Friday, November 28, 2014

I hope Speck is right, even if the political facts in New Albany suggest otherwise.

I'm not sure if my friend and colleague Jeff Gillenwater always approves my quoting him, but the way I see it, we're trying to accomplish something here, and to do so by means of words, sentences, paragraphs and essays intended to espouse and advance, and also by recording local events for posterity. At this blog, we're writing about the bits of New Albany that are important, but otherwise neglected by other more conventional sources.

I accept help, support and succor anywhere I can find it. Frankly, we're engaged in a form of political struggle against institutionalized mediocrity, and it isn't a genteel game.

Earlier this week, Jeff G and I corresponded briefly with Jeff Speck, proponent of walkability and the street grid reforms designed to institute and enhance it. As most of you know, Speck is authoring the study of New Albany's traffic and streets which (as we're told so often privately) will serve as the blueprint for our city's transportation future.

The problem, as I explained most recently here, is that we've been persistently unable to locate elected or appointed officials who are willing (or able) to say aloud what they claim privately to embrace, as whispered in darkened back corridors. I've frequently pointed out that my personal ethos differs with this approach, because my world works like this: If it's true, fair and you embrace it, then you're obliged to own it, sell it, and accept the credit or the consequences, come what may.

It is unimaginable to me that any of us in the better beer business ever would have advanced the cause of "craft" beer by fearfully huddling terrified on the down low.

Back to Jeff G, who phrases it this way:

Official statements about the street grid in question:

  • Police department says there is no speeding problem.
  • Planning department says there is no heavy truck problem.
  • Development/Redevelopment Director says no one is interested in talking or hearing about it.
  • Mayor/Board of Works say nothing.

If these folks are correct, sincere. and working in my interests as is, then what is Speck doing here anyway? Isn't it all fine? If it's not, why so many city statements denying problems and dialogue? Which part of this is trustworthy, the denial of problems or the hiring of Speck to solve them?

You'll notice that I'm not divulging exactly what thoughts we exchanged with Speck earlier this week. I don't have his permission to do so.

However, it might suffice to say that his view of the situation here differs somewhat from ours (i.e., he takes their word for it), and that I sincerely wish that he is right, and we're wrong -- although the evidence on the ground here in town doesn't support the faith of Pollyannas of any dimension, from any academic or geographical perspective.

In fact, I'm reminded of an episode of television's M*A*S*H (Season 4; Episode 92). In "The Novocaine Mutiny," Hawkeye is accused of mutiny against temporary camp commander Frank Burns. In Burns' testimony before the tribunal, he is the unquestioned hero and Hawkeye the pernicious villain.

Hawkeye's recollection is the polar opposite, and naturally it is the factual one. He is found innocent.

My point?

Until Wednesday, I'd never considered the similarities between New Albany's public projects honcho John Rosenbarger and the TV character of Frank Burns. Since Wednesday, "The Novocaine Mutiny" is playing out in real time, right here, as the semis and dump trucks whiz past unchecked on Spring Street.

In my heart of hearts, I know that the same old failed suspects are going to botch this Speck reform plan, just like they always have and always will botch reform plans. It's because they have no interest in reform, because they've never been compelled to pay a price for their disinterest. They've forfeited our trust again and again, even if it may not seem obvious from afar.

But maybe Aesop's "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is a better example.

This time around the dance floor, with the Speck plan looming, Rosenbarger swears he is being genuine about the helpful principles of street grid reform. He (and others) are all on board. They're for it and not against it, and yet they cannot bring themselves to say this for attribution. What I want to make clear in rebuttal is simple.

"Sorry John, but nobody believes a liar ... even when he is telling the truth."

Except that I don't believe he is telling the truth. Why start this late in the game?


Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, 6 to 8 p.m. at BSB

One Southern Indiana celebrates Small Business Saturday ... with chain outlets and malls.

One Southern Indiana's self-serving, contradictory hokum never ceases to amaze me.

Unfortunately, the outfit's relentless shuck and jive boasts a bamboozling quality which somehow convinces small independent businesses against all prevailing logic that 1Si actually can do something positive for them, even as the organization supports one after another US Chamber of Commerce imperatives guaranteed to pull the rug out from under grassroots operators here and everywhere.

Thanks to S, who occasionally forwards 1Si's propaganda to NAC, for the following PR waste paper.

As usual, contrast the rote repetition of small business, "buy local" parameters -- you know, the ones 1Si generally works against 364 days a year, with the names of some of the "small" and "local" businesses on the list ... all of whom are (drum roll please) members of 1Si!

It's sickening. C'mon, brethren: Boycott the oligarchy-support org, and save your money for real progress here on the ground.


See attached in case you have not seen this elsewhere.  I know when I think of small businesses, Edinburgh Premium Outlets and the Green Tree Mall are on the top of my list.

In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help businesses with their most pressing need - getting more customers. The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The single day has grown into a powerful movement, and more people are taking part than ever before.

Here's just a few reasons why we want you to shop small:

  • Locally owned businesses put money back into the community. They support the Little League and Boy Scouts and the local theater.
  • Locally owned business owners are your neighbors. You go to church with them. You attend the Lions, Rotary or Kiwanis with them. They are your friends.
  • Locally owned businesses hire local people. They provide jobs.
  • Help keep our community vibrant. Help grow our community into the kind of place we all want to live in. You can do that by shopping small.

Below is a list of locally owned 1si members to consider when shopping this Saturday.

