Thursday, February 28, 2013

ON THE AVENUES: On quality of life and newfound loot.

ON THE AVENUES: On quality of life and newfound loot.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Since infancy, mankind has displayed an irrepressible proclivity to seek intoxication.

Humans simply will not be deterred. We’ve fermented grapes and grains, chewed strange buds, torched wild weeds and gleaned all sorts of useful scientific knowledge from the theory and practice of evading, if only for a little while, the intrinsic angst of the cosmic cycle of life and death, by means of ingesting substances that alter our consciousness.

Oddly, also from the very start, we’ve balanced our blood alcohol counts with vivid cautionary accounts, beginning with the oral tradition, and only later through emerging written languages. Consequently, the Western literary canon is filled with stories about sodden inebriates doomed to oblivion – a place where we’re all headed, anyway, but stick with me for a moment.

It seems almost as if the “officially” accepted rules of fiction permit only random moments of intelligence, heroism or Falstaffian levity in drinkers, while in the main, they’re not permitted to be humorous or sympathetic without extensive qualification. They’re commonly cast not as people, but as walking, talking and sometimes gurgling morality plays.

Imbibers are car-crashing, fight-starting, self-immolating accidents waiting to happen, and those who are well adjusted and functional seldom fit snugly into any serious narrative. At best, they are allowed to wax and wane in deference to tragicomedy, a device primarily deployed as foreshadowing in advance of their subsequent denouement as self-destructive, innocence-shattering villains.

To summarize, not unlike the fate of the Consul on Mezcal in Malcolm Lowry’s “Under the Volcano,” their tales always end badly, and as a professional drinker of many years standing, with a gold-plated union card and squealing liver to prove it, I find the repetition thoroughly tiresome.

Not that I am willing to argue against the varied and exhaustively documented costs of alcoholism. Rather, while negative considerations are genuine, I contend they are not to be confused with the myriad and conducive joys of social drinking, both educationally and recreationally.

And, quite frankly, also for medicinal reasons.

For instance, consider the city of New Albany. There are times when this place seems so bizarrely unreal that only fiction lubricated with alcoholic beverages can properly capture the sensation.

As in: Lately.

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If the newspaper had a sense of humor (rest assured, it doesn’t), the banner headline would have read something like this: “End of rainbow discovered near Hauss Square as history comes to dead stop.”

A full two centuries down the line, New Albany abruptly rose from a slumber of Rip Van Winkle dimensions to find itself slouching, perhaps hungover, at a juncture long anticipated, sometimes predicted, generally dismissed, and often doubted by the very civic leaders who now have determined that we really do have all the money we need.

Imagine it!

Suddenly, after all those wasted years of miserly and penurious parsimony, forever lashed by the imminent tightening of ropes (heck, we couldn’t even afford actual belts), now petty cash is as common as litter on city streets bearing names but no trash receptacles. Verily, either Switzerland or Dubai lies within easy reach, maybe even Singapore, and all we need do to attain the brass ring is float a bond, build some parks, and kick back to watch our children win athletic scholarships and leave town, never to return.

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After last Thursday’s council meeting, when a resolution was approved to speed New Albany toward nirvana or a $19+ million bond issue for parks and recreation (whichever comes first), I was chatting with Councilman Scott Blair about prospective two-way street conversions. His very first question was to ask if any of us knew how much it would cost, because he’s a cost benefit analysis kind of guy.

CM Blair also counts himself firmly among those who advance parks and recreation as “no brainer” quality-of-life issues, and while I personally don’t entirely disagree with this point of view, it seems to me that “quality of life” as a consideration surely must embrace other aspects of the human experience beyond organized recreational facilities.

Even interpreted narrowly, as a concept pertaining solely to recreation, quality of life certainly includes an ability to use the entire city as potential playground, in the sense of walking, riding bicycles or eating a sandwich on a streetside bench … alas, with no garbage can nearby. Hence, the under-valued importance of the municipal street grid itself, because just as the skin is your body’s largest organ, a city’s streets tie every single one of its other facets together into a whole.

That’s why I found it noteworthy that CM Blair, a skilled and respected banker, immediately pounced on the notion of two-way street conversions as a prime candidate for rigorous cost-benefit analysis (and indeed, numerous studies have been conducted, here and elsewhere), while accepting virtually without question the aquatics center-as-quality-of-life truism.

With virtually all in attendance advancing the notion of recreational facilities as sole determining factor governing whether “our children” become taxpayers or axe murderers, and largely refusing to countenance arguments of a more subtle nature suggesting otherwise, exactly how do we reduce such an equation to dollars and cents and cost-benefit – apart from guesstimates of attendance and user fees worth somewhat less than the PowerPoint they’re printed on?

It isn’t my intention to “bully” CM Blair, who’s quite capable of advancing his viewpoint and has done so with me on several occasions. We talk just fine, Daniel. Rather, it’s to explicate yet again (sadly) this default tendency of power brokers to lapse into stupor at the very suggestion that prioritizing basic everyday infrastructures of living, from transport to design to neighborhood structure, might address “quality-of-life” issues far more fundamentally and comprehensively than parks and recreation facilities created (and financed) in isolated, self-perpetuating vacuums.

Two hundred years after the Scribners rowed ashore to take a leak and get some good ol’ homebrew cooking, the Gahan administration evidently has found the pot of gold buried beneath the manhole covers out back in the street department’s parts shed. Not only that, there’s a council mercifully absent Li’l Stevie and King Larry, and with an alien occupying the body formerly known as Dan Coffey’s, and what this adds up to is a majority seemingly in favor of spending the uncovered loot as quickly as possible.

So be it. I’m for borrowing every last cent if it means making this city a better place, and one that requires less personal alcohol consumption to make life tolerable (but please, keep drinking Progressive Pints, because daddy likes to get paid).

All I’m asking is for a closer look at “quality of life” and what it entails, and with less rolling of eyes, particularly as the concept pertains to the majority of residents who neither do the backstroke nor swat horsehide. Make this whole damned city a recreational area, guys -- and then we’re getting somewhere.

Now if you’ll slide that bottle across the table, we can get back to nationalizing the railroad.

Coffey on Malysz and spinelessness.

If this comment at the newspaper's web site actually is Dan Coffey's, and I assume so, then it's a valuable glimpse into the councilman's mind, because to have attended a council meeting so far this year is to have seen that this council is Coffey's ... amazing, but true. His is an act of adaptive reinvention last viewed with U2's "Achtung Baby" album in 1992 ... or, closer to home, with the now (and how?) dispatched Carl Malysz, each time an administration changed. We're witnessing some high order political theater these days, and where it stops, no one knows.

Long Overdue. Mayor Gahan did what was necessary. Carl has a different view than the Mayor on where we should position our city for the future. Spineless people are the ones that hide behind fake names because they are to much of a coward to stand up and out front for what they believe in. Mayor Gahan, myself and Carl Malysz put their beliefs on the line everyday even though we will be ridiculed by self serving people who have NO idea what the truths and facts are. No one was 'lining their pockets' as you stated. As far as re-elections go, Jeff, and myself have won numerous elections and are proud that the people have faith in us, so your 'Prophesy' is based on a simple, slanderous mind that cannot understand that others do not share your view. Please have the courage and courtesy to use your given name so others may know who you are. It should be the policy of the Tribune to mandate that people give their names as this forum is of an editorial format. - Dan Coffey

New Albany fires Malysz

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Free NA1st seminar on Thursday is "The ISBDC: Our Hidden Gem For No Cost Business Resources."


