Monday, October 31, 2005

Whee! The Last Wacky Time Weekend!

I love Doug Masson, but I couldn't disagree with him more on the time change. I'm not a native of Indiana so I guess I don't understand how the deep basis of this time issue is historically and culturally driven. But, it is, and as an outsider, it's ridiculous. (I'm sure someone would agree the pork debate in Oklahoma is equally frivolous, or the amount of energy spent on the OU/OSU rivalry, so I'm not saying I don't see how it could happen.)

But I, for one, am thrilled that this is the last weekend I'll have to switch time zones! (Yes, I know we don't actually switch time zones, but it's the equivalent of it.) It's the last weekend that in every aspect of my business, I have to worry about 2 hours versus 3 hours, 1 versus 2. It's the last time I have to keep track of whether or not I'm going to be on time if I go to Chicago (or an hour early). The whole thing that I never understood about this debate is why it's supposed to better for me to rework *my* whole life and schedule based on what the rest of the country is doing! Plus, I'm very excited about the extra hour of daylight we'll get next summer at the end of the day. More bike riding, cooking out, evenings with friends, working in the yard, ahhh, I'm looking forward to Spring already.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Helene Knabe Murder

Lately, I've noticed quite a few readers have been googling (and finding this blog) about the Helene Knabe murder. (See the post below on spooky Indiana stuff.) I wish I knew more but I tried to check it out, too, after reading the Intake article. The internets were giving no love. Rumor has it the woman from is working on a book and has researched it pretty extensively. It's a fascinating old Indianapolis story complete with overachieving woman, business-leader fiance, crime of passion, and, plus, you know the whole thing about her still hanging around her old apartment. If I find anything else on the topic, I'll post it.

Shout out from Blog Indiana

Hey, there new folks! Thanks to Blog Indiana for the pointer today as featured new blog. I just looked through posts for the past week or so, and noticed we've been a little rant-heavy over here at HAMB. Not that I've ever been accused of not having an opinion, but come on, this is getting ridiculous. Lots of long, raving, blah blah blah posts lately about heavy stuff. That either means Hoosiers have stopped stopped doing silly things lately or I just haven't been looking hard enough. (Somehow, I suspect the latter.) Either way, I'll try to lighten things up around here. I mean, only so many people can complain about the time changes -- I for one am really happy about it but to hear bloggers in Indiana, you'd think I was the only one.

In the meantime, welcome to Hoosiers Ate My Brain.

Friday, October 28, 2005

What These Yankees Don't Tell You

A very old and dear friend stayed with me this week on his way to a move from Texas to Pennsylvania. Having spent most of his life in the Texas-Oklahoma area (although he's quite well traveled), we were discussing real differences between the two parts of the country. Here were the top five things to know when you move from Texas up here with all these Yankees (as my family would say):

1) No matter what they tell you, White Castle is no substitute for what you're giving up: Taco Bueno and Sonic. Here, they have one Sonic per 100 square miles. And no Taco Bueno. White Castle? It's good, but only once a year when you're drunk.

2) Newness. In Dallas, everything is very new, especially in the areas with the hottest restaurants, condos, nightlife and shops. In the southwest there's land, and lots of it, and everything is very big, new, and upscale! Up here, everything is old. Rehabbed old buildings are great -- they have their charm -- but when I go to Dallas, I have to wear sunglasses. Everything is so shiny!

3) It's cold. Your first winter won't necessarily be your hardest. But it's cold -- earlier, later, and longer. No more 70s in January. On the upside? Not as many tornados. Number 3(a)? When you go to the grocery store and the bread and milk are out, that means a storm is coming.

4) You have to wash your car more in the winter. And get that special undercarriage option. The gunk they put on the roads here (in Indiana, it's a mixture of salt, sand, and molasses) is *nasty*. And you'll learn to L-O-V-E your antilock breaks.

5) Nothing against the people up here, but they're not as friendly, or at least, not in the same way. A southern friend of ours sums it up well. She says it's not that Northerners aren't friendly when you get to know them, it's that they're not helpful. Her tactic when she gets frustrated at "not helpful" Yankees? "I just speak even more slowly. It's makes them crazy."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

On Hiring: Learning versus Skilz

I recently replied to an IBJ "rapid response" on what was the most important aspect in hiring someone. As a knee-jerk reaction, I stated "ability to learn" thinking in the traditional corporate sense that we can teach a job to someone but how they fit in to our work style is just as critical. I still am a huge believer in work style being a primary criteria for hiring. In a small business, where every hire counts, there's just not room for someone who can't perform the job because they're too busy trying to change our culture.

That said, it did lead me to think of what is *really* most critical for small business start-up hiring: knowledge of the job. Honestly, at this stage, each person we hire has to have the skill set -- and be really good -- before we'd even consider whether they could learn about our business, our philosophies, and our styles. Every new employee in a start-up has to perform -- frankly, they need to overperform. There's just no economic option if they don't. (Remember the rule: Hire slow. Fire fast.)

I haven't posted much about it, but I've become really fascinated with generational issues in the workplace today. You'll hear more from me about this in the next few months -- especially with regard to Indiana's growing genx population, corporate hiring shifts, brain drain, and more. But the bottom line is that while genxers are leaving corporations in droves for more entrepreneurial work-styles, the next generation isn't filling in.

In the next 20 years, corporate America is going to face an workplace exodus like they've never experienced before. As Boomers retire, and genx-ers (a generation half the size of the Boomer generation) continue to leave, large corporations are going to have to retool how -- and who -- they hire. And it's not necessarily going to be middle class, white Generation Y. The next largest generation (same size as the Boomers) are averse to corporate jobs -- especially lower level ones. A unique profiled trait of this generation is that they don't want to (or expect to have to) "pay dues" the way earlier generations have. Add into the mix educated minority workers who'll be dominating the workforce in 10 years, and you have an interesting question of what the corporate workplace will look like. American business is going to have a large number of essentially unskilled, but educated, workers coming into play in the next 20 years.

