Episode 320: Slab City (Entry 1170.IS3501)


This nothing we are jennings and john rodrick. We speak to you from our present which we can only assume as your distant past the turbulent time that was the early twenty first century peering the great cataclysm that will surely befall our civilization. We began this monumental reference of strange obscure human knowledge. These recordings represent our attempt to compile and preserve wonders esoterica. That would otherwise be lost. So whether you're listening from an advanced civilization or have just. Reinvented the technology to decrypt our transmissions. This is our legacy to you. This is our time capsule. This is the paired you have access entry. One one seven zero dot s three five zero one certificate number three three zero four slab city. It has been one year. That you and i have been doing this canadian adventure. It's crazy to think just one year. How many people when they first started watching us. I heard if you're going to do this. Living off the grid they trolled us big time data. This said it'd been last week. Yeah a lot of people did a lot of people said that are year isn't gonna standing boom. You said that with a lot of panache labs city. What's the correct way to say slab city just exactly like that. I want to fit in there. But i don't know what it is sounded like you were about to draw your gun. Actually sleigh city he. I think you can as being someone who's fairly on the grid. I'm extremely on the grid on grid on a scale of one to one hundred I mean if. I'm looking at my phone like thirty times an hour pretty on grid. That's how much more on the grid could be. You have a smart thermostat to not not to violate your infosec. Nobody tryin hack ken. I don't have a smart doorbell so you can't you. There's cameras you can hack. But they could turn your heat up. Turn it off. That's the worst thing you could do. Poop i've now given the future power put on a sweater and i'm not happy about it. Have you ever had any desire to live off the grid. Are you compelled by those stories. Like into the wild or pulse. I don't even understand it. I mean i understand the desire to be surrounded by maybe a beautiful wilderness setting and solitude. But you know there's ways to get that at a everything from a nice day spa to a to a shabby motel without going What a survivalist. But are you afraid that the that are that are modern technology is a kind of tenuous foothold and that it could all go away as a result of some collapse of civilization. Grateful for every hour you spent with a hot shower and fast wi- with the lights on. Yeah right. I mean nobody's gonna be like man. I'm so glad. I was like i was wandering around Alaska because it really prepared me for the zombies for for when i actually had to do it do you have a. Do you have any in your in the back of your mind. Any any What contingency plan for like what happens if the lights go out and don't come back on no like. I'm really hoping that they stay on first of all that would be ideal is if civilization didn't end right at some point it's gonna end and my plan is just to be at the epicenter of that so i don't have to worry about the rebel. Oh you're someone that wants the nuke to land on his head. Yeah yeah oh yeah. I mean it doesn't have to. Yeah on my head would be fine a few feet to the left or right you're gonna slim pickens it. What would you want to be on top of the. What's the name of the guy that slim pickens the unknown russian that he probably lands on. We don't even what. What do you think the appeal is of people who want to go off the grid you really. You think it's something about about coming calamity. I just assumed they felt the technology was alienating. Or i mean really. It's mental illness. But how does it manifest all of the different ways. I mean there are people that feel like like technology. Is the tin foil. Hats think that five g is giving them corona virus. There are the people that are more philosophical and less bonkers who feel like modern. It's modern technology has taken away their humanity. And i agree one hundred percent with that but i feel like the remedies would be more like you. Don't go play a stratego with your kid. Lavar phone less. Yeah not like move to. The sierra nevada there are people that feel like modern technology and i think this is fairly commonplace comes with obligations that end up being shackles on once freedom. So that if you're living in a society you're obligated to also have insurance on your car and you're obligated also i mean you're obligated to pay your bills and pay bills and taxes that you so. This is a libertarian argument. Against just this kind of casual tyranny that you and i don't even think about because we're actually not weirdoes and we're good citizens. Yeah but the but the kind of I mean to pay your taxes is something that that is actually. I find hard to argue with but but to be obligated to pay insurance. That isn't that isn't just liability. But is you know to be to be caught in a web where in order to maintain your good citizenship. You have to be you have to maintain for instance a credit rating and a credit rating Sort of You become beholden to systems of banking and credit. Your your. i didn't vote for those systems. John yeah that's right and those systems tend to be corrosive. You can fall out the bottom end of it for reasons that feel beyond your control. A divorce Loss of a job. illness All of a sudden. You've got you've got Alimony and child support payments that You're not able to meet and then you're in dutch. And then you lose your credit and then you can't get or you're a felon the sensory specific country western song. Yeah it is. It is but it's it's it's specific but also kind of generally true of a population of people that i wonder if it's a kind of privilege i have where i'm far enough away from whatever the desperation mendoza line is on all these axes that i don't have to think about it. It's it is actually. And it's i don't mean that chan chan you finally admit addressing it but you know we we think of of the homeless crisis in the united states right now as as being deep enough to start to cut in to populations of people that that are actually working class people who under normal circumstances where there would not be sleep in their car. Yeah where civilization had not become kind of a user areas that they would be able to afford a home on on their salary and they'd be able to not fall into medical debt and other forms of debt where they're excluded from their pushed out the bottom. Yeah and it's not a failure to. It's not a failure of work ethic. It's not a failure of ability. It's just a. It's just yeah. And it's a tidal wave of of conditions. Where each one of the conditions alone wouldn't be sufficient but it's easy to see how they become You know self perpetuating and i guess. A lot of these systems arose in time when these problems were less severe. You know the things you referring to credit rating and insurance these webs came up in a time when they did not push a huge group of americans out the bottom until a lot of the economic assumptions changed right and a lot of the the inequality numbers changed and suddenly now the systems that may be made sense