Say goodnight, womyn.

I wrote a story last summer about the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, and I wish I’d had this story to read beforehand — I had no idea lesbian separatism existed beyond short-term deals like the Rosie O’Donnell cruises. (And the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.) The organizer and I talked a lot about the idea of maintaining a purely male-free zone — artists who commonly perform with male backup musicians are asked to perform solo, and there are restrictions keeping boy children past diaper age away from the action, to name but two. At the end of it I came to the shrugging acceptance I apply to most of these deals: It takes all kinds.

The NYT story I linked to concerns the “about 100 below-the-radar lesbian communities in North America, known as womyn’s lands (their preferred spelling), whose guiding philosophies date from a mostly bygone era.” The bygone era referred to appears to be the crunchy-granola ’70s, but really goes back far further — Americans have been trying to create insular, utopian communities as long as there’s been an America. Maybe Alex can give us a few thoughts about this; he’s an Underground Railroad historian, and many of these groups provided refuge to escaping slaves en route to Canada. He’s also gay, so maybe he has some insight about why a bunch of white-haired crones want to live in a world where no penises are tolerated anywhere, although God knows the women themselves are plenty forthcoming:

“Outside the gate, it’s still a man’s world,” said Rand Hall, who retired as the publisher of a gay and lesbian newspaper in Tampa and St. Petersburg, Fla., and moved to Alapine in 2006. “And women are not safe, period. It’s just that simple.”

I got news for you, sister: No one is safe, inside or outside the gate, but I suspect she knows that already. Even Alapine isn’t safe, as the story suggests — younger lesbians are increasingly uninterested in living like this, which current residents maybe don’t see as progress, but I do. They never knew the world that made these women feel so uncomfortable in the first place, and that’s one of the things I talked about with the Michigan festival founder, who was a few years older than me and only caught the tail end of it herself — the police raids on gay bars, estrangement from families, the threat of job loss and public humiliation. Not every gay woman can pass, after all, or get away with a Boston marriage in a rose-covered cottage in some university town, masquerading as sisters or dear friends united in shared grief over the loss of their beloved husbands. But she — the festival founder — had been stopped going into women’s restrooms and had others hassles related to being very butch at a time when it simply wasn’t accepted. So I get it.

Unlike some of the crueler comments on Metafilter or the utterly clueless Brother Rod Dreher (who’s always threatening his readership with something called the Benedict Option, and I for one hope he gets off the pot sooner rather than later), I think the passing of these settlements is a sign of progress. This is something the festival founder and I batted back and forth for a while. Are women really threatened or degraded by the presence of a man playing bass on a stage behind lights? She said no, but that someone like me could never understand the attractiveness of such an environment to someone like her, and it’s only for a few days, after all. I’ll give her that.

I’ve known deaf people who would just as soon never interact with the hearing world, black people who’d love to live in a no-whites zone. Just about every group that’s been marginalized, abused or otherwise made to feel unwelcome will always have a few members who simply turn their backs on the whole game. Even men have their no-girls-allowed clubhouses, only we’re more likely to call them by their proper names — “seminaries” and “troop ships,” and yes I’m making a joke.

Ultimately, however, I think segregation is a losing game, and to the extent that women like these would certainly feel more welcome in today’s larger world, I think you can definitely call that progress.

What you can’t call progress, I fear, is a bit of news that broke Friday, too late to even make a final pilgrimage: One of my favorite bars in Fort Wayne closed over the weekend, a victim of the recession and, probably, a citywide anti-smoking law. Fort Wayne has a local-pub tradition similar to St. Louis’. It’s full of humble places where you can always get a cold beer and a decent cheeseburger for not a lot of money. Or was. (Please, someone: Tell me Jack & Johnnie’s is still in business.) The Acme was the regular lunch place for Dr. Frank and me, and he was the first person I called when I heard. He was equally gobsmacked, and proceeded to reel off all the family decisions he and his wife had made there, all the after-event rounds he’d bought there, etc. The place was decorated in the sort of style widely imitated in more self-consciously ironic yuppie boîtes — individual jukeboxes at tables, vinyl upholstery, knotty-pine walls. The neon alone is a treasure.

Gone the way of all things, I guess. I’m still sorry to hear it.

Finally, one bit of bloggage: How to hack portable roadside electronic signs. A guerilla-filmmaking skill I’m going to keep in my back pocket.

My old boss Richard did one of those 25 Things lists on Facebook. He did 35, however, and they were all wonderful, but especially Nos. 2 and 3:

2. We had this weekly feature on one of the newspapers I worked for. This elderly guy would draw an animal and write about it. Very educational. After about three years, though, he started drawing animals that didn’t exist.

