Sunday, January 31, 2010

They'll be too busy popping Bud Light tops to listen, anyway.

My guess is that the Tribune's reporter-turned-columnist Daniel Suddeath doesn't share my views on abortion, which are stridently pro-choice, but I agree with his assessment of the Tebow non-controversy in today's newspaper: SUDDEATH: Cover your kid’s ears, it’s Tim Tebow.

Not unexpectedly, today's New York Times says it better than I can:

The would-be censors are on the wrong track. Instead of trying to silence an opponent, advocates for allowing women to make their own decisions about whether to have a child should be using the Super Bowl spotlight to convey what their movement is all about: protecting the right of women like Pam Tebow to make their private reproductive choices.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Coffey suckles at cash cow's teat as crowd adjourns for a soda and some popcorn.

In fairness, the 1st district's Dan "Copperhead Lift Station" Coffey vowed to return to his outspoken (badly spoken) ways once he relinquished the council presidency and returned to his familiar rock outcropping, so pity the current chair, John Gonder, for attempting a response approximating reason at a time of acrimony and panic. The Tribune's Daniel Suddeath spies the theatrical production from the mezzanine and reports here: No rate increase on Monday’s New Albany City Council docket.

Since the sewer board manages the utility’s operations, Gonder said it’s practical to let its members form a plan before the council weighs the matter. The council has to OK a rate increase before it takes effect. “It may be premature to meet to talk about it until they’ve decided what their stance is going to be,” Gonder said.

But Councilman Dan Coffey isn’t interested in waiting. He said he doesn’t trust the sewer board and wants a private review of the utility. “The sewer is nothing more than a cash cow and we need a full blown audit to see where this money has went,” he said.

Dreck from the Prof.

This quote should be elevated to the marquee of Freedom to Screech, where it would be a shining beacon of hope to the faux professor's followers.

For all you morons that voted for his (Obama's) Hope & Change we really hope you are suffering just as the majority of America is!
Until we all suffer as much as the disaffected troglodytes, they won't be happy. How utterly predictable. And: How entirely useless.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Financial analysis agency sez: "New Albany City Council should raise sewer rates 70 percent."

Today's breaking story, as revealed by the reporter on Twitter:

Report: New Albany City Council should raise sewer rates 70 percent, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).

The New Albany City Council must raise sewer rates by 70 percent immediately or risk breaching bond term agreements, a representative with the financial analysis agency Crowe Horwath said Thursday. Hired last year by the Sewer Board to study the utility’s financial standing, John Skomp of Crowe Horwath reported to the body several benchmarks have failed to be accomplished concerning the approximately $55 million in outstanding sewer bonds.

Today's Tribune column: "The Faux in all of us," plus a bonus prayer by the Bookseller.

It's always a lovely day when the two most prominent local targets for derision by the thesaurus-less mob both get mug shots in the newspaper. Expect a crescendo of subscription cancellation threats and a self-immolation for good measure -- ignited with a banned novelty lighter, of course.

But first, as a prelude, Thomas Friedman wrote about jobs in the Sunday edition of the New York Times, making this astute observation along the way (emphasis added):

Obama should make the centerpiece of his presidency mobilizing a million new start-up companies that won’t just give us temporary highway jobs, but lasting good jobs that keep America on the cutting edge. The best way to counter the Tea Party movement, which is all about stopping things, is with an Innovation Movement, which is all about starting things. Without inventing more new products and services that make people more productive, healthier or entertained — that we can sell around the world — we’ll never be able to afford the health care our people need, let alone pay off our debts.
Ironically, my column in today's Tribune also addresses people who wish to stop things.

BAYLOR: The Faux in all of us

“The city of New Albany can no longer afford to move ahead to the following day. We see no future in the future, and as long as clocks continue to move forward into time and space, rather than backward into our rose-tinted pasts, local rate payers won’t be able to feed their families with another sack of unnecessary Chinese plastic trinkets sold at Wal-Mart.”
Even better, there's bonus commentary by Randy Smith ("Rnady" if you're reading the on-line edition):

SMITH: Pray away

Now some may question why people who just want to petition their government or get first-hand knowledge of legislation must first be the audience for a religious conversation between a believer of a particular faith and his or her particular god or goddess.

Selfishness as inverted erotic Ayn Rand weird-out.

The best anti-poverty program around is a world class education.
--Barack Obama, in his 2010 State of the Union address.

According to Rep. Ed Clere’s recently published poll results, New Albanians care little for the notion of education as corrective for their squalor.

CLERE: I asked and you answered

In the future, if the state’s frugal spending and money management creates a reserve that reaches a certain threshold level, should any money above that level be returned to taxpayers through income tax credits or should the reserve be used for education spending?


Sixty-seven percent of respondents favor tax credits, and 33 percent want excess revenue to go to education.

What should the General Assembly’s top priority be?


The response to this question reflects concern over the economy. There were five response options. Job creation, retention and training programs is the top concern for 51 percent of respondents, followed by 27 percent who favor expanded tax relief as their top priority. Sixteen percent rank K-12 education first. Higher education and welfare programs for family and child services each receive 3 percent support as a top priority.

Lesson #765, subsection A1, which tells us too much about life in the Open Air Museum, and leaves us seeking strong drink:

"Give us more fish. Don't you dare teach us how to fish."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

RIP, Howard Zinn: A true giant of truthfulness is gone.

Twelve years ago, I bought Zinn's seminal work from an Dallas airport book store while waiting out a weather delay, and had a couple hundred pages under my belt before we got back to Louisville. Zinn's book was a page turner, and he was a paradigm shifter. We may not see his likes again.

Social historian Howard Zinn has died(LA Times blog)

Howard Zinn, the author of "A People's History of the United States" and several other books, has died.

More on the New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project.

Following is a note from Julie Schweitzer, director of the New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project. I'm sorry I wasn't able to make the breakfast, but NABC's Bank Street Brewhouse remains on board with our end of the project's first round this year, described as:

"An interactive sculpture that represents the history or bars and taverns in New Albany."

---

Dear Supporters,

The New Albany Public Art Project Breakfast was a fabulous success! There was also another excellent article about the project in the Tribune on Sunday morning, please take a look.


Multi-phase art project builds awareness to city’s history; 20 sculptures to be completed by 2013, by Farrah Johnson

We would like to thank our hosts and project partners Sally Newkirk and Karen Gillenwater at the Carnegie Center for Art and History, and Mike Ladd, Director of New Albany Urban Enterprise Association.

We would also like to thank our benefactor Jerry Finn of the Horseshoe Foundation of Southern Indiana, and sponsors Steve Kozarovich, Publisher and Executive Editor, for their continued support of the project. Steve has committed to printing and distributing a color project catalogue for all four years of the project. Special thanks to Professor Richard Kopp at Purdue University College of Technology in New Albany , along with faculty and students for creating our exhibit signage and developing a collaborative project with our artists. This enthusiasm is what makes all the difference in the success of this project. I am sure that good things will continue to materialize from the relationships formed and nurtured by your participation.

Below are the themes for the 2010/11 Public Art Project. Please let us know if you would like to sponsor a work of art or be more involved in the project. You can view our donor levels and associated benefits on our
website.

2010 – 2011 Industry and Agriculture

• Automotive – Manufacture and Sales

• Newspaper – Publishing and Printing

• Metal – Foundries, Blacksmiths and Decorative arts

• Tanneries and Textiles

• Farming, Markets, and Grain Mills -

• Boxes, Baskets, and Clay - sponsor Noelle and Mike Gohmann

• Banking -

I would be happy to discuss opportunities for you to become a part of the project, and welcome your ideas as well. This project promises to gain national attention and will highlight New Albany as a cutting edge cultural attraction for visitors to our community. We appreciate your continued support of this project.

Bicycling news on a cold January day as Erika solicits Europa.

I'm getting ready to limber up, bundle up, and saddle up for a brief bicycle ride in the direction of NABC's original location, where I have two faxes to transmit.

Faxing is so very old school, isn't it? Not exactly rotary dial like Cappuccino's cell phone, but perilously close.

First, I need to ride down to the post office on the bike lane created especially for me, and communicate with my dear friends at the IRS. Then it's back through the urban street grid, past Uptown's future gated community, and out to the north side. Following are two links pertaining to people like me who don't drive their cars to the foot of the 50-ft driveway to collect snail spam.

Kentucky Bill Considers Banning Transporting Minors On Bikes, at Broken Sidewalk.