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Adrienne's Company Bakery & Cafe
Aebersold Florist
Azure Skin & Wellness Centre
Bales Motor Company
Ben Franklin Crafts
Bimbo Bakeries USA
Bowles Mattress Co., Inc.
Charcoal & More
Chester Pool Systems, Inc.
Coyle Chevrolet & Nissan
Craig & Landreth Pre-Owned
Derby Dinner Playhouse
Diverse Woodworking, LLC
Edinburgh Premium Outlets
Endris Jewelers
F5 Enterprises, LLC Creative Marketing and Photography
Glowing Face Therapeutics Day Spa
Green Tree Mall
GTECH Indiana, LLC
Haas Jewelers
Hill Auto Sales, Inc.
Huber's Orchard, Winery & Vineyards
John Jones Auto Group
Koerber's Fine Jewelry
Lloyd's Florist, Inc.
Mathes Pharmacy & Homecare
My Scratch & Dent Appliances and Warehousing
Pacers & Racers , Inc.
Paul's Pharmacy Inc.
Phantom Fireworks
Precision Compounding Pharmacy
Premier Carpets & More, Inc.
Sam Swope Clarksville
Schimpff's Confectionery
Schmitt Furniture Co.
Simply Grand & Vintage Piano Works
Slone Automotive Enterprises, Inc.
Stage One Family Theatre
Strandz Salon & Threadz Boutique
Stuart Bauer Pools & Spa's
Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt
Sweets by Morgan
The Flower Shoppe
Uptown Art

Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, 6 to 8 p.m. at BSB

Chef Israel's new restaurant will be called A Taste of Mexico.

We got wind of this in late September, and so it's good to see Chef Israel's project advancing, even if my waistline stands to be a major casualty of the reincarnation.

Are we about to witness a reincarnation of La Rosita?

I ran into Israel recently, and he said the target date is early next year, maybe February.

Former La Rosita owner to open another restaurant in New Albany, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)

NEW ALBANY — The brains behind a once popular New Albany eatery plans to open a new Mexican cuisine restaurant.

Chef Israel Landin, who owned the former La Rosita restaurant, requested permission Tuesday from the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety to place tables outside his new establishment.
A Taste of Mexico is planned for the former La Rosita location at 1515 E. Market St., though an exact opening date hasn’t been announced.

Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, 6 to 8 p.m. at BSB

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Taco Punk returns to Bank Street Brewhouse on Nov. 28 & 29, and beyond.

Last weekend’s Taco Punk pop-up kitchen at Bank Street Brewhouse was great fun, and so we’re going to do it again … in fact, the arrangement will be ongoing, at least for the foreseeable future.

Chef Gabe Sowder will be vending his gourmet tacos at Bank Street Brewhouse on Friday and Saturday evenings, November 28 and 29, beginning around 5:00 p.m. both nights.

The plan at present is for Gabe and Taco Punk to continue doing so on most Fridays and Saturdays from here out, and perhaps Thursdays, too. Here’s the overview.

Gabe’s doing a scaled back Taco Punk menu. Think of it as a food truck running out of BSB’s kitchen space. Last weekend, the menu consisted of chips, salsa, guacamole and tacos served five different ways. The menu could get bigger, or not. The days and hours might change — or not. There’ll be no Taco Punk at BSB on Saturday, December 6, because we have a large group coming in … you can stop by and purchase growlers and bombers to go on the 6th, but that’s all. We’re unsure of Christmas and New Year’s weekend hours, so stay tuned.

Neither of us want to promise more than we can deliver, and we’re content to see the arrangement evolve gradually. However, we’re certain that Taco Punk’s food and NABC’s beers are a tasty match, so we’ll give it a shot and see what happens.

ON THE AVENUES: Faux thanks and reveries (2014 Remix).

ON THE AVENUES: Faux thanks and reveries (2014 Remix).

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

My annual Thanksgiving Day column has evolved into variations on a theme, in which I append something topical to regurgitated previous musings. The cutting and pasting leaves more time for eating, you see … and the annual pilgrimage to Vietnam-by-Iroquois is about the only activity that makes the day worthwhile for me.


I may not “give” thanks in traditional terms to non-existent deities using annoying code language, but it doesn’t mean I refrain from thankfulness. Top billing goes to wife, mother, friends and co-workers, all of whom comprise a diverse extended family. I get by with a little help from everyone, to be truthful. I’ve been lucky, and also made some of my own breaks. There has been serendipity and opportunism. I’ve worked, worried and plain bore-assed in equal measure.

Balance. That’s the important thing.

I’m fortunate to make a living from drinking beer, preferably in my natural habitat of the pub. Yes, it’s a business, and we need to make a profit to survive. However, at the end of the day, intangibles and ideas matter more to me. Being in a position to educate and challenge is the real motivation, because the pub really should be the poor man’s university. I try to make it that way as often as possible.

Granted, a higher percentage of filthy lucre would be useful, and yet the absence seldom bothers me. I won’t ever be rich, and I’d rather be good at what I do: Teach, agitate, create lasting memories and try to get to the heart of the matter – whether it’s beer, localism, streets or all the above, tied together as they should be, because nothing exists in a vacuum.

Legacies don’t have to be built on wealth, and “profit” and “non-profit” are mere concepts in the mind of the beer holder. We won’t be taking any of it with us.

Legacies are about doing what you can, while you can, as best you can, and producing history impervious to calculations of interest, percentages and historical revisionism. Twenty years on, if someone smiles because they recall good times at the pub, then it’s the best return on my time and our investment.

This year marks the 11th edition of Saturnalia, NABC’s annual celebration of winter seasonal and holiday drafts. It begins tomorrow (November 28) at the original Pizzeria & Public House location, and runs through the month of December. This year, we decided to release our Naughty Claus spiced X-mas ale a couple of days early, and so it started pouring yesterday at both locations and will continue until all gone.

Saturnalia is a personal favorite fest, and a memory maker, primarily because so many fine people return home for the holidaze. These fun seasonal beers provide suitable accompaniment to the joys of reconnecting, sharing war stories, and remembering those no longer with us -- you know, the ones I’m very thankful to have known while they were here.


A few years ago in the ‘Baminator, I made an observation: There’s never any better time than Thanksgiving for an iconoclast’s thoughts to be made public.

Naturally, it remains futile to expect anyone to read my outpouring of words on Thursday, the holiday itself. Given the inability of many New Albanian readers to wade through my commentary without scratching their heads in confusion, it’s plainly impolite to ask them to waste valuable football viewing time by engaging in a frustrating, household-wide search for seldom-used dictionaries and thesauruses.

