Harry Baals.

A number of people have sent me links to the various Harry Baals stories of recent weeks, perhaps in the belief that I had not heard of it. Readers, I have. I lived 20 years in Fort Wayne, and of course I knew we’d had a mayor in the past named Harry Baals, although I did not know he was the longest-serving in the city’s history, so there’s one thing I learned this week. Fort Wayne is not New York City, and Baals was no Fiorello LaGuardia, but it seems he needs some recognition.

Lately a website run by the city asked for suggestions on what to name its new city/county office building, currently called Renaissance Square, although elderly residents persist in calling it “the ol’ Wolf & Dessauer,” after the department store that was an institution for so long. Nothing institutional changes quickly or easily in Indiana, but sometimes it can change with a certain amount of style, or try to. And the option to change the name of Renaissance Square to the Harry Baals Government Center has been the runaway favorite since the question was posed a few weeks ago, and in the last days, since the story went national? As of last reload, it now has 21,410 votes. Its closest competitor, another wiseacre choice (“the Thunder Dome”) has 1,774, and the one after that, which doesn’t seem to have any hidden testicle or action-movie jokes in it, the Chief Little Turtle Center, stood at 866.

What were we just saying about our inner 15-year-old? You don’t have to tell me there are plenty of snickering jokesters in the Fort. Baals has had some official honor for a while now; there’s a street named after him, although it begins and ends in a city park, so no one has to put it on their nice letterhead or anything. The street signs are stolen so often that in recent years the replacements have read “H.W. Baals Drive.” And as I recall, one of the city’s brewpubs has had a Harry Baals Irish Stout on the menu, and that sound you hear is the rumbling of Harry turning in his grave whenever its name is invoked, because of course Baals is a German name, and he would probably prefer a lager.

The story finally broke out this week because the city announced it didn’t care how many votes the proposed new name got, the building was not going to be named for Harry. Here’s a glimpse of what drove me insane about life there: The deputy mayor, when pressed for a reason by a TV reporter, said that Baals was mayor of the city, and the building would be for both city and county offices, and it wouldn’t be properly respectful of our rich heritage in the county, blah to the blah, etc. I like to think that in Detroit, someone would go on the record saying, “No, we’re not going to name our building after testicles. Grow up.”

But then, of course, the reporters had a sturdy news peg, and a great headline — City scratches Harry Baals, etc. — and it went straight to the late-night talk-show monologues, and that brings us to today. I guess I should take a position, and it’s this: Name the building for Harry. Open a shop in the lobby selling every kind of branded tchotchke anyone can think of — T-shirts, beer-can cozies, keychains, whatever. Trademark everything. Play it cool here, if you like; a simple HARRY BAALS GOVERNMENT CENTER is fine, no need to roll in the gutter, as much as you might be tempted to go with I WENT TO THE HARRY BAALS GOVERNMENT CENTER AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY TEABAG.

I remind you the Lansing Lugnuts turned around with a renaming, and the revenues brought in by their branded merchandise were nothing to sneeze at. In fact, I think they’re a business-school case study now. The New Normal in government is, if there’s a revenue stream, stick a straw in it. They’d be fools not to.

And it’s not like there isn’t a precedent right down the road in Muncie. Ball State University was named for its benefactors in the home-canning company (now expanded into “one of the world’s leading suppliers of rigid metal packaging products and services, primarily to the beverage and food industries”). While there’s a fair amount of snickering over Testicle Tech and certain cheers at the football games, everyone’s learned to live with it.

So now that we’ve dispensed with that [brushes off hands], here’s the whiteboard in the classroom where I held office hours yesterday:

I can make out “open = freedom = puppies = milk = America!” and that note at the lower left is intriguing, “gubmint motors” balancing with “Eminem imported from Detroit.” I’m sorry I missed this lecture. Sounds like it was a good one.

So, bloggage? Sounds like CPAC was a hoot. Someone called Dick Cheney a war criminal? I assume that unwise soul was hustled out for some waterboarding. Roy tried to blog it for a while (scroll down) but finally decided life was too short. Can’t blame him. Donald Trump showed up? Are you kidding me?

Not much else, but here’s something I found via Hank, the sort of personality profile every newspaper with ambition used to run all the time, now confined to a few of the bigs and writer’s paradises like St. Petersburg: Meet the sheriff who has appointed himself the country’s smut police.

And with that, I think I’ll head on out. Have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 10:00 am in Current events |
 

115 responses to “Harry Baals.”

  1. Mindy said on February 11, 2011 at 10:17 am

    The teams that held their spring training camps in Florida were named after the the towns while they were there – Lakeland Tigers, Fort Myers Twins, Sarasota Orioles, etc. Except for the Astros who were named for the county, Ocala. The Kissimmee Astros would have been a bit hit and sold lots of t-shirts and beer cozies. I know I would have bought one. Shame.

  2. coozledad said on February 11, 2011 at 10:24 am

    The Republicans have demonstrated their fundamental unseriousness by failing to host a cage match between Palin and Santorum. $500.00 says it would end with her breaking his eyewear in a Chinese sit.

    Is this too prurient?

  3. Lex said on February 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

    HARRY BAALS GOVERNMENT CENTER BOWLING BAGS.

    That is all.

  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 11, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Puppies!

  5. del said on February 11, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Harry Baals merkins . . . fan giveaway at Kissimee Astros home games.

    — the 15 year old dude abides.

  6. Julie Robinson said on February 11, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Mubarak has stepped down.

  7. moe99 said on February 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

    In Seattle, they recently constructed a small trolley to go between the south end of Lake Union and the downtown. South Lake Union Trolley right? The tshirts (which are gone) are a hoot. It’s been renamed but I can’t remember the new one.

  8. Julie Robinson said on February 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Oh, and when I was 15 I went to a conference at Ball State and proudly came home with a T-shirt that said Ball U. Thought I was so clever.

  9. Sue said on February 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Aaaaaand, we’re off! I’ll bet we hit a hundred comments by mid-afternoon, all aimed squarely at the appropriate internal demographic.
    I’ll just sit back and enjoy myself and leave it to you pros.
    I really, really want a Kissimee Astros T shirt. I will wear it on the same days my husband wears his Savannah Sand Gnats “Bite Me” shirt.

