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The trend generally seems to be downward.

healthcare_gov-crash-1

Numerous states are reporting numbers only in the very few hundreds at best, those who have actually successfully signed up for a healthcare program, as Week Two passes the hump.

What’s the problem? Well, there are several.

Perhaps the most notable – because it is customer-facing (and nothing happens, of course without leaping the first hurdle) – is the malfunctioning website.

Is it fair to draw the parallel with The Obama Administration’s handling of Benghazi?

FTN_Rice_120916_1_620x350

With Libya, the White House initially assigned blame for the incident on a video. With the launch of healthcare.gov, it was server overloading. With Libya, it’s been a year and a month. Of course we’re all wondering how long it will be with the website.

They say it’s due to overloading the website, but the admission of technical glitches is oozing out from its own sheer weight and slithery, mucky consistency.

The best computer geeks in the world are in private industry, or it’s not just a matter of the firm that won the contract because they were the lowest bidder. You do get what you pay for, after all . . .

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Q: Are you, or are you not signing up? Why or why not?

Q: Is the cost what you expected? Is it acceptable?

Q: Why is it not possible to have the requirement for an individual waived for a year or so, as is the case for unions and businesses?

Q: For those who decide to go without, they will be assessed the “tax” (aka “penalty”, aka “fine”). Where does that money go?

healthcare2

About that “fine” or “penalty” or “tax”, or whatever it really is, we’ll begin with this assumption: That the purpose of the ACA is to provide affordable healthcare to everyone, or to require that everyone obtain affordable healthcare coverage.

Remember, the only way the legislation was able to pass muster with the US Supreme Court and become law was that it was determined to be a tax. Problem is, the President’s people are still not calling it that. Just write it off as semantics. By the way – speaking of writing off: Is this “tax” going to be deductible?

Now the proposition: If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is able to be tied into the whole deal, legally speaking, and assessments can successfully be made of individuals or households filing tax returns, then why can’t the IRS in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services (the ACA administrator) assess that “tax” (or whatever it really is), then automatically apply it to that same individual or household as a health insurance account or health savings account against the account’s social security number, name and address? Again the question to check the logic of the program: After all, where does that money go, anyway?

lots of visitors

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Show Me the Money or Where Did My Money Go?

– – –

If the purpose, ultimately, is to compel people to purchase insurance, then the vehicle created by the new statute and the newly assigned function bestowed upon the IRS to enforce it, together make it possible.

As it is, or as it seems to be, because it either has not been discussed or has not been asked, the money is assessed and the individual or household remains without the coverage they are supposed to be compelled to have.

If the government is going to go as far as to compel citizens to buy a product, either by directly receiving the said product or by paying for it without receiving it, then why not just go the further step and ensure the system provides it to them regardless?

– – –

What am I missing here?

– – –

By the way, this is an example of the inefficiency and misplaced repurposing of government as opposed the proper activity of the free market. Any appropriate industry – in this case, healthcare providers and healthcare insurance – would not tolerate nor be able to survive, nor accept the threat to their competitive advantage with such ineffectiveness and inefficiencies; they would make the system as complete and integrated and customer-friendly as they possibly could, as quickly as they could. In fact, that is what they strive for everyday. Every private, for-profit operation does. And if they do not or cannot, they do not survive; they rise to the challenge and the competition or they fall by the wayside. In short, the free market would not neither produce nor tolerate such a poor product or such a poor product launch.

– – –

Q: What do you think ought to be done with the “fine” (or “fee” or “penalty” or “tax”, or whatever it really is)?

Q: Why shouldn’t it ultimately just be turned around to open a healthcare insurance account on behalf of the [tax return] filer anyway?

Q: Are you willing to go without healthcare insurance? Are you forced to?

Q: Can you afford the “penalty”?

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Top Q’s for September

Seems the questions are becoming clearer by the moment. The answers are not.

Here they are, some of most pressing questions of the day facing Hoosiers and beyond.