Now equipped with wine, via River City Winery. Learn more about New Albany First here.

The ISBDC: Our Hidden Gem For No Cost Business Resources

The nonprofit Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Center exists for one reason: Small business success.

Come join us to discover all of the resources available to you as a small business owner for absolutely no cost that could increase your marketing reach, help identify process mistakes, solidify your strategic direction, and increase your profit margin.

Wine and food will be available for purchase. Come network with other New Albany First members and guests while learning about the free business resources that can help your business succeed.

Help us QC the new NABC web site, and taste the Bonfire.

The completely revised and updated New Albanian Brewing Company web site has just gone "live," and if you're willing to take a few minutes and look for the inevitable mistakes and omissions, we'd appreciate it.

www.newalbanian.com

While I'm on the subject, NABC's latest seasonal beer release is here.


Bonfire of the Valkyries is on tap at Bank Street Brewhouse and the Pizzeria & Public House. As with the 2013 release of Solidarity Baltic Porter before it, 22-oz bomber availability for Bonfire of the Valkyries will be limited to our two NABC locations. A small amount of draft probably will be available for outside accounts.

Bonfire of the Valkyries
Imperial Smoked Black Lager
ABV: 8% … IBU: 10

Color: Dark brown/black.

Flavor: Full bodied, with strong, clean dark lager malt character and ample smokiness.

Compare to: Bonfire is an utterly unique Imperial Smoked Black Lager, but it compares with Smoked Porters from Alaskan, Stone, etc.

DNA tidings: “Work and Waltz on Pearl” in March, "Be Local Expo" in April.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Develop New Albany. I've gleaned these two useful news items from the organization's monthly mailing. Consider these my monthly straight lines.

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March "1st Tuesday" Event:

Develop New Albany invites you to our March “1st Tuesday” event on March 5th from 5pm -7:30pm. The theme will be “Work and Waltz on Pearl”. The event will be shared by Shall we Dance located at 208 Pearl Street and The Office Supply Co. at 217 Pearl Street. If you are a local business person, this open networking event provides the opportunity to develop and renew business contacts, but it is also about relationship building. You will also enjoy hearing the latest downtown updates.

Recent News:

Downtown New Albany's "Be Local Expo" will be held on April 2nd at the Calumet Club in Historic Uptown New Albany. More information will be coming along for this event. This is a joint effort between Develop New Albany and NA 1st to promote our local New Albany businesses.

Morrison: "Understand how the East End Bridge or the downtown bridge is going to be financed? You likely don’t."

Go the Insider Louisville, read the entirety of Curt's chronicle of a fiasco, and resort to strong drink.

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Shocker: Plan calls for building East End bridge,THEN figuring out how to pay for it

“So, how much is that baby gonna’ run us?” Don’t worry about … it’s public funding magic.









(Editor’s note: Terry Boyd also contributed to this post.)
If you think you know everything there is to know about the $2.6 billion bridges projects – either the East End bridge project or the downtown bridge – you don’t.
In fact, we’d go so far to bet you don’t know the half of it. (Which is not an accident.)
If you think you understand how the East End Bridge or the downtown bridge is going to be financed, you likely don’t.
If you think you understand the tolling mechanism, think again.
To tell you everything never reported in the conventional media would take a book.
So, for this post, we’re going to focus on the East End Bridge, which is being built by Indiana.
Through the magic of something called “availability payments,” the East End Bridge (Indiana’s project) is on a schedule to be essentially built before the process to finance it even begins.
Seriously.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Look, ma, the 'Bune's finally taken a position on something.


But they sure circle them wagons with speed and efficiency, don't they?

Breaking up is hard, and even foggier than expected.



Today the 'Bama Pop-Up Coagulator is reporting that no one's talking to it, either, when it comes to Carl Malysz's unexpected sacking last week.

Indeed, seldom in New Albany's two-century history have so many different lips been zipped tight.

I haven't always agreed with Carl, generally owing to the political role required of him, and sometimes eagerly accepted by him, as deputy to various mayors. However, I've never disliked him, and it's always been a pleasure conversing about a wide range of topics.

Carl, if you'd like to skip the usual Deep South pension recipients and talk to the city's blog of record, too bad -- Kitchen Table's still cowering in a root cellar somewhere. But there's always NA Confidential. Good night, and good luck.

Alien ashtray invasion feared as Clean & Green returns to Board of Works.

The Green Mouse reports that Keep New Albany Clean & Green's Irv Stumler will attend today's Board of Public Works meeting seeking approval for 20-40 additional symptom abatement Band-Aids ... er, make that "planters," in the downtown area.

For those contemplating attendance, or to inquire as to why some of the upcoming $19 million bond windfall cannot be devoted to  a handful of standard $430 trash receptacles, the board's weekly meeting will be held at that ever-convenient hour of 10:00 a.m.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Houndmouth at Iroquois Amphitheater on Friday, April 26.


Roger says: You're damned straight I'm trying to get New Albany-brewed beer into Iroquois to accompany New Albany-made music. There may be something to add to this in the coming days, so as usual ... stay tuned.

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(text and photo via Production Simple)

Iroquois Amphitheater and 91.9 WFPK Present:

HOUNDMOUTH

Friday, April 26th at 8pm
Gates 6:30pm
Iroquois Amphitheater / All Ages
General Admission
Tickets $12 Advance / $15 Day of show

Houndmouth (Matt Myers, Katie Toupin, Shane Cody and Zak Appleby) formed in late 2011 in New Albany IN and released their self titled debut EP this past August on Rough Trade Records. Their brand of electrified folk-rock has earned them opening slots for the Drive By Truckers, Lucero, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Alabama Shakes to name a few, even scoring a slot at The Newport Folk Festival. 2013 has found them on the road in Europe and when they return stateside in March they embark on their first headliners tour across the states and their first hometown play kicks off Iroquois Amphitheater's 75th Anniversary Opening Weekend!

On sale 2/22 at 10am
Tickets may be purchased at
The Iroquois Amphitheater Box Office
(Monday- Friday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
Ticketfly.com, or by calling 877-4-FLY-TIX

A report on the history of the K & I Bridge.

At last Thursday's city council meeting, at which a resolution to "open" the K & I was approved unanimously, planner Scott Wood informed the body's members that he'd be forwarding them a new report on the status of the K & I Bridge, one he said they'd surely find interesting.

And it is.

The report is by Steven R. Greseth, M.B.A., P.E., and I have it because it's being circulated back and forth by advocates of opening the K & I to pedestrians and cyclists, a cause favored by just about everyone with an opinion except Norfolk Southern itself.

Greseth's extensive legal research (he readily concedes it is neither legal advice nor legal opinion) succeeds in asking a whole different set of questions, which might be boiled down to this: How many, if any, of a century's worth of legal obligations is the present-day owner of the K & I now obliged to uphold?

In short, perhaps it isn't merely a question of what we all "know" is right v.v. the use of the bridge to carry traffic beyond trains, but what the current owner has not fulfilled in terms of use -- and what it means.

And that t-o-l-l word is here, too. We used to toss quarters in the slot before driving across, didn't we?

Following is Greseth's summary only. His research is evolving. Insofar as I can bring his findings to light, I will.

