Saturday, December 31, 2011

"A City's Amorphous Brand Value"

Steven Malanga wasn't writing (specifically) about Indianapolis in his "Cross Country" column in today's Wall Street Journal, but this Indianapolis Observer thinks it rings true.

"The surest sign that taxpayers should be leery of such public investments is that officials have changed their sales pitch. Conventions and meeting centers shouldn't be judged . . . by how many hotel rooms, restaurants and local attractions they help fill."

The "new metric -- a city's amorphous brand value - is little more than a convenient way to ignore the failure of publicly sponsored facilities to live up to exaggerated projections. But as far as city officials are concerned, that failure is nothng that hundreds of millions more in taxpayer dollars can't fix."

Why do the (Bankers Life) Fieldhouse, (Lucas Oil) Stadium and Georgia Street come readily to mind?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Nikon Small World

Tomorrow (31 December) is the last day to see the beauty and complexity of life through the light microscope.

The Nikon Small World exhibit, on display at the Indiana State Museum in White River State Park, Indianapolis, comes down after the museum shuts its doors tomorrow.

What's in the exhibit? The world's best photomicrographers have captured dynamic images that showcase a wide variety of advanced scientific around the country.

The exhibit has been supported by the Arts Council of Indianapolis and the City of Indianapolis and by the Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

(Photo of a monofilament spiral forming part of a zipper by Marc Van Hove of Gent, Belgium, won 16th place in the 1987 Nikon Small World competition; courtesy of Nikon Small World)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Countdown to Noon

Counting down to midnight is sooooooooooooo last century on New Year's Eve.

Join the trendy at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis on Saturday (31 December) for the "Countdown to Noon".

Festivities take place around the water clock from 10 a.m. 'til 3 p.m.

Celebrate the final day of 2011 with activities, music with Doctor Noize, and a Water Clock "countdown to noon" that will allow families to experience the excitement of a countdown at a reasonable hour (additional countdowns at 1 and 2 p.m. this year).

To enjoy the noon countdown, arrive at 11 a.m.; space for this event is limited.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Trash Will "Slide" for Two Weeks - NOT!

On holidays without trash collection, a slide schedule is observed. Normal collection days will 'slide' to one day later if the resident's normal collection day falls on or after the holiday.

So, since Christmas is observed today (December 26) and New Year's Day is observed a week from today (January 2), it seems that trash collection is on its "slide schedule" this week and next.

Or, maybe not. Your Indianapolis Observer can find NOTHING on the site regarding trash collection schedules when a holiday is observed on a different day than the one on which it occurs.

And, surprise! trash collection is unaffected by Christmas or New Year's this season.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street

Victorian holiday atmosphere and architecture, memorable food and pleasant company will prevail as the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site hosts its annual “A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street,” a holiday dinner tour of historic mansions on the Old Northside of Indianapolis. It begins at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (28 December).

To start their evening, guests will be greeted at the Italianate-style Harrison Home, 1230 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis, for a tour of the President’s mansion plus hors d’oeuvres and warm spiced cider. Carolers will welcome guests with holiday songs in the front parlor.

Harrison was the first President to decorate a Christmas tree in the White House. A replica of the first evergreen tree to grace the White House is displayed at the Harrison Home, decorated with wooden soldiers, hand-blown glass figures, candles and cotton batting. Guests to the event will enjoy the home’s decorations featuring Victorian holiday ornaments, including feather trees and Harrison family toys.

Guests will stroll to their second stop of the evening at the Eden-Talbott House, 1336 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis, for a verbal history and tour and a tea bar.

Currently office space for Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP, this house was constructed in 1871 as more modest than it appears today. Charlton Eden, a prominent builder and president of the Builders and Manufacturers Association, purchased the property in 1878 and gave it an elegant facade and ornate interior woodwork. The new front portion was built in the Italianate and Second Empire styles. The 800-piece staircase newel post was displayed at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. Black walnut was used extensively in the ornate arches and carved lions’ heads throughout the home. Eden’s company had constructed similar woodwork in Harrison’s home three years earlier.

Next, guests will hear a verbal history, tour and enjoy a wine reception at The Propylaeum Club’s Carriage House, 150 East 14th Street, Indianapolis.

This structure was the studio and residence of Elmer Taflinger, a well-known sculptor. Previous to this, it was the home of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. This structure also has a Georgian doorway with carved glass above the door.

Guests will then move to the main house where they will tour and enjoy a gourmet plated dinner at The Propylaeum Club, 1410 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis. The dinner menu includes vegetable soup, chicken Florentine, harvest rice and carrot soufflé.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, The Propylaeum Club’s building displays elements of the Romanesque Revival, Neo-Jacobean, and Queen Anne styles in its architecture. Among some of its interesting features are leaded glass doors, Rookwood fireplace tiles, grand staircase, and intricate Italian carvings.

