Final answers…

Blogger’s Note: This is the last post regarding answers to this quiz.

6. Halloween is important to 
Nevada because:
a. Pumpkins are its major
cash crop.
b. On October 31,1864 Nevada 
was admitted to the union.
c. It's Alien Appreciation Day

b.  Halloween is Nevada Day.  When I was a kid we always got the day off from school to watch the cast of Bonanza –  Paw, Adam, Little Joe and Hoss   – parade down Virginia street on their horses along with a whole bunch of other mounted men and women shooting off their guns. Now the Gay Rodeo, Hot August Nights, and River Run festivals are the big deals.  How times change.

7. Bat Guano is used in the following ways:
a. Fertilizer
b. Explosives
c. Laundry detergent
d. All of the above
e. What the heck is bat guano

Oh my, this is my favorite question!  The correct answer, believe it or not, is d. All of the above.  In fact not only has bat guano been used to create fertilizer, explosives and laundry soap but it is so over-mined in parts of the world that legislation has had to be passed to regulate the industry. (See Guano Islands Act in 1856, which gave U.S. citizens  exclusive rights to deposits they found on unclaimed islands.)

Unfortunately the mining of bat guano is causing damage to many species of cave-adapted invertebrates who rely on bat feces as their sole source of nutrition, destroying local paleoclimatic records in strata that have built up over thousands of years, and endangering the bat colonies themselves. Bats are highly vulnerable to regular disturbance to their roosts. Some species, such as Phyllonycteris aphylla, have low fat reserves, and will starve to death when regularly disturbed and put into a panic state during their resting period. Many species will drop pups when in panic, with subsequent death, leading to a steady reduction in population.


The Lehman Caves – image from

The bat caves in FLIPKA were inspired by the Lehman Caves which are located in the Great Basin park some thirty miles southeast of Ely Nevada. Indians tried to protect these caves by claiming they were the sacred caves of the dead, guarded by a “little man with a blue beard” who would bring “dire consequences” to anyone who entered. It worked for a while.

Unlike the fictional caves in FLIPKA, these caves are open to the public, however their location –  at least five hours from Vegas, Salt Lake City or Reno – ensures they get so few visitors that conservation has not been an issue.  And mining is not an issue because it’s a National Park.

Other fun facts about bat guano:

Bat Guano Tea

Not really tea. Do not add hot water. Do not drink.

But without a doubt the most bizarre use for bat guano:  Bat Guano tea.

In this case the “tea” is actually a fertilizer.  Yikes, I hope someone doesn’t take the manufacturer literally.

The “Trick” Question

Blogger’s Note: This post (and the ones to come the next couple of days) contain the answers to this quiz, posted last week.  They’re of particular interest if the oddball state of Nevada is of any interest to you and it should be – it’s a strange place.

3. Prostitution is legal in Nevada 
(this is a trick question - pardon
the pun).
a. True
b. False

Prostitution is actually only “legal” in certain counties in Nevada.  True, the majority of the counties have voted to legalize prostitution but in the counties which include Reno, Sparks, and Las Vegas prostitution is not legal. You have to go across the border to a neighboring county to get your kicks or hire an “escort” from one of the casinos ($$$$).  When they use the term legal, what they really mean is regulated. A legal whorehouse complies with state regulations which include the paying of taxes of course.  In addition girls in the regulated houses must also undergo weekly venereal testing.  It’s always about the money folks. Most gals prefer to work for unregulated houses where they don’t have to be prodded weekly by condescending medical “professions” and they get to keep more of what they earn.  In Nevada, sex is a business.  Modern day whore houses even have web pages and the remote ones, landing strips.

chicken ranch

Vintage tee shirt

Some houses of ill-repute have deceptively innocent names  (Warning: the below are live links to actual whorehouses.  Send junior from the room if you intent to click on them):

Others are upfront about their business:

Many of them try to sound so cute like there something just so fluffy and sweet about giving a blow-job:

Others, well they boggle the mind – like the Alien Cathouse or Chicken Ranch.  I mean, would you want to have sex with a chicken?  An alien cat perhaps but a chicken?

Home means Nevada

Blogger’s Note: This post (and the ones to come the next couple of days) contain the answers to this quiz, posted last week.  They’re of particular interest if the oddball state of Nevada is of any interest to you and it should be – it’s a strange place.

2. Who owns approx 84% of Nevada?

a. Federal Government
b. The casinos
c. Howard Hughes’ estate
e. Aliens

The answer is the Federal Government although just about any alien being in the universe would have a better chance of getting a cordial welcome in rural Nevada than a Fed.  Feds are generally greeted with shotguns.


More welcome in Winnemucca Nevada than a Federal Agent!

What the government does with this (our) land is never  disclosed to the public, thus it’s best not to take an unmarked dirt road into the desert as Fi Butters did.   You may well find yourself looking down the barrel of a gun held by either a soldier or a cowboy whose face is hidden by shades and a baseball camp.  Don’t ask them what they’re doing or why you can’t go down that road.  Just turn around, if you can.

Other fun facts about Nevada:

  • Despite libertarian leanings of the state’s rural residents,  Nevada has the harshest penalties for drug offenders in the country.  You can buy alcohol twenty-four hours a day, sell your body, gamble away everything but the family dog, and shot trespassers in the back but you better not lit up a joint!  They’ll put you in jail for life.
  • Nevada has the most hotel rooms per capita of any other state in the United States (and probably the world).
  • Coincidentally, Nevada’s divorce rate tops the national average. Hum, coincidence?
  • Church attendance in Nevada is among the lowest of all the US states.