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SUMMARY FINDINGS

Clearly, the purpose of the Kentucky & Indiana Bridge, which spans the mighty Ohio River at the Falls of the Ohio, is to connect the great cities of New Albany, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky, and to bring their residents closer together. Combined, the object and purpose of the Kentucky & Indiana Bridge Company is to construct, own, and operate a bridge from a point in the City of New Albany, Indiana across the Ohio River to a point in the City of Louisville, Kentucky for both railway and common roadway purposes together.

The Kentucky & Indiana Bridge Company is a franchise created by the elected legislatures of the Great State of Indiana, the Cultured Commonwealth of Kentucky, the City of Louisville, and the City of New Albany exclusively to afford great convenience to their public, by cheapening transportation and facilitating inter‐State commerce. The franchise can be revoked if the K & I Bridge owners do not follow the law.

The Kentucky & Indiana Bridge remains a grand monument to the enterprising citizens of Louisville, Kentucky and New Albany, Indiana who devised and carried out the financial plans for its erection. The alignment of the K & I is along the Great Buffalo Trace, and is of enormous historic and sentimental importance to the United States.

Unquestionably, the modes of transportation across the Kentucky & Indiana Bridge are broad and inclusive, and they shall include railroad cars, streetcars, foot passengers, bicycles, and animals of any kind. Two years of financial statements for the K & I bridge indicate that 22% of earned revenue was generated from rail freight and 78% was earned by passenger transportation, telegraph, and mail transport.

K & I Bridge has a remarkable safety rating. Experts would rank it among the safest of any major bridge in the United States. Safe passage was a major consideration for the bridge designers who used the following innovations to reduce accidents:


  • High visual screens along the roadway ‐ to calm horses, livestock, and to keep drivers focused on the roadway and not distracted by trains.
  • Narrow roadway lanes, which induce slow driving speed.
  • All crossings between the common roadway and the railway are grade separated, which is the safest type of crossing.


The corporation owning, possessing, controlling or operating the Kentucky & Indiana Bridge Company bridge shall have continuously on sale, at all hours of the day and night, the tickets or coupons for those who wish to cross the bridge, and shall keep conspicuously posted a schedule of the crossing fee that may be fixed in pursuance of the enabling law and ordinance. Failure to comply with the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky may result in fines and loss of franchise.

The U.S. Coast Guard is the Federal Government permit authority for the Kentucky and Indiana Bridge Company Bridge. For repairs to worn components like handrail, ornamentation, protective screens, and gates for foot passenger or bicycle access, the Coast Guards categorizes those repairs as routine maintenance and does not require a permit review process.

The rates of toll for all persons who cross the Kentucky & Indiana Bridge on foot or horseback, or in vehicles, except in cars propelled by steam or other power, shall first be submitted to, and approved by, the board of commissioners of Floyd County Indiana.

The United States of America shall have right‐of‐way across the Kentucky and Indiana Bridge Company Bridge. In addition, in case of any litigation arising from any obstruction of the Kentucky and Indiana Bridge the cause or question arising may be tried before the District Court of the United States in the States of Indiana or the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Where questions arise as to the operation of the Kentucky & Indiana Railroad Bridge, they shall always be as stipulated by the Jefferson County Attorney of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

Nearly all relevant statues for the State of Indiana, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the City of Louisville, and the United States which pertain to the Kentucky & Indiana Bridge, and many historic documents are incorporated in the main body of this report.

Artisan distilling: Legislative loosening and other flanking maneuvers.

Even a cynic like me must doff his chapeau in recognition of the political artistry involved in moving the "artisan distillery" bill past Bill Davis, who is as ardent and unapologetic a prohibitionist as Carrie Nation ever dreamed of being.

State may loosen rules for micro-distilleries: Bill could help small entrepreneurs capitalize on growing demand for ‘locally grown’ drink, by Maureen Hayden (CNHI Statehouse Bureau via Pharos-Tribune)

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana General Assembly isn’t ready to let Hoosiers buy booze at a grocery store on Sundays, but lawmakers may be willing to loosen up the state’s tight alcohol laws for artisans who craft beer, wine and spirits.

Legislation to allow Sunday sales of carryout alcohol from retail stores died in the House last week. But several other alcohol-related bills are making their way through the legislature, all aimed at helping small entrepreneurs capitalize on the growing demand for “locally grown” drink.

They include a bill that would allow farm wineries to sell their products directly to retailers and a bill that would let the makers of craft beers sell their products at farmer’s markets and trade shows.

There’s also legislation aimed at relaxing Indiana liquor laws to allow the creation of micro-distilleries that would specialize in producing small batches of bourbons, whiskey, vodkas and gins.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Props to the Dayton crew as Gravity Head's first weekend comes to an end.


I first met Patti and Larry when they traveled all the way from Dayton, Ohio, to attend an early Gravity Head. They started bringing along their friends and fellow beer enthusiasts for a regular appearance on Day Two of our annual beer fest. This year there were about twenty of them, and it was the usual enjoyable weekend. They closed it earlier today with brunch at Bank Street Brewhouse.

All I can say is: Thanks for coming to New Albany, guys. It's been quite enjoyable getting to know all of you. Only 364 or so days until renewal ...

Aquatics bucks: This whole cost-benefit thing, and simple arithmetic?

The meat of Randy's post is a reconsideration of the numbers being floated as worthy of a banker's support for the aquatics center bond, which received its first positive council vote last Thursday.

Crippling Bond Issue Based on False Premises, by Randy Smith (The NewAlbanist)

 ... According to the newspaper of record, the Gahan administration is proceeding with plans for a $9 million aquatic center to be located at the failed site of the Camille Wright swimming pool off W. Daisy Lane.

Their professional design consultant, The Estopinal Group (and who else would you expect them to use?) says that a new outdoor facility can be expected to have 66,000 visits each year and to generate $932.000 in revenues. TEG asserts that the operating costs of the pool will not exceed $700,000 annually. Simple arithmetic yields a net revenue stream of $232,000 each year.

Oh, but that it were true.

The 6-3 vote in favor of moving forward is history. While retaining my overall doubts, I'll say that if we really must insist on defining our civic commitment to youth in terms of sports instead of brains, the greening of the squalid Hoosier Panel property makes better sense on multiple levels than the square-peg, round-hole aquatics center scenario; apart from serving as a bricks and mortar manifestation of mail order appendage enhancements in the context of the ongoing parks libido war between city and county, I fail to see the usefulness of the aquatics center.

Then again, I don't swim. The water gets in your beer, and it's plain nasty.

The most surprising aspect of last Thursday's pro-bond vote was the seeming exhaustion of the usual "no new spending" bloc. I've never seen such resignation going into a scrum; perhaps advanced age finally is taking its toll on the stalwarts. Like always, Erika Denhart rallied her troops -- and perhaps three attended. Her speech was Charlie Pride-laden boilerplate, and the vows of unceasing combat uncharacteristically hollow.

A handful of Republicans were collected, including Irv Stumler, who allowed himself to be taken down fairly easy by Dan "I'll have more of that drunken sailor expenditure, please" Coffey. Even the leather-jacketed former councilman, Steve Price, was unable to muster much of his patented oppositionist enthusiasm. Maybe they're preparing an ambush.

Until then, it would be nice to think that council persons like Scott Blair might contemplate whether the numbers really add up.

Kunstler: "There will be no new chain store brands to replace the dying ones. That phase of our history is over."

Here's another commentary you'll not be reading at the "local" chain newspaper.

