Hot Air

Stadium Suckers

Let’s leave aside for a moment the fact that the Indy Eleven is, hands down, the worst team name in professional sports. Let’s wonder instead why these eleven short-pants wearers can’t play their short pants game in Lucas Oil Stadium.

The reasonably new sports palace just south of Indy’s downtown has a playing field, a bunch of seats, and — most important — beer stands and licensed apparel shops. You drape two thirds of the stadium’s 62,000 seats, allowing for a soccer capacity of 20,000 and there you go. Apparently that’s not good enough for the (ugh!) Eleven. Why it’s not is a mystery.

Lucas Oil Stadium

Not Good Enough

Another mystery is the existence of Lucas Oil Stadium itself, considering the Circle City and the State of Indiana already had a perfectly good, barely 20-year-old monument to sports excess in the Hoosier Dome or the RCA Dome or what in the hell ever they were calling it until the day in 2008 when it was imploded. The Indianapolis Colts (a far superior team name, BTW) had stomped their feet and threatened to hold their collective breath until the taxpayers of Marion County and the state were forced to build them their current three quarters of a billion-dollar sandbox.

And the funny thing was, the same suckers [us] had footed the bill for the, again, barely 20-year-old Hoosier/RCA dome back when the Colts owners agreed to abandon the city of Baltimore if only Hoosiers would gift them the new digs. When the demolition company lit the fuses on the dynamite under the “old” stadium, taxpayers still owed some $75 million on it. This sports arena racket can get awfully slimy, no?

Lucas Oil Stadium cost ten times the amount needed to build the first Indy dome. Ten times! Why, surely, the new joint must be a wonder of modern engineering and sports housing, able to host any game from chess to, well, soccer.

Apparently not.

The Eleven simply can’t play kick-the-ball in Lucas Oil Stadium and so must prevail upon the Indiana state legislature to build them their very own palace. The half-approved new Eleven home (the House has okayed it; the Senate, though, seems a tad less enthusiastic) will cost some $82 million with financing coming from a new tax on certain hotels as well as the putative receipts from future games there. The only prob. is the Eleven (god, I hate even typing the word) are insisting they won’t pay their share of the construction costs if the attendance tax doesn’t cover the bill. That means — yup, you guessed it — you and I would be taxed to retire that debt.

Meanwhile, schools go wanting, veterans live on the street, drug rehab centers are being squeezed, and even the Indiana State Library is being put on a severe austerity footing.

Yet a bunch of ball-kickers who can’t even come up with a decent name for themselves merit a pricey pad.

This 21st Century is really starting to suck.

Users Are Losers

No doubt you’ve caught the news about the conviction and subsequent sentencing to life in prison of that deranged former Marine who mowed down “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and another man.

Eddie Ray Routh’s defense attorneys tried to persuade the jury that their client was driven to madness by to horrors he’d witnessed during his stint in Haiti, where the Marines helped earthquake victims in 2010. Well, further madness: He’d been in and out of mental hospitals, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. The Erath County, Texas, jury didn’t buy the argument, largely because the prosecutor had told them Routh had gone through a fast-food drive-in after the shootings and, for pity’s sake, how can a psychopath do that? Ergo, he must be sane as pie.

Rather, the prosecutor posited that Routh was simply a homicidal maniac who — horrors! — was a pot smoker. The subtext was You know those pot smokers, they’re capable of anything!

Funny thing is, the movie that started the whole pot-smokers-are-psychos thing, Reefer Madness, came out nearly 80 years ago. And as far back as the late 1960s, the movie has been the object of ridicule among peeps who know better. So it’s a wonder any good prosecutor would reach that far back into her bag of obfuscating tricks to beat an insanity defense.

Lobby Card

Old, Old, Old School

The second funny thing is that the pot-turns-users-into-maniacs strategy would even work in this day and age — in Texas, no less. I can’t imagine there being many folks who haven’t toked up in Texas. I mean, if I were stuck in Texas I’d consider any drug that would make me forget that fact to be as vital as air or water.

And funniest of all was Kyle and his pal’s decision to bring the vet to a gun range so he could “deal with” his PTSD.

Huh? I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes trying to think of an analogy that would be as ridiculous as that. Can’t do it.

Well, Texas. Need I say more?

Bristly Brew

Okay, so this whole craft beer thing is going way off the rails now.

Small batch beers have been brewed with ingredients like bananas, oysters, gold, frankincense and myrrh, and bulls’ testicles. All true. A poor sap must really have a great need to get sloshed to drink any beer made from those things. And brewers remain on the lookout for any new kinky item to toss into the vat.

Case in point: I was at the bar upstairs at Finch’s Brasserie Tuesday evening, listening to Kinsey Institute prof & researcher Justin Garcia tell us all about “Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Sexual Behavior and Romantic Love.” It was this month’s Bloomington Science Cafe subject and, natch, drew a packed house since it concerned bonking.

The bartender asked me what I wanted to drink and I said, “A beer, I guess,” pointing in the general direction of the taps. I’m not picky when it comes to beers as long as they aren’t the yellow-tinged water sold at sporting events. No matter; the bartender handed me a dense menu and recommended a brand new brew. ‘This is really good,” he said, pointing at one selection. “Everybody likes it. It’s very good.”

Yeah? I said, not really caring one way or the other.

“Yeah. You know what. It’s made with yeast that’s been cultured from the fungus found in the brewer’s beard.”

Um, what?

“Uh-huh. They took a sample from his beard and then they grew the yeast in the lab.”

He nodded, knowingly, as if this tidbit would be the closer in the sale.

Maier Beard

The Brewmaster’s Beard

“Why the hell,” I asked, “would I want to drink that?”

“It’s good,” he said, a little less confident now. I did, indeed, not drink that.

The question, though, remains. As does What in the holy hell are they gonna make beer out of next?

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