But I am nothing if not stubborn, so let’s revisit the notion of “iconoclast”:

  • 1. A breaker or destroyer of images, esp. those set up for religious veneration (like the bicentennial junta’s year-long fixation on the year 1872).
  • 2. A person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition … rather like your humble correspondent.

My heroes have always been iconoclasts. From Socrates through Tom Paine, and not exempting 20th-century polemicists like H. L. Mencken, there’s nothing as thrilling as an iconoclast taking a headlong swipe at unexamined assumptions. As Russell Brand’s recent revolutionary ranting reminds us, the most wonderful aspect of iconoclasm is that rampant personal dissipation does not pre-empt the message.

It actually may enhance it (see “pub” above).

Consequently, it is my duty to remind you that Thanksgiving, while perfectly enjoyable from a hedonist’s standpoint, and wholly conducive to this bibulous trencherman’s standards, actually stands for something more than gluttony and sports.

This certain “something” isn’t the prevailing pastel viewpoint of Puritans and Natives merrily gathering for a quaint New England picnic, pausing only occasionally from the consumption of corn chowder and non-alcoholic cranberry wine to pray before their respective deities.

The need for Christian apologetics aside, and whether or not Squanto miraculously facilitated a peaceful first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock, the subsequent history of the white man on the North American continent boasted the unabated slaughter of Native Americans, incessant pillaging of the environment, and an exculpatory doctrine of “manifest destiny” interwoven with prevailing religious belief, as intended to ease the consciences (if any) of those pulling the triggers.

We’ll leave the open approval of African-American slavery, emanating for many generations from Southern pulpits, for another day of faux “thanks.”

In the context of genuine American history, and to the exclusion of mythology and wishful thinking, the holiday we term “Thanksgiving” is ironic, to say the very least. I prefer reflections on all human history to be in accordance with the record, and as events actually occurred, without the tidying impulse to obscure and sanitize them.

I accept that people in all places and times do what they can with what they have, and believe that the best we can hope for is to learn from the past in the hope of learning worthwhile lessons and avoiding mistakes. In my opinion, the worst error of all is to misrepresent the historical record to justify theological needs.

Or, what’s about to happen to Jeff Speck’s traffic study when it lands in the grasping hands of the local Democratic Party cabal.

Yes, I observe Thanksgiving, too.

It’s just that I do so realistically.


America’s Christmas shopping season started on July 4, and it will reach a crescendo tomorrow, which frenzied pop culture vultures have dubbed Black Friday. Pavlov’s overworked and fever-ridden mutt can be expected to salivate continuously as university economics school analysts (I’m gazing at you, IU Southeast) read imported tea leaves to guess whether holiday season retail sales will be sufficient to keep Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Home Depot and Meijer’s solvent for another year.

I prefer Plaid Friday, and shifting shopping to independent small businesses.

But at least there’s food on Thanksgiving. As noted above, this means transformative dining at the venerable Vietnam Kitchen in Louisville. Iconoclasm aside, I enjoy the traditional Norman Rockwell bird-spread as much as anyone, but cooking it at home simply isn’t an option. Our Thanksgiving indulgences are crisp spring rolls, exotic peppery noodle dishes, clay pot catfish and French coffee for dessert.

After all, to each his own “tradition” – and may yours be peaceful, and not harmful to others.

Beam on medical marijuana.

Amanda Beam is on a roll lately. Whenever I can make it past the barbed wire and searchlights of Bill Hanson's advertisement-strewn newspaper paywall, I read her column, and it's always excellent.

Like this week's essay. Mention of "medical marijuana" inevitably induces misplaced chortling ... and here is why that's mistaken.

BEAM: Oh the web we weave, by Amanda Beam (N and T)

 ... “Now he’s on all these drugs,” Megan said. “If there is something else out there that might work, I don’t care what the side effects are because we’ve already put him through all this.”

But there is hope. With treatment options running out, studies have shown a strain of marijuana commonly known as Charlotte’s Web may provide some relief.

Named after an 8-year-old Colorado girl with epilepsy, Charlotte’s Web is a marijuana extract that contains high levels of an ingredient called cannabidiol (CBD) while having less of the mind-altering tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Basically, this type of cannabis delivers the useful chemicals from the plant without making patients high.

Roger's Year in Music 2014: Hold My Home, by Cold War Kids.

If this were an EP featuring only the first four tracks, it would be among my favorites of the year.

"All This Could Be Yours"
"Hot Coals"
"Drive Desperate"

As it stands, the forward momentum slows after these opening cuts. Cold War Kids occupy a place in my musical firmament where sound and mood trump memorable tunes, and while sound and mood can sweep me along, I use fewer extraneous chemicals than before, and the way my brain is wired is to embrace and fix those tunes. It seemingly dooms Cold War Kids to a second tier for me, although the group still can provide plenty of enjoyable snippets.

Morrissey croons my Thanksgiving message.

Actually, it isn't even necessary to "let me in" as a member or anything gauche like that, but otherwise ... I've dedicated my career in polemics to the proposition that the squeaky wheel gets the grease -- and if it doesn't, it squeaks EVEN LOUDER.

The more you ignore me, the closer and louder I get.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One Fine Day in the Park with Adam ... and a Football.

Inspired by FDR, the Floyd County Democratic Party squelches free expression on social media.

Local Democrats courageously prepare for 2015 by censoring Roger on social media.

ON THE AVENUES: Really, the word “progressive” embarrasses you? That’s okay, because political cowardice disgusts me.

ON THE AVENUES: Better access, quality of life, public safety, and various other Orwellian aspects of the New Albanist’s experience.

ON THE AVENUES: Better access, quality of life, public safety, and various other Orwellian aspects of the New Albanist’s experience.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Author's note: The bountiful holiday harvest of sheer and unrequited bile brings you today's early edition of ON THE AVENUES, including links to previous editions of our New Albanist's Dictionary (see below), as well as the annual Thanksgiving column tomorrow. 