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Marc Lebryk - for The Star

– – –

1. Education in Indiana: School choice, vouchers, the state-wide A-F school grading system, Common Core.

How do you evaluate Indiana’s education system?

What grade do you give the governor in his handling of Indiana’s education challenges?

Journal and Courier, Lafayette

Indianapolis Star

Kokomo Herald

Photo By The Associated Press

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2. ObamaCare: The new healthcare law has been controversial from Day One. Derided as an attack on the Constitution and an intrusion upon the free choices of private citizens by many; it has been declared a saving grace for poor Americans by others. A great movement from several groups is underway to see the defunding and demise of ObamaCare.

Should it stay or should it go?

Should funding be cut or reduced?

Is the new healthcare law going to be better or worse for you?

FortWayne.com

Indianapolis Business Journal

Tribune Star, Terre Haute

Frank Espich - The Star

– – –

3. Super bowl 2018 – Indy Redux: We think it’s too soon; no way Indianapolis will win its bid for the 2018 Super bowl.

What’s your prediction?

Indianapolis Star

Indianapolis Business Journal

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4. Syria: What, if anything, should be done by the US has also been controversial from Day One. On Friday, August 30th, Secretary of State Kerry clearly made a forceful and unequivocal case for action for the purpose of protecting people from further harm. He described the case for a sense of urgency in our response.

AP Photo - Evan Vucci

On Saturday, August 31st, President Obama declared military action should be taken against Syria. At the moment Obama made this announcement, the Syrian government declared victory, stating the US will not actually do it.

The president has by definition, described the required action as that of punitive as opposed to preventative. Punitive does not demand urgency; preventative does.

How will the president’s decision to take more time, deter – or not – the Syrian government from using chemical weapons again?

Should US action be immediate and preventative in nature, in order to stop or decrease the possibility of more chemical weapons use?

Can the threat of punitive action deter the Syrians from further chemical weapons use?

What do you think should be done?

Courier-Press, Evansville

Journal and Courier, Lafayette

Times Media/NWI.com

Tribune-Star file - Jim Avelis

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5. Powering Indiana: Coal is out, Natural Gas and gas purification is in.

Duke Energy has been reaching agreement with environmental groups and the federal Environmental Protection Agency to begin the process of eliminating coal use across the Hoosier state.

What do you think will happen to the price you will pay for the energy your use?

What will happen to Indiana’s coal industry and its jobs?

Will “green” energy and gas-related jobs make up for any losses or even grow beyond the present?

Tribune Star, Terre Haute

Indianapolis Star

Sun-Commercial, Vincennes

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Fox News spent all week, virtually all day every day reporting on Benghazi. By contrast, CNN’s attention to it this week is virtually immeasurable.

pic_giant_050813_Benghazi-Eight-Months-Later

Why is that?

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It’s Friday and so now it is safe to say that CNN has placed absolutely no import on Benghazi, whether the hearings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and Thursday, or any other discussion all week. As we have monitored the present Big Two: Fox News and CNN, we have observed nothing from CNN throughout the week. By incredibly stark contrast, Fox has kept it front and center daily; most notably their exclusive broadcast of the Capitol Hill hearings of Wednesday and Thursday.

Of course, we know the murder case in Arizona really is more… well…everything, and that is clearly why CNN has focused on it almost exclusively throughout 09 and 10 May. No question: supporters of either forum would say it is typical and predictable.

This week Rush Limbaugh had some pretty ugly commentary as to why most of the media doesn’t care. Ugly, but he made a solid point: sex is what sells. By comparison to so many other issues in the news today, Benghazi is not sexy. Fox promotes their news coverage as “Fair and Balanced”. If they have been unfair and out of balance covering Benghazi so intensively, then what of CNN?

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Oh, sorry. CNN did devote other non-Jodi Arias time to the Michael Jackson death case resurgence. Fox covered that too, but much less so. Negligence, in a word. And slackers, too.