3. We also had a hunting column, i.e., which animals were in season, etc. We called it “Dinner.” And we had a chatty obit column called “Cadaver Palaver.”

And so another week begins. Enjoy it, all.

Posted at 1:05 am in Current events, Popculch |

50 responses to “Say goodnight, womyn.”

  1. vince said on February 2, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Ah, you’ve thrown down the gauntlet for me Nance with your passing claim “a victim of the recession and, probably, a citywide anti-smoking law.”

    How can an anti-smoking law that APPLIES TO EVERY SINGLE BAR IN TOWN be blamed for the demise of one watering hole?

    If every business in town is playing by the same rules then the absence of smoking becomes a non-factor for all of them.

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  2. Dexter said on February 2, 2009 at 2:17 am

    I passed by Jack and Johnnie’s ( Wells Street) a million times when I lived in West Central FWA , on W. Washington , but I never stopped in. I would frequent The Green Frog sometimes, and for a quick beer, the Broadway bars like The Brass Rail and the Broadway clubs like Broadway Joe’s, but it’s The Acme that’s closing now, eh?
    I have good memories of the Acme, too. I would meet friends there for occasional lunches; The Acme had great fish sandwiches and I never had bad food there at all. I also had quite a few laughs there over too many afternoon beers. The liquor store was handy for a sixer of “road cokes”.
    The Acme had class, it truly was a great place, one of the haunts I really missed when I moved away from FWA.
    I spent more time at Lebamoff’s Tavern , north on Clinton, but The Acme will surely be missed by its denizens.

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  3. Dexter said on February 2, 2009 at 2:27 am

    I love good jokes, but I also read those traffic signs…the ZOMBIES AHEAD thing was funny when I saw it on the TV news, but if I see ALL TRAFFIC HALT IMMEDIATELY , and I stop and get rear-ended by a light truck, well…if the sign had been hacked, I’d be pissed-off….
    oh…I joined Twitter ( as “DexterJohnson” [honoring LBJ’s domestic programs] cuz a few of my friends did..hopefully I’ll get the point of it soon…I do like to goof around on Facebook

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  4. beb said on February 2, 2009 at 8:27 am

    As a science fiction fan “of a certain age” (before Star Trek and Star Wars made it all respectable) I can understand the concept of Outsiderism and understand its appeal to people have been discriminated against.

    I’mwith Vince in thinking that a city-wide smoking bar isn’t going to put a bar out of business. That implies that people come to bars to smoke and if they can’t smoke, they won’t come to bars. I always thought people went to bars to drink but since I don’t go to bars I could be wrong. My wife and I are waiting for a ban on smoking in restaurants. As a non-smoker even a little bit of smoke is nasty and off-putting.

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  5. brian stouder said on February 2, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Re: the bar

    As a just-this-side-of-48-year-old life-long resident of Fort Wayne, I will admit that, despite driving past it approximately a million times, I’ve never set foot in the Acme. I remember the old channel 33 commercials where Bill Foster (?) gives the pitch, and then opens wide and takes a huge bite out of a comically large tenderloin….

    but the place was just never “mine”. Call me a philistine, but I’ve always been inclined to FW’s many chain eateries, such as Flanagan’s or the various Cebolla’s, or more recently, Logan’s. They all have bars, and right-priced food

    Re: the bar vis-a-vis the smoking ban: my understanding is that Rack & Helen’s in New Haven is going great-guns nowadays…..and one large factor may well be that smokers can smoke in there.

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  6. nancy said on February 2, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Vince, the city’s smoking ordinance was poorly designed because it wasn’t done in concert with a county ordinance. No smoking in city bars, yes smoking in county bars, and the county line is never that far away in FW. I could easily see a barfly looking to spend a couple of hours watching a ballgame opting for a county stool.

    It’s a sketchy argument to make, but I respect the owner enough that if he says business went down after the ordinance passed, I believe him.

    Bars with a more, eh, dedicated clientele — gay bars, in other words — skirt the law by providing a “smoking patio” just outside the back door. For whatever reason, the Acme didn’t.

    I thought applying the law to bars was a step too far, anyway. I don’t like smoking, but smoking and drinking go together, and there ought to be at least one or two public places where a guy can burn a heater without having to step outside. No smoking on the restaurant side, certainly, but in bars, let the market decide.

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  7. mark said on February 2, 2009 at 8:40 am


    Maybe you can diagram that argument for me. Business regulations that are applied to every business in town are “non-factors” for each of them because the regulation is apllied to every one of them? Then let’s make every business in town give away its product/service on Thursdays. Lot’s of people could use stuff for free and for the businesses it wil be a non-factor.

