MAD DOG: A Summer Vacation Guide

It's never too soon to start planning your summer vacation. After all, the flowers are in bloom, you no longer have to wear heavy winter clothes while grilling outdoors, and face it, you don't have much of anything else to do now that the perfect time to conceive a child in the hopes that it will be the First Baby of the Millennium"! has come and gone. (NOTE: In case you missed it, the day was Friday April 9th. You might want to take a moment and mark it on your 2099 calendar while you're thinking about it, just to play it safe.) This year it's time to do something a little different, to break out of that rut and forget about going to Disneyland for the umpteenth time. To cancel those reservations at Lake Fertilizer-Runoff. Been there, done that, got the glow-in-the-dark complexion to prove it. And whatever you do, don't even think about going camping -- if we were supposed to live outdoors in tents God wouldn't have invented Motel 6.That's why I've put together a few suggestions and pointers which will help you find new and fun things to do this vacation. Well, that and I have way too much time on my hands since I bought that automatic car key polisher a few weeks ago.First, don't stay home and work around the house, that's what weekends are for. Well, that and Michelob. Besides, Americans already spend $30 billion a year maintaining lawns, it will do wonders for the economy if you'd diversify your summer spending by supporting someone other than Dow Chemical and Burpee this year. Besides, it might get you a personalized thank-you note from Alan Greenspan which you could frame and sell for big bucks, offsetting the cost of a trip to Death Valley to see the lowest point in the United States. (And you thought America's lowest point was when The Waterboy broke ticket sales records.)Do make reservations early to Walk on Water, opening in August at Capernaum, Israel. This is a 262-foot-long transparent bridge which will sit just under the surface of the Sea of Galilee so you can follow in Christ's footsteps. Literally. There will be lifeguards on duty in case you stray from the straight and narrow, street magicians who will turn water into wine, and when you've worked up an appetite -- no one said walking on water was easy -- you can stuff yourself at the all-you-can-eat fish and loaf buffet at Last Supper Deli and 1-Hour Film Processing.Consider a trip to the Matter Museum in Philadelphia, the only place where you'll find an exhibit on lobotomies (Frank Rizzo aside -- or is that, included? -- Philadelphia is the Home of Lobotomies), see a woman's body that turned to soap (where else can you wash your hands with someone else's hands?), and ooh and aah Chief Justice John Marshall's bladder stones.If you're flying into Fairbanks, Alaska, don't worry about having to travel with big wads of cash. They finally installed the airport's first ATM since they pulled out the old one in 1991 because everyone mistook it for a blubber vending machine. Just kidding. Actually they did it because no one used the old one. Who needs cash when you can pay for your blubber with a credit card?Whatever you do, be careful on the road. Don't chew bubble gum cigars if you're driving through Oklahoma. The state House recently passed a bill outlawing non-tobacco items that look like tobacco products. You don't have to worry though, you can still have plenty of fun there. Water guns that look like real weapons, lottery tickets, real tobacco products, and liquor are all readily available.If you're going to San Francisco, wear flowers in your hair. Just kidding. Actually no one there does that anymore. They do, however, eat them, since the cost of living has become so high. Whatever you do, though, be sure to bring your credit card. Not only is it good in restaurants, hotels, and all tourist attractions, but if a city proposal Mayor Willie Brown is supporting passes, the panhandlers will accept them too. This is especially good news since the IRS appreciates your having receipts for charitable donations. And they've ruled that giving money to any of the 14,892 Clinton defense funds isn't eligible this year.Why not take a trip to the Vatican, where you can visit recording star Pope John Paul II? He may not sign your copy of his CD, Abba Pater, but if you're lucky you may get to kiss his ring. If you do, be sure to ask him why he changed all the lyrics of those ABBA songs into Latin.Be wary of roadside scams. While The Thing, the World's Largest Ball of Twine, and the Tooth Plaque Museum are all bona fide roadside attractions, there are some that aren't. Drive right by the guy selling Maps of the Stars Homes in Chelsea, Michigan. Don't go on the tour of Jefferson's home in Monticello, Utah. And if you hear a radio commercial while driving through Richmond, Virginia advertising "a favorite spot for family outings" that has "one of the most spectacular views in Richmond", check it out before you buy that piece of land -- they're pushing burial plots at Hollywood Cemetery. Sure, your neighbors would include John Tyler, James Monroe, and Jefferson Davis, but aren't we already spending enough money on beautiful lawns?Lastly, you might just want to stay home and save your money. After all, Bambiland is on the way. This is a theme park being planned in Podgorica, Yugoslavia by Marko Milosevic, son of famed president Milo "It's My Country And I'll Do Whatever I Want" Milosevic. This is for real. Well, at least according to a newspaper in Montenegro. Although the deal was just clinched in March, work on what will be the country's largest amusement park has apparently already begun as NATO planes have reportedly been working hard clearing the land.There you have it. Now you can sit back, relax, and have a great vacation. Well, as long as the kids are nestled in the trunk, you didn't leave more than one faucet running, and the pharmacist wasn't on vacation so you could get your Xanax prescription refilled. Send me a postcard, will you?

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