But viewed in a serious perspective – and in all seriousness – CNN appears to believe Benghazi is not worthy of serious treatment, having neglected even a one-minute update – any minute – during any prime viewing hour any day this week. It did not happen, as best we can find. It is a stunning and alarming journalistic violation. This was Charles Krauthammer’s accusation last October. Scandalous is just the right word.

Turns out CNN did cover it – off-prime and only briefly, once, maybe twice this week. Off-prime, and other major media outlets such as CBS and ABC gave Benghazi plus-or-minus four minutes or so each occasionally over the course of the week.

Hillary Rodham Clinton - photo AP-Pablo Martinez Monsivais

So an interesting and revealing phenomenon has occurred: One cannot report on lack of journalistic integrity – as any and all of the national outlets ought to subscribe to doing as part of their charter to serve the public good – when one is, by the sin of omission, the very one who has violated the rule of integrity. Seems that this is telling, the declarations we can make by our silence.

We’ve got one word for you: It’s ugly and it’s going to get uglier.

So that’s the question: Why?

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Internet and/or print references in support of these observations:

The Christian Science Monitor, Hicks testimony, 08 May, 2013

The Media Research Center, 09 May 2013

National Review Online, Ted Cruz, eight months later, 08 May 2013

WBUR-Boston, Clinton testimony, 23 Jan 2013

Mediaite, Limbaugh, media don’t care, 09 May 2013

FoxNews Insider, Megyn Kelly, 09 May 2013

FoxNews Insider, story ranks third, 10 May 2013

Business Insider.com, Jon Stewart criticism of FoxNews, 08 May 2013

New York Times, editorial, 09 May 2013

FoxNews Insider, O’Reilly responds to Stewart, 10 May 2013

Red Alert Politics.com, US Rep Stockman criticism, 09 May 2013

The Daily Caller, Krauthammer criticism, 25 Oct 2012

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. . . and Terre Haute Makes up More than Half of Them.

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My “from-childhood-through-high school–to-present” buddy Bill was curious and so I feel obliged to respond.

Well, at one time it was up to 43 or so, but I decided to take out all the references to famous people. Sorta.

I did some real honest soul-searching. (If I had included them, and more over, assigned them each their own number, as tedious and pointless as that would have been, the count would have rocketed to somewhere around 187. At least.

It seems Hoosiers, when presenting these amazing Indiana trivia facts, always get stuck on the old standards: Honest Abe, John Mellencamp, David Letterman, Orville Redenbacher, Larry Bird, and Scatman Crothers. (Sorry to you guys who – I think – are still alive). Maybe we throw in Kurt Vonnegut, Hoagie Carmichael, The Amazing Criswell, Cole Porter, Carol Lombard and Michael and the Jackson Five, but still . . .

The truth is, there are many, many more (Like Abraham Lincoln, for instance, who spent his teenage years in Spencer County) but I – and everybody else – get pretty tired of the same old list all the time. It’s like your dad dragging out the same tired slide show and home movies shown on the ancient wobbly collapsible screen every Christmas, thinking for some inane reason everybody wants to see it all once again.

Well, maybe they do and maybe they don’t. (The truth is, I like it and wish I could do it more.) Admittedly there can be a sort of sick sadistic fascination with it. But probably not so much with old lists of well known people who are still famous like they were 30 years ago. Especially the dead ones; not much becomes newly interesting in the list.

I began my research thinking for some reason the US clay court tennis championship tournament (any) was/were held in Indianapolis.

Wrong.

I also thought for some reason Indianapolis was the world capital of amateur and youth sports.

Wrong.

Turns out it was the Pan American Games I was thinking of – held there once, in 1987.

Close I guess, somehow.