So, in my next start-up in 10 years, am I going to have the luxury of hiring someone in my specialty or industry based on skill? Probably not. Am I going to have to get very used to taking a leap of faith and training someone to be a good copy editor or sales person? Probably. But taking the leap of faith based on the person alone isn't something that much different than what I'm asking people to do with me (and my partners). As for the question, if I could change my answer, I probably would. However, I'm not sure American business is quite ready for the what they don't want to hear. I'm already sick of some of the traditional small business/entrepreneurial websites and blogs that specialize in answers you're supposed to know and that corporate America has trained us to want to hear. I'm listening for something new.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Schedule for the Block Forum Series

If you've never attended a lecture for the Block Forum Lecture Series at the Indiana Hebrew Congregation on Meridian St., you missed out. I missed Harry Frankfurt last week, but will try to make Candice DeLong (author and former FBI agent with a pretty colorful career). And who could miss Diane Rehm? (I'm dying to see what she looks like in person.) This series consistently delivers interesting voices to Indianapolis from the academic to the cultural (PJ O'Rourke! Matt Groening!) Also scheduled this year are Randy Cohen and Elliot Engel.

The IndyBuzz Schedule of Events

John Clark over at IndyBuzz is doing an amazing job of tracking events in Indianapolis that no one ever hears about -- and that are incredible opportunities. Sorting by topic such as Africa, ecology, culture, immigration, global business, interfaith issues, peacemaking, poverty and even food. I'm awed by some of the people who will be in Indy over the next few weeks sharing their expertise and pushing us all to think a little bit more about the world around us. Some events not to miss:

* A showing of Hotel Rwanda and an evening with Paul Rusesabagina
* A lecture with futurist Stewart Brand on Time and Timelessness (I worked with Brand in a past life)
* Appearances and lectures by Soledad O'Brien, Randall Tobias, Wendell Berry, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Bill Clinton.

And so much more. Truly Buzzworthy. Thanks, John for this amazing labor.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Pointers Pointers Excuses Excuses

It's Tuesday. I'm on a deadline. I smoked cigars last night. I had an early meeting. I haven't had enough coffee. I need a nap. I have houseguests coming Thursday. I'm running errands. I need to pick up my dry cleaning. I have to pick up tickets. I have to wash my hair. Ruth's Chris made me do it. My friend, Kim, made me do it. The devil made me do it. Yes, yes, I'm full of excuses. And they're all true! It's pointers today -- the Hoosiers Ate My Brain equivalent of re-heating pizza from the refrigerator, which coincidently is what I had for lunch.

Stylin' in Elvish: Indyscribe gives a review of the Lord of the Rings exhibit down at the Indiana State Museum.

Laura Comes Out: And comes clean about her spiffy new J-O-B at Yahoo! And she's working with cool people and everything. Plus, she outs Border's for their new "popular fiction" and "literature" signage -- as she notes, aka "unpopular fiction".

Are You a Bike Snob? Fat Cyclist will let you know -- go take his handy quiz and preview his article for

What is a Corporate Blog? Dave Taylor gets reader opinions over at the Intuitive Life Business Blog. Taylor "gets" it -- not just blogging but business in general.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Back Cold Again in Indiana

With all the worries about heating bills this winter, I've decided to be a good citizen and freeze for my country. OK, it's not all that bad. I've really just decided that it might be a good idea to just keep the thermostat set on 68 degrees (instead of my usual tropical 70 or 72). I mean, 68 was good enough in the 70s energy crunch, right? And there's no way I'm going back to driving 55. So, I'm all proud of myself for trying to just put on a sweater instead of turning on the heat, and then I see that this winter's recommended thermostat setting is 65. Forget that! 68 is cold enough!

I'm already fighting turning the heater on this weekend and it's only 40 outside. My biggest complaint isn't my personal coldness, but how cold my place *feels*. It's depressing enough some days to come home to an empty house, but a *cold* and empty house?! It's pathetic, I know. But this 100-year-old building just seems to keep coldness in its bones. So, I'm looking for ways to create perceived heat in my house these days.

1) Make my living room into a workout room. Maybe burning personal calories will help raise the overall BTU factor in the house. Downside, more colds from the whole sweat/chill factor.

2) More hot showers/hot baths. Maybe I don't even have to take them all, just let the super hot water run a few times a day. Hey, I live in an apartment, I don't pay for my own hot water! Upside, it will "heat" the upstairs and solve the winter humidity problems. Downside, um, you know, I don't think I can think of a downside to this one.

3) Heating pad in the bed. Nothing is worse than a cold bed. Even when you don't sleep alone, getting in a cold bed is awful. I think I'll rig up a heating pad as a modern day bed warmer. No word on whether we'll go to full Victorian-era bed hangings. I'd have to get a new bed.

4) With no fireplaces in this place, maybe a candle in every occupied room would help. You know, create that "feeling" of live flame and warmth. And hey, if it gets cold enough, it might actually help. At least my cold rooms will smell good.

5) Cutting down on occupied rooms. If I lived in a house, I suppose this would be a better answer, but in my place, I like to use all my space. Plus, I work at home, so I'd slit my wrists if I had to stay in the same room(s) all the time.

6) Heavy curtains to help keep out heat seepage and drafts. Upside, helps create a nice textured illusion of warmth in the room. Downside, sun dreprivation.

7) A sweater in every room. If there's always one to put on, maybe I'll be encouraged. Plus, if it gets cold enough, I can use some of those Bob Cratchit-style fingerless gloves to keep my sad little book editor hands warm.

8) Toasted food for every meal. It's always good to get a quick hand-warming in over the toaster while it's working over a bagel first thing in the a.m. I'll bet I could cook a lot of things in the toaster!

