Yeah, try Grooming that Lake

OK, I'm going to take a moment to get all uppity and filled with righteous redneck indignation.

Tonight I received an email message from an East Coast person. "Watch the first ten minutes of the CSI premiere tonight," my correspondent typed breathlessly. "There's one line in there which will press all your buttons."

Why yes. Yes there was.

See, in the episode, two investigators get sent to examine a body found by two teenagers out in the desert. CSI is set in Las Vegas, and naturally the teenagers were out shooting guns at signs at the edge of Area 51—you know, the supposedly non-existent military airfield where we keep our flying saucers? The investigators were told to go out to "Groom Lake Road," near "Ely."

OK: let's ignore the fact that Groom Lake is within the Nellis Air Force Range (aka "The Test Site") where the U.S. conducted the vast majority of its nuclear weapons testing and UDICL (Undisclosed Downwind Irradiation of Citizens and Livestock). The test range is itself larger than some East Coast states, and while breaching its borders is do-able, it's not exactly advisable. See, they have cameras, sensors, helicopters, camouflaged sentries, etc. This is particularly true on Groom Lake Road. At least that road exists! It's unpaved, sure, but it runs maybe 10 miles from (not making this up!) Horney's Rest Stop, about 120 miles by road from Vegas (100 as the alien spacecraft flies). The cameras, armed sentries, etc., at the gates (which have signs warning that trespassers will be shot on sight) have been well-documented by conspiracy theorists and UFO nuts. I'm sure they would have had little trouble dealing with some teenagers taking target practice at night.

But Ely? Ely? Ely is more than 250 miles from Vegas! If I'd known screenwriters can set a show in a real locale and not be bothered to look at a map... well, I'd love to write for Law & Order! "Yeah, Lenny, why don't you and Green go check out this body? It's in Ithaca, you know, out between Buffalo and Erie?" Sheesh.