A Kentucky House Bill was submitted January 13 that could make it illegal to transport children on bike on Kentucky state maintained roads. Representative David Osborne, representing a small portion of Jefferson County and part of Oldham County filed the bill but when confronted says he plans not to pursue the proposal.
The Broken Sidewalk piece reminds me of something that fellow cyclist DH sent to me last weekend. It represents the results of her license plate survey, and prompts the usual round of acrimony from distracted drivers. In turn, her nudge reminds me that I should eavesdrop on the Clark County forum more often.

You might want to check out an interesting thread going on about bicycling/driver attitudes on a local forum in Clark County: Bad Drivers, Should I stay away from God?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Develop New Albany's annual meeting this Thursday, and "First Tuesday" at Steinert's on Feb. 2.

Add to the list of candidate web sites.

The filing period is open, and we should begin seeing more candidate web sites.

State Senate candidates Chuck Freiberger, Lee Ann "Team" Wiseheart and Ron Grooms have web sites.

Shane Gibson has declared for State Representative. Ed Clere is the incumbent, and if he'll point me to his preferred site, I'll provide a link.

Jason Higdon, author of a recent letter in the Tribune and founder of a group called Citizens for Constitutionality Now, is a candidate for Floyd County Council, District 1: Here is his web site.

Previously, we glimpsed Daniel Short's Facebook page. He's running for Floyd County Council, District 2.

The preceding list is not intended as exhaustive. It's a start. I would appreciate your help in compiling a better list of candidate web sites. You can comment here or e-mail me. Thanks.

All at 2%, or all at 3%. Why the difference?

Has there ever been a coherent answer to the question: Exactly how is it that rental property ownership is not a business?

Also, imagine how much more fun the question would be if it also asked of Hoosiers, (after caps) how do you propose to support local government?

Shall we ask China for foreign aid, and a kickpack from the current voluntary Wal-Mart tax?

CLERE: I asked and you answered, by Ed Clere, State Rep. District 72

Here are the questions (in bold), followed by the results and my comments:

Do you support giving Hoosiers a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment capping residential property taxes at 1 percent of a home’s assessed value, 2 percent for agriculture and rental properties and 3 percent for business property?


Eighty-two percent of survey respondents want a chance to vote on tax caps, and they will get it. After a year of blocking a vote on the caps, House Speaker Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, finally relented. I was part of the bipartisan 75-23 majority that supported the caps. The Senate, which was on board all along, reaffirmed its support last week, and the question will be on the ballot in November. Now it’s up to Hoosiers voters to decide whether the caps will become part of the state constitution.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Moss on England, and the notion of "popular" demand.

Dale Moss devoted Sunday C-J ink to New Albany's mayor, Doug England. It is a brief portrait of a mayor in motion, mid-term and mid-flight, but one leaving unanswered the question, "to where?"

There is undeniable truth to the proposition that England is a polarizing figure, but sometimes I wonder if this assumption is overstated, seeing as a large measure of the disgruntlement expressed toward him is revealed to be congenital, reserved for indiscriminate spraying on any politician of any party or stripe aspiring to the office.

Some New Albanians support him, other oppose him, and the majority remains entirely apathetic. In short, political business as usual in the Open Air Museum.

Moss draws one conclusion (below) that is worthy of note: "(England) will seek another term in 2011 if, and seemingly only if, it is by popular demand."

That's interesting. It's why we hold elections, right?

What do you think it really means?
England to take New Albany's pulse.

England told me at the beginning of this year that by year's end he intends to know just how the city feels about him. He will seek another term in 2011 if, and seemingly only if, it is by popular demand. This is England's year to explain and listen, to make the most of any breaks the economy finally affords and to hope it all pleases as much as swift snow removal.

“I'll be looking for the word, looking for the feeling of the community,” England said. “Does it want to continue in the same direction or does it want to change. If it wants to change, I'll help it. It's not about being mayor for the ego.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bank Street Brewhouse today: It's my blog, and I'll shill if I want to.

Be reminded that Bank Street Brewhouse keeps Sunday hours. We're open today, serving the usual design-your-own Bloody Mary Bar as I write, and prepping for the Colts vs. Jets later this afternoon.

Josh has Asian Wings on the menu, and NABC beers on tap include Abzug, Beak's Best, Bob's Old 15-B, Bonfire of the Valkyries, C1 Collaboration Ale, Community Dark, Elector, Elsa von Horizon, Hoptimus, Malcolm's Old Setter's Ale, Old Lightning Rod and ThunderFoot.

A final reminder: There's no other place anywhere to enjoy C1 during the games.

Death to Cracker Barrel: Lopp does not impress in Tribune cover story.

Like The Gary before him, John Lopp seems eager to graft as many exurban principles as possible onto the downtown canvas to impress those prone to the way of reacting, not necessarily thinking, that culminates with the exclamation, "Boy, just think if we had a (insert national chain store) downtown."

In this, I believe Lopp is utterly mistaken. It is ludicrous to mention the magical words "Cracker Barrel" as curative for a vicinity that has numerous, unique local dining options already, and it makes me worry that the residential neighborhood he has in mind might be better situated up on the hill, behind a big wall and billfold-activated gates.

To be fair, at least some of this dust-kicking may be intended to distance Lopp Real Estate from the downtown work of former associate Mike Kopp, now out on his own as Blue Sun. And, positing the need for charming downtown "gateways" probably is harmless and might provide a morale boost to some.

Just the same, much of what Lopp says in today's Tribune cover story strikes me as jarringly out of synch with what we've learned about downtown prospects -- fundamentally, that they be distinct and local, and that the city be used as it was intended to be used.

Can your Cracker Barrel do that? Nope.

Next?

No start date set for west end work; Lopp said gateways to downtown must improve to bring more variety.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Calendar check: Kentuckiana Celtic Fest moves to June 12 in 2010.

The second Kentuckiana Celtic Fest ("Celts on the River") will take place on June 12, 2010, at New Albany's Riverfront Amphitheater.

That's all I have at the moment. The overall format and musical acts will be similar to the inaugural event in 2009. I'm hoping to get the downtown food and drink emporiums to get together for a weekend's worth of "off campus" events tied in with the Saturday fest.

Stay tuned.

Comments by Tribune columnist out of line -- no, troggies, not mine.

I almost missed this one. Thanks to D for pointing me in the right direction.

McDONALD: Comment by French official out of line, by Tim McDonald (Tribune local columnist).

Instead of my usual device of running a representative portion in this space, permit me to briefly summarize the columnist's position:

A French official makes an ill-advised comment about America's handling of relief to Haiti, is quickly disavowed by his own government, thus providing the columnist with a pretext to devote 900 words to repeating just about every "let's bash the Frogs" cliche ever uttered.

That's basically it. How he refrains from the "mint condition, unused rifle only dropped twice" joke is inexplicable to me. Perhaps the equally xenophobic Healthblogger already used that line in an anti-Obama rant.

Was the comment by the French official out of line? Probably, seeing as France's president rushed to clarify it. Is it then logical to repeat the very same error in in attacking the comment? Certainly not. However, not unlike masturbation, it apparently comes naturally to Americans, even the educated ones, to boost our ever-shaky patriotic self-esteems by periodically lashing the French ethos.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch PBS's "American Masters" bio on Julia Child for a second time, but not before I celebrate nativist buffoonery in the guise of learned commentary with a bottle or two of imported Burgundy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Congratulations to Sam’s Food & Spirits on the Big 2-5.

Sam’s Food & Spirits turns 25 tomorrow, and Sam Anderson scored good press with the Tribune's Chris Morris, and via Dale Moss in today's C-J.

The place in New Albany again is ostensibly his – more his, anyway -- after about a decade with partners who also operate the area’s Bristol restaurants. It feels right, all right, to Anderson at age 50 to resume the challenge he accepted at 25. He embraced the risk, as he puts it, and comes back for another squeeze.
My circle at the time was a regular fixture at Sam's Tavern, and it seemed that long before the advent of Whole Foods, on some weeks my Whole Paycheck was going to him. Not at any point did I ever imagine that 25 years later, I'd be alive, in the food and drink business and selling my own company's products (NABC Elector) to Sam.

So it goes, and as we know, life's what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. Here's to Sam and his cast and crew over the years, and here's the menu tomorrow. Ironically, two of the three beers with "retro" pricing didn't exist in 1985, but then again, Michelob Dark no longer is with us, either. We drank an awfully lot of it then, usually watching IU basketball games. Damn. Where'd the time go?

