Mooning Amtrak annual event in California July 9

mooning amtrakIf you’re traveling through California by train next month, keep your eyes peeled for some special scenery in Orange County. On Saturday, July 9, exhibitionists, daredevils, and the just plain childish will gather in Laguna Niguel, drop their pants, and moon the passing Amtrak trains from early morning to late night. According to the excellent travel site Wish You Were Here, the event started 32 years ago as a bar dare (as these things do) at the Mugs Away Saloon and now draws thousands each year to participate in some good old-fashioned mooning.

You don’t have to participate to join in the fun, but we think going to watch a mooning event without participating is even weirder than joining a crowd of strangers to show your bare buttocks to a train of people. The event keeps going past 8pm, when the night mooning begins, which the official site claims is “more authentic” but does require additional lighting.

Check out all the details for the 32nd annual Mooning Amtrak here.

For more fun with trains, check out today’s Manhattan User’s Guide (not just for New Yorkers) for railroad history links and info.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Chuck “Caveman” Coker.

Get a surfboard, help a kid

Boards for auction!
If you’ve got a surfing trip coming up and are looking for a new board, get into the holiday spirit by bidding on a surfboard that helps kids with autism.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is currently hosting a Holiday Surfboard Auction with the help of Surfers Healing, an organization founded by a former competitive surfer and his wife whose son was diagnosed with autism at age three. Now the couple, Israel and Danielle Paskowitz, hosts days at the beach where autistic children can experience the thrill of surfing (with the help of a pro surfer steering at the back of the board). The Paskowitzes say that surfing has had “a profound impact” on their son.

To benefit Surfers Healing, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is auctioning off 26 one-of-a-kind boards signed by surfing legends including Kelly Slater, Laird Hamilton, Matt Archbold, Makua Rothman, Sunny Garcia, Garrett McNamarra, Dustin Barca, Michael and Dereck Ho, Shane and Gavin Beshen, The Malloy Brothers, Joel Tudor, and Lisa Anderson, as well as celebrities Scott Caan, Benjiman Bratt, Robert Hays, Sarah McLachlan and Marc Jacobs.

The surfboards are on display at the resort now, and will remain there until the bidding closes on December 31 — if you win one, you can take it home the next day. Happy New Year!

To see all the boards and place a bid, visit their BiddingForGood site here.

Mayor wants to eclipse city’s mooning festival

It’s the type of event that a mayor might normally look forward to–one that brings people together and puts them in a celebratory mood. No matter that the celebratory mood makes the people here want to drop trou and start mooning trains.

This Saturday, Laguna Niguel, California will be celebrating its annual “Moon Over Amtrak.” Last year, between 8,000-10,000 people participated in the day-long event. Revelers line Camino Capistrano, a road that parallels the railroad tracks, and moon the trains–sometimes waiting a few minutes and other times an hour between moons.

For the past 30 years, the event has been a city tradition. But this year the new mayor, Robert Ming, isn’t liking it one bit–complaining of its crowds and drunkenness. Of course, 39 year-old Ming, who’s been in office since December, has never even participated in the event. (Just a thought: maybe he should join his constituency and give it a whirl before he tries to shut it down, eh?)

City officials are limiting the revelry as much as they can without banning the event entirely. The city began the (ahem) crackdown in March, agreeing on an ordinance that bans on-street parking from Thursday to Sunday of this week. To cover even more bases, they also banned drinking alcohol or urinating in public.

A semi-official website is up that lists the train passings between 7:35 a.m. and 11:22 p.m.–a total of 37 times throughout the day. I like that the event still seems to have an organic, ‘now what are we doing?’ feel to it. The website recommends that people “bring a wire coat hanger to make a hook to hang your lantern from the chain link fence” for the nighttime moonings. And it also answers the question that I know you were begging to ask: “Can I decorate my butt?” The answer is yes.

Moon Over Amtrak started back in 1979 when a bar patron offered to buy a drink to anyone who would moon the next train. One man took him up on it and–flash–a tradition was born.

[Thanks, wsj.com]

Check out some of these wacky laws, place names and signs from around the world!