Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Everything Mr. Matthews touches turns to "LOL".

If Commissioner Mark Seabrook isn't "very happy about it," then maybe he should have gone to the meeting in Dave Matthews's kitchen broom closet.

Seriously, what is it with the local GOP and finding folks to count the money? First the truck driver whose abacus was cracked, and now a bonding issue. Maybe the kids at Prosser could take on the auditor's post as a class project?

Floyd insurer: Bonding questions raised about interim auditor Clark, by Grace Schneider (C-J)

Floyd County leaders say unexpected concerns have been raised recently about arranging a surety performance bond for incoming interim Floyd County Auditor Scott Clark.

The county’s insurance agent, Kevin Paul, contacted Floyd officials last Thursday to alert them that an insurance carrier it uses to line up surety bonds indicated it would not issue a bond for Clark, who is scheduled to take office this Monday, said Theresa Plaiss, a former Floyd County auditor who now works as an administrative assistant to Floyd operations director Don Lopp.

The reasons were not specified, but “something had come to their attention” in checking into Clark. Paul had called to inform officials of the development and of the potential he’d need to find another carrier that sells high-risk policies, Plaiss said.

Clark — a certified public accountant who also serves as a tax adviser for Intuit, the parent company of Turbotax — declined to comment and referred a reporter to Rick Fox, the Floyd County attorney. Fox said he’s still looking into the matter.

40 years on: 1973 and the world champion Oakland A's.


This article, written by a kindred spirit somewhere out in California, provides a glimpse into quite a few formative influences of mine.

'73 A's Thrived on Adversity, Theatrics

Formerly here at NAC, I explained the nature of my attraction to the A's.

ON THE AVENUES: It no longer keeps me waiting.

Tradition, Americana, Churchill Downs and Stella Artois.

It’s almost time for the Kentucky Derby, and while I’ve arranged a convenient excuse to skip town on Oaks Day (Friday, May 3), a handy route out of the metroplex during Ground Zero on Saturday hasn’t yet been plotted, but no matter. Where there’s bile, there’s a way -- and I've got plenty of bile.

Thus, time for a Golden Oldie: The Kentucky Derby Really Is Decadent and Depraved.

Of more recent vintage is my obligatory annual outrage at Churchill Downs and its perennial, mercenary fakery. Let’s go straight to the sweet swill spot.

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The Kentucky Derby’s host track is Churchill Downs, which in recent years has pursued an ambitious program of construction and facilities expansion seemingly less relevant to the long history, bright sights and dung-laden smells of horse racing than the benign, swipe-card plasticization required in the here and now, as intended to become a fully functional, beige-colored casino, assuming the Commonwealth’s notoriously vile legislature ever gets around to legalizing slot machines and roulette wheels.

Accordingly, whenever the real money’s at stake, you can be sure that soulless capitalism will be right there, breathlessly drooling in anticipation of sponsorship opportunities, with conceptual coherence always taking a back seat to the sheer weight of numerically ending zeroes, and so it was that two years ago, Churchill Downs triumphantly announced its newest revenue stream.

Churchill Downs Racetrack today announced a multi-year partnership, naming the world’s best-selling Belgian beer Stella Artois as “The Official Beer Sponsor of Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.” While attending this year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, fans will be able to experience classic Belgian lager Stella Artois and its iconic Chalice, which will feature the Kentucky Derby logo.

I remember hoping it was a joke, knowing full well it wasn’t, and (literally) laughing out loud.

According to the travel and tourism folks, the Kentucky Derby is supposed to be about Louisville’s many and varied legends of Southern nobility, among which now must be enumerated the trackside primacy of thoroughly putrid Eurolager from Belgium, as imported into the United States by the highest overseas bidder for a formerly American brewer, and significantly, in this multi-national, big-bucks context, the “official beer sponsor” of the Derby cannot even be out-sourced to Budweiser, in spite of St. Louis being several thousand miles closer to Louisville than Leuven.

Let’s face facts, people: Subway's Italian sandwich collection is more authentically local (in a vaguely tri-colored Neopolitan, fake Gucci, prosciutto gangsta sense of genuine) than Churchill Downs's fiscal embrace of AB-InBev's "classic Belgian lager", seeing as not a single variant of lager is classically Belgian, but hey, fabulously wealthy Middle Eastern sheiks hardly can be expected to know any of that, can they?

It happily reinforces my usual acidic point: Instead of Stella, it should have been AB-InBev's in-house mockrobrew of choice, Goose Island. That’s because at least there really was a time when Goose Island was legit craft back-story, prior to its untimely death and fiscal absorption into the international pay-for-play universe, rendering it into the Zombie Craft Beer it is now.

Then again, maybe we can learn something about the bedrock essence of Americana from this multi-year marriage of Churchill Downs and Stella Artois, not to mention the sad fate of Goose Island: This nation never has stood for very much at all apart from fealty to wheelbarrows of cash. We pretend we do, and offer lip service to ideals, but we don’t. And so it goes.

Be quick; there’s plenty of time for an experiment. Go out and assemble a committee of horse pimps, and we’ll see if any of them can spot the differences between cutesy-pie chalices of Stella Artois and those equally reeking buckets of equine drug-testing residue.

It’s not a trick question, after all.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Scatological canine placemaking comes to the hood.


It's a worthy idea, leaving an unasked question dangling near the turds: Who cleans up after the filthy humans?

The Fabulous Story of Poop

"World famous dog poo decorators, Sprinkle Brigade, featured in documentary..."


An introduction to the "sad results" of one-way streets.

The paper from which this extract is drawn has been around for quite a while. Then again, New Albany is a slowly reacting kind of place, where the 21st century sometimes remains a nebulous, illusory concept.

Last week: Two way streets: A Seinfeldist dialogue about nothing, but not for want of trying.

The report referenced here is Downtown Streets: Are We Strangling Ourselves on One-Way Networks?, by G. Wade Walker, Walter M. Kulash, and Brian T. McHugh (TRB Circular E-C019: Urban Street Symposium, 1999). The link leads to a .pdf that is very long, and just as relevant.

INTRODUCTION

Ever since the explosion of automobile use that occurred after WWII, people have moved their residences further and further from downtown centers, out into new suburban communities. With this exodus came a daily travel ritual in which suburbanites in motor vehicles behave as tides do, placing a tremendous strain on the downtown street network. The historical response to this strain has been to improve the efficiency of moving vehicles into and out of the city at all costs, without considering other system users.

We now understand that downtowns that operate predominantly as a place of work and clear out in the evening are the ones most often struggling to foster new development and business ventures. The longstanding mantra to seek the greatest speed by which commuter motorists can flee the city has accelerated the downtown deterioration process.

The sad results are streets congested with fast-moving automobiles and barren of lively pedestrian, cultural, or commercial activity after the mad evening exodus.

As many communities are in the process of revitalizing their downtowns, a common issue is the prevalence of intricate and often confusing one-way street networks.

This legacy of one-way streets can be traced back to when the streets’ sole mission was to move traffic into and out of the downtown employment center as quickly as possible. An emerging role of downtown as a cultural and entertainment center is now challenging embedded mindset that the primary purpose of streets is the unequivocal movement of commuter automobile traffic.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Slumlords have their own view of placemaking.