in a world where they were not overwhelming in you. Serious now now. It's the math is very different. For what's gotta be hundreds of thousands of people. Yeah right. there were five years ago. If you had a workplace injury or you at a a car accident you incurred some some some medical bills. They generally wouldn't be sufficient to cause you to default on your home loan and ended up living in your car. But that isn't that isn't the case now and it's not all kind of economic indicators about income either i mean since you mentioned the homelessness problem there were all there was also a tiny in living memory for you and me were social. Safety nets were sufficient. And so these things did not become mental. Health did not lead to a homelessness crisis. And that's all different. So i think that there has always been a libertarian. Desire to live in a place where you don't have these these ills of of creditors and all the all the preconditions that that that you have to have in place just to be a functioning member of society their heels. I think of them as ill as remorse ills. No now you're in eagle monta heels. The out of the eli society. You know either literally ill citing sucking you. I do think of them as as being a parasites. When i was in my twenties and was still a a drug user. I went through a period. Where i lost my id in a in a kerfluffle and even have the old fake one for when you were. I didn't have the fake when all those things were lost. And i didn't have What you would describe as a place of residence. And i went for about a year where i had no ide- and no permanent domicile. What's it like. Well not great. But but you know i was in my twenty. They're not going to ask you to blurb homelessness. He keeps saying not great. John rutter but i didn't. I didn't have i didn't have regular work. I didn't have a place to live. And i didn't have a money or or ide- i i wouldn't describe myself as homeless because i've always i've always thought of that term is being fairly loaded right. I mean i was between between places you can say i mean it's kind of thing where whatever term you use will become the new pejorative term right. It's a bummer. But at the time you know i wouldn't. I would have said like oh. I'm just between places and it just continued to continue to be between places for a long time but what i what i realized was without an id without and it's different now that everything's computerized and at the time it was just a laminated piece of plastic with a with a photo picture in it but without an idea i was excluded from a lot of places right any place that serves alcohol. I couldn't get into even at twenty six years old. Did you feel like a non person. In a way. When when i was questioned by the police i could always establish my identity by you know offering. I had a social security number But i in that world. I encountered a lot of people that hadn't had ideas for a long time and But they were more into it no they were just older and had been and had gone from being between places to being kind of between worlds. They're living in the city but they're not part of what we think of. As the as the machinery of the city i mean. They're living in a really in a separate city and we think of the homeless. I guess as a as a kind of monolithic population of people who are all homeless against their will and their because you know the system has failed them. But of course there are a lot of people living in the city who don't want your social services and who don't who didn't Who did fall out the bottom. But not because they were working hard at their factory job in encountered medical problems. They fell out the bottom because they didn't want to be part of your world And yet our civilization our society is now urban enough that they're kind of forced to be in these large urban centers for the most part or at least they are kind of drawn there by different kinds of magnetism. They wanna be there often. That's where i mean often. They're collecting some kind of government like subsidies so that they have to be near enough to. I mean they have get their mail somewhat evidence some ways it's the it's the kind of place least suited to their desire to be off the grid. I mean there. It's a place with a high population density. I mean specifically. They're going to run into the problem of it. Being a place where real estate is scarce and expensive so no matter where they try to to make their place going to have what we see in seattle neighbor saying but this is a nice park. How can i take my kids. If there's now tens under the trees over there there's going to be competing interests in every space. Different kinds of scarcity's it's a it's a often. It's a question of how you focus your eyes because if you go around seattle and focus your is in such a way that you become aware of the different the different cities within a city. You'll see that this That this other network is all around you. It isn't you know we we become aware of it when a tent city pops up in a nice park and neighbor starts to complain but really everywhere you look. There are people living one foot in the grid in one foot out and a lot of people with both feet firmly out of the grid who sharing our space sharing our sh- taking part of the resources of the city and there. There's a lot of their a lot of stuff falls out the bottom of city that can be scavenged and caen re purposed There's a lot of money in the city. And i try not to ignore them because i feel like that's the most corrosive thing at all just You know. I've got a as a city dweller trained Urban person i need to treat this whole stratagem of civil as society as like non entities right. I've turned they don't exist. They don't have any of the kind of rights and courtesies that i extend to human beings. But you have to push you have to make you have to make an effort. I think i find that. Just you know even making eye contact and being friendly and The urges to feel uncomfortable and avoid that other second world but second network. And i think one one of the things that's interesting about living in the above ground world. Let's say People in other people living in the city but not in the city They're not especially often interested in your eye contact. You know what i mean and there. There's a tendency those of us who who are in the city to to just i think understandably feel certain amount of condescension or a certain amount of responsibility or privilege. It must be dispiriting. I would have nobody to look at you now. Well maybe maybe for some people. That's what they want. Unless it's you know unless you really are living in a world where the normies are the ones in black and white near the ghosts. Yeah and You know the ghost that are moving at a different speed and failing to see really Failing to see what cities really are living between parking garages and air conditioned office buildings and not really appreciating the environment and the problem is that there are a lot of groups that are advocates for homeless people. For addicted people for mentally ill. People and those groups often have a vested interest in portraying those populations of people as because because their mandate is to throw it gets donations. That's