When I dutifully first saw the soon-to-be classic basketball movie Hoosiers in 1986 I thought the town of Terhune was a fictitious, amalgamated representation of the several powerhouse schools in Terre Haute and other towns during the 1950s and 60s – guys like Dischinger, Lovellette, Klueh, Robinson, Van Arsdale and schools like Garfield, Crispus Attucks, Cathedral, Manuel; a tribute to all the great players and teams of that era.

Wrong. (Maybe. Probably.)

While it has neither high school nor basketball team, Terhune is in fact a real place, in all likelihood, I thought, selected for the movie because it is the exact geographic center of Indiana.

Wrong there, too. I have no clue how Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh picked Terhune.

– – –

By the way, the geographic center of the lower 48 United States is Lebanon, Kansas; a remote and obviously declining town of about 300 people.

I have visited there during pheasant season and have stood at the historical marker denoting its place in the American landscape. It’s worth the detour if you’re transiting the breadth of Kansas on US 36. One of those deals – you can say you’ve done it.

– – –

I also thought, understandably, with all the gardening and resulting tomato glut in the state every summer, that Indiana ought to be the ketchup or catsup or BLT or plain old tomato-slice-with-salt-and-pepper-right-from-the-garden capital of the nation, but I can’t find anything to back any of this up.

In retrospect, I have no idea where I got these ideas.

– – –

So Bill, here’s the list, as best as I can figure, sans famous people . . . for the most part.

– – –

38. In 2002 Indiana University was ranked the #1 party school in the nation. What’s happened to the past 8 years I don’t know.

37. The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University was ranked number one in the 2010 World Rankings for Entrepreneurship Productivity.

36. Indiana State University has one of the top-rated nursing programs in the country.

35. The most famous auto race in the world – the Indianapolis 500 – is in . . . Indiana, obviously.

34. East Race Waterway, in south Bend, is the only man-made white-water raceway in North America.

33. Indiana has been the home of 5 vice presidents and one president. You’ll need to read Hoosier author, Steve Tally’s book, Bland Ambition, before you make any firm decisions on this one.

bland ambition

32. Terre Haute played a key role in the historic “Old Northwest Territory” in the formative years of the United States. Fort Harrison was established there – above the Wabash River by future US president Gen. William Henry Harrison and later commanded by future president Capt Zachary Taylor. Just south of here, explorers Lewis and Clark set out from Fort Vincennes on their exploration of the Northwest Territory.

31. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute is consistently ranked as one of the top engineering schools in the country.

30. It is argued by some that the phrase known round the world, “Go west, young man” was not uttered by the famous New York Tribune newspaper editor Horace Greely after all; he only repeated it: It is said that the quote first appeared as the title to the 1851, Terre Haute Express editorial written by John B. L. Soule. Other similar accounts exist, but so what. We’re not about to give up our claim.

29. Indiana almost boasts the greatest amount of popcorn produced in the country, edged slightly by Nebraska. This fairly counts as a near-miss.

28. The largest producer of ducking in North America – that is, duck meat for human consumption – is in Milford, Indiana.

27. Singer-songwriter Burl Ives (recall the singing snowman in the animated production of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer) once performed on live radio in Terre Haute, and would regularly walk across the street to eat at the Gillis Drug Store – as did internationally known poet Max Ehrmann, a native of that city – where my grandmother worked and served them in the 1920s, ‘30s and ’40’s.

26. The world’s best know baking powder, Clabber Girl Baking Powder is based in Terre Haute, and is one of the oldest companies in Indiana, still owned and operated by the Hulman Family in Terre Haute (also owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway).

25. Hoosier Tire is the largest manufacturer of racing tires in the world.

24. Van Camp’s Pork and Beans, Ball jars, world’s first practical gasoline pump, the WWII P-47 fighter-plane (110 copies), Chicago Bears’ QB Jay Cutler: All from Indiana.

(I’ll take the Ball jar and the gas pump.)

23. Indiana is the casket capital, home to Batesville Casket Company which produces more caskets than any other in the world.