An appropriate thought for the conclusion of a week that saw Carl Malysz land a new job further up I-65 might well be brief contemplation about the legacy of the top-down England years in New Albany, as compared with the grassroots neighborhood revitalization emphasis described below.

Are we making progress is recovering from the Hizzoner years? Or is the legacy of the Battered City Syndrome just too great?

Why True Neighborhood Building Requires the Dedication of a Few 'Zealous Nuts', by Fred Kent (GOOD HQ)

What we share with our neighbors is place: the magical, intangible quality that is created when people interact around a tangible space, be it a park, a street, or a vacant lot. At the Project for Public Spaces, we advocate for citizens to be included more directly and meaningfully in the process of shaping their neighborhood’s public spaces. We believe that a neighborhood can only reach its fullest potential when everyone who lives, works, and plays there feels welcome to contribute to the life of its public spaces ...

... Detroit is struggling, but this is bringing out the best in the citizens who have chosen to stay. What we are seeing there today is neighbors realizing, en masse, that they can’t wait any longer for someone else to turn things around, and they are taking action to create the kinds of neighborhoods that they want to live in, with or without official permission. They are thinking Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper, and working together to accomplish ‘quick wins’ today that will build the social ties and momentum needed to transform the city tomorrow.

One Southern Indiana cuts ribbon, cheese at Pepin gala.


Of course, the Pepin House's re-emergence from the catastrophic Rey Espinoza Error (is Sister Hicks still with us, or has she joined Kim Il Sung?) is cause for satisfaction. Kudos to Ron Smith for his investment, and welcome.

It's just too bad that One Southern Indiana got dragged into it. What a profound buzz kill. Here's the way Morris's sentence (see below) should have been written:

“This is something we can all be proud of and celebrate,” said Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana, who promptly issued Smith a membership invoice for $30,000 to finance River Ridge fluffery.

You may call me a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

Hail, Pepin!

New Albany’s restored crown jewel: Pepin House open for business, by Chris Morris (News and Tribune)

An important piece of New Albany’s history has been given new life.

The Pepin Mansion, located at 1003 E. Main St., was constructed in 1851 and is an example of Italian Villa architecture. After sitting dormant and in disrepair for years, Louisville businessman Ron Smith had an idea after touring the home. It’s taken five years, but that idea resulted in the historic property being transformed into a bed and breakfast, retreat center, and wedding and reception hall ...

 ... The mansion has been opened since March, but Thursday afternoon One Southern Indiana held a ribbon cutting and open house at the facility ...

 ... Those in attendance Thursday were impressed with the final result.

“This is something we can all be proud of and celebrate,” said Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana.

Amanda Arnold's groovy balloon photo.


Amanda snapped this wonderful photo of the Sunny Side balloon, reminding us that Bank Street Brewhouse really needs its own dirigible.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Houndmouth slays Iroquois.


Last night at Iroquois Amphitheater afforded my first opportunity to experience the band Houndmouth in person.

Hyperbole aside: Wow.

To my ears, numerous musical strands come together in Houndmouth's music. It's baseball, hot dogs and apple pie American -- folk, country, roots and rock -- and you can spin a playlist wheel to guess exactly which element most influences a particular song, because the weaving is seamless, but I believe it's way more than that, because the most impressive thing about Houndmouth to me is an intangible.

In our everyday working lives, we discover very early that placing otherwise disparate individuals into a team setting only rarely produces transcendence. Probably we most often strive for a modicum of professionalism that permits chores to be accomplished and paychecks issued, but two or four or fifteen persons simply don't become one in spite of our efforts to make it seem so. We muddle in the foothills, and only dream of ascending the peak.

Chemistry? Once you have found it, never let it go.

Accordingly, speaking as a lifelong music fan who knows far less about music than he pretends to, seeing Houndmouth perform was a joy precisely because four band members functioned as one on stage. They picked up (and later switched) instruments, locked into a groove, and stayed right there, communicating effortlessly between themselves and with the crowd, musically wise beyond their ridiculously youthful years, but with all the pure joy of something brand new. Each member sings beautifully, and the harmonies alone were worth the price of admission.

My hunch is that in future years, I'll grin when viewing the ticket stub with the bargain basement price of $12 printed on it.

Meanwhile, I'm frightened to look at the Friday sales number at NABC's two establishments, because everyone I know seemed to be at Iroquois for last night's show. In addition, permit me to apologize for running out of beer after blowing through four kegs of Houndmouth (the ale) a full 45 minutes before the band even took the stage. We sent eight kegs to Louisville, but only four turned up on site at Iroquois.

If I would have been allowed to drive to the wholesaler's warehouse and get more beer, I'd have done so. In Indiana we could have done it, though not in Kentucky. Luckily, Houndmouth's music was so good that the perennial iniquities and frustrations of the three-tier beer distribution system rendered me only slightly homicidal afterward -- and that's quite a feat of seduction.

Aesthetics -- or Molotov cocktails?

By using the very word "aesthetics", Rob Waiz ensures a glazed-over, exurb-induced stupor on the part of bridges project inseminators like Kerry Stemler.

We might also plausibly inquire as to how many current Jeffersonville city officials, now grievously appalled to learn that the bridges project will be shortchanging them just as precisely as planned all along, gave downtown business men like Mike Kapfhammer and Wes Johnson the time of day when they tried to point out such realities?

Jeffersonville officials say Indiana being slighted by bridges aesthetics; $10 million budgeted for Kentucky portion; nothing in Indiana, by Matt Koesters

... The redevelopment commission agreed to send a resolution to state officials, including the governor, expressing their disappointment in the plans proposed. Waiz added that he will be urging other area agencies to pass and submit similar resolutions.

“It’s disappointing to me that Jeffersonville is in this defensive situation to try and protect some aesthetics and some economic development opportunity, when the state of Indiana should have done this from the get-go,” said Redevelopment Commissioner James Lake. “It’s a real shame that the city is not only doing the battling, but the state of Indiana is not only not leading it, they’re not assisting.”

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Rightsizing is the process of reallocating a street’s space to better serve its full range of users."

You'll notice that the typical goals of rightsizing mirror those of restoring two-way streets. The following comes to us from the Project for Public Spaces. Follow the link (thanks, TF) and peruse a number of case studies that combine to make an important point: There's no reason why we can't achieve similar results in New Albany.

Yesterday: The Case Against One-Way Streets. 

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Rightsizing Streets

The needs of our communities evolve over time, and our street design should, too. That’s the idea behind ‘rightsizing streets’ – reconfiguring the layout of our streets to better serve the people who use them, whether they’re commuters driving, shoppers walking, or children bicycling. Across the country, communities large and small are achieving impressive safety, mobility, and community outcomes by implementing such reconfigurations. Project for Public Spaces created this rightsizing resource to highlight the accomplishments of these communities and share best practices.

What is ‘Rightsizing’ a Street?

Rightsizing is the process of reallocating a street’s space to better serve its full range of users. Picture a four lane road that was built thirty years ago in an undeveloped area, but that now has housing, shops, and an elementary school in close vicinity. The needs of the community surrounding that road have changed over three decades – and the design of that road may need to change to meet those needs as well. It may need a sidewalks or a median to help people cross safely, or on-street parking for folks who want to frequent local shops, or other safety features to prevent injuries. Rightsizing a road can encompass a broad array of redesign measures, and should always be sensitive to context and the vision of the local community, but often involves some or all of the following goals and strategies:

Typical Goals

Increasing safety and access for all users
Encouraging walking, biking, and transit use
Supporting businesses and the local economy
Creating places that foster community livability

Typical Strategies

Converting vehicle travel lanes to other uses
Narrowing vehicle lanes
Adding bike lanes
Improving pedestrian infrastructure
Changing parking configuration
Adding roundabouts and medians

“I think what’s going to give is (Norfolk Southern's) reluctance.”