---

In recognition of Sam’s Food & Spirits Twenty-fifth Anniversary, you are invited to celebrate with us as we roll back our favorite menu item prices to 1985. It is because of your patronage, that we have enjoyed success over the past 25 years. Please enjoy your meal as it was priced in our first year of business, 1985. Thank you for the pleasure of serving you.

Sam Anderson

1985-2010
Menu Available January 23rd Only
Dining Room Only – No Carry-Out Orders
Platters Include — Choice of French Fries, House Fries or Onion Rings

APPETIZERS
Broccoli Cheese Balls . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.95
Fried Mozzarella.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.95
Potato Skins. . . . . . . . . . .. . . Loaded 3.95
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chili Skins 4.95
Fried Vegetable Combo
Includes Mushrooms, Cauliflower
and Zucchini – enough to share.. . . 3.95
Rolled Oysters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.95
Sam’s Salad
Includes Salad, Ham, Turkey, Cheese,
Bacon and Diced Eggs.. . . . . . . . . . . 3.95

FRESH HAMBURGERS
Fresh ground beef brought in daily, pattied in our own kitchen, Charbroiled to order.
Choice of French Fries, House Fries or Onion Rings.
Includes choice of two sides.
Hamburger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Platter 2.95
Each Additional Topping . . . . . . . . .0.25
Cheddar Cheese, American Cheese, Swiss Cheese, Bacon, Sauteed Onions, Sauteed Mushrooms

SANDWICHES
White Fish Sandwich
Broiled or Fried .. . . . . . . . . . . . . Platter 2.95
Fresh Boneless Chicken Breast
Charbroiled or Fried . . . . . . . . .. Platter 2.95
Club Sandwich .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Platter 2.95

DINNERS
White Fish Dinner Broiled, Blackened or Fried. 6.95
Butterfly Shrimp Broiled, Blackened or Fried ..6.95
Chicken Fingers Breaded and Fried .. . . . . . . 6.95
8-oz. Ribeye Broiled to Order.. . . . . . . . . . . 8.95

All Kids’ Meals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.99

Beverages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99

10-ounce draft Shock Top, Amberbock, Bud Light 0.85

Trivia for prizes all day. Music by Tim Morrow, 9-midnight.

Open thread: Council meeting of Thursday, January 21.

Daniel Suddeath's Tribune coverage is here: New Albany City Council OK’s aid for flood victims.

Open that can of worms, Cappuccino: Best line of the story is Coffey's “When it’s our fault, we should do something about it.”

Daniel's deadline forced him to leave before the meeting was finished. Lest the anonymous troglodytes have all the fun, those of you in attendance are encouraged to post results here. I have to run.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

No live council blogging tonight.

I have another meeting to attend tonight and will be able to resist the siren's call of pre-meeting dissipation. However, this will mean that there'll be no live reports from the chamber.

If my cohorts in attendance would like to e-mail coverage to me for posting later tonight, I can tend to it when I get home around 10 p.m. Just let me know via the usual avenues.

Growlers on Sunday? SB 75 up for Senate vote today.

Afternoon update: SB 75 has passed through the Indiana Senate by a tally of 41-9. It's on to House committee)

The Indiana Senate will vote some time this afternoon on SB 75:

"Sunday carryout by microbreweries. Allows a microbrewery to sell the brewery's beer for carryout on Sunday at the address for which the brewer's permit was issued."

I'm pleased to note that on Tuesday, New Albany's Sen. Connie Sipes was added to the bill as co-author. She has indicated support. If we make it through today's vote, the process begins anew in the House.

I've been dropping lines to the three senators closest to us here in Southern Indiana. Their e-mail links are below if you'd like to do the same. "Please vote yes on SB 75" is sufficient as a message.

District 45 - points north and east: James Lewis
District 46 - New Albany and Floyd County: Connie Sipes
District 47 - points west: Richard Young

I'll return later today and update this post with the results.

Today's Tribune column: "Doctor, it hurts when you do that."

Well, then -- don't do that.

BAYLOR: Doctor, it hurts when you do that

“My doctor is opposed to health care reform?”

“Oh, yes, very much so. Other doctors play golf or invest in the market for recreation, but Dr. Oakengruber would rather protest against the liberal elites who are not representing the American people as the Founders intended.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Is the neighborhood/residential parking ordinance ready for prime time? Weigh in, please.

The agenda for tomorrow's city council meeting has been posted. Take a look at it. See the differences?

Is it really an agenda according to the template provided in the council's own rulebook? For the first time in years? Gads. Am I awake?

For the moment, lets's focus on residential parking, truly one of those ordinances out of nowhere, which appeared and was approved on January 4 in two readings before being chucked to a committee that will meet prior to tomorrow's session. To be exact, it's G-10-01, an Ordinance Establishing Individual Resident Only Parking Areas.

G-10-01 was briefly outlined in the Tribune (scroll down for reader comments), and was discussed at greater length by Bluegill here at NAC. Here's a reprint of his thoughts, which are indicative of my own.

The residential private parking permit request is somewhat confusing. I'll try to provide more in-depth analysis in future but, from looking at aerial photos and driving the neighborhood, it appears as though the large majority of property owners in the Uptown area have sufficient room on their properties to accommodate private, off-street parking if they so desire. There are already so many driveways and garages that having private parking, rather than suffering from a lack of it, is evidently the norm. And, again, most who don't have it could.

As an initial question, why would New Albany citizens want to give over the public street space they finance to restricted, private use in order to appease private property owners who are unwilling to give up their own privately held resource for the exact same purpose?

One suggested answer was that providing additional parking for a particular property would increase its value. I can't argue with that. That's why people spend their money to build driveways and garages on private property. But, each time a single property value was increased with an additional parking spot taken from the shared pool on public streets, there would be a corresponding decrease in available parking for surrounding properties, thus lowering their values with little to no compensation for those who chose to invest based on that pool.

Does it make sense to use public funds to marginally increase the value of one house on a street at the expense of decreasing the value of several others? I don't think so. It goes against the very notion of shared resources and public spaces that define city life. That notion is the reason many of us have chosen to live here and is what will attract many more to do the same.
Because several council persons apparently view this as a (purportedly) pain-free means of collecting a bit of revenue, it would seem to have sufficient support to pass. I personally believe that would be a mistake, because with the Board of Works and Police Department both highly dubious, the ordinance as currently formulated looks, at best, like just another unenforced ordinance in neighborhoods that have more important issues to resolve.

But feel free to disagree. What do you think?

Addendum: As an example of what other communities have enacted, go here for Bloomington's program ... and note the many differences.

Sugar high for the GOP as Brown carries Massachusetts.

Maybe now that Republicans nationwide are in such a good mood, the ones in Indiana will vote in favor of our Sunday growler sales legislation, based on a consideration of its merits, and not burying their heads to ask what God thinks. Funny, that deity, and I was going to ask about God's whereabouts when Barack Obama was elected, but why dabble in theology when Progressive Pints are so much more enriching?

Brown wins, now what?, by Michael Tomasky (Guardian).

... (Scott) Brown ran a smart race. He worked at it harder than (Martha) Coakley did. His name will appear instantly now in GOP veepstakes conversations, and I guess it deserves to. He won a seat the GOP hasn't won since the 1940s. But conservatives, caveat emptor: he's pro-choice. Or at least, that's how he ran this race. Kinda rules him out.

But the more vital question now is what the Democrats do with their importantly but ever-so-slightly diminished majority. Do they cave on everything? Do they act as if they just lost not one seat, but 19 more?

Tonight: Cigar Faction at Steinert's.

While not all intending to revisit old battlegrounds, it remains that as long as the absence of a smoking ordinance in New Albany continues to enable the proprietor's choice as it pertains to tobacco use at our food and drink establishments, there is an opportunity for those so desiring to serve as niche markets for metro Louisville cigar smokers.

We've started work on the patio at Bank Street Brewhouse to wrap it. Christo was unavailable, so we hired a contractor. Equipped with heaters, soon it will be a suitable area to enjoy a fine cigar. Of course, some pubs and restaurants still choose to allow smoking indoors.

In connection with beer, I wrote about cigars today in LEO: Mug Shots: Beers and cigars: I say puff away.