At the end of the day, I still have all the good ol' standbys we all know if we've worked in freezing offices. (For the past couple of winters, my office window faced north.) There's the hot-tea-in-the-big-mug method, the hot-soup-for-lunch theory, and of course, the ever popular space-heater-under-the-desk trick. I'll see how long I can hold out. I give it until dark.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Spooky Stories and a Haunted Indiana

Over the past few weeks, Intake reporter Eric Kinsey has been filling us in on some of Indianapolis' most notorious murders with October anniversaries. With pictures of the still-standing houses and buildings in neighborhoods like Irvington and downtown, he's been reminding everyone of how scary life can be. For some reason, this week's story of the unsolved, 1911 murder of Dr. Helene Knabe really has my skin crawling. Maybe it's because I often drive by the Barton House downtown -- then the Delaware Flats and the scene of the murder. Maybe it's because of the crime scene sketches showing how her head was wedged into her bed and her throat cut. Or it could be because an investigator from recorded electronic ghostly voices last year in the space! Either way, it's creeping me out. The Historic Haunted Indiana Ghost Walks and Tours is covering these locations this fall and it looks like their is next driving tour is scheduled for Nov 18 -- but tomorrow night (Oct 23), they'll lead a walking tour in the Lockerbie/Chatham Arch areas including a stop at the scene of Dr. Knabe's death. I may just have to go have my creepy curiosity satisfied.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Sex Ed Pt II: The Parents Television Council

Welcome to the Parents Television Council, the organization responsible for generating 98% of all FCC complaints about television -- especially since the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction". Considering who we're dealing with, it's always fun to see their "best" and "worst" list. Their "best of" list is one show short since Touched with an Angel went off the air. (Apparently, the PTC can only find nine shows worth watching with their families.)

In their press release, they mention shows to watch without being "caught by surprise by overly filthy dialog and graphic sex and violence". Sure, sometimes television producers go over the top, but in a world where in the PTC's eyes *every* *single* *other* program is bad, is it possible that maybe these parents should be looking at their own problems with sex? This is a market that doesn't want sex education taught in schools, or if it is, it's abstinence only. (Their answer to sex? "Don't".) This is a market that would love birth control and all the problems associated with sex to go away. They won't acknowledge problems with AIDS, HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases, high teenage pregnancy rates, and certainly not abortion -- and forget discussion of sexuality and alternate lifestyles. Guess what, Indiana, I'm speaking to you.

It seems as if the PTC believes that if we stop all exposure to sex, it will go away. It's as if they believe teenagers will put those raging hormones to rest. They're are offended! But what's offensive to me is parents putting their own misguided sensibilities ahead of protection of their own children. Parents have to talk to their kids about sex. They have to talk to their kids about STDs. They have to talk to their kids about birth control, and they have to talk to their kids about the consequences of pregnancy. If they don't control the flow of information, their kids are going to get the information from another source, say, out of the locker room, off the internet or from their boy or girlfriend, often incomplete or just plain wrong. Let me give you an oh-so-familiar scenario: Conservative parent doesn't talk to teen daughter about sex, certainly doesn't talk to her about birth control, but does let her date. Teen girl likes teen boy, teen boy talks teen girl into sex, teen girl gets pregnant and parents a) blame her, b) don't believe in abortion, c) let her ruin her life before it's begun, or d) feel so personally disgraced they disown her. Whether or not you believe any of the above is right or wrong, you can't deny that any one of the above is a life changing event -- and not for the better. Where in this scenario is it about what's best for the teen girl and not about the offended sensibilities of the parent?

Just so you realize I'm not arguing that TV should be all sex all the time, or that sex on TV will solve anything, I have to point out that what really gets my goat is the fundamental hypocrisy that keeps the PTC in business. I wonder if it's because somewhere along the line, conservative Christian parents began to feel that if the information was available and open, it was condoned. If you talked about it, it was encouragement. Every parent knows it's about the limits you set for your children. If you educate your child and make them aware of your expectations, teach them values and good decision making skills, you have to hope you've armed them with the right tools. If you're more concerned they might hear a sexual comment on TV (and, gasp, ask you a question aout it!), then I'm guessing you probably haven't been as open with your kids about what you expect. Sadly, mom and dad are too busy calling the FCC about dirty jokes on Family Guy, and lamenting that Dancing with the Stars won't be on next week.

Thus endeth the rant.

Here's that pesky list of PTC best/worst shows:

1. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC/8:00 Sunday - Returning show
2. Three Wishes NBC/9:00 Friday - 1st season
3. American Idol Fox/Returning in spring
4. The Ghost Whisperer CBS/8:00 Friday - 1st Season
5. Everybody Hates Chris UPN/8:00 Thursday - 1st Season
6. Reba WB/9:00 Friday - Returning show
7. Bernie Mac Fox/8:00 Friday - Returning show
8. Dancing with the Stars ABC/Returning in spring
9. 7th Heaven WB/8:00 Monday - Returning show
10. Not available.

1. The War at Home Fox/8:30 Sunday - 1st Season
2. The Family Guy Fox/9:00 Sunday - Returning show
3. American Dad Fox/9:30 Sunday - Returning show
4. The O.C. Fox/8:00 Thursday - Returning show
5. C.S.I. (Crime Scene Investigation) CBS/9:00 Thursday - Returning show
6. Desperate Housewives ABC/9:00 Sunday - Returning show
7. Two and a Half Men CBS/9:00 Monday - Returning show
8. That 70s Show Fox/Returning in November
9. Arrested Development Fox/8:00 Monday - Returning show
10. Cold Case CBS/8:00 Sunday - Returning show

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Teens and Sex in Indiana

I'm not a huge NUVO fan, but every once in a while, they do a really great piece. This week's article on Puritan Politics is a good round-up of some controversial issues and where Indiana falls. While I don't always agree Indiana is too far to the right, I do feel pretty strongly about unrealistic expectations that conservative parents have when it comes to their kids and sex.

From the NUVO article section on Sex Education: Let's Talk About Sex:

Currently, 35 states, including Indiana, have laws requiring abstinence-only education as the sole or primary content of sex education in public schools. Under this requirement, schools are required to teach abstinence until marriage, and if birth control is discussed it can only be done in terms of failure rates.

Many schools now hire private groups to teach the sexual education portion of health class at the middle and high school level, using taxpayer funds to pay for the classes. One of the most popular of these programs is called “CPR: Creating Positive Relationships,” and it is taught in Perry Township, Zionsville, Avon and dozens of other schools across the state.

Founded by Carmel wife and mother Gayle Bucher in 1987, Creating Positive Relationships was first presented to middle school students in 1990 and high school students in 1996. In all, CPR boasts that its abstinence-only program reaches over 60,000 students a year. Like other abstinence-only programs, CPR maintains, “Parents who proactively discuss birth control methods with their children give the message that they do not believe their children can be sexually abstinent. By initiating a discussion on birth control, well-meaning parents may be inviting their children to experiment with premarital sex.”