If you do not speak up when it matters, when would it matter that you speak? The opposite of courage is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.
-- Jim Hightower

Last week, New Albany’s Board of Public Works acted with unaccustomed principle and bold decisiveness to address the perennial dysfunction of New Albany’s one-way arterial street grid, courageously braving the wrath of almost one potential voter in unanimously approving the reconversion of East 5th Street to two-way traffic.

In doing so, the board and its chairman, former mayor Warren Nash, heeded the testimony of city engineer Larry Summers, who described the action as necessary because it would result in “better access.”

Before assuming “better access” to signify a universal concept, it might be informative to ask: Better access to what?

Primarily, to VFW Post 3281, which in itself would be a matter of supreme irony to city officials if they actually paid attention to the real world outside, given that last winter the very same VFW post didn’t give a nanosecond of a tinker’s damn about “better” pedestrian “access” to sidewalks, which were piled high with snow removed from its vast and largely unused parking lot by clueless flunkies.

Of course, back then a typically somnolent Board of Works was unable to muster a coherent response when “better access” meant walkers and their sidewalks stupidly blocked with someone else’s snow, but in the aftermath of the Main Street Disprovement, Deforestation and Semi Trailer Non-Diversion Project’s installation of a median directly in front of the VFW’s traditional Main Street entrance, and with 5th Street forever inaccessible via Main by virtue of it being pointed one-way south … well, then the wheels turned with lightning speed, and the pieties and hypocrisies dutifully were glue-stuck into place.

It is either amusing or tragic that the Main Street project’s $2 million or more in largesse was completely spread among its various intended political orifices before anyone stopped to consider the VFW’s driveway, and now we’re left with “better access” as a selective imperative for the VFW’s aging membership, probably since these same folks have been observed periodically to cast ballots.

Thus, the city acts with unprecedented haste to preclude one wastage of time and gasoline caused by driving unnecessarily around the block, while staring dully at passing tumbleweeds as other examples of precisely the same phenomenon are never addressed.

For instance, there’s the notion of “better access” from Elm Street to Dragon King’s Daughter, Larry Ricke’s firm, Uptown Arts, the Carnegie Center, Fox Law Office and Bank Street Brewhouse. Why should visitors to these establishments be forced to drive all the way around the block?

Here’s a hint, Warren: Reconfigure Bank Street to two-way traffic.

Or am I being too technical for you?


Hence, the recurring problem with city officials delightedly settling on the repeated deployment of cute little buzz phrases they’ve spent all of 35 seconds considering in terms of their potential implications, and also why the pesky meaning of words in the English language bedevils them so.

Consequently, “better access” now takes it rightful place alongside “quality of life” and “public safety” as trite hack phrases rendered utterly nonsensical by the Gahan administration. It’s only a matter of time until classic Orwellian doublethink gems are resurrected as local Democratic Party campaign slogans:

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength.

I’m sure all former Democratic mayors can endorse these solid administrative dictums, if not their irony.


Mayor Jeff Gahan apparently considers Nash to be a grandfatherly guiding light and party elder worth heeding, hence Nash’s position of weekly civic obfuscation at the Board of Works, where he does quite little save running interference for the ever-deepening conceptual muddle that has characterized Gahan’s disappointing term in office.

What’s interesting about this symbiotic attachment between Gahan and Nash is that they share a distinction as the only two Democratic mayoral candidates in a half-century (or more) to capture 60% of the vote in winning office. Gahan took 64% against a split Republican effort in 2011, and Nash scored 60% in 1971 in deposing the “All-American” Tuffy Inman.

Ah, but it gets even better.

When Nash ran for re-election in 1975, he became perhaps the only Democratic mayor in the history of New Albany to see a 60%-plus share for a second time. Unfortunately for Nash, it was his opponent Bob Real’s victorious tally, not his own.

1975: Republican challenger Robert Real defeats Nash, 9,264 to 4,763.
Total votes: 14,027
Percentage: 66 - 34

Whoa! And to think we regarded the election results of November 4, 2014 as an epic beat down. Even Mark Seabrook didn’t win this year by a 66-34 percentage -- although he came tantalizingly close.

Note that as a political insurgent, I’m not complaining at all. The Board of Works may do little or nothing to address real infrastructure issues, and city officials can continue to merrily butcher the beauty of the English language – just so long as Gahan continues to model his political career on Nash’s.


Several years back, in the newspaper, when it still covered New Albany, I published two installments of the New Albanist’s Dictionary.

A New Albanist’s Dictionary (Oct. 15, 2009).

A New Albanist’s Dictionary, Volume 2 (Jan. 6, 2011).

Granted, almost four years have passed, and certain of the topical references are quite dated. It may be time for an update, and the three favored civic bullshit phrases considered here today occupy the top of the list.

Better access
Quality of life
Public safety

Readers, any thoughts on simple definitions for these?

You needn’t over-think them; after all, the current occupants aren’t, either.

From the Beer Money files: A New Albanist’s Dictionary, Volume 2 (Jan. 6, 2011).

Author's note: The bountiful holiday harvest of sheer and unrequited bile brings you an early edition of ON THE AVENUES as well as reprintings of two previous editions of the New Albanist's Dictionary. The annual Thanksgiving column appears tomorrow. 

ON THE AVENUES: Better access, quality of life, public safety, and various other Orwellian aspects of the New Albanist’s experience.

From the "Beer Money" files: A New Albanist’s Dictionary (Oct. 15, 2009).


BEER MONEY: A New Albanist’s Dictionary, Volume 2.

Originally published on January 6, 2011

Let’s begin the year with another revolving and evolving list of words, terms and concepts that provide a specialized vocabulary of life in the Open Air Museum. The first collection appeared on October 15, 2009.

It is my earnest goal to periodically refresh and expand this list, and your assistance is requested in doing so. Please send corrections, additions and comments to istanbul85(at)yahoo(dot)com, and help define the forever stunning depths of the New Albanian zeitgeist.

