Nic, Bupkis and Nichevo

About Nothing, by Nothing, with German-flavored cleavage occasionally thrown in for local color.

Name:
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

You can email me at NicBupkusNichevo at aol dot com. Aren't you excited?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I have to admit...

...I rather miss the ABA. Today's Indy Star has an article on Pacer brawls of yore, including interviews with a couple of ABA legends.

The Pacers were playing the Virginia Squires on Dec. 23, 1970, at what is now the Pepsi Coliseum when a fight broke out with 2:06 left in the second quarter. That was hardly an uncommon experience in those days of the American Basketball Association, but this one went well beyond the norm. The Indianapolis Star's account the next morning described it as a "riot," and estimated its length at five minutes.

"Players hit players, players hit fans, players hit policemen, fans hit players, policemen hit players," the story read.


Who needs hockey? Just bring back the red, white and blue basketball.

We can negotiate the size of the Afros. :D

Followup

The state AG is finally talking about the lawsuit by the ICLU regarding the his intention to examine 73 Planned Parenthood records of girls under 14.

"When we have indications that children 12 and 13 years old have had sexual relations, which is a criminal activity in Indiana, then we are obviously concerned about those activities and the proper reporting of child abuse to authorities," Carter answered Wednesday.

He was talking about news that has gone national and resulted in a lawsuit, filed by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Planned Parenthood -- and is only just warming up.


As the column (and it is a column, not an article) goes on to point out, in this state children under the age of 14 are considered victims of sex abuse. If there is evidence that Planned Parenthood has not been turning this information over to the state - and there some (if somewhat questionable) evidence that they are, then the state AG is perfectly within the bounds of law to investigate.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Hrm.

Over at Apocalyptic Hystorian They're challenging Meme: The Strange Career of a Concept.

This should instantly vaporize easily 50% of Live Journal (including a not insignificant portion of my own). Do *you* feel over-extended - or just your journal/blog?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Maybe we've been here too long?

One of the more interesting results of my return to Indiana as an adult is the discovery of just how tightly woven my family is into the fabric of Indianapolis and its history. This is primarily my father’s side we’re talking about here; my mother’s family has been historically dirt poor and in the tradition of such groups left little record of itself – or much desire to learn more about its own history. Everywhere I go in this city I see some landmark that has an H. family connection somewhere, some passing bit of history that ties us that much tighter to Naptown (a name I hate, by the way, because I don’t buy it for a second and only the ignorant could think it accurate).

Over there is the (now) little-known Atheneum gym annex, desperately rundown and home to little more than a dive bar and a gym used for youth pickup basketball. Back in the day Papa (my grandfather) would walk there from his job at Pittman-Moore, put in some time in the beautiful gym and facilities, take a shower and head over to his favorite neighborhood dive restaurant for lunch. The joint’s still there, and still serves braunschweiger sandwiches with lots of mayonnaise, and the required Indiana tenderloin the size of a child’s head.

If you head down Bluff you’ll find a salvage yard that sits on top of a former transfer point and holding area for German prisoners-of-war passing through the Indianapolis railroad hubs. When Dad was young, Papa would take him down there as he spoke to the prisoners through the fence, telling Dad (the family all called him Skip) that he just may have cousins in there. The family’s been in this state since at *least* the 1830’s, making us one of the older Hoosier families around. Until WWII, though, every generation we – like a lot of families of a certain time and place – had people just off the boat marrying in; Dad’s is the last remotely bilingual generation.

Speaking of Papa and Dad and expeditions to strange places, the office park where I currently work sits on top of the old Pittman-Moore testing farm. Way back when Papa would bring my city kid father up here to pet and play with the barnyard animals P-M tested its veterinary medicines on. Legend has it that when the various office buildings that sit here now were built, the excavators would occasionally turn up massive pits full of animal bones.

There’s the massive community center where Dad works now; back when he was being taken to interview POWs it was his elementary school. Little connections everywhere.