But statistics don’t seem to support abstinence-only education as the best education and protection for teen-agers. In 2003, the federal Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that while Indiana teens are only being taught abstinence, they are more likely than the average American to have sex before graduating from high school (49 percent), more likely to be currently sexually active (38 percent) and less likely to use birth control when having sex (53 percent).

Some additional statistics on Hoosier attitudes and sex education were released this year in a University of Indiana study:

Indiana University study shows 77% of Hoosiers would like to see the proper use of condoms to prevent both sex and disease taught in high schools. However, this is completely out of sync with that conservative lawmakers have decided should be taught in schools -- abstinence only and discussion of birth control failure rates.

There seems to be a strange issue of teach my kids/don't teach my kids which has resulted in a lot of kids who don't know what the hell their doing. And parents who aren't stepping up to the plate. Sadly, it hurts the state -- and the state's children. If parents aren't teaching it, then let's have schools do it, but let's make sure schools are teaching accurate information, the best to help teens be succesful.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nancy Reagan Gave the Best WHAT?!!

...or, great covers that didn't get picked for the ASME awards(like everyone's favorite SPY magazine cover from the late 1980s.) Another significant cover submitted but not chosen was the Texas Monthly Ann Richards cover from July 1992. Flash back to the mid-1990s when digital photography was still a new idea and a feature in Wired delved into the ethics of digital photo manipulation. It's all context and important because the Texas Monthly cover was primarily famous as one of the first high profile Photoshopped covers fronting a major monthly although it wasn't the first and it certainly wouldn't be the last. From Wired in 1995:
Every photojournalist can rattle off a list of images that became notorious after revelations that they had been digitally manipulated. As far back as February 1982, National Geographic moved two Egyptian pyramids closer together to fit them both on the magazine's cover. Two months later, National Geographic's cover image of a Polish man included part of his hat grafted from a second photo. Six years ago, Newsweek carried an image that appeared to show Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise standing side by side, even though the two had been shot separately. A missing Diet Coke can provoked controversy after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch deleted it from a photo of a Pulitzer Prize winner. Texas Monthly was rebuked for two altered cover images of Governor Ann Richards: in one, Richards was dancing with her 1990 election opponent, while in the other, she was riding a Harley-Davidson; in both instances, her head was placed over models' bodies. (After the motorcycle cover appeared, Richards said that since the model had such a nice body, she could hardly complain.) Last year, a Newsday cover showed Olympic figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan skating together when they hadn't yet met on the ice, and, in what became the most controversial image of all, Time carried a digitally darkened version of an O.J. Simpson mug shot on its cover.
The then-Gov. wasn't upset but at least one of the photographers involved was. The photographer of the Governor's headshot superimposed over the motorcycle mama's face claimed the rights to Richards' publicity stock shots. And he's still pissed off. According to the Austin Business Journal, he's upset Texas Monthly is using the altered cover photo in publicity and marketing campagns without compensating him. Who's he really after? Why, Emmis, of course, the Indianapolis-based parent company with the deep pockets. History aside, Texas Monthly did submit this cover for consideration and I'm sad it didn't make the cut. It's still one of my favorites and I'm pretty sure I still have the original around here somewhere, right next to the Rolling Stone cover with the Red Hot Chili Peppers naked and wearing socks on their hoo-hoos. Ahh, another favorite.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tops in Magazine Covers from the ASME

Tuesday, the American Society of Magazine Editors announced their picks for the top 40 magazine covers of the last 40 years. Full article, list and images of the top 5:

1. Naked John Lennon & Yoko, Rolling Stone, 1980 This picture was taken by Annie Leibovitz on the last day of Lennon's life and published a month later.

2. Pregnant Demi Moore, Vanity Fair, 1991 Naked and painted, we all remember this one!

3. Muhammed Ali as St. Sebastian, Esquire, 1968

4. A New Yorker's View of the World, The New Yorker, 1976

5. Andy Warhol drowning in tomato soup, Esquire, 1969

And my favorite cover they didn't pick? Texas Monthly's famous cover of Texas Governor Ann Richards on the Harley!

MacNivan's...My Hero

You'll find more on the annual Nuvo "Best" of 2005 over at Feed Me/Drink Me. These awards never fail to embarass most of us in Indianapolis, not just Nuvo's educated liberal readers who pick choices like "Best Italian: Olive Garden." As depressing as that is, I will leave you, gentle readers, with one small anecdote confirmed yesterday by our waiter at MacNiven's. Nuvo readers, brilliant foodies that they are, named MacNiven's Best Irish Pub. If you just spit Lagavulin out your nose, you get the joke. Maybe, too, because MacNivan's is the only place in town one can order haggis. So, it's not surprising that they weren't flattered. No word from Nuvo but MacNiven's has rejected their award. (And that's putting it politely, I think.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Peyton On Air...and What I Want for Next Season

Monday night's Colts game against St. Louis marks the first time an NFL quarterback will wear an on-field microphone. Peyton Manning will be mic'd allowing the television audience to hear everything that ABC chooses to air. The idea is for the audience to hear audibles and play calls on the line of scrimmage but nothing that will affect team play. (I doubt you'll hear the huddle on air, but maybe we'll get a sidelines shoving match!) Either way, if it works, it certainly won't be the last time you you hear the on-field quarterback calls in the NFL. Remember when mic'ing the refs was new?

Technology in sports certainly isn't a bad thing, especially when it can enhance the viewing experience at home. (OK, geeky sports alert: Geeky sports reference ahead.) Mic'ing the team and putting cameras in strategic places was pioneered in part during the coverage of the last two America's Cups (and preliminary events leading up to them like the Louis Vuitton Cup.) Prior to on board cameras and microphones watching sailboats race was like watching grass grow. Now, televised sailing typically works with two or more on-board cameras -- one on the mast below the boom looking back, one mounted on the backstay, and often one in front of the mast looking forward across the foredeck. Other shots come from chase boats and helicopters. During the last two America's Cup series, seeing -- and hearing -- the action made more sense. Viewers could not only see the crew actively working but also hear the conversations between the tacticians and skippers. Per LV Cup, America's Cup, and ISAF rules, teams are not permitted to receive outside broadcasts after the race starts so there's no chance of them listening in. All in all, a perfect enhancement for making viewers a direct part of the action. (End geeky sports reference.)

