I’ll Tell the Story Again

As I was driving to work this morning, Matt and Leslie were talking about this family that couldn’t pay the mortgage and was selling its cave on EBay.

Me: I will gazoogle that when I get to work and write something pithy.
Me: Are you lisping?
Me: Note: don’t talk to self while wearing ear muffs.

I didn’t really know this but people live in some plush caves with some odd stories.


The family is hoping to raise enough money so they can stay in their home. But if things don’t go as planned, they will give it up. The starting bid is $300,000.

The cave home is complete with all the modern amenities – a kitchen, laundry room and even a party room. It also has some unique features.

The eBay description says that geothermal and passive solar keep the house cool and warm without the use of a heater or air conditioning. And the house has its own ground water source, which yields an average of 100 gallons a day.

That sounds fantastic. I’d be heartbroken if that were my in-foreclosure home. From EBay:

The back chamber still has the stage where Ted Nugent, Bob Seger, Ike and Tina Turner, the MC5 and many other bands performed.

I’m speechless. I’ve worked in bars that felt like caves but – in retrospect – there were few actual bats. So it turns out caves are for sale. Something about that suggests comic disaster in the offing, but if it is, it’s at least convenient to wherever you are. In Bizbee, Arizona, one finds a beautiful cave/canyon complex with lovely bathrooms and abright sun room. I didn’t expect that. Halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis, the owner of Jacob’s Cave is retiring and the cave is for sale. I didn’t know cave ownership included employment prospects, but then I’m learning a great deal about handicap-accessible geology, so don’t rush me. In Dallas, we find a market for unfinished caves.

Own Your Own Wine Cellar!! Cave Travels 1400′ Deep into the Mountain. White River Cave Located Just North of Rockmart in Polk County just Off Highway 113. Cave has Stream & Waterfall Far in the Back. Entrance From Top of Mountain Too! Also 2 Large Caverns far under the Mountain. Beautiful Building Site on Top of the Mountain Above The Cave Entrance. Incredible Cool Breeze Exiting Cave as You Enter Cave. Cave Homes are very popular in Spain. Several Caves For Sale in the USA. All over 1 Million Dollars. Great Investment Property! Call Tim 770-356-0708. See more pictures & info at http://www.bigyards.com. Asking $139,900

In New Jersey, we call that and a realtor an ‘attractive nuisance’ and bust out the caution tape. Don’t get me wrong, cave living done right sounds fantastic and ecologically sound. People have lived in caves since the beginning of time. Passive solar heating and cooling have a certain timeless appeal. Who wouldn’t want a bright sun room and spelunkers ringing the doorbell? I guess this is the uneven hem of my class and location showing, but I’m surprised and I’m not sure why. One of those caveowners is asking about $900,000. That’s a high-end cave. At the other end of the spectrum, one imagines people without means taking refuge in modest economy-caves with few amenities, which may or may not be a step up from living under a bridge, as people do here.

I guess the sad novelty of this story lies in the fact that, in 2009, the economy is so bad banks may force people out of caves and onto the street. For me at least, that is an unexpected discovery indeed.

In the Attic Toys

This is interesting. Meet Carl Malamud, whom BoingBoing calls a “rogue archivist.” Carl is the only person I’ve ever known with his own zip code – but enough about me, what’s Carl on about?

This is a bit unconventional, but I have launched a front-port campaign to be nominated Public Printer of the United States. I’m inspired by Gus Geigengack, a working printer who convinced FDR to name him to the post.

I am thrilled to have such a distinguished committee backing my efforts, including the Honorable Cory Doctorow and the Honorable Mark Frauenfelder from Boing Boing.

To endorse my nomination, simply comment on any blog post (like this one!), tweet me, or send me email. The endorsements will be harvested, set into a book, and released as a free PDF file with paper copies dispatched to the White House Office of Personnel.

Thank you for your support.

The occasion of my acquaintance with Carl was that I was business manager of a radio comedy show and Carl was creating internet radio. Yeah, that guy. We were the first comedy show on internet radio and Carl was a stickler for deadlines. Ever manage a comedy troupe? Herding cats would be easier, so Carl’s attention was kind of a double-edged sword for us. In particular, Mr. Wintle, who found this story, and I tore out our hair getting DAT to the post office. Thus, I was really interested to see at Yes We Scan where Carl was turning his pointy pointy attentions now.

Please allow me to highlight a few of the items that I think we all need to pay attention to, and I invite you to contact me so we can continue to talk about these issues.

I’m skeert! And I’m fresh out of hot pink wigs!