  10. Jolene said on February 11, 2011 at 11:20 am

    It’s fascinating–both exciting and scary–to think about what is going to happen in Egypt now. The problem, of course, was not simply that Mubarak was a bad guy, but that he presided over a corrupt system based on intimidation and oppression. Consider what it must be like to be among those who have benefited from this system, whether a wealthy business executive, a mid-level state functionary, or a member of the state police. A lot of people are going to have to find a new way to live.

  11. Sue said on February 11, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Here’s another cat video, completely unlike yesterday’s but way appropriate for a Friday.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-B63Wy7i5U&feature=player_embedded

  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 11, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I’m told these are actually quite hard to find in South Carolina, but I see them all over the Midwest and they’re not difficult to locate online — I’ve always guessed the college does quite well by their royalties:

    http://www.footballfanatics.com/COLLEGE_South_Carolina_Gamecocks_Hats/South_Carolina_Gamecocks_White_USC_Cocks_Bar_Hat

    Here’s a way they can fund employment programs for all those out-of-work state security goons:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/04/hosni-mubarak-family-fortune

  13. ROgirl said on February 11, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Mindy, it’s Osceola County, not Ocala. Ocala is a city about 150 miles from Orlando/Kissimee. The only reason I know is that I used to travel there for work and had to make the drive to and from Orlando.

    I once lived in an apartment building where a guy who started vandalizing my car and threatening me lived. Long story, he was evicted. His last name was Kumm.

  14. alex said on February 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

    The rather goofy looking logo for our local minor league baseball team has inspired an informal name among the locals: The potheads.

    I’d say people around here have a pretty good sense of humor. Too bad our public officials don’t have the ‘nads to name a building after Baals.

  15. Jeff Borden said on February 11, 2011 at 11:33 am

    My God, did anyone get a look at The Donald’s hairdo? It gets larger and weirder with every new photo and currently resembles the Frank Gehry band shell in Millennium Park in Chicago.

    As much as I detest conservative politicians and their viewpoints, a group that boos Dick Cheney cannot be all bad. The creepy bastard should be in a federal penitentiary along with Rumsfeld and the rest of crew that bamboozled us into Iraq.

    BTW, I wonder how those who spoke of the teabaggers as some new force in right-wing politics feel now that the GOP is back in control of the House? They’ve spent a lot more time talking about abortion and plotting ways to destroy Planned Parenthood than they have about how to create more jobs and get the economy stronger.

    And, finally, is it really true that Bristol Palin is going to write a memoir? Please, just shoot me now.

  16. Bruce Fields said on February 11, 2011 at 11:33 am

    The protesters still have no representation in the government; Suleiman is no friend of democracy, and the army leadership doesn’t appear to be either. Whatever promises they’re now making under extreme pressure, another 8 months in power gives them plenty of time to rig things in their favor, or at least arrange to protect their friends.

  17. Randy said on February 11, 2011 at 11:39 am

    My favorite sports team name: a minor league hockey team in Georgia called the Macon Whoopee. Sadly, the team is defunct.

  18. Jolene said on February 11, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Alex, why the TinCaps? What does that refer to?

  19. Peter said on February 11, 2011 at 11:45 am

    And at the Harry Baals Government Center, they could contract with Season’s Eatings to provide their famous Schweddy Balls for the holiday parties!

  20. LAMary said on February 11, 2011 at 11:55 am

    ‘…Alex, why the TinCaps? What does that refer to?”

    Looks like Johnny Appleseed to me.

  21. alex said on February 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    You’re right, LAMary. Johnny Appleseed died here. Legend has it that he wore his cooking pan on his head. The butt-chin apple face on the logo is rather an odd design, though.

    Johnny was a Swedenborgian. Harry Baals drive passes through Johnny Appleseed Park, where Johnny’s “grave” is marked. Historians say he’s actually buried in an unmarked grave elsewhere nearby.

    I recall a newspaper article quite a few years ago regarding the most-stolen street signs in Fort Wayne. I think it was in the 1980s when “Electric Avenue” was a big hit and the city stopped bothering to replace the Electric Ave. sign. I think that was also when they changed the Harry Baals Drive sign to H.W. Baals Drive.

  22. Jolene said on February 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Well, shucks, learn something new everyday. I didn’t know Johnny Appleseed was associated w/ Indiana.

  23. alex said on February 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Yep, Jolene. In fact, I seem to recall that his role here was the same as that of other early pioneer humanitarians, the Quakers, who were trying to teach agriculture to the native Americans believing that this would save them from being overrun by the coming wave of settlers.

  24. Deborah said on February 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    This thread about team and place names is laugh out loud hilarious. Keep it up, I need some cheering up. Tried to go back to work today, didn’t even make it to lunch time. Sat there the whole time in my down jacket shivering, my sinuses feel packed with epoxy (that reference is a direct steal from Roy).

    What’s going on in Ohio? Lots of explosions in the news there lately. I mean explosions literally not figuratively, gas lines and tanker cars etc. Don’t some of you all reside in Ohio still?

  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Johnathan Chapman, aka Appleseed, owned house lots by the Kokosing in Mount Vernon, OH, just north of here and near Dorothy — http://www.remarkableohio.org/HistoricalMarker.aspx?historicalMarkerId=368
    Born and raised in Massachusetts, showed up in the area between Newark & Mansfield OH 1805-1830s, headed west when it got too crowded for his freelance nurseryman business; as Alex notes, he was also a Swedenborgian evangelist, even going back to Philadelphia on occasion for church conferences and to pick up print materials to distribute.

    If you’ve never visited the “probable” gravesite, it’s worth the trip. Even if Ohio has a tendency to detonate from time to time. Why should Detroit get all the spontaneous combustion?