Like better beer, my cigar is a force that unites geography, history, agriculture and scientific progress, burning ever so slowly, emitting puffy smoke rings — the fruition of a long, patient process of growth, cultivation, harvesting, curing, hand rolling, packing and distribution.
Better yet, there's an opportunity tonight to patronize a downtown business, enjoy an adult beverage, and snip the end of a Dominican.

Cigar Faction - January 2010
@ Steinert’s Grill & Pub on Main Street in New Albany

Cigar Faction is looking for a places in Metro Louisville to enjoy cigars and craft beer. Steinert's Grill and Pub in downtown New Albany is one of them: Spacious, well-ventilated, a cigar-friendly staff, good food, good beer, and a well-stocked bar. NABC's Mt. Lee (California Common in the City of Angels) will be on tap, and J. Shepherd of Louisville will have cigars available for purchase with door prize drawings every half hour beginning at 6:30.
So, who's in? I should be there by 6:30 p.m., following the UEA board meeting, and am saving a wondeful Ashton for the occasion.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Open thread: Steve Price, castes, White Castles and class warfare?

At another blog, in defense of 3rd district councilman Steve Price, a veiled pundit wrote these words. I've omitted the parts that hector me for incessant drinking, which is something I'm far better at doing myself, rather than to rely on anonymous, cannabic nannies to do it for me.

You need to respect other classes of people who may not have the education you have, the money you have, etc. Some people do with what they have and if they are a laid back person playing music, taking care of his business, talking with taxpayers in a lower caste than you, I say more power to him. There but for the Grace of God goes a lot of us.

And so, we return to the notion of Steve Price as fearless class warrior, heroically ensuring egalitarianism through shared deprivation. Is this really the case, or is it just another label for too broke to fix?

Is Price protecting the Little People, preventing their progress, or just too oblivious to know the difference?

As he has noted in the past, am I "arrogant" for asking him to pronounce a person's name correctly?

If you have a viewpoint, please let us know.

"Carnegie Center Presents Programs for African American History Month."

Submitted. Always remember, and never forget ... Bank Street Brewhouse is just across the street.

Carnegie Center Presents Programs for African American History Month ... February 6, 11, 13, 20, and 27, 2010

The Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, Indiana is pleased to offer several programs during February in conjunction with African American History Month. Home to the permanent exhibit Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage: Men and Women of the Underground Railroad, the Carnegie Center promotes African American history not only in February but year-round. This exhibit allows visitors to explore the actual lives of two groups of people living in this borderland area between the North and South: the enslaved fugitives whose yearning for freedom compelled them to escape on a long trek filled with danger at every turn, and the helpers, both black and white, whose selfless acts of courage assisted those on the run. All programs are free and open to the public, but please note those that require pre-registration (please call 812-944-7336 to register).

Make & Take Children's Activity: Felt Apple Bookmark Clips and Family Reading Area
Saturday, February 6, 10 am – 5:30 pm
Families can read the children’s book An Apple for Harriet Tubman and then make felt apple bookmark clips to take home. Families are also invited to experience the exhibit Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage: Men and Women of the Underground Railroad. Free and open to the public.

Poetry Reading
Thursday, February 11, 7 – 9 pm
Enjoy an evening of poetry while surrounded by art in the Carnegie Center's galleries. Refreshments will be available from Dueling Grounds Café, while local poets share their writings with our visitors. Free and open to the public.

Family Fun Workshop: Helping Hands Wreaths
Saturday, February 13, 10 am – noon
The Carnegie Center invites families to our February free Family Fun Workshop to make a helping hands wreath. Suggested ages are 2-12, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Free and open to the public.
Pre-registration is required and is on a first-come, first-served basis, limited to 60 children. Call (812) 944-7336 for more information and to register.

Make & Take Children's Activity: Apple Sun Catchers and Family Reading Area
Saturday, February 13, 10 am – 5:30 pm

Saturday, February 20, 10 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday, February 27, 10 am – 5:30 pm
Families can read the children’s book An Apple for Harriet Tubman and then make apple sun catchers to take home. Families are also invited to experience the exhibit Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage: Men and Women of the Underground Railroad. Free and open to the public.

The Carnegie Center for Art and History, a department of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, is a contemporary art gallery and history museum that offers a full schedule of changing exhibitions and other educational programs. The Carnegie Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am-5:30 pm, and is located at 201 East Spring Street in historic downtown New Albany, Indiana. The Carnegie Center for Art and History is fully accessible. Admission is free. Visit
www.carnegiecenter.org for more information on exhibits, events, and classes.

Two events this week at Destinations!

Submitted. Note the change in store hours.

On Tuesday, January 19th, author and motivational speaker Robert Mueller will join us for his program on "The 15 Best Ways to Improve Your Life". We'll get started at 6pm!

Then on Friday, January 22nd, author Keven McQueen will be in the store to sign copies of his new book Strange Tales of Crime and Murder in Southern Indiana. The book features a story about New Albany and Keven has more stories for us regarding our city! 7 pm is the start time for what will surely be a fun evening!

You've probably noticed by now but our hours have changed for both Destinations and Dueling Grounds Cafe. We are now open from 9am - 9pm Tuesday through Saturday! We will be closed on Sundays and Mondays. However, if you have a group that needs a meeting place, Dueling Grounds will be available on Sundays and Mondays for private bookings. Just call us at 944-5116 to set up the day and time!

We're always interested in hosting book clubs, meetings and other various ventures. Be on the lookout for some new groups and events coming up, including a Socrates Cafe, Science Cafe and other groups!
Here are our events listings for the coming weekend. All these event details are
at our Web site. And cafe features are always available here.

Don't forget that Sara Casey's photography is currently displayed and will remain so until February 13th. Sara's photos were taken in Paris, Hungary and Amsterdam as well as locally. Please come out and support New Albany's local artists!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Road ID for cyclists.

I've gotten back outside on the bicycle four out of the last five days, with visits to the YMCA sufficing on Sunday when it rained, and earlier, on the snow and cold days. Last year proved to be a fine comeback biking year, with my highest kilometer total since 2006, and I'm looking to be out on the road as much as possible this year.

Some time back, N forwarded this link to Road ID. It isn't conventional biking season yet, but this sounds like a solid idea.

Road ID ... and a bit more comprehensive driver education?

A look at NuLu's Little Green Building.

Certain of NAC's readers will know Gregg Rochman, who was instrumental with "tech of all trades support" as we got Bank Street Brewhouse on its feet. In another explication of possibilities, the Broken Sidewalk blog visits the home of Gregg's business interests:

Little Green Building On Jefferson Street Shines

Once threatened with demolition, the newly dubbed Little Green Building is now fully occupied. Shine, a multifaceted company who has been restoring buildings and teaching yoga, has officially opened its headquarters in the renovated structure. I recently had a chance to sit down with Gregg and Maria Rochman, partners in the Shine venture, to find out how they came to choose Nulu for the headquarters.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

England: "Mr. Matthews has conveniently eliminated context from his accusation and inflammatory rhetoric."

Yep.

In the Tribune, New Albany Mayor Doug England strikes back at local GOP leader and resident hyperbolist Dave Matthews. Excellent work by Hizzoner, don't you think? On the other hand, Matthews has never shown any ability to throw the high, hard one.

ENGLAND: New Albany Mayor clarifies comments for GOP leader

But the “vultures” are indeed not welcome — my reference to slumlords and the like who profit from the misfortunes of others.

Hackhackhack ...


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Krugman: "Europe’s economic success should be obvious even without statistics."

I'm in the process of developing a new, recurring character for my Thursday Tribune column. His name is Oakengruber. He's a doctor, reads a publication called the Wall Beck Journal, opposes the ungodly curse of Obamunism, patronizes certain downtown antique stores, and ... well, just stay tuned to see what happens when the Publican has his gout toe examined.

In the interim, as American fights for the right to be dim, here's a welcomed corrective to the teabagging blather. As for me, I'm going for a bicycle ride.

Learning From Europe, by Paul Krugman (New York Times).

As health care reform nears the finish line, there is much wailing and rending of garments among conservatives. And I’m not just talking about the tea partiers. Even calmer conservatives have been issuing dire warnings that Obamacare will turn America into a European-style social democracy. And everyone knows that Europe has lost all its economic dynamism.

Strange to say, however, what everyone knows isn’t true.

Evening News uses the "P" word; Citizens Faux Accountability threatens remonstrance.

Shea Van Hoy does the impossible. He looks at the calendar, notices it is 2010, and draws patently obvious conclusions from verifiable experiences outside the narrow boundaries of our locality. But then he ruins it all and uses that damned pesky "P" word. Subscriptions will be threatened!