22. America’s oldest standing vaudeville theatre, the Hippodrome remains in Terre Haute.

21. Indiana Limestone, often referred to as “Bedford Stone”, at least by Hoosiers, is the most well-known in the world.

Some of the best-known structures in the world are constructed with it: our nation’s Capitol Building, the Pentagon, New York’s Rockefeller Center, and many more.

20. The nation’s only federal execution chamber is located at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute. Domestic terrorist Timothy McVey was executed there.

19. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was organized in Terre Haute in 1881.

18. Voicemail as we know it today was created by a Hoosier, Scott Jones of Carmel.

(He’s a friend of a friend . . . one of my own several “brushes with greatness” – a phrases coined by Hoosier, David Letterman – that produce absolutely nothing.)

51177097_GnawBoneIndiana

17. Indiana has a town called “French Lick”. Also Rising Sun, Gnaw Bone, and my personal favorite (having grown up nearby), Toad Hop (just outside Terre Haute).

16. Sony Digital Audio Disc in Terre Haute produced the first CDs in the world. Sony’s Terre Haute location is also one of only three in the world to produce Blu Ray discs.

15. Columbia House in Terre Haute (formerly Columbia Records) was known world-wide for its record club. (Aahh . . . anyone remember the Saturday morning $1 record and tape sales in one of their warehouses? That was awesome.)

14. One of the oldest breweries in the United States, the Terre Haute Brewing Co. was begun in that city in 1837 and was once the 7th largest in the country. They eventually produced the world famous Champagne Velvet, whose original hand-written recipe was recently discovered in an underground vault in the original premises.

13. Indiana – and specifically Purdue University (with 22) – is the “astronaut center of gravity”, having produced 30 astronauts, including well-known native Hoosiers Gus Grissom and David Wolf, and Ken Bowersox, among others.

12. Marcella Gruelle of Indianapolis created the Raggedy Ann doll in 1914.

11. The first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne on May 4, 1871.

10. Historic Parke County has 32 covered bridges and is the Covered Bridge Capital of the world.

9. Crawfordsville is the home of the only known working rotary jail in the United States. The jail with its rotating cellblock was built in 1882. I cannot however, explain what this really is or why. Google! . . .

(Ok, I Googled it. According to the Rotary Jail Museum website “ . . . [b]y creating a structure in which prisoners could be controlled without the necessity of personal contact between inmate and jailer, builders William H. Brown and Benjamin F. Haugh of Indianapolis believed that their patented design would help maintain the strict Victorian social order.” http://www.rotaryjailmuseum.org/)

8. Indiana was the original car capital of the world, producing more automobiles than anywhere else, including Studebaker and Avanti.

(Ok. Not sure why I mentioned Avanti; they were a weak experiment in the fiberglass-bodied sports car based on a Studebaker Lark chassis last known to be produced in Mexico, and apparently died there).

Indiana produced some of the most famous and most valuable and collectable cars ever built:

Duesenberg, Auburn, Cord and Maxwells are some of the most notable. In fact, from 1900 to 1920 more than 200 different makes of cars were produced in the Hoosier State. (The quality, reputation and desirability of Duesenberg gave rise to the term, “It’s a Duesy”, meaning something of great quality or value.)

7. In 1862, Richard Gatling, of Indianapolis, invented the rapid-fire machine gun, known as the “Gatling Gun“.

6. V-8 Juice was created in Indiana. Am I disloyal to say I hate that stuff?

. . . And the Top Five reasons:

5. The Coke bottle design was created in Indiana (Terre Haute) in 1916.

4. Terre Haute is known as the original “Sin City” – long before Las Vegas even existed, due to its national reputation as a center of gambling, prostitution, and government corruption, and bad smell, among other fine attributes.

3. A recent (if somewhat disputed) survey determined Indiana boasts two of the top three 2010 nation’s “most sexually active” cities: Indianapolis claims the over-all #1 spot nationally. Fort Wayne ranks third.

