23 May 2007

Ohio: There and Back Again

Over the 2-4 weekend, a nerd party consisting of me, my brother, my dad, and my wife took a trip to the States for something to do. We left Friday morning and just got back Monday night after midnight (so technically Tuesday), hence the lack of posting/commenting for the past few days.

We crossed the border in Windsor and got a really jerky border guard. The first thing we visited was the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. They have a vast collection of mechanical wonders and oddities there, including huge steam trains, all manner of ancient automobiles, and a portable house designed by Buckminster Fuller. So why was I most excited about seeing the Oscar Mayer WeinermobileWienermobile?

The next day we went to the Ohio Caverns and saw some cool stalactites and stalagmites. Despite being in pretty much hillbilly country, the tour guide and the facility itself make no bones about the fact that the caverns are over 200000 years old and that it takes a very long time indeed for the calcite deposits to form. No Old Earth Creationists here.

Sunday, after a series of navigational errors by my brother which took us to Kentucky, we went to the Cinncinati Museum and saw an Omnimax movie about the Alps (Omnimax hurts my head) and then toured their Museum of Natural History. They have a great exhibit on the ice age and have numerous casts of Pleistocene megafauna like giant ground sloths. For no good reason, here's a photo of the hind end of a mastodon.

Finally, on Monday, we went to the National Air Force Museum at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base. We didn't see any aliens (the Roswell remains were rumoured to have been sent there for analysis back in the '50s) but we did see all manner of fantastical engineering marvels, most of which were at American taxpayer expense. This is a Goblin - a short-range escort fighter meant to be carried by the larger plane it's escorting.

As a Canadian, the following signs were very disturbing and otherworldly, yet they were all over the place in the States. This one was located at the cavern ticketbooth.

And finally, on the way to the Air Force Museum, we saw this:

It's a giant statue of Jesus rising out of the water that's so tacky even my wife thinks God would not approve. America: sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

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At May 23, 2007 3:21 p.m., Blogger Bronze Dog said...

I like the idea of the goblin, though it's my understanding that it had severe problems trying to dock back onto the plane that carried it.

If I ever get Skeptiplomacy running, I may make play around with the concept.

At May 23, 2007 4:47 p.m., Blogger Fiery Ewok said...

The mastadons butt was hillarious.

What the hell was up with that jesus statue? Was that a jumbo crucifix necklace he was wearing or was he attempting to keep his sword out of the water?

That was weird!

I wonder what fundies have to say about stalactites that are 200,000 years old. oops! God put a rush job on the first 194,000 years????

At May 23, 2007 4:48 p.m., Blogger Fiery Ewok said...

duh, it was his rosary of course. All good catholics carry rosaries. wait. would jesus be a catholic?

At May 23, 2007 4:58 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

I think it's just a cross that's somehow floating on the surface of the water. I think they wanted to have a cross there somewhere and couldn't think of a good place to put it. Funny that Jesus would be bigger than the cross he was nailed to, but that's artistic license for you.

Technically, Jesus would be a Jew, not a Catholic.

At May 23, 2007 8:25 p.m., Blogger Fiery Ewok said...

catholic rosary-

I was attempting to find a rationalization for the father ridiculous floating cross. The rosaries I have seen have a cross on one end along with lots of little clicker beads for monitoring prayer progress.

[I am SO sorry if you know that already, I am just trying to explain a lame attempt at humor].

Anyway, the image of jesus having a rosary complete with cross struck me as funny.

I will now stop beating this oh so dead horse. :-D

At May 24, 2007 8:44 p.m., Blogger Carlo said...

I see those gun signs everytime I go to the States. At the LA airport there was a sign that said "No Firearms" and had a pic of a handgun, a rifle, and an Uzi. AN UZI!!!! That was freakish as hell.


At May 25, 2007 8:09 a.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Damnit! The whole time I was lecturing my wife that it was spelled 'Wiener' and then I go screw it up myself. Man, I'm just an idiot I guess.

At May 25, 2007 10:13 a.m., Blogger Berlzebub said...

You came to my home stomping grounds.

If you think that giant Jesus was bad, you should drive by what I do, every day. The AIG "Fairy Tail" Museum is just off of I-275. Although, I will say they hide it from view of the interstate by using a stone wall and trees.

I want to get back to Wright Pat (and sneak into Hangar 18), soon. I haven't been there in a few years. It's an amazing place.

Concerning the firearms placards, Ohio passed a concealed carry law a while back. Any Ohioan can get a permit to carry, after passing various background checks and firearms safety courses. However, they also included that businesses can put of signs preventing the licensees from carrying their firearms into the place. Schools, hospitals and government buildings are automatically "gun free" zones.

At May 25, 2007 12:23 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Berlzebub, sorry I missed you! Wright Patterson was fun, though it was more for my mech eng brother than for me. My wife was really bored though. Military aircraft hold no appeal for her.

We visited family friends in Ohio, an excavating contractor and his wife. The man is a Vietnam vet and, not only does he have a concealed carry permit, after a great deal of bureaucratic hoop-jumping, he's got a permit for an Vietnam-era M-60 machine gun like he used to use.

At May 25, 2007 1:00 p.m., Blogger Berlzebub said...

I have to admit, my mechanical engineering background has something to do with my interest in Wright Pat, also.

I thought about getting my permit, but I moved to Indiana before they passed the legislation. I even took the classes. IIRC, the permits for automatic weapons are federal, and extremely hard to get.

I'm glad you could make it by, and find out there's much more to the area than the Fairy Tale Museum, that's receiving so much publicity.

If you ever come back, let me know. I might be able to point out some interesting places, or even show you around. (Our minivan seats seven, and my wife's Roman Catholic, but more of a deist. They can compare notes on what it's like to be married to a non-believer.)

At May 25, 2007 1:27 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Thanks for the offer. I doubt I'll be coming back to the area anytime soon though. It's been 10 years since the last time I was down there and it will likely be another 10 years before the next time. I'll see you in 2017 then?

At May 25, 2007 3:06 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Locals call him Butter Jesus because of his yellowish color the statue looks like one made out of butter you might see at the state fair. There is actually a very irreverent song about it by Haywood Banks

At May 25, 2007 3:08 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Nice to know. We were wondering what to call him.

Yikes, you guys have Jesuses made of butter at fairs? What's wrong with you guys?


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