The Era of Giant Chain Stores Is Over -- And They've Ruined America, by James Howard Kunstler (Business Insider via Huff Post Small Business)

... The chain stores won not only because they flung money around -- sometimes directly into the wallets of public officials -- but because a sizeable chunk of every local population longed for the dazzling new mode of commerce. "We Want Bargain Shopping" was their rallying cry.

The unintended consequence of their victories through the 1970s and beyond was the total destruction of local economic networks, that is, Main Streets and downtowns, in effect destroying many of their own livelihoods. Wasn't that a bargain, though?

Despite the obvious damage now visible in the entropic desolation of every American home town, WalMart managed to install itself in the pantheon of American Dream icons, along with apple pie, motherhood, and Coca Cola. In most of the country there is no other place to buy goods (and no other place to get a paycheck, scant and demeaning as it may be). America made itself hostage to bargain shopping and then committed suicide. Here we find another axiom of human affairs at work: People get what they deserve, not what they expect. Life is tragic.

The older generations responsible for all that may be done for, but the momentum has now turned in the opposite direction. Though the public hasn't groked it yet, Wal-Mart and its kindred malignant organisms have entered their own yeast-overgrowth death spiral. In a now permanently contracting economy the big box model fails spectacularly. Every element of economic reality is now poised to squash them.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Zirin: "Oscar Pistorius and the Global System of Deadly Misogyny."

The Nation's Dave Zirin rapidly is becoming the only writer about sports (I refrain from the more conventional moniker) who I can can stand reading. That's because he insists on refusing to view sports apart from a broader societal context. In Zirin's coverage, the dog is considered, not merely the tail. The hypocrisies are considered absent the worshipful delusions. Twitterers, you can follow Zirin at @EdgeofSports.

Oscar Pistorius and the Global System of Deadly Misogyny

... Just as with Belcher and Perkins, we will learn more than we ever wanted or needed to know in the weeks to come about the nature of Pistorius and Steenkamp’s relationship. We will learn about the “allegations of a domestic nature” that had brought police to his home in the past. We will learn about Pistorius’s previous allegedly violent relationships with women. We will learn about the variety of guns he kept at close hand. We will surely discuss male athletes and violence against women: the sort of all-too-common story that can create commonality between a football player from Long Island and a sprinter from Johannesburg. We might even ponder the way these gated communities, one of which was also the site of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin’s murder a year ago, become throbbing pods of paranoia and parabellums. We will learn about everything except what actually matters: there is a global epidemic of violence against women, and South Africa is at its epicenter.

Boyd: ORBP a "1950s solution to a 21st Century problem."

The rest of the planet continues to understand what Kerry Stemler, Ed Clere, Greg Fischer and Bob Caesar cannot. Do you think a single one of them read the NY Times article prompting Boyd's comments, below? I would't bet on it. Just last week Mayor Fischer the ORBP proponent was prattling on about sustainability even as pots and kettles turned red with embarrassment.

NYTimes on Louisville: A city that can’t stop making historically bad choices, by Terry Boyd (Insider Louisville)

... the more interesting interviews are with downtown bridge opponents U of L Professor Hank Savitch and 8664 founder Tyler Allen.

Savitch sums up what’s coming with the new downtown bridge: “It will dissipate energy in the central city, where they should be concentrating investment, and instead draw capital to the outer metropolitan area.”

Allen makes the point that the forces for enhancing Lousiville’s riverfront instead of burying it in concrete ran “into the buzz saw of power.”

In fairness, that buzz saw of power was propelled by the fact our three (still functioning) bridges are so old and so neglected, they’re on the verge of being structurally unsound, overstressed and unsafe at any speed.

But instead of considering ingenious and forward-looking options, everyone from former Mayor Jerry Abramson to Southern Indiana power broker Kerry Stemler chose to apply a 1950s solution to a 21st Century problem.

Kudos to Allan Gamborg and his "Soviet Moscow" exhibition, opening next week.


For many years, I've passed along news of my friend Allan Gamborg's career in collecting and curating Soviet-era art. He's got a big exhibition coming up, and although I'd love to go, all I can do is recognize it here.

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Dear Friends,

I am happy to invite you to the opening of my exhibition - works from my collection on the theme Soviet Moscow (Советская Москва) on Friday March 1, at 17.00. It takes place at Sergey Andriyaka’s Watercolour and Fine Arts Academy - at ulitsa Akademika Vargi, 15, Moscow

The exhibition focuses on Moscow in the Soviet era seen from different perspectives. The exterior: Streets, architecture, political posters. The interior: People, fashion and design, still-lives. At the exhibition there will be about 350 works of art from the 1920s-1960s by 40 different artists.

See more information about the exhibition here: http://academy.andriaka.ru/content/3961/ (only in Russian) .

OPENING OF THE EXHIBITION "SOVIET MOSCOW"

We are pleased to invite you to the opening of the exhibition "Soviet Moscow" on the 1st of March at 17.00 at the Andriaka Academy of Watercolour and Fine Arts, at Ulitsa Akademika Vargi 15.

Soviet Art is experiencing a come-back in popularity. Looking at historic events who took place more than half a century ago through the fine arts, we understand that these works of art no longer are everyday mundane objects, but have turned into a reflection of the beautiful but long gone dream of Socialism.

The works of art in Allan Gamborg Andersen's collection all tell a tale of a time and a place now gone; of places and people during the time of the Soviet Union. Every piece tells a story of the Soviet era - of places of hopes, of production, and of the history of the country in those intense and complicated times that had such an immense impact on the history of the whole world.

The collection of Soviet art was started in mid-1990s. It tries to express the duality of the double lives the many artists led: On the one hand they demonstrate the pride in country and system, the modernisation of production, the all pervasive aspects of politics, the propaganda in its various forms. 

On the other hand, the Collection tries to show the sun falling on a back street, the changing of the seasons in Moscow, young and elders leading their lives in the big city - in short a multitude of motives captured for no other reason than the love of it.

The main principle of Allan Gamborg Andersen's collection is that every work of art should tell a story. A quickly drawn sketch can tell and express as much as large, detailed oil composition.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sources: Carl Malysz is out.


Earlier tonight, two impeccable sources have informed the Green Mouse that Carl Malysz has got the sack as director of community housing initiatives, or whatever the job title he's had since Doug England left office. In the photo above, Malysz prepares the crystal diodes for loading.

Parks, pools and streets paved with bonds: Who are you, and what did you do with CM Cappuccino?

At last evening's city council meeting, councilman Dan Coffey relentlessly spearheaded the body's initial approval of bonds equal to an amount required to purchase 45,581 urban trash receptacles (my calculation) or 25 additional Rent Boy Parks (Kevin Zurschmiede's estimate), all for the purpose of (a) quality of life amenities to please citizens and attract the right people to town, and (b) comprehensive citywide paving*, all wrapped into a project that first came to the public's attention maybe two months ago.









That's right. Coffey's now the $19 Million Dollar Man.









Surreal doesn't begin to describe it.

You can read the details elsewhere, but as the Hubbell telescopes are focused on distant galaxies from whence came the alien currently occupying Coffey's body, I have one additional comment to make.

Councilman Scott Blair made a statement during the course of the bonding debate that merits examination: "Either you're for parks or you're against them."

Afterwards, when I told him I disagreed, he explained that he felt it necessary to plainly state the situation so as to concentrate attention on the facts of the resolution.