I've no idea whether the K & I resolution described below was passed, seeing as coverage of last night's Metro Council meeting has been focused on David Tandy's Omnibus Mimosa Reform Act of 2013.

NA councilman John Gonder, whose quote appears in the header, probably is right as to the inevitability of Norfolk Southern bowing to pressure from all sides. It'll take a while, and the railroad will have to be paid off with a sizable cocktail of cash, condoms and bourbon, and that's too bad, because it really should be nationalized.

But it will happen.

Louisville Metro Council to consider urging opening K&I Bridge to pedestrians, by Marcus Green (C-J)

... The resolution states that opening the bridge to the public will promote economic development, health and the environment, and that the structure has long been meant for public use. It “urges the bridge owners to recognize this community benefit.”

There are more than 100 examples of trails running next to active rail lines, according to research from Rails to Trails, a Washington, D.C-based nonprofit group that creates cycling and walking paths on former rail corridors.

Welcome to the "we can't keep allowing Southern Indiana to kick our asses" drinkie law.

Southern Indiana routinely means quite little to Louisville, except (of course) when we have a three-hour head start on serving Bloody Marys and Mimosas on Sunday mornings. Then it becomes all political.

“With the passage of this legislation we have taken steps toward furthering economic growth in Louisville through our hospitality industry,” said Councilman David Tandy (D-4). “This helps our economy keep dollars circulating in our community by allowing Louisville restaurants to compete with their Southern Indiana counterparts.”

Honestly, I find this attention immensely flattering, and will reflect upon it with a smile each time Bank Street Brewhouse serves a carry-out growler at 10:15 a.m. on a Sunday morning -- until Louisville's carry-out laws finally are altered, too.

Seriously: Louisville's on-premise-only mimosa ordinance points to the hypocrisy of various unchanged blue laws remaining on the books, both there and everywhere else.

Meanwhile, in civilized portions of the world, if you need a drink at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, you go and have it. In America, you search through concordances and charts to learn how and where the drink can be taken, all the while thanking the knavery of organized religion for the trouble.

Read Thomas McAdams's amusing recap at Louisville.com

In the Civil War, freedom to screech was curtailed with byline implementation.

Presumably our Professor Erika can trace her journalistic lineage of anonymity to practices common when the Civil War began. Perhaps that's why there's a strong and enduring case to be made for the issuance of a General Order No. 48 for New Albany troggerbloggers.

Birth of the Byline, by Ford Risley (Disunion blog at Opinionator, New York Times)

... Following the journalistic practice of the day, correspondents wrote anonymously during the war, most using a pen name or no name at all. Newsmen liked the custom, believing the secrecy allowed them do their work better. As one reporter wrote, “The anonymous greatly favors freedom and boldness in newspaper correspondence . . . . Besides the responsibility it fastens on a correspondent, the signature inevitably detracts from the powerful impersonality of a journal.”

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"The Case Against One-Way Streets."

Looking for reasons to support a two-way street grid? Here are four.

Livability.

Navigation.

Safety.

Economics.

To this list, can we now add "traffic flow"?

Traffic engineers tend to disagree, but then again:

For many years, traffic engineers were mandated to “move as much traffic as possible, as quickly as possible,” often resulting in degradation of movement for other modes of travel. (Walker/Kulash/McHugh)

Is it time for a rethink?

The Case Against One-Way Streets, by Eric Jaffe (Atlantic Cities)

You might say that a number of cities are heading the other direction on one-way streets. Dallas, Denver, Sacramento, and Tampa are just some of the places that have converted one-ways into two-way streets in recent years. Any number of reasons are cited for the shift:
  • Livability: vehicles stop less on one-way streets, which is hard for bikers and pedestrians.
  • Navigation: one-way street networks are confusing for drivers, which leads to more vehicle-miles traveled; they also make it tough for bus riders to locate stops for a return trip.
  • Safety: speeds tend to be higher on one-way streets, and some studies suggest drivers pay less attention on them because there's no conflicting traffic flow.
  • Economics: local businesses believe that two-way streets increase visibility.

ON THE AVENUES: Bloody eternal holy Jerusalem, the book.

ON THE AVENUES: Bloody eternal holy Jerusalem, the book.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

If you knew all that I knew, my poor Jerusalem
You'd see the truth, but you close your eyes
But you close your eyes
While you live your troubles are many, poor Jerusalem
To conquer death you only have to die
You only have to die
-- Jesus, in Jesus Christ Superstar, lyrics by Tim Rice

A few weeks ago, just as I was reading the final chapters of Simon Sebag Montefiore’s compelling Jerusalem: The Biography, Secretary of State John Kerry was wrapping a visit to the secular Muslim republic of Turkey, where he urged rapprochement with Israel following what the Guardian newspaper called yet another “Zionism row.”

If it seems as though you’ve been hearing this refrain your entire life, it’s only because you have.

Furthermore, if in 2013 you were as old as Methuselah, the same observation would hold true, extending past the point in the 19th century when Zionism was conceived as an organized movement, further backwards for more than a millennium, long before there was Islam to be referenced as an antagonist, and leaving Hittites and Romans in the historical dust. It ends approximately where it began, with the dinosaurs – but let’s leave the Creation Museum out of it.

This “row” seems to have existed forever, always preceded by numerous others too numerous to recall, and as Montefiore aptly posits, the epicenter inevitably remains Jerusalem, every bit as much the “eternal city” in actual fact as Rome touts itself on postcards.

Having one holy city per major world religion seems reasonable enough, witness the Vatican, but having one otherwise mundane municipality declared unreservedly holy for a whopping three Abrahamic faiths, all at once, poses certain logistical challenges quite apart from the tendency of each to devolve into more sects and subdivisions than the Internet has Obama conspiracies.

Montefiore attempts to unravel these competing claims, in the process mapping Jerusalem by the square meter, because this might be the only way to determine whose temple was built atop the ruins of the shrine that came before it. There are hills and tunnels. There are hidden watercourses beneath the rubble, and buzzards flying in formation above them – lots and lots of buzzards, because the bloodshed in this holiest of places is perhaps the most constant presence of all.

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As numerous historians and affiliated scholars have accurately noted, mankind’s traceable presence includes so few periods of actual peace on earth that those rare times when wars have not been raging are far more noteworthy than long, predictable centuries reeking of violence, destruction and pestilence. So it would seem that surviving records of Jerusalem as a city were written for little other reason than documenting the sheer scale and depravity of incessant and ceaseless bedlam.

The story is nothing if not repetitive: Five short minutes of serenity, to be followed by invasions, sieges, starvation, surrender, pillage, torture, rapes, executions, depopulation… and then, after five more brief moments of rebuilding and frantic, perhaps even voluntary copulation to enable new mouths to feed, a fresh cast of potential victims mounts the next assault. The pattern is repeated again and again to the present day – actually, to the 1967 war and the military victory of the Israelis over a dysfunctional coalition of Arabs, which is where Montefiore’s epic history finally stops.