right and let me emphasize that a lot of these are with kids right. An and those groups well meaning and then providing incredible you know resources and services to people segment of the population. But it's it's it's hard even for those That that that are well aware. There are a lot of people in the community. That don't want their help It's very hard for them to acknowledge that population because it kind of cuts the the fundraising arguments and it also plays into a sort of socially conservative belief that the homeless just aren't they're just lazy or they don't they don't want to. They don't want to work. They just want to sit around. And how are you going to the other way. Are you gonna. are you going to tell me. It's kind of an a net good for society to have have this kind of population. I mean you're you're speaking kind of Admiringly of the not as if this is a kind of blight that our cities need to fix but just kind of a side effect of being a city. Well it is. It is a side effect of a Of just any kind of spectrum of i mean there are people there are people who live in a city whose feet never touch the ground and And there are inevitably going to be people in the city who die who freeze to death. in the winter and within that spectrum there are a lot of different world. It's a lot of different universes and and we we. i think. Make the mistake of thinking of these different populations as monolithic ride. The all the rich have no fear and all. The poor are a noble a needy. I speak of them. I speak of this. Particular group of people admiringly. Because i wh- 'cause i spent my youth kind of adjacent to it. I never felt like. I felt completely out of the bottom of the world. Right i mean not having id. I still sled connections. I still flying. I could put a quarter in a phone booth and call someone During that whole period of time. Although i slept outside in the city a lot i also was welcome in people's homes. You know i wasn't The there were bars that knew me on site. That didn't check my id. I mean i wasn't a excluded from certain bars. Were couch surfing as much as you more than you. Were under bridges. And they weren't the bars that i went to weren't in hotels. Let's say but but you know. I still was part of a community that was somewhat above ground am inbetween inbetween dark. But i got to and maybe it's partly that that that my nature does does lead me to gravitate sometimes to feel like the rumour that are on me in order to shake them off. I can't half measures won't suffice that. I need to make a clean break and and that clean break has a couple of times in my life. Caused me to abandon everything. And and Go through periods of where you know where i have no resources and sort of put a put a life back together afterwards but that was when i was in my twenties and thirties and had an awful lot of life force. That does seem like really the only as you want to be messing about with that. Yeah now in my fifties the prospect of sleeping outside in the city not just as a lark but to to to venture out one day from the apartment. I'm losing just for some kind of clarity. Well just i mean no. At the time it was just like. I don't need to pay rent like the. There's mana flowing in the streets. I don't feel that way now and wouldn't want to i if you said if you dared me to go sleep downtown for a couple of nights i would take the dare. That's a pretty big f- i'm not gonna do it. I wouldn't. I wouldn't go downtown with no with the idea that i'd you know i didn't have anyone to call. But there are a lot of people my age and older who just in the course of living their lives find that they get to be retirement age and don't quite have enough to get by They have a pension. they have government benefits. These are not people you're talking about. Who have some some previous life experience of publicists or living off the grid. These are just normal people that were always on the edge. Yeah not people habitually homeless although although some people in that category comes and goes but people that have lived productive lives but arrive at sixty five years old and retired from their jobs and just art able to live in phoenix anymore yet. I mean speaking of social safety nets and not able to live in phoenix and kind of a more adjusted to the idea. That self-reliance is i mean self reliance play such a big part in the american identity that we are Were free and we can. We used to come trust our freedom to people who lived in other countries with that were authoritarian or were Lived in cultures that were governed by monolithic churches or or oppressive ancient cultures and in america. You can really. You could set your you know set sail by your own stars and that's kind of morph into a new vision of america. Where we we're now free from any kind of communitarian belonging or obligation connection right which is unfortunate to adopt when you're living in phoenix or atlanta or any city where it is a it. You really are living in a hive. It is a communal undertaking just to live in a city. I'm not saying that i'm not saying that. It's a communal undertaken. you're putting on a pot. Latch no but it mediates hundreds of moments of your day. That's right that's right every time you stop at the crosswalk every time you go to the To the coffee shop like it's your part of an organism and for people to to have taken that self reliance mentality and tried to wear it as a cloak within completely independent framework. Where what they're doing is just denying that they're getting all this health they think car ownership is a big part of it. What if you could move through cities but you were just cloaked by a half ton of of detroit steel. You know your you kind of have your own little pod. It's a weird way to experience. Cities has never existed before in any human era earring. And i've got a sense of entitlement. I this place is crowded. But i can move through it cleanly in quietly with the soundtrack of my choice one. Also you're only experience of government from within a car for the most part is that it is a government. That's telling you when to stop and go and you can get resentful of that you can as you're driving time drug. The light is timed wrong. These streets are bad. I mean in a lot of ways. People driving on the streets is there is the main way they interact with a municipal. They sort of feel like everything would be. Okay let's look how good things are going for this car except that the city keeps putting potholes in my way like the idea that there has actually been some kind of shared space that they are opting out of seems to have escaped so ken. I'm always searching online researching omnibus topics and sometimes like in the case of our recent beaver kastoria episode which won't air for many weeks. I found myself searching all kinds of things that i wouldn't want to show up in my browser history. Like you don't want the government to know how many times you typed anal gland search engine. That's right. I mean once or twice. Sure you're doing research for for a project but keeps coming up if you follow if you follow anal gland down that whole. How is there a way that i could that i could mask my my activity online even if he is incognito mode in your browser