For the consideration of Mr. Blair, who quite often notes aloud that as a banker, he's a cost-to-benefit kind of guy, I have only this to say: If costs and benefits apply to numbers, they pertain equally to language. Opposing a specific bonding proposal for a specific parks and recreation plan is not opposing the broader notion of parks. I submit that there can be a cost when it comes to over-simplified axioms, as well as a benefit to regarding expensive and complex proposals with precise thinking, not either/or.

Taking this a step further, can someone (anyone) explain how and when parks and recreational facilities came to be the sole measurement of our civic libido as compared with the county?

* whereas the larger parks and recreation expenditure was waved through, the council decided it needed more information to bond paving, and the resolution was tabled when former president Benedetti ... oh, never mind.

Sad but true: La Rosita's is no more.

I'm saddened to announce that La Rosita's is finished, permanently. The space on the corner of Spring and Pearl was being cleared yesterday and today. We wish the best of luck to Chef Israel Landin. There will be no more Burritos Ahogado. It's like a death in the family, but life goes on.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Benedetti to NAC: I've been to the Muhammad Ali Center.

In response to an article published here on May 31, 2007, 5th district council representative Diane Benedetti has cleared the air.

C'mon, who could turn down an afternoon at Louisville's Muhammad Ali Center?

At the aforementioned Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on April 27, Mr. and Mrs. Confidential were flatly envious of 5th district Democratic council candidate Diane McCartin Benedetti, who walked off with the door prize of specially selected Muhammad Ali Center materials and admission tickets. I wonder if she has yet had time to visit, and if so, whether the experience was good for her.

After this evening's council meeting, Mrs. Benedetti told me that not only has she visited the Muhammad Ali Center, she found it wonderful, and she also provided tickets to underprivileged kids so they could experience it, too.

And now you have the rest of the story, because at NAC, we follow up. Good day.

ON THE AVENUES: Ain't it funny how we all seem to look the same?

ON THE AVENUES: Ain't it funny how we all seem to look the same?

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

We emerged from the shadows of The Dolphin pub in Plymouth’s Barbican and began walking toward the harbor, the open sea visible in the distance to the south, when a steadily mounting, mechanized buzzing was heard around the corner.

Were we being pursued by lawnmowers?

Soon the street was filled with flashy vintage motor scooters, piloted mostly by older men wearing archaic clothing from some time long ago, and suddenly there came a devastating flashback from somewhere within my Indiana heartland soul … but why? How could someone like me, born and raised thousands of miles away, who never even visited England until 1998, possibly experience Sixties-back-dated déjà vu on a Devon quayside in the year 2009?

Quadrophenia, that’s how.

Unbeknownst to us, at least until the whirring eventually subsided and my wife’s cousin deigned to explain, the Who’s seminal 1973 album was being adapted and restaged as a musical by its writer, Pete Townshend. The show would be playing at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, and so we bought tickets and attended a performance. It was cleverly done, with a group of young vocalists and instrumentalists gleefully blasting their letter-perfect way through passages made immortal by Townshend (guitar and vocals), Roger Daltrey (vocals), John Entwistle (bass and brass) and Keith Moon (drums and percussion).

Tears were in my eyes throughout, because Quadrophenia always works that way for me.

---

The basic facts are well known. Quadrophenia was conceived by Townshend as a concept album embracing aspects of post-war British cultural history utterly remote from the American experience. Jimmy, the protagonist, is a Mod; on the other side of the contrasting ethos aisle are the Rockers. These rival gangs have everything in common when it comes to their shared white ethnicity and socio-economic futility in Great Britain; duly deprived of larger differences, they fight endlessly over small patches of turf defined primarily by styles, fashions and attitudes.

Jimmy’s personality is explained as a four-part disorder (perhaps “quad-polar” in amateur newspeak) of conflicting emotions, each of them further symbolized by a band member: Introspective “beggar” (Townshend); tough guy and “helpless dancer” (Daltrey); groping romantic (Entwistle) and manic lunatic (Moon). In turn, each of Jimmy’s personalities is scored as a musical theme, and in operatic fashion, these themes are stated through bookending instrumentals (“Quadrophenia” and “The Rock”), woven through the narrative, and brought to an epiphany in “Love Reign O’er Me.”

Arguably, Quadropenia is the Who’s aggregate musical pinnacle, fusing the players’ greatest individual strengths during a period just before weariness and attrition began taking their toll. Astoundingly, not one of them was 30 years old when Quadrophenia was recorded. As a whole, while oblique, Jimmy’s saga makes far better sense than that of Tommy, the group’s better known album. Upon release, Quadrophenia was no “instant” classic, but it has aged quite well, its deeper, layered textures successfully maturing over time. Like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Quadrophenia’s universals are capable of creative reinvention apart from their original milieu. These days, Tommy seems positively impoverished by comparison.

However, Quadrophenia’s enduring resonance has less to do with the details of its birth and subsequent reincarnations than with an unquestioned, bedrock fact of the rock and roll canon in its most expansive sense, because in the end, the music’s all about me.

Pete Townshend, that distant Englishman, addressed me – one listener out of millions – with Quadrophenia, an album I first heard at 13 years of age and found utterly impenetrable, but a few short years later, gratefully embraced as fully capable of addressing the innermost labyrinths of my far-off Hoosier world in a way that was just plain uncanny, and remains inexplicable these many years later.

Why not?

That’s rock and roll.

---

In retrospect, it is clear to me that from a very early age, I’ve harbored inclinations toward cantankerousness, rebellion and insolence. Curmudgeonly is my destiny. Granted, these traits took a while to coalesce into a doctrine for daily living. Like so many teenagers, I couldn’t always find words or principles to articulate my thoughts, and when I became aware of the Who and Townshend’s terse early statements of doubt, self-loathing and alienation (“Can’t Explain” and “Substitute”), contrasting with outbursts of aggression and bravado (“My Generation” and “Anyway Anyhow Anywhere”), they definitely were an influence.

But I can be a very slow learner and a very late bloomer. To grasp the broader implications of Quadrophenia, I had to grow a bit older and be knocked good and hard on the noggin in a metaphorical sense. My inevitable comeuppance came in 1979.

Although captivated by my philosophy and history courses, I was muddling disinterestedly through university, completely clueless about the future. Then, providentially, I met a girl, and for the first time ever, there was seeming clarity, because naturally, as with every TV show I’d viewed since the boob tube became my de facto babysitter in 1963, there would ensue a storybook romance, marriage, a career to pay the bills, children, softball, holidays … and so forth, until at last, decades later, I’d find myself seated in one of Thornton Wilder’s wooden stage chairs.

This stunningly short-lived relationship proved as providential as I’d imagined, only for all the “wrong” reasons – at the time. In retrospect, it simply isn’t possible to overstate my foolishness and immaturity; even worse, these conditions were just as uncomfortably obvious to me then. A lifetime of coddled pop song lyric gullibility was no preparation for a “happily ever after” plot line to be squashed unceremoniously underfoot, but there was a cassette handy for offering consolation: Quadrophenia. Pete knew what it felt like, and I listened to his prescription every day for weeks on end.

---

On February 16, the surviving members of the Who came to Louisville and staged a compelling revival of Quadrophenia, performed in its entirety. The story of how I first came to appreciate the album occurred a thousand or more years ago. It was the jumpstart to a process of self-discovery that happily hasn’t stopped since, and yet oddly, just as Pavlov’s famous mutt can’t remember exactly why he’s salivating, not a one of my founding Quadrophenia myths surfaced during last Saturday’s performance. Instead, I just enjoyed the music. The rest of the historical document just didn’t seem to matter.

