Friday, May 22, 2009


When it comes to caves, I think I’m going to choose my basement mancave over Squire Boone’s beloved Corydon caves.

In case you don’t know the history, Squire Boone and his more-famous brother, Daniel Boone, discovered the caves in Southern Indiana (Maukport, near Corydon, to be exact) in the 1800s. They built a mill nearby. On one occasion, Indians, paid by the British to hassle folks on the frontier, were chasing Squire Boone and he hid from them in the caves, saving his life. Squire Boone so loved his caves that he wanted to be buried there.

I know all this ‘cause I chaperoned a field trip to the caves this week with my daughter’s school.
Call me soft- I’m definitely no frontiersman- but I don’t much care for Squire Boone’s caverns. Oh sure, they’re caverns, so they automatically get points in their favor, but I much prefer my own mancave.

First off, Squire Boone caverns are on a hill. Or maybe that’s in a hill? The point is that when you go, you’re going to be doing a lot of vertical hiking. From the slanted parking lot up to the gift shop, or down to the soap-making house, or candle-making house, or down to the Mill. See, there isn’t just a cavern to see, like in my youth. Nope, it’s a whole tribute to pioneer living. And that would be great- if it were on level ground. But I’m 41 years old and a fairly large guy. While I didn’t crack my head repeatedly on the high ceilings of the cavern like at Marengo Caves, I did find the up and downhill, back and forth hiking hard on my knees. Then we went underground.
Here’s an important safety advisory for anyone thinking of Squire Boone Caverns that has bad knees or is afraid of heights: Don’t Go.

When we went, the walk-in entrance was blocked off- this meant we got to do the 73 step-spiral staircase-from-hell to go down into the caverns, walk up and down many more stairs as we followed the guide, then turned around and climbed back out. I know, people laugh and say someone who’s 6 foot 4 inches tall shouldn’t be acrophobic, but I am. Especially when the metal stairs I am climbing flex under my wrassler-class weight.

Let’s compare my own mancave. It’s on level ground. One flight of stairs, that are strong enough to drive a car down, and carpeted. Maximum depth- one floor, not the 9 floors down that Squire Boone reaches at it’s deepest. My stairs are straight, too. No spiraling, no twisting, no turns. And dry, totally not slippery.

My mancave is drier- although I have to admit I like the cool dampness of caverns, it probably wouldn’t be good for my health in the long run. And while most caverns have electricity for lighting, well, there’s no TV. Point to my mancave and it's satellite goodness.

Solitude? 90 feet underground guarantees you probably wouldn’t hear a plane crash into the gift shop above, but I get decent sound-proofing from my mancave. No doors closing on cars, no cars-driving-by, no birds, no yelling kids outside. Basically then, anything more than one level underground is just unneccessary.

Did I get good pictures at Squire Boone Caverns? Yeah- more impressive than my GI Joe and movie memorabilia collection for sure. But given the strain on my knees to get there, I’ll contentedly stare at my bookshelves without any regrets.

Were the staff at Squire Boone helpful and nice? Absolutely. Great, friendly folks. If they were on level ground I’d go again. Several times.

All in all, I give Squire Boone 1 out of 5 stars. However, if you like climbing and dangerous heights, I’d boost the rating to 3 stars. All in all though, if you’re driving to Corydon to see a cave, I regretfully must recommend you go check out Marengo Caves. Even my 3 year old could handle that tour. Just watch your head.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Why is it that when you hit a certain age, it annoys you that kids are playing in your front yard- especially other people's kids? Stranger's kids.

They aren't really hurting anything. Hell, stomping that grass might slow it's growth, ultimately saving me from having to break out the riding lawnmower and all the intensive labor that would follow. Like steering. And working the pedal.

Maybe it's the noise? It bugs me when I hear car doors slamming outside, or cars driving by. Which is weird, because when I was stationed overseas, planes were always taking off, all day long, and I completely tuned it out.

Is it like super-powers? Does age grant some kind of cosmic awareness that replaces the obliviousness of youth? Coupled with hyper-irritability?

I know something that irritates me. Twitter.

Here I am, only 41 years old, and Twitter really bugs me. Not because I'm a technophobe. Or a grownup. I'm neither. I play Xbox, I carry an Android Developer Phone and have been using computers since the Timex Sinclair (that's pre-Commodore 64 for you wannabe geeks). I email regularly. Obsessive-compulsively, in fact. As soon as I get an email, it's like someone knocking on my door and I have to answer. Same with my phone. Damn texting.

But I don't get Twitter. Heck, I don't get Facebook or Myspace either. What's wrong with reliable bulletin boards- BBS is what we used to call them in the heady pre-Al Gore-invented-the-internet-days.... Heck, even those Yahoo Newsgroups are okay.

Whoops, it's been five minutes since my last Twitter, hang on a sec...

Yeah, I'm Twittering. I feel like Billie Madison, back in kindergarten or something. I know, lots of old people Twitter. Brent Spiner for example. I sort of get why kids like to hear what Ashton Kutcher is eating or flushing at any given moment, but Brent Spiner? Data? Do kids these days even know what Star Trek: The Next Generation is?

Call us crazy at MTW, but we decided that maybe some Twittering would be good for us. Get the old creative juices rejuvenated with some hip, young Twittering. Or e-rambling, as I like to think of it.

"Burp. I burped."

"Tasted that chicken from lunch."

"Lunch was two hours ago. When will I have to potty?"

"Uh-oh, teacher sees me..."

You get the idea- Twittering is just random drivel. Thoughts people too lazy to say "please" and "thank you" punch into mobile devices with obsessive zeal. Observations and reflections that should have been left to their inner voice. Assuming they have one. Those kids are getting louder day by day, you know.

The worst thing about Twitter though, is the mobile-phone connection. Not only does it allow you to ramble out loud on the internet, via your cellphone, like deranged, demented elderly people in nursing homes, it also allows you to hear other people rambling. Better have an unlimited texting plan though- some people can't shut up. They feel compelled to comment every five seconds. Heck, since I started this article I've Twittered over a dozen times.

It kind of reminds me of Phillip K. Dick. He wrote this great book (those pressed, wood fiber sheets with letters, that don't require batteries or cellular service to read), entitled "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" I wonder if electronic sheep dream of androids. Android phones. All these folks Twittering are like sheep. E-sheep, standing around in the virtual world of the web, bah-ing occasionally to no end. And of course, to Twitter, you need a phone. And Android is the freely-distributable OS for cellular phones put out for Google.

There. See how easy that was- that was a Twitter-like line of thought. In Twitter speak, I'd have said it like this:

"Bladerunner. Good movie."

"Bad Androids."

"Bob has an Android G1."

"I like iphones."

I know, a lot of info left out of the Twitter stream of consciousness. But kids these days are too lazy. I mean, they have abandoned blogging and the deep, soulful reflections full of prose and wit and replaced it with... twit.

Really though, I should embrace Twittering, because it is close to caveman speak. Simple exclamations, short on durations, conveying meaning.




It's like e-grunting. Beat that, Twitter!

NOTE: Come see me at and read for yourself how uncool and old I really sound.