like your piece still sees every single website. You've ever visited gad's but there is another option. There's a technology called a vpn that will anonymous is all of that and we recommend express vpn. Who is from whom through whom this entry of the omnibus is brought to you. It doesn't matter who your isp as your ps allowed to sell that information. And if you have a vpn vpn it. Just re routes your internet connection through their own secure servers. So you're s p is kept in the dark as to what you're doing online and it's none of their business frankly so it encrypts one hundred percent of your data it is the most powerful encryption available and it runs seamlessly like you just run. The background used the internet. Normally you're not even aware that your information is going through this separately of servers to keep your identity and activity anonymous so this works on my computer. But we'll we'll work on my phone to watch on you're unlock. It'll work on all your devices even a smart tv. Whoa a smart tv. I wonder if it works on my thermostat. I wonder if it works on my dumb tv. That i still have about a new. Tv in twenty years. So let me just say. I encourage you to protect your online activity today with the vpn rated number one by c net and wired. Here's an exclusive link for omnibus listeners. To get an extra three months free if they buy a one year express. Vpn packages maybe go to express vpn dot com slash omnibus. That's e. x. p. r. e. s. s. vpn dot com slash omnibus six omnibus slash omnibus. You've got through their product and then you mess up the name of our show outta express. Vpn dot com slash omnibus to learn more within america. There used to be in yield e times. So much of what you would have described as free and open space and kind of unknown Unmitigated space space that you would call lawless space. I mean the the american west no jurisdiction no jurisdiction and no no sheriff and no no local government. You could just move west from saint louis or or indianapolis and be your own person. Make your own laws until you got to san francisco. You can see somebody from or germany. Watching bbc news stories about ammon bundy Just expecting no government intervention on his ranch in eastern oregon southern idaho. Whatever is just seemed would be totally foreign to them. Decide this idea that you could just find a space where the government would leave you alone because there are no spaces in europe. And i am and been bundy if he just kept his livestock on his ranch. Nobody would have bothered him but he was part of that western delusion that there's all this free still that's owned by the government and you should as a as a free and sovereign american citizen to be able to graze cattle on public land for free and that that land is a although it is a shared resource a and this is somehow different by the way from people who in the city's sucking on the government. Welfare that's right but that idea that sense that there should be a place that you could go where you were untrammelled where you were out of reach of a man. I think there was a there was a great period. In america that lasted into the seventies and eighties where Where a certain kind of american went to central america or south east asia to people doing it again now that so many of our safety nets and pension systems are gone like i know people retiring to latin america because the health care will be available and the cost of living is cheap and they just have to shrug and say well yes. I'm spending my seventies in this little costa rican town. And that's very different than it was in the seventies when healthcare wasn't nobody was going somewhere for subsidized healthcare. You know they were going to central america. Because there wasn't all right unorganized government at least in in whatever little beach town they going away from something not toward something. Yeah and now of course. There's that like. Wow you know even though honduras Maybe is going to be. It's going to be very different from living in san diego. at least they least have hospitals. That aren't going to bankrupt me and my retirement goes a long way. Yeah but there are. There are plenty of people in the united states whose retirement doesn't even allow them to go to honduras and a group of americans has coalesced in the desert of very the very far southeastern corner of the state of california the great state of california and created a community called slab city slab city. He going to play slab city. Good old slab city. Need to work on the name Well the name is actually descriptive. There are slabs there are slow. I assumed otherwise. Why would you claim their work during world war two. You know the the military the navy. The army navy airforce marines but during world war two there was no air force But army navy and marines if you're in the military you're always looking for someplace that you can blow things up where it's not going to disturb the neighbors and It didn't take very long to run out of those places in virginia in virginia. If you wanna blow things up you have to fly all the way out into the atlantic ocean faraway. Drop your bombs out there. But there are a lot of places where the where the military wants to see their bombs explode on the ground and which i understand. Sure i wanna see their bombs explode on the ground. I wanna see both bright to have an option. But you can't do that. You can't do that in delaware the same way that you can say for instance in nevada and the american west is full of places. Full of gunny gunnery ranges and Explosives ranges and military training areas. That are all that were all developed. Sort of around the The the rise of military aviation so large areas the hundreds of thousands of acres given over in the in the west to To range is just for testing aircraft. Yeah dropping bombs on things on sagebrush if you're if you're five hundred feet off the ground and flying at mach one and you're gonna drop a five hundred pound bomb that thing's going to bounce a couple of times before it goes off and you need. You need a lot of leeway for that thing to bounce and blow it. You want to make sure it's only gila monsters. You're not gonna put that thing down between two housing developments so the west is full of this stuff and then of course when nukes were developed. You need the entire state of nevada with the exception of win. America reno tahoe and las vegas. There's nothing else there's a crater and you might need new mexico to turn people into hulks incredible but during world war two way out there in the sonoran desert. The marine corps built Built a camp called camp dunlap and it was within range of the The aircraft carriers that were stationed in san diego so the airplanes that were flying in and out of san diego they could make it over to this The eastern part of the state and the marine corps built a kind of artillery range and they poured big flat concrete slabs out there in the desert for their marine corps uses their mysterious marine corps purposes. Then they used it throughout the war and at the end of the war they kind of transferred it over to the navy. Six one half dozen of another navy doesn't have a lot of use for desert and over time. Well you'd be