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  8. Dexter said on February 2, 2009 at 9:00 am

    “Check Out the Big Brain on Brad”…er…mark !
    In NYC, despite Bloomberg’s efforts, there are still many cigar bars where smoking is still “loophole-legal”—grandfathered in, I guess…here’s a fave of the crew of my favorite Sirius-XM Radio show:

    Here in Bryan, Ohio, one of the lodges built a smoking patio and they are still allegedly going broke.
    I belong to two lodges…one banned smoking and one did not, and it’s smoky as Hades in there…go figure!

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 2, 2009 at 9:25 am

    “Homo sum – humani a me nihil alienum puto,” or “I am a human being; nothing human is strange to me,” from the playwright Terence, 2000 years ago and change.

    LW went to the aforementioned festival in ’86 (or ’87?) and we went to the Newport Folk Festival a few years later, where she said “this sure is more relaxed and cheerful a crowd than that thing in Michigan was.” The free Ben & Jerry’s that was being handed out may have had something to do with it; i asked her if (ahem) the herbal supplements wafting over the crowd may have been the deciding factor, and she replied “oh, no – there was much more of that there than there is here.”

    One viewpoint, anyhow. Obviously, i can only compare secondhand.

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  10. whitebeard said on February 2, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I have not gone to bars on a regular basis, mainly because of the smoking. My lungs are so sensitive I can detect someone lighting up a cigarette, legal or otherwise, two blocks away (which made watching 2001: A Space Odyssey on the McGill campus in Montreal with its accompanying marijuana a very elevating experience).
    Of course, even the smell of American beer is bothersome and I feel I need to burn my clothes after a visit to a tavern. Canadian beer is stronger I know, but even so, it does not have the aroma of American beer, which seems to be somewhere between camel piss and sheep dung.
    There, having offended a legion of beer drinkers on this blog, I confess that I have only had a few non-beer drinks since moving to Connecticut in 1981, because of my “iron” will to abstain from drinking and driving.

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  11. Jay Small said on February 2, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Whatever the reason, I am sorry to see the Acme go. I’ll never forget nursing a busted nose with an ice pack and several cold beers there after mishandling a routine throw to 1B for the old News-Sentinel softball team. (Me mishandling a throw and busting my nose? El surprise! My glove skills always were suspect, and my nose was always the biggest target in the general region. Fortunately, the Acme eased the pain to my snout and my ego.)

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  12. brian stouder said on February 2, 2009 at 10:04 am

    btw – Pam and the young folks and I went to the Ft Wayne Community School’s School Choice Fair at one of the high schools this past weekend, and we bumped into a friend of nn.c there, who is also a member of the FWCS board.

    Almost involuntarily, I hailed him with an overly-familiar “Hello!” – which made the fellow turn his head, and a somewhat inquisitive look crossed his face….and (thinking quickly, and failing to find any sparkling way to invoke the proprietress!) while shaking his hand I said something like “Great event!” – with which he agreed, and then moved on.

    Anyway, as much flack as our board has taken in the past few years, a little public expression of approval is a good thing, right?


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  13. Bryan said on February 2, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I, too, spent many a night at the Acme — mainly because it was close to the house of my Journal-Gazette colleagues Ben Smith and Julie Creek (now husband and wife, then not yet). I could park at their house on Florida Ave. and it was just a jog across State Street to the Acme.

    The Acme reminded me very much of the taverns I knew from growing up in the St. Louis area. Even my hometown of Fairview Heights, Ill. — which is as prototypical a suburb as you can find — had two legendary taverns, the Fairview Inn and my the Dandy Inn, which was my favorite.

    Although I haven’t lived in the Fort for 15 years now, I still tell stories to my wife about the Acme. I long for a place like that here in Williamsburg, but unfortunately the only bars we have are either part of a chain restaurant or insular holes-in-the-wall that are unwelcoming to anyone but regulars. I never got that feeling at the Acme. They were always happy to see everyone.

    I just hope that the Green Frog stays in business long enough so that I can get a breaded tenderloin when I drag my kids back to the Fort to bore them with stories about the Acme and Powers’ hamburgers.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on February 2, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I’m with you, Whitebeard, on both the smoking and the beer, which means I haven’t gone to many bars over the years. But I think the shift is as much generational as cultural. The Acme was the favorite watering hole for my father-in-law, but how many people today stop at a bar every night on their way home from work? That was acceptable in his generation; not so much in his childrens’.

    Nancy you were right on track when you mentioned the octuplet’s mother and women addicted to having babies. This story makes it quite clear: Grandma says mom was obsessed with having babies from the time she was a teenager. Grandma also says she’s outta there when mom gets home from the hospital. And, as if she didn’t need any more challenges, one of her children is autistic. Who will be watching out for the welfare of these children?

