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Jacob stood in the deserted street and looked up at the large, faded sign.
He had been sent to live with his aunt in Wyoming when the outbreak had started. It was for his own safety, his parents had said. What with the riots and looting and hand-sanitizer made by state prisoners, not to mention the virus itself, the city was just too dangerous.
We'll be back for you just as soon as the shelter-in-place order is lifted, said his mother from behind her n-95 respirator mask. His father gave him a comic book, one of the last printed before the country's last comics distributor had shut down. Then his parents had fist-bumped him goodbye and driven away.
His aunt died from the virus two weeks later. (If only they'd tested her!)
Faced with the dreary fate of slowly starving until he was reduced to eating his aunt's massive, unused toilet paper stockpile, Jacob made the only decision he could. He carefully wrapped his few precious possessions in a hobo bindle and set out on foot.
It was a harrowing journey. The wasteland was a wild and unforgiving place filled with roving gangs of self-driving Teslas fighting over solar energy charging stations. At night, Jacob struggled to sleep under a brilliant sky filled with the reflected glow from SpaceX's Starlink satellites.
It took nearly a month and all of Jacob’s determination, but he finally made it to a place where he wouldn't have to grow up, a neverland without end. The sign in front of him said it all. "TOYS R US."
Jacob couldn't wait to see what wonders lay behind the darkened windows. He made camp in the lonely parking lot and waited for the first employee of the day to come and unlock paradise.
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A birthday card for friend Brian, whose birthday was yesterday.
It's you who is the shit, Brian.
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Here's your housewarming present, Keith.
Now I have to get to work on a present for Coop's new baby. I wonder what a baby wants on its phone lock screen.
It's poo! It's a unicorn! It's a Poonicorn!
What will they think of next? I hope I don't find out.
I must be earning a reputation. I now have friends sending me pics of poo whenever they're spotted in the wild.
Thank you, Brian. If anything ever deserved to be on clearance at Wal-Mart, it's a toy based on everyone's favorite Caddyshack scene.
What I did on St. Patrick's Day:
Jacksonville Icemen 5, Georgia Gladiators 4.
Minor league ice hockey might not sound an Irish way to pass the time, but they fight like true drunken expatriates. Saint Patrick would be proud.
Back in September, I had planned to take friend Michael to his first UGA game. That plan was disrupted by Brian's wedding. Today was the make-up date.
Mike had never even been in Athens until arriving for today's game. He's not much of a football person, but he tells me that he had a good time watching the #1 Bulldogs running over the Gamecocks, 24-10. I'm inclined to believe him. I had a good time myself.
Today was a UGA home game. The Bulldogs played Samford in Sanford Stadium at 7:30pm. However, I wasn't there to see it. Instead, I had to spend the day on Tybee Island with Mom.
Don't get me wrong. I love Tybee. (And I love Mom.) Tybee is a charming coastal town with some fantastic scenery. (And Mom is Mom.) I'm happy to report that most of the island survived Hurricane Irma just fine, though plenty of scars from last week's storm were still visible everywhere. But it wasn't Tybee's beauty or Irma's wrath (or Mom's Momness) that brought us to the Georgia coast. No, we were here to attend friend Brian's beach wedding in the shadow of Tybee's historic lighthouse.
Mom rented a wonderful house at 117 Cedarwood Drive, and she, Audrey, July, and I used it as a base of operations for our weekend stay. Mom frequently visited the beach (just a few hundred yards to our north) to collect shells, each time leaving Audrey behind to rue Tybee's draconian "no pets on the beach" policy.
Sadly, I somehow managed not to take any pictures of the groom or bride, Veronika. For that matter, I don't have any pictures of groomsmen friends Ken, Keith, or Michael, either. The wedding party didn't show up on the beach until after the wedding officiant warned the attendees not to take pictures because that was the wedding photographer's job. Instead, you'll just have to be satisfied with this screen grab from the lovebird's official wedding website.
In fact, the only picture I have of the wedding was taken by friend James. (James was one of my few friends in attendance who wasn't actually in the wedding party. Matt was the other. Why was I not in the wedding party? I'm sure it had no small part to do with my vowing to Brian after Keith's wedding that I would never wear anything dressier than jeans to a wedding again. "Except mine?" Brian asked. "Even yours," I answered. That's what I like about Brian. He listens.) James couldn't resist disobeying the order not to take any pics, but he somehow still managed not to get the wedding party. (Reminder: "Never do what James does.")
