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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 24: The Pop Station

BK + Ronald!

Mr. King and Mr. McDonald are pleased to make your acquaintance.

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. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

Oriole Park was a nice place to visit, but catercorner to it was the part of Camden Yards I wanted to see most. As a fan of comic books for nearly four decades and counting, I wish I could say we find comic-related tourist attractions everywhere we go, but that’s nearly never the case. Leave it to one of the most powerful men in the comics industry ever so kindly to place one in our Baltimore path. And not just comics — Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is a haven for collectible 20th-century pop culture in general.

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Happy Columbus Hour: Our CXC 2017 Intermission

McKinley statue II!

William McKinley, 25th President of the United States of America, born and raised in Ohio. It’s not the first McKinley monument we’ve seen this year.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last weekend my wife Anne and I attended the third annual Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, where I immersed myself in the wonderful world of comic book creators and the associated arts. In our typical entertainment “comic con” experiences we usually try to find a balance between the world of comics — totally my thing — and the experience of greeting actors from films and TV shows we’ve enjoyed, which has been her thing a bit longer than it’s been my thing, but now it’s our thing. Either of us gets self-conscious whenever a given event is lopsided more in favor of our interests than in the other’s. Given our eighteen-year road trip history together, comics and celebs aren’t our only interests when we’re away from home.

Partly as a cheerful concession to Anne, but mostly out of a shared mood to explore, after lunch we took a break from CXC and took a half-mile walk westward to see a bit more of that Ohio state capital.

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Our 2003 Road Trip, Part 3 of 7: Flying with Dinosaurs

Kitty Hawk!

The original Wright Brothers flyer dangles overhead with Wright brother simulacrum feigning giddiness.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: our fifth annual road trip became our first family road trip as we jettisoned our convention plans and took my son to scenic Washington DC to learn history and significance and architecture and so forth. We took a handful of photos using ye olde 35mm film when we weren’t busy corralling and entertaining the boy.

After quote-unquote “lunch” on Day Three we headed a few blocks east to visit our first Smithsonian museum. Handy trivia: any show or movie that tells you an artifact or MacGuffin is “in the Smithsonian” is fudging their verisimilitude. The Smithsonian Institute comprises nineteen museums, many but not all of which are in DC. If someone tries faking their Smithsonian familiarity like that, ask them “WHICH ONE?” and tap your foot impatiently till they either answer with credibility or embarrass themselves by answering, “Uhhhhh, the really big one.”

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Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 5 of 5: The Day the Vice Presidents Took Over

Man in Space!

Anne hanging out with Jud Nelson’s “Man in Space”, our greeter at the Ford Museum. Per aspera ad astra, and all that.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

Our miniseries finale begets a confluence of regrets, as eventually came the time to take our leave of our gracious hosts and hit the road home. We had three more stops planned along the way. Two of them worked out. I’d love to share a thousand solid words and a couple dozen photos from what we did that Friday. Yep. Sure would be cool. I’ll get to what we do have in just a moment.

Caution: travelogue finale contains some meta elements of writing about writing…

Last Call for Indiana Bicentennial Mementos

Indiana Obelisk!

The centerpiece of the Indiana State Museum lobby is the “Indiana Obelisk” –at just under fifty feet. the tallest sculpture to date by artist Robert Indiana.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: throughout 2016 my wife and I spotted and compiled a number of sights related to the 200th anniversary of our own Indiana earning statehood, nineteenth in a series of fifty, after Louisiana but before Mississippi, Illinois, and Alabama. Between this year’s State Fair and the one-time Hoosier Homecoming, we had ample opportunities to learn more about our heritage, celebrate the achievers who paved paths for generations ahead, reassert reasons for hometown pride, and transcend that one time Indiana Beach amusement park actually had as its official ad slogan, “There’s More Than Corn in Indiana!” Because once upon a time, that was a thing we had to insist.

Earlier in December we attended one last commemorative event: a temporary exhibit at the Indiana State Museum called “Indiana in 200 Objects” assembling artifacts and souvenirs from Hoosier celebrities, businesses, industries, and moments both famous and infamous. Presented here is just over one-tenth of the available displays — a selection of those that caught our eye, spoke to us on some level, and posed properly for our amateur cameras. Not every sight was a wellspring of unlimited positivity (one could argue for trigger warnings on two of these images for more sensitive souls), but even the darkest relics can illustrate how far we’ve come and help us gauge how much farther we have to go.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #27: Queens of the Modern Age

DNA Walkway!

New York City’s uniquely hard-coded DNA is everywhere around if you know where to look. Sometimes it’s right over your head and ridiculously literal.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

When you’re gallivanting around Manhattan and exploring the same sights everyone tells you are must-sees, it’s easy to forget New York City has more than one borough. Unless we find reasons to visit them of our own accord, we outsiders are happy to stay latched on to the biased mental images that movies and TV gave us. The Bronx has tough guys and a zoo; Staten Island has the only ferry in New York and not much else; Brooklyn has either the trendy food or the most colorful TV shows, depending on your preferred channels; and Queens is the other one. A handful of us remember Peter Parker is from Forest Hill in Queens, but otherwise it’s the baseline Big Apple stand-in. Queens is to New York City what Vancouver is to all the other major cities. Or so we out-of-towners think, because sometimes we can be uninformed simpletons.

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