And yet … there is another essential stage in these looping, endless, sadistic cycles of murder; it’s the part where the respective sides – native and invader, overlord and stable boy, soldier and charwoman – never fail to petition their gods to assist in the most holy task of all, that of liquefying their enemies, who also request the helpful benevolence of their deities.

For most of my adult life, my reaction to this tableau has been somewhat uniform: What possible value might there be in any religious doctrine springing from constant localized bestiality in this tiny slice of a very large planet, particularly after flawed writs are transplanted to far-flung corners of the globe among peoples with their own traditions of spiritual impairment?

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At this juncture, the typical local yokel in New Albany nods, takes a deep drag off his unfiltered Chesterfield, glances across Pearl Street at the grandiose, evolving, and lavishly expensive edifice of Caesar’s Folly, and mumbles, “Them people been fighting each other forever. It’s in the Bible. It’s in their blood. Nothing we can do about it ‘cept let ‘em kill each other.”

It’s hard to disagree with such unlettered sentiments when the pure historical narrative provides so little substance to dispute them.

However, let’s not permit my cynical paganism to detract from the considerable merits of Montefiore’s recounting of the life and times of Jerusalem. In terms of my normal reading fare, this book was a departure. Jerusalem has never been a bucket list type of place for me, and as I’ve demonstrated, the various pieties (if any) attached to the city are meaningless in my personal lexicon.

It is a fascinating read, just the same. Passages describing mankind’s latently peaceful, cooperative, poetic side, as managing somehow to poke through the propensity of the species to aggression and cruelty, provide at least some hope amid the rampant terror. Yes, plenty of ordinary humans (and some Americans, too) have been able to rest in the shade of a venerable olive tree, smell the fragrance of flowers, and contemplate the eternal. Some have felt the motivation of scripture, while others have been as atheistic as my cats.

Either way, what then compels them to rise from prayer and ignite pressure cooker bombs is a mystery to me, as it has been to others, in a lamentation that predates so very much … even Jerusalem itself.

New Albany's own Josh Dallas on the Rachael Ray Show.

I'm holding out hope that Josh soon will profit immeasurably from matinee idol status and simply buy the city. New Albany or Storybrooke?

Rachael Duels with Once Upon a Time's Josh Dallas

Or, for that matter, Houndmouthville has a certain ring.

Houndmouth & Houndmouth at Iroquois Amphitheater this Friday night


Two way streets: A Seinfeldist dialogue about nothing, but not for want of trying.

Last week when I provided this link at the NA Confidential FB page, a strange chat broke out:

John Gonder forcefully advocates two-way streets and traffic calming.

(The matrix above comes courtesy of "Downtown Streets: Are We Strangling Ourselves on One-Way Networks?" by Walker, Kulash and McHugh)

Quite soon, this two-way conversion discussion finally may begin in earnest. As such, it's important for us to grasp the leaden reasoning behind the obstructionism, even if -- as in this instance -- there's very little actual reasoning to it; rather, it's a collection of emotional responses.

Two way streets are good for business, good for pleasure, good for neighborhoods, good for walkers and bikers ... and yet bad for someone who has seen it all? Maybe he/she hasn't seen nearly enough.

---

NA Confidential
John Gonder forcefully advocates two-way streets and traffic calming.

Corydon Pike
What for???????????? To eat, drink and be merry.............

NA Confidential
What do you mean? If you have questions, I may be able to answer them.

Corydon Pike
Thanks, Roger, for responding. I know your thoughts already. I don't share them......

NA Confidential
I'm curious why you don't. There's lots of sound evidence to support two-way streets and slower traffic in urban areas. I live on Spring Street, and calmed traffic would be beneficial for the neighborhood.

Corydon Pike
Like I said. You have your opinion and I have mine. This is all I have to say...........

NA Confidential
Okay. But I am compelled to suggest that facts trump opinions. If they didn't, we'd still be insisting the earth was flat. I've tried very hard to document my case. I'm eager to hear from you and other opponents who can offer documentation for yours. Thanks.

Corydon Pike
I have lived in NA all my life. I've seen it all..........

NA Confidential
I remain curious as to your reasoning, that's all. Two hundred years ago, sewage poured through the streets in ditches. People thought about it, and realized it wasn't healthy. I can muster numerous reasons why the same thinking applies to one way streets. What are yours in the opposite sense? If you've seen it all, surely you have some. Thanks.

Corydon Pike
How long have you lived here, Roger.............

NA Confidential
Bearing in mind that length of tenure has nothing to do with reasoning, I'll answer: Born in NA, raised in Floyd County, worked and lived in NA for the past 25 years. In short, I've been in Floyd County my entire life. Now, why does it matter?

Corydon Pike
I have my thoughts about why you want the streets changed. Could it be that it's easier to get to your business.............

NA Confidential
So, I have to explain my position even further, although you say you're familiar with it, while you haven't yet provided me with a single reason? But okay, fair enough. I support two-way streets because they're better for (a) all the people, not just the ones driving, and (b) they're better for all the businesses in an urban setting like our downtown, not just my own. I regularly offer reasons in support of these positions. Completing streets is a step toward furthering revitalization. Now, if you have any cards at all, why not play one?

Corydon Pike
Like I SAID. I have MY THOUGHTS and you have yours.. Nothing is going to change yours and nothing is going to change mine..

NA Confidential 
You are entitled to your own thoughts and your own opinions. None of us are entitled to our own facts. I'm genuinely interested in what your reasons are, and the reasons for others who feel the way I do. Maybe I'll see something I'm missed. That's why I ask. I spend time finding facts to support my case. You can do as you wish, and in fact, you are -- but those who tell me the sun rises in the west and sets in the east have some explaining to do. Don't they?

---

This is where it ends. Oddly, my "thoughts" remain the same (see matrix above).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Would Kerry Stemler survive in the principled Oregon habitat?

There, a future-oriented thought. Here, an Eisenhower-era error.

Without light rail, new span across Columbia is history, Oregon governor says, by Andrew Garber (Seattle Times)

The fate of the Interstate 5 bridge between Vancouver and Portland appears to largely rest on whether Washington state agrees to put up $450 million as its share of the cost. The GOP-controlled majority in the state Senate has said it will reject any bridge proposal containing light rail.

OLYMPIA — Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber’s office says a proposed $3.4 billion Columbia River bridge will die if Washington state tries to remove light rail from the project.

“Governor Kitzhaber has been clear from the start: No light rail. No project. No kidding,” Tim Raphael, a spokesman for Kitzhaber, said in a statement released Monday.

Two perspectives on those foodstuffs entering your piehole.

They're slightly different perspectives on eating, but quite complementary. Both are from the New York Times. First, Mark Bittman:

A new column from Mark Bittman explores moderate, conscious eating: a diet higher in plants and lower in animal products and hyperprocessed foods.

The moderate, conscious eater — the flexitarian — knows where the goal lies: a diet that’s higher in plants and lower in both animal products and hyperprocessed foods, the stuff that makes up something like three-quarters of what’s sold in supermarkets. That’s the kind of cooking and eating I’ll be exploring in this monthly column.

Then, Frank Bruni:

Invasive species run roughshod over the rest of nature. That’s where our incisors and bicuspids come in.

For your personal health, you should probably eat more vegetables. But for the future of civilization as we know it?