CHEERS ... to Clarksville’s plans to turn a mile-long stretch of Eastern Boulevard into a Wi-Fi hotspot, once renovations are complete there.

People out and about along the soon-to-be-new roadway’s sidewalks and nearby will be able to get free Internet access from laptops, netbooks or phones.

But, the real lure should be for businesses, which can choose to pay to tap in to a fast connection that they then could use to entice customers. As progressive cities have learned, it’s a valid economic development tool.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Powdered wig optional: Chef Josh's menu for Sunday's Old Lightning Rod release at Bank Street Brewhouse.

Previously, I previewed NABC's fifth batch of Old Lightning Rod, which will be unveiled at Bank Street Brewhouse on Sunday, January 17.

Now, with a grateful nod to Michael Burp, Louisville's finest brewery newsletter writer, editor and web site maestro, here is the menu to accompany Old Lightning Rod, as conjured by Bank Street's Chef Josh Lehman. As a fixed price menu, the price is $26.00 for the four courses. All items also will be offered outside the prix fixe as single options. As an added non-Colonial attraction, Bank Street's soon-to-be-famous, create-your-own Bloody Mary bar will be in service this (and every) Sunday.

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Chef Josh has planned a special menu for the debut of Old Lightning Rod 2010, taking into account Franklin's own favorites, native American foods he advocated for while serving in posts in France and England and foreign staples he was instrumental in introducing here at home:

Corn Soup, served with Tarragon and Parmesan Crisp

"Indian corn, take it for all in all, is one of the most agreeable and wholesome grains in the world."

Franklin was a partisan of foods native to the New World and an advocate for their use at home and abroad. The quote above is part of his response to one of the critics of the now ubiquitous American grain. Franklin searched several years for a usable recipe for Parmesan, before finally finding one.

Apple and Tofu Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Shallots, Ginseng and Soy Vin

“We have the Pleasure of acquainting the World, that the famous Chinese or Tartarian Plant, called Gin seng, is now discovered in this Province, near Sasquehannah ... The Virtues ascrib’d to this Plant are wonderful.”

Franklin kept his own advice when it came to the Apple, imploring his wife Deborah to keep him provisioned when he was posted overseas. It seems Franklin himself may have introduced Tofu to the Colonies, its first known mention in an American text being a description of its manufacture he sent from London in 1770 to a friend in Philadelphia. His report on the discovery of Ginseng in Pennsylvania appeared in an issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette from 1738.

Potatoes Anna, a layered Potato Cake with Bacon, Onions and Crème Fraiche

Though it would eventually become a European as well as an American staple and be credited with reducing the incidence of famine in the Old World, the Potato was slow to gain popularity on both continents. At Franklin's urging, French pharmacist Antoine Augustin Parmentier held a banquet in Paris with the Potato figuring in every dish - including dessert. Franklin's promotion of the Potato at home upon his return has been credited with popularizing it here as well.

Turkey Breast, with Corn Cake, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Cranberries

Franklin would have preferred the Turkey to the Bald Eagle as an emblem for his country, finding it a truly "more respectable Bird and withal a true Native of America", one that was, "though a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

As with the Apple, Cranberries were a favorite of Franklin's and it again fell to his wife Deborah to dutifully ship him the occasional barrel when he was away.

Round One to craft brewers in Indiana: SB 75 passes in committee.

Previously at NAC: “It’s a tourism issue and it’s a specialty item and it’s a true art.”

I intended to comment on SB 75 earlier, did so to some degree during a discussion of Election Day sales legislation, but didn't finish my thoughts. So ...

SB 75 passed in Indiana Senate committee on Wednesday afternoon, with a vote of 9-2. Senators Zakas and Delph dissented, the latter appending a statement of principle to his "nay", but with the former, who did not speak his mind on the bill, remaining silent. Sorry, but I find it hard to respect silence.

Interestingly, during my brief testimony before the committee, Senator Waltz (he voted "yes") jokingly asked me: "Have you at any time, or are you now, a Hoosier Beer Geek?" I responded in the affirmative, and wished I'd worn my "These Machines Kill Fascists" shirt, or at least brought a facsimile of Woody Guthrie's guitar. I have a feeling that neither Delph nor Zakas would have appreciated it, and that fact makes me almost as happy as Imperial Stout on a sub-zero afternoon.

My brief comments were restricted to elaborating on the joys of watching Hoosier tax revenue travel to Kentucky for deposit each and every Sunday of my working career, and seeing micros in Kentucky sell growlers on a day that we cannot.

Fear not: The Brewers of Indiana Guild made a strong case for relief based on parity with craft wineries (which can sell wine to go on Sunday), the artisanal nature of craft beer, the local impact of small business, the integral part that we've played in various downtown revivals, and the fact that tourism for the sake of craft beer is not a laughing matter at all. Among others, Senator Taylor noted that his mind had been changed by the strength of the presentation, and although Bud Light's still good enough for him, he can see the point and agrees with it.

That's good, because we're going to need both strong argumentation and a measure of plain good luck. In essence, we must sidestep the mega-lobbyists' current battle royale over the issue of Sunday carry-out sales in general, as it pertains to package stores, groceries and other macro-entities, and keep the topic restricted to microbrewing in particular, and our special position as artisans. As a guild, we don't have dogs in those fights, and we need to keep it that way.

Senators Simpson and Alting are powerful advocates of common sense, but they have rightly vowed to kill our bill if outside interests hijack it with amendments. There's no benefit to anyone hijacking it, but then again, politics isn't about logic. Conceivably, any grandstanding moralist in the Senate could amend the bill, and if a procedural appeal to remove the amendment is rejected, succeed in maneuvering us into keeping our word and removing it sans a vote on the actual merits.

Will that happen? As Frank Zappa once said, "I figure the odds be 50/50."

If SB 75 makes it through the Senate next week, the process begins anew in the House with another bill, another hearing, another vote, and if all that comes down, a reconciliation of the two. I may have the order of movement wrong, but it shows that we've only just begun the process.

On the local front, both Connie Sipes (Senate) and Ed Clere (House) have indicated support. I appreciate that, and I'm sure that Professor Erika does not, although I can promise local teabaggers (and fleabaggers) that Sunday growler sales will not lead to new TIF areas or to any reason why Steve Price might start drinking better beer.

The coverage of the committee hearing on Indianapolis' WISH-8 is fairly good, and can be viewed and read here.

Reliving the munchies.

Seafood empanadas "on the board" at La Rosita's, as photographed last night. That's rice and beans on the left. Chef Israel was working the kitchen hard, and the place was packed at the dinner hour.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gather those half-pints of Kessler ...

As the Brewers of Indiana Guild met on the fourth floor of the Statehouse yesterday to testify before the Senate committee on behalf of Sunday carry-out sales at microbreweries and brewpubs, a House committee one floor below was hearing arguments of a different sort.


Bill would permit alcohol sales during elections, by Lesley Stedman Weidenbener (Courier-Journal).

INDIANAPOLIS – Bars and restaurants could sell alcohol while the polls are open on Election Day and stay open later to accommodate Sunday night crowds under bills that a House committee will vote on next week.
Unsurprisingly, I have an opinion on both of these topics.

As for adjusted Sunday opening hours, yes. Why should Sunday be any different than Monday, Wednesday or Friday?

In like fashion, the prohibition of all Sunday alcohol sales on Christmas Day should be ended, too. Both of these standpoints are remnants of “blue laws” that derive from deference to a particular religious standpoint. You can have your swimsuit models, because I fantasize about the day when the ACLU intervenes to strike down these and other anachronisms that violate church-state separation.

The same applies to Election Day sales. I’ve written on this topic numerous times, and defy you to show me how drunken voting can be any more dim-witted than casting ballots while sober. We should be encouraging drinking before voting, not discouraging it.

What are the odds of passage for these measures? I’ve no idea. Yesterday we spoke to eleven state senators, two of whom were as impervious to logic as future steaks chewing their cuds on the farm. Nine others seemed reasonable. As long as some legislators continue to consult their Bibles rather than the Constitution before making up their minds, anything can happen, and probably will.

Today's Tribune column: "Wichita, or maybe Targu Mures."

Yawning as I await the inevitable Dave Matthews retribution ...

BAYLOR: Wichita, or maybe Targu Mures

When I hear the word “abortion,” I think about the dingy gray apartment blocks in Bucharest, capital of Romania. It is probable that few readers will have the same reaction, so kindly permit me to explain.