surprised about the amount of navy land. That's out in the desert. Got if you if you did an inventory of all the land. The navy owns that. You're just like what can they do. A trade could they work how to trade. What are you doing with all this land. Utah navy in this case. They did workout trade or rather by the early sixties. The navy realized they they got nothing going on out here in in Akin camp dunlap and that nothing in the foreseeable future and so they. They did a kind of latest quit. Their claim to it and the land reverted to the state of california state of california. also didn't have any use for this land and it just sat fallow. It was pretty. You'd find something to do with it. I mean it's pretty if you're a gila monster. Oh sure but a lot of things are pretty. If you're a gila monster decomposing skunk yeah lady. gila monsters. sure. But i'm picturing this being pretty brown dusty an awful. Yeah and the imperial valley in california is sort of fascinating territory and we'll cover it in a future episode of the omnibus but the imperial valley. has been irrigated for over one hundred years now by by intrepid californians some of whom we discussed in our water wars episode and so there are parts of the imperial valley that are lush. Lush farm liles. Yeah but really. When when settlers first arrived it was a sunbaked and below sea level westland and that was true of slab city for a long time before a man by the name of leonard night leonard night arrived in the eighties and leonard. Night was a was. Someone inspired Inspired by revelation and his personal revelation in his personal sinners inquest. This was a religious. Tiffany had religious. Tiffany and he began to build a structure out of garbage and discarded paint called that he called salvation mountain. God does appear to send a religious oddballs out to the desert a lot which is nice for the rest of us god. Does god also set the mormons. They're i guess. I shouldn't say god says god said abraham kill me a son in this case. God said leonard. Go build a mountain out of garbage. Where does he get the garbage. Well there's a lot of garbage in the world and people dump it in the desert Including god i do get annoyed. I get annoyed by that one. I see just some dead end road where people are dumping dryers right or or or or or young prophets but garbage is pretty easy to come by and i think garbage in the seventies and eighties was easier to come by before people really fell into the trap of believing that recycling was real as we learned in the garbage barge entry leonard nut began to build salvation mountain out of old tires and straw and coffee cups and paint and He worked on it for a long time. And what it is. Basically is a big mound out in the desert that has Sort of religious exhortations aphorisms painted on it. Oh it's not covered in dirt to make it look like a real mountain. It's actually got. It's covered in paint a mountain in the same way. That space mountain is right. It looks like melted. It looks like you took a bunch of legos and melted it in fire. And then painted apocalyptic jesus poems in it so it's art. It is incredible art. It's actually been declared a folk art site and a national treasure sent her senator barbara boxer actually like enshrined it as a national some kind of national art. Treasure is great. I can't tell how tall it is in these pictures. Maybe all yeah. The original the original salvation mound collapsed because leonard. Night was not an mountain engineer. But he realized i. This is true of a lot of religious visionaries. God caused it to collapse. Because god wanted leonard night to know in hindsight. It's clear that he needed to do a better job if you'd asked him at climb hit leonard is going to make this thing collapse. He would say absolutely not but now that it has. I think we all know that that's gonna try again and so the second time. Leonard studied engineering. I guess studying and he he he made a new mountain maneuver salvation mountain out of adobe and straw and tires and old windows and car parts and it looks like a big rock candy mountain garbage it is. It is a big rock candy mountain. Yeah i think the main thing that the mountain appears to be made of is paint he finds all paint is a thing that gets discarded. it's a toxic. I just a ton of paint as just for something to do during the pandemic and it used every bit of kitty litter could find. Yeah that's what i was. That's how i was kinda drying it up kind of instructed. That's your new way to dispose it. In the old days of course paint was super toxic. Had had a lot of lead in it but leonard collected donations of paint. And just oh god old paint from anywhere. He could and basically painted this mountain and then painted it again and painted again until he built up layers and layers and layers of colored. Paint always with With these sayings and religious iconography. There's a big hard with A little axiom. About jesus. John three sixteen i can see. That's a popular one. John three sixteen see that a lot of football game. That's a big one not anymore. How come the virtual fans in the in the sports events today. Don't have the bible versus. Oh they're They're just so mad at the football players kneeling during the during the pledge of allegiance that they they forget to hold up their sign. They brought the sign. It's there they. Just forget to hold it i guess salvation mountain is not just a mountain though there are caverns and places so i've been there and climbed clamored i was about to say climbed but it really clamor. So you're not you don't have to stay off the art you can. It's very interesting if you want a there at a certain point. Leonard nights started communicating with the local navajo. Trying to figure out like if he could get some insights maybe or or maybe architectural once he built a he built a like kind of effect. Simile of a hogan out of full tires and old windows. I guess i admire the multicultural. It's pretty fascinating to be in it. It's actually kind of a there are spaces. Within salvation mountain they feel kind of and not just bonkers hallowed but hallowed. He always intended to live there or live within it But during the whole period that he worked there which was some thirty odd years He just lived in a shed that was on the back of his pickup truck and see get attached and i think he will. He kept thinking he was going to move into the hogan just stayed in the truck and eventually you know unfortunately he got dementia but his salvation mountain attracted a certain kind of lucky lou headed by on the highway and it's proximate to the salton sea which which is another future omnibus which also brings a kind of desperate tourist a tourist of the tourist of the atlas obscure kind looking for Looking for the the weird Rather than necessarily the beautiful or interesting salton sea is weird. Oddly beautiful and interesting but once you see salvation mountain. I think one of the one of your initial takeaways has to be. Wow you can just come out here. Into the desert and build a mound. Not of tires pain. So that i can make a mountain. You can do anything here. You can do anything and it started to attract characters and there's no other way to put it. What did he think about that. Well