More pork. Feral hogs, to be exact.

The tragic irony of wide streets, at StreetSense.


"The tragic irony in the current street design priorities that go, in order, speed, capacity, cost, safety" is a caption at just another web site I stumbled across: StreetSense.

Adapt · Grow · Prosper

StreetSense is a multi-disciplinary look at the challenges and opportunities that our cities, towns, and countrysides are facing. StreetSense is founded on the principle that the design of our environments cannot be left simply to architects and engineers. On the contrary, what is around us is a product of every discipline working, or not working, together to create the most practical response to the needs of a society. Our panel of contributors includes architects, urbanists, economists, developers, financiers, lawyers, and engineers. The goal is to make connections where there often is none. For example what does the cost of health care have to do with the way we build or how does regionalism protect our national and financial security? Through making uncommon links we arrive at common sense solutions to adapt, grow, and prosper in an ever-evolving world. Our approach relies on the principles of thrift “that which cause a ramifying series of solutions (Berry)."

StreetSense is built around conversations, observations, and creating a dynamic toolkit for practical community building.

For instance, an observation about owning the sidewalk.

Own the Sidewalk, by Joe Nickol (Street Sense)

... the end, it is about creating value.

And it is here where the role of the sidewalk comes into focus and where the activity between public and private realms takes root. No longer can sidewalks be value engineered out of the equation, disconnected or relegated to a single use. Layering design functions is critical to achieving the value they provide. They can be broad or intimate; flush to the street or raised; and shaded by galleries, awnings, arcades, or street trees. Sidewalks can be eaten upon, have chairs set up in them, performances performed in them, be an extension of a sales floor, or simply a place to stroll and window shop. They can be the safe route to school or a means to patrol the neighborhood. They can be urban or they can be in less dense areas. They are our most straight-forward and economical health care plan.

Whatever the case, we must once again own the sidewalk.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pull down your pants and slide on the ice: RIP Allen Arbus.



The character of Sidney Freedman appeared only rarely on the television series M*A*S*H, but what an impression. The ranks? They're thinning.

Allen Arbus

After windows, lighting?


It might not come in handy until the re-arrival of winter's darkness, but Tony Beard's logo on the south side of Bank Street Brewhouse now is illuminated, thanks to Electric Dave at Resch Construction.

We've spoken much about the importance of glass, as opposed to boarded-up windows, but the use of lighting perhaps is neglected. Add it to the civic list, please. UEA facade grants, anyone?

Does the UEA still exist?

Ordinance G-08-45: Ordinance Establishing Funding for Various Economic Development Organizations.

I mentioned this ordinance last week, and must concede I was completely wrong about the date of its enactment. The bill was signed on December 22, 2008. What isn't clear is whether One Southern Indiana already has drained it dry to fluff the oligarchs at River Ridge. Thanks to Vicki Glotzbach and Matt Lorch for following up on last Thursday's council non-agenda discussion. I'll try to lift the text from the .pdf when there's time.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Honor Mother Earth Celebration to be held down by the river on Saturday, May 11.

It's looking like the first Riverfront Amphitheater event of the summer, and a reminder of how we might deploy a smidgen of bonded millions toward badly needed renovations there.

ON THE AVENUES: Looking for Quality of Life bond issue bonuses? "Pick me," says orphaned Riverfront Amphitheater.

I'll be selecting an intrepid young NABC volunteer to help me pour beers for the gig, so mark the calendars and stop by on May 11.

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Honor Mother Earth Celebration

Join Trash Force in celebration of Earth Day!

The event, which will be held Mother’s Day weekend on Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., demonstrates support for environmental awareness and is open to the public at no cost.

The event will feature a live jazz music performance by the Jamey Aebersold Quartet from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. as well as a performance by funologist Amazon Jungle John and his Silly Safaris Show. The show features a variety of animals – mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and bugs – and is geared to teaching children simple wonders about nature and the world around us.

In addition to the scheduled performances, organizers have also arrange for an array of vendors and other exhibitors, including child fingerprinting by the New Albany Police Department, tours of the QRS Recycling Center at 10th & Water Streets, a water safety display by the U.S. Coast Guard, a fire safety display by the City of New Albany Fire Department, and craft beer from the New Albanian Brewing Company. Other participants include Magician Delbert the Wizard, the Floyd Co. Solid Waste District, the New Albany Tree Board, St. Paul episcopal Church, the Dandy Lion and New Life International with water purifiers. Carriage rides, face painting, food and other informational booths will also be on site.

New exhibitors are welcome, especially those in the area of ecology/environment. There is no charge for participants or attendees. Contact Mary Ann Sodrel, trashforce@insightbb.com or 812-945-0825

Downtown business owner? Come have a doughnut on Wednesday morning.


As a reminder, there'll be a morning meeting of the Downtown Business Owners this Wednesday, April 24th, at 8:00 a.m. at NABC's Bank Street Brewhouse. I'll have coffee and doughnuts on hand. The most recent meeting was recapped here.

If you are a business owner in downtown New Albany you are encouraged to attend and lend us your voice. We all need to help each other ... in your opinion, what should our Downtown Business Owners group be doing to not only help you and your business, but collectively help all of our downtown businesses?

New Albany's independent food and drink purveyors also are commencing efforts to set up a more specialized group, perhaps an association. The next meeting is at The Exchange (118 W. Main Street) on Monday, May 6 at 3:00 p.m.

Looking back on the past five to ten years, it may seem as though efforts like these never quite work out. Specific events are brought to fruition, sometimes more successfully than others, but the overall goal of cooperation remains forever elusive.

However, I believe we must keep trying. The pool of potential participants has been growing and evolving, and sometimes it's a question of simple chemistry. There remain numerous ways that existing organizations might apportion the work and strive toward a common end. I'm hopeful that we stumble upon a good mix, because we're nowhere close to "mission accomplished" yet, are we?

This week is Houndmouth & Houndmouth at the Iroquois Amphitheater (Friday, April 26).


Don't forget: This Friday at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, you can see New Albany's Houndmouth perform, and accompany the performance with NABC's Houndmouth ale. Can it get any better than this?

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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

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Derby Festival begins, bad beer flows, and so we learn to wait.


Up north in Indy yesterday, several fellow board members asked me if I was excited that the Kentucky Derby festival season was underway.

Bleh. 

But, okay; if it's your gig, have right at it. 

Meanwhile, Derby Festival season is a fine opportunity for me to accomplish other objectives. The simple fact is that while these two weeks are good for businesses like mine, they're all in Louisville, and the ripple is barely discernible on the Indiana side of the river. Understandably, the Derby is about as Louisville-centric as events can possibly be.  

Derby also isn't so much of a beer-advancement proposition, although the upcoming Houndmouth show at Iroquois surely will be.

Nowadays the year-round availability of locally-brewed beer in Louisville is something many of us take for granted, except for those of the "beer geek" persuasion, for whom beer is only good if it comes from several thousand miles away, but Derby is a time for thoroughbred horses, gambling addictions and maybe the Crescent Hill Reservoir filled to the top with bourbon – as long as you keep that accursed mint out of it, and sip the liquid neat, the way your deity intended.

The Derby has its own intrinsic traditions, as befits a pageant that has taken place each year since 1875. Fair enough, even if local beer hasn’t always been prominent among these genetic predispositions, although back in the oldest of far-off times, there’d have been plenty of local beer to celebrate the Run for the Roses, until the idiotic onset of Prohibition rendered the United States a planetary laughingstock to all but certain Indiana congressmen named Bill Davis.