  26. moe99 said on February 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    The stump of one of the apple trees Johnny Appleseed planted was part of a small park in Defiance, OH. I didn’t know he was a Swedenborgian. Makes a weird sort of sense. Wonderful book that is tangentially about Swedenborgianism: The Chess Garden by Brooks Hansen.

    http://www.amazon.com/Chess-Garden-Brooks-Hansen/dp/1573225630/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1297448264&sr=1-1

    also, has anyone seen Mr. Deity and the scripts? Loved it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukG_rFWi170

  27. Christy S. said on February 11, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Jeff (Borden): It wasn’t a group who went after Cheney and Rumsfeld, just a couple of hecklers. The sneaky hed on CNN.com earlier did lead one to think it was the whole crowd, but that was implausible since CPAC is their choir.

    That Judd piece lulled me out of my journalistic slumber. Bookmarking the St Pete paper even thought I live in SoCal. How do they get to do great work like that when the rest of the papers are full of 10-inch single-sourced drivel?

  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    A story we love around here (but that they don’t teach in local schools): in the 1830s, just as he was about to light out for the Hoosier State, John Chapman was preaching up north of town to a group. He was trying to explain to them the Swedenborgian doctrine of “states” as they related to Heaven and Hell and our actions in the world as it is. The audience was, as is so often the case, more interested in the gory details of perdition than they were about the blessed state that Emmanuel Swedenborg had seen in his visions, from which he derived his system (and which greatly influenced William Blake, among others).

    Old Appleseed was getting frustrated with the hearers and their questions and their inability to catch the larger points he was trying to make; finally, pointing down the Licking River, he proclaimed “Hell is like Newark, only bigger!”

    This seemed to satisfy them. As the dark Satanic mills of Newark proliferated in Ohio, he decided to head into Indiana . . . where the site of his last home and his gravesite are surrounded by the parking lots of the War Memorial Coliseum (for the irony aficionados out there). You know where to turn by the F-84 Thunderstreak, then look for the log cabin replica.

  29. Dave said on February 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Yes, read the article about the sheriff in Sunday’s paper, since we’ve had the great fortune to spend most of the winter in the area. I was struck, as were many commenters, about his appearances with local radio shock-jock, Bubba, the Love Sponge. Of course, I cannot say I’ve ever listened to Bubba, I really don’t enjoy those sort of radio shows very much. I found Bob and Tom very trying, for that matter, I don’t know if Bubba is similar. But then, in my increasing fogeyism, I’m finding many TV shows trying, but I digress.

    Christy, St. Pete paper is a good newspaper but you can find some typos in it, too. I’m would guess their budget has been cut like all the others. It seems to have more in it than the Tampa Tribune across the bay but I’ve read the St. Pete paper more since I’ve been here, so that may not be a fair appraisal.

  30. Casey said on February 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Re Egypt:

    I guess the revolution was televised http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Revolution_Will_Not_Be_Televised

  31. Julie Robinson said on February 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    John Chapman owned and planted apple trees on some land that was later owned (and lost during the Depression) by part of the Robinson family. About 15 years ago the family that owned the land showed us the abstract, and with some tromping around, located the remnants of the orchard.

    Whether or not he is really in the local grave, the town puts on a great festival celebrating his life every fall. Most of the vendors are local groups who must dress in period clothing, and no electricity is allowed. The caramel corn is to die for.

  32. Suzanne said on February 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    No Harry Baals building, strange sports teams names (Wabash College’s Little Giants anyone?), and the contemplation of President “the Donald” are really too much for me on a Friday afternoon. But, yes, the Johnny Appleseed Festival in Fort Wayne is grand, although getting so crowded it’s almost not fun anymore, and the Tin Caps, despite all the community-wide angst over renaming the team and building a new stadium, have been a grand success. (In spite of the protestations of my Fox-Geezer Syndrome stricken relative who says, “Why in the hell would you want to go downtown! There’s nothing to do there!” which, I have to keep reminding him, was exactly why the stadium was built there).

  33. Dorothy said on February 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    One of my talented acting buddies here in Mount Vernon portrays Johnny Appleseed on occasion; he has a whole cupboard of personalities he does and just last night he did John Wilkes Booth since the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is impending. I’ve seen him do Paul Lynde (a native of Mount Vernon) and Frank Sinatra, too. He’s got a nice singing voice. I mean my friend – oh, Frank was not so bad either.

  34. Connie said on February 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Didn’t the Tin Caps used to be the Mad Ants? I was sorry they changed it, but I guess you had to be sort of local history cognizant to get it.

    And Dorothy, I’ve seen several Johnny Appleseeds. I like the Mark Twains better. I went several times to an Indiana Humanities Council thing where they showcased performer programs available for educational programs via grants.

    And I absolutely hate all those James Whitcomb Rileys. After I sat through my sixth or seventh Riley after dinner speech, not all the same James, and I swore I’d NEVER NEVER NEVER put myself through that again. And whose the cartoonist from Nashville IN? No, I will stop right there.

  35. coozledad said on February 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    When Republicans talk about democracy in the Middle East, what they really mean is a set of client states that are beholden directly to Unka Dick:
    http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/11/holt-against-democracy/

  36. Jen said on February 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Connie,

    The TinCaps used to be the Wizards. The Mad Ants are Fort Wayne’s basketball team.

    The TinCaps games are a lot of fun, and I gotta say, they built a great stadium for them in downtown Fort Wayne. My brother-in-law and nephew go to every game they can and just absolutely love it.

    I’ve been loving the Harry Baals story, because I tend to have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy. It’s been fun to have Fort Wayne in the spotlight – it’s just too bad that they powers-that-be are not going to have a sense of humor about it. Ball State is a perfect example of just rolling with it, which is what they should do.

  37. Hattie said on February 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I used to work with a salesman named Harry Annis.

  38. Catherine said on February 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    And he sold…?

  39. Deborah said on February 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    This is probably one of those urban myths but a cousin’s wife told me this story ages ago, from her telling it happened to someone she knew: a teacher in a classroom called on a particular student to answer a question, a bunch of other students called out the answer, the teacher’s response was “how many Harry Butz do we have in this class?”

    Why do people do that to their poor kids, giving them names like that? It must be brutal.

