Category Archives: Back Home Again In Indiana

‘American Ninja Warrior’ Hosts Say a John Daly Appearance is Really Just a Matter of Time (The Loop / Golf Digest)

Ninja go

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The Loop / Golf Digest — INDIANAPOLIS — I’m standing in line to get my fancy “American Ninja Warrior” media pass, a red clip-on badge that announces to everyone, “F**k no I’m not doing this, it would aggravate my back arthritis,” but the kid behind me talks to me anyway, glancing quizzically at my snappy blazer/jeans combo before asking if I’m running the course. No no, I say, joking that I’m too old for that kind of thing. “Nah man, it’s OK,” he shoots back with a trainer’s enthusiasm, “Lots of old people run it.” Lots. Lots of OLD PEOPLE. Break an arm falling from a steel trapeze, pipsqueak, and don’t come crying to me in 15 years when all your energy-drink sugar turns into side fat and diabetes.

Now in its 10th season, NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” spends its springs traveling to a half-dozen cities before resolving into its finals in Las Vegas. Tonight they’re in Indy, dropping a giant obstacle course onto Monument Circle and lighting the surrounding buildings with appropriate Hollywood fervor.

And they’re here because Indy turns up for this.

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An Actual Indiana Person’s Guide to the Indy 500 (2018 Edition) (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

Golf Digest — The Indianapolis 500 goes green this Memorial Day weekend, as it has (just about) every Memorial Day weekend since 1911. To pay tribute, here’s a quick refresher lap around two-and-a-half miles of pure, unbridled America.

 

What is it?

The 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500, still the Largest Single-Day Sporting Event in the World, no matter what those jerks from Wrestlemania try to tell you. The race remains the sports pride of the state, although the Pacers basically coming one blown goaltending call away from toppling LeBron is a real good second.

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Is this still a big deal?

WE IN INDIANA WILL HAVE YOU KNOW that the 500 remains the biggest event in our state AND yours: More than 300,000 cooler-toting jorts-rocking sunstroke-developing exhaust-sniffing Race Fans will begin streaming into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 6 a.m. on Sunday, when an actual cannon is fired to signal the opening of the gates and wake up every last dog in Speedway (the town containing the Speedway is actually called Speedway, because we are proud literal folk.)

 

The full guide at … um, Golf Digest.

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Eat Your Way Around the Indy 500 (via Indianapolis Monthly)

69,492 points

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Indianapolis Monthly — Fun fact: In addition to hosting the Largest One-Day Sporting Event in the World, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds the Largest One-Day Volume of Chicken Tenders Put in the Mouths of 300,000 Humans. There are untold regions from which to obtain chicken tenders here: There are tents devoted to them, and concession counters flush with them. I’m pretty sure you can get some from Letterman’s luxury box. Today, on Fast Friday, I am simply sitting in Pagoda Plaza in the midst of a chicken-tender Fantasyland that would paralyze my children with joy.

But I am here in search of OTHER FOODS, the non-vaguely identified poultry parts that make up the culinary options at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. To do so, I wandered the Pagoda Plaza and drifted down Georgetown Road like a creeper, circumventing the entire outside of the oval and doing my due journalistic diligence while pre-emptively working off turkey legs (HA. Just kidding; to do so I’d need to walk 3,499 more laps). Sure, IMS houses plenty of traditional concessions—your tenders-on-a-bed-of-waffle-fries ($10), your burger-esque objects ($10), and your Indy Dogs ($5), which are like regular hot dogs, except made of pollen. But my assignment was to wander a bit off the track (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) and see what I could find.

The main takeaway: Everything is very healthy.

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There Are 57,000 Hoops in Indiana, But Only One Hoosier Gym (The Loop / Golf Digest)

Welcome to Indiana basketball.

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The Loop / Golf Digest — To find baseball from before, the wool-clad, leather oil-smelling, faded-yellow version that predated whatever you feel corrupted it, you go to Cooperstown, and you lope through ice cream parlors and hand-painted memorabilia shops and maybe into Doubleday Field, where a sleepy game of aging locals may be living out unclaimed dreams. Doing it for basketball is a little easier: Drive to Knightstown, Ind., an hour east of Indianapolis, just three miles off the I-70 exit, where the price of basketball Americana is exactly zero dollars.

Knightstown houses the Hoosier Gym, built in 1921, polished up in 1936, shuttered in the 1966 and revived in 1985 for the filming of Hoosiers, where it played the home court of Miraculous State Champions Milan (renamed Hickory in the fictionalized version) and enshrined itself as an evocative hoops-tourism destination, once the cast and crew got over thinking they’d just shot an audienceless throwback bomb.

It wasn’t. Here’s what basketball is like inside the Hoosier Gym. 

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The Last Waltz of the Mighty Wurlitzer (via Indianapolis Monthly)

Illustration / Christoph Hitz

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Indianapolis Monthly — Over the years, Indianapolis has been home to any number of pizza parlors. But only one had the power to rattle your plates.

If you’re of a certain age, the Paramount Music Palace very likely hosted one of your birthday parties, field trips, grandparent visits, post-football game feasts, tour-bus stops, giant family dinners, or honeymoons. (Seriously, honeymoons. We didn’t believe it at first, either.) For more than a decade, it was the family-friendly belle of the east side, accessibly opulent, affectionately schmaltzy, reasonably priced, filled with kids, and tinged with gold. And though the Paramount had live musicians every night, there was one true star of the show: a massive 1931 Mighty Wurlitzer theater pipe organ that would appear each evening by rising from the floor, rotating with regal splendor. If you were of a certain age back then, there was nothing better in the world.

