Sure, it is all but practically abandoned and there is just far too much salt. So much salt, in fact, that fish are dying by the thousands and rotting in the desert sun. And, then there is the sad plight of the rare birds who migrate there only to be killed by the ever escalating situation.

As Sonny Bono noted, shortly before he decided to go free-fall skiing, it is an ecological and environmental disaster that must be corrected! And, after his tragic death funds were raised by Congress. Sadly, most of those funds failed to make it to solve the real problem. …all that damn salt!

And, no, the sewage in the water is a myth. It is just too damned much salt. And, too many fish. And, far too many rotting fish. It was meant to be the perfect place for the wealthy to play. It was meant to be a bit of paradise in the desert. It was meant to be a man-made ocean full of happy, healthy fish — and free from the danger of sharks. It was meant to be a better and more beautiful version of Palm Springs. However, fate had other plans.

Cool hotels, resorts, ocean view homes and fun things went up! …but, then it all went terribly wrong. Water got diverted, too much salt, too many fish and then the stench began. As that stench and poverty began to sink The Salton Sea — the big money built up Palm Springs. And the spings of palm took over.

Hopes were lost, people gave up and left. A few still hang on. Are still hanging on, but they are getting quite old. It is all documented in the film, PLAGUES & PLEASURES ON THE SALTON SEA. The film traces the interesting history of this odd place. We meet the people who have remained and discover a quirky group of people who are determined to not give up. Nudist, a handsome barkeep with big dreams, some tough broads who refuse to go anywhere, an artiste on a mission from God to create a man made mountain near a man made ocean and a self-styled Russian who still seems to think that the American Dream might be real. …and all those dead fish melting into the soil. …and the smell. …and all that land abandoned, for sale and waiting for a solution which could be so easy.

The film exists in several versions. I found out about it because the organization for which I work helped to get it edited and made. It was originally a 56 minute documentary. Then it became an hour and forty-six minute film and now it is traveling the festival circuit with a new score, a new narration by John Waters and a shorter running time of an hour and twenty six minutes. It is an amazing, fun, sad and rather twisted tale of enduring hope and the sad state of things when money people get too involved.

Of course it is a real gamble, but…

At this very moment one can buy almost a full city block of land for less than $8K. And, one can also purchase a beautiful plot of ocean view property for under $20K. …and, at this point, it can be had with even bad credit.

San Diego is trying to take away most of the water claiming the Salton Sea to be a lost cause. However, if that happens and if the US government fails to finally fix the salt issue (which is totally “fix-able” —- then two things will happen which will cause some major problems for the nation’s major playas: That horrible stench will soon blow over to Palm Springs. And, it won’t go away. And, once the water is taken the stench filled dirt storms will begin. And, guess where they will be headed? Yep. Palm Springs.

I suspect that the issue of the Salton Sea will get resolved in the near future. And, once it is resolved — those $8K city blocks will be worth a couple of million. And, don’t even think about securing one of those ocean view lots for less than a cool million.

Just imagine. (or not)

But, I’m a bit of dreamer who loves the ocean and people who live on the fringe.

I’m dreaming. …and, it is an 8 hour drive away.

June 18, 2007. Uncategorized.


  1. ing replied:

    I have been to the Salton Sea, and yes, it smells. I saw lots of birds and a few dead fish and scant numbers of very tough-looking people who were holding out, I guess.

  2. matty03 replied:

    Ing!!!! I didn’t know you’ve been to the Salton Sea!!!! Get ready to describe the visit in graphic detail!!!! I’m so fascinated by it!!!! …hey, tomorrow we get our brain branded! …we’ll have to protect Alan! He is ‘a scare’d!’

  3. Meredith replied:

    Sounds like my kinda place. Oh wait, stench and tough old birds hanging on… I’m already there I guess. Damn.

  4. matty03 replied:

    Lovely Meredith! No! You are on a beautiful rock! I’ve seen pictures!!!!

  5. jungle jane replied:

    126 minutes of movie about dead fish?? whaaaaaat?

  6. matty03 replied:

    Jungle Jane – No, one hour and 26 minutes. …so 86 minutes in full. It is about much more than dead fish. Quite interesting, sad and funny. …which is why they were able to get John Waters to narrate!

    …Ing has been there! I wonder if she met the hot bar keep or the happy nudist. ????

  7. matty03 replied:

    Jungle Jane – Oh, wait. Well, yes. The version I have seen is 126 minutes. I suspect that they cut a lot of the footage around the cleaning of the poor birds. …which did go on for quite a while. I kind of wanted to see more on the birds, tho. Apparently there is one type of fish that when caught and sliced open — black bile just pours out of it. Gross, but I was curious.

  8. ing replied:

    I didn’t meet the characters you mention, though I ran into a leathery-looking bartender. I wonder if he’s the same guy? I think I’d remember the nudist, and I REALLY want to meet the man who was building a mountain for God.

    Here’s a book cover of another famous nudie. I guess David Icke was proud of the size of that sticker (placed there by what he calls “the illuminati,” the elite race of humanoids that have reptilian blood, he says).

  9. Pants replied:

    You are officially my new film resource.

  10. matty03 replied:

    Ing – Wow – I bet you did meet the bartender. He looks (on film anyway) to be about 12 or 15 years older than I but quite hot in that live on the beach kind of way. We all want to meet the man building a mountain for God! I think I want to see the Salton Sea! …it could be my new home! It it — branded upon my brain!

  11. matty03 replied:

    Pants! I will be more than happy to be your new film resource! Tho, my tastes seem to verge on the obscure!

  12. Josh Williams replied:

    The photos reminds me of photos from chernobyl. Great photos and review, I need to find the documentery and sit down be real quite and watch.

  13. matty03 replied:

    Commander Josh – I think I wanna buy my little piece of The Salton Sea! …I feel that I would fit right in! I could live between the man making the mountain for God and the nude guy for peace. And, B and I could have drinks at the Hot Guy’s bar.

  14. deldell replied:

    You can bet the Palm Springs people won’t let Salton Sea stink up their town. They’ll make it a low rent Palm Springs.
    It totally sounds like my kind of place. Can we go hang out there, and play like we’re “On The Road” with Jack Kerouac?

  15. matty03 replied:

    This is what I think, too! I really think it could be the next big thing — and it can be had for so cheap!!!

    Wouldn’t that be blast!??! On The Road!

  16. Ken replied:

    OMG, you guiz’ are classic!

    I actually live w/in the city of Palm Springs, to be honest…right downtown. Just today, a good friend of mine arrived from Alabama and in my attempt to showcase sunny southern California, w/ all of its splendor; we took a trip down the 10 east and up the 86S to visit ole’ Salton City.

    One word: WOW. I mean, of course I’ve been there before and to my recollection, the mountains used to cascade into the horizon of the ocean. I couldn’t help but notice the blue’ness of the water – but case in point, it’s January and the city totally WREAKED!!!

    I’ve smelled this place at the epitomy of its septic tank aroma, so today, alone, was considerably milder. I actually can recall watching the news and being warned by the reporters to take heed, as an overflow of Salton water stench would be wafting its way to Palm Springs, but for now, I digress.

    Upon driving around, one can’t help but notice the town’s potential; even it there are several potheads to match the potholes there – you just can’t help but fathom, what “could be”.

    To conclude my sentiments, I can’t help but ponder the ultimate question: “Realistically”, can this place be salvaged???

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