The Hoosierist: Flipping The Bird

Illustration by Nate Kitch

Q: I hear wild turkeys have made a huge comeback in Indiana—and that they’re jerks like Canada geese. Is this true?
A: Yes, more than 100,000 wild turkeys roam Indiana, and they’re not always the best neighbors. Big males weigh as much as 24 pounds, and when they’re jacked up on testosterone during the February-to-May breeding season, they can get mighty testy. The best way to deal with these birds is to stand up to them. If a turkey challenges you, respond by waving your arms and making loud noises. Once he realizes you’re not a patsy, he’ll back down. Interestingly, when it comes to “problem birds,” turkeys and Canada geese aren’t the only species making Hoosier headlines. There are also black buzzards, which enjoy trashing cars. Groups of them alight on vehicles and rip out windshield wipers, sunroof seals, and other rubber parts. Experts say they may like the taste or texture of those products. Or maybe they’re just jerks.

Q: Do any of our museums have laser-field security systems, like you see in heist movies?
A: Not surprisingly, local arts institutions are deeply uninterested in providing details about which security measures they employ. But Bill Nelson, a senior consultant at Nelson Alarm with more than 40 years of experience, was willing to talk—in a general way—about how those collections stay safe. He says the idea of beating laser fields by using smoke to make the beams visible is Hollywood nonsense. For one thing, blowing smoke in front of sensitive lasers would probably trigger an alarm. For another, those systems (which Newfields and others may or may not use) are augmented by such technologies as infrared heat sensors. About the only way to defeat such gear is to shut it down by lowering yourself on wires into the building’s central computer core, then linking in via a sophisticated laptop. You know, like they do in the movies.

Q: I’m in a garage band. How do I get in the Tonic Ball lineup?
A: If you want to play at this month’s Tonic Ball, you’ll need to build a time machine and go back to September, when applications were still being taken. But if you’d like to plan ahead and join the 70 bands that will perform next year, Tonic Ball co-chair Ben Shine says the application process is pretty straightforward. “Show us what you’ve got,” he says. “If you’re a new band, show us your video, let us hear your music.” It also doesn’t hurt to bring something unorthodox. Tonic Ball features covers of superstar bands and solo acts. So if your hip-hop group does a version of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” you might receive extra-careful consideration. “We want to put together a show where the bands play songs you wouldn’t expect,” Shine says.


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