A wonderful thing to do, so long as you neither complete nor use it until long after the current council’s sell-by date.

Axis of Banal
The Price/Coffey conjoined council obstruction club, usually with anywhere from one to seven other members quite eager to make it into a risqué threesome.

Bike boy
Term of affection used by anonymous troglodytes to describe anyone who rides more miles on a bicycle in a given day than they’re capable of doing in a year.

Blue Laws
Sunday retail sales restrictions lovingly fetishized by Councilman Cappuccino, implying the restoration of rotary dial telephones, one-piece bathing suits, asbestos insulation and mail delivered by Pony Express.

Buy Local
Saving gas by shopping at the mega-chain retailer nearest one’s house.

A city council meeting that isn’t, as attended only by those council members who won’t admit aloud to being Republican, as opposed to the single one who will. Quorum due to expire in November, 2011.

Citizens Faux Accountability
Hilary Clinton fan club, run by a chain smoker from a post office box near a Gucci outlet somewhere in Italy.

City Council
Place where the high school civics class kids are obliged to go ... for detention. (DS)

Clere Channel Network
Where communication is a one-way street, and the street has no name.

Political trait that Floyd County Democrats typically claim to possess to a greater degree than their Republican rivals, who themselves are somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, leaving the remainder of us stuck inside of Weimar with the Birdseye blues again.

The insertion of rationality, usually unintentional, into a given political discussion during city council meetings.

At city council, any stray verbiage randomly issued as a means to avoid contemplation of the actual issue(s) at hand.

Cracker Barrel
Long-awaited Nirvana for downtown revitalization advocates who really don’t understand downtown revitalization at all.

Crucial economic development monies designed to remain inert until needed by office holders as penny-wise, pound-foolish subsidies, rather than economic development monies.

Freedom of Speech
1. Local blog that does not allow reader comments

2. Condition that applies to you but not the person with whom you disagree.

A New Albany voter’s perpetual calculation: Is an incorruptible politician who is wrong 100% of the time better or worse than a corruptible politician who is right half the time?

Happy Hour
60 affectionate minutes with your hip flask before the council meeting starts.

Historical Preservation Commission
Power-hungry zealots who refuse to admit that the rental property you’ve chronically neglected for decades merely is a dilapidated building suitable only for tenants.

Infinite Monkey Theorem
Expression of mathematical probability suggesting that if given enough time, an ape typing at random would eventually write Shakespeare's “Hamlet” -- or an ordinance outlawing the Historical Preservation Commission.

Skin-tight leg wraps that threaten the fragile masculinity of a former Gang of Four council stalwart; also called “tights,” as in, “Let’s all get tights, and vote in my garage for a change.”

New Albany Bicentennial
A time for remembering what it was like in 1813, and for accepting that we’re mostly still there.

New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project
Placements of art intended for the edification of the common man, consequently eluding the comprehension of the council members whose downtown districts house them.

Open Air Museum of Ignorance, Superstition and Backwardness

  • 1. City-wide folkways theme park devoted to the reality of life in New Albany: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
  • 2. "Give us more fish. Don't you dare teach us how to fish."
  • 3. Place where tolls (in squandered modernity) already are being collected.

Neighborhood Parking Permit
A plan to surrender public street space for private use, to appease private property owners who are unwilling to give up their own privately held property for the exact same purpose (JG).

One Southern Indiana

  • 1. Organization dedicated to preserving the wealth of its highest-standing members by erecting a wall running the length of the Ohio River.
  • 2. Synonym for “blatant hypocrisy.”

Post-Partum Depression
Your empty flask AFTER the council meeting.

Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana (ROCK)
Group suffering from a chronic allergy to 2010 calendars, and seeking the curative measure of “reclaiming” things they cannot define, because those things never existed. See also: Torquemada Twist, Wickensianism.

Saint Daniels
The reason why we have incense, prayer, One Southern Indiana, charter schools and bridge tolls.

School closings

  • 1. Rituals of solemn necessity preceding a pay increase for an impoverished superintendent.
  • 2. A heaven-sent occasion for conniving school board members, often Republicans, to plot their next political campaigns.
  • 3. An atrocity that Superman (R-72) curiously missed.

The Potty Police’s plan to employ diggers and reclaim the city’s culture by flushing raw sewage through street-side ditches past the mayor’s house, at a fraction of the cost of conventional sewage treatment.

Steve Price
Synonym for “no,” spoken in Dewey Heights dialect.

From the "Beer Money" files: A New Albanist’s Dictionary (Oct. 15, 2009).

Author's note: The bountiful holiday harvest of sheer and unrequited bile brings you an early edition of ON THE AVENUES as well as reprintings of two previous editions of the New Albanist's Dictionary. The annual Thanksgiving column appears tomorrow. 

ON THE AVENUES: Better access, quality of life, public safety, and various other Orwellian aspects of the New Albanist’s experience.

From the Beer Money files: A New Albanist’s Dictionary, Volume 2 (Jan. 6, 2011).


BEER MONEY: A New Albanist’s Dictionary.

Originally published on October 15, 2009

“A person's vocabulary is the set of words they are familiar with in a language. A vocabulary usually grows and evolves with age, and serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge.”
--cribbed from the Internet

Building vocabulary is a vital step toward mastering any language. As one’s vocabulary grows, his or her reading, writing, speaking and listening skills are enhanced, and there are direct correlations between these improvements and greater academic attainment and social confidence.

While writing this column, and during my other sideline as blogger, I’ve referred to words, terms and concepts that provide a specialized vocabulary of life in the Open Air Museum (see below).

Following is an evolving, alphabetical list of some of these. It is my earnest goal to periodically refresh and expand this list, and your assistance is requested in doing so. Please send corrections, additions and comments to istanbul85(at)yahoo(dot)com, and help define the New Albanian zeitgeist.


