The Fantabulous 50s Weekend, Part 9: Arts in Columbus

ART downtown Columbus!

The Columbus College of Art & Design’s Art Sign will celebrate its 21st birthday this coming Thursday.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a short-term road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas we’ve never experienced before. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

I’ve just now lived to see 50, and after weeks of research and indecision, we planned an overnight journey to the next state over, to the capital city of Columbus, Ohio, which had cool stuff that this now-fiftysomething geek wanted to see. Columbus, then, would be the setting for our first outing together as quintagenarians…

The miniseries’ end is near! But first, the stuff we skipped and some stuff we didn’t get to yet. Mostly it’s about the birthday guy doing some self-indulgent geek sopping, chancing into a few flourishes of local art along the way, and a few loose ends that fit nowhere into the miniseries except here, the catchall chapter.

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Our 2021 Road Trip #39: Chasing Royalty Across State Lines

Super Mario wall Fargo!

Who among us has not known the stress of a Goomba nipping at their heels?

Day Eight began and ended in very different places, yet not so different as we compared notes between a pair of murals that have nothing to do with each other unless you dig too deeply beneath the surface.

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Super Bowl XLVI Indianapolis Memories, Part 2 of 3: (Some of) the 46 for XLVI Murals

PAmela Bliss, My Affair with Kurt Vonnegut.

“My Affair with Kurt Vonnegut” by Pam Bliss, one of the city’s fan-favorite murals, stands along trendy Massachusetts Ave.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Once upon a time, and exactly once, Indianapolis hosted a Super Bowl. Back in 2012 our li’l city earned its first chance to host the big game. Thanks to tremendous teamwork among numerous organization and bodies cooperating under Mayor Greg Ballard, the Circle City welcomed untold thousands of visitors for a super-sized weekend of football mania, Hoosier tourism, and limited-time-only activities that welcomed all brought our downtown alive. It was a unique occasion that everyone in town could appreciate, including those of us who aren’t into sports, have never watched an entire football game — nary a Super Bowl, not even for the ads — and have never been invited to a Super Bowl party. We found ways to get into the spirit of the proceedings anyway.

All of this happened three months before Midlife Crisis Crossover launched. At the time I simply shared pics and stories with online friends, then reused a tiny selection of that material here on MCC one year later. I can’t remember why I was so stingy and only reposted eleven photos from among the dozens of relevant ones, including an entire quest involving citywide art. This past week our local media outlets have been holding their tenth-anniversary celebrations of that time we all did a Super Bowl together. That means it’s the perfect time for a remastered version of the tale of how we spent January 27-28, 2012, the weekend before Super Bowl 46…this time in trilogy form!

Regarding the aforementioned art quest:

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Our 2021 Road Trip #16: Rapid City Remainders

Rapid City Native statue!

I couldn’t find a name or artist credit on site or anywhere online for this sculpture of two (Lakota? Sioux?) women, but it sure shows up on a lot of stock photo sites.

IF you’re taking your family on a traditional South Dakota vacation, Rapid City is your target destination. As we found in 2009, its plentiful hotels are a reasonable distance from many tourist attractions — the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, and more. With a slightly longer hop-skip-jump, it’s also a springboard to Deadwood and Devil’s Tower. Rapid City is no Manhattan, but its tourism game is strong.

But we didn’t want to spend our entire 2021 vacation on do-overs. Among our new activities on the itinerary: taking a look inside Rapid City itself.

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Our 2021 Road Trip #3: 4-Wheel Gawks in an 18-Wheel World

IOWA 80 Truck Stop!


Among the roughly six hundred million Americans who’ll tell you road trips are their specialty right before sending you a link to their blog that you’ll never click on, Anne and I are merely meek, doughy amateurs compared to the real road-tripping professionals. I don’t mean canceled Travel Channel hosts or social media influencers with sports cars or wanted homicidal fugitives. I mean America’s truck drivers. They’ve been to more states than we have, they’ve seen more horrors than we ever will, they’ve brushed off more honking and more middle fingers than I hope I’ll ever have to, though I should probably stop competing with them on that front and maybe moderate some of my driving habits.