This home was built in 1890 by John Schmidt, a brewer. The dark color of the brick was produced by pressing water out of the brick when it was made.

The Thomas Taggart House, 1331 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis, is the last stop on the tour and will feature a brief history and tour of the first floor. Guests will also be treated to coffee and a variety of mini cake truffles and gourmet cupcakes for dessert, courtesy of Vanilla Bean Bakery.

Currently, this building is the national headquarters for Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. This is a Colonial Revival house built in 1913 by Thomas Taggart. Taggart was a U.S. Senator, three times mayor of Indianapolis and founded the Indianapolis parks system. Notice the balustrade balconies on the second level above the first floor window.

Reservations are required for “A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street” and space is limited. Tickets are $75 per person. Call 317:631-1888 or send an email.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Stormy Weather Ahead

AccuWeather reports the week between Christmas and New Year's Day will feature multiple storms across the nation, some with snow, some with rain and many with both.

The pattern will be busy like this past week but with some new twists.

The stormiest sector in the nation will be the Northwest, where systems that were mostly plowing into British Columbia will drive southward. The region will make up for a relative quiet weather pattern during much of December.

As many as six storms will slam into the Northwest from Monday to New Year's Day. That's nearly a storm a day!

Snow levels will vary from storm to storm and during each storm. The pattern will raise the risk of flash flooding in the lower elevations and avalanches in the high country. At least a couple of the storms will bring disruptive snow to the passes.

The upcoming stormy pattern is getting a later start than originally expected with high pressure hanging on during much of this week. However, that is about to change.

Meanwhile, the storms plowing into the Northwest next week have to go somewhere. As a result, the pattern will get (or remain) quite busy as far as storm systems are concerned over much of the balance of the nation.

The storm train will progress southward into at least part of California and the Sierra Nevada. Snow levels will be high in this area during much of the onslaught, but similar to the Northwest, one or more storms could bring slow travel over Donner Pass.

The weather pattern will bring warmer weather to the West in general, but again one or more storms could still deliver snow to Denver.

The situation from the Plains to the East Coast will be quite complicated. At this point, it is impossible to pin down the details for each of the storms as they start rolling from the Northwest.

One storm, which is the same system delivering snow to El Paso Friday, will have to be dealt with as it is ejected from the Southwest during the first part of next week.

That storm will bring drenching rain to Texas this weekend and could bring downpours and possible severe weather to some Southern bowl games early next week.

A lack of consistent cold air will continue to be a problem for snow lovers from the Midwest to the Northeast. The cold air building in over the Christmas weekend will again head out before the next potential storm.

The Texas storm will either lift to the northeast or scoot more eastward. At any rate, it would be mostly rain or nothing for the mid-Atlantic and southern New England. If it takes the more northerly route, it could deliver wet snow to part of the Ohio Valley to the eastern Great Lakes and northern New England Monday night into Tuesday.

After the Texas storm runs its course, the main storm track will be aligned more west to east across the northern half of the nation next week and will allow storms to swiftly cross the country.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

White, Out; Osili, In

Another news flash from "A Marion County judge has ruled that Secretary of State Charlie White was ineligible to be a candidate and the office should go to Democrat Vop Osili, his challenger in the 2010 election."

Bankers Life, Conseco No Longer

According to, "The venue long known as Conseco Fieldhouse will take on the moniker of CNO Financial’s most prominent brand: Bankers Life."

You know, the building that The Indianapolis Star thinks was built by the Simons instead of us taxpayers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

So, Indy taxpayers won the battle but lost the war, again.

We got to keep Georgia Street "Georgia Street" -- as named on the original plat. Win.

We gave away "operating rights" to a section of the public thoroughfare to a NGO. Lose!

Say what?

Check out this item, buried in The Indianapolis Star:

In other action Monday, the [City-County] council:
Voted 18-11 to approve a lease of Downtown's revamped Georgia Street, which has a three-block pedestrian mall, to Indianapolis Downtown Inc.

Let's let Indianapolis attorney Paul K. Ogden describe the takeover: "Once again, it appears that we have a city asset taxpayers have spent millions on, only only to find our city leaders want to give it away to a private entity for free. [Indianapolis Downtown Inc.] will manage the place, but apparently will also keep all the profits associated with the venue."

Profits from a city street! What's next? Parking meters? Oh, wait......

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmastime Fun

The annual Yuletide Celebration in the Circle Theatre promises a stellar lineup again this year. Jack Everly joins the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in welcoming sisters Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway for Indiana's greatest holiday tradition including some of Broadway's finest singers and dancers. There are numerous performances between now and December 23.

There's also Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg, Jolly Days at the Children's Museum, Conservatory Crossing (poinsettias and trains!) at the Garfield Park Conservatory, Christmas at the Zoo, Gingerbread Houses at Conner Prairie, Celebration Crossing at the Indiana State Museum and more.

And, of course, don't miss the lights on the Monument!