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  15. nancy said on February 2, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Many years ago, I had a colleague who had made one of those vows to raise his children entirely without television. He held out longer than most people I know who make the same vow, in large part because it gave him an excuse to visit his local hole-in-the-wall to watch Reds games. It made me wonder if the glory days for these places aren’t rooted in the early era of TV, when not every household had one. It’s certainly more companionable to watch with a bunch of your homies than alone in your own living room.

    Julie, who will be watching out for the kids? Probably social services. I heard over the weekend the theory about how she managed to get eight embryos implanted, a procedure no legitimate fertility specialist would perform. It starts with M and ends with “exico.”

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  16. MichaelG said on February 2, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I live in California and morn the passing of the Acme. One more old time neighborhood joint joining the growing numbers of closures all over the country. It’s a shame and it represents more than just the loss of a nice place to have a drink or a burger. There are fewer and fewer of these places every year. Here in Sacramento we’re fortunate that there are still quite a few of them. For me it’s Jamie’s a nice, dark, friendly, neighborhood bar, a great place for a drink on Friday night, a wonderful lunch joint. Clean and safe? I took my daughter and grandson there for lunch. One of the best burgers in town. Calimari to die for. These kinds of places will always be more attractive to me than chain restaurants. You can keep your TGI Friday’s or Hungry Hunters or whatever.

    I can’t see getting fired up about the womyn and their communes. I’m sure they’re all nice persons, they seem happy and they aren’t bothering anybody. What’s the harm? Guys like Dreher need to get a life. And, as Nance points out, communes are part of an old American tradition.

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  17. alex said on February 2, 2009 at 10:41 am

    As a smoker, and one who socializes with lots of people who smoke, I can tell you this: We spend most of our time and money in establishments outside of Fort Wayne.

    Regarding womyn, I met more than a few radical separatist manhaters back in the ’70s and early ’80s. Many were of the older generation and harbored a lot of bitterness. Some openly held it against me that I’d been born with “privilege” between my legs, never mind that being a fag was no picnic and I was subject to exactly the same kinds of discrimination and mistreatment as they were.

    My feelings about womyn are much like Obama’s with regard to the Reverend Wright: They’re certainly entitled to their feelings, but clinging to old resentments is unconstructive and ignores the great strides we’ve made in the world.

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  18. Dexter said on February 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

    That’s interesting about TV being the lure to hypnotize men at bars…I remember a story I read years ago about a bar owner who absolutely refused to let any TV into his bar because it killed conversation and whatever it was that the bar owner held dear to his heart , that special aura that made a bar , friendship and pleasant talk. I can’t even remember which bar it was, but I think it was The Berghoff in Chicago, formerly known as The Berghoff Mens’ Bar.
    Something tells me the place with the no-TV rule might have been the Lindell AC on Cass in Detroit, but I remember owner John Butsicaris and I don’t think he had that rule.
    I loved these old bars and I visited many of them all around the country, some seemed all tricked-out in hype (McSorley’s in New York is just a lousy goddamned tourist trap, for example), but then you run into the Boston Tavern on 26th Street in Chicago, Kelley’s Pub under the El on Webster in the Windy City, and Red’s on Western Avenue, also in Chicago, and when that happens, you can feel just like you’re at The Acme Bar in Fort Wayne.
    Oh…whichever bar that was with the no-TV rule finally allowed a little TV installed temporarily when the Cubs made the 1984 playoffs….

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  19. Linda said on February 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

    We are going through this issue with bars in Toledo. While we have a statewide smoking ban, we’re right by the Michigan border, and you can literally walk to a Michigan bar from my house. But some bars are making it here without smoking, while some are floundering. It may be that many bars with older patrons–and no other, newer attractions to entice people inside but ingrained habits–are just watching their clientele die off.

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  20. moe99 said on February 2, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    In Seattle, one of my neighborhood bars is much more popular now that there’s a smoking ban in place. I go there probably every two weeks for dinner with my daughter or friends when I never would have done so before. And it’s now always crowded. So at least in my experience, it has been a net plus. But the smoking rate is lower in Seattle than other parts of the US.

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  21. Sue said on February 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    If the Octomom does have a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder as the article mentions, I hope social service gets involved now. Animal hoarders routinely kill their “pets” by neglect, possession hoarders sometimes lose their homes to fire or weight destruction because conditions are so bad by the time anyone figures out what’s going on, etc. If there is such a thing as “child hoarding” or whatever mental illness might manifest itself in multiple pregnancies, the symptom set would probably be similar. Which means when this woman’s mother moves out as she has threatened, the babies and children are in real danger.