The local bus service, IndyGo, has a bus barn near Washington and Harding. If you look closely in the brick façade you’ll see faded lettering that reads (you gotta squint) “Duesenberg Racing”. My great-grandfather was a mechanic and test-driver for Fred and Ira; the Speedway Museum has a picture of him posing on the high banked fourth turn with a couple of other drivers and the semi-bare chasses that the brothers built and tested before adding the custom coaches. Dad’s working with IndyGo to try and get the façade preserved and restored, and a historical marker put up on the outside (instead of just on the inside where it doesn’t accomplish a whole lot).

As an aside, my great-grandfather is firmly embedded in the family lore as one of those completely anal German stereotypes. He wore *white* coveralls at work, and kept them as spotless as his tools and garage floor. He was also known for his massive strength, right up until he dropped dead of a heart attack trying to lift one too many engines all by himself. He was quite young, his oldest son (my Papa) only 12 years old. Papa dropped out of school to take care of his four brothers and sisters. When he in turn died of his own (second) heart attack, everyone just seemed to automatically put Dad in Papa’s place as the paterfamilias. But anyway.

Friday Dad had to give me a ride home from work, due to migraine-induced semi-blindness and an Imitrex-induced fuzzy head. Dad being Dad we took surface streets all the way from Zionsville to Greenwood, and I got yet another history lesson along the way. At one (very extensive) point we passed Crown Hill Cemetery, *the* burial ground for anyone who is Anyone in Indianapolis (James Whitcomb Riley, John Dillinger, and more mayors and governors than you can shake a stick at are all buried there). I’m not terribly sure how I ever forgot this, but until Papa died we were buried there, too. Dad was quite careful to point out that we were always buried on the *right* side of 38th Street. Great-great-aunt Lena Mae was the last one buried there (I was quite young; couldn’t have been more than five).

Oh, Lena Mae. One of the Great Beauties of Indianapolis, her every movement and fashion choice and whim avidly described in the social pages for years, she’s the reason one branch of our family got kicked out of Saxony. Apparently the Duke, Albert, decided to use the lovely Lena Mae to make and advantageous political marriage (not to the duke; we’re still trying to find out who). She would have none of it. Albert told her father to make her comply, and he also refused. Albert then told her father to force her Or Else. We have the Or Else, a huge piece of parchment stripping the family – you might have heard the name, Daimler – of all lands, titles and citizenship. They soon settled in Indianapolis, Lena Mae married my great-grandfather’s younger brother, and ever since we’ve all done a mental “D’oh!” whenever the name Mercedes Benz came up. She stayed a Beauty until she died, though she got a bit confuzzled in her later years. After the last of Great-Great-Grandpa David’s money ran out and the mansion had to be sold in the 1950’s, she moved into an apartment and was given her first TV, The family still talks about how Lena Mae refused to believe that the people in the TV weren’t really there in her apartment, and how she would dress up and set out the tea service whenever she would watch.

Oh, and the family mansion? It currently sits under the track at IUPUI. Two years ago, when I volunteered one day with the IUPUI field school dig site, I got into it with the professor conducting the dig. He insisted that the documentary record showed the neighborhood was filled with Factory workers, nothing but shotgun houses. I finally just handed him over to Dad, who sent the poor guy every scrap of family documentation about that mansion and every record of the family in the area at the time – and his own memories of the neighborhood growing up. Yes, it did eventually devolve into that sort of lower-class neighborhood, but not in the period the professor was focusing on. Hmph.

Great-Great-Grandpa David leads me to another bit of family history in Indy: the Gymnasium, or Athenaeum as it’s now called. Best German food this side of Klemm’s Meat Market, by the way. David was one of those who contributed to the building of the place; we don’t know if he contributed money (he had it), but we do know he helped literally build it. David was a Master Carpenter in addition to being a land speculator (we figured out last year finally that that’s how he made his money), and in the grand tradition of German woodcarvers he worked on the facility. While we don’t have documentation to prove exactly where, there is a massive grand staircase leading to the ballroom’s ticket window, carved with the same trim and molding decorations as a library table Dad has that we know David made. Dad’s on the Athenaeum’s board now, and they’re after him to loan David’s woodcarving tools to the museum they’re trying to put together. One hundred years later, and we're back where we started.