  40. Deborah said on February 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks to some of you folks here, I should say before I forget (my decongestant addled mind) I finally broke down and bought two tickets to Les Miz for me and Little Bird to attend Wednesday night (not much else was available). She has wanted to see this for eons and I’ve balked repeatedly. This is a Valentines gift to her for all of the delicious meals she has prepared for us. It’s the least I can do. I tried to offer her a better seat if she went to a matinee by herself (how cruel). She said she’d rather go with someone and that meant me. So I’ll probably end up loving it, but in the meantime I’m not exactly ecstatic. I just hope my cough is over by then.

  41. Dorothy said on February 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I went to grade school with a girl named Anne Hickey; in 6th grade a new kid joined our school and his name was Matthew Dickey. In no time flat, the boys were saying “If Anne Hickey married Matthew Dickey, she’s be Anne Hickey-Dickey!”

  42. nancy said on February 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I went to college with a Sandra Seig and Andrea Heil. If they were lesbians and got married and hyphenated their names…

    Seriously, however, it’s hard to look at the Baals family and not feel sympathy. Who knew that little Harold’s memory would live into this world of crudity? In their time you’d get horsewhipped if you made a joke about a name like that in public, much less on national television.

  43. moe99 said on February 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Best name I can come up with from Defiance was the Sticke and Frye funeral home.

  44. Julie Robinson said on February 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Deborah, I’d love to go see Les Miz! It’s considered rather low-brow amongst the theatre elite, but I love big spectacles. I just bought tickets to see our son in Rent. He just has an ensemble part, but I’m still very excited. It hasn’t been done around here much, if any, and I’ve never seen the stage version.

  45. Suzanne said on February 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    We also had a local clergyman a few years ago with the last name of Fuchs (rhymes with books). But, one day his picture was in the local, local small-town newspaper with a caption mis-identifying him as Pastor Fuc*s (you can guess). He moved to a different locale a few months later…

  46. Connie said on February 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Deborah, my daughter saw Les Miz three times in her semester in London and loved it.

    And I have bought a few of those Ball U shirts over the years. Usually for my brothers, who thought they were so cool.

    And Jen, thanks for the correction on the Mad Ants and it is such a great Fort Wayne name.

  47. Kirk said on February 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    My brother-in-law’s grandma was named Iva Rose Peters.

  48. Kirk said on February 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    And, no kidding, there used to be two chiropractors in my hometown of about 13,000: Dr. Kruesch (pronouned crush) and Dr. McCracken.

  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Connie, are you thinking of John T. McCutcheon?

  50. paddyo' said on February 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Deborah @39 and Nancy @ 42:
    I wonder if the subject of that story from the cousin’s wife was the Harry Butz I used to know (and mentioned in yesterday’s comment thread on Harry Baals).

    What made it worse for the guy I knew was that, besides being Harry-not-Harold-or-Henry, he was Harry Butz JUNIOR. I mean, what kind of Harry Butz SENIOR inflicts that on his kid? Must be some “Boy Named Sue” thing, I guess.

  51. Connie said on February 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    In college I worked with a student named Karla Hunsucker. Last I saw her she was excited to be marrying a Smith.

  52. Kirk said on February 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Jeez, probably too much coffee and eighth-grader, but I also remember a photo credit on an AP picture out of Germany from a couple of years ago: Dieter Endlicher

  53. Connie said on February 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Jeff(tmmo) answer is nope. I found it: For twenty-five years, from 1905-1930, “Abe Martin” was the mouthpiece for Kin Hubbard’s daily quips in The Indianapolis News, which, accompanied by sketches of Abe and his friends in action, were syndicated across the nation.

    I think the imitator I saw was doing the character, not the cartoonist. The Brown County State Park has the Abe Martin lodge. Know any more buildings named after a cartoon character?

  54. Deborah said on February 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I called a customer service agent once for one of my credit cards, they asked the predetermined security question to make sure I was legit, “What is your mother’s maiden name?”. My mother’s maiden name is spelled differently but sounds like a euphemism for “rear end”. I told the woman who asked the question not to laugh first and then proceeded to tell her the name. I thought she was going to choke to death she was trying so hard not to. She then told me about the funniest one she’d ever heard was a person who’s mother’s maiden name sounded like “fat chick” but was spelled very differently. We both had a good chuckle.

  55. Little Bird said on February 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I went to high school with a Micheal Hunt. And yes, he went by Mike. His parents were unbelievably cruel. Also, his mom was my gym teacher, we had an alternative name for her. As you can imagine.

  56. MichaelG said on February 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    My daughter went to Austin Peay (pronounced “P”) State U in TN. I still have a bumper sticker around here someplace that says “Let’s go Peay”.

    The Oregon State men’s athletic teams are called the “Beavers”. The women’s teams are redundantly called the “Lady . . .

    Then there are always the UC Santa Cruz “Banana Slugs”.

  57. LAMary said on February 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I read resumes and applications all day so I see some wonderful names. So far the winner, and I’m going to phonetically spell his name so he doesn’t google himself and see me dissing him, was pee-aitch-ay-tee, aitch-oh.

  58. Connie said on February 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Harry Baals made Boing-Boing. Comments are fun. http://www.boingboing.net/2011/02/11/fort-wyane-is-about.html

  59. ROgirl said on February 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Then there’s the keyboard player named Dick Hyman. Someone told me he had an album called “The Magic Organ of Dick Hyman.”

  60. coozledad said on February 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Roy’s got the trailer for Atlas Shrugged at his site. It looks like “Reid Fleming: World’s Toughest Milkman” for people who don’t get out much.

  61. Jolene said on February 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Back in the Dark Ages, I worked for a while in a medical records department, where my job involved pulling charts for appointments in the hospital’s outpatient clinics. Like Mary, that job gave me the chance to see lots of entertaining names. Unfortunately, I don’t remember most of them, but one that’s stuck with me is Blossom Root. Nothing like having parents w/ a sense of humor.

  62. Deborah said on February 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    “pee-aitch-ay-tee, aitch-oh”. Thanks for the laugh, I really needed that. Love the way you spelled it phonetically. That made it go over the top.

