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Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 19: Martin the Okay President

Van Buren statue!

This handy 2007 statue and bench let kids and adults alike pretend they’re Van Buren’s Vice President.

It’s not easy to drum up excitement for a President who had to follow a memorable showboat like Andrew Jackson, who inherited a major recession without any tools to deal with it, who got clobbered four years later by William Henry Harrison, and whose Presidential campaign popularized a hand signal that became an acceptable part of American casual communication from two full centuries ago until about fifteen minutes ago last month.

But by dint of the dignity and respect that older generations perceive as inherent in the Office of the President, Martin Van Buren netted himself a place in American history anyway.

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Scott Wilson 1942-2018

Scott Wilson!

File photo from Wizard World Chicago 2015.

I’ve been offline most of today, but upon returning late Saturday night was saddened to hear of the unexpected death of actor Scott Wilson at age 76. Most folks today know him as Herschel from seasons 2-4 of The Walking Dead, the kindly farmer and sage of the ensemble, often the conscience during the toughest of times when he wasn’t dealing with critical injuries, grieving the loss of teammates and family, or suffering the cruelty of the Governor. Barely an hour before his passing, news had broken at this weekend’s New York Comic Con that he would be returning this coming season for a flashback, most likely in connection with Andrew Lincoln’s farewell episodes and hopefully not as his surprise twin brother Murschel.

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Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 18: Upstate Monday Mealtimes

hot apple crisp!

I’m an adult and if I want to start an entry about three meals with dessert, no one can tell me no.

Sometimes we’ll try to pinpoint a few restaurant options during the vacation planning phase. Sometimes we like to throw caution to the wind and see where fate and Google maps lead us. We’ve had pleasant surprises. We’ve resorted to desperate measures.

For Day Three of this trip, only one of our meals on was planned in advance. Two were discoveries on the go. All of them were satisfying in their own ways. But we knew one thing by the end of the day: we were burning through our meal budget far too quickly.

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On “Mission Impossible – Fallout” and the M:I Cinematic Universe

Mission Impossible Fallout!

“Hi, kids. I’m Tom Cruise, and I’d like to talk to you about rooftop playtime safety…”

I saw Mission Impossible – Fallout in its second weekend of release and have spent numerous days since then doubting I could contrive more than 300 words out of “such nonstop wow”, which was more or less my initial impression of one of the year’s most exhilarating films.

But longtime MCC readers know every movie I see in theaters gets its own entry, even if it’s not always timely or relevant or useful to anyone but me, not unlike the rest of this site’s contents. Off we leap into that wild wordy yonder, then.

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Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 17: The Great Western Staircase

vertigo looking down...

Imagine a workplace where this is an everyday sight. And somehow this happened on government’s watch.

Presented tonight for your viewing pleasure are glimpses of my favorite part of our 2018 vacation: an ornate, creepy section inside the New York State Capitol that looks like the intersection of Hogwarts and Moria.

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Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 16: The Actual New York State Capitol

NYSC!

Our evening’s primary objective, southeast side.

State Capitol buildings aren’t an absolute must on our road trips, but we’ll drive near them sometimes when it’s convenient, when they have special features, or when the mood strikes. Longtime MCC readers have seen glimpses — and in-depth tours in a few cases — of eleven such buildings in past entries:

We’ve driven through several other capitals without stopping for their capitols, or much of anything else — Little Rock, AR; Atlanta, GA; Des Moines, IA; Topeka, KS; Oklahoma City, OK; Austin, TX; and Richmond, VA. One of those is now a leading contender for our 2019 road trip destination. Most of the rest aren’t in line for a return visit anytime in the foreseeable future. We had hoped to swing by the New Jersey State House on this year’s trip, but Trenton was among several unfortunate cuts from our overstuffed Day Five.

The New York State Capitol, on the other hand, fit neatly into Day Three’s itinerary in Albany. Unlike several other prominent buildings in the area, it wasn’t closed yet when we arrived.

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