That, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of a bad pun. Not only does it employ a very forced word-syllable replacement but it also contains no commonly known phrase or term in substitution therein. This means that I really didn’t even try to be funny in the title. Does this mean you should worry? Is this an indicator of how the post is going to go? Is the post going to be forced? Will it read much like an earlier post with some words changed around? Will it not even make sense? I guess you’ll have to read on…
This weekend I went to MitcHell. I know, I know… but I had to. Megan’s cousin, Sean Joseph Flynn, Jr., was graduating from MHS this weekend. Megan is not very close to her family, but we had to make the journey anyway. I had never met but two extended members of her family, and this was a golden opportunity to see how I could use them in my plan to hit the casino in Granite Falls.
We were supposed to leave at noon, but things kept getting pushed back. We had to wait for her mom to call us. So, at 3, and after several fitful catnaps, we departed. I was crabby, but I made the most of it. See, Megan and I have decided that she’ll learn drums and we’ll form a two person band, like the White Stripes, except that I’ll be Jack and she’ll be Meg and we’ll rock even harder.
So, to make the hour-long trip to MitcHell better, we decided to pick a band name. Our first method involved picking bands we knew and replacing a word in their name. Red Hot Silly Peppers, Radioshed, Push, and even Black Stripes were all contenders. Then we decided that that wasn’t the way to go.
We could pick lyrics from songs we liked, which is partly how Radiohead did theirs. “Radio head” was a Loverboy lyric, or something. So we considered our options but our band name got longer and longer. We wouldn’t just take one or two words, we took a verse or a refrain. We didn’t think people would get into an introduction like, “Everyone put your hands together for ‘Don’t let the days go by could have been easier on you I couldn’t change though I wanted to should have been easier by three our old friend fear and you and me glycerine’!” You could take a nap in the time it takes to say that.
Then we tried using a dictionary. We each flipped open to a page and picked a random word. It was my thinking that we’d just take our two words, arrange them as we thought made the best sense, and use that as our band name. The list turned out to be:
That has got to be the sorriest list of band names ever. For one thing, the two words I picked were actually two words, so I picked four words. And the first word Megan picked was actually a tree from Australia and the second word was actually Latin for “of sound mind.” But the Latin intrigued me.
For our trip to MitcHell, then, I brought every Latin book I had, and we spent a majority of the time reading through Latin phrases or words, and asking Megan what she thought. Maybe we shouldn’t force it. Maybe the band name will just happen. At least now we have a lot of ideas for album titles.
So, after plenty of Latin phrases and pop music, we were there. It was a little confusing getting there. Megan was a bit stressed, only having been to her uncle’s place a few times. It’s a good thing that when Megan gets stressed she doesn’t get hot tempered and bitchy. Good thing.
I was nervous. I wanted to make a good impression on Megan’s family. As it turned out, the only aunt/uncle pair that was there were Sean’s parents. Megan, however, kept forgetting that I didn’t know these people. That person would come over and start talking to us and then, in a lull of the conversation, I would say, “Hi, I’m Miles.”
For instance, we were talking to her cousin, Sean Jr. They started talking about his mom, Deb, and I leaned over, in the lull, and asked Megan which person was Deb.
Megan says, “Oh, you haven’t met Deb?”
I say, “I haven’t met Sean, yet. Hi, I’m Miles. Congratulations.”
This kind of thing happened again and again. Thankfully, there weren’t many relatives there to repeat this lame Marx Bros. routine. Instead there were things to look at. Row upon row of awards, congratulatory certificates, and offers from foreign countries to take office. Quite impressive. What was more impressive was the food. It was a Make-Your-Own-Mexican-Shaped-Meal bar. See it wasn’t just making tacos, because you could make nachos, tacos, burritos, and even enchiladas (if you like beef over chicken). I had a burrito the first time, but I made it too fat (like a fat fat blunt), and it didn’t wrap right. The next time it became just a nacho.
Then we went to mass. Nothing much eventful happened there. This boy was asleep 10 minutes into it. He just sat there with his mouth gaping open. Then he’d wake for a short bit, then back asleep. I don’t remember if he receive communion or not.
Back to the Flynn’s for a short bit, then to the hotel. Holy crap. The handicapped rooms at the Hamilton in MitcHell are spectacular. They’re the size of a small gymnasium. The bathroom itself was about the size of the pool, but the shower had a seat to sit on and a bed to bed on. There was a microwave and a refrigerator (cause handicapped people need their eats), a TV, and more pillows than any Queen of England could ever have.
We got settled in, hit Walmart, came back, and then Meg and I went swimming. This was a horrifying and embarrassing situation. See, I haven’t gone “swimming” in an era because I’ve never gotten comfortable with my body. Then this last year hit me, and all I did for meals was eat out. So, now I’m fat, and I am DEFINATELY not comfortable with my body. In swimming, however, you have to take off your shirt. It took her about 30 minutes, but I finally relented and got into the pool.
This, we later found, was a terrible idea. If only I had held on to my insecurities, then I would have been able to save my baby. See, it happened like this. We were having contests, like we always do. I think Megan wanted to prove she was a better swimmer. So, we did a race: go down and back, short width of the pool. After about 10 mis-starts, we gave up. She wanted to swim the length of the pool. We got ready, and took off. I won! But she was complaining about the way she swims. See, I’m a top swimmer, but she’s a underwater swimmer.