  63. Deborah said on February 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    PaddyO’ How many Harry Butz can there be (hee hee)? It must be the same one. I don’t know where my cousin’s wife came from, when she told me that story she lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. But she probably met my cousin at the University and could have been from anywhere. They’re divorced now, or I’d ask her.

  64. brian stouder said on February 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    This was a funny thread, altogether, but for me, ol’ Kirk’s ‘caffinated eighth grader’ contributions still have me laughing! Small town chiropractors named “Dr. Kruesch (pronounced crush) and Dr. McCracken”?? Too good!!

    I bet that town also has a law firm called Dewey Cheatham & Howe (gotta love those Car Talk guys on NPR, yes?). Remember all those old book title jokes?; I love those

    check out http://www.badpets.net/Humor/Jokes/BookTitles.html

    A sample from there:

    Nuts about You! by Cy Cosis; XYZ by C. My Willie; Back Row Of The Orchestra by Clara Nett; Where’s the Water? by Dwayne Dwight Out; Under the Bleachers by Seymour Butts etc etc etc

    All I have to add about our soon-to-be renamed city hall is that whoever set up the online voting is a blooming idiot. Anyone who spends any time on the internet would know that some editing/vetting loop would be necessary. And – for the record, if you’re a resident (or a former mayor) of Fort Wayne, you’re also (and inevitably) an Allen County resident…so that excluding a city figure for the honor of naming the City- County building is not just silly, but arguably unfair. After all, how could it be MORE fair to use the name of a person who was a county resident, but NOT a city resident???

    My more snooty county-resident friends (you can’t throw a dead cat without hitting one, it seems)don’t seem to understand that all residents of Fort Wayne are also “county” residents….but we digress

  65. alex said on February 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Funny nobody brought up the name Kuntz, which we have plenty of in this town, though they pronounce it with a long u the way the Baalses are now doing now with the long a.

    I posted a fairly innocuous comment at the voting site for Harry Baals that’s still awaiting moderation. This was a day ago, fer Chrissake and a bazillion posts have gone up since. I also made the stupid mistake of letting them notify me of comments and now my inbox overfloweth. It’s so bad I may have to change my e-mail address. So much for feedbackfortwayne.org. They can kiss my harry baals.

    Here’s what I said there:

    The only reason anyone nominated Harry Baals in the first place wasn’t to honor the man but to create a laugh riot. One can argue with a barely straight face that he deserves the honor as much as anyone else, being the longest-serving mayor, but there are plenty of other significant local figures in history who have never gotten their due and they aren’t even included in the list of nominees. We can claim Dr. Mary Frame Myers Thomas, the first female physician west of the Alleghenies. Or Alexander Rankin, noted slavery abolitionist. Or Chief Richardville, wealthiest man in Indiana until his death in 1840. Why weren’t any of these names put into consideration?

    On the other hand, I say let’s go with it. It’s a novelty that puts us on the map and a truly worthy name isn’t even in the running anyhow.

  66. Kirk said on February 11, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I like the fake names of writers and such that Garrison Keillor cites at the end of his show, mainly Xavier Onassis.

    And I work with a guy named Kuntz, who pronounces it the same way as the ones in Fort Wayne.

  67. basset said on February 11, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a better team name than the now defunct Dowagiac team in the Michigan Fantastic Plasticball League; the MIFPL plays a warped, co-ed variation on wiffleball, with teams currently including the Marshall Stacks and the Climax Backscratchers, but back in the ’09 season the Dowagiac Offs were on the schedule:

    http://blog.mifpl.com/

  68. Kirk said on February 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Bad Axe Moe Foes is pretty good, too.

  69. Dorothy said on February 11, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    My niece saw an eye doctor in Georgia once whose name was Dr. Dong.

  70. alex said on February 11, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    A site sure to please everybody’s inner fifteen-year-old.

    And here’s a suggestion for that Fort Wayne building even better than Harry Baals. We can pay homage to the native American population and “slide one by” (as they used to say when I worked in advertising and publishing):

    Some sources say that the Miami called themselves the Twightwee (also spelled Twatwa), an onomatopoeic reference to their sacred bird, the Sandhill crane.Wiki on the Miami nation

  71. Kirk said on February 11, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Double bravo, Alex.

    And there’s Blue Ball, Ohio, down around Middletown.

    And when I lived in Hillsboro, Ohio, occasionally covering cops, they were always arresting a town drunk named Harry Gash.

  72. Crazycatlady said on February 11, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    My daughter Sarah says they should open the official ‘Harry Baal’s Sperm Bank & Fertility Clinic in Fort Wayne.

  73. Crazycatlady said on February 11, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Does the city soccer team Carry their game equipment in ‘Harry Baal Sacks’??

  74. Dexter said on February 12, 2011 at 1:45 am

    nance might want to visit Rabbittown, Alabama.

    Alabama also has Nymph and Needmore, then you come into Climax, Alabama.

    I’d like to visit Jackpot and Blackjack, Nevada, but I may as well just go to Big Hole, Wyoming, and toss my dollars away there.

  75. Jakash said on February 12, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Well, this seems way off topic now, but I’m referring back to the earlier comments about Johnny Appleseed. In the book The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, by Michael Pollan, he relates some pretty interesting stuff about the guy. What I found most interesting (and which may appeal to this crowd) was that JA wasn’t planting trees so that people could institute an “apple a day” health regimen. In an interview, Pollan says “And so the fact that Johnny Appleseed was planting apples from seed, which he insisted on (“he thought grafting was wicked”) meant they were not edible apples, and it meant they were for hard cider because you can use any kind of apple for making cider. Really, what Johnny Appleseed was doing and the reason he was welcome in every cabin in Ohio and Indiana was he was bringing the gift of alcohol to the frontier. He was our American Dionysus.”
    http://michaelpollan.com/interviews/botany-of-desire/

  76. alex said on February 12, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Amazing the shit they don’t dare tell us in kindergarten. Or ever.

    Well, maybe our local Johnny Appleseed festival needs to get more historically accurate. Let’s chuck the caramel corn, scotch the bonnets and party down!