With all this technology for viewers at home, I think someone needs to come up with a whole new system for viewers inside the stadium that's just as robust as the TV experience. I'd like a pair of glasses with a bluetooth enabled receiver that not only let me hear the broadcast channel of my choice (from an outside network or, say, a secure coach's channel) but also gave me the visual electronic line for the first down and, when needed, the line of scrimmage. (It's true about being an entrepreneur -- you see business ideas *everywhere*!) You could buy them in the stadium (or even rent them if they were very expensive) giving the in-house fans the best of both worlds. In the meantime, I'll settle for watching tonight's game -- with Peyton on air at least. Technological progress is often measured in very small yardage gains.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

"But...But...They Might Get...Ahhh...Distracted!"

File under "only in Indiana." Dateline: Evansville -- A University of Southern Indiana professor is protesting student art hanging in a public hallway of a building his engineering department shares with the art department. The art works are drawings of a nude female figure made by a student art class that -- gasp -- show breasts! No matter. Our faculty member thinks it's not appropriate for public viewing. From channel 6: "Glen Kissel, an assistant professor of engineering, said the images would be fine in a gallery setting, but should not be displayed where people walking in the hallway can see them. "

Well, that leads us to conclude that galleries must be where art loving sickos go to get their kicks -- looking at nude women, bright colors, and even (don't tell anyone) *landscapes.* I don't know what this world is coming to with hopped up art lovers wandering common public hallways, able to take pleasure and get all, you know, excited anywhere they look. That sort of thing should be kept in private, out of the way of children and engineers. Because, you know, those impressionable young engineering majors might get, um, distracted. They might discover that there's more to life than calculus and short-sleeved shirts. They might even...hey, is that your slide rule in your pocket or are you just...oh. Never mind.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Best News Today

Ahhh, here it is in today's Indy Star, right above the headline "Sewage Sprays into Muncie Home", we have a new James Bond! Daniel Craig (who, I'll admit, I've never even heard of) will play the sixth Bond after Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan. (For bonus points: name the one bond film which marked the 2nd Bond, the only film for this bond, and my favorite Bond movie!)

Craig's first movie will be a remake of Casino Royale -- Fleming's first Bond book in which we meet a 30-something kick-ass agent with Her Majesty's Secret Service who favors vintage champagne, hand-made cigarettes and Saville Row-tailored suits. (Fleming's literary Bond was much bigger snob and expert than ever portayed in film.) Most fans will remember Casino Royale as a Bond spoof staring Peter Sellers. The movie will serve as a bit of a prequel -- with Bond becoming a "oo" agent at the very beginning. Welcome, Craig, and welcome to James Bond all over again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

More Indiana Blogs

Catching up in the Indy blogworld and adding a few new Indiana-centric blogs: A nice group blog Indiana politics and a hefty dose of pop culture.

Taking Down Words: A decent politics round up on state issues.

Torpor Indy: A blog I've liked for a long time. Well reasoned and well seasoned posts covering all manner of issues in Indiana.

Lemming's Progress: A delightful and thoughtful blog by a local teacher, writer, and student.

11 a.m. air raid: My new favorite local blog since they cover art and life in my nabe, Meridian Park. I, too, know the weirdness of the 11:00 a.m. air raid sirens!

The Review of Indiana Blogs: I haven't had much time to dive into this new one yet, but the TRIB looks like it will try to be a clearinghouse of blog posts on Indiana politics. It should be interesting -- they have a lot of blogs to keep up with. Welcome to the Indiana blog world!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Home-Based Entrepreneurs

I was talking to some potential business partners in Chicago yesterday who, much like my business partners and I, set off on their own in the publishing world earlier this year. They left their company (a major publisher in the Chicago area) about the same time we were starting up. They took the same approach -- work the idea until it just can't be worked anymore without taking the big, entrepreneurial leap of faith. Luckily, their company isn't competitive to ours -- in fact, it's very complimentary, and they play in some great international spaces.

After telling our respective start-up stories and getting very excited, we talked about life working out on our own. We agreed working from home was much better than we thought it would be. In fact, with the technology available to us for collaboration, file sharing, and task management, it was much more efficient than working in an office. At home, I can work 8 *real* hours a day -- not interrupted by meetings, people stopping in, coffee breaks, lunch breaks, and general distraction. I tend to work straight through only getting up for coffee, snacks and the bathroom. Interruptions from a boss popping in are replaced only by interruptions from colleague calling to get something done on a deadline or even just checking in. That said, I don't think of our little enterprise as a home-based business, but I suppose it is. It's interesting to see how the connotation of "home based business" has changed in the past few years.

A site called the Small Business Advocate (via Small Business Trends) sums it up in part:

As the century of the major corporation -- the 20th -- evolved into the century of the entrepreneur -- the 21st -- two things converged to make operating a business from home not only socially acceptable once again, but as it had been for thousands of years, professionally sensible and practical.

1. The official death of the job security illusion.

2. Technology.

Beginning in the mid-1970s, downsizing as a way of corporate life created professional and family emergencies for millions of American workers who were conditioned to rely on corporate employment. Whether as a complete alternative to seeking employment, or as a part-time income supplement, those who were laid-off, as well as those who feared such a prospect, started looking for ways to work from home.And if being sacked was the stick that motivated these would-be entrepreneurs to strike out on their own, surely the carrot was technology.Technology made it feasible again for millions of people to literally set up shop at home, as their forebears had done for millennia. Actually, the home-based business silver bullets were powerful personal technology hardware and software, both delivered in bite-size increments and pricing, and of course, the Internet.

As I think more about the changing workforce, they missed a big category -- and ultimately, it's the category I think fits the majority of people I personally know starting businesses today: genx/creative professionals who have become disillusioned with corporate life and its inefficiencies and think they see a better way. Maybe it's a hallmark of my generation or maybe it's a characteristic of my age (late 30s) but I think it's more than just corporate job insecurity that drives entrepreneurship, and drives what ultimately is a creative process.