i imagine. He liked the company. He wasn't he wasn't. I don't think that leonard was trying to start. A church was wondering if you wanted followers. They're in personal communication. With god and i think he did want people to come but he wanted them to come to read john three sixteen Although that's available. I feel like you could just stay in your hotel looking at. That's right but but maybe seeing it painted on the side of a mountain would would be the lightning bolt. You're looking for if i believe in these verses. If only they were larger font size is really challenging. My faith can we've come up with some exciting t shirt designs in the last couple of months. What can you tell us about. T shirts going forward. I like the december ones. After years of requests we have finally decided there should be an omnibus shirt with a mail truck on it. Yeah mail truck shirt and it's fun. It's got mr zip driving the truck. That kind of nightmare. Inducing representative of the post offices zone improvement plan. And he's having a fun time driving his mail truck on its last legs and it says i'm nervous and then there's a different shirt. Ghost writing isn't he. He's a little bit of the truck like he's only got one arm and one leg and he's lining out the right side but that is correct. That's that's the right side. His hurt is up. it's smoking. he's yeah he's quite a he's quite a rakish young man. He's a real daredevil here and then this is the to havilland beaver right. You talk about the aviation works. I can't remember what this is. It is it's the it's the beaver from the front end. It's landing on a alaskan lake with its with its seed pods with its pontoons at odds. We call it. That's right it's a it's it's a floatplane as we say in the in the parlance it shows. It's very distinctive and characteristic radio engine from the front so there's no mistaking the profile of the jalan beaver. These are some good looking shirts about some popular omnibus entries two new designs every month. So these will be gone at the end of december. Don't miss out that's right. This ad is. This ad has a time limit. You've got what to over two weeks so almost three weeks so omnibus project dot com slash store. You'll always see the links to our two new shirts that our friend dave has up for us at mediocrity t. You'll also find a link to our public store where we have a wide array of stuff with the omnibus logo on it hoodies The what else hats. I think mugs onesies phone cases. Yeah once he's only adult sizes haha if you show up at my house in an omnibus adult onesie. Yes you can spend the night. How does that sentence. And maybe my guestroom definitely can spend the night So don't forget if you're interested in omnibus gear for a limited time only had two omnibus project dot com slash store that's omnibus project dot com slash store. Salvation mountain was right next to the ruins of old camp dunlap and when california took it over the navy had demolished all the buildings and all that was left now quonset huts. Always left worthy slaps But people start show up and one of the first guys to show up out. There was a guy named container charlie who. I'm sure that was not his name having well. Whose name was charlie russell. And having christened container charles having having hit Sort of the skids rather not the skids. But the end of the road container. Charlie still had stuff he still had life left in him but he just didn't see a future for himself in the city anymore. Any put all his stuff in container shipping container and took it out to salvation mountain out to a slab. He picked a slab that suited him surrounded by scrub grass. And this is one of the slobs buildings used to be on. It was a foundation Gila monsters and whatnot. Any of his stuff in his container. Plopped it down and said This is mine. I live here now and container. Charlie i think probably the next person that stopped by salvation mountain and then saw container charlie next door cooking gila monster and live in his best line. A good life It wasn't long before people started to congregate there. And there's more slabs more slabs more more room and more I think perceived lack of any jurisdiction. There is a town very close by It's the town of nyland california which is perhaps annoyed by over. This will now only three miles away but nyland and this is you know kind of classic story and is a largely latino community hispanic community of people that also have fallen on fairly hard times as the agriculture in In the imperial valley has gradually dried up because of the of the incredible demand on all that colorado river water so once lush farmland now rises leftover people so nylon nylon wasn't thriving either but they were not They weren't looking to live off the grid. I mean not. The people living in ireland that the electricity would stay on. The police would come when they called. But as more and more people started to arrive at slab city an took on the name slap city. It became kind of a place like the like of which there are very few in the united states maybe slab city is the last and increasingly few places like it in the world. Where although the state of california and the california state highway patrol like Stinson ably have jurisdiction there It's pretty far out. And nobody really takes responsibility for it. And it is. Is there no power or utilities or there There are no utilities of any kind. No water no power. No sewer it's just slabs of concrete kind of half buried under tumbleweeds. I mean if hundreds of people that you do start to see the limitations pretty soon of living in a place with nothing but slabs of concrete and no offer power sewer well so little by little. They're community has grown in size so that it now encompasses hundreds and hundreds of people. I think More than four hundred. Well wait a minute. More than four thousand people. Wait. what right now. Live in slab city in the winter in the summer it should be noted that slab city routinely is one hundred and twenty degrees but those slabs feel pretty hot. It's pretty hot in slab city in the summer and there is some sort of there are scrubby trees there. I mean there is some shade to be had if it could be called fat but the population really swells in winter makes sense. That's in the summer. That's the time when you have plenty of other plenty of options places in america where you can kind of live this This in this demi monde world in the winter you have a lot fewer options well and would it attracted in. Its you know in. It's a period of of fast growth were snowbirds But snowbirds you know. Rv culture Boomers who were retiring and wanted to stretch their dollar people that didn't want the government in their business. It's a certain kind of retiree. Your average retiree is just gonna koa or something. It sure is a certain kind. And you know you see This is another thing about refocusing. Your is in urban environments. You start to notice. Oh there are a lot of people. Living are vs in any major metropolitan city. And there are these that are really patched together with Chewing gum and bailing wire. I see a lot of them here and and those rv's represent a completely separate subculture and it's a subculture that i think considers itself