About Schmidt

  • 1. 2002 movie starring Jack Nicholson
  • 2. Propaganda in the form of generally fallacious, encrypted numerology, as in: “These budget numbers are About Schmidt.”

Barbecued bologna

  • 1. Twice-butchered meat by-product.
  • 2. Councilman Cappuccino’s self-serving spasms, speeches and sidewinding.

Bazooka Joe U
Councilman Cappuccino’s gum-encrusted alma mater.

Councilman Ceesaw
Diamond-studded Roman Centurion who deposed the councilwoman’s husband, then fell down the same rabbit hole.

Indiana Utopian community valued by Councilman Cappuccino for its bucolic nothingness and/or septic tanks.

Boiling the bitter Coffey
Demagogic practice wherein grandstanding politicians attack the source of ideas, innovations and hope as a means of staving off progress.

Civil society
Severe allergy afflicting little people, but curable by frequent tea parties, town hall meetings and tax cuts.

Conjoined councilmen
Elected officials joined in the pits.

Councilman Cappuccino (CC)
Copperheaded “Wizard of Westside.” Currently about a dozen votes away from the electoral abyss.

Not really.

Full audit
Millennial Holy Grail for the little people and potty police, to be facilitated by Grover Norquist, Their Man Mitch, the g-man in the great sewage submarine, or all three simultaneously.

Gang of Four
Quartet of inveterate obstructionists in the city council, 2003-2007. King Larry retired and About Schmidt was defeated, meaning that the Gang of Four is now the Gang of Six, Seven or perhaps even Nine, the latter coalescing only if the proposal at hand comes from the mayor.

Word in rental propertyese that means “ordinance enforcement officer.”

Golf cart
Conveyance to facilitate stealth mayoral campaigns, powered by Falangist flatulence and regressive swill.

Harvest Homecoming
Festive week when New Albany’s best and brightest return home to be reminded of why they left.

Object so highly desired by Councilman Cappuccino that he typically refuses to acknowledge its existence right up to the point of misstating it.

King Larry
Ward-heeling, caterwauling wannabeen whose most famous political axiom is: “Each ordinance enforced is a vote lost.”

Li’l Stevie
Ventriloquist’s dummy, but in the end, just a puppet.

Little people

  • 1. Certain cast members in “The Wizard of Oz.”
  • 2. Self-reverential, irony-free way of describing one’s political and temperamental marginalization so as to elevate futility to oddball status as social class.

Luddite Bar & Grill
Place where the little people go to lament all human progress -- and to denounce all others who favor it.

Mad as hell
What the little people become after drinking regressive swill at the Luddite Bar & Grill.

New Albany Syndrome
Waterborne malady manifested in symptoms like mistrust, inertia, secrecy and contempt. Sufferers fear the future, venerate the past, and regard any sign of communication and cooperation with others as weakness.

Nickels and dimes

  • 1. Li’l Stevie’s council pay packet.
  • 2. Contents of grandmaw’s cookie jar.
  • 3. Sum of how the 3rd council district has benefitted from Li’L Stevie’s council tenure.

Novelty cigarette lighters
Items banned by the current sitting city council, and still openly sold throughout the city (see “ordinance enforcement”).

Open Air Museum of Ignorance, Superstition and Backwardness
City-wide folkways theme park devoted to the reality of life in New Albany: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Ordinance enforcement
Condition permitted by city residents only so long as it doesn’t apply to them.

Ordinance enforcement officer
Grudgingly tolerated and endangered species, traditionally denied the tools to succeed by city council persons utterly disinterested in success.

Political courage
Elusive quality, now extinct in New Albany.

Potty police
Self-deputized sewer enforcement officials with a localized Freudian twist who await the arrival of the g-man in the sewer submarine, who’ll come up from below and require a full audit.

See “them people.”

Progressive pints
Antidote to regressive swill.

Method of forcible tooth extraction to be avoided by council persons at all costs.

Regressive swill
Why progressive pints are necessary.

Rental propertyese
Language radically inverting ethical values associated with home ownership, thus rendering them into barbecued bologna.

See “Democrats.”

Robert’s Rules of Order
Just another book Dan Coffey hasn’t read lately.

Synonym for “misunderstood victim.”

Them people
Mortal enemies of Councilman Cappuccino, whose literacy, education, achievement and ability cannot be permitted to proliferate.

Cave dweller; variously, troglobyte: Internet cave dweller.

Trinkle Dome
Formerly, the canvas-topped riverfront amphitheater protected from public use by its overseeing namesake.

Voice of the People

  • 1. Condition of chronic laryngitis.
  • 2. Malicious graffiti that keeps appearing on a nice lady’s whitewashed wall.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Albany's new slogan: "Truck Through City" ... Part 57: Why does Jeff Gahan insist this is acceptable?

Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

Thanks to Don and Kathy Smith, Wonderland Way works are headed to IU Southeast.

Readers with long memories may recall that in early 2013, I was very impressed with the Wonderland Way exhibition at the Carnegie Center.

Two angles on St. John Presbyterian Church, only 76 years apart.

Of art shops, Try-Centennials, and artists of the Wonderland Way.

Now, thanks to a generous donation, IU Southeast is commencing a permanent collection.
IUS to get artwork worth more than $500,000, by Elizabeth Kramer (C-J)

... The Smiths have collected more than 600 paintings by mostly regional artists, a large portion of them Wonderland Way painters, and last week saw 10 of them installed at the university's Paul W. Ogle Cultural & Community Center as part of The James L. Russell Wonderland Way Collection.


Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

Monday, November 24, 2014

City officials giddy as New Albany finally makes Guinness Book of World Records.

NEW ALBANY -- In a triumphant press conference held back by the corner table at the Roadhouse, city officials and Democratic Party grandees gleefully clinked longnecks of Keystone Light while announcing the culmination of a project first proposed over 50 years ago.