Make It Stop!

I am sick. But, well, I do have a weakness for French people:

Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Rocket Baby

Your Superpower is Mathematics

Your Weakness is French People

Your Weapon is Your Ether Dagger

Your Mode of Transportation is Pogo Stick

What's your Superhero Name?

What Part of Fall Are You?

Hmmm. Apple Cider. I'm such a goofball sucker for these. Thanks to Brian D. I am Apple Cider!

You Are Apple Cider
Smooth and comforting. But downright nasty when cold.
What Part of Fall Are You?

Monday, October 10, 2005

We're No. 5

Both the Indiana Business Journal Daily and the Star picked up this blurb from Entrepreneur magazine: Indianapolis was ranked fifth-best place to start a business in a recent study conducted with the National Policy Research Council. They based the ranking on the number of companies started in the past 4-14 years that are still in business and have at least five employees, and also on the growth of those businesses. The IBJ blurb cited Bio-Crossroads as the primary reason for our high ranking, but I'd like to think that some of the growth in the city has been related to something other than their heavily promoted (but not strongly producing) bio-tech seed fund. Phoenix was the top metro area.

In Indiana, Fort Wayne was ranked 25th for midsize cities. Among small cities, Elkhart-Goshen was 20th, Evansville was 29th and Bloomington came in at No. 36.

Oddly enough, however, Bio-Crossroads didn't bring the whole state along. Among states, Indiana was ranked 21st.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

"I'm Sober Thanks to Muncie"

If you haven't heard, as of last summer you can't get a keg in Muncie. Something is just wrong in a great college party town when all the liquor stores band together and decide to quit selling what is apparently in the beer world the lowest margin item of sale. Also, the biggest hassle. Two guys protest great keg boycott of Muncie with t-shirts from the star.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday Round Up

Listening in at the SCOTUS faculty lounge: I have nothing to add about Harriet Meirs' nomination or Roberts' hazing for that matter. Buffalo Wings and Vodka says it all. That and an available OU-Texas ticket will get you a judgeship under the Bush administration.'s so...big! Laura Lemay has a newfound fascination with giant squid. That is all. (Skip that misleading bike sign post to hear all about violent and fascinating giant squid hook-ups.)

Gone but Knott Forgotten

The Erudite Redneck notes the sudden and sad passing of guy we both went to J-School with.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Newsflash: Men Pick Sex over Food; Women Prefer Sleep

From last week's USA Weekend magazine (Yes, people do actually read those funny inserts, often women, and often while watching football on Sunday afternoon): Women prefer food to sex. In what USA Today calls a "fun, scientific" survey conducted by their crack team of researchers in conjunction with the Nobel winners over at, their "scientific survey" revealed nothing most couples don't already know.

Q: What is the most important factor in your happiness?
Sleep 51%
Food 18%
Sex 14%

Sex 34%
Sleep 26%
Food 21%

How much do I love that the average guy (even one surfing would rather have sex than sleep. Or, for that matter, eat. Speculation was that men and women both crave most what they can't have. Who knew it was so hard for men to have sex? What happened to the way to their heart was through their stomach? Sounds like it's their, um, *other* stomach. Bring it on, brotha!

PS: Same survey polled women and men over what they'd prefer on a desert island. Women picked an unlimited supply of chocolate over Brad Pitt. (What are they thinking?! It's a desert not a dessert island!) Men, more realistically, picked Angelina Jolie over a supply of unlimited burgers and beer.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Legislator Drops Controversial Plan

...and that's putting it mildly. Just two days after Sen. Pat Miller introduced incendiary legislation to the Senate Heath Finance Committee calling for regulation of reproduction assistance, she has withdrawn the plan. The bill would have forbidden any unmarried person from receiving any reproductive assistance in the state of Indiana and would also have required prospective parents to go through a licensing process (which I could almost get behind) including an assessment of their "values".

I can only imagine the furor (and frustrating dismay) the Sen received by consituents, Republicans, rights groups, women, Democrats, the Governor, Attorney General, judges, the ICLU, Planned Parenthood, gay couples, and oh, pretty much everyone. What's unbelievable to me is that she wasted two days of everyone's time and bandwidth on such an unrealistic piece of legislative ass-wipery. It was almost as if a file from her uber-secret Rule-Indiana hard drive was released on an email to right wing cronies with the text reading "Ahaha, wouldn't this be great!" More from the Star including the one-sentence release from the Senator's office:
“The issue has become more complex than anticipated and will be withdrawn from consideration by the Health Finance Commission.”

Drivers: The Real Issue in Bike Safety

Unbelievable! Another cyclist hit and killed in Indianapolis -- and this one by a Marion County Sheriff's Department van! One would normally say "what will it take for drivers to start being aware of cyclists on our roads and giving them a little extra space?" Two deaths should be enough. Below a post I actually wrote on Sunday:

Everyone's been talking about the tragic death of 48-year-old cyclist Sharon Wollam, who was hit and killed by a car after she fell from her bike a couple of weeks ago. Tragically, Sharon didn't just fall from her bike, but she fell from her bike in the crosswalk at 91st and the Monon Trail where she was struck by the car while she was down. There was news coverage at the time; there are flowers by the Monon Trail where she fell; and the weekend Sunday Star has a front page story on cyclist safety in Indiana. The questions are raised by legislators and cyclists alike -- and the answers all seem to be related to throwing money at the problem. New bike trails, new bike lanes, new equipment -- those seem to be the only solutions.

There's no question that Wollam's death was a horrible accident and that new bike lanes will help save lives, but no one seems to be discussing the real issue at hand, the issue everyone who's walked or ridden a bike in Indy has had to deal with it, and the one issue everyone seems to want to ignore: the driver failed to stop at the crosswalk.

Last I checked (and I checked pretty recently because I had to retake my written driver's test after letting my drivers license expire), it was the law in Indiana that operators of motor vehicles must stop for pedestrians and other folks in the crosswalk. On Meridian Street every day, I watch people struggle to cross at crosswalks. No one stops, not even law enforcement vehicles. It's impossible to cross -- and forget trying to cross at night. Today, I saw a bus driver speed up, gunning his bus to cross ahead of people in a crosswalk.