at one removed from the homeless population. They wouldn't described himself as homeless because they aren't they got a system. Yeah they're turtles and As long as they can keep those vs running. They're in good shape. I think probably a lot of rv's in seattle in the summer that maybe head down to slab city. It's it's a kind of burning man except for a not for like rich kids on instagram. And what what ends up happening is you're right it is. It's a certain type of person and it does attract a kind of art collective mentality. As part of the way itself governs so salvation mountain was the spark that brought outsider artists to think of this as a place where they could also create of trash. Because there's a lot of trash in slab city and there's a lot of art made out of trash because you're responsible for bringing all your stuff. I mean all your resources everything you you live on your water and your food. You have to bring yourself. And i'm sure. These people are not super vigilant about trucking out of there they really aren't and there's something to do with the litter there's garbage everywhere you wanna make art. It's perfect you wanna make art. So they're very. It's very artistic. So driving through slab city and i was their most recent lay. Oh boy it's probably been about ten years. You didn't stay you. Were just passing through to look at check it out. Yeah i i stayed at day. The slab is that what they say. Yeah regards labrador retriever regard. You know people that aren't slabs normies and they actually say they use the word army Which i guess has yet. That's now a popular term for anybody. That's not in your weird. Whatever your little thing here within om the omnibus bunker we call. Everybody does not in the bunker. Normies i feel like in the world is just somebody who doesn't watch the same anime as you but here it means something a little more meaningful driving through slab city you cannot but feel a palpable menace That you would feel anywhere. Where lawlessness was clearly the rule of order. That's what i was going to ask. I mean to slab city have some of the ills that seattle's most recent attempt to have some kind of free place like this began as kind of a fun festival arts collective and ended in a couple of murders slam city. Feels like you're in a plasmatics video. It's definitely like water world in the desert but there is a there isn't an ethos of self government which is understandable. Right you can't have four thousand people congregate in the desert and and literally have no more as so it keeps things running the they try to solve their own problems they do. I mean there's a little element of They they're not solving problems the same way that we would. There's a kind of visual lantis him. That happens There's a one of the rules of slab city. Is that anything that is abandoned for more than five days becomes free game arrest that what happened in our house so if you had down to nyland to get water and decide to you know in and you call your daughter and she says come home You know the. There's a the one of the chickens having a breach birth or whatever and you go home for a week and you come back your abandoned school bus that was full of all the hubcaps. You'd been collecting to build a like a michelin man There that's gone. It's been scavenged by the other by the other members of the other residents and that's within the law of start kind of slab city task. Grab it where where i fill in for people who are on the verge of losing their having their stuff cannibalized. There's also a tradition there that if the community starts to agree that any one inhabitant of slab city has just stayed there. welcome Which probably happens not infrequently Where somebody just as you can murder them. Well what they have is what's called a burn out which means that everybody just gathers around and burns down your place there do you do. Are you allowed to exit before. Yeah i think so but kurds. Most of the people living in slab city are living in an rv. An old school bus their car that they've built a kind of lean to next to. I mean you know it's all It's all put together housing tin city. Basically you know It's housing made out of scrap so to burn. Someone's place down is yeah it's a. It's a pretty strong message. It would be in any community but when you drive around slab city you see burned out cars and rv's if you've ever seen an rv on the side of the road they caught fire and burned. It's pretty catastrophic at. that's a palpable reminder of to keep your to keep in line. I keep your keep your ps and qs zipped but as the as the real say but there you know there are compounds that people have built out of found. Barb wire and metal where you kind of can't see in little little corrals enclaves. I mean it's it's truly a testament to the ingenuity of the scavenger to people have generators in tv antennas and lights. And it's not like some throwback pioneer community know their lights in slabs city not powered by any any communal grid but people with generators people. There's a lot of solar power because it's really hot and it's in the desert so people people do have electricity. Although driving and i was there at night as well i mean i stayed unto the night until until into the night. And it's even spookier at night because it's all low wattage electricity so all the lights are kind of have a yellow yellow glow except for the ones that are like halogen bright and so driving around you. Just you really do feel like Like you're in a christmas village of the damned. Yeah christmas village on the dam But it's a it has become in a way it's own art installation There's an area there which Which was started so so it's developed many different neighborhoods There's an area called east jesus And this is part of charlie russell's domain east jesus is It's not a religious reference. It's not it's kind of equivalent to really sounds like the kind of thing you say if you drop a hammer on your town east jesus no. It's it's something more akin to a b. f. e. where he say i'm headed out to east jesus like It just means the middle of nowhere but east. Jesus has become a whole sort of enough artists working collectively that it It's like a museum. It's become an art installation in of itself. The whole of slump city has suburbs now. Unfortunately the state of california has recently been entertaining offers from petroleum companies to sell. The land is their oil. There's not all as far as i know. But petroleum companies need places to just political in the middle of nowhere. I mean just to get a tax. Write off talk about just a place to dump trash. I'm not sure whether the whether petroleum companies are actually exploring for oil there or whether they just want to dump their oil in the canals but once the ownership of east jesus was threatened. Some of the slab is have been trying to cobble together. Some money enough to buy slab city from the state of california because whatever the value of slab city is. It's pennies on the acre. If it wasn't slapped if you went across the street from slab city you could buy six hundred acres for know for the cost of one burned out car probably so it's a deal but unfortunately now within slap city there's a little bit of a