It’s the world’s longest interstate entrance and exit ramps, as recently certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Guinness spokesman Tommy Barker presented commemorative scrolls, which read:

“From their starting and ending points on the Clark County line, these entrance and exit ramps to I-64 travel traverse almost three miles in each direction, enabling cars and trucks to pass through New Albany residential neighborhoods quickly and easily to reach points further afield, without ever being compelled to spend time in the city itself.”

Barker also commented, “I’ve never seen anything as daft in all me life – and your streets all arseways like this for 50 years straight? Begorrah, you people need your own chapter in the record book.”

Following a 45-minute presentation by Pubic Works Projects supervisor John Rosenbarger, who detailed past and future plans to eliminate remaining “archaic and non-contributing” traffic lights and destroy and reinstall all the bump-outs he has overseen since last year, economic development director David Duggins ducked Rosenbarger’s rapidly expanding nose and explained how 3-mile-long interstate entrance and exit ramps enhance the quality of life in his outlying industrial parks.

“Just imagine how slumlord property values increase with the interstate ramps only steps away from their front porches,” said Duggins. “If I wasn’t making so little working this lousy job, I’d buy a few quadplexes myself.”

Unfortunately, the hologram of Mayor Jeff Gahan usually seen at public meetings was low on batteries, and so Democratic Party chairman Adam Dickey tearfully led officials and grandees in a closing number.

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

"Without our signature arterials," sobbed Dickey, "how can we ever expect to get out the vote?"


Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

He only plays a psychiatrist during redevelopment meetings.

Last week, there was a meeting.

ON THE AVENUES: Really, the word “progressive” embarrasses you? That’s okay, because political cowardice disgusts me.

 ... Of course, right now, as it stands, the city’s interminable, fear-driven delay of street grid reform is quite effectively achieving the very same result, by leaving in place a one-way arterial street grid that nullifies every penny-ante ribbon cutting and “stay open late” promotion tossed into the air by increasingly desperate indie shop owners in the absence of a downtown economic development plan, because while street grid reform could be so very helpful, and constitute an economic development plan in itself, it would fatally embarrass a Democratic mayor to be seen openly advocating it.

It's exactly as if Jeff Gahan were to say it's okay to be gay, just as long as you don't kiss in public.

When the meeting was finished, and David Duggins, the city’s selective economic development director, had dispensed with strong-arming those in attendance as to what they were and were not interested in hearing -- according to Mr. Duggins -- he and I began a private discussion.

Soon the topic arose of the city’s persistent lies and fabrications pertaining to heavy truck traffic as diverted from Main to Spring, Market and Elm. Mr. Duggins brushed off my comments.

I replied that it’s easy for him to ignore something he never directly experiences, both by virtue of living in a less dense area of Clark County, and being neither a walker nor a biker. In short, I told him that when you’re not the one suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome caused by the window-rattling din of trucks that were not there before, you’ve no idea how it detracts from your “quality of life.”

He greeted this with a massive, dismissive and scornful scoff, chortling, “That’s what Hawkins on Main Street always said, too, and that guy’s just plain crazy.”

Now, I never knew that working as a selective economic development director came imbued with psychiatric diagnosis credentials, but if the Hawkins fellow in question indeed is "crazy" as characterized by Mr. Duggins, then he’s crazy like a fox.

Because: Guess where the trucks are NOT, any longer.


Interested in helping formulate a platform incorporating principle, rather than poppycock?

Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

It's a Monday morning caption contest.

(we probably already know who'll win)

Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

On Thanksgiving week, "It’s Time to Rethink American Exceptionalism."

There was a good discussion of this topic at Fb two weeks ago.

There are a couple of billion people in the world, and most of them are NOT trying to come here, although by all rights they SHOULD, given that we're the greatest country, and an obvious magnet ... and once we've established ourselves as greatest, it wouldn't be hospitable not to welcome everyone. But it doesn't work like that. Why?

The writer Bromwich offers a variant of something I've always maintained: If a guy stands up in a tavern and begins boasting about his greatness, it is regarded as an impolite imposition. Do it in a stadium, and we're all supposed to stand, chant and sing.

It’s Time to Rethink American Exceptionalism, by David Bromwich (, via The Nation)

To believe that our nation has always been exceptional requires a suppression of ordinary skepticism and a belief that calls for extraordinary arrogance.

... On the whole, is American exceptionalism a force for good? The question shouldn’t be hard to answer. To make an exception of yourself is as immoral a proceeding for a nation as it is for an individual. When we say of a person (usually someone who has gone off the rails), “He thinks the rules don’t apply to him,” we mean that he is a danger to others and perhaps to himself. People who act on such a belief don’t as a rule examine themselves deeply or write a history of the self to justify their understanding that they are unique. Very little effort is involved in their willfulness. Such exceptionalism, indeed, comes from an excess of will unaccompanied by awareness of the necessity for self-restraint.

And then there's this:

Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Saturday, Part 3: Taco Punk pop-up at Bank Street Brewhouse.

Pop-ups are difficult, because there is no established routine, and choreography in the kitchen and serving arts is are more important than you might think. Gabe Sowder did it all in the kitchen and Stephen Powell ran the whole floor. They rocked it.

At any rate, the two-night pop-up worked pretty well in spite of a few glitches, and the food was quite good. Thanks to all who came out, and look for an announcement of future intent. We all think that NABC and Taco Punk is an excellent match ... but I'll be coy until I'm not.

I was in bed, asleep, by 9:30 p.m. and slept until 8:00 a.m. It had been a long day, but it left me very excited.


Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

My Saturday, Part 2: Flat12 Bierwerks Jeffersonville on opening day.

The Vintage Fire Museum gig was nicely attended, but visitors started tapering away around 3:30 p.m., so there was time for me to pack up the taps and check out the new Flat12 Bierwerks location nearby on Riverside Drive for its opening day.

I didn't bother taking photos while there, and so the one above is borrowed from the Flat12 Facebook page, where you can see other views of the taproom and festivities. Chad Sprigler and family have done a fine job on the taproom space, which includes a deck and a majestic view of the river. There'll be light snacks on an appetizer/flatbread theme, but it's meant to be a taproom, not an eatery.

