May We Suggest “Flat, cheap and out of control?”

According to the Indianapolis Star, the City of Indianapolis is trying to come up with a tagline to define the city, in the same way that Vegas has “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Although they hasten to assure us that they’re looking for something less risque. Damn. And I thought we were going to finally get some spiciness going in good old Naptown.

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Story Time At the Zoo

On Saturdays in January, February & March this year, the Zoo will have a brand new activity for kids – Story Time at the Zoo! See your favorite storybook characters come to life at Story Time at the Zoo. This all new event gives your little ones the chance to meet Lyle Lyle Crocodile, Corduroy Bear, Stellaluna, Curious George, and Winnie the Pooh up close and in person! (yeah! people in mascot outfits!)

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Good for Jennifer Aniston

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From all the speculation, it seems that Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt broke up because she doesn’t want to have kids, and he does. Well, I can see where she’s coming from. She’s thirty six years old, and she’s just now starting a serious career in movies, after a successful run on TV. If she doesn’t get that done now, she may not be able to get the kind of roles she likes later. She’s making four movies in the next year. It’s hard to say if she would have that option five years from now, if she took time of to have kids. And with the money and connections she has, she’ll always be able to adopt later, which is better for the world anyway because it gives a kid a loving home. All the buzz seems to be on Brad’s side; “Poor Brad; he wants kids!” but I say good for Jennifer sticking up for her own future.

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Movie Review: Closer

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Dan (Jude Law) is walking down the street one day when he runs into Alice (Natalie Portman) who, while staring at Dan, is hit by a car. He helps her to the hospital, and then begins a romance with her, despite the fact that she looks like jailbait and there’s not a single hint of chemistry between them at all.

They’re in a relationship for a year, during which Dan, who is a “writer” without a single original thought in his head, cribs Alice’s life story (you can only do that once, dummy!) and gets a bestseller as a result. During a PR photoshoot for the book, Dan meets Anna (Julia Roberts) and makes a play for her, while admitting that he’s in a relationship with Alice. Anna blows him off, but you can see she’s charmed by him, which hey, when confronted by a lying philanderer who oozes disrespect for you, who wouldn’t be?

As payback for not hopping in the sack with him, Dan picks up nutjob Larry (Clive Owen) in an online chat and sends him in the direction of Anna, a particularly cruel and dangerous joke that no one ever takes him to task for. Larry just manages to conceal that he’s a sexual predator/sociopath while meeting Anna, and they hook up and marry. Because Anna’s into the whole disrespect/degradation thing, as we’ve already seen with Dan.

Eventually Dan and Anna hook up, and Larry tries to make it with Alice but can’t because he’s such a loser, and there’s much stormy confrontation and accusations about everyone’s behavior. And then there’s a weird non-ending that ties up no loose ends, brings about no revelations, and causes no growth or changes in anyone’s behavior. The End.

In case you can’t tell from my outline of the plot, I thought this movie was a steaming pile of… I’d say shit, but that seems too polite. I hated the fact that everyone in the movie was lying and cheating on everyone else, but they each expect the others to tell them the truth and be faithful. And when they didn’t get what they wanted, they had big screaming hissy fits about it.

I especially hate the fact that this movie is getting critical raves — it makes me a little afraid of my fellow man. Um, people are not allowed to act this way, folks, and if you know people who are like this, or if you yourself are like this, I’d like you far away from me, please. Come to think of it, I have some ex-partners who probably LOVED this movie.

I’m sorry, but there was nothing interesting on that screen to me at all. Sure, all the actors were beautiful at first glance, but five minutes into meeting each character made them uglier than dirt. I couldn’t even ignore the actors and stare at the sets, because they were all cold, sterile and hostile. No wonder these people are so unhappy; look at their apartments. The only remotely redeeming thing about this movie, is that in the scene where we meet Anna, she’s wearing some very cool corduroy mens trousers that look great on her. I actually pointed out that I wanted those pants.

