Category Archives: Strange World

So, who had “rain of chocolate” on their 2020 bingo card?

A broken ventilation system in a Swiss chocolate factory led to cocoa powder raining (or snowing, if you prefer) down on nearby towns.

The company says one car was lightly, and possibly deliciously, coated. It has offered to pay for any cleaning needed but hasn’t yet been taken up on the offer. — AP

I’ve got to say, I’d prefer a light dusting of cocoa to the wildfire smoke we’ve got around here.

Murder Hornets? Really?

Remember the opening from the 1980s Flash Gordon, where the villain has a dashboard with buttons labeled with various disasters? He used it like a sound effects board: Press the Earthquake button and it would trigger an earthquake. Press the Hurricane button and trigger a hurricane. Press the freaking Hot Hail button and it would trigger a fiery hailstorm. (seriously).

I kinda feel like “Murder Hornets” is another button on that patch board.

For what it’s worth, the Smithsonian has a more…measured take on them: No, Americans Do Not Need to Panic About ‘Murder Hornets’

The Asian giant hornet, seen for the first time in North America in 2019, is unlikely to murder you or U.S. bees, according to Smithsonian entomologist

Theater for Nobody

This is fascinating: A college theater production of Sophocles’ “The Women of Trachis,” a rarely-performed Greek tragedy, was interrupted by the pandemic. It’s been transformed into a one-night only automated performance featuring video clips of the actors (each sheltering in place at home), collected by TikTok and iMovie and assembled by the director to be shown in an empty theater.

As director Michal Zadara puts it, “It’s theater for nobody.” It’s kind of mind-bending in the way it makes you think about the very nature of performing arts and stories — and more, the kind of story it is.

No one on stage.

No one in the audience.

A tragedy that no one will see.

Looking Back at Camp Myford

A gate across a two-lane road heading downward through the hills.

I’ve been looking through photos from back when we could, you know, go places and found a set from the hills above North Tustin during a year that we got enough rain to turn the hills green. There were some really clear shots of Peters Canyon, Saddleback, and even some south Orange County hills that I couldn’t identify. There was a spot that I remember being a turn-out that’s finally eroded away to the point that it’s been fenced off.

And there was this gate, which I think might have been across the road to Camp Myford, a Boy Scout camp on the Irvine Ranch that closed back in the late 1980s. I remember working as a camp counselor for a Cub Scout day camp during the last month — possibly the last week — it remained operating, before the bulldozers came in.

I remember lots of eucalyptus trees, hiking trails and dirt roads, a couple of buildings (though I couldn’t tell you what was in them), a fire ring, and a whole lot of giant pipes that were going to become the sewers and storm drains of the housing tract that was going to be built any moment now. And I remember being told in no uncertain terms that we were supposed to watch our language around the impressionable younger boys (who were, of course, a lot more foul-mouthed than we were).

And I found this article from the Tustin Area Historical Society, summarizing the history of the canyon as far back as the Mexican Rancho system, when it was named Cañon de las Ranas (Canyon of the Frogs) because it drained into the Newport Back Bay, known then as the Marsh of the Frogs.

Old photo of Camp Myford gate and sign over a dirt road.Peters Canyon was once Canyon of the Frogs
Camp Myford, an Irvine Co. gift to the Orange County Council Boy Scouts of America, was named for James Irvine’s youngest son. Peter’s Canyon Regional Park offers a well-used oasis of wilderness amid the sprawl of development in the North Tustin area…