Yesterday's crowd was big and fun, and I had time to drink a couple beers and shoot the breeze with Rob Caputo, my comrade on the board of the Brewers of Indiana Guild. As I joked with Rob: He gets a state-of-the-art biking and pedestrian bridge to Louisville. Bank Street Brewhouse? We get an outmoded one-way street and some old, rotting jack-o-lanterns.

Facing the now abandoned Democratic HQ, appropriately.

Suffice to say, it's going to be great fun having Flat12 in Jeffersonville. Now that the taproom is up and running, Flat12's brewery buildout will be next on the completion list.

Red Yeti finally is brewing for on-site consumption a few blocks from Flat12 on Spring Street, and Donum Dei off Grant Line Road in New Albany is due any minute. Then there's the as-yet amorphous Wrecker Brewing project on Market Street near my house. In far less than a year, the Sunny Side could go from NABC's two breweries to six, perhaps more.

And that's very good.


Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

My Saturday, Part 1: Chili, brats, beer and Bir at the Vintage Fire Museum in Jeffersonville.

The beer, music and majority of the museum's volunteers came to yesterday's fundraiser from New Albany. As noted, the museum itself is situated in Jeffersonville. I merely note these observations in the service of exceedingly weird history.


Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jingle Walk and Holiday Fest program for downtown NA, next Saturday, November 29.

NABC will release draft Naughty Claus at both locations on Wednesday, November 26. You can taste it during Jingle Walk,  when 22-0z "bomber" bottles will be on sale, too. 
(Not bad; only 3 unnecessary exclamation marks to edit)

Here's the program of activities in downtown New Albany for Saturday, November 29, as planned by Develop New Albany. I can't tell you how excited it makes me to know that in only a month, Christmas will be over.

However, for those of you who enjoy the holiday season, Jingle Walk and Holiday Fest have evolved into solid events.

Note that in Indiana, it is very easy for wineries to be a part of events like this. Breweries operate under an entirely different licensing mechanism, and it isn't as simple for us. This partially explains the absence of beer from the Jingle Walk. In addition, Keg Liquors -- NABC's Jungle Walk sampling station the last three years -- has relocated, and so that option was removed. Finally, Bank Street Brewhouse will be open and offering beer samples on the 29th, as well as brewery tours.

There may be another surprise in store at BSB during Thanksgiving weekend, but it can wait a bit longer.


6th Annual Downtown Jingle Walk - November 29th

Develop New Albany invites you to our Annual Jingle Walk in our Historic Downtown. We will celebrate the beginning of the Holiday Season on November 29th.

Jingle Walk (1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.)

The day of fun begins with the Jingle Walk at 1:00 p.m. Sample local wines from area wineries while shopping in our Historic Downtown. If you haven't visited downtown recently you will see a downtown full of locally owned stores, boutiques, museums and art galleries.

Participating Wineries include: Cedar Creek Winery, Best Winery, Huber’s Winery, Mallow Run Winery, Winzerwald Winery, Indian Creek Winery, Quibbles Winery, Scout Mountain, Bottles Unlimited, and River City Winery.

The Jingle Walk begins at 1:00 p.m. near Bicentennial Park in Historic Downtown New Albany. (Near Intersection of Bank Street and Market Streets) If you purchase your tickets online we will have your tickets waiting for you in the Jingle Walk tent located near Bicentennial Park.

Jingle Walk Tickets are $20.00 each and if you pre-purchase your ticket you will get the choice of a souvenir wine bag or an around the neck wine holder.

Must be of legal drinking age to participate in the Jingle Walk.

HolidayFest - A New Holiday Family Tradition - Nov 29th

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will begin at approximately 6 p.m. in Bicentennial Park.

HolidayFest Schedule of Free Events:

  • 3:00 - 5:30 PM at YMCA (Ages 0-12) - All children who participate will receive a Golden Ticket for a toy.
  • Kids activities will include a Christmas obstacle course, face painting, crafts, and bouncy house.
  • Photo opportunity with Santa Claus
  • Scavenger hunt with prizes for ages 12 and up, registration begins at 1:00 p.m. in Bicentennial Park.
  • There will be a Chili cook-off with the local firehouses
  • Street food, Christmas trees and wreaths will be available for sale during the event.
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Bicentennial Park - 6:00 p.m.

Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

Infographic: "Shopping Local for the Holidays."

A big holiday shopping weekend is coming up, and in this household, we avoid the term "Black Friday" to describe it. That's because language matters, and if one is involved in any fashion with independent local business (I partly own two), "Black Friday" is a term denoting big box, chain-based hegemony. Why would I use language designed to oppress me and denigrate what I do? My personal preference is Plaid Friday. In terms of color, there's a whole rainbow to choose from. I won't give chains the pleasure.

Thanks to Destinations Booksellers for the infographic -- go here for a full-sized version.

Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.

Three things to do on a warm Saturday in November that don't involve watching sports.

The Friday night portion of Bank Street Brewhouse's pop-up kitchen with Taco Punk (Gabe Sowder) seemed to go pretty well. It'll play again tonight, beginning around 6:00 p.m.

Pop-Up Taco Punk at Bank Street Brewhouse, Nov. 21 & 22 (6 p.m. - close).

In Jeffersonville: How could I say no to Curt Peters, my philosophy mentor at IU Southeast, when he asked if NABC could bring Rosa L. Stumblebus, our draft truck, to the Vintage Fire Museum today?

Vintage Fire Museum offers "Chili, Brats, and (NABC) Brew," this Saturday.

A short distance from the Vintage Fire Museum, our pals from Indy are opening their tap room. Brewing is to follow early next year.

Flat12 Bierwerks taproom location in Jeffersonville: "Soft" opening on Nov. 22, grand opening on Dec. 6, brewing to follow.

Thanks to readers who support these and other events. Think globally ... drink (and eat, and shop) locally.

Drinking Progressively: Let's make it Tuesday evenings, beginning on November 25.