Maybe Quadrophenia by the Who at the Yum Brands Arena isn’t very local at all, but when it comes to mythology, maybe we need it to be arena-sized, and not confined to a busker’s cubbyhole. Maybe we’re always looking for selected whole planet universals to help us sort through our own small pond particulars. Maybe music functions as just such a religion in my own innermost world.

Maybe I’m kidding myself, because I know it does.

Tears get in my eyes. Music like Quadrophenia always works that way for me.

Must see: "Spirits of the Passage" exhibit at the Frazier Museum.


My recommendation to those Highland Hills students capable of flaunting cluelessness in the absence of adult supervision is to proceed to the Frazier Museum for some make-up classwork.

Yes, I understand that in all likelihood, they had no idea what they were doing.

And yes, that's the entire problem, isn't it?

I know at least one non-freshman female city council member they probably will not see there, although maybe she actually did get around to visiting the Muhammad Ali Center on her own.


The exhibit is called, "Spirits of the Passage: The Story of the Transatlantic Slave Trade", and it runs through June 16.

The human spirit can never be enslaved.

The Frazier Museum launches a new exhibition in celebration of Black History Month that explores the circumstances of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the power of the human spirit.

The Frazier History Museum invites guests to experience one of the most powerful and important exhibitions it has ever displayed. “Spirits of the Passage: The Story of the Transatlantic Slave Trade” explores the power of the human spirit through a display of nearly 150 historical objects covering more than 350 years.

The 4,000 sq. ft. exhibition, on display through June 16, 2013, is in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the turning point it represented for thousands of enslaved people at a pivotal point in the American Civil War. It’s the first exhibition of its kind to examine the entire history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade from the 16th through 19th centuries, while also presenting the most up-to-date research and discoveries to the public. These include the latest marine archaeological discoveries, new research on key African societies and an exploration of the slave trade’s modern day legacies.

$ity council tonight: Complete $treet$ $till ab$ent from the $e$$ion'$ agenda.

According to the ever intrepid city council attorney Matt Lorch, as posting on Twitter, tonight's council meeting preview is as follows:

NA City Council mtg 2/21/13 at 7:30p - Agenda includes $20M bond issue for aquatic center, 2 multi-sport parks, and $5M paving ... NA City Council agenda on 2/21/13 also includes K&I Bridge reopening resolution, ban of roadside collections & others #NAcouncil

My thoughts also were expressed on Twitter:

I'll believe that New Albany is serious about reinvesting in itself for its future when we finally see an Unpaving Bond. Drainage, anyone?

The non-prioritized details (is there a farthing left for two-way street conversions, m'lord?) are right here in the agenda.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

'Bune's editorial board gets close, but loses scent in comments on Horseshoegate.

Yo: The News and 'Bune’s editorial board, composed of Publisher Bill Hanson, Editor Shea Van Hoy and Assistant Editors Chris Morris and Amy Huffman-Branham, musters a rare editorial.

Rarer still, the Jeffersonville-based board gets the overall conclusion right, albeit mostly for the wrong reasons.

OUR OPINION: Horseshoe plays losing hand with (Scott) Blair snub

If the Horseshoe Foundation isn’t a political entity, then it really shouldn’t base board member selection on party affiliation. If the board doesn’t want to change its spending policy, then it should handle that argument in a fair setting and allow the city council to be represented as its leader chooses.

The belly laughs begin with the notion that the Horseshoe Foundation is an apolitical entity, but let’s dry our eyes and soldier forward to the real reason why Blair’s selection so upsets the Foundation’s ideological apple cart: Politics, Seabrook-style.

Even people in North Korea, otherwise hermetically shielded from world events, intuitively grasp that when Blair contested the GOP’s anointment of Matt Oakley by running in the 6th council district as an independent and winning the seat handily, there’d be some variety of hell to pay from what passes for a Republican hierarchy hereabouts.

Note that party chairman Dave Matthews does not appear on this short list of GOP luminaries, which is topped by state representative Ed Clere and … wait for it … Mark Seabrook.

That’s right, it’s the very same, relentlessly partisan Mark Seabrook who controls the Republican majority on the board of county commissioners, and who also serves as majordomo of the Horseshoe Foundation board.

There isn’t enough concentrated gullibility on special at Wal-Mart for me to believe that Blair’s snub is a coincidence with Seabrook at the helm, calling the Foundation shots, although I’m absolutely certain that city council president Pat McLaughlin and the body's éminence grise, Dan Coffey, knew exactly what they were doing by lobbing Blair’s name to within range of Seabrook’s reach.

After this, Develop New Albany's strategy of stocking its board with non-profit functionaries should be even more frightening.

Anyway, nice try, 'Bune editorial board. You got at least some of it right. Now it’s back to the daily bible proverb listings.

426 reboot continues.


I knew these banners were coming, and a glance at Mike Kopp's feed on Twitter tells the story:

426 Bank St Downtown New Albany adds banners for "426 Creative Center" watch for art and artist announcements soon.

13 Gravity Head starters named -- vote now for the 14th and final opening day selection.


See: Gravity Head 2013: A compendium of preparatory links.

Once again, as we prepare for the 15th edition of Gravity Head ("Return of the Living Gravity Dead") we’re allowing you to vote on the beer that will occupy the 14th tap.

The starting lineup is here: Gravity Head 2013: The starting lineup.

When making your choice, please remember that the beers listed below are the only ones eligible for selection. The list here has been edited to remove the beers already selected to start, ones already designated to appear on specific dates, those for which we have too few of certain types of tavern heads, and those that remain in transit.

For the complete Gravity Form program, go here, and remember that starting this year, our Daily Gravity Form program is u-print only.

Vote just once, and for just one beer, and submit to your choice to me at this e-mail address: istanbul85(at)yahoo(dot)com. Noon on Thursday, February 21, 2013 is the deadline for voting. I personally comprise the voting commission, and my decisions are final.

FAN VOTE ELIGIBILITY LIST FOR GRAVITY HEAD 2013

5E. EISBOCK
Kulmbacher Eisbock “Bayerisch G’frorns” (2010) 9.2%

9E STRONG SCOTCH ALE (WEE HEAVY)
Dark Horse Scotty Karate 9.75%

13F RUSSIAN IMPERIAL STOUT
BBC (Shelbyville Road) Tsar Bomba 
12.5%
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (2011) 10%
Great Divide Yeti (2011) 9.5%
Stone Imperial Russian Stout (2011) 10.8%
Victory Storm King (2011) 9.1%

14C IMPERIAL INDIA PALE ALE
Bell’s Hopslam 10%
People’s Space Cowboy 9%
Upland Double Dragonfly 9.1%

18C. BELGIAN TRIPEL
Schlafly Tripel 10%

19B. ENGLISH BARLEYWINE
Harpoon Barleywine (Leviathan Series) (2011) 10%
North Coast Old Stock Ale 11.9%
Upland Winter Warmer 8.5%

19C. AMERICAN BARLEYWINE
Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale (2011) 10.2%
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine (2006) 9.6%.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine (2012) 12%

21A. SPICE, HERB, OR VEGETABLE BEER
Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti (2011) 9.5%
Southern Tier Jah-va 10.6%

22C. WOOD-AGED BEER
Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti (2011) 9.5%
Schlafly Oak Aged Barleywine (2010) 10.2%

23. SPECIALTY BEER
Bell’s This One Goes to 11 11.4%
Brooklyn Brewmaster’s Reserve: The Companion Ale (2011) 10%
Harpoon Triticus Ale (Leviathan Series) (2011) 11.5%
Samichlaus Bier (2010) 14%
Stone Double Bastard Ale (2011) 10%
Three Floyds/Mikkeller Risgoop 10.4%
Upland Ard Ri Imperial Red 9.3%

26B. BRAGGOT
People’s Ardelle Christmas Ale 8.5%

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

OTA Redux: My Three Step Therapy for the Tolling Blues (August, 2012).

