Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Life underground

Courtesy of bOINGbOING, I was inspired to go digging--so to speak--for urban subterranean hideouts. Today, bOINGbOING reported on the Portland Tunnels, used in the 19th century to transport drugged victims to waiting ships, thus coining the phrase "Shanghai'd". You can tour the tunnels, if you want.

Seattle has a most unusual city-beneath-a-city, reminiscent of layered ancient cities like Ilium and Rome. This site has the rather amusing story of how the Seattle Underground came to be. I've known about the Seattle Underground for a long time. Oddly, I first learned of it by watching a Scooby-Doo episode as a kid!

Closer to home, St Paul is partly famous for its network of subterranean passages, notably the Wabasha Street Caves. Both natural and man-made, the tunnels were most heavily taken advantage of by the mob during the '20s and '30s. The gangsters used them for smuggling to and from the Mississippi river, and set up speakeasies down below. Today, much of the network lies unused, caved-in, or sealed off. Following the recent deaths of three teenagers who broke past barriers and died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the fire they built, the city has been considering filling in or otherwise destroying the caves altogether. I think that would be a great loss for the city. St Paul should find some way to use the caves, which have been a part of the city's history for well over a hundred years.

Although technically tresspassing, the Minneapolis Urban Adventurers Action Squad has done an amazing job of exploring the Twin Cities' hidden underground passages. As long as they aren't vandalizing, I say may the cops forever remain one twisty dark passage behind them.

In other news:
--Sneeze for me, baby! This woman has an, um, unusual fetish, to say the least. I'm normally pretty good at seeing others' appeal in their particular kinks/fetishes, but this one truly eludes me. I am reminded of the handful of actual medical cases of women who experience orgasms whenever they sneeze. Alas, web-based documentation eludes me. Either situation (fetish, medical condition) qualifies as one of the few in which a pepper grinder could be employed as a sex toy.

--The Ministry of Homeland Security has organized a gestapo--er, I mean the nation's truck drivers to watch for and report suspicious activity, especially regarding furriners. Not to be stereotypical, but isn't the idea of a traditionally conservative, slightly xenophobic and usually armed demographic looking for terrorists just a teeny bit worrisome? Again, link credit to bOINGbOING.


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