generational conflict kind of like anywhere else in america kinda like anywhere else but the omnibus bunker. The young people in slab city who tend to be more of kind of you know fringe outsider people to begin with not not people that worked their whole lives and now live in an rv. And wanna be somewhere where there's no property tax but you know a younger group that wants to live in an in an art swirled off grid. A kind of into the wild type and salvation mountain actually appears in the movie into the wild. It's one of the places that the protagonist kid stops by on his way to dying of scurvy but the younger people feel like the boomers who lived in slab city for thirty years are going to buy slab city for a dollar from the state of california and then impose some kind of boomer. Hoa buber law on it. And the and the ape law at boomer spoken wall to wall carpeting and the youth are going to get a once again disenfranchised by by the greedy grasp. Really if you think slabs city has sold out then there's really no hope for you right. It's if your expectation is that even slabs to corporate. I don't know to tell you if this is the last free place. And and the and the boomers get in there and charge you a star plan. Steely dan music. When you're trying to just trying to enjoy the stars yeah where are you going to go on. Juris and that concludes slab city entry. One one seven zero dot. Is three five zero. One certificate number three two zero four in the omnibus as long as we are not off the grid and as long as the was longer than telecommunications grids survives. John dedicated to Leaving personal footprints on facebook instagram twitter etc. Much that we hate it. You could find us at omnibus project or at ken jennings rat john roderick individually speaking to a future audience. The probably largely lives in camps like this. And maybe they're like what a great idea. We can take all these tires and make salvation mountain. Why haven't you painted your tires. Painted your mountains of tires future links if your tires are just sitting in the middle of the desert attracting scorpions. What are you doing. you need to paint. Pit some pastel bible verses on john three sixteen look it up. It'll it'll it's great you can speaking of facebook. There's the future ling's fan group that we appreciate everything else on. Facebook is awful so please limit yourself to that one page they also have a sub reddit and a discord. I'm sure you can email us at the omnibus project at gmail.com with your own off the grid stories If you're off the grid right now you can email us. That's just one of the compromises. You've chosen in that lifestyle. Right right right you can send us physical objects. This large envelope addressed to you. John and i wasn't going to open it until now. Oh what is it. I don't know too large. It's a large sort of envelope bog. large cylindrical is it a baby. Yoda it is an stanley. Boeing military airplanes thermos. That's about the size of of a smart car. Look that oh wow look at the bottom of it. Oh man it's a old stanley. I'm now stenciled boeing military airplanes. Do you think. I'm enough of a dad that i can now say it's a beauty about things. That's a beauty isn't instance boy. It's a beauty now. We know this is for me And not for not a thermos for us to share made in nashville tennessee. You're welcome to share. But it's from a listener named eighty from richmond. He pass here. Look at this gorgeous gorgeous thing. But i bet you it smells like bourbon doesn't smell like bourbon. Don't impugn as potential substance issues just landed right behind your laptop. Your hands right on in a brown envelope it does. Jr on let me open it here up. It's well sealed in this thing but come on. Come on trying to open this in real time. This great radio. When someone's opening a letter. Nick more ripping sounds all right. It's nasa says here. Dear john enjoy and use this thermos in good health. Thanks for the many years of sharing your stories all and art with us. Use this two foot tall thermos allen rogers and it seems like it probably maybe contains like some kind of nuclear core like nuclear fissionable material. Well you know this is very well. Preserved firm thermos but also has been used. And i think by his father or grandfather. Kind of handle like an old lunchbox which i long it does it. You know it shows somewhere. But it's well-cared-for i think i'm gonna put many delicious hot and cold beverages in this thermos. I also got a note from a listener in nolansville tennessee. Sh- maybe start to the t. I can't i i don't know if i can read it. He sent me. it's typed. would you can't read it so where the name should appear. It says your name which is either some kind of postmodern trick or he just forgot to replace template icy okay go on the signature starts to the tv. Set me. A flattened souvenir penny that he made in somewhere in san francisco. It's got a trolley and a lamppost on it and he says if you look at the back very closely you can see has a distorted. Abraham lincoln had kind of in the style of salvador dali canvassed proof so he says that any smashing. It's still hang. Smashing is actually smashing. The penny as i have often posited placing it with a counterfeit substitute oval penny. What is what is keeping them from substituting. Just this smash lincoln face exactly. Yeah if you're if you're going to stock your machine with these kind of copper ellipses no additional trouble to kind of a distorted lincoln head on the back of it or let me see. He sent us the penny and also several photographs of the penny completely. This is faked by q. Yeah we don't believe this for a second offenders your real name so yeah feel free to send your own oddities if you like to. Po box five seven four four shoreline washington ninety eight one five five the really the most meaningful way to support the show is to do so with our patriotic the show is now almost entirely supported by the benevolence largess of listeners like you if currency still exist in your era you can become part of the support our community at patriotair dot com slash omnibus project and enjoy all the benefits that come with that including a monthly sunday episode and that's that's like the lowest tier an extra monthly out of us is the least of the things you can get by becoming a patriot donor which is very exciting. If you've thought about it for a while this is the time this season of giving please if your budget allows go to dot com slash onto this project and let john know you care. God bless us. Everyone future links from our vantage point in your distant past. We have no idea how long our civilization survived or how long it was before. Ken had to forsake his internet connected thermostat and live on a concrete slab with the rest of you. That's right covered with the covered with with paint. And bible verse. I'd already know the bible verses to go. We hope and pray that this catastrophe. We fear may never come to continue to eat our chocolate chip. Cookies in suburban bliss. But if the worst comes soon this recording like all our recordings may have been our final word but if providence allows. We hope to be back with you soon for another entry in.

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