Jeff begins our Tuesday morning with a look at the New York Times looking quizzically at us and our approaching bridges boondoggle.

Louisville metro and our place in it: The words are watching.

Has anyone else noticed that when local independent sorts are left to their own devices the metro area tends to get great national coverage and makes "best of" lists but when the regional power structure intervenes we always seem to get targeted with suspicious glances and generally confused disbelief?

To repeat: As long as there remains a fight to wage against the imposition of the ORBP, I'm there. 

At the same time, wishful thinking's never been a good civic strategy. New Albany is my top priority, and our city must begin planning for the future with the bridges variable in mind. I've made this case for pro-active readiness many times, as in this On the Avenues column from August 23, 2012. 


ON THE AVENUES: My Three Step Therapy for the Tolling Blues.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Southern Indiana’s resident economic oligarchs have diligently labored, backstage-leveraged, and eagerly licked exposed posteriors to provide the metropolitan Louisville region with a gift for the American post-industrial age so woefully inadequate that to this very day, it all seems like a Bill Maher satire piece.

But it’s the Ohio River Bridges Project, an auto-centric, Eisenhower-era, top-down “mobility” solution for the resource-gobbling individualist.

Think of the ORBP as a garishly wrapped box, which when opened, reveals a steaming pile of cattle dung and a slot to drop quarters for the privilege of continuing to smell it.

While other communities nationwide explore futuristic transit options, we get Kerry Stemler’s pre-pubescent idea of an erector set, with his leering tumescence enabled by naked steel girder eroticism, not unlike Dagny Taggart’s attraction to Reardon Metal in that crazy dead woman’s book that the wacko teabaggers still believe is literature.

I’ve never been more proud to have been labeled as an toxic obstructionist than through my adamant opposition to the ORBP. Indeed, the fight isn’t over. Show me where the Sunnyside version of the Alamo stands, and I’ll man the crumbling ramparts against One Southern Indiana’s zombie polo-shirted hordes until the first wildly inaccurate Wilbur Smith revenue estimate causes the river crossing fee to quadruple in mid-sensor-scan.

That said, the odds for us are worse than before. The Feds have laughed aloud and told us that if we’re so determined to be obstinately dunderheaded, please be their guests; the grants can go to mass transit elsewhere, and it tolls are inevitable, the Feds suspect that with educational standards hereabouts at such a low ebb, we’re sure to relax and enjoy it.

If bridge tolls eventually become reality, three things need to happen.

One.

First, we must consider the status of the Sherman Minton Bridge – New Albany’s bane as recently as 2011, when it was closed for repairs, but in the future, potential symbol of our civic free lunch.

As a disclaimer, label me skeptical. In spite of the oligarch cadre’s insistence, the mere existence of Horseshoe Casino, and the need for untrammeled (read: untolled) access to the all-night gaming we depend on to indirectly fund waning social programs probably will not permanently spare the Sherman Minton from taxation.

However, for so long as it remains safely off the tolling grid, the city of New Albany has a tailor-made, providential civic slogan, one we must repeat over and over:

“TOLL FREE NEW ALBANY”

Forget Trickle Back City, Open for Business, Riverview is Our Savior and all the other half-baked suggestions that make reasonable people wonder whether we’ve lost our minds. Compared with our brethren over in Jeffersonville, who are about to be relentlessly pulverized, first with unnecessary downtown bridge construction detritus, delays and clutter, and then, when all of it has been nicely carted off and paved, with the sheer villainy of tolls themselves, New Albany will be able to market itself as an island of sanity amid the turbulence of KStem’s self-serving tumescence.

Two.

Second, seeing as this potential New Albany advantage has one significant drawback, we must reverse decades of Real-time, Caesaresque inertia and get radical, aggressive and determined about our own streets, what they mean for the people who live here, and what we can do to facilitate them for use by people as well as automobiles.

It should suffice to say that maintaining our holy writ of a quasi-Stalinist 1960’s grid of one-way speed enhancers, with the novel magnet of an untolled Sherman Minton Bridge attracting drive-throughs and fly-overs through the city’s neighborhoods in unprecedented numbers, traveling as quickly as possible to save two bucks, and ignoring what we have to offer as they put the pedal to the metal, would be suicidal to our future prospects.

They will not stop here any more than casino clients already do (they don’t). Let’s “complete” New Albany’s streets now, and cure with a dose of intelligent design the illnesses we now try to “treat” with old-fashioned Georgia speed traps.

Three.

Third, let’s resolve to never forget that the ORBP is happening not because of genuine concerns for safety, or comprehensive thoughts for the future of transportation in the metro Louisville statistical area, or whatever other drivel we’ve been fed in a effort to solicit support for the project where precious little exists among just plain folks.

Rather, this is happening because the oligarchs and their ancillaries need to make their money the Mitt Romney way, in the exurbs, at places like River Ridge, where the jobs added by the likes of Amazon can only subtract independent small businesses from their homes down the street in the urban core.

In short, the ORBP is capitalism all right, but in a very restricted, profit-making sense of channeling the largess in directions so obvious that Nostradamus needn’t return to help us guess.

From the ORBP’s beginning until now, it has been representative of American robber baron capitalism of the old, heavy, monopolistic school, where Gohmann Asphalt’s soulless flunkies issue pious public intonations of “for your own safety” even as they ink the bids for the business constructing the project itself, “sealing” the deal with watery Bud Light Limes at a vapid chain restaurant somewhere on Veteran’s Parkway.

Thus, my third suggested bit of pre- and post-tolling therapy is simply this: Let’s never forget from whence this foolishness has emanated.

Granted, we cannot vote against the likes of Kerry Stemler, Steve Schultz and the rest of their merrily fluffing oligarch’s advancement society.

However, politicians are another matter, and when it comes to the ORBP and the likelihood of the regressive tax we’re all still euphemistically referring to as “tolls,” we have a clear idea of who is responsible.

Anyone seen Ed “Pro-Tolls” Clere or Steve “I Heart Tolls” Stemler lately? Remember them, will you?

Louisville metro and our place in it: The words are watching.

(H/T to Gabe Bullard of WFPL for the article link)

Has anyone else noticed that when local independent sorts are left to their own devices the metro area tends to get great national coverage and makes "best of" lists but when the regional power structure intervenes we always seem to get targeted with suspicious glances and generally confused disbelief?

Like the Ohio River, a Bridge Project Divides a Community, by Bobby Allyn (New York Times)

Hank V. Savitch, a professor of urban and public affairs at the University of Louisville, said that while some cities were shifting away from accommodating cars, Louisville’s project signaled a declaration of faith in suburban-style growth.
“They’re still fighting the last urban war, which was highway development — but that’s not the nature of the future of the city,” Professor Savitch said. “It will dissipate energy in the central city, where they should be concentrating investment, and instead draw capital to the outer metropolitan area.”