“See, watch.” She dove under the water. When she came back up, she was holding her face. When she dove, she overestimated the depth of the pool, and she scraped her face on the bottom of the pool. What made is worse was the chlorine in the pool, which got into the wounds, and made it burn like nuts. We decided no more challenging and no more pool – on to the hot tub.
The next day was graduation. But first, the Spartans! Spartans rule. Did you know they had 2 kings? They did that as a system of checks and balances. They devoted their lives to order, discipline, and war. They did this because the helots, the working class of farmers, were actually a country they took over. And, actually, they outnumbered the Spartans by about 15 times. And they had an old person council of everyone 50 or older. These guys had power – real power, like the king. They were like a senate. Why did everyone over 50 get to join? Because if you lived to be 50 in Sparta, you must be tough as nails and smart to boot.
With the program still going, we had to leave. We packed the cars and headed for the Corn Palace. Pardon, The World’s Only Corn Palace. They seem to be quite proud of that name. You know what? It’s corn! But they do redo it every year. This year’s theme is “Lewis & Clark”. The structure, covered in corn husks and decorated with mosque-like towers reminiscent of the Holy Land, looked very South Dakotan in the rain.
Before the graduation, we had some times to look around. On the walls, on the inside, they have a picture “Hall Of Fame” for every Corn Palace configuration they’ve ever had. They even had one that sported a swastika. There were two warnings next to the image, explicitly explaining the symbol as a Native American “good luck” insignia. One was on the picture and another was directly below the picture, about 2 inches. This, and the fact that the picture was taken well before WWII even started, leads one to believe that, had they known, the decorators would never have used the symbol.
The pictures get fishier, though. They have a picture of the first Corn Palace with its true colours. Considering the picture was taken circa 1892 and colour film wasn’t developed until 1935-ish, I highly doubt those are the original colours. You can tell, without much squinting, that they coloured in gigantic photograph. You can tell really easily by looking at the flags – flags are really hard to colour in, realistically. It looks like they took a permanent marker and just went to town. They did this to all of the Corn Palace photos up till their cheap asses got colour film. In the brochure, however, that same picture is printed in its original black-white-sepia shade. You don’t fool me, cheesy marker colouring job!
When you go to MitcHell, and you want to see what there is to offer here, do NOT pic up the Official Visitors Guide. It should be relabeled “Really Big Book of Ads”. Besides having pictures of the latest Corn Palace design, the same design that you had to walk past to get the booklet, the Visitors Guide contains what amount to 6 pages out of 79 with “content” and the rest being adverts. Don’t get me wrong, finding the “$.50 off Any Blizzard” coupon was sweet, but it doesn’t make up for the “10 Fun Things To Do In Mitchell” segment. They did pretty much what they set out to do, listed 10 things that one can, indeed, do in the Home of the Kernels. The problem is the bolded text. See, I guess there was a writing contest at the local Tech school to come up with as many corn puns as possible to put in their brochure, and this was the winning entry. 8 of the 10 had a horrible corn-related pun in them. The 2 that didn’t were both related to Native Americans. Hmm…
That’s why you have to pick up the two brochures. See, there are two because one is the “serious” one and one is the “crazy” one. This is the same principle that family portrait photographers use. If you have to have a serious picture, they people involved are really dying to do a crazy picture, to show how they really are to the camera. This is particularly why I have not even opened the “crazy” one, as I don’t much care for carefreeness. I want seriousness.
The serious brochure is just that. Well, except for a top, inside banner declaring “Visit Mitchell’s Ear-chitecture!”, this brochure is just a colourful reminder of the glory of the world’s only Corn Palace. On the front of the brochure, there is a picture of the 1999 Palace. Then, on the inside, they have a timeline, information type list of pictures. Then they have an item pointing to two pictures the title of which is “Today’s Corn Palace.” But, the Corn Palace in both pictures is the 1998 Corn Palace. Did they make the inside first? How is the most recent Corn Palace isn’t “Today’s” Corn Palace? Unless they just couldn’t bare to photograph the 1999 Corn Palace (theme: Building a Nation) and instead opted for old photos of last years Corn Palace (theme: Youth in Action).
Well, I was pondering all this as we watched the Graduation. It was boring. I was bored. I had my brochures to keep me interested, but … well, you can tell what they’re like from the above. Instead I got to listen to SJJ’s speech. The only line I really remember, and it was a good speech (a bit stuffy, but good), was one that went, “Achieving success with perseverance will leave you intoxicated with happiness and good fortune.” Well, it went something like that, anyway. I like that he used to word “intoxicated”. I heard giggling.
Afterwards, they took some pictures. Enjoyed themselves. Then back to their house for more food and some good time. After a really arduous attempt at getting Grandma Frances up the steps in the rain, we sat down. We watched the weather, which couldn’t make its mind. It would storm really hard, then let up a bit, then storm really hard again. Sean got a cell phone for his graduation – his (and the family’s) first. It was complete with a phone call to the cell phone.
Sean answered, “Hello? I have a fairies ring.”
Then his mom said, “Can you hear her? Can she hear you?”
Megan says, “No, it’s a one-way phone.”
I say, “This must be what Alexander Graham Bell’s first phone call was like. His mother, in the room, ‘Can he hear you? But he’s way over there! How can he hear you? What are you saying to him? Are you cussing?'”
Finally, with all that done, the weather letting up, and some soda for our journey, we once again took off for Madison. Unfortunately, all the weather did was hold off until we hit the interstate, then it got terrible. We saw about 4 or 5 vehicles in the ditch as we drove on our way. But we didn’t get caught. We made it through. We totally rocked that storm, all the way home.