Last night I got back from a trip to Washington, DC and Roanoke, VA. We visited some of Jay’s friends, then drove into the Shenandoah Valley to see some of my cousins I hadn’t seen in 16 years. (I actually wasn’t sure how long, but they calculated it had been that long based on the fact that the last time I was there we’d seen “Event Horizon” in the theater. My cousins always were my horror movie go-to guys.)

Anyway, it was a fun trip, although I wish we’d taken it in summer; when I was a kid I always used to visit my grandparents in Virginia then, when everything was green and the air was humid and heavy, instead of now in winter, when it’s cold and the trees are bare (and there wasn’t even any snow this season to make it picturesque). But that’s a trivial detail, since my cousins were the important thing, and we had a fun time. On the way back, my wife and I stopped in Luray Caverns where we went on a cave tour, during which I thought about HP Lovecraft’s “The Beast in the Cave” the whole time. Things got off to a very American start when, as the tour guide was explaining how the cave had been formed by water and erosion over 10 million years, one of our fellow tourmates loudly and pointedly said “But how can that be, when the Bible tells us the Earth was created only 6,000 years ago?”

To add an extra spin, he apparently wasn’t American, but part of some Russian Bible/Christian (or just passively Christian) tour group. Myself, I was most surprised by the fact that he’d said 6,000 years, when I thought Young Earth Creationists believed the Earth was 8,000 years old, like James Beauseigneur in his “Christ Clone Trilogy”. Clearly there’s some sort of competition going on where people are trying to out-extreme one another by claiming the Earth is younger and younger, until eventually, the Earth will have been created 2 hours and 30 minutes ago and God just implanted all our memories of the time before that. Which is actually very existential and Philip K. Dickian, though that probably wasn’t what the Russians were thinking about.