Of Lightening Bugs, Hoosiers, and John Dillinger

June 5, 2008

Not to outdo Putnam County but I was sitting on the back porch of a rural Milan residence last Saturday when a group of us spotted our very own “first lightening bugs.”

Milan, Indiana, for those who don’t know, had a high school basketball team that won the Indiana state championships back in 1954. This was the team that served largely as the inspiration for one of the greatest movies of all time.

And speaking of Indiana films, John Dillinger, a Hoosier native and ruthless criminal of the prohibition-era who still enjoys high esteem as a Robin Hoodesque character will be profiled in the upcoming Michael Mann film Public Enemies.

As evidence of the high esteem in which he is held read Ruth’s blog (linked above) and know that Dillinger will be played by Johnny Depp. Also note that, still an Indianapolis resident, Dillinger shares real estate with President Benjamin Harrison, Colonel Lilly, and James Whitcomb Riley among other notables.

This entry was posted by: Jim

Photo by Flickr user Jamelah under limited Creative Commons License.



  1. Thanks for the Crown Hill link! I knew Dillinger was buried there, but I had no idea where. Maybe I’ll track him down this summer.

  2. Not indy-related but it is grave-related, I might be visiting col sanders burial site this weekend.

    Quick! draw a connection between the mustachioed Kentucky Colonel and the Counter-leaping bank robber of the midwest.

  3. I need another opinion on this: lightening bug or firefly? Which is the predominant term here in Indiana?

  4. It’s hard for me to chime in on this completely because I spent my lightening bug/firefly catching days in Kentucky and Virginia but I’ve always called them “lightening bugs” and after moving to Indiana I’ve never had anybody correct me. Unlike the “coke,” “pop,” “soda” debate, where I say “soda” and people look at me funny.

    Also, when we were sitting in Milan our host, a Hoosier native nearly choked in excitement trying to spit out the word “lightening bug.”

    So that’s my vote.

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