At the height of the Paramount’s glory days, the Mighty Wurlitzer was simply one of the biggest instruments in the country, and it looked and played the part. “You could feel the bass in the building and in your body,” says Michael Fellenzer, current president of the Central Indiana Chapter of ATOS. “And for me, there was a complexity that was fascinating. One person is making this sound like an orchestra? How?”

That word—how?—was the draw of the place, the question that enraptured kids and grandparents, drawing them back, letting them wonder. How can one machine make that sound? How does one person play it? How do you get something that big in here, anyway? And now, 20 years later, those who loved it way back when might wonder: Where did it go?

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An Actual Indiana Person’s Guide to the Indy 500 (via The Loop/Golf Digest)

Super-quiet

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The Loop / Golf Digest —

What is it?

The Indianapolis 500! It’s Indianapolis’s biggest event, the sports pride of the state (pipe down, Paul George, you know it’s true), and a very good excuse for most of here to sit in 1978-era folding chairs and drink room-temperature Hamm’s cans starting at 7 a.m. on the Lord’s Day.

Is this still a big deal?

WE IN INDIANA WILL HAVE YOU KNOW that the 500 is the Largest One-Day Sporting Event in the World, and also the one attended by the smallest percentage of actual athletes. Last year’s plumb sold out with a crowd that reports pegged around 350,000, which meant that one out of every 1,000 people in the COUNTRY OF AMERICA was chilling inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The complete and helpful Travel Guide over at the Loop.

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How to Host the Andrew Luck Book Club on a Non-$140 Million Budget (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

The Loop / Golf Digest — The Andrew Luck Book Club is, to date, the only consistently active book club captained by a functional NFL quarterback, excepting the one briefly launched by Jim McMahon in 1985. (They mostly read the backs of Van Halen albums.) The Indianapolis Colts QB/only football player on Earth to be regarded favorably as “the team’s librarian” is well-known as one of them fancy readers, and his book club has quietly evolved into a genuine civic joy that promotes literacy and has been adopted by a number of city schools.

The club is currently online, though an audio version is coming to Indianapolis public radio this month. And it’s had the side effect of calming many of our city’s important sports debates about dropping $140 million on this guy. (“A hundred and forty million dollars is ridiculous!” “But ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ is a glimmering parable about the magic of youth and bravery YOU SON OF A BITCH” people will yell before throwing pork tenderloins around.)

Regardless, with Luck as inspiration, you might consider taking it a step further and hosting your own in-person book club. If so, a few tips for getting literate in your very own home:

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This Enormous Falling Pierogi Pushed Me Right Off Facebook (via Vice Tonic)

pierogi drop 2017 whiting indiana

Real news.

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Vice / Tonic — If there’s one thing we all know to be true, it’s that we should abandon Facebook now. I knew this. And in all likelihood, you know this.

You can’t swing a dead cat around the internet without bumping it into studies proclaiming how we’re all burning the precious gift of life on a yawning vacuum packed with screaming idiots, masked cries for help from vague sad people we no longer know and whatever our exes are doing, which, surprise, doesn’t help anything. (Science, incidentally, also frowns on swinging dead cats, but I couldn’t find any studies on that.)

So while we all should quit for very good reasons, I ended up quitting, like I do most things, because of pierogies. 

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Two Days Embedded in the World’s Hottest Brickyard (via Indy Monthly)

Brickyard-Vrabel-on-track-667x500

Proud of self for taking this photo and not falling off a moving pickup.

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Indy Monthly — Two things about my experience at this year’s Brickyard 400, held Sunday on the surface of the sun: This was my first NASCAR race (though I’ve seen Cars 4,000 times, which counts), and I was lucky enough to spend it with Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski and his Miller Lite 2 crew. So while I can’t hear a thing anyone is saying right now, I can offer these thoughts from Keselowski’s pit box and Pit Road.

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John Mellencamp’s 10 Greatest Indiana Concerts (via Indianapolis Monthly)

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They come from the cities and they come from the smaller towns.

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Indianapolis Monthly — Ask John Mellencamp fans for memories of his best shows in Indiana, and one thing quickly becomes clear: The guy has performed in a lot of places around here. He has played bars and football stadiums, basketball arenas and fancy theaters, Farm Aids and guerrilla gigs. Regardless of venue, though, the shows have rarely disappointed. “As much praise as he’s gotten, I think he’s still underrated as a live performer,” says Anthony DeCurtis, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone who received his Ph.D. in American literature from Indiana University. “I saw him in 1992, and it was just torrid. I don’t think I’d seen John in an arena to that point, and I remember thinking, ‘Boy, he’s not having too much trouble filling up this space.’”

In honor of Mellencamp’s August 4 date at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the final show of a tour that has made a number of Indiana stops already, we compiled a scattered, highly unscientific, and 100 percent debatable list of Mellencamp’s best Hoosier concerts over the past four decades. As you might suspect, the list is culled from minutes and memories, so if yours are different (and they probably are), drop us a line. Here are our choices, presented in chronological order because we can’t really rank them. Well, except for maybe that one.

Read the full list over at Indianapolis Monthly.

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