I imagine truck drivers scoff at civilians who take too much pride in their weaksauce hundreds-of-mile journeys taken in their puny four-wheeled jalopies. Truck drivers also have bragging rights for the fact that they get paid for all that driving, extremely unlike us pretenders. But they do have one thing in common with us: they love to be spoiled while they’re on the road. To those discerning highway kings and queens, Iowa offers quite the extended roadside intermission.

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Our 2021 Road Trip #1: Return of the Roadside

Danville Illinois celebrity mural.

An all-star cast welcomes you to our latest travel chronicle!

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. We were each raised in a household that couldn’t afford annual out-of-state family vacations. We’re geeks more accustomed to vicarious life through the windows of pop culture than through in-person adventures. Eventually we tired of some of our self-imposed limitations and figured out how to leave the comforts of home for the chance to see creative, exciting, breathtaking, outlandish, and/or bewildering new sights in states beyond our own, from the horizons of nature to the limits of imagination, from history’s greatest hits to humanity’s deepest regrets and the sometimes quotidian, sometimes quirky stopovers in between.

We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

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The Spring Birthday 2021 Trip, Part 3 of 8: Had Myself a Ball in a Small Town

John Mellencamp mural, Seymour, Indiana.

A very special 2019 creation on the side of a guitar shop by muralist Pamela Bliss, whose work also adorns several buildings in downtown Indianapolis.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For the past several years my wife Anne and I have made a tradition of going somewhere — anywhere but home — for each of our birthdays. Last year my birthday trip was among the billions of traditions ruined by the pandemic, all of which paled in significance to the millions of lives lost (and still counting). This year is a different story. Anne and I have each received our pairs of Pfizer shots and reached full efficacy as of April 24th. This past Friday and Saturday the two of us drove out of Indianapolis and found a few places to visit in our eminently imitable road-trip fashion…

After our lively nature walk we headed west down the highway to the city of Seymour. Hoosiers know it best as the hometown of rock star John Mellencamp, who entered the Top-40 music world under the flashier stage name Johnny Cougar, then spent years working his way back to his own while bucking dictates from record-company execs every step of the way. When I was a kid, he was one of my favorite Indiana success stories.

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Lafayette Vignettes, Part 2: The Works on the Walls

Biggie & Cobain!

Scene from an alternate timeline where Biggie Smalls and Kurt Cobain lived to cover “Ebony and Ivory”.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas of Indiana we’ve never experienced before. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

Once upon a time in 2019 Anne decide she wanted to celebrate her birthday with a jaunt around the city of Lafayette, an hour northwest of our Indiana home. She cobbled together a short to-do list of things she wanted to see, not lengthy but enough for a leisurely afternoon — a bit of Indiana history, a bit of downtown tourism, and a bit of healthy walking…

Once we escaped Purdue’s Homecoming weekend crowds, we headed east across the Wabash River to downtown Lafayette, where we simply wanted to walk around and take in the scenery. While most locals and students busied themselves with the main event across the river, downtown was deserted except for a small farmers’ market that was wrapping up their morning shift by the time we walked up.

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Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 34: Independence Mall: Resurgence

Rocky and Us!

Once again we didn’t make it to the official Rocky Balboa statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. His smaller, more colorful twin would have to do.

Our second time in Philadelphia wasn’t meant to be a total retread of our 2010 visit. Just the same, we couldn’t resist walking past a few of the major highlights. We also couldn’t help walking past them — the parking garage underneath Independence Mall was the most convenient place to leave the car for our first few hours in town, adjacent to several new sights we wanted to see. This year we had slightly more time, somewhat better cameras, and far better maps at our fingertips, given that neither of us owned a mobile phone till 2012.

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Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 7: The New Cornographers

Mitchell Corn Palace!

Anne outside the Mitchell Corn Palace. Thankfully there was no danger of the walls popping at us.

The day before, we had visited the overlord of canned vegetables in Blue Earth, MN. 200 miles later, we found a place that concentrated on just one veggie in particular. Other foodstuffs didn’t play large parts, but they had one heck of a corn section.

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