1. America’s Operating System. The Government Printing Office serves all 3 branches of government and prints the Official Journals of Government. GPO should lead the effort to make all primary legal materials produced by the U.S. readily available. [more]

2. Librarians. Librarians are the bedrock of the public domain and the defenders of our fundamental right to access knowledge. GPO should work even more closely with our libraries and reform the Federal Depository Library Program to support them better. [more]

3. Jobs. As commodity printing goes the way of the PDF file and the copy machine, GPO must retrain and refocus its workforce, working with the unions and the employees so we may face the challenges of the future. If nominated and confirmed, I would work to establish a United States Publishing Academy, reviving the grand tradition of GPO being in the lead for workforce development, vocational training for students, and educating the rest of the U.S. government on how to print and publish effectively. [more]

4. Security. GPO produces passports and other secure documents. The current design for passports uses an RFID chip, which means that an American can be picked out of a crowd merely by having a passport in their pocket. If nominated and confirmed, I would ask security expert Bruce Schneier to form a Blue-Ribbon Commission to reexamine the design of passports and other secure documents so we can better protect the privacy and security of all Americans.

The seals of approval are a nice touch. Seems Carl’s on the side of the angels after all. The RFID chips should have been a giant red DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! flag but instead – what? Sensible people who should’ve known better got passports and RFID-chipped in the name of freaking safety.

Carl’s manifesto is indeed interesting. I’m willing to put aside my feelings about that year he made life a glamorous living hell because I’ve watched what the GPO has been doing for the last eight years and know it must change. You have no such impediment, but you’re probably looking forward to improved government transparency. Will you endorse Carl?

With Every Mistake We Must Surely Be

This morning, my friend of 30 years walked toward me in the library and whispered in my ear, “Dad’s dead.” His relationship with his father was, as so many of ours are, not without its complexities. I listened to him talk for half an hour, complicating my relationship with my job. Then I quoted a poet of our mutual acquaintance: Alice B. Talkless. Once there were many black kings, I said. Once there were many red kings, I said. There were many black holes full of things that did not fit.

“That’s me,” he laughed. “That’s me, that’s me.”

Mean But I’m Changing My Scene

When I moved to Pete’s house, I gave up cable, which had a few PBS stations I truly miss and a whole mess o’ instructional videos I could use whenever I felt like it. The yoga videos were just as good for laughs as for stretching. A very satisfied-looking gentleman smiled a great deal as he conducted class, and I could just hear him as he gazed at his lovely assistant – oh yes, there was gazing – ‘I am a very handsome man, and Suzanne is lissome in unspeakable ways, and we’re going to spend this very afternoon investigating the body dharma here in San Souci. Don’t forget to hold each pose for five breaths.’ I miss that guy.

Pete’s house has the dish, and with it, different channels. The trainwreck I can’t stop watching is called Veria, and it is amazing.

What what what?

It’s supposed to be programming about healthy living but I’ve noticed that such programs tend to omit just as many important words as they include so I end up with piles of questions. Everyone is starch-white and has a weird smile and speaks slowly. It’s that red flag that hints at a cult, but I don’t get how to connect that signal with what I see, which are excruciatingly serious talk shows about herbal work and alternative medicine and some pretty exciting forms of yoga I’ll have to work up to trying. I mean, what the hell’s going on?

When Amanda McQuade-Crawford discusses enemas you must not, under any circumstances, laugh.

The other day, I rowed for 30 minutes during a show about Dr. Bronner, who I thought all these years was a cult figure. Short answer: sort of. What? The same series profiled the man who created homeopathic medicine. He’s got some nitwit followers who should never venture near a microphone again in support of their guru.

Anyway, what made me think of this was Sunday’s (yes, I am rowing a whole lot) show about brewing herbal extracts and fermented Korean health beverages. I almost fell over when the herbalist said the next preparation involved rum. I surmised from surveying the channel that nobody touched a drop of demon rum. Now I wonder if they’re all just drunk.

And It’s Going To Break Sometime

Just so know: when Cinema Paradiso is on really late on a school night and you really want to watch it and you know you’re up too late but – but – but – Cinema Paradiso! and you watch most of it in your living room and creep upstairs to lie in bed, pausing only to brush your teeth in a negligent whirlwind manner you will surely regret, and when you lie in bed with one eye open because surely that is close to sleep and that scene you can’t bear to live without seeing is on soon soon soon and you promise yourself you’ll close the other eye in a minute but you don’t a few times, well, you are not actually sleeping, and you will regret that, probably.