Excursion 40, Part 1 (Shorter Days, Longer Memories)

Ohio is a state with four seasons and, arguably, three of them suck.  But even the grumpiest Buckeye would admit that Ohio is wonderful in the fall.  This is the Ohio of the Calvin and Hobbes Sunday strips.  Cool, comfortable weather; the exciting smell of that first true fall day; the leaves, oh, those glorious leaves.  Couple all that with the human excitement of back to school, football season, Halloween and Thanksgiving, and you just have a swell old time.

Each October I spend a lot of time in the Cleveland area, on my other money-wasting hobby.  These past few years I have not driven straight back to Columbus, but rather used the fact of being in Cleveland to launch an excursion into some area of northeast Ohio.  That is what I did in October 2014 as I began my 40th formal photographic excursion across my beloved home state.

Continue reading

Excursion 31, Part 3 (The Lost Locomotive Graveyard)

There’s a right-wing extremist movement in the United States called the “sovereign citizen” movement.  I won’t go into their whole set of beliefs here but one consequence of their ideology is that they love creating counterfeit entities.  They create bogus courts, bogus juries, bogus states, bogus governments, bogus colonies, bogus law enforcement agencies, bogus post offices—you name it, they can create their own counterfeit versions of it.  About a dozen years ago, some sovereign citizens created a fake Indian tribe that they dubbed the “Little Shell Pembina Band of North America.”

You didn’t actually need to have native blood to joint his group; for $40, they’d “adopt” you.  They were generous that way.  They would sell fake tribal license plates, fake drivers’ licenses, and other similar documents.  On the back of the Little Shell “identification card,” they listed all the wonderful rights and privileges that members had, including the right to explore the North American continent, immunity from military service, immunity from taxes, and so forth.  But my favorite is this:  “Every Indian is entitled to purchase a railway ticket at half price.”  Now just think about this for a second.  You are making up, out of whole cloth, any sort of immunity or privilege or right that your mind could possibly imagine.  The sky’s the limit, right?  But the person who created this card used up one of his precious magic privilege slots with half-price train tickets!  You gotta think, that was one train-loving right-wing extremist, you betcha.

I couldn’t help thinking of this locomotophile sovereign citizen as I encountered a fascinating site while driving back home to Columbus from East Liverpool.

Continue reading