I haven't attended a lot of weddings. I don't like them. Yet I found this one left an especially bittersweet taste for many reasons, not the least of which was that Brian was the last of my single friends likely to get married. From this point forward, we're all more likely to reunite at a funeral than another wedding. That's an uncomfortable thought, though it's better than imagining the possibility that I may have to sit through yet another wedding ceremony.
Good luck, Brian and Veronika. Do me a favor and be so happy together that we don't have to do this all over again, ok? Thanks.
Movies. June. 3/3.
90. (1149.) Cornered (1945)
The plot mostly involves Dick Powell getting hit in the head a lot until he accidentally murders the right guy. It might be a rough watch if not for Powell's commitment to the role. He totally owned the noir films he was in. He's so good at noir, it's almost hard for me to watch him in his early song and dance films.
91. (1150.) Gypsy (1962)
The true life story of
Gypsy Lee Rose Gypsy Rose Lee as told in song! I hope in real life, Gypsy Lee Rose Gypsy Rose Lee was more charming on stage than the very appropriately named Natalie Wood. (I liked the film anyway. It was pretty good when Wood wasn't on screen.)
92. (1151.) Zabriskie Point (1970)
My view of late 1960s counter-culture was formed purely by episodes of Dragnet and The Monkees. This film sets out to prove that both of those models were completely accurate. The movie is as beautiful as it is vapid, as though made with a child's understanding of hippie reality and a college art student's pretentious self-indulgence. Re-reading my review, I find I've made it sound far more enjoyable than it actually is.
93. (1152.) When the Game Stands Tall (2014)
Biopic of Bob Ladouceur, who comes across as the Jesus of high school football coaches. There's more than a little luck in his story, but I certainly wish more coaches would emphasize doing the right thing over gridiron victories.
94. (1153.) Wonder Woman (2017)
As I quipped to Coop, the film is called Wonder Woman because Mediocre Woman wouldn't sell as many tickets. Gal Godot is amazing. Everything else is only ho-hum. The third act in particular is a real slog. Way to wear out your welcome, Wonder Woman.
95. (1154.) I Married a Witch (1942)
Fantastic movie with some pretty good special effects for its era. Lana Turner has a reputation as a hell raiser and rumor has it that her costar liked to call this movie "I Married a Bitch." Perhaps that's why she seems so right for her role as a devil woman tricked into mortal matrimony. Recommended.
More to come.
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Okay, now that I'm rested, let's continue the vacation!
Day 4 (June 30): National Portrait Gallery
- National Portrait Gallery
- Smithsonian American Art Museum
- National Gallery Sculpture Garden
I loved the portrait and American art museums. Loved 'em. I could have spent the whole week in there.
America's Sweetheart, Myrna Loy
Day 5 (July 1): Newseum
- United States Capitol
- Library of Congress
- Supreme Court
The Newseum is the only museum we paid admission fee for. It was worth it. I must not have been the only person to think so; it was pretty crowded. The one exhibit that was totally empty was the section investigating journalistic ethics. I wish that was a joke.
Library of Congress Great Hall
Day 6 (July 2): Back to Virginia
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
- Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- George Mason Memorial
- National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
- Air Force Memorial
- US Marine Corps Memorial
Udvar-Hazy is the satellite campus (ha, ha) of the Air and Space Museum located 30 minutes away from DC in Dulles, Virginia. Like all Smithsonian museums, admission is free. Parking will set you back $15. This museum is home to the Enola Gay and the Space Shuttle Discovery. It also has a Concorde and some foreign military aircraft, but otherwise, I didn't find it as impressive as the Warner Robins Museum of Aviation. At least in Warner Robbins, parking is free.
Remember the Maine
Day 7 (July 3): Lexington, VA
- Lee Chapel & Museum
- Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery
Lexington is home to Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Academy. No surprise it also has the final resting place of General Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Brian was very excited to stop here because it meant we'd completed our pilgrimage to the graves of all three men on Stone Mountain. (Lee and Jackson's horses, Traveller and Little Sorrel, respectively, are also on Stone Mountain, and both buried in Lexington as well.) Mission accomplished.
We returned home in the wee hours of July 4, and that was all right with me. I enjoyed the trip, but there's no place like home.