What I Learned on My Summer Vacation – Part 2


At the wild animal place (whatever it’s called) I learned that apes mate for life. Being curious, I did research to find out how they are able to stick together so long. They use Gorilla Glue.

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I learned that I would change the state’s tourism slogan from “Virginia is for lovers” to “Virginia is for people who love to sweat”. One day, the weather hovered at 89 degrees with 89% relative humidity. However, on that very same day in my hometown of Blythe, California, where some of my family members still insist upon living, they had 110 degrees. But it was a dry heat. With 100% relative stupidity.

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I learned that Thomas Jefferson designed and built Poplar Forest (his wilderness retreat) near Lynchburg, Virginia. As the architect, he placed a shaft deep into the earth under the house. This brought up a cool breeze for air conditioning in 1816! He stayed here several times each year to rest, read, and write. He read in seven languages and had a personal library of a thousand volumes.

I learned that Jefferson invented the modern plow which made all farming easier and faster. Though advised to patent his plow (which would have made him a zillionaire) he freely gave it to the world to help all peoples, everywhere.

Even in his much-desired solitary periods, he would be a gracious host to friends and associates. You may recall some of  his buds. You know, just everyday folks like George Washington Alexander Hamilton James Madison John Adams, and James Monroe. But most certainly not Patrick Henry. Jefferson described Patrick Henry as “…all tongue without either head or heart

On July 4th, the Declaration of Independence is read aloud from the Poplar Forest back porch (above).

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MORE SOUTH CAROLINA BILLBOARDS — Once upon a time, I had a pastor from the East Coast. His favorite expression, apparently common in the east, is “wicked” (e.g., a very funny joke is wicked funny). I’m not sure how this may apply to the billboard below, but I enjoyed it:

Wicked Chickens Lay Deviled Eggs.

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Billboard for a local Ford dealership, with a picture of a Ford pickup:

Good Luck Passing This Truck!

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Billboard a half-mile later — for the competing local Chevy dealership —— with a picture of a Chevy pickup:

No Luck Needed!

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A church:

Adam and Eve Were the First People to Not

Read the Apple Terms and Conditions

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HAUTE (and humid) COUTURE — Oh, and I learned that Virginia has a captivating new fashion for earrings…

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          I learned that flying out of a South/East city during the incubation of a storm named Barry is not a marvelous plan. We could not land at our stopover, Dallas, due to weather, so we circled for more than an hour with the plane bouncing up and down and sideways. I’m a religious man and, quite frightened, I said a prayer, and then turned to our pastor friend sitting next to me. “Pastor Mike,” I said, “Can’t you do something about this?”

          He replied, “Sorry, Unk, but I’m in sales, not management.”

          When the gas gauge became sketchy, we flew to Houston for a refuel, but had to circle for another hour until a weather window opened for us to land. In Houston we sat on the ground for more than two hours, after which we taxied into a nineteen plane queue awaiting takeoff. Then we flew back to Dallas, where we circled until all departing flights got out of town.

Then we flew back to Dallas, where we circled until all departing flights got out of town. Because our connecting flight to the West Coast was one of the dearly departed, we became stranded in a ghost town airport. All businesses closed. No hotel rooms available. The airline’s computer kindly booked us for the next available flight . . . two-and-a-half days later.

That night in the cold empty airport, my wife and I creatively invented at least twenty-seven different positions in which to attempt sleep on combinations of filthy floor and hard inflexible seating. None worked. But, we did manage to be frightened half to deaf many times by what appeared to be the dwarf cousin of a Zamboni. Based on the hours of screeching U-turns made by the huge floor polishing machine, its driver obviously longed to be in NASCAR.

We eventually got standby on a plane which promised to land in the general geographic region of our home, not more than a two-hour drive from where our luggage was visiting.

I always thought this stuff only happens in movies. But my air travel bags (under my eyes) proves it’s a true thing.

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EXCUSE ME? — I learned something absolutely fascinating during my eleven hours seated in the airplane to nowhere. While reading the inflight magazine, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a full-page advertisement for Guatemala tourism. The ad, with this headline — Serenity Calls — invited me to vacation in beautiful, peaceful, Guatemala. What!? Isn’t Guatemala so miserable and dangerous that the U.S. must give thousands of Guatemalans asylum? Excuse me?

Obviously, some group is lying to us citizens. But my liberal media associates seem unable to figure out who. Or, perhaps, they are merely allergic to truth.

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MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF PUPPY POOP — Upon arrival back home, I learned the secret math formula for when you have a dog-sitter who is not required to pick up puppy poop during your vacation: 15 Days X 2 Little Dogs = 9 Bags Full. Yes sir. Yes sir.

There might have been even more, but we live in a hot desert environ, so I did the pick-ups at night when it is slightly less hot. It’s possible I overlooked a few deposits, but in my own defense, puppy excreta are well-disguised to resemble indigenous rocks and dead leaves. In the dark, I sometimes wasn’t certain what I had picked up . . . until I gripped the bag too hard.

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