Heh. Dad just sent me an email to follow up on my question about Barringer’s (couldn’t remember the name): “And of course the Athenaeum would have to head that list as well as the German American Klub, the Melody Inn (for us Butler folks and the Red Key Tavern for the same reason), and for your Papa, don't forget Vollrath's on the south side.

Oy, Butler and David’s money and David’s father George are enough for a whole nuther too-long post. More later.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Unconscionably overdue.

It is INEXCUSABLE that this hasn't happened sooner.

One day after former Crispus Attucks High School basketball players publicly questioned why they weren't given the same treatment as the 1954 Milan state champions, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame executive committee announced Wednesday that the 1955 state champions would be inducted at a March 23 ceremony.

"There is no question the Crispus Attucks team of 1954-55 that won its first state title deserves to be inducted," said Roger Dickinson, executive director of the Hall of Fame. "What that team accomplished had national and social significance."


If you're not from Indiana and/or not a basketball junkie, please let me explain a few things. If you've ever seen the movie "Hoosiers", you've seen a movie based on that 1954 Milan championship - and the man who played the South Bend coach was in real life the coach of Crispus Attucks.

Crispus Attucks High School, the home of the legendary Oscar Robertson.

Crispus Attucks High School, the first team of color to win the state championship in a sport that was a state obsession, and in a state that was only one generation removed at the time from Klan control.

Crispus Attucks, the team that brought national attention to the amazing basketball being played in the African-American community and helped pave the way for future NBA greats as George McGinnis, Julius Irving and Wilt Chamberlain.

Milan was famous for being the tiny school who could. Crispus Attucks rewrote basketball history.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

From New Sisyphus

Insert the words "politicians and activists" every time he says "liberal", and I think he and PJ O'Rourke aren't that far off.

O’Rourke concluded that the night he spoke this words, Kerry had, in effect, gone beyond the pale in what is acceptable in American political discourse:

"It's hard for an American politician to come up with an ideological position that is permanently unforgivable. Henry Wallace never quite managed, or George Wallace either. But Kerry's done it. American free speech needs to be submitted to arbitration because Americans aren't smart enough to have a First Amendment, and you can tell this is so, because Americans weren't smart enough to vote for John Kerry."


Make sure to read the whole article by O'Rourke. It's really quite sad and telling when Ted Kennedy can't even be bothered to show up to give you an award named after his own brother.

Memo to John kerry: Those of us who did not vote you are not stupid people*. Please quit treating us and addressing us as if we are. You are helping no one's cause every time you and your peers do so. We can tell when we are being patronized and condescended to, and we do not care for it. Thank you.

*Well, we're not stupid solely because we chose not to vote for Kerry. Some of us are in other ways quite freakin' nuts, as as some who did vote for Kerry. Wingnuts vs Moonbats, anyone?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Heh.

You know, some of the things posted by Project Gutenberg have to be seen to be believed...

From the Indy Star

Michele McNeil at the Indianapolis Star just posted a short article in the ongoing investigation into activities at Planned parenthood centers across the state, excerpted here:

Planned Parenthood of Indiana is suing Attorney General Steve Carter to stop his office from seizing the medical records of 73 low-income Medicaid patients who have sought reproductive services. None of the records involves abortions.
The Attorney General's office, in a letter presented at three Planned Parenthood health centers earlier this month, stated that its Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was investigating an incident report or complaint alleging patient abuse or neglect.

Federal health privacy laws don't apply for Medicaid fraud or abuse investigations, and facilities can risk losing Medicaid funding if they don't comply with investigators and turn over patient records...The eight records already turned over are of 12- and 13-year-old patients. In Indiana, anyone under age 14 who is sexually active is considered to be a victim of rape. Cockrum said Planned Parenthood personnel follow the law and report those patients to child protective services for further review.

She called this unprecedented -- that patient records have never been demanded like this in Indiana from her health centers.

Ken Falk, an attorney with the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood, said Carter's office was "going way beyond its power" and invading Hoosiers' privacy. He said he found no similar cases like this in the nation.


While this *is* an unprecedented move on the part of of a SAG, the fact that none of these cases involve abortion but all seem to focus on the extremely young give me some concern about the ACLU's privacy complaint. If it is about Medicaid fraud, I am a bit supicious about the very specific age group targeted - why not a much broader spectrum? if instead these records are being requested into a statewide investigation of stat rape and child abuse, is this really the jurisdiction of the state and not the counties? I realize Indiana is socially the Deep South in everything but geography, and early teen pregnancies are not unexpected (a local morning radio show recently held a contest for the youngest batural - in other words, biological - grandmother in their audience; they were squicked at 32 and tried to end the contest, but not before a woman could call in and recommend her 28-year-old sister), but again, is this an issue for the SAG to pursue? I'd really, really like to hear more from Carter on his reasons.

Round up the usual suspects.

Michelle Malkin, once again riding her illegal immigration hobbyhorse, really nails it this time (make sure to turn down your sarcasm-meters so they don't overload):

ILLEGALS? WORKING IN SENSITIVE AREAS? NO! REALLY?

Make sure to follow all the links.

Get out your Ray-Bans and autograph books!

From the Indy Star, via AP:

MADISON, Ind. -- Hollywood and some of its stars were expected to come to the city for a long-awaited debut of a movie partly shot in the Ohio River community six years ago.

After a string of expected openings, the independent film "Madison," shot in 1999, should premiere in the community on April 16, The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., reported.

Indiana native Bill Bindley wrote and directed the movie, which was set in 1971 and resembled "Hoosiers" in that it was about small-town values and an underdog. It stars Jim Caviezel -- "The Passion of the Christ" star -- and focused on a community-owned powerboat, Miss Madison, and its push to defy the odds to earn top prize during the city's annual powerboat regatta on the Ohio River.

Caviezel, co-star Jake Lloyd -- Anakin Skywalker in "The Phantom Menace" Star Wars film -- and Bruce Dern were expected to attend the opening, officials said.

Linda Lytle, executive director of the area's convention and visitors bureau, said the city would host the premiere.

"We're trying to make it as nice as we can," she said

The last time Hollywood came to the city was 1958 to film "Some Came Running," starring Frank Sinatra.


Lessee....we've got "Breaking Away", "Hoosiers", "Rudy" and now "Madison". Gotta be something in the corn. I went to IU and grew up not far from Bloomington, so of course "Breaking Away" is a favorite film. My father went to Butler University and both of my parents were at the *real* game depicted in "Hoosiers" (never watch this film with my parents, for you will spend the entire movie deluged in Hoosier basketball arcana and fact-checking, and yes, that bloody well IS Ray Crowe playing the coach of the South Bend team). Notre Dame is Hoosier by geography rather than personality, I'm afraid. We'll have to see how this film visit to Kentuckiana goes. Must, must see.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Cue the Shirley Bassey theme song!

Via Laurence Jarvik and the Washington Post, a tale of spies, poison and secret medical derring-do that would make Ian Fleming proud:

A team of U.S. doctors, headed by a University of Virginia professor, secretly flew to Vienna in mid-December to assist in the treatment of then-Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, according to U.S. officials, two of the doctors and the head of the Austrian clinic visited by Yushchenko.

The team's role in Yushchenko's recovery from an apparently deliberate case of massive dioxin poisoning has been undisclosed until now, largely because U.S. officials and the doctors did not want to appear to interfere in the political drama of the Ukrainian elections.


Jarvik's right: this should be a movie. Now, who can we cast as Yushchenko?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Return of Arleigh Burke

Incredible article over in the Proceedings of the Naval Institute about the absolute failure of the TQL movement within the Navy. The military is *not* a corporation, and applying a business management model to an organization that must function as if every day is a world-threatening emergency will not serve. I can remember when the World's Greatest Ex had to sit through class after class on the theory of this nonsense, and what a colossal waste of time it was. Teach your NCOs to be combat leaders, not business managers. While no one can afford to be frivoulous with scarce defense dollars, DoD budgets cannot be written against some sort of "productivity" goal as if the Pentagon was IBM or Microsoft.

Just how far can you suspend disbelief?

Bingo.

400+ rounds from an armored vehicle into an unarmored car, and only one person dies and a second person gets winged? Wow, doesn't say much for our firepower, does it? ::cue eye roll::

Right now I'm more interested in finding out:

A) Did the Italians not bother to tell the Americans that this hostage would be on the road?

B) Why was this vehicle speeding almost out of control (by Sgrena's own description) down this of all roads at that hour? Common sense alert!

C) How many more western hostages are going to be grabbed now that Berlusconi's government has caved?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Commander

Proceedings of the Naval Institute discovers military blogging.

Registration required.

UPDATE: And now so does the Army Times.

Ooo...that's GOTTA hurt.

Did anyone happen to catch 60 Minutes' story on Sunday night about Tom Delay? At one point Lesley Stahl was stalking Delay in the halls of Congress because he wouldn't return her calls. While I didn't catch enough of the story to argue the merits of the charges they were trying to lay at DeLay's feet, the comment of his legal representative at the time was certainly an eye-popper and led to much cheering and scaring of cats (and apologies for paraphrasing): "I understand that when CBS can't find news it makes it up..."

Taking Care of Our Own

FABULOUS article in the LA Times on a combat unit in Iraq:

"A Death in the Family"

Something to help counteract the conspiracy theories coming out of Italy this morning.

More from Senator Robert "How Did Those Holes Get In My Pillowcases?" Byrd

Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit points to two things: Byrd's "column" at the Washington Post, and an excellent rebuttal from Brendan Nyhan of Duke. Nyhan whomps on Byrd far more precisely and intelligently than I ever could, so I won't even make the attempt. It saddens me, though, to see Byrd in the Senate, fighting for a style of government that has gone the way of the dodo. Byrd represents the last of the smoke-filled-room politicians, people like Tip O'Neill and Sam Rayburn, who thought that a handshake in a back room was what everything came down to. I know Byrd gets blasted quite a bit for all of the money and projects he brings home to WV, but that's the one thing I cannot fault him for; that's his job, and he does that part of it admirably.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

From Qando.Net, via Instapundit:

Finally, the NYT is on board with Democracy promotion in the Mideast. Glad to have you aboard, guys.

They are certainly hedging on the side of pessimism, and only giving grudging credit to the Bush administration, but it seems to be getting into their heads that they may have been on the wrong side here, it seems to me.

And that bit about the Bush Administration taking a "healthy" share of the credit? Nice understatement. Without the Bush Administration, none of this would be happening. They deserve the primary share of the credit, along with the governments of Tony Blair, John Howard, Alexander Kwasniewski and others.

What is happening reminds me of that heady year of 1989. For those of us who wee in Europe then, especially those of us who were serving there in active duty, it was an amazing time. Almost without warning, peaceful revolution swept across the continent, washing away the Soviet tyranny against which we had striven for decades.

When we look back on the 1980s now, it's not remembered as a decade in which a dim cowboy president courted global thermonuclear war, but as the decade when the USSR was brought down, the Warsaw Pact eliminated, and democratic governance came to Eastern Europe.


And if you still don't get it, may I suggest today's "Day by Day"?

See, I *do* remember 1989 - and this *does* feel a helluva lot like it. In the mid 1980s, when I was on active duty, it really was all about the Evil Empire. I get the same vibes today about terrorism and the non-democratic ME as we got then about Communism and the Warsaw Pact. I can remember lighting a candle in the window for the Polish shipyard workers of Solidarity. I remember studying Czech and wondering when - not if - the time would come I'd be using it. And I remember staring incredulously as thousands of Germans, East and West, scrambled over that awful, awful wall. I even remember breaking down in tears as the President finally ordered Looking Glass to stand down. That more than anything told me that it was finally all over, and that we'd won.

And I've no doubt we're going to win here. Election, after election after election...we're going to win. Afghanistan, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and now Lebanon, we're going to win. Continue to hate the President with a viper's personal poison all you want, but I don't care. We're going to win. We, the free peoples of the world, are ALL of us going to win, and our numbers will grow.

We're going to win.