For New Albany, a complete streets and "streets as places" initiative is as much necessary defense mechanism as it is forward movement at this point but, the more we shed the 1Si/GLI/everybody-and-everything-in-service-to-exurban-expansion model, the more success we'll have in being the river hugging city we were designed to be. It's perhaps uncomfortable to think we've regressed to the point that something as fundamental as reclaiming our public streets for multiple, human uses - for the people who live and work here - needs to framed within the same pioneering ethos that built this place, but it's where we are 200 years into our history. In many ways, we're a start-up again and, like Louisville, our locally elected New Albany leaders would do well to heed the work of the independents already rebuilding and declaring us forward rather than outward bound.

In the early eighteen hundreds, pretty much everybody else hereabouts goose stepped in succession on the eastern side of the falls except for us and we became a gateway to something else entirely. It sounds more maudlin than I'd like, but wouldn't it be great if that were true again?

We have the basic infrastructure in place. We have the brains and the other resources. As Roger alluded recently, all we really have to do is decide.

As I've been saying: "Indiana's wine trail in the national spotlight."

I'm the beer guy, and my wine knowledge is scattershot at best, but it has become a matter of principle with me to argue the case for regional winemaking.

A few previous postings here and at Potable Curmudgeon make the case.

First time ever for a Hoosier winery: River City Winery wins "Wine of the Year" at The Indy Int'l Competition.

Indiana wine at Bank Street Brewhouse: Let's try it again, from the top.

Lammers: "Southern Indiana wineries offer variety and quality."

Thanks to Sniplock for the following link:
Indiana's wine trail in the national spotlight (WHAS-11)

CLARK COUNTY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- The Federal Government officially accredited the Indiana wine industry on Tuesday.

With this new stamp of approval, workers are out in the vineyard at Huber's Winery, pruning this year’s crop.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quadrophenia: On Simon, Scott and the dirty jobs.



As there is time, I'll write more about the Who's performance of "Quadrophenia" on Saturday night, but first, two subplots.

Simon Townshend is Pete Townshend's (quite) younger brother, and he has long performed with his sibling in the studio and on tours, and is often featured on lead guitar. Simon also is a regular member of Roger Daltrey's touring band. In fact, a highlight of Daltrey's gig at Horseshoe Casino a few year's back was Simon's passionate reading of "Goin' Mobile."

It's my only clear memory of the Daltrey show, apart from watching, fascinated, as the elderly Daltrey showed more and more cleavage as the evening progressed (the missus asks whether Daltrey, 68, has had plastic surgery on his chest).

One of Simon's own regular bandmates is drummer Scott Devours, also a Daltrey sideman, whose name reached national ears earlier this month when he became a last-minute, emergency substitute for regular Who drummer Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son), who became ill and unable to play two or three shows preceding the one in Louisville. I was expecting Devours to play drums on Saturday.

On Saturday night, Simon took the lead on "The Dirty Jobs" and did a fine job with this criminally under-rated song; upon closer examination, he's been singing it during Who performances since the mid-1990's and seems to have adopted it as his own.

And, Zak returned to the drum kit on Saturday night. He is the lynchpin of late period Who, a band that seems to have dispensed with the notion of audible rock and roll bass since the Ox died.

But: If there were any remaining doubts as to the ability of Devours to occupy Zak's chair, watch and listen (above) as he quotes Keith Moon's drum licks like a true disciple, while Simon's band does "The Dirty Jobs."

"It's easy to see that you are one of us -- ain't it funny how we all seem to look the same?"

I insist on thinking that Thomas Barrow would approve.

Apparently some "quality of life" issues outrank others. Just carry a garbage bag with you when visiting the aquatic center, and be sure to drive.


In a single block on Vincennes Street, between Market and Spring, there are four trash cans for public use.

Anyone know why, or when they were purchased?

A fifth is in front of the Rally's, and sometimes it's even emptied, although the one shown above on the left side of the street has been crammed full of garbage for weeks.

By contrast, from Vincennes Street down Spring to State, an expanse of 16 blocks, there are three trash cans counting the one by Rally's. All three are on the north side of the street. I wrote about this in December: Random 2013 Platform Goals 3: Clean is the new Green.

Here's an idea for the future: Garbage cans. Like football's John Madden, I've diagrammed it so clearly that even Dave Matthews might grasp the utter simplicity.

Since then, I have received a prospectus of sorts from Jerry Finn of New Albany Clean and Green. He divulges that the cost of these receptacles is $430 each, and his sensible plan for placement downtown calls for 20 to be purchased. That's $8,600. It is a sum that Clean and Green proposes to raise, given that apparently the city has no interest in doing so; the organization asks for suggestions, and I'm thinking about ways to help.

In other news ...

During a work session Tuesday, the New Albany City Council will discuss a bond issue backed by Mayor Jeff Gahan that would foot the construction of an aquatic center, baseball park and soccer fields.

It will give the council the opportunity to discuss the up to $19.6 million bond note for the first time in public ...

... The administration decided to include the projects into one bond note, citing a need to move forward with the projects in order to offer more recreational facilities to residents. (Scott) Blair said the aquatic center, baseball park and soccer fields could lead to neighborhood revitalization and spark economic development in New Albany. Remaining proceeds from the bond issue could be used for a renovation of the downtown New Albany Farmers Market structure, as specified by the redevelopment commission.

A cool $19 million for "organized" youth recreation, but nothing to enable the safe practice of the simplest recreation of all, walking?

Quality of life as defined by modern facilities, while there's no organized system of trash cans on city streets and no sense of how assisting cleanliness might also constitute an economic development issue?

And so, my question is this: Why are we considering a $19 million expenditure for   recreational facilities, and outsourcing $8,600 in trash cans to someone else?

Floyd County Nexus is here.

AK tipped me off to the existence of a new discussion board about Floyd County.

Floyd County Nexus

While it has been tried before, with mixed results, one never knows when the time is right. Best of luck to the organizers and administrators.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Water management: Perhaps Tom Galligan understands the word "multifunctional" in this context.

My first glimpse of the Deltaworks was in 1992, and then later, in 2008, we rode bicycles up the coastline, atop several of the giant structures. It's an amazing feat, but as Kimmelman's article suggests, nothing lasts forever.

Going With the Flow, by Michael Kimmelman (New York Times)

... The Netherlands has successfully held back the sea for centuries and thrived. After the North Sea flooded in 1953, devastating the southwest of this country and killing 1,835 people in a single night, Dutch officials devised an ingenious network of dams, sluices and barriers called the Deltaworks. Water management here depends on hard science and meticulous study ...

... (Now) the evidence is leading them to undertake what may seem, at first blush, a counterintuitive approach, a kind of about-face: The Dutch are starting to let the water in. They are contriving to live with nature, rather than fight (what will inevitably be, they have come to realize) a losing battle.

Why? The reality of rising seas and rivers leaves no choice. Sea barriers sufficed half a century ago; but they’re disruptive to the ecology and are built only so high, while the waters keep rising ...

... The local buzzword is “multifunctional.” The Dutch are putting retail and offices on top of new dikes, designing public squares and garages to double as catch basins for rain and floodwater, constructing floating houses and reservoirs that create recreational opportunities.