Using crosswalks for The Monon Trail north of 86th Street is no better. South of 86th street, drivers seem more cautious, I suspect because many of them use the trails themselves. Some of those trail entrances and crossings make it tough to see a rollerblader or runner or cyclist if you're not careful. But in Carmel -- watch out! Crossing the Monon Trail at at Carmel Drive is like taking your life into your own hands. Sadly, most drivers in Carmel seem to view the Monon Trail and its users as an inconvenience.

Most people who use the Monon Trail know the drill. When you get to a street, you stop, you wait to see if the car will stop, and you make eye-contact with the driver if possible to make sure they see you. Then you start across when it looks like they're stopping. If you're a driver, you do the same things. If you're biking or rollerblading, you pray you don't fall. Sharon fell. And on 91st street there's a little hill when you're traveling westbound so you can't see the crosswalk at the top, and when it's dusk or sunset, or even dark, it can be hard to see with shadows, and sometimes the sun in your eyes. And yes, a lot of people do use the Monon Trail after dark. Right or wrong, a driver is still responsible for seeing someone in a crosswalk.

I can't question what this particular driver was thinking, what they saw, or didn't see, or when they stopped. But while Sharon's particular accident was just that, what happens the next time someone on Carmel Drive doesn't stop for a rollerblader or cyclist or mom with a stroller? I've seen police cars blow through those crossings, so how can we know we're safe if everyone is busy talking about new bike lanes? Let's address the issue we know can be fixed -- enforcing crosswalk safety and getting serious about protecting the users on trails we already have. Until we address the real problems, there's no use spending money to create new ones.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I Want My Reproductive Rights

I'm going to come clean and say I haven't done a ton of research on this. And I'm not going to rant about angry right wingers or old white men running my life. However, based on legislation proposed to the Indiana Assembly's Health Finance Committee, I'm only going to ask why the hell are they wasting valuable time on this obvious political posturing. Upon first look, the draft legislation in question would prevent the state from providing any reproductive assistance to lesbians, gays, or single people. To the extent that the state provides reproductive assistance to couples now (they don't), and to the extent that it's any of their business should I, a single woman, should decide to have a child, the bill would have no teeth. However, this bill wants to prevent me from getting any reproductive assistance at all. From the bill: Gays, lesbians and single Hoosiers would be prohibited from using medical science to help have a child.

The concept that no one but a married woman could get fertility help in the entire state is so over-the-top crazy that it's clearly a move for political visibility, which is ironic since I've seen no pointers or direct references to the bill's author. Most irksome is that the committee which has until Oct 20 to recommend the bill for the floor, will spend valuable time wrangling over this press whore bill instead of focusing on legislation that could help Hoosiers today. As Doug notes: "I think Betty Cockrum of Indiana Planned Parenthood puts it very well, 'If we're going to try to put Indiana on the map, I wouldn't go this route.'" Maybe we need to lobby for a child license bill. With such a huge problem in the news about Child Protective Services' case load, it seems a license to have a child would make just as much sense. Doug Masson has more.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Day of Tidiness -- My New Favorite Site

I spent a good deal of last evening and this evening cleaning up my blogs, setting up a new one for our company, one for a client, and getting my feeds and subscriptions all sorted on You'll notice there's an atom.xml feed now available for this site. (Also, notice the completely narcisstic and fun "who links to me" at the bottom which I swiped from Joe Wickert.)

But nothing, nothing compares to my new favorite blog of the month -- Anonymous Lawyer. Ahahahahahaha!

Blog Round Up

Another Cell Phone Rant: No, wait! Not from me. Go see the Curmudgeon who, in between rants about impolite waitstaff and the Bush adminstration, likens cell phone use to mental illness. (Which probably is more true than we know.) And about the waitstaff sitting down with you, chatting you up, chatting other customers up while you wait, and calling you ''hon' '? Dude, you need to be eating in better restaurants. What? Oh, you said thanks? No problem.

Finally! And over at Confessions of an Exhausted Mind, our bloggy pal Brian D. finally finds out that he passed the Bar Exam -- otherwise known as the Hell He Put Us All Through This Year. Drink an extra drink for a new lawyer in the world. Or, maybe on second thought, don't.

The Obsessed Lost Numbers Guide: From Laura Lemay's Limon. Seems we're not the only ones obsessed with the Lost numbers. 4 8 15 16 23 42. 4 8 15 16 23 42.

Joss Whedon -- The Interview: Courtesy of LawGeekGurl over at Cerulean Blue. And, because, you know, I was too lazy to go track it down myself.

John Clark's IndyBuzz

Whether you're active in the Indianapolis political scene, literary scene or general intelligentsia, you'll know professional thinker John Clark. He's back posting to his blog, IndyBuzz, keeping a very complete list of upcoming lectures, fundraisers, and speeches by both foreign and US political leaders, religious figures, and authors of all stripes. If you're interested in politics, Clark is someone to know, and if you're just interested in exposing yourself to some pretty amazing people when they make it to our little corner of the world, Clark's blog is a must-read.

From Clark's email list:

After a summer hiatus, Indybuzz is back. To keep informed about the most important and intellectually stimulating events taking place in Central Indiana, check out Please let me know events or activities you think deserve to be publicized: e-mail me at Please forward this message to anyone you think would be interested in learning more about our booming brain community. For a chronological overview linked to upcoming events, go here.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Word Verification is On

Lately, I've been getting a lot of bot spam responses on this blog, so you'll notice I've turned on the word verification set-up. I value your responses -- so please don't be put off by this extra step. You'll just see a word to type in when you post to verify you're a real person -- not an automated software spamming responses by keyword.

Serenity -- See It!

If you haven't seen it yet, go see Serenity. If you haven't heard the story on this movie yet, here it is: Joss Whedon created the television series Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Angel. His next series was a near-perfect little television series called Firefly. Fox aired it three years ago, tinkered with the episode order, shifted schedules, and ultimately pulled the plug after only 8 of the original order of 12 episodes had aired. The entire 12 episode season in order was released on DVD shortly thereafter and became one of the best selling series DVDs of all time -- not a bad little problem for the cast of the little series that could. Whedon was able to pull together a movie deal based on their "success" and fast forward to this weekend where Serenity picked up not only good reviews, but a solid second place in the box office dollars race. Best of all, it's got good word of mouth, a very desired effect in the movie business since WOM creates "legs" for a film. Let's hope Whedon -- and the rest of us -- get a second movie out of the deal!