  77. Joe Kobiela said on February 12, 2011 at 6:00 am

    I played rugby against the Texes Intenational Touring Side. The “TITS”
    We also fielded a side called The Decatur Ossian Premature Ejaculation Side. The “dopes”
    Pilot Joe

  78. Scout said on February 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    There’s an economic commentator on NPR named Hugh Johnson. My inner 7th grader always gets a giggle out of that.

  79. Kirk said on February 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    This just in, from a fellow copy editor:

    Bernard A. Krooks, a lawyer with Littman Krooks in New York

    And I remember when a guy told our religion writer that he was a minister in the Federated Universal Church of Knowledge.

  80. moe99 said on February 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    One of the attorneys in my office, who is in a different division than me, is named Rusty Fallis.

    Then, I think it can be safely claimed that Kentucky has more weird town names than any other state:

    http://moesmisadventures.blogspot.com/2008/07/kentucky-geography.html

  81. brian stouder said on February 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Moe, that was pretty good. When I followed Alex’s link, I got massively sidetracked by the subesequent link to a “Celebrity Camel Toe” site.

    It filled yet another gap in my celebrity knowledge (so to speak)

  82. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 12, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I do think Pollan went, in his take on Johnny Appleseed, for the “seventh grade” chuckle. Hard cider back then was mainly just called “cider” since the fermentation was part of how you stabilized the contents and kept it from spoiling; sweet cider was the fresh stuff that the kids liked as you made it, but it wasn’t the point. The point was, as with grain and the Whiskey Rebellion, to fix the nutritional value and create a portable store where a sack of grain was vulnerable to rodents, insects, and mold. For the poorer farmers of western PA, far from markets, whiskey was the only way to get your crop to where you might sell it, so taxing whiskey was a strongly regressive burden.

    Likewise cider, and apples. In the early 1800s, your apples were of limited use; dried apples maybe (very labor intensive and depended on a variety of uncontrollable factors), and “jarred” apples — what we’d call “canned” were rare and suspect. No Mason jars yet, so it was glazed pottery and wax, and even then . . . hmmm.

    Cider, though, put the sugars and nutrition of apples into a fairly easily preservable, storable, transportable form if you had enough of the right jugs or kegs, and barrels were pearls of great price then, but at least could be locally made.

    For John Chapman, his foray into nurseryman work was rooted in his evangelistic endeavors — he could wander the hills, plant seedlings up in hilltop clearings where farmers were not quick to clear and plow. Farms were mostly in the river bottoms or up on the second terraces. The hilly up-country may have been claimed and even bought and sold, but was rarely occupied, and the frontier ethos meant that no one minded if a few stray forest openings were planted with seed.

    Old Appleseed didn’t sell apples, he sold seedlings, maybe a couple years old, gently pulled from the ground and wrapped with damp burlap at the root end. His famous wide satchel didn’t carry Johnathans, but those cheap seedlings, which he could replenish at any number of spots he knew and revisited on his ramblings — and over the other shoulder, a satchel with Swedenborgian tracts and books torn at the binding into sections.

    How he felt about inebriation isn’t known, but he was abstemious in so much, it’s very unlikely that he looked with favor on drunkenness. But it was for the making of applejack that he found a market for a product he could self-generate, distribute, and sell — it just wasn’t for apples, themselves.

    Having typed all this, I know I’ve mentioned pieces of this story over the years on this site; my apologies if I’ve repeated too much, wholesale — but I find the man and his story quite fascinating, no less because I get to ramble many of the same paths and drive my car up and down Rt. 13, 37, and 661 and other state roads that began as Indian paths, spread as pioneer tracks, and were walked by Johnny Appleseed.

    We have one local landmark that dates back to his days, a spot down the road from me where it’s said he slept in what’s now the basement tavern, originally the stable of the http://www.buxtoninn.com/ — the owner likes to sell ghost stories to gin up business, but Johnny’s my favorite story haunting the place.

  83. Dexter said on February 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    JmmO: Very good. My forebears fought George Washington’s troops during the Whiskey Rebellion. Washington himself led 13,000 troops to the battles. It was a hell of a big deal, and the last time Washington ever led troops into battle.
    It was surely the last time a President actually took up arms in a rebellion.
    Twenty-five years ago we made a pilgrimage to Bedford, Pennsylvania to check out the sites, the plaques on the walls and all that stuff.
    The Whiskey Rebellion lasted about three and a half years. When we were there, the tiny house that had quartered George Washington was still there for tourists.

  84. LAMary said on February 12, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    At the end of Car Talk on NPR they list staff like wardrobe consultant, Natalie Attired. My favorite is the working mothers support group leader, Erasmus B. Dragon. They also have the limo driver Pikup Andropov.

  85. Dexter said on February 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Kirk: Did you think OSU was going to win when they jumped out by fifteen points at the onset of the second half today?
    (Ohio State, 24-0 before today, had their collective ass handed to them by Wisconsin in mens NCAA basketball today.) 24-1 now.

  86. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Dexter, my ancestors “fought” alongside of yours in the Whiskey Rebellion; they were indicted for treason but never charged, and ran up into the central PA ridges and didn’t come out again until 1854, just to be on the safe side. They were closer to Pittsburgh and the Mingo Creek Democratic Society, a Jeffersonian group that almost managed to derail Albert Gallatin’s later political career by luring him into their taxpayers’ revolt.

    Gallatin did make it in as Jefferson’s Secretary of the Treasury (he’s the statue on the other side of the Treasury Building, near the White House, the one who isn’t Hamilton), and never lost his aversion to deficits. The day he finished figuring out how to close the US federal deficit, he went to the White House, told Jefferson, who responded “That’s wonderful, because I just bought Louisiana for fifteen million; find it, would you Albert?”

    So much for no deficit!

  87. Jakash said on February 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Well, Jeff tmmo, whether or not Pollan was just going for the “seventh grade chuckle”, I CERTAINLY was. Another late Friday night comment from me, another Saturday smackdown from you! Kudos! Though I must say, Mr. Chapman’s attitude toward drunkenness wouldn’t necessarily have had a determining effect on how the people in the cabins of Ohio and Indiana made use of the cider…

  88. Kirk said on February 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Dexter,
    As I’m at work in a department in which casual TV viewing is verboten, I didn’t see much until the last three minutes, but I was able to follow along off and on, and definitely thought OSU was sitting pretty. But there was no way they were going to win them all. It’s just too tall an order these days, especially in a league like the Big Ten, and it’s one fewer thing they have to worry about now.