It's official.

With his letter to the Tribune yesterday, local GOP chairman Dave Matthews becomes the single biggest hypocrite in Floyd County. That's no mean feat, folks. He'll now advance to the national quarter-finals against Rush Limbaugh.

Go Dave!

I’m sorry, Ms. Wright, but everyone can see that your opinions merely represent the standard tactics of “lie and distract.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Schansberg to eschew Libertarian run for Congress, will work for GOP's Hankins.

Tribune sez:

Schansberg ditching Libertarian run to chair Hankins campaign (by Daniel Suddeath).

A former suitor of Indiana’s 9th District U.S. House seat, Eric Schansberg chose not to run in 2010 because he found a candidate that reflects his core political principles ...

... But he isn’t totally exiled from the race. Schansberg has volunteered for Republican Travis Hankins’ team, and is serving as campaign chairman ...

... Hankins emphasizes issues that Schansberg also touted during his two runs at the House: Reduction of the size of government, instilling Congressional term limits and like Schansberg, Hankins is pro-life on abortion.
Schansberg elaborates on the forthcoming Republican primary at his blog:

The 9th District Republican primary: an overview.

One last thing: Does (Mike) Sodrel's entry help (Todd) Young or Hankins more so? On the one hand, Sodrel divides the establishment vote (at least somewhat). On the other hand, Sodrel divides the segment of voters who are most interested in social conservatism.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mark your calendars for January NABC beer events.

On Wednesday, I'm putting on the fancy duds for a day in Indianapolis, where I plan on visiting Charlie Pride, telling him I'm Professor Erik, and asking to see those audit results.

Not really. Actually, we're going to sit in on the Senate's deliberations and applaud SB 75.

Meanwhile, let's just say that the winter beer schedule is packed, and dates are continually being added. For the events listed nearer the end, there'll be supplemental information as it arrives.

Wednesday, January 13
Beak’s Best at Neil & Patty’s

@ Neil & Patty's Fireside Bar and Grill, Sellersburg
From 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., NABC’s Southern Indiana sale manager Josh Hill hosts a gathering to celebrate our Beak’s Best coming on tap at Neil and Patty’s. where it joins Bob’s Old 15-B in the draft lineup.

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Thursday, January 14
IS HopSlam Best?
@ The Nachbar, Louisville

For the sake of "thoroughly scientific experimentation," The Nachbar attempts to determine whether Bell's HopSlam is best by putting it on draft alongside Founder's Double Trouble, Three Floyds Dreadnaught, NABC Hoptimus and Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA -- all in one night.

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Friday, January 15
Winterfest Beer Festival
@ Mellwood Arts Center, Louisville

"Winterfest is a benefit for Greenhill Therapy and the Eric Hall Foundation. The $30 admission includes beer, food, live music and giveaways. There will be an additional raffle available to win a cruise for two, including airfare." Follow the link to see the list of participating breweries, of which NABC is one.

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Saturday, January 16
Brewers Brunch with NABC
@ Brendan's Public House, Louisville

4-course pairing of breakfast foods with the NABC beers used to cook them, with NABC personnel in attendance. The brunch is limited to 25 people at $30 per person. Follow the link above for reservation information.

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Sunday, January 17
Old Lightning Rod Release & Benjamin Franklin's Birthday
@ NABC Bank Street Brewhouse, New Albany

Ben Franklin’s about to turn 305, and our fifth annual glimpse into the flavor profile of the 18th-century goes on tap at the Bank Street Brewhouse. Chef Josh Lehman plans a surprise special dish or two to celebrate the occasion. Noon - 9:00 p.m.

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Tuesday, January 19
NABC Solidarity Tapping Party
@ Café Lou Lou (Douglass Loop), Louisville

NABC's Baltic Porter is tapped in the relaxed ambience of Cafe Lou Lou's newest location. I'm looking at a Pasta Jambalaya pairing, but it's a big and uniformly good food menu.

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Wednesday, January 20
Cigar Faction January 2010
@ Steinert’s Grill & Pub, New Albany

Cigar Faction is looking for a places in Metro Louisvill to enjoy cigars and craft beer. Steinert's Grill and Pub in downtown New Albany is one of them: Spacious, well-ventilated, a cigar-friendly staff, good food, good beer, and a well-stocked bar. NABC's Mt. Lee (California Common in the City of Angels) will be on tap, and J. Shepherd of Louisville will have cigars available for purchase with door prize drawings every half hour beginning at 6:30.

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Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22
C1 Indiana Release Nights at NABC
@ NABC Bank Street Brewhouse/NABC Pizzeria & Public House, New Albany

The Indiana debut of C1 (Oak-Aged Smoked Rye Pale Ale), brewed collaboratively by Schlafly, O’Fallon’s and NABC, begins at Bank Street Brewhouse with the only cask-conditioned firkin of C1, which will be tapped at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday the 21st. On Friday the 22nd, kegged C1 goes on tap at the Pizzeria & Public House. There are three kegs for the Pizzeria & Public House, a firkin and a keg for Bank Street ... and then it's gone.

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Monday, January 25
Hoptimus vs. HopSlam: A Heavyweight Bout
@ NABC Pizzeria & Public House, New Albany

It's a simple proposition: Try a portion of each, and vote for the best. We want you to be honest! It isn't who wins or loses ... it's about the hops in each.

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Tuesday, January 26
C1 Comes to Louisville
@ Flanagan’s Ale House, Louisville

It's the Louisville release of C1.

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Friday, January 29
C1 and Live Music at KY BBQ
@ Kentucky BBQ Company, Louisville

A keg of C1 and live music at Kentucky BBQ Co. on Frankfort Avenue. Music TBA.

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Saturday, January 30
Indiana Microbrewers Winterfest
@ Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana

The second edition of the Brewers of Indiana Guild's cold-weather gathering will feature 200 different beers from 29 Indiana breweries, including a heated outdoor firkin garden. Also: Food, music, games and a Hoosier breweriana exhibit. Follow the link to buy tickets on-line; they're $30 for the usual sampling privileges, and are expected to sell out long before the event occurs.

Patticake & Pies is open.

A new restaurant, Patticake & Pies, opened yesterday in the former Main Street Grind location at 155 E. Main Street. Readers can click the Tribune link for the entire story, while I've chosen to highlight the very last paragraph, which is the sort of statement designed to make the Conjoined Councilmen's blood run cold, so close is it to a Frankfort Avenue way of thinking.

Latest New Albany treat features pies, paninis and breakfast fare, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).

As she continues to settle into the Main Street location, (Patti) Cianci said she’s happy she chose downtown. “Being close to the Y, there’s a lot of foot traffic, so I really like that,” she said.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Links.

I spent a few minutes last week checking and editing links on NAC's links listing. A few moribund ones were tossed, but I kept the ones that serve as archival presences even if they have not been recently updated.

Feel free to make suggestions. For instance, two links to Art on the Parish Green were added a few minutes ago (thanks C). Granted, not every reader uses the list, but I imagine new users might still find it useful.

In honor of the election season, is it time for the subset of political links?

Do it to us one more time: Hill vs. Hot Wheels, coming to a vomitorium near you.

From the C-J, and for the dreary, annoying record.

Sodrel to run for Congress again; will face GOP rivals

Discuss if you wish. Personally, I cannot understand any conceivable benefit to the regional GOP of having Sodrel once again delay the development of younger, more capable candidates, but if that's what it takes to drive another stake through his political heart, then so be it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Demican, or a Repubocrat? Or something else?

Earlier there was a brief discussion on Twitter about candidates for mayor in New Albany during the next election cycle. Democrats include the incumbent, Doug England, and (we think) the city clerk, Marcey Wisman.

It has long been assumed that at-large councilman Jack Messer would (at an undisclosed juncture) switch parties and wrest the mayoral nomination away from whichever super-annuated wannabeen is ceremoniously given the "Weekend at Bernie's" treatment by a local GOP with fewer ideas than there are Lite beers at the Public House.

Anyway, until Jack jumps ship, what's best for referring to his affiliation: Demican, or Repubocrat?

The mascot's a given, as pictured above, as cribbed from here.

New bicycling laws in Indianapolis.

Progressivism in the state capital, and with a Republican mayor, no less.

Indianapolis Has New Bicycle Laws on Books (Associated Press, via WIBC)

Travelers to Indianapolis will need to heed three new bicycle ordinances in the state capital or risk getting a ticket.