After glorious Repeal, local beer returned, but when the original Falls City swapped its fermenters for semi-trailers in 1979, there was nary a single drop of hometown beer left to drown a wretched wager until 1993, when Sea Hero’s triumph may have been marked by a few hardy and pioneering microbrew fans drinking David Piece's Silo Red Rock Ale from a growler on their porch with a radio nearby, because then, as now, the very last situation you'd expect to experience in this life is local beer at Churchill Downs -- where Stella Artois is the official payola-beer-of-choice, and the punters barely notice the incongruity, anyway.

For me, Pavlov’s notorious canine, who quite possibly was a racing greyhound, always springs to mind during the waning days of April, when crowds of revelers – many of whom surely know better – inexplicably salivate in anticipation of chugging overpriced, mass-market swill at the Chow Wagon … wait, sorry, now it’s the MEGA-Chow Wagon, with the Miller Lite Stage as part of the aural experience, and that’s fitting, given there’s no oral sensation to be found in light, low-calorie American lager.

Whatever. I have things to do. See you in May, about the 6th or 7th.

Vaudeville at voice mail.


Now that Richard Atnip is a former NABC employee and in the process of moving to Chicago for his new job (we wish him the very best), I’ll relate this story.

Richard called me over one day a few weeks back and replayed a voice mail from an unknown number. It sounded like an older man, and neither of us recognized the voice.

The caller wanted to report to Richard that higher ups at NABC (which I took to mean me) had authorized his being poisoned via the food at BSB, poisoned again when he went to eat at the Pizzeria, and for good measure, and then poisoned a final time for good measure by means of a growler filled on his third visit to one of our establishments.

The man made it clear that he could not reveal his identity, given the insidious and pervasive nature of the conspiracy against him.

I am compelled to paraphrase the old joke:

Caller: Publican, when I go there, you try to poison me.

Publican: Well, stop going there.

By the way, has anyone seen King Larry lately?

John Dean should know Nixonian, and the McConnell tape ain't it.

Where else but the Commonwealth might we expect to experience such a heavenly confluence of pure entertainment?

At The Ville Voice: It’s Progress Kentucky Scandal Round-Up Time

Who knew the story of the Progress Kentucky-Mitch McConnell scandal would end up involving guns, drugs, murder, gay escorting and full-on mental illness?

It’s a story so crazy no one would believe it without documentation to back it up.

Here’s a round-up of our coverage for those who still haven’t dipped their toe into the water ...

What's being lost in all this is that Mitch McConnell is an incredible dirtbag, and far more Nixonian than whatever bumbling antics are being directed against him.

John Dean: The McConnell Tape Isn't Watergate and May Not Be Illegal, by David Corn (Mother Jones)

This is interesting. John Dean, Richard Nixon's White House counsel and a star Watergate witness, has weighed in on the McConnell tape controversy. His take: This ain't Watergate, and the making of the tape probably wasn't illegal.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Derby Grinch says: In or out of town today, just drink better beer.

If you're a fan of pyrotechnics and craft beer, just get over to Buckhead today for the craft extravaganza and ignore me: Thunder, craft beer, river.

As for me ... my yearly disclaimer.

I get no kick from juleps, and mere horse pimps don’t thrill me at all, but I get a kick out of being a contrarian Grinch each year during Derby Festival.

The orgasmic fireworks display this evening during Flatulence Over Louisville always provides grist for this cynic’s willful disobedience, providing an excellent pretext to skip town for somewhere quiet and civilized by comparison … a place where there is craft beer readily available to wash away the bad taste of this yearly glorification of pure, old-fashioned American garishness ... and since Birdseye didn’t fit the bill, I'm going to Indianapolis, instead. It's the Brewers of Indiana Guild's annual meeting.

Let me know when the smoke clears, okay?

WEEKEND REWIND 3: "Caesar stars in 'conflict of interest' night as council approves, but slashes, bucks to 1Si." (2010)

(Edited on April 22 to reflect the 2008 origins of non-reverting monies -- R)

It was October 4, 2010, and hat in hand, One Southern Indiana's pre-Wassmer-sausage-fest kingpin Michael Dalby came to the council chambers after consecutive 5-4 votes in favor of 1Si's blood money of a care package, intended to be drawn from a non-reverting economic development fund created in 2008, one intended to provide authentic local economic development entities (as opposed to the gargantuan 1Si) a provision to lay claim to monies for specific economic development programs. 

What ensued was so typically New Albanian that a book could have been written about it (by an outside hack for hire, no doubt) and not the Bicentennial.  

Hence our discussion during the council meeting of April 18, 2013. Now you know the other side of the story.

As only New Albany's city council seems capable of doing to such an extreme degree of sad sack proficiency, the third reading of the "Money for Nothing" ordinance to provide taxpayer largesse to 1Si finally passed, although reduced, but only after an eternity of theatrical Duck Duck Goose that left onlookers exhausted and thirsty.

Admirably, Jeff Gahan and Pat McLaughlin had principled changes of heart, but Jack Messer and Dan Coffey also flipped -- in opposite directions, even though Coffey viciously pilloried 1Si before meekly voting to accept the compromise reduction in the amount of protection money paid them, but mind you, only for "past" services, which have not been itemized in any way, shape of form. It didn't matter to 1Si, which brought its heaviest, sub-Mendoza Line hitters into the fray to mechanically deny obvious political taints while flashing calculators to total the forthcoming amount of TG Missouri's Japan-bound air conditioning subsidy.

Over three readings, Kevin Zurschmiede and Diane Benedetti remained consistently in favor of ignoring 1Si's recent Frankenstein monster transformation into a political action committee; after all, KZ's a Republican already and DB might as well be, not least when she's wearing her nifty Savanarola outfit for Halloween and council conclaves.

And then there's Bob Caesar, 1Si member, 1Si advocate, 1Si fan, and sometimes even playing at being a councilman in real life. After exercising the most blatant conflict of interest vote since Benedetti's decision not to absent herself from her brother's real estate zoning appearances, Caesar took advantage of a five minute recess (for the purpose of council members receiving their stipends?) to bound across the room, beaming, and land in Michael Dalby's lap. The last time anyone saw giddiness like that, it was probably the high school prom. Unlike the aftermath of the prom, someone in this instance "got some."

One sits, and watches, and shrugs, and asks: If Bob Caesar, a downtown small businessman, cannot grasp the existence of other economic development models -- especially those pertaining to the place where he, himself, does business -- what hope is there of altering the failed corporate subsidy paradigm?

Caesar and many others like him just want to be accepted as members of the big boy's club, and the sad thing is that they never see the big boys openly snickering at them once their backs are turned. Imagine investing the money not as a corporate subsidy for billion dollar companies like TGI Missouri, but in helping to build the skill sets of our own people through education and training. Imagine the money actually reaching small businesses like Caesar's and the many others in New Albany.

1Si succeeds at its shell game because small-timers want to be part of the insider club. They'd be better off refraining from subsidizing the subsidizers, and instead of cradling the bottled water at networking functions, emulating Hemingway and using the bottle as a means of sovereign action by throwing it.