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  22. coozledad said on February 2, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Speaking of smoking, and bars, I was trying to find the title of the theme music to Jackie Gleason’s variety show the other night, and noticed his wiki entry shows a picture of him with Brendan Behan. Prodigious drinkers, those two.
    The strangest thing was Jackie’s widow recounting something he told her before he died; namely that Richard Nixon had flown to Homestead AFB with Jackie, and shown him the wreckage of a UFO, and the refrigerated remains of some aliens.
    Fuck Frost/Nixon. I want to see Gleason/Nixon.

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  23. Sue said on February 2, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    There’s a “To the moon!” joke there somewhere, Cdad. Work on it, will you?

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  24. Bill said on February 2, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Cooz: It’s “Melancholy Serenade.”

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  25. Gasman said on February 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I seriously doubt that Fort Wayne’s no smoking ordinance is the root cause of the demise of the Acme. It’s simply too convenient an excuse. I’ve heard some of the same nonsense in Texas and here in New Mexico in the wake of no smoking ordinances, and most businesses adapt just fine. What the owner of the Acme is not considering is the number of people who would not go to a bar because of the smoke. Count me among that crowd. I’m willing to bet that in terms of people driven away by allowing/not allowing smoking is statistically tilted toward the non-smoking side, if for no other reason than there are many more non-smokers.

    I used to play in bars and clubs around Northeast Indiana and after a 3-4 hour gig I felt like I’d involuntarily inhaled at least a pack worth of smoke. Why should I, as a working musician be forced to work in an environment that exposes me to carcinogens without my consent? Why should anyone else in the bar, workers or patrons, be likewise exposed? We wouldn’t tolerate any other working environment that exposed people to toxins at that level, so why is a bar any different?

    My wife has severe asthma and even a few seconds of cigarette smoke can trigger an attack. On more than one occasion we’ve had to get militant because a business refused to enforce no-smoking ordinances. Why should my wife risk being hospitalized over people who find it inconvenient to obey the law?

    As to voluntarily segregating ourselves along racial, ethnic, religious, language, gender, or sexual orientation lines, isn’t it all still segregation? Is that really progress? I fail to see how gender discrimination by male bigots is wrong and gender discrimination by lesbians is acceptable.

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  26. coozledad said on February 2, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Bill: Thanks. I had an uncle who could have been a body double for Gleason. He was pretty well to do and always drove these huge cars with the latest gadgets in them. He wasn’t a drinker, but his diet was basically steak, potatoes and menthol cigarettes. His first heart attack killed him. He had just walked out the door on the way to work, and the coroner said he was probably dead when he hit the ground. That song reminds me of him.

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  27. Scout said on February 2, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    I have never really understood the whole Michigan Festival Thingy myself. Even though I am in a committed relationship with another woman I certainly do enjoy all of my many male friends, gay and straight.

    Another facet of the stringent festival rule is that our community has quite a few M to F self-identified as lesbians who have been told in no uncertain terms that the fact they ONCE had a penis counts too – sooooorrry, no entry.

    It always amazes me when groups who form due to having been marginalized go out of their way to perpetuate the same practice.

    All that being said, I guess the organizers can do whatver they want – it’s their gig. If I don’t like the rules I don’t have to participate.

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  28. Michael said on February 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    In a recent debate about gay marriage one confused soul claimed that if gay marriages were legal his church would be required to perform them.

    Ah, the multifaceted beauty of the First Amendment to the Constitution is (a) it’s absolute language, “Congress shall enact no law….” and (b) the freedoms guaranteed including freedom of religion and freedom of assembly. While one cannot discriminate by “suspect” classifications such as race and gender in public accommodations we have an absolute right to exclude whomever we want for whatever reason we want from our worship and private affiliations.

    I’ve always believed that if the world contained only people just like me I’d be pretty bored. But as catholic (lower case “c”) as I may be inclined sometimes selective homogeneity can be restorative. There were many times in the last several years I simply did not want to be in the company of Republicans.

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  29. jeff borden said on February 2, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    The smoking issue is now vexing casinos in Illinois, which has a statewide ban on smoking in public places. A large number of gamblers are truckin’ on over to the casinos in Northwest Indiana, where there is no smoking ban, so revenues are down and so are the taxes being paid to our state.

    I’m not at all familiar with what is happening in Fort Wayne, of course, but I would not be quite so quick to suggest that the inability to light up while sipping a beer or a whiskey was not a factor in the demise of that tavern. Just like gambling and smoking seem to go together –I still smoke a few cigarettes when I play poker with my group, though I am required to go outside to do so — so it is with drinking and smoking.

    The real genius of the anti-smoking lobby was making this a workplace issue. When it is cast as making a place safer for others –whether in the office, a restaurant, a tavern, a store– the effort to shut down smoking seems less Puritanical and more palatable to most folks.

