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Mail From Captain Kirk’s Home Town

June 8, 2009

I had a nice little surprise in my mailbox this morning: a postcard from my closest friend, Patrick, a.k.a. Chris P. Bacon. He has returned from several years in Australia this spring and is currently criss-crossing the United States, exploring every funky corner of our neighbour to the south. Those of you who are Patrick’s Facebook friends have been following along as he documents his journey in pictures; I think he’s up to album 16 of his Journey Through America series. There’s quality stuff there. And there’s a lot for him to see; as a top-level fan of comic books, Star Trek, country music and books you’ve never heard of, he’s seeking out places that resonate for him.

And sometimes for me, as evidenced by the postcard I received this morning. As fans know, Riverside, Iowa, was mentioned as the birthplace of James T. Kirk, and the town grabbed ahold of that fame. It now markets itself as Kirk’s birthplace, complete with tourism-oriented propaganda. There’s a Canadian town called Vulcan, Alberta, that does the same thing.

SPOILER: In the new movie’s rebooted continuity, Kirk wasn’t born in Riverside, but grew up there after his father’s death. And Starfleet so respected his father’s courage that the Utopia Planitia shipyards were apparently moved to Iowa, giving Kirk a chance to see the Enterprise being built when he rode his e-cycle through a field to enlist.

In related news, a package arrived at the same time as the postcard, even though it appeared to have been mailed a week earlier. This was a funky book about the cult of Elvis that Patrick apparently found in California. Star Trek, Elvis … oh yeah, he has a photo on Facebook right now of himself posing with the statue of Fonzie in Milwaukee. For the first time in recorded history, someone is jealous of Patrick, and it’s me.

My explorations of America are limited to the country’s eastern seaboard and parts of the South, and happened 20 years ago. Once I get this new thing with passports and whatever sorted out, it’s time for me and the gang to do some exploring, too.

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