Other media coverage:
New Albany council cuts funding for chamber of commerce group (C-J)
New Albany City Council reduces, approves 1si money (Tribune)
COUNCIL MEETING 10/3/10 YES, IT WAS A LONG ONE (VOP)

WEEKEND REWIND 2: "Coffey calls it: 'I’m disappointed that it seems like [One Southern Indiana] is a political action committee.'” (2010)

The drama escalated as Dan Coffey lashed out at One Southern Indiana's strictly partisan candidate endorsement process. Little did we suspect at the time that the stage was being set for one of the flippingest council scrums ever. 

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October 3, 2010

The Tribune's Daniel Suddeath sets the stage for tomorrow evening's first of two officially scheduled October meetings. 1Si's request for funding has been twice approved by 5-4 votes, but the third reading comes after the agency broke with precedent and endorsed a slate of candidates.

New Albany City Council to take final vote on One Southern Indiana funding Monday

What has Coffey miffed is the political wing of One Southern Indiana, specifically the recent endorsements of candidates by the organization of candidates seeking office in November.

“I don’t care if they come out for all Democrats or all Republicans, it’s wrong to me,” Coffey said.

Endorsing candidates or stumping for political issues are suspect moves by a group asking for taxpayer funds, he added.

WEEKEND REWIND 1: "Today's Tribune column: 'All this and Clyde Tolson, too.'" (2010)

Back in the fall of 2010, with repulsive bridge tolling on the front burner, the topic was One Southern Indiana's annual visit to the city council to seek alms. Earnestly the delegation asked for cadre-improvement bucks to train another generation of Stemleresque "leaders" while fluffing the River Ridge oligarchs' stiffies. CM CeeSaw was all hero worshipful of the big kids at the besuited table, but I needed to do some housekeeping first. It was so long ago that the newspaper hadn't dumped me yet. 

Imagine that.

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All this and Clyde Tolson, too. 

September 16, 2010

By ROGER BAYLOR, Local Columnist

Thank you all: Natives and tourists, drinkers and teetotalers, buffet grazers and jerky gnawers, hard-core blackjackites and soft-core slots voyeurs, and fans of faded pop stars on the concert circuit.

By patronizing Horseshoe Southern Indiana, and Caesar’s before it, you have enabled a delightfully socialistic process that often makes American politicians cringe and decry, especially if they’re of the elephantine persuasion.

It’s called the redistribution of wealth, and it’s the governmentally-mandated price that Horseshoe Southern Indiana and its brethren must pay to operate. Hereabouts, the Horseshoe Foundation transforms casino profits into grants and awards for worthiness, and even an atheistic cynic like me applauds the $20 million duly redistributed during the past decade.

I mention the largesse for the same reason that I wear a bicycle helmet – in the preventative tense. With a third New Albany city council reading due for One Southern Indiana’s (1Si’s) $70,000 handout request, which I oppose, it’s my guess that someone who doesn’t appreciate the questions I publicly ask is going to launch a few brickbat-cum-queries in my general direction.

Dear reader, excuse me for deeply yawning as I answer now, saving valuable public speaking time for the more important task of battling bridge tolls directed against working Hoosiers.

---

Q. Is it hypocritical of me to criticize 1Si’s council handout request, given that in 2009, my New Albanian Brewing Company received a $50,000 loan from the Horseshoe Foundation’s Small Business Revolving Loan Fund?

A. No, because it isn’t 1Si’s money. Here’s the first paragraph of the press release. Italics are mine.

“NEW ALBANY, In. – (March 20, 2009) – The Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County (HFFC) has named PTG Silicones and The New Albanian Brewing Company as the first recipients of the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund program, which was launched in December 2007. The fund was created to assist emerging private business enterprises based in Floyd County with expanding operations and increasing or retaining employees. It is capitalized by a $250,000 grant made by HFFC and administered by One Southern Indiana.”

I’d have rather gone directly to the Horseshoe Foundation’s office and collected the loan as bundles of unmarked hundreds in a Big Lots plastic bag, but the terms of the application process specified an intermediary, and that’s where 1Si comes into the story. The amount of clerical time expended to expedite the loan application is a matter of varying opinion, but what isn’t contested is that NABC borrowed money from the casino’s good works arm, not the unelected regional development authority.

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Q. But didn’t your company become a member of 1Si at roughly the same time, and hasn’t 1Si expended numerous staff hours helping you?

A. To paraphrase President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s famous comment about J. Edgar Hoover, I thought it might be enlightening for once to stand inside the tent and spit out, rather than the other way around, and so yes, NABC became a member of 1Si. What I’ve learned since is that when it comes to 1Si and NABC, our respective tents are located so far apart that neither spitting nor any other form of bodily excretion is a truly effective means of communication.

1Si advocates a carefully scrubbed, well-tailored “evangelism as networking” vision that perfectly reflects itself in the mirror of its core support: Suburban, exurban, conservative, and committed to economic “development” as the perpetual resource drain of anti-green sprawl.

Not every member marches in lock step, and probably few pay attention to the details of 1Si’s public policy positions, as calculated by an autonomous star chamber operating outside the checks and balances of the ballot box – with the implied consent of local government, which seemingly tolerates 1Si’s periodic public policy outrages (support for closing neighborhood schools in New Albany and intimacy with religious advocacy groups like ROCK, to name just two) in exchange for economic “progress” unmeasurable by objective yardsticks, currently billed to New Albany at a rate of 70K.

NABC has evolved in a different place, and in a different way. We’re interested in small business issues, New Urbanism, downtown revitalization, sustainability, locavore living and thinking, and many other related topics covered in this column during the past two years. It was a novel idea to join 1Si. We won’t be repeating it.

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In two previous readings of the 1Si handout, Councilman Bob Caesar voted in favor both times. I view this as a conflict of interest.

“Conflicts of interest can be defined as any situation in which an individual or corporation (either private or governmental) is in a position to exploit a professional or official capacity in some way for their personal or corporate benefit.”
-- (Wikipedia)

CM Caesar’s “corporate benefit” is his business (and 1Si member), JO Endris & Sons. I must assume that he joined 1Si because he believes the web site spiel:

Through government and workforce advocacy to quality connections and business training, One Southern Indiana is taking care of business – yours.

But if 1Si is “taking care” of JO Endris & Sons, isn’t it an obvious “corporate benefit,” and accordingly, isn’t it a conflict of interest for Caesar to participate in the vote to fund 1Si?

If Caesar argues the converse, that there’s no conflict of interest because membership in 1Si is of no benefit to his business, shouldn’t we be asking why 1Si exists in the first place … and what it says about a councilman’s fiscal acumen to pay dues for no benefit?

Seriously: It isn’t too late for Caesar to do the ethical thing and remove himself from the discussion and vote.

You have no idea how long Roger’s been waiting to use the word “excretion.” In the past, it has appeared periodically at the NA Confidential blog: www.cityofnewalbany.blogspot.com


Friday, April 19, 2013

Last night amid council serenity.

The city council met last evening and spent a great deal of time talking about paving. There will be no omnibus paving bond; rather, the asphalt will be funded via the usual artful shifting around of EDIT, Riverboat and Rainy Day monies to come up with something like $2 million.

What struck me was the almost collegial tone in Dan Coffey's absence. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Coffey, his presence sucks the air from a room. Without him present, each of the remaining eight council members had more to say.  No voices were raised. A council meeting convened, and a discussion broke out. It seldom happened during the Gang of Four days.

