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Opening Arguments

Not even of fear itself

The Brits are showing the same resilience in the face of terrorism that Americans did after 9/11, and getting the same kind of support. Somebody started a "We're not afraid" Web site, and thousands of photographs have poured in. Just start going through some of the galleries; some of the ways of showing defiance are quite creative. (Vulgarity alert; some of the posts are not tame.)

Posted in: Current Affairs

We had joy, we had fun ...

Need a new category for your iPod? How about music that makes you want to go out and kill yourself, which would have to include these 25 most depressing songs of all time?

Posted in: Music

I'll wait till the movie comes out

I don't care about the Karl Rove story, I don't want to care about the Karl Rove story, and you can't make me care about the Karl Rove story. 1. It's about Democrats and Republicans jockeying for 2006; I'll wait for the real issues. 2. The mainstream press is on the Democrats' side, though trying mightily to maintain the delusion that it is objective and neutral. Big shock.

Fill my stomach, and I'll follow you anywhere

Here's one of those famous USA Today factoid snapshots, on favorite food pairs, with spaghetti and meatballs winning (use the left and right arrows to find the right one). Unfortunately, coffee and donuts, the breakfast of the gods, did not make the list.

Go ahead, shoot your mouth off

As noted earlier, Fort Wayne doesn't have a full-fledged blogosphere yet. But there's no reason we can't have one. All you have to do is jump in. Take the blogger challenge.

Posted in: Our town

Think you're getting closure? Freud not

I love the Web. It was just Monday, in a post on the death of novelist Evan Hunter, when I wrote this:

On the down side, he is said to have helped Alfred Hitchcock with the screenplay for "The Birds," the master-of-suspense director's most infuriating movie. Where did the birds come from? Why did they start attacking people? Why did they stop? I need closure!

Give us your weather, and we'll call it even

It's not enough that everybody is deserting us for the south and west. They want to take our water with them. This might not seem like a big deal now, but it will, soon.

Posted in: Hoosier lore

Hey, don't forget Matlock, either

A lot of people have made a lot of silly statments about a possible replacement for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. This suggestion by columnist Richard Cohen to pick Judge Judy might just be the silliest one so far. Yes, Cohen is trying to be clever, but he also says he's mostly serious.

And you wonder why the roads are so crowded

Drat. Indiana gets slighted in another one of those "best of" lists. CNN and Money magazine have compiled a list of the 100 best places to live, and it looks like only two Indiana cities get a mention -- Fishers, Pop. 48,900, just outside of Indianapolis, at No. 24; and Dyer, Pop. 16,800, outside Gary, at No. 97.

My word's bigger than your word

I do a feature for the Saturday editorial page called "Snob words," the noble purpose of which is to give people who want to show off the vocabulary to do it with. Last Saturday, I spotlighted prandial, "of or relating to a meal, especially dinner," and provided the helpful example, "A postprandial cigar is better than an antemeridian kick in the pants." Then I went one step too far and provided the bonus word "antemeridian: before noon." This prompted an e-mail from M.J. Guzek of Craigville, who pointed out that:

We're out of control, so give us some

Consolidated government hasn't been much in the news lately, but people here are still working on it. One thing that will help the movement is increased pressure on the state to let go of its control as more and more cities and counties try to cope with shrinking revenues and an increasing demand for services. Evansville officials are further along than we are in designing a charter-government template.

That watchdog won't hunt

Much of the journalistic community is in high "told you so" mode at the news that the Cleveland Plain Dealer has decided to sit on two investigative series because they are based on anonymous sources. Claiming to feel the "chilling effects" of the Judith Miller case, the Cleveland editor says the sources would be in trouble (likely of a legal nature) if they were outed. If the paper publishes, it will undoubtedly face the choice of identifying the sources or letting its reporters go to jail.

Round up the unusual suspects

A state judge in Kentucky has ruled the use of lethal injection constitutional in that state but made a pretty fine distinction on what is "cruel and unusual" punishment. It is not cruel and unusual, he said, if the injection is administered through a vein in the arm or leg, but it IS if the injection goes through a catheter stuck in the prisoner's jugular vein.

Say Bayh, Hillary

For someone who is being so coy about whether he'll run for president, Indiana U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh is spending a lot of time in New Hampshire. And he's being fondly mentioned in, of all places, Hollywood. According to syndicated columnist Robert Novak, there is surprising opposition to Hillary Clinton on the left coast.

Are you reading this at work?

Some of you people just aren't trying. According to  a new survey conducted by America Online and Salary.com, Indiana is ranked only second in the nation when it comes to wasting time at work. That means Missouri workers, ranked No. 1, waste 3.2 hours each in an 8-hour work day (not counting lunch, of course), costing companies $28.1 billion, while Hoosier workers waste only 2.8 hours a day each, costing a mere $25.1 billion.

The brain, it's plain, stays mainly in the drain

Fort Wayne doesn't have a full-fledged blogosphere yet, but one is developing. An interesting conversation has been taking place on a couple of local blogs, for example, about this area's "brain drain." Gloria Diaz, a guest blogger at Fort Wayne Media Notes, kicked it off with a post discussing the departure of college graduates because, among other reasons, of a lack of good jobs.

Posted in: Blogroll, Our town

Cat O' Mine Tales

I have cats, so naturally I'll be posting photos of them from time to time. Get used to it.

But he had nothing to do with 'Cop Rock'

Let's mourn the passing of Salvatore Lombino, a writer whose influence on American popular culture is far greater than most people realize. Under the pen name Evan Hunter, he wrote quite a few novels, including "Blackboard Jungle," which became the 1955 movie of the same name. That's the film that featured the song "Rock Around the Clock," which had been released earlier but not done too well.

The parade didn't pass me by

I skipped the Three Rivers Festival parade again this year, and I doubt if I'll go to many of the events. The festival long ago stopped being a true celebration of Fort Wayne. Now, it's just a week-long series of crowds in search of amusement, with a lot of beer. Certainly there are some things any of us might find to like if we went to look, but you could say the same thing about a shopping mall. Maybe it's time to rethink the whole thing instead of just adding or subtracting attractions year after year. It can be done.

Posted in: Blogroll, Our town

The truth is out there

Welcome to Opening Arguments.

The name is meant to say a lot. Most of what you read here will not be attempts to fully frame a debate, with all the attendant logic and evidence, as you might find in an editorial or column on a newspaper's opinion page. There will be, instead, first impressions and provocative comments and random observations of the passing scene. As with the opening arguments of the lawyers in a trial, the unfolding testimony will reveal what is true and what is yet to be proven.