Most attended church in Nevada – the wedding chapel (this one is called Graceland. Guess why?)



Question 1. At the end of WWII 
which group of pilots 
unnerved German infantrymen
so badly they were called the 
a. American Red Tails
b. British RAF
c. A group of barely trained
Russian women in crop dusters

And the answer is, drum roll please, barely trained Russian women flying wood and canvas Polikarpov Po2 biplanes originally intended for crop dusting.


Russian pilots preparing to scare the crap out of sleeping German infantrymen.

These planes were so shoddily built that they would stop mid-flight and the women would have to climb out on the wings to restart them. However, their top speed was below the stall threshold for a Messerschmitt, Germany’s all powerful fighter jet.  This meant Messerschmitt pilots couldn’t attack them without stalling.


These Russian pilots were called Nachthexen or Night Witches because they would cut their engines and glide silently over sleeping troops.  If the soldiers heard anything at all before getting bombarded, it would be the eerie whistling of the guide-wires, a sound the Germans compared to witches flying overhead on their broomsticks.

witchThe physical damage these women caused paled in comparison with the humiliation they suffered.  The mighty Teutonic forces terrorized by women in crop dusters!

Rumors regarding these mighty women were at first dismissed by American pilots but soon came to be revered, most notably by the fictional Captain Wilhelm Umberto Grayson in FLIPKA.  Years after the war he would name his “mistress,” a Po2 biplane, after one of them and oh, the adventures they would have together.

After the war these women became one of the most highly decorated regimens in the Soviet army.  To this date they are still revered:



Headlines from Planet Nevada

Today, dear followers, a sampling of articles from Planet Nevada…home of FLIPKA.

Let's hear it for the 
World's oldest profession!

We all need to do our bit to keep hookers in business and paying taxes so, fellow Nevadans – buy more books, more clothes, more toys, etc.  from Amazon. According to this entertaining article in Business Week, the more you buy, the less the ladies of the night have to discount their services and maybe, just maybe, we can afford to take care of our indigent mental patients instead of applying “Greyhound Therapy.”

You're never too old...

Good news all you post menopausal ladies! According to this same article in Business Week, you can become a prostitute at age 49 and rise to the rank of madam by the time you’re 63.

“Austin (63), who said she became a prostitute at 49 before becoming a madam, said the Mustang Ranch is seeing fewer clients than five years ago, though she wouldn’t provide figures.”

Just think, a new career opportunity awaits you, one in which you don’t have to be a former Swim Suit Model of the year but it won’t hurt business.  Benefits are, you can sleep in, you get weekly tests for venereal disease and, depending on your establishment, free room and board comes as part of the deal.

UNBM adds the study of louche delights to its curriculum...

In it’s efforts to attract quality athletes from all over the world, the University of Nevada Battle Mountain has added Sociological Repercussions of the Louche Delights Industry to its curriculum for the fall quarter of 2013.  Unfortunately most of the incoming football players ignored the course entirely as they don’t own a dictionary.  However, the professor, Dr. J. Allen Gooseman, was delighted to find his classroom full of be-speckled journalism majors all of whom were dead set on writing a Pulitzer Prize winning piece on the prostitution industry.

A sentence I wished I'd written..

“Flint has hedged his bet on fornication: He also owns Chapel of the Bells, a Reno wedding service, where his office is decorated with portraits of Napoleon.”

Ah Nevada…

Why Nevada…

I was raised in Reno, Nevada, which I always thought I could put behind me, but…


The closest I ever came to being a cowgirl!

You know how these things go. Nevada just keeps popping up in my writing, as a setting, a dreaded past, or even as a character. So many other writers have set their novels in Nevada that I did a little investigation to find out how their stories differed from mine. What I found out was, the state has cast its spell on many a writer in much the same way as it did on me.

When you talk about Nevada, most people think Vegas.  And is it true, hundreds of contemporary novels have been set in Sin City (and Sin City North – Reno). Apparently there are more than enough greedy millionaires, soulless gangsters, cunning thieves, pretty heiresses, hard-nosed detectives, and clueless tourists in those towns to satisfy a multitude of writers.


Set in a “fictional” town in Nevada. Stephen King based the story on a real road trip he took through the state.

However, when writers switch their attention inland to the “real” Nevada,  it’s remarkable how the same themes have prevailed: travelers trapped in isolated desert towns where they are toyed with by evil forces (“Skin” and ”Desolation”), UFO encounters that lead to strange maladies and mental afflictions (“Strangers”), and doomsday thrillers generally involving the military or CIA.

I am no different.  When I think of rural Nevada, all of the above themes seem remarkably plausible to me. I’m certain I ran into the arachnid shift-changers of “Scorpio Rising” outside of Ely, an isolated town near the border of Nevada and Utah.

Of course, I’ve only skimmed the surface of the many fine novels set in that other house. The one I can’t seem to escape.  Apparently, once trapped on one of Nevada’s many endless roads, one can never really escape!

One of Nevada's many endless roads. It took almost an hour to get to the mountains on the horizon.

Somewhere between Fallon and Eureka. It took almost an hour to get to the mountains on the horizon.

Coming soon:  Whorehouses, giant red-haired cannibals, the many uses of bat guano, and aliens, of course, aliens.  You can’t talk about Nevada without mentioning aliens.