2014 Road Trip Photos #24: American Doomsday Machines

Bunker Entrance!

Down here in the bunker, during Armageddon you might not have needed 3 million SPF sunblock.

Conscious survivors of the 1980s remember the uneasy Cold War days, when tensions between America and the USSR were at their peak. Each side had their credos, their agendas, their grudges against each other, their spies, their cross-purposes, and their active, massive, scary nuclear arsenals in case the other side got any deplorable ideas. Movies like WarGames, Fail-Safe, The Day After, Dr. Strangelove, and 60% of all post-apocalyptic sagas mined our fears of mutual assured destruction for cautionary tales, humanist allegories, and disturbing visuals, all the more frightening to us youngsters because we couldn’t be sure that the adult politicians in charge wouldn’t do something stupid and trigger the end of the world.

Both countries still have their differences today, but relations aren’t at anywhere near the same state of hateful paranoia, so everyone’s cut back on their standby nuclear stockpiles. Out in the middle of the North Dakota flatlands, there’s one distant, decommissioned hideout codenamed Oscar-Zero where the U.S. military once stationed a handful of men 24/7 to oversee the controls and prepare to throw the world’s deadliest switches in case the American President declared Game Over.

Today you can bring in the whole family for a visit. There’s a guided tour and a gift shop.

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Mr. and Mrs. Kay’s Very Bad Indiana Shopping Trip

Pence RFRA signing, 3/26/2015

The actual Indiana Governor’s Office photo from today’s behind-closed-doors ceremony for Governor Mike Pence’s signing of the RFRA. No Photoshop or verified cosplayers were involved in the making of this picture.

[The scene: Kip and Kasi Kay travel from their hometown of Lewiston, Indiana, to do some shopping at a quaint stretch of stores up in the Big City. It’s the weekend after Governor Mike Pence signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law and dramatically improved the world and changed lives and ushered in a new era of human greatness and so on.]

KIP: Hello, beer man! We would like ten kegs of your finest brew.
KASI: We need it for tonight’s white-power rally.
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: What? Uh, no. You can go now.
KASI: But we have money and we brought our own truck.
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: Sorry, no. My church believes God created all humans as equals regardless of skin color. I can’t possibly.
KIP: We didn’t ask. Here, have money.
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: No can do. RFRA, folks.
KIP: What’s a roofra?
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: New law just took effect. Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Way I took it to mean, I don’t have to make any sale that offends me on religious grounds. Racists are one way.
KASI: You only sell to non-racists? Do you actually ask everyone? Is there a test they have to take before you’ll let customers go get drunk?
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: Who I sell to and when I sell it to ‘em is my business. Good day, folks.
KIP: We’ll get you for this!
LIQUOR STORE OWNER: Wouldn’t advise it. I’m in the alcohol industry. I know some people you don’t wanna know.
[Kip and Kasi exit, confused and upset. Later that night, an angel leaves a quarter under Mike Pence’s pillow.]

Right this way for more of this very special MCC short play…

More Than Flowers at the Indiana Flower & Patio Show 2015

Blue!

In our previous installment, you saw flowers and nothing but flowers from the 2015 Indiana Flower and Patio Show. But the exhibition, sprawled across two buildings at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, has so much more to offer than pretty flower displays. Various vendors offer gardening implements, flower and vegetable seeds, digging advice, contest drawings/telemarketing signups, garage finishing services, gutter-cleaning inventions, non-stick cookware, liquor, chocolate, nuts, coffee cakes, summer sausage, massages, eyelashes, poor abandoned pets, Indianapolis Star subscriptions, and more more more. And if you’re a fan of pushy sales pitches, this year DirecTV had no less than four different booths staffed with aggressive go-getters excited about interrogating and shaming you over your home entertainment choices.

Meanwhile, their comparatively classy competitors over at Comcast/Xfinity bought one (1) booth and, instead of practicing gotcha salesmanship, invited a celebrity spokesperson to hang out with them and sign autographs: Blue, the official mascot for the Indianapolis Colts!

(At left in the first photo above, that’s my wife’s grandmother being smothered with fuzzy showbiz love. And in case you’re wondering, I have no idea why Blue has streamers in his nose. As a chronic sufferer of sinus problems myself, I say any technique that keeps the airways free is fair game. Ignore the gawkers and run with it.)

Right this way for more photos of not-flowers! And, okay, a few more flowers that got in the way, too.

Flowers Are Pretty III: the Freshening

Purple's a Flower!

Purple! Purple’s a flower.

It’s that time again! Spring has seen fit to return to the land, and my wife and I have a new batch of photos from the Indiana Flower and Patio Show, a delicate rush of fresh spring air to dispel the morose ugliness of winter and remind us of life waiting for us outside.

Right this way for more flowery flowering flowers!

Random Fun Moments in Comic Book Ads

Kung Fu Sandals!

Source: Incredible Hulk #205, cover-dated November 1976.

Hey, kids! If you’re chasing your dream of becoming a world-class martial artist like Bruce Lee or Jim Kelly or Chuck Norris, you’ll need proper footwear. And what better footwear than used sandals once worn by the great Oriental Fighting Masters? Either they outgrew them, saved up to buy better ones, or died fighting in them, and now they can be yours for just three bucks and a crude outline of your own foot on notebook paper, so we can tell which dead masters wore your size. We’re located up in scenic Connecticut, where all the most renowned sensei live. Send us your allowance today!

Right this way for four more clippings from ye olde times!

2014 Road Trip Photos #23: North Dakota Flatland Interlude

Tractor!

You know you’re truly on a road trip through the most peaceful parts of the American heartland when you can take photos while you’re driving without frightening your spouse to death.

We realized during the planning stages that Day Five would have some of the longest, potentially least exciting driving stretches of the entire trip. We’d already spent four hours on the road from the Twin Cities to Fargo before lunch, but we had another destination on the afternoon itinerary, some ninety minutes further still.

We’d seen the beautiful sights of South Dakota on our 2009 road trip, but this was our first time stepping into its upper twin. Both were granted statehood on the same day in 1889, but the parts we saw didn’t look much alike.

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