(I wasn’t exactly sure just what kind of representative image ought to go here, so just skipped it.)

2. It is considered that high school basketball was born in Indiana in 1891 and thanks to Indiana native and Indiana State Alumnus coach John Wooden of UCLA Indiana was solidified as the Basketball Capital of the World.

(Just tell this to my father in-law who is proud alum of the University of Kansas)

In fact in 1925, Dr. James Naismith (the KU court is named after him) the creator of the sport visited an Indiana high school basketball state finals game and wrote that “basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.”

1. The two original national roads intersect in Indiana – Terre Haute to be exact – to give it the nick-name “Crossroads of America”. At one time 12 different stagecoach lines ran through Indiana on the National Road (now US highway 40). The actual intersection of these two famous roads is 7th street and Wabash Avenue to be more exact.

My father and grandfather shared an office on this very corner during the 1960s and ‘70s.

It was the northwest corner office suite of the Merchants National Bank – six rooms – at that very intersection, on the second floor of the bank – immediately above the “time and temperature” sign – the best place in all of Terre Haute to view and party during the ISU Homecoming parade.

10%20Downtown%20Terre%20Haute%2002

Important reminder: these two original national highways, US 40 and US 41 were both by-passed many years ago, Hhmmm . . .

Terre Haute is …..uuhhh…must be the Center of the Center

See the gravitation toward Terre Haute?

My editorial and research biases are shameless, probably unprofessional and maybe even pitiful.

In the preceding list, of all locations – Terre Haute is mentioned or referenced in some form about 25 times – more than half of all these fascinating points of trivia. And all this is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

So you can easily see why Terre Haute really is the True Center of Societal Gravity and therefore the True Center the World . . .

Ok. That’s it.

In retrospect, I’m not sure how persuasive my argument is, but it is what it is. I am a strong and convinced defender.

There – point made. Boom. Done.

– – –

Old National Bank building, 7th Street & Wabash Avenue, Terre Haute, photo credit: JimGrey.net

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It’s touted as the “Covered Bridge Capital of the World”, and rightly so.

Cox-Ford covered bridge, Parke Co IN  - Photo by Allan & Helen Bartel

Parke County, Indiana boasts 67 the most in the country: 31, most of which are still in use, open either for foot traffic or to motorized vehicles.

The annual festival started today and runs through October 18th. I’ll not promote any further, except to say no matter what road you enter the county on, you can find your way to all the reasons you’re either glad you grew up in Indiana, or are just glad to be there.

So I have just a few simple questions for your trip to Parke County this month:

What is your favorite bridge?
What is your favorite village?
What is your favorite food or snack?
And over all, what is your favorite tradition or memory?

Let us – and the rest of the world – know! We would love to hear from you. Thanks!

For the best information on-line for everything you need to know about visiting the festival , visit either http://www.parkecounty.com/ or http://www.coveredbridges.com/

(My favorites? The Cox-Ford Bridge, Mansfield, Sassafras hard candy and persimmon ice cream made and sold by Boy Scout Troop 469 on the courthouse square, and overall… the smells that remind me of life in Indiana. Beyond comparison.)

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The Colors of Indiana

Fall Colors - Raymond Gehman

I suppose it is fitting that the first bona fide question submitted to Ask A Hoosier.com is about the Fall colors in Indiana – when do they come?

The short answer is: Generally, October. But that’s generally.

If I were to recommend a single source for authoritative information on Indiana’s fall colors, I would say checkout Outdoor Indiana’s September 2005 article, “Rainbow on the Bough” (www.in.gov/dnr/fall/Fall-Color-Article.pdf). This particular recommendation is because I am loyal and these guys are smart.