The city says the new ordinances that took effect Jan. 1 are intended to improve safety for both bicyclists and motorists and ensure the proper use of bicycle lanes.

“It’s a tourism issue and it’s a specialty item and it’s a true art.”

Yes, yes ... and yes.

By way of the C-J, the Associated Press surveys the Indiana legislature’s progress toward alcohol law changes. One in particular would impact my brewing business.
The study committee also voted against allowing microbreweries — smaller establishments that have limits on how much beer they can make each year — to sell their beer for takeout on Sundays.

But Republican Sen. Ron Alting of Lafayette, chairman of the Senate Public Policy Committee, has filed a bill that would allow such sales. He plans to give it a hearing before his panel.

Alting noted that farm wineries in Indiana are allowed to sell their products for takeout on Sundays and said microbreweries should have the same privilege.

“It’s a tourism issue and it’s a specialty item and it’s a true art,” Alting said.
I've never met Sen. Alting, but his quote above eloquently summarizes why there is no logical reason for using different sets of rules for small wineries and small breweries. Furthermore, rules governing artisanal production of beer and wine are not cut from the same cloth as those governing package store and othe retail Sunday sales.

The Indiana legislature has the opportunity in 2010 to balance this particular playing field, and NABC will have a team on the ground in Indianapolis this Wednesday to join the Brewers of Indiana Guild at the statehouse to meet elected officials and make the point in person. If you agree with me -- in fact, even if you don't -- please contact Rep. Ed Clere and Sen. Connie Sipes and let them know.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

"Here's to Beer," two non-credit courses from Indiana University Southeast.

Through the kind offices of Indiana University’s Southeast’s Division of Continuing Studies, there’ll be two offerings of my non-credit beer education class during the spring semester of 2010. The first time we held the class in the spring of 2009, I was inspired to write about it: Beer class tonight.

The 2010 listings are now posted at IUS's web site, where you can register and pay for the course. The price is $65, which includes my time and tales, the venue and numerous beer samples.

“Here's to Beer.”

Description: Once upon a time, beer was just beer. No longer. Beginning with an overview of the brewing process and the history of beer, learn how to distinguish Pale Ale from Imperial Stout through words and samples.

1st session: February: 3, 10, 17, and 24 (all Wednesdays)


2nd session: April 7, 14, 21, and 28 (all Wednesdays)

Times: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Location: NABC Pizzeria & Public House, 3312 Plaza Drive (just off Grant Line Road), New Albany 47150.


Note: The last class session each month will be moved to Bank Street Brewhouse in downtown New Albany if agreed by the group.
Questions about content can be referred to me at the address in my profile.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Open thread: Best appetizers in downtown NA?

I enjoyed a four-hour lunch at Steinert's Grill and Pub yesterday, and in keeping with my Thursday column theme of dissipation, elected to snack on appetizers so as not to deprive myself sufficient room for beer.

Previously, I'd been tipped off to the Sauerkraut Balls, and after Rick described them as tasting like a Reuben sandwich, there was no avoiding an order. It's an apt description. They're golf-ball-sized, filled with kraut and little morsels of corned beef, deep fried, and served with Thousand Island dressing for dipping.

We ended up talked about everything from the Russian language to how kids form allegiances to sports teams based on things like uniform color. There's simply no better time than a snow day to sit inside, smoke a cigar, drink good beer (New Belgium 2 Below, on draft) and enjoy good conversation.

It got me to thinking about appetizers and beer: What's the best appetizer being served at New Albany's downtown eating and drinking establishments?

Those Sauerkraut Balls need to be in the discussion, for sure.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Courtesy call: More on El trains.

Those whose mouths watered at the morsels of local El train information shared by NAC recently should take a look at the more comprehensive article author R. David "Ron" Schooling has posted at Broken Sidewalk.

My favorite line:

Even with our modern freeways and fast cars, one cannot duplicate these “point-to-point” travel times today.

And even that fails to specifically mention the wastes of fuel and finance perpetually driving us toward less reason and responsibility that go along with less time to think about the application of either.

When it comes to getting around, we've forgotten more than we know and have thus become as much of a cliché. New Albanians now argue over car parking spots for far longer than it used to take 110 years ago to go between New Albany and Louisville without a car at all.

NA Event Watch: Form Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie, opening January 8.

(submitted)

Form Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie, January 8 - March 6, 2010

Please join us this Friday January 8 from 6-8 pm to celebrate the opening of our new exhibit, Form, Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie, now in its seventh year. This national juried exhibit features 31 contemporary art quilts by artists from across the United States. Enjoy refreshments, live music by the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Quartet, and a chance to meet some of the artists. Free and open to the public. Reception and exhibit sponsored by the Carnegie Center, Inc.

To learn more about this exhibit, please click here.

Today's Tribune column: "Dissipation and revelation."

52 down, a new deck of 52 cut, and the first card turned up ...

BAYLOR: Dissipation and revelation

Of the various ways to define “dissipation,” my favorite is this: “Unrestrained indulgence in physical pleasures, especially alcohol.”

Wired 65 Entrepreneurial Networking Seminars.

Courtesy of Mike Ladd of the the New Albany Urban Enterprise Association. For more information, click this Wired65 web link.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Snow? Fine, except this time, Fassla's not there, right across the alley.



Arriving in Bamberg on December 20, a blizzard was already in progress. Air France spared us the trouble of rolling two pieces of luggage from the train station to our rental apartment, but we still looked like snowmen upon arrival, and it's only a few blocks.

Three days later, all of it was gone. While it lasted, we enjoyed the white-dusted contrast with the reds, golds and greens on many venerable buildings. It made the schnitzel and the beer taste better, even if the outdoor seating areas were battened tight.

Fortunately, back home now and awaiting the next catastrophic snow event, I've taken the precaution of dumping all the milk, using the white bread for school paste, and making sure there's still Beak's Best in the garage keg box.

Neighbors take note, lest actual precipitation occurs. Someone remember to bring sauerkraut, okay?

Bloomington has a neighborhood parking ordinance, too.

How utterly strange that the stated purpose of such a measure dares to "protect motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians," rather than to auction an entitlement for chump change sufficient to make Steve Price orgasmic.

Damned pesky Obamunists.

Neighborhood Parking Permit FAQs

Neighborhood Parking Permit Questions and Answers

City of Bloomington ORDINANCE 92-06 designates University Proximate Residential Neighborhood Permit Parking Zones. Residents in those zones may receive Parking Permits that only allow the vehicles with Permits to park on the street between 8AM and 5PM, Monday thru Friday. Permits expire August 15, of each year. This Ordinance is meant to protect motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians from excessive commuter traffic competing for parking spaces as well as to reduce the amount of traffic in the neighborhoods.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A few notes on last night's council meeting.

1. Newly elected Council President John Gonder followed the law in making committee and commission appointments. As I mentioned to Gonder while expressing thanks after the meeting, this shouldn't be news.

Apparently the Tribune agrees, as they didn't report it or the fact that past presidents failed to follow the law in previous years.

But, it is news. Meeting minutes reflect that Gonder is the only one of the four most recent presidents (and perhaps more) to have actually handled appointments properly. Larry Kochert, Jeff Gahan, and Dan Coffey all either failed to read the law or just didn't care. That a council president took the time to familiarize himself with and apply the rules represents an exceptional shift in leadership attitude and aptitude for a body who's been perennially disrespected and avoided owing precisely to the lackadaisical efforts of the past. Hopefully, such diligence is deemed a precedent worth carrying forward.

2. There was continuation of an argument between Dan Coffey and everyone else present at the meeting who's worked on the Coyle property evaluation. The only reason citizens' and officials' time and energy are being wasted on it is because Coffey is falsely trying to distance himself from a process for which he's responsible. He went so far last night as to suggest that he only went to a meeting about the property because fellow Council Member Diane McCartin-Benedetti called and invited him.

As is often the case, the facts and Coffey's protestations have nothing in common. Previous reporting and meeting minutes confirm the following:

During his time as president of the Council, Coffey signed off on the creation of an exploratory committee in conjunction with the administration and county officials to examine the possibilities of the Coyle property. Coffey was also a member of the City's Redevelopment Commission at the time and suggested that body look into the use of TIF funds to finance the property, a process which they started and have continued, which is why it was under consideration by the Council last night. It's also why Carl Malysz has continually reminded that, though the administration is indeed interested in the property, the TIF initiative under consideration came from the council and not them.