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  30. Sue said on February 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    A restaurant chain based in Milwaukee recently closed its few remaining doors. One of the reasons the owner gave was the mandated sick leave requirement Milwaukee voters recently voted in. Which hasn’t taken effect yet. Speculation is that she mentioned this item specifically to help friends and associates in the restaurant business get a point across. The arguments for and against this mandate have been all over the map, but like the smoking bans mentioned above, the shakedown will help some and hurt others until it becomes part of the landscape.

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  31. brian stouder said on February 2, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    So Sue – is Lake Delton full of water again, yet?

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  32. Sue said on February 2, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    They started in December, with hopes to have it done by late spring.

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  33. brian stouder said on February 2, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks, Sue.

    Here’s a few funnies from President Obama at the Alfalfa Dinner

    “I am seriously glad to be here tonight at the annual Alfalfa dinner. I know that many you are aware that this dinner began almost one hundred years ago as a way to celebrate the birthday of General Robert E. Lee. If he were here with us tonight, the general would be 202 years old. And very confused.”


    To Palin, Obama expressed surprise to see her with such members of the Washington elite she railed against during the campaign. Or, as he termed it in language Palin is familiar with, “palling around with this crew.”

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  34. del said on February 2, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    There’s a great Jackie Gleason album called Music for Lovers only if you like Melancholy Serenade. Maybe it’s on that album.

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  35. derwood said on February 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Way sad about the Acme and I had forgotten how much I liked Jack and Johnnies potato soup on Fridays.

    I also don’t buy the smoking ordinance argument. These bars are closing because they are not adapting to change. It seems to be easier to sit and complain about the smoking ordinance then to adjust how they run their establishment. What they should have been doing is to scrub the place top to bottom to remove the oder and market the place. There are too many places succeeding to believe that the ordinance is THE only reason they have failed.

    Indy has been nonsmoking in restaurants only for a few years. They are just starting to make the push to make it for all public places. I hope the state will pass a ban statewide and we can be like our neighbors to the east and west.

    We don’t eat out across the county line in Hamilton county as they are the only surrounding city(Fishers) that did not pass a smoking ban.

    I do agree for Allen County it should have been county wide. Linda Bloom is/was a heavy smoker so I am surprised that anything passed at all.


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  36. caliban said on February 2, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Isn’t lesbian separatism ultimately a zero-sum game? Maybe they can learn to train bees for cross species pollinization. Maybe they think David Crosby as in vitro dad is good enough. There’s Leda fertilized by the cob, but how can those terrified vague fingers push the feathered glory from her loosening thighs? And how can body, laid in that white rush, but feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

    If anybody manages to hijack a roadside electronic sign, please consider “Hayduke Lives!” as the initial proclamation.

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  37. Hoosier said on February 2, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    As of now there are a few situations where smokers can jump county/state lines so that they can light up but beware smokers, there’s a fresh wind blowing; 21 states have state-wide smoking bans and 11 more have partial bans which affect most/some workplaces and restaurants. Hopefully Indiana will become the 22nd state. Ya wanna smoke? Stink up your own house, your own car & gunk up your own lungs; just leave me out of it. I like to breathe.

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  38. Dave said on February 2, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    We’ve been here nearly 23 years now and for nearly 23 years, we’ve been going to go to the Acme and get a tenderloin. Guess we won’t be doing that.

    Reading about the “womyn”, I couldn’t help but think of the 19th century Shakers.

    As for no smoking, smokers seem to be in an ever-increasing minority. The article in the News-Sentinel showed a decidedly older gentleman sitting at the bar nursing a cold one. I can’t help but think an aging clientele, unchanged surroundings in a changing neighborhood, and no one has mentioned drinking and driving laws. Which also makes me wonder if drinking and driving arrests have increased between Fort Wayne and New Haven, with Rack n’ Helen’s newfound popularity.

    Meanwhile, on the west side of Cincinnati, a well-known bowling alley is closing, blaming no smoking and declining popularity of bowling leagues among younger folks. Don’t know if they had the same fifties look of Key Lanes here.

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  39. caliban said on February 2, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Cultural, mostly non-football observations on the Super Bowl and the great unwashed (internets Nation):

    1. Preponderance of denigrating comments on halftime. I believe this is blogghorea rooted in the Boss deciding he was an American first with a right to express an opinion about a crooked anti-Constitutional governmental mafia during the last eight years. Sour whine grapes and hyssop. These are a bunch of people that would have preferred Up With People backed by Ratt and that dude that looks like a lady. Bruce notoriously branded himself a non-jock with the ‘speedball’ reference, but he made fun of himself by changing the words. And the exuberant exhortation to put down the chicken fingers was a riot.

