history): Bob’s Big Boy Broiler, Downey, California.

This is the first of my Mad Men geography articles to go outside of New York City! Although the show takes place mostly in New York, there’s a strong Southern California … Continue reading

July 22, 2014 · Leave a comment

Leaving the Huntington: a few pictures from my trip.

Today was the last day of my research fellowship, and after nearly a month in residence at the Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, California, I’m going home tomorrow. … Continue reading

July 1, 2014 · 2 Comments

Disappeared: Jay Pringle, missing 37 years today.

Thirty-seven years ago today, on April 19, 1977, a young man from Oregon disappeared somewhere in the southwestern U.S. His name was Jay Calvin Pringle and he was 17, and … Continue reading

April 19, 2014 · 9 Comments

Not-so-funny bone: the great Calaveras Skull hoax.

Just after the Civil War, on February 25, 1866–148 years ago today–some miners were prospecting in an old mine on Bald Mountain, in Calaveras County, California, when they happened to … Continue reading

February 25, 2014 · 1 Comment

The Human Be-In: the Summer of Love that started in winter.

Forty-seven years ago today, on Saturday, January 14, 1967, about thirty thousand people turned out in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to celebrate…well, something. Or maybe they were there to … Continue reading

January 14, 2014 · 1 Comment

Visiting with Dick: My review of the Nixon Presidential Library.

Over part of the holidays I happened to be in Southern California, and on a Sunday afternoon without much to do I decided to pay a visit to the Richard … Continue reading

December 28, 2013 · 4 Comments

Indians on the Rock: the Native American occupation of Alcatraz.

On this day in 1969, a curious kind of civil rights action began on a previously deserted island in San Francisco Bay. Fourteen Native American activists, most of them college … Continue reading

November 20, 2013 · Leave a comment

The end of the road for the McStay Family: a sad discovery answers some questions and raises others.

Last night media outlets began reporting that skeletal remains had been found in the desert near Victorville, California that authorities believed might be the missing McStay family, about whom I … Continue reading

November 15, 2013 · 14 Comments

Disappeared: Madeline “Lynn” Babcock, missing 45 years.

Nearly half a century ago, on a Tuesday afternoon in June 1968, Madeline Babcock, age 35, made a call from a pay phone somewhere in Venice, California to her mother, … Continue reading

November 6, 2013 · Leave a comment

Earth: Barker Ranch, Death Valley, California, last hideout of the Manson Family.

This barely-visible encrustation of civilization in the blasted landscape of Death Valley, California is all that remains of Barker Ranch, the last hideout of mass murderer Charles Manson and his … Continue reading

October 12, 2013 · Leave a comment
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