Now, before I go too far, let me say – I am not a professional. I am a passionate and longing ex-patriot Hoosier, displaced to another state, where, although absolutely beautiful at any time of the year – Colorado – the people boast of the beautiful – single – color of the aspens – yellow. It is an annual ritual in Colorado for residents and visitors alike to make the traditional weekend trek to the mountains to view the aspens. And they are in fact beautiful. They grow in thick groves on the steep mountain sides, in the rolling meadows of the high alpine elevations throughout the state. The small, delicate leaves become an almost luminescent glowing bright and golden yellow, and with their fluttering back and forth gently in the breeze they seem to have a living celebratory, purposeful motion about them. As if they know they’re on display; and they are. It is a sight worth seeing.

But when all is said and done, it’s one color.

Colorado Twilight near Crested Butte, CO - by Michael Anderson

My response to native Coloradans, meant to be engaging and ever-so-gentle probably comes out somewhat thankless and bitter anyway. “If you think the aspens are beautiful, you ought to see the trees in Indiana in the Fall!” If they don’t say it, they’re probably thinking it: “…And you can go back and live there, too…” Well, maybe I can’t explain myself properly. The best thing to do – really – is just to shut up and [enjoy the] color[s]. And, as I said, they are beautiful.

Indiana colors begin changing as early as September in certain parts of the state; primarily the northern-most region, and work their way down. The leaves are in their full vibrancy across the state by mid-to-late October. But it also depends on the tree species themselves. By late October-early November in Indiana, in my recollection, the leaves are mostly down, and so (in my opinion) provide for good-to-better squirrel huntin’ (This is due to my poor marksmanship. I can’t hit a thing with a .22 unless I brace it against a small tree, and I can’t see well enough to fight my visual way through all the leaves. So I wait. My waiting, by the way, is also due in part to the decline in mosquito activity. By this time the air is cool enough they’ve gone on home, and I’m not bothered by this mean and ungodly distraction.)

Maple Leaves

The maples are my personal favorite. Fiery bright reds, oranges, yellows, and the smeared spectrum of colors in between. The oaks produce these flaming bright colors, too, but also give us deep purples as a powerful bonus to their majestic display. And as I am from west-central Indiana, I have to say my home area is just incredible with its Fall colors in full splendor. But the full and final, hands-down nod goes to southern Indiana, and specifically, I have to award it to Brown County. It’s a glorious explosion. But it also demands an awe-inspired silence. For specific proof of this, make the drive on State Road 46 out of Bloomington toward Nashville anytime in October. As you travel along toward Brown County State Park (a must-visit), you’ll begin to see long-distance vistas to the south and east that will virtually command silence – a peace – just in the seeing of it.

I suppose when it comes right down to it, every county in the state – certainly the southern half – is vibrant almost beyond description. And nearly every state east of the Mississippi for that matter (recall I wrote in my earliest introduction to Ask A Hooiser.com, that whereever you are, whomever you are, it may not be, we may not be so different after all).

The visual experience is nearly spiritual, and for many, it is exactly that. The connection between us and God is surely pondered during this time of year in Indiana more than any other time: The miracle that we, in our natural state, are made to enjoy this so much, to respond with such an overwhelming sense of awe and appreciation. Did He do this for us? He must have. Were we made specifically with the capacity to feel this event as an actual experience that somehow makes a difference in our lives? It seems so.

ag_fall

If the debate as to the reality of God is assured to continue for eternity, so too will the presumed evidence proclaim its glory.

(For those of you who may be so inclined, check out the New Testament, the Letter to the Romans, chapter 1, verse 20. I was first presented with this very concept, that of evidence, while riding a ski lift in Colorado, when my friend, Jeff Lough turned around in the bench seat we were sharing, looked back across the valley surrounding Copper Mountain in Colorado, and confidently and with real amazement and appreciation said, “No one can tell me God doesn’t exist.”)

Go see for yourself. This one bit of evidence is not debatable.

If it is hard to describe the Fall colors of Indiana with grand and majestic words, it’s easy enough to say, “You just gotta see it.”

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Com’on, give us your two-cents-worth.

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