The Hoosierist: Carmel’s Sickening Roundabouts

A queasy rider, Indiana warships, and heirloom tomatoes. Ask The Hoosierist.
Q: Am I the only person who gets carsick driving Carmel’s roundabouts?
A: The Hoosierist also gets a bit woozy after circling two or three in quick succession. But Carmel officials insist that while citizens may bellyache about the suburb’s many roundabouts, few claim they literally cause bellyaches. According to Carmel spokesman Dan McFeely, it isn’t an issue because the ones the city builds are relatively small, and the entrances angle to the right so you needn’t make an abrupt, inner ear–jarring turn to get in. “They’re not huge circles like the one in National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” he says. Instead of complaining about nausea, folks gripe about drivers who don’t understand how the roundabouts work and stop before entering them, even when no other cars are present. The solution? Just grin and bear it. “You have to be forgiving,” McFeely says. “We get a lot of out-of-town traffic.”

Q: I hear a new USS Indiana submarine is about to join the navy. Do any other warships have Hoosier names?
A: When the USS Indiana is christened this fall, it will be the first Navy vessel since World War II to sport our state’s name. This will also be the first time in decades that the fleet has had both an Indiana and a USS Indianapolis (in this case, a small ship) at the same time. It last happened during World War II, when the Indiana won nine battle stars during the war in the Pacific. The fate of the heavy cruiser Indianapolis, as anyone who’s ever listened to Quint’s chilling monologue in Jaws knows, was far darker. She was sunk by Japanese torpedoes, and the majority of her crew was eaten by sharks. While Indianapolis has had four ships named after it, and Indiana three, they don’t hold the in-state record. That honor belongs to Vincennes, which for some reason has had five namesake vessels.

Q: Why are heirloom tomatoes so hard to find at grocery stores?
A: The reason you don’t see lesser-known tomato varieties in the produce aisle is because the things that make them delicious—tender skins and juiciness—also make them difficult to transport. “Most heirloom varieties are too fragile for mass marketing,” says Rosie Lerner, a horticulture specialist at Purdue University. The varieties in grocery stores are designed for hassle-free shipment. Their thick skins give them the resilience of tennis balls. Unfortunately, it also makes them as tasty as tennis balls. So if you want to up your tomato game, visit a local farmers market. Fancy tomatoes may be too temperamental to spend a week in a warehouse, but they can handle an hour in Farmer Brown’s pickup truck just fine.


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