  89. Jakash said on February 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Speaking of the Whiskey Rebellion, it strikes me that the Tea Party folks seem to be very concerned with the Founding Fathers, original intent, etc. Also, they’re evidently against just about any tax you can name. Yet here’s George Washington himself going into battle against citizens to enforce taxation. Is this ironic?

  90. Kirk said on February 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    And there’s race-car driver Christi Passmore.

  91. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 12, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Oh, dear. Truly not my intention, Jakash! No smackdown intended, just a widening of the narrative. But yes, it’s ironic about Tea Parties & the Whiskey folk (let alone Shays), and I’m waiting for a Democratic politician with the wit and historical knowledge to use that incident rhetorically. Of course, doing so would impress me and about 57 other Americans, so it’s probably not worth waiting for.

  92. MarkH said on February 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Or, really going for the obvious, Kirk: Scott Speed.

    ON EDIT: And as discussed here previously, Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann’s favorite, Dick Trickle.

  93. brian stouder said on February 12, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    But yes, it’s ironic about Tea Parties & the Whiskey folk (let alone Shays), and I’m waiting for a Democratic politician with the wit and historical knowledge to use that incident rhetorically. Of course, doing so would impress me and about 57 other Americans, so it’s probably not worth waiting for.

    Jeff – indeed. And it brings into stark relief some of our elected nitwits and demagogues, such as Rep Bachmann (see http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/hannity/transcript/michele-bachmann-hints-2012-run ), who has evinced either outright ignorance or else willful dishonesty with regard to American history.

    I’m now waist-deep into my Madison/Jefferson book, and it has been a genuine treat. One highlight that I learned, with regard to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, was that Madison was committed to incorporating an “absolute veto” power. It was interesting because Madison wanted to be able to reign in screw-ball legislation….from the states! He wanted to have a strong national government that could (by act of congress) slap down any state law that any state might pass, and which the ‘big brother’ national congress didn’t like, for any reason.

    ‘Course, he also wanted the Senate to be elected by the House(!), after the state legislatures submitted a slate of candidates….even more “big brothery” than what they eventually settled on – state legislatures electing their senators – which our current-day “tea baggers” actually want to go BACK to!!

    I think the point that a “pointy headed intellectual”* (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/daily/sept98/wallace.htm ) running for office should make is that either nobody owns history, or else we all do. This silly concept of being a tea-bagging patriot of the old style is about as meaningful (at the end of a long lecture about those days) as saying you’re a Locofoco patriot, or another William Henry Harrison – born in a log cabin (he wasn’t), raised on hard cider (an exaggeration), fought–and defeated–Indians on the Indiana frontier. Van Buren, on the other hand, was denounced as a corset-wearing, perfume-smelling dandy who “ate with golden spoons from silver plates.” which succeeded, in 1840.

    I guess I begin to understand that odd potions and otherwise-incomprehensible incantations are always at the heart of successful American political campaigns; and indeed, correcting an opposition’s mythical counter-histories is also always a part of political campaigns. And indeed – the trick is in making the case accessible to lots more than just “57 other Americans”

    an excerpt from the George Wallace obituary linked above: He pointed out that federal judges and bureaucrats had been elected by no one and were increasingly usurping powers of the individuals and states. He portrayed them as underworked self-important “pointy-headed” intellectuals who had their heads in the clouds and their lunches in their trademark attache cases.

    I think our tea-baggers are just would-be George Wallace supporters.

  94. Andrew J. said on February 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I believe one time I saw a telephone book listing for a Richard Licker. But I’m sure they called him Dick.
    AJ

  95. Kirk said on February 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    There was a Richard Head in my home county. I think he ran a junkyard.

  96. Kaye said on February 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Anyone see the Johnny Appleseed outdoor drama near Mansfield OH?
    Beautiful venue, good story, but a lousy production. That was the first time I left a live show at intermission.

  97. brian stouder said on February 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    See, and you just reminded me of a sales representative for a hose company that I used to know, named Richard Payne

  98. Kirk said on February 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    No matter how many of these we come up with, I continue to be amused, like a monkey with a bright, shiny object.

  99. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Kaye, my impression is that the production died a couple years ago, no plans to bring it back — http://www.jahci.org/facilities.html

  100. Dexter said on February 12, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    brian…I knew Richard Payne. He is from PsychoCity, aka Waterloo, Indiana. He is a war hero. He suffered greatly in the Vietnam War, having been shot down while being a member of a helicopter crew. He had it rough. He has been battling various cancers which are related to repeated heavy exposure to Agent Orange. He’s about 64 years old now, and he’s still fighting the battles.
    Everybody calls him Dick and nobody thinks a damn thing about it.

  101. moe99 said on February 13, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Something was done in 2010 with an actor re: Johnny Appleseed. Titled “Don’t Call me Johnny”
    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=157625357599662&topic=200

  102. Jakash said on February 13, 2011 at 1:54 am

    No problem, Jeff (tmmo). All in good fun. Yeah, you’re right, a politician trying to appeal to people who actually know history instead of just paying lip service to the good ole days would probably be considered a little on the elitist side in today’s environment!

  103. basset said on February 13, 2011 at 1:58 am

    Scott Speed was, as far as I know, the last American to drive in Formula 1.

  104. MarkH said on February 13, 2011 at 3:46 am

    That’s true, bassett. He drove for Toro Rosso in 2006-07. Not much success there, now he’s in NASCAR.

  105. basset said on February 13, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I saw him in an ARCA race on dirt at Du Quoin, Illinois, in about 08 or 09. quite an adjustment.

    don’t follow F1, though, are there any other Americans in line to go over there?

    back in the late 50 or early 60s the Indianapolis 500 counted for F1 points… and someone, think it might have been Rodger Ward, ran an Offy midget in the F1 race at Watkins Glen.