    2. Complaining about the officials in this game is a direct manifestation of a nation consumed with getting well fast by succumbing to a touch of Bill Bennett disease. All of these whinges go on online during the game as bettors see their bucks with wings. This abject, ignorant shit goes on every year, and every post ends with ‘…and I’m not a fan of either team’. Right, asshole, it’s not the exquisite nature of the athletic ability and what those of us that have experienced it realize is the purity (sometimes nobility, sometimes not) of the competition. No problem with Cards fans that want to believe they wuz robbed, but jerks that actually know something (generally less than they presume, since they didn’t play) about football to foul the ether with their bookie angst is ludicrous. They probably didn’t think Iron Mike’s chomping cartilage should have disqualified him because they’d backed him monetarily.

    3. Some purely football. /the now infamous roughing the passer call, well the guy took two additional steps and hit Roethlisberger in the back with his helmet. Au-to-ma-tic, and as Eddie Albert would have to admit if he didn’t have money on the game, hi-sto-ry. Same with the roughing the holder. Helmet to helmet. Both would have been $10-25grand fines in the regular season. (Hell, they dole out those fines for perfectly legal plays, just ask the heroic Hines Ward.)

    The TD by James Harrison? Only desperation made this a question. Larry Fitgerald made a terrific play and without a doubt was unfortunate enough he got his body underneath Harrison’s knee on the big guy’s way to the endzone. But if you’re on top of an opponent, you aren’t down. No brainer.

    The truly bizarre and questionable call was the holding in the endzone that prolonged the game. DL bullrushes OL and bulldozes him, then he just stumbles over the vanquished body. I’ve watched this many times, and (and this is technical) the centers hands never, ever, went outside the defensive lineman’s shoulder pads. Not holding, by any stretch of rules or imagination. Right call, came over.

    The personal foul on Ike Taylor by the Cardinals bench was an atrocious example of a player victimized by second-guy-sight on the part of the officials. Cards player threw a punch, Taylor pushed him in the sternum.

    And then, the Kurt Warner fumble. Contrary to blogger and general internet obtuse comment, the play was most certainly reviewed by NFL officials in the pressbox. Unless Kurt Warner wants to claim he can direct a bouncing football 30 or 40 yards downfield to Larry Fitzgerald with his biceps, this is just stupid. He had no idea where the ball was and threw his arm forward in desperation. And he was hoping to get a bad call and one more chance. Which brings me back to the cultural aspects.

    Announcing. I played HS football, and I tutored UGeorgia football players (along with swimmers, softball and baseball players, basketball players, and competitors in every other sport. They attended study halls, with tutors. It was the football and men’s basketball players, and the softball players that needed the most help. Most of the kids didn’t really need help, because they were motivated to succeed at everything. There are several of these kids, whose names you’d have to go Marathon Man on me to find out, that struggled, but kept up grades and succeeded.

    Some kids didn’t. I hope it wasn’t my fault. Mainly, I was trying to get them past over-officious TAs that had it in for athletes. I’m sure this sort of thing goes on at every Div. I and Championship level school in the US. Fine essays with vindictive red slashmark’s, and open ridicule, and yeah, I got pretty defensive of children reduced to tears by academic bullies with neither credentials nor an actual grasp of grammar.

    My point is that these young people set off on a challenge. Regarding a degree, most of them thinkit’s the Grail. And having been an undergraduate at the same school, albeit the actual best JSchool there is, and if Columbia in either location is so great, why do we decide the Peabodies.?

    What I mean is that I saw always saw brains, insight, perseverance, willingness to help, dedication to families and their dreams. I also saw tireless dedication from the Athletic Department to helping people persevere and succeed on their own terms. No papers were written, no tests were taken.

    So part of what I mean is that people that think jocks are stupid beneficiaries of some sort of noblesse oblige, get a life and consider your own exertion toward your C+ and Gentleman C degrees. Then again, nobody ever says these things about soccer and lacrosse players.

    Culture, class, good neurologist. Herschel walker got his degree in criminal justice from UGA recently. He stumbled, then mostly plowed through and mostly trampled obstacles, like it was Bill Bates on the two yard line. So. if you support football, there’s a lot to support your argument. If you don’t, you think a brainless game like soccer supports your opinion.

    Super Bowl’s not even a game anymore, it’s a party. But it floats on the surface of dultural problems and prejudices. And if the Romans had Colisum, well…

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  40. Jim said on February 2, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I doubt that the smoking ordinance was THE cause of the Acme’s demise — more like the last straw on the camel’s back. Neighborhood taverns, hardware stores and bowling alleys are parts of an America that is rapidly diminishing. As another poster wrote, people just don’t stop off at a bar on the way home from work anymore. It’s not worth the risk.