Serenity and Firefly are, by the way, westerns in space. Whedon grew up in the 50s and 60s and like every kid in those days learned to love the old west through a hefty dose of the Lone Ranger, Shane and mid-day matinee westerns. The world he creates parallels this pioneer way of life and is evident in dress, culture and even the way the characters speak. His captain and crew are a little band of criminals -- smugglers and thieves -- who ultimately will do the right thing time and time again. Go see this movie. Go buy the DVDs and enjoy!

Bret Easton Ellis' Newest -- Lunar Park

Let's just face it, I'm a Bret Easton Ellis fan. I have also been living under a rock, or I would have seen the myriad of interviews in the publishing press about his new novel, Lunar Park, released in August (Knopf 2005). That said, I was happily surprised as I found myself in an airport bookstore on a recent business trip facing a new hardcover from my favorite author. I read almost all of the book on the plane.

If you know Ellis's work, you know about his over-the-top depictions of violence, sex, and drug use. You also know that he also specializes in blurring reality and fantasy for both the reader and the characters themselves. His first book, Less Than Zero, was a near-perfect first novel describing that sense that we've moved when we come home from college and see our high school friends continuing on their own, old paths. It was a familiar and sad time for many of us. His third novel, American Psycho was a true breakout work. After Simon & Schuster refused to publish it, it was published in paperback by Vintage and promptly vilified by the American media (causing the New York Times to call for making it the first banned American book). 15 years later, it's now on the required reading list at several top universities. It is possibly the single best book in existence today describing the true excess of the out-of-control 1980s summed up in a Wall Street nutshell. (Seeing the movie doesn't count.) Additionally, it became a cornerstone in Ellis' evolution to his fascination with the real and the imagined. Not only did it describe long scenes of excessive drug use and murder, but it also created a world so crazy, you wondered if the main character, Patrick Bateman, hadn't imagined it all. You wondered where the reality stopped and his fantasy life began. In it, Ellis began to ask the question he devotes most of Lunar Park to answering -- when you create and live in fantasy worlds in your head (with words, drugs, or booze), how do you truly know what is real and what is not?

In Lunar Park, Ellis builds on the world he knows best -- his own. Using his previous books and characters as primary elements, he even casts himself as the main character. As the fictional Bret Ellis loses control of his suburban life to mystery, drugs, and ultimately, his own creations, he leaves it to his reader to determine exactly where the lines between fact and fiction lay. It's especially fun as he recaps his career which deviates from reality about the time he begins talking about what a worldwide bestseller American Psycho was.

Lunar Park is worth the read. It's even better if you're somewhat familiar with several of his previous works. Ellis isn't exactly a prolific novelist so it's worth the time to reread Less Than Zero if you haven't in a while. You'll be reminded of what a little gem it is -- and appreciate the fun he obviously has with Lunar Park even more. (Ellis, ahead of his time once again as he's managed to create his own branding by using the same characters again and again. Every time a new book comes out, it gives his backlist sales a hit! Brilliant!)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

What's Up with Me These Days

If you know me, you know I'm *so* not about guilt. If I don't want to do something, I don't. I just hate obligation. I like to work, eat, sleep, write, and well, anything else, with full commitment. Unfortunately, guilt kicks in when it's something I want to do but just have sucked at lately. So, what's been going on with the blog?

I'll be honest. For me, since June, blogging -- or not blogging -- has been a result of both discipline and focus issues. For those of you who don't know me, I left a senior level corporate job after 10 years to start my own business. If anyone had told me at the beginning of the year that by Oct 3, I'd be up to my neck in a start-up, I would have said they were crazy. (I would have believed a prediction of marriage and children more willingly.) But, well, sometimes the stars align and things just work. Between a great idea, a solid planning process, lots of help from talented experts and friends, two fantastic business partners, available capital, and a readiness to be passionate about work again, our new little company has come together. Our first client is signed, two more should be right behind, and our first projects will be completed by the end of the year.

One would think that working at home -- and all the time -- would have made blogging easier but here's where we get to discipline and focus. One reason I started blogging this year was that while on a two-week London/NY trip over Christmas by myself, I really started thinking about what was next for me. I didn't set any particular goals, but I let myself start thinking that this was the year I might make some changes. One step towards a new direction was devoting more time and discipline to writing.

If you blog, you know it's hard. It's time consuming and tough to produce something you feel is worth sharing every day -- or every few days. It also takes the tiniest bit of focus away from other projects. It's tough to have your work filling 100% of your head while 5% of your mind is thinking about what you're going to blog about or fleshing an insightful thought into a post. I haven't applied the discipline to blogging because of the focus I might lose.

For those who've started a business or, as I do increasingly, consider themselves entrepreneurs, you know how important focus is. To be successful in a new venture 100% of your brain needs to be working on it -- and that 5% that might be thinking about blogging is really thinking about new strategic partners or exit strategies. So, what does that mean for this blog?

Well, I'm not ready to give it up. I have another thought or two on how to keep writing -- which is critically important -- and posting. As we've been researching and building web sites and business systems, one thing has been driven home to me again and again. The web is personal, or it should be. Web sites need to be personal and make customers feel like they're in direct contact with the company. Clients need to feel that pages are reaching out directly to them. When we look at ways to accomplish the personal touch, of course, it means daily updates, industry news, and naturally, blogging. The trick is changing the focus to make this personal touch so integral to your day-to-day operations that you make the time to communicate directly with your client base -- and potential client bases. So, with some new tools in place for remote server sharing among us partners, I'm slowing trying to integrate my daily new summaries, industry updates, and random thoughts into our company blog and active web spaces. I'm sure, there will always be personal thoughts and notes for Hoosiers Ate My Brain, so I will continue to post as they come. And I anticipate that they'll come fairly often. So, at the end of the day, after this long, personal, probably very boring post, I only hope that my readers just keep the faith. I'm not going anywhere -- so stay tuned.