  106. Jakash said on February 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Regarding the name game, Kirk’s comment (95) reminded me of this article that made the rounds awhile ago. By no means do I wish to demean this guy’s accomplishments, but the rank really adds a nice touch.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/hereford/worcs/6243079.stm

  107. MarkH said on February 13, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    The Indianapolis 500 counted toward Grand Prix World Championship points from 1950-1960. Rodger Ward did indeed enter the USGP, and in a dirt track Kurtis-Offy, but it was in the first official F1 USGP at Sebring in 1959. He was pretty cocky about it, too, as this wiki entry attests:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1959_United_States_Grand_Prix

    Oddly, European interest in the 500 didn’t really start until 1961, after it was pulled from GP status. Jack Brabham entered his own F1 car that year and finished 9th. Quite an accomplishment for the first rear-engined entry, boasting all of 1.5 litres of engine displacement against the 4.2 litre front engined Offenhausers. Then, Lotus and Jim Clark, among others, showed up in 1963 and the rest is history

    bassett, you’re right. If you look at the current crop of open-wheel drivers in the IZOD Indy Car series, there is no one, let alone any of the Americans, who appear headed to F1. One of Brian’s favorites, Graham Rahal, certainly has some breeding, as does Marco Andretti, of course. But there doesn’t appear to be any interest in sending anyone over there. The real handicap is the training. In Europe and Asia, where F1 fanaticism thrives, there are specific training programs geared toward F1 competition, and they start their kids YOUNG. There is really nothing close to programs like those in the US, even though there are lots a amateur racing series. It seems in the US that if you get settled in NASCAR, you’ve made it. I like NASCAR ok, but…(yawn).

    I followed F1 Grand Prix racing religiously from the first one I attended, Watkins Glen in 1969 at age 17. Because my brother-in-law knew Pedro Rodriguez’ agent, we got in the Ferrari pits without a pass on Saturday, thrown out for the same reason on race day Sunday(!). I used to know everything about it, but fell away sometime after 2000 or so. The last American to show any promise didn’t care enough to stick with it: Michael Andretti in 1993. His then-wife, Sandy, didn’t like Europe or its culture so he went home after each race, didn’t return for crucial testing until race weekend, McLaren didn’t put much into making his car a front line contender, favoring Ayrton Senna. Also, according to a buddy of mine who spent a number of years working for the Penske organization, it was a common assumption at that time that Al Unser, Jr. would go to F1 racing, as he was much better at road racing.

    Some good news on the horizon, though for F1 fans, like me and Brian, as there is a Grand Prix-specific course being built near Austin, Texas. The return of the USGP is anticipated there in either 2012 or 2013.

  108. brian stouder said on February 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Dexter – definitely no disrespect intended. My mom named me Brian Joseph specifically so she could call me BJ (which is how she signed me in at kindergarten), and over the years this taught me about names that one gets stuck with, and jokes that ‘never get old’.

    Mark, I look forward to Formula One’s return to the United States, although I wonder why they didn’t return to Indianapolis – where they always drew crowds as big (or bigger than) they could get anywhere else in the world.

    Anyway, I’ve been a big open-wheel racing fan since the mid ’90’s. I think I couldn’t have been a fan back in the ’60’s (and into the ’70’s), when guys got killed so often. As it is, the weekend that F1 lost both Senna and Ratzenberger was plenty bad enough; and my favorite CART driver was Greg Moore (and in fact I got to shake his hand and get his autograph, at Gateway Raceway in St Louis, many years ago), who was killed at Fontanna in the late ’90’s.

    I confess that the relative safety of the cars nowadays is something I take for granted. To me, NASCAR’s greatest offense is that they so brazenly market the crashes; in fact they seem to be encouraging rough driving and crashes. This strikes me as essentially barbarous

  109. basset said on February 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    My mistake, MarkH, it was indeed Sebring.

    I don’t much care whether F1 returns to the USA – the Indianapolis races were only five hours away and I never bothered to go. No American cars, no American drivers, who do you pull for? And, if there’s a race in Austin, where’s Bernie Ecclestone going to stay? During the Indy races he’d helicopter to Chicago every night because there wasn’t a hotel room to suit him in Indianapolis.

    World Rally, now, I’d pay to watch that.

  110. Deborah said on February 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Weird weekend coincidence: (Long story but leads to Bob Greene) yesterday I spent a of of time in bed in my internest (what Urban Dictionary calls “the cocoon of blankets, pillows, duvets, and comfy things you gather around yourself to keep warm while spending long amounts of time on the internet”) because of my illness and finally got around to reading something one of you guys linked to awhile ago, it was the best magazine articles ever written and the top of the top 25 was called “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” by Gay Talese (1966), a fascinating piece. Read that yesterday, so this evening I’m about to call it quits for the night and I click on CNN on my iPhone and read something called “4-star General, 5 Star Grace”. I paid no attention to who wrote it until I got to a point where the writer referenced the Gay Talese, Sinatra piece in what seemed to me to be an odd connection. And then it made sense, Bob Greene connecting himself to the greats. What a coincidence.

  111. Dexter said on February 14, 2011 at 2:07 am

    I missed the Gaga show, I missed Bieber, but I saw Mick, Dylan, Barbra, The Suburbs, Lady Antebellum, and especially Eminem, who has been around a long time but his star is still rising. I remember when he was having life-problems and some asshole writer in one of the Detroit papers called him “has-been washed up…” and that really made me aware that sometimes the wrong people get review-gigs.
    Well, The Grammys always get shredded by a lot of people, but for the two hours I saw, it was great.

  112. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 14, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Brian, are you saying NASCAR is barbarous? Tell it to Ricky Bobby.

  113. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 14, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Hey, guys, don’t forget — Valentine’s Day! You know what you need to do.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis

  114. brian stouder said on February 14, 2011 at 10:10 am

    We need to pray like a mantis?

  115. Lex said on February 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but in case I haven’t, the state of North Carolina is home to the communities of Welcome, Advance, Liberty and Climax. Given the long history of such major employers here as R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and American Tobacco, I’m kind of surprised we don’t also have a Postcoital Cigarette.