    I didn’t go to the Acme much, but it’s hard to deny its role as a Fort Wayne institution. When I read this, the first thing I thought was Bill Foster eating a huge tenderloin …

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  41. beb said on February 2, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I read where GM is planning to invest one billion dollars into a Brazilian car plant. I hope this isn’t money from the government bail-out. That money should be spent in America or returned to the government. If GM wants to expand in Brazil let them get their money from Brazil.

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  42. Dexter said on February 3, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Gov Jennifer, looking all bizness-like in her huge goggle-glasses and hair-inna-bun, said she wants the Detroit based Michigan State Fair to be cancelled. Bill McGraw weighs in at The Freep:

    and….King Kwame has left the building, on his way to Texas, no Michigan probation officer visits….stories in the Detroit dailies….

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  43. Dexter said on February 3, 2009 at 1:11 am

    little Miley gets her Prius…Daddy’s real-good to her…

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  44. caliban said on February 3, 2009 at 2:07 am

    I imagine Little Miley can buy and sell us all. If her dad wants to buy her a Prius, that’s their bidnes, I think. If it were a Porsche Spyder, , well maybe that Achey Breaky cash is running out, and her momma should be worried. But really. how’s a dad buying his kid a car worth pointing out? The kid could be stocking the 10-car garage at her crib with a fleet of Escaldes with Biggy effigies in the passenger seat if she felt like it. Pretty soon she’ll be a trivia question. Or not. She seems to be somewhat talented.

    I suppose there are child stars that are denigrated and don’t even care just as often as there’s kiddie-pop that thankfully fades away. You know, there’s the Jonas Bros. that think they’re John and Paul, and there’s Mmm-Bop, which to this day is as exuberant and brilliant a One Bad Apple and ABC.

    But really, Miley gets her license and her dad buys her a Prius? Horeurs. Kid seems sensible and fairly talented. And that seems to be an inordinately sensible car choice for rich and ridiculously privileged people. The implication that there’s something wrong with this is just strange. Should they have bought a ’73 Gremlin Levi edition?

    What exactly is the problem? I don’t get it. That’s not some spoiled rich kid kind of choice. I suppose some electric two-seater would have been even more Enquirer-worthy.Maybe it’s old fart annoyance at a kid that’s inheriting the economic quaqmire from eight years of greed and Halliburton run wild in service to Cheney’s stock options having an opinion about where the hell the money went.

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  45. caliban said on February 3, 2009 at 2:52 am

    Tim Goeglein has accepted the consequences of his ‘mistakes’, a “a pretty rare thing in Washington”. Aside from scumbag youthful indiscretionists like Dan Burton and a bunch of other grotesquely obese holier-than-thou Republicans, and chief obstructionist Vitter, who found Presidential pardons outrageous, if they didn’t involve selling weapons to Iran to buy drugs to pay for murdering Archbishp Romero at the communion rail and rape Maryknoll nuns. And they stand for family values, as long as they aren’t Vitter’s ho’s, whose kid’s should never get reasonable health care.

    And Tim Goeglein will put on the appropriate spin.

    So, Nancy. You did this hack a favor. Now he get’s paid to fart money for the Gaseous Odiferous Plutocrats.

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  46. Bryan said on February 3, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Heard on Fox News the other day:

    “Coming up, Sen. David Vitter talks about stimulus!”

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  47. Dexter said on February 3, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Don’t get your panties all in a bunch, caliban…ever hear of subtle humor? Remember the suggestive photos last year of Daddy Billy Ray and Miley that upset so many uptight people who were screaming INCEST? I was making fun of another gift from Daddy, is all…but if you didn’t know the back-story, I understand how you missed the point…if you don’t understand something, don’t get all in an uproar about nothing.

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  48. LA Mary said on February 3, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Oooh. I just got an email from an old Philadelphia friend, and Terry Gross was on the distribution list. The Fresh Air and I both got Gerald Kolpan’s email.
    So far this is the best thing that’s happened this week.

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  49. kim said on February 3, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Jack and Johnnies is still open. I wish I had the money to buy the Acme. First thing I would do is to cook better food. Their business really picked up when they opened Big Daddy’s pizza in the back and hired someone who really knew their way around a barbeque. You can’t just open bags of processed food from GFS and deepfry everything these days.

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  50. Cathy said on February 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    If there are those who doubt the veracity of the hacked electronic highway signs, I can vouch for their existence. I live in Carmel IN and while driving to work, I called my husband and asked him if it was April Fools Day, rather than Groundhog Day. “Why?”, he asked. Because I saw a highway sign that said “Raptors Ahead, Caution”. Really.

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