Thus, the facts indicate the exact opposite of what Coffey asserted with regard to McCartin-Benedetti.

McCartin-Benedetti (and Kevin Zurschmiede, who replaced Coffey on the Redevelopment Commission after he resigned) became involved with the Coyle property analysis only because Coffey appointed them to the governing body that he himself suggested should handle the situation.

On the whole, McCartin-Benedetti has discovered what many others before her have: Coffey is a liar who can't be trusted with even the most basic facts. Luckily, she's refusing lately to play hapless victim to Coffey's signature intimidation tactics. As it should be wholly unnecessary, it's unfortunate that such refusal functions as an indicator of positive council growth but, owing to the conditions that Coffey regularly inflicts on the community, it's newsworthy as well. Coffey's council presidency is over. His messes, though, still require cleaning.

3. The residential private parking permit request is somewhat confusing. I'll try to provide more in-depth analysis in future but, from looking at aerial photos and driving the neighborhood, it appears as though the large majority of property owners in the Uptown area have sufficient room on their properties to accommodate private, off-street parking if they so desire. There are already so many driveways and garages that having private parking, rather than suffering from a lack of it, is evidently the norm. And, again, most who don't have it could.

As an initial question, why would New Albany citizens want to give over the public street space they finance to restricted, private use in order to appease private property owners who are unwilling to give up their own privately held resource for the exact same purpose?

One suggested answer was that providing additional parking for a particular property would increase its value. I can't argue with that. That's why people spend their money to build driveways and garages on private property. But, each time a single property value was increased with an additional parking spot taken from the shared pool on public streets, there would be a corresponding decrease in available parking for surrounding properties, thus lowering their values with little to no compensation for those who chose to invest based on that pool.

Does it make sense to use public funds to marginally increase the value of one house on a street at the expense of decreasing the value of several others? I don't think so. It goes against the very notion of shared resources and public spaces that define city life. That notion is the reason many of us have chosen to live here and is what will attract many more to do the same.

Here’s my list of favorite 2009 albums.

The fact that I am annually compelled to assemble a “best album” list provides conclusive proof that my time of cultural relevance has passed. I insist on listening to albums, and have (thus far) resisted the temptation to load an iPod and celebrate aural mediocrity. If Thom Yorke wishes me to hear his band’s songs in a certain order, I take him at his word.

So be it.

As noted in past editions of the yearly round-up, the marvelous thing about being a music buff is that there’ll always be time later to pick up on the releases, groups, songs and trends that were previously neglected or omitted. In 2009, I rediscovered the House Martins, purchased a moving Tim Finn solo album, and enjoyed early, re-mastered R.E.M. releases.

As an aside, and in this context, the long-awaited, re-mastered and reissued “complete” Beatles collection of CDs deserves honorable mention on any “year’s” compilation. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, most strands of contemporary rock and pop go through them.

It’s also comforting to know that whether I live three more years or thirty, it won’t be necessary to waste a single moment’s time on the inanity of mass-market country music with hats, trailer trash and jingoism. I’m a rock & pop oriented listener, and unapologetically mainstream in these tastes.

Again, so be it.

My tastes include jazz and classical, although admittedly the past year did not afford as many opportunities as I’d have liked to listen to these genres. I intend to rectify the imbalance in the coming year, primarily by shifting the CD collection at the Public House to home turf. No one there listens to the jazz CDs. It’s i-Pod territory, so why not bring Satchmo, Bix and Miles to the house? In fact, the first box came earlier today.

Also, my annual, shrugging apology is merited: The “no depression” genre completely depresses me, and although snippets of Americana and roots music peep through, it isn’t very often.

As in 2008, my favorite local, live music of the year was played at NABC’s Fringe Fest. From Klezmer to punk, it was exciting, and thanks are owed to John Campbell for another eclectic lineup.

However, there was another contender in 2009: The first annual Celtic Fest on the waterfront, and Brendan Loughrey's tribute to Kenny Chesney. at Bank Street Brewhouse afterward. I’ll never hear Chesney’s name again without thinking of Loughrey’s song.

Also memorable to me was seeing Hugh Bir perform at the new Wick’s on State in downtown New Albany just prior to the Roger Daltrey concert at Horseshoe. More honky-tonk and less Gordon Lightfoot from Hugh, and we’d be even better with it.

Feel free to post your own choices. As I write, Grinderman (2007) is playing. That crazy Nick Cave; he just breaks me up.

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My top five albums of 2009 are the ones that have made such an impact that most of the songs are sufficiently familiar to me to be recalled on demand without my actually listening to them. Not that my built-in iPod always plays in tune, mind you, but it’s just the way my brain seems to work. The albums are listed according to preference.

1. Manic Street Preachers – Journal for Plague Lovers
With lyrics by the late Richey Edwards and music by the mature, surviving Manics, it’s simply their best fusion in quite a few years of thoughts, hooks and rhythm. All hail Wales.

2. U2 – No Line on the Horizon
Rolling Stone has this in the Top 20 of the Naught Decade, and while I can’t entirely agree, the album shows that for dudes at 50, U2 remains quite capable of producing songs that are deeper than they seem and amply reward repeated listenings.

3. Fastball – Little White Lies
From Austin, Texas, by conceptual way of Liverpool: Great pop songs, plenty of vocal harmonies and sheer exuberance. Fastball is criminally underrated, and it’s the Louisville concert (in May) that I wish I could have attended, but could not because I was in the UK at the time.

4. Cheap Trick – The Latest
That’s right: An unprecedented two American bands in my Top Five. CT’s late period has been an extraordinarily productive one, and I defy anyone to locate an aging rock ‘n’ roll singer with Robin Zander’s gutsy pipes and vocal versatility. Rick Nielson is part owner of the Piece brewpub in Chicago. ‘Nuff said.

5. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
If I were to compile a list of 2009 songs, the first three on this earworm of an album would rank very high. Otherwise, I’m oddly shocked that a French pop band made the list even though Air France came close to losing my luggage. Tolerant of me, eh?

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The second five are listed alphabetically.

7 Worlds Collide – The Sun Came Out
Eight years later, a second Neil Finn-inspired group project featuring a who’s who of damned fine players, from Jeff Tweedy through Johnny Marr, this time with all of them working collaboratively on two discs’ worth of fresh material. Proceeds to Oxfam, so buy it, don’t burn it.

Cribs – Ignore the Ignorant
With Oasis supposedly shut down (reunion cash, anyone?), I had to find another snarling, fractious English band of brothers. Here they are, with hired hand Marr along for the ride.

Doves – Kingdom of Rust
The band isn’t breaking any new ground, but I just adore the sound, alternately self-absorbed, melancholic and fist-shaking … just like me.

Muse – The Resistance
I never would have predicted this one. It was purchased on sheer whim, and is grandiose to the point of Queen with a sprinkling of Keane. Talk about sweet spots. The back catalog comes next; maybe I can catch them at Stonehenge.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
A gal and three guys, quirky pop, punky at times … very New York to me. It sounded good one afternoon at Bank Street Brewhouse. The connection is fully intended.

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Ten others I liked, although not as much.

Black Crowes – Before the Frost/Until the Freeze
The Brothers Robinson and their own version of Exile on Main Street.

Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications
Formerly of Pulp, still lyrically obsessed with sex and status in Gordon Brown’s UK.

Gomez – A New Tide
Nice effort, but strikes me as a sideways step, one lacking the songwriting cohesion of the previous release.

Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Sprawling, noisy and plain weird, rather like a Newer Age bid for Her Satanic Majesty’s Request. Consequently, I like it.

Morrissey – Years of Refusal
Mozz’s comeback has been much appreciated. It seems to be stalling, and while I find moments of interest, the latest offering had me diving back into the singer’s Nineties catalog – and longing for the Smiths.

Pearl Jam – Backspacer
Love the band’s sound. The songs are less memorable. With Pearl Jam, it’s the overall vibe that counts.

Pink Martini – Splendor in the Grass
Odd quasi-Formica-inspired mood music designed to make you desire obsolete Pacific Rim cocktails like the Singapore Sling, and groove to Sixties post-WWII imperial Americana.

Bruce Springsteen – Working on a Dream
A quick follow-up to Magic, which the intervening time is proving to be the better of the two.

White Lies – To Lose My Life
It’s a retro English group that lands somewhere in the vicinity of Echo & the Bunnymen, The Cure and Joy Division. One to watch, but understand that a dollop of grimness goes with the territory.