Entertainment Weekly is predicting that this movie with get some Oscar consideration with possible nominations for Clive Owen and Natalie Portman for Supporting Actors, and perhaps “Best Adapted Screenplay.” The idea makes me want to vomit. But in I guess we live in George Bush’s America, so viscious, nilhistic behavior and self-righteousness are bound to be rewarded.

Rating

One Half
I’m giving this half a star for Julia Robert’s pants.

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Indianapolis Aerial Photography

Using Indianapolis’ official City website, Indygov.org, you can view maps of Indianapolis much like mapquest, and aerial photographs dating back to 1935 that allow you to view the whole city and also to zoom in close to see, for example, the roof of your house.

The initial view of Indianapolis shows a map with a toolbar above and a list of layers over on the right. If you check off “2003 Aerial Photography” the map switches to aerial photos of the city, and you can click anywhere in the map to zoom into that spot. If you click on the pushpin icon in the toolbar, a pop-up window lets you enter a street address, which is then pinpointed on the map. Doing this first helps you zoom to the exactly location you’re looking for.

If you want to see Aerial photography from the past, go to the drop-down menu on your lower left below the layers list and select “aerial photography” and the layers list will change to a list of years. Click on the year you want to see and click “refresh map” and you will see your zoomed in location grow younger before your eyes.

I did this for my own house and could easily see in 2003 my old car parked behind my house. I stepped back through the years (my house was built in 1894) and watched the landscape and streets around my house change through the years.

You can also print out or e-mail maps, which means you can pinpoint your house and send a party invitation complete with street names filled in directing people to your abode. You can also measure distances between two locations, and a half dozen other uses I haven’t played around with yet.

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Hidden Indy: Broad Ripple Dam

Just east of Westfield Boulevard and north of Broad Ripple Avenue is the Broad Ripple dam, a wooded area of the White River that’s fenced off and not accessible, just north of the Broad Ripple pumping station. On a sunny summer day a few years back, my friends and I climbed up the painted wall next to Westfield Blvd., shimmied through a hole in the fence, and hiked back through the woods to the dam.

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Hidden Indy: The Catacombs Beneath Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Back in the early nineties, my friend Dennis Williams was a Franciscan friar. We met doing volunteer work, and once we were working on a fundraiser together and we needed folding chairs. Dennis asked the staff of Sacred Heart Church (one of the oldest and the only Franciscan church in Indy) if they would donate the use of some chairs for the fundraiser. Dennis didn’t mention until we were in the church that we were going down into the catacombs beneath to retrieve them.

We took one set of stairs into a basement area, and then another set of stairs further down, into a series of tunnels cut into the rock and dirt that wind around underneath the church. Dennis knew where he was going, but I quickly lost my bearings and would have been in trouble if I didn’t have a guide.

The tunnels were musty and creepy, even more so because tucked into nooks and crannies in the tunnels were statuary from the church, antique furniture, old church pews, and the gaudily painted equipment for their bingo/casino nights. Dennis claimed that there were tombs in the catacombs, but I’m not sure if that was true, or if he was only saying that to creep me out.

We eventually found the cache of wooden folding chairs and made our way out, and none too soon for me. I purposely chose not to volunteer to return the chairs.

PLEASE NOTE: I was in the catacombs with permission, and this was over ten years ago! Since that time the church has had a catastrophic fire and restoration, so it’s possible that the catacombs don’t exist or are empty. Please don’t get it into your head to go and visit.

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WTTS 92.3 is playing through their entire catalog

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Starting at 6 this morning, WTTS radio station began playing through their entire catalog of songs alphabetically. Currently they’ve finished all songs beginning with “All.” I fully realize that I will get made fun of for posting this, since three writers on our IndyScribe team are in a alt/punk band, but somebody needed to put something in the “Music” category.

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Hidden Indy: The Mystery Tao on Delaware

Back in the early nineties, I lived in the Marleigh Apartment building in the 1400 block of Delaware in downtown Indianapolis, which is in Old Northside neighborhood. Across the street was an impressive array of old Victorian houses with all the gingerbread and other bling they put on houses back in the 1800’s. I used to walk down the street and daydream about owning one of them. One day on a walk, I stumbled across something really strange.

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