Our 2021 Road Trip #41: Sock Monkeyshines

no evil sock monkeys!

Sock monkeys performing the classic “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” sketch like all your favorite politicians.

Show of hands, who’d be excited to visit a sock museum? Complete lack of hands, right? But what if the socks were turned into sock monkeys?

Some things are all about presentation.

Continue reading

Our 2021 Road Trip #38: The Viking Diaries

Runestone!

Authentic ancient letter or a Flintstone tablet bearing the headline “Bat Boy Spotted Lighting Leif Erikson’s Funeral Pyre”?

Minnesota and Vikings are a peanut-butter-and-jelly sort of classic duo that we’ve seen paired before, like that time in 2014 when we visited a museum in Moorhead that told the story of one man’s dream of building an impressively detailed, fully funcitoning replica Viking ship. We appreciated the man’s courtesy in taking ownership of his results and refusing to pretend it was a real Viking ship he found buried in his backyard. Every small-scale museum has a story to tell, each according to its own beliefs and stubbornness.

Continue reading

Our 2021 Road Trip #6: From the Studio That Brought You “American Gothic”

Woman with Plants, 1929.

“Woman with Plants”, 1929, based on Grant Wood’s own mother.

Throughout our travels we’ve wandered inside and around art museums from Denver to Milwaukee, from Birmingham to Baltimore, from the hallowed institutions of Manhattan to our very own controversial outpost here in Indianapolis. This year we added Cedar Rapids to the list, partly out of curiosity and partly due to its surprising connection with another Midwest art museum from one of our past road trips.

Continue reading

2020 Road Trip Photos #35: The Season Finale Outtakes

Anne in the trench!

DAY THREE: Anne finding her own path of glory in the simulated WWI trench behind the Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through six non-consecutive days of travel from July 3rd through the 11th around various locales within our home state of Indiana, the best we could do with out-of-state travel forbidden to me for work-related reasons during the Age of Coronavirus. It all comes down to this, per our tradition for every MCC road trip story: one final collection of alternate scenes, extra details, and surplus attractions along the way that were squeezed out of the main narrative. Enjoy!

Continue reading

2020 Road Trip Photos #25: Fight and Flight Responses

BA53 thermonuclear bomb.

Someone set us up the BA53 thermonuclear bomb. Presumably all the fissile materials were removed after these were retired in the 1990s.

Up near the town of Peru, Indiana, Grissom Air Museum on the grounds of Grissom Air Reserve Base had an impressive collection of airplanes representing numerous eras in American aviation. Other artifacts and scenes around the grounds provided an in-depth look into our nation’s history, as well as telling glimpses of our present that will one day tell a story of their own.

Continue reading

2020 Road Trip Photos #24: Plentiful Planes Parked in Peru

Passionette Paulette!

Hollywood prop alert: Passionate Paulette here is a B-25J, one of eighteen used in the filming of Mike Nichols’ 1970 adaptation of Catch-22. B-25s have also appeared in Pearl Harbor, Sucker Punch, and other, better films.

Yes, yes, I know we were just showing you an airplane collection earlier, but these are totally different planes at a completely different museum on the opposite end of the state. Well, not the far end, but comparatively opposite.

Continue reading

2020 Road Trip Photos #22: The Skelton Keys to Comedy

pratfall stage!

Hey, slapstick fans! Learn how to pratfall in three easy steps! Practice several times on this very stage until you can do it without breaking any bones, just like a professional Hollywood stuntman or classic entertainer!

One of my favorite stops on our 2020 vacation was the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy in his hometown of Vincennes. The exhibits cover his seventy years in the entertainment business from early theater to post-retirement art, provide context for visitors with little to no knowledge of The Way Things Used to Be in Hollywood mass media, and, if you string enough leftover photos in just the right sequence, build your own template to a successful comedy career. All you need is patience, talent, and/or an idol to copycat. That’s not how Skelton did it, but he isn’t around to stop you, now is he?

Continue reading

2020 Road Trip Photos #21: Legends of the “I Dood It” Guy

TV Weekly cover!

The many faces of Red Skelton covered an October 1967 edition of the LA Herald-Examiner‘s TV section. Art by Bob Bentovoja.

Throughout our years of travel we’ve visited a variety of specialized museums off the beaten paths, institutions of all sizes that focused intensely on subjects we know a little about, subjects firmly within our respective wheelhouses, and subjects about which we know next to nothing. We’ve enjoyed quite a few opportunities for education, for eye-opening, and for amusement. Despite our ever-advancing ages we still have a lot to learn about any number of subjects and personalities whose heydays were well before our time. If they should happen to provide broader context in some of the past movies, books, and TV shows we’ve consumed over the years, so much the better.

Continue reading

2020 Road Trip Photos #3: Hur-Story of the World Part II

Ben-Hur costume!

One of Charlton Heston’s actual, Oscar-winning Judah Ben-Hur costumes designed by Elizabeth Haffenden. You may know her works from such films such as Fiddler on the Roof and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited 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. Then came 2020 A.D.

Even in an ordinary average year, sometimes you really need to get away from it all. In a year like this, escape is more important than ever if you can find yourself one — no matter how short it lasts, no matter how limited your boundaries are. Anne and I had two choices: either skip our tradition for 2020 and resign ourselves to a week-long staycation that looks and feels exactly like our typical weekend quarantines; or see how much we could accomplish within my prescribed limitations. We decided to expand on that and check out points of interest in multiple Indiana towns in assorted directions. We’d visited many towns over the years, but not all of them yet.

In addition to our usual personal rules, we had two simple additions in light of All This: don’t get killed, and don’t get others killed…

The star attraction of the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum is, well, the study. Wallace was the bestselling author of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. At various times he was a lawyer, a Union Army general, an inventor, an artist, a governor, and a diplomat, He also had one heck of a man-cave.

Continue reading

2020 Road Trip Photos #2: And Man Created Ben-Hur

Lew Wallace statue!

Lew Wallace was an officer in the Union Army. No grappling hooks or toppling pulleys, pretty please.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited 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. Then came 2020 A.D.

Even in an ordinary average year, sometimes you really need to get away from it all. In a year like this, escape is more important than ever if you can find yourself one — no matter how short it lasts, no matter how limited your boundaries are. Anne and I had two choices: either skip our tradition for 2020 and resign ourselves to a week-long staycation that looks and feels exactly like our typical weekend quarantines; or see how much we could accomplish within my prescribed limitations. We decided to expand on that and check out points of interest in multiple Indiana towns in assorted directions. We’d visited many towns over the years, but not all of them yet.

In addition to our usual personal rules, we had two simple additions in light of All This: don’t get killed, and don’t get others killed…

Though we couldn’t get into Crawfordsville’s special jail, we had no problem accessing their other unique attraction several blocks away. The town is home to a college campus, a number of non-franchise restaurants, and two museums found nowhere else. That’s our kind of small town.

Crawfordsville spawned a number of noteworthy contributors to society at large, either born or dwelt there in childhood — New York Times crossword master Will Shortz; playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins (Chicago); Space Shuttle astronaut Joseph P. Allen; comic strip writer Allen Saunders (Mary Worth, Steve Roper); cartoonist Bill Holman, creator of Smokey Stover; and the WWF champion known as The Ultimate Warrior. But only one Crawfordsville native has his own museum.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: