Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My First Santa Gig

I've never run into a bathroom more excited.

I locked the door behind me, hung the suit on the hook and just stared at it.

A plush red jacket with snowball-like trim, a wildly curly beard, and roomy read velvet pants.

I wasn't just looking over a Christmas outfit, I was about to transform myself into a rockstar: the one and only Santa Claus.

Now before you think my first Santa appearance was going to my head, I had plenty of stage fright. I was going to walk into a cafeteria just down the hall that was full of kids with lofty, and entrenched expectations.

I also had to live up to my grandfather's classic portrayal of Santa. He is the one I would be channeling for the next two hours.

I looked in the mirror as I suited up. My face went from a befuddled, "Will this suit fit?" to an excited "Holy (expletive) I really do look like Santa!" expression.

As I slid my boots over my shoes, and placed the cap on my head, I no longer saw the guy who is stressed out that business is slow, or is wondering how he's going to accomplish his to-do list before the family comes for Christmas. I saw Santa Claus . . . a jolly big guy who's purpose in life is to bring a smile to the face of one person at a time.

All I had to do was be myself.

As I strolled in to the Kemba Credit Union Christmas Party and belted out my grandfather's "Ho Ho Ho," I knew the toddlers and the adults were mine.

I swear I could hear "Sharp Dressed Man," by ZZ TOP playing on the boom box, but I think it was "Christmas in Hollis" by RUN-DMC.

But not everyone lit up when I walked in the room. The 'tweens who were just discovering the apathy they would later master as teens were not waiting there to hop on my knee and share their wishes and dreams. They had questions.

Their arms folded, eyes squinted and heads cocked when I sat down on my elevated throne. They looked like they were were about to impanel a grand jury.

"Is this the real Santa?" they thought. "Santa isn't for real, or is he?" they would wonder.
Anyway . . . I invited my share of tots and grandmas to sit on my lap. "So now's your chance, Brandon, why don't you tell Santa what you want for Christmas?"

"Uh . . . Uh . . ." he said.

"You came all the way here in this snow to tell me that?" I responded.

"Uh . . .Uh . . ."

"How about an 'Omnitrix' from Ben 10 or an iPod,?"

Brandon lit up, I looked at his mother for a little personal affirmation, instead she was feverishly giving me the choke sign. I probably reached with the iPod. Just because everyone wants one doesn't mean they are getting one.

"So you like Ben 10?" He shook his head timidly in agreement. Whew, we were back in the $20 range and Mom seemed happy again.

When I asked the same question to eight-year-old Jessica, she said, "I don't know, I want it to be a surprise."

I didn't expect that one!

Another toddler kept coming up and asking for a hug every 15 minutes or so.

I received two drawings from the kids, one that read 'Merry Christmas Santa, Love Jenny."
So it went for another two hours or so. Near the end of my visit, one of the 'tweens and her siblings gathered around me for a picture.

"So, what do you want for Christmas sweetheart?" I asked.

She didn't answer but she was thinking, "I don't know, what's on sale this week at Walmart?"

"How about one of the books in the Twilight series?" I countered. I have an 11 year-old daughter and the romantic vampire book and movie is her singular focus right now.

"You know about Twilight?" she asked excitedly. From there we made some small talk and she admitted she hasn't been good "all the time" this year.

"That's pretty difficult when you are constantly kicking your brother out of your room," I said.

"Exactly," she smiled.

She returned to the table and her family. And eventually I had to say that I'd be in trouble with Mrs. Claus if I didn't get back to the North Pole by noon.

As I returned to the bathroom and pulled off the suit, I reflected on what had been a great experience. People of all ages love Santa -- not just because he comes bearing gifts or represents the holidays. Everyone wants to be loved, and whether they want to admit it or not, they want to love others. It's instinctive for humans to care for and love others.

I was lucky to both give and receive this love last Saturday as an agent of Santa Claus.

My First Santa Gig from Mike Magan on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Never In My Lifetime" REALLY?!

I've believed, as long as I can remember, that black people and white people are equal in the eyes of God. Of course that has not always been the case in the eyes of the law or white America.

While my view of African-Americans has become more enlightened since my childhood days in Southern Indiana, if you would have asked me when I was 5, 15, or 30 if I would live to see a black man become president, I honestly can't imagine answering "no."

While I may have been naive about racism and didn't know what is was like to grow up a black kid, at my core, I've always believed any person can achieve in America whatever they set their mind to. I can thank my first black friend, Reggie Williams, for that.

I rode bus "D-1" to school from 1st through 8th grade and Reggie, one grade older, rode it with me. While I always maintained a class-clown persona, Reggie was always admired and respected. He was a good buddy, a school leader, a peacemaker and someone I always looked up to. He graduated Harvard Law, married (and divorced) a Guggenheim, and is at MTV Networks today.
He was there the first time I ever saw a Playboy. The class perv brought one aboard "D-1" and instead of it being a watershed moment for me, Reggie ruined it by saying the models were being disrespectful to themselves and that mags like Playboy were immoral.

"She must make a lot of money to do that," I said.
"Not as much as you would think," Reggie said, in disgust.

In junior high, Reggie was at the top of the leadership rung of the D-1 kids. He always sat in that right side seat in the very back of the bus because those were the choice seats. The minute he stepped off the bus, everyone scurried to get their butt into it.

I'm introducing you to Reggie as the reason why I've always thought a black man could become president in my lifetime. Simplistic, perhaps, but I had looked up to a black kid as long as I can remember and there was nothing at home or school to contradict that belief.

So I was taken back last night as I watched election coverage. So many people "never thought they'd see this day, when a black man would become president."

I've never been on the receiving end of a racist threat. I've never been denied an opportunity because of the color of my skin. But the white Tom Brokaw, Andrea Mitchell, Brian Williams and even Luke Russert kept beating that "never in my lifetime" drum over and over again. A talking head on CNN this morning said "this is the realization of what the founding fathers meant by all men are created equal."

Shocking. It's taken us 232 years to verify that? Apparently this person never believed it in the first place.

Someone post a response to this question: Am I showing my ignorance or is it the pundits' prejudice rearing its ugly head?

Another shocking statement: Obama's election was now "PROOF you can be anyone or do anything in America."
- I don't need proof that I will die a happy man.
- I don't need proof that I will raise my kids right.
- I don't need proof that I will become successful.
- The proof to me there is a God is not that a Santa Claus-like figure verifies his existence, but because I see His works through the good deeds and loving actions of people in my church.

I BELIEVE in these things, because I have faith they will happen if I put the appropriate effort in to make them happen. A majority of Americans BELIEVED in Obama will tackle our challenges without PROOF.

Obama's victory is indeed historical not just because he is the first black president, but because he was a state Senator 4 years ago! He threw a wrench into the black political machine, Chicago political machine, the Clinton political machine, and the Republican political machine. When he ran out of wrenches, he reached into that tool box and pulled out a hammer and saw. He and advisors built grassroots support from that foundation upward.

Never in our lifetimes? Obama's supporters are already selling him short.

photo credit: Cassie Shell for Time

Friday, October 24, 2008

Discounting McCain's military experience

Searching for a response to an electric convention, pro-Obama bloggers and editorial writers are discounting McCain's military experiences: "how do McCain's sufferings in a tiny, squalid cell 40 years ago logically translate into presidential aptitude in the 21st century? Cast him a statue or slap his name on a ship, and let's turn the damned page," writes Camille Paglia of Salon.

If you do not believe John McCain would make a good president, I can understand why you discount his military credentials. His greatest strength bugs you the most and Obama has no answer for it.

While I respect but disagree with opinions discounting McCain's military experience pas preparing him to lead our nation, I think those who do are looking through the wrong prism.

In a way, McCain's experiences in the Hanoi Hilton stopped being military service and became human suffering the first day he was shackled. While this may not specifically help him in hand-picking the next RNC chair, aren't we all the sum of our experiences? Someone who can not only survive his torture, but doing it willingly can not be intimidated easily. There are times the president must have nuts of steel.

If anything, I'm glad McCain has softened. I'm glad he's been dealing with a kinder gentler place and come to terms with his experience. To me, McCain's legacy is not what he endured in 'Nam, but how he managed to avoided complete insanity.

The fact that the GOP touts his war experience does seem patronizing, but after all, they were trying to make viewers patrons of a McCain presidency.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Do they have recess at College

My 9 year-old son Charlie is a lot like other boys: loves sports, loves activities that ruin clothing, loves Star Wars, etc. He is a very physical kid and seems to tolerate academics of third grade but loves the social aspect of it.

All three of my kids have posed interesting questions that have made me pause or forced me to Wikipedia before I answered. But Charlie, who runs on a starch-only diet has a brain that is pure protein. He consistently zings us with a one liner or poses a question that triggers a multi-layered analysis. I envy not his intellect or his voracious curiosity, but his perspective.

After all, it's our perspective that focuses the lens from which we view and interpret life. Alright enough metaphysics and onto two questions he asked my wife and I that have stuck in my mind:

1. Do you wear underwear in heaven?
2. Is there recess in College?

Wow! I marvel at a brain that fuses together the electronic pulses and comes up with those questions. How cool would it be to somehow take those brain pulses, capture them in some kind of helmet and link it to your brain like a virtual reality device from 1993.

Now, there would be some impracticalities to using Charlie's brain 24/7. I would eat mac and cheese or sausage pizza every night and the Disney Channel and ESPN would be my sole contact with the outside world. If I bothered to pay bills, it would probably be with a SHARP AS HELL pencil. But if I could use the Charlie Brain Helmet for, say, a brainstorming meeting, to cure writers block or when I'm trying to come up with a new logo . . .think of the possible outcomes!

So you're probably wondering how I answered questions one and two? I said, "I don't know, what do you think?"

For me there was no right or wrong answer, it was the one Charlie had that mattered.

The Presidential Campaign Creator

Uncomfortable with the "Obamessiah"? Think John McCain is more of the same? It's time to put your money where your mouth is, because you too can run for president.

I guess all the Web 2.0 gurus DO know what they are talking about. I have begun to implement my own grassroots strategy to run for president and I have already scored my first media strike. Don't believe me? CLICK HERE to see the news story.

My platform? I plan on changing the National Anthem to "The Imperial March" from Empire Strikes Back; making the turkey our official bird (thanks for the idea Ben Franklin) and pardoning the Abu Graib soldiers (just kidding but I could if I wanted to.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Indianapolis Air Show was WAAAY cool

(photo: A P-51 "Mustang" and an F-22 "Raptor" cruise the air together at the Indianapolis Air Show) Thanks Smoosier Jason Bean of bnpositive for the tix.

I took my boys Charlie (9) and Robbie (5) to the Indianapolis Air Show last Saturday. Despite the oppressive sun and heat, we had a great time bounding through a cavernous C-130 cargo plane and a Special Ops "Chinook" helicopter (think dual-rotor flying bus) that looks exactly like the one you jump out of in the "Call of Duty" video game. While a lovingly restored B-17 "flying fortress" once spent its days protecting the allies, 60 years later its shadow protected us from the sun as we watched exciting stunts performed overhead. It was cool to see 40, 50 and 60 year-olds sitting "criss-cross-apple-sauce" as they listened to a one-time crewman explain how the bomber's belly turret maneuvered.

The highlight of the event for me, however, was the demonstration of the Boeing F-22 "Raptor." As you can see in the video available below, I did a poor job videotaping its aerobatics, but you can hear how enthralled we were when it flew 100 feet or so above us (that shrill in my voice is the sound of pure excitement).

Once my heart slowed down I realized that despite all the advances we've made in 100 years of flight, I'm still amazed that something so heavy can fly through the air. The photo above depicts a "heritage flight," a common staple at air shows that plainly illustrates these advances.

And I picked up an awesome trivia gem: Wilbur Wright was actually born in Milltown, Ind., even though historically his hometown has been cited as Dayton, OH.

Find more videos like this on Smaller Indiana

Michael Phelps and his iPod

For the past week or so you can find the Magan family gathered in the family room watching the Olympics from 7:30 to 11:30 every night. I pride myself on detecting pop culture buzzes, and the excitement kids and t'weens have for the Olympics is on a high-band wavelength I cannot pick up.

Anyway, their enthusiasm for not just the mega stars like Michael Phelps, but for the unsung heroes like the loveable shotput guy who was reunited with his birth-mother is contagious. My kids and I have become a marketers dream, we want to try many of the products just to feel like we are part of the Olympics. Pathetic, I know.

But with all the Olympic product endorsements and official this' and thats,you rarely see athletes actually using the products in competition. I don't see Shaun Johnson slamming a Big Mac before the vault. That's because such an action would be detrimental, obviously. In my opinion, the best product endorsement of the games is one that looks as if it was totally UNPAID.

Apple is getting millions in ad value every time any athlete is pictured with the signature white earbuds trailing down their neck. You know the scene: Michael Phelps competitive glare and steely resolve on display as he plays the tape in his mind over and over. Listening to music is getting him in the zone. Whether it's lil Wayne's "I'm Me" or something about surviving by Eminem (pick one) I think the secret song Michael Phelps listens to in order to get pumped up is an oldie but a goodie "Mr Tamborine Man" on WIlliam Shatner's live album from the 60s. Who knew?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Words that make me Cringe

As a writer for 20 years or so, I've always kept an unofficial list in my head of words that make me cringe when I hear them. These are not just outdated words or minor annoyances, I'm talking about words that may ruin my day if I hear them.

I'm actually a pretty level-headed guy. It takes a lot to piss me off. But this year, for some reason, I am >><< (wincing) more often when I am watching the news or listening to sports or talk radio. I just keep hearing words that drive me crazy. I'll be first to admit that I am getting older and more apathetic. I alone am responsible for my happiness and reaction to things I can not control.

But instead of blaming myself, why not blame . . . the media! I think do think writers and talking heads are getting lazy and just recycling phrases that someone has made universally acceptable.

THE WORD that motivated me to put together a formal list is the worst threat to face the English language since "whatever" (10 years or so). That word is:


ARRRRGH! Hearing that word in my head is like Freddie Krueger fingers scraping a frozen chalkboard. You have to be hip to nosh and if you are noshing, you are cool. Since many of you on SI are professional communicators, please make your day a nosh-free zone!

Below is my unofficial list of other words and phrases that bug me. These are certainly not exclusive to me, I'm sure many of you share my disdain for some of these words and phrases.

NOSH- to snack between meals
CRUNK- and NFL term for getting pumped up
BLING- ostentatious jewelry
PIQUE- to excite
ERECTILE - just because it is often found next to "dysfunction" during sports broadcasts I watch with my 9 year-old son
CHERUB- No good reason, I've just always been bugged by this word
PANTOMIME- see above
CHIPOTLE - This was my "nosh" of 2005, but it still burns.
FARVE - Just when I begged the sports gods to give me a new story, I discover Manning will be out for surgery
BURSA SACK- I have no problem with a bursa or a sack, but we have 150 bursae in our body to facilitate movement between bones and tendons. Which bursa is infected dammit!
BASTARD- Where has this word gone? You never hear it any more but it was big in the 80s. Could you imagine using this word today? It would be worse than the F-word!
DRAMADY- an example of word bastardization
infotainment- yet another example
WORDSMITH- ironic, isn't it?
DECIMATE- when used instead of annihilate. Decimate means only to reduce by 10 percent
ENTITLED- when used instead of "titled." OK if you're a Brit, however.

"At the end of the day"
"throw (someone) under the bus"
"The (insert sport here) Gods were smiling on me."
brick oven
talking points
perfect storm
sanitary landfill

Please add to this list. What are some words that make you cringe?

Monday, July 7, 2008

The business of religion: are demographics driving church relocations?

My little corner of Southwest carmel is beginning to look like a mini-Jerusalem.

Within the area of 106th Street to the South, Michigan Road to the west 116th St to the north and Towne(Township Line) to the east, there are three religious congregations building a sanctuary. These are actually joining three churches that already exist in this rectangular area.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing to me is that Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, which is building a Byzantine-style facility with an amazing golden dome as well as Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, which just completed its synagogue off 116th and Towne are actually re-locating from central Indianapolis.

As someone who thought congregations are composed of the people who live within a certain diameter around its worship space, what is happening here? Are the congregations moving with the buildings, or are the buildings relocated to be closer to its people? Another way to put the question, what’s driving these transplantations? Size or demographics?

According to Holy Trinity’s website, it is a parish that has been on a journey for over 90 years. Founded by immigrants who had journeyed themselves to this country, the parish’s first temple was on west 16th Street. By 1961, the Holy Trinity parish had outgrown those facilities and moved to our present location at 40th and Pennsylvania Streets.

Church officials claim they have again outgrown their facilities, home of the well-known Greek Festival in September. Holy Trinity purchased twenty acres in 2001 at the NE corner of 106th and Shelborne and has spent the last two years building its Byzantine-style temple. It’s really cool on a sunny day since it features a unique dome that reminds me of the Golden Dome atop Notre Dame’s Main Building.

The reason I ask about demographics is that my church, St. Monica is undergoing its second dramatic population shift in less than 20 years. The parish welcomed the rapid influx of young families as Pike township families filed into new apartment and track home developments in the 1980s and 1990s. I’ve seen many, mostly “anglo” families moving to Carmel, Zionsville Avon and Fishers as we’ve seen a huge increase in Hispanic families.

Does your church look like it did 10 or 15 years ago? Do you think these congregations are moving for space reasons or because its leaders discovered so many of its flock were moving north as well?

ISO 'Ask Your Mama" put the weight of the black struggle on my shoulders

(photo by Mike Magan)

I walked into the “Ask Your Mama” performance of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra last night feeling pretty full of myself. Here I am a white-bred Southern Indiana boy taking his 11 year-old daughter to a high-brow event. Dad’s of the world and civil rights leaders are patting me on the back as we take our seats. After all, I was exposing her to a cultural trifecta: music, poetry and African-American history in a month that isn’t February.

As the lights flashed then dimmed above the (score one more for me) multicultural crowd, Ruby Bridges gently put her hand on my shoulder and whispered “thank you” into my ear. After all, I was saving my daughter’s generation by heroically delivering this sheltered white girl to a Langston Hughes poetry reading.

And as it so often is, my ego was deflated quickly when Ice-T started reading lines like this:
“Bitter was the day
When I saw my children unschooled,
My young men without a voice in the world,
My women taken as the body-toys
Of a thieving people.

That day is past.”

OK, I’m getting uncomfortable now, and Annie is transfixed.

“Bitter was the day, I say,
When the lyncher's rope
Hung about my neck,
And the fire scorched my feet,
And the oppressors had no pity,
And only in the sorrow songs
Relief was found.

That day is past.”

I was hoping intermission would never come. My lightening-sharp 6th grader will have questions about the history of the black struggle in America. She wasn’t going to ask about whats and whens on the historical timeline. She would be asking “why.” Why did white people lynch black people? Why did white children throw rocks and tomatoes at black children? and why did police dogs rip into peaceful protesters?

There were more instruments on display than bassoons and French Horns, Ice-Ts voice was unwavering and powerful, the Ron McCurdy Quartet's trumpet and bass were silky smooth and the piano player, while tickling the ivories with his right hand was at times controlling a powerful video slideshow with his left.


I felt the weight of history on my shoulders; I didn’t want to misrepresent the struggle and the deaths of black people. For the first time in my life I realized the civil rights movement impacted me. Could a white guy accurately portray Langston Hughes’ America?

Actually the answer was right in front of me . . . it was in the eyes of my 11 year-old. She didn’t have to unlearn and reprogram born-in prejudices like I did. In her eyes everyone: men, women, blacks and whites were equal. I still make unwitting mistakes because I’m still ignorant in many ways, but Annie is already more attuned than I will ever be.

“Dad, why did the audience laugh whenever (Langston Hughes) would say ‘Ask Your Mama?’” Annie asked.

Here it goes: “Annie, think about the belittling questions white people asked just before ‘Ask Your Mama.’ was given as a response,” I said.

“You mean like ‘Can you recommend a good maid,’” Annie said. OK so far, so good.

“Just because Hughes was black, white people assumed he could recommend a good maid.," I told her. "Hairs on neck firmly standing up straight now. "So he told them ‘Ask your Mama,’ because he didn’t know any more maids than they did.”

Feeling confident I continued, “Ask your Mama” was a revolutionary response because Hughes was rejecting what white society expected him to say; where they wanted him on the totem pole. Hughes was just another servant to The Man. Annie rolled her eyes the more I talked. So whether I was right or wrong, I was losing her. But at least I wasn’t embedding a new set of prejudices.

Annie and I also came to the conclusion that the singular voice of the reader; the louder voice of the jazz quartet and the thunderous voice of the orchestra reflected the ebb and flow of the evolution of civil rights. At times there was but a single voice like Martin Luther King or Malcom X; at times there were more voices such as the NAACP, and finally a crescendo of voices from thousands of black protesters.

Thank you ISO for taking a chance with the McCurdy Quartet and Ice-T on an unconventional and unbuttoned performance. You gave us more than a concert, you gave us all a reminder of how sacrifice and struggle shaped our lives into what they are right now.

The Death of Tim Russert: NBC forgets about HIPPA

As a news and politics junkie and as a former reporter, I was shocked to hear Tim Russert died today. I grew up watching NBC nightly news with Brokaw and as my interest in politics grew, I never missed Meet the Press. Who didn't think it was cool that he broadcast the show from downtown Indianapolis a few weeks ago?

In watching the tributes and coverage of his death, I think the coverage even on NBC is getting a little out of hand. While he is a very public figure, should his personal physician be giving details about his health history only hours after he died? Don't you think it's weird that his employer is the one broadcasting the information that HIPPA rules and regulations is supposed to protect. Even if there's something in his contract that allows his health info out, Shouldn't his wife give he OK first? If so, why bother her with that just after his passing.

Maybe I'm the one getting carried away, so decide for yourself: Here's a link to NBC's coverage of one of journalism's brightest and most influential people. Watch the video from his doctor and tell me if this IS or IS NOT out of line.

Welcome to NHL v2.0

On a night everyone is talking about tornadoes and an Obama nomination, I am witnessing the resurgence of the National Hockey League. Even though pro hockey is not the "hottest" ticket in Indiana, the resurgence in popularity of the Indiana Ice and the NHL nationally is intriguing to me.

After all, it was only four years ago that the 88th season of the National Hockey League was lost to a bitter labor dispute. THE PUCK WASN'T DROPPED ONCE! At least the IRL and CART kept racing. As a Detroit Red Wings fan for 20 years I was crushed and disgusted. I had no problem downgrading my allegiance since I live in the Colts, basketball and racing capital of the world.

But this year, as my eight-year-old son Charlie starting taking an interest in Hockey all on his own, I decided to take him to an Indiana Ice game. We had a blast, so we went to another, and then another. He banged on the glass and was stared down, in jest, by an opposing player. I even dusted-off the EA Sports NHL '99 . . .I must say the dormant Hockey fan inside of me began to wake from its four-year slumber.

Then the NHL started to do some things that the casual and die-hard hockey fan thought was cool: like playing a game OUTSIDE in the SNOW. The NHL on NBC meant cooler camera angles, in-game interviews and the emergence of players with a Gretzky-like aura such as Sindey Crosby.

All of this on top of aggressive franchise expansion in the South and West and traditions such as the original eight, hat tricks and sprawled octopuses have rekindled this fan's interest.

And as icing on the cake, both the NHL brass and fans got the series it wanted, the tradition-steeped and defensive juggernaut Wings vs. the sleek and Crosby-captained Penguins. Even though it ended in six instead of seven games, the teams gave us a nail-biting 3-OT match Monday and an exciting game tonight that ended with a last second S-T-R-E-T-C-H by Wings goalie Chris Osgood to keep the puck in the crease but out of the goal.

So what do YOU think? Is the NHL better than ever?

Or should we care since Indiana has no major league hockey team? Since so many of us follow and take interest in brands and public perception, I'm interested in your take.

Helmet Cam feed from bike-to-work day

I promised to ride my bike into work last last Friday as part of the national bike month as well as my effort to get healthier. I was motivated, but out of shape. I'd like to exercise more and save gas $$ so I was out to prove to myself that I am physically capable of biking the six miles from home to work.

What got my heart pumping was not the 20 minutes of cardio, but the utter disregard drivers have for bike riders. Also, pot holes become POT HOLES! because they look a lot bigger when forced with a choice between them and the lane of busy traffic snuggling up to you.

An opportunity to meet a fellow smoosier, Erin Jump of Fancy Fortune Cookie, Inc, came later that day. Luckily for me the the "World's Original Gourmet Flavored Fortune Cookie Bakery" was less than a mile away. The video below shares footage from my helmet cam (HD cam bungeed to the top of my helmet) of the commute to her office and back.

Friday is 'bike to work day,' and I'm gearing up for it

How can you embrace Mother Earth while sticking it to the oil companies at the same time?

Ride your bike to work!

This Friday is actually Ride Your Bike to Work Day and there is actually a day of events planned by various government and business entities:

As I was researching this, I discovered that a group called "Central Indiana Commuter Services" can pair you up with Bike Buddies or carpool buddies. They also offer emergency rides homes, where a taxi will pick you up and take you home if you are sick or your bike/bike seat is stolen. I was impressed that Indy has a program like this. They don't/can't promote it nearly enough.

I'm a big guy and a need help ridding myself of my spare tire(s), so to speak. Biking the 7 miles to my office once or twice a week would amount to a trifecta for me. I live at 106th and Michigan and will need to ride all the way to my office at 71st and Georgetown. I have ridden this before and the section between 96th and 86th never ceases to scare the s#!@ out of me.

But I AM going to do this despite the fact that some commuters will confuse me with a circus bear who escaped the big top.

I promise to post a video of my journey, so check back soon!

Call it 'Ballapalooza': Indiana needs an intra-state college basketball tournament

This idea as been rattling around in my head for some time: Why not have an early-season college basketball tournament where all Indiana-based colleges play each other?

All the D1 programs are in a bracket and all the D2 D3 schools are in a bracket. There would be multiple locations around the state culminating with an elite eight or final four "festival" in Indianapolis. The elite 8 or final four would be playyed at hinkle with the championship game at Lucas Oil or Conseco.

Imagine Evansville vs Butler, Valpo vs Notre Dame, IU vs IUPUI, Indianapolis vs IPFW, Depauw vs Wabash, etc.

Yes there would be basketball, but the festival would celebrate not just our basketball heritage but a place where fans from all over the country would come to celebrate the sport. Kind of an Indiana-based bracketbuster, or annual Woodstock for basketball in its natural home - Indiana.

I understand most schools set their schedules years in advance, but surely, all of us in SI can figure out how to get this rolling in the next couple of years.

There's the idea, come on Smoosiers let's Brainstorm this mug. How to we get this from idea to implementation?

Monday, April 7, 2008

The yellow bathroom

Well here it is . . . Our new bathroom painted in the grand color of Primary yellow!