The other shocking aspect of council meetings so far in 2013 has been the utter disappearance of the obstructionist cadre in the audience. After decades of menacingly brandishing lighter fluid and Bics at the merest insinuation of authorizing a twenty-spot for White-Out, the current council has spent close to a gazillion dollars so far this year, with perhaps one fatigued appearance by Professor Erika.  

Things are quiet. It is weird. Is it the quiet before a return to copperheadedness, or signs that the dysfunction is eroding?

Your chance to Drink with the Dead next Saturday night.

It's warmer weather, and Gregg Seidl's first Drinking with the Dead walking tour of 2013 will be held the evening of Saturday, April 27.

It is rumored that among the dead objects to be reviewed on the tour are sales figures for the bicentennial commission's Crutchfield coffee table book. Hopefully Redevelopment didn't really need that seed money for anything important. Anyone know how many doorstops have been sold to date?

Go to Facebook and read about it.

Drinking With the Dead Haunted History Tour

Looking for something to do on the Saturday between Thunder Over Louisville and the Derby? Then look no further. Come and join me and my guests as we enjoy the spirits in downtown New Albany.

At LouisvilleBeer.com: "The Sahara of Slugger Field."

In the days since I filed this column, Against the Grain's Sam Cruz was asked by Eater Louisville to elaborate on the tweets I mention herein. Here's the link. Sam's also been discussing the same topic at the Louisville Restaurants Forum. Nothing has been heard from the team or concessionaire; no surprise there.

Coincidentally, Against the Grain's also about to garner some great publicity in Europe: Against the Grain road trip: "The Euro market is no stranger to Against the Grain beers."

Back to baseball: I've also recently taken a cursory look at the scene in Toledo and Columbus, Ohio cities where Triple-A ballparks seem to have a tighter grip on the modern world. As time permits, I'll continue to review choices in other places when the Bats travel elsewhere.

The Sahara of Slugger Field

by Roger Baylor

Anyone have a bucket?
It's not even the best of AB-InBev
The Triple-A Louisville Bats began play earlier this month amid the usual hot stove and cold fridge speculation as to whether Louisville Slugger Field finally would join the craft (beer) (food) (bourbon) (dining) (localism) (choose one) revolution currently underway in Louisville, as well as in most other baseball outposts scattered through the remainder of the United States.
If you’ve lived in these parts for any amount of time and possess the patience to read this far, you’ve already guessed the answer.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Council Coffey Klatsch tonight at 7:30 p.m.; 98 of 100 physicians agree that strong drink is merited.


Before the link, thanks to city clerk Vicki Glotzbach for updating her page at the city's web site with meeting dates for the board of works, sewer board and common council.

Here is the agenda for this evening's city council backslapper, and here is reporter Suddeath's preview:

$5.7M paving bond on table in New Albany; Council could amend, foot resurfacing with EDIT

... Councilwoman Shirley Baird said Monday that if a second contractor were hired, it could result in several street projects occurring at once which could lead to traffic congestion.

“Plus I don’t want to go in debt that much,” Baird said of bonding paving projects.

ON THE AVENUES: You gaze at your own reflection, all right.

ON THE AVENUES: You gaze at your own reflection, all right.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

“The ultimate obscenity is not caring, not doing something about what you feel, not feeling! Just drawing back and drawing in; becoming narcissistic.”
-- attributed to Rod Serling (1924-1975)

Science fiction isn’t my forte, but no matter. Even if I seldom indulge, it is evident to me that the genre has its strengths, among them the ability to harness the otherwise far-fetched to the greater cause of allegorical relevance.

Consider, if you will, Rod Serling’s scripts for the Twilight Zone television series, many of which remain fresh and thought-provoking a half-century after their inception.

Serling’s personal mission, one that he pursued with considerable skill, was to befuddle white-bread network censors by disguising progressive commentaries as seemingly harmless manifestations of the macabre – tales regarded as inhabiting the science fiction canon, with commensurate camouflage.

As Serling pithily observed, “Things which couldn't be said by a Republican or Democrat could be said by a Martian."

To which I’d add: Things which couldn’t be said by a Republican or Democrat or a Martian might be said by craft beer, but not if we insist on a narcissistic self-absorption.

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Lately I’ve been thinking about Serling’s admonition to reject narcissism. A talented man possessing strong viewpoints and pronounced beliefs, he came of age as a writer in the 1950s, precisely at a time when the mass hysterics and delusions of McCarthyism rendered the intellectual climate quite dangerous for those with contrarian viewpoints. It may well have been a nadir for progressivism, even by America’s remarkably low standard in such matters.

And yet, Serling possessed the innate strength of character – a sheer, contrarian stubbornness – to find a way of speaking his mind during a time when the presumed ideal of “free” speech was being honored primarily in the breach. He found a way, because to him, narcissism wasn’t a career option. I couldn’t agree more.

As others did at the time, Serling might have chosen to withhold his talent and wait for the inevitable thaw, perhaps opting for self-exile in an entirely different professional venue. Rather, he resisted drawing back and inward, and continued challenging viewers by painting the corners of the plate with nuance.

What if Serling had shrugged and gone strictly commercial, eschewing the artful for the straightforward, indulging the low common denominator all around him, and giving television audiences more by-the-numbers entertainment? Then as now, safety is easily rationalized, and in the mainstream, there’s a greater probability that the paychecks won’t stop coming.

I’m not judging others, merely noting that for whatever reason, Serling elected not to follow the easiest path. He persevered. The message got out, converts were made along the way, and these many decades later, we’re still able to learn from his experience.

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My chosen profession is craft beer, and I’m no happier seeing it corrupted by shoe-gazing narcissism than Rod Serling -- in his world, during his heyday, and according to the parameters of his calling.

Craft beer means many things to many people, and that’s as it should be. Speaking for myself, it’s a hobby that eventually grew into an occasional paycheck; it tastes great even though it’s often more filling; it is a wonderful device for promoting the life of the local pub; and it’s the final, best hope for sustaining local pub culture.

But to me, precisely because I’m not narcissistic, there is more to craft beer than just those attributes. Naturally, self-interest as a business owner brings with it certain promotional necessities and instances of self-aggrandizement, but these are not to be confused with staring at one’s reflection in a pond filled with Barrel Aged Black Kolsch while reaching for the Kleenex ... and not because one needs to blow his nose.

Beer, as writ large, may very well be a commodity suitable for the Financial Times, but craft beer specifically also is a symbol, an analogy – a metaphor. Craft beer’s very founding principle is active and points outward, not passive and shrinking toward the inside. It is expansive in the market sense, but more importantly, in profits from the larger sense of community consciousness.

Craft beer is revolutionary, the overt rejection of an established order commonly known as mass market beer, which profits by accumulating capital for the express purpose of thwarting competition in purely Mafioso capitalistic fashion, and substitutes slavish conformity for the broad panoply of life’s possibilities.

When craft beer lapses narcissistic, and whenever the circle geeking starts, we as a presumed culture of appreciation are only providing the multinational mockrobrewing hegemonists with head space to mislead the larger segment of the market, which we haven’t yet reached. The established order we first rebelled against hasn’t gone away. It’s fighting back, and the best way to confront the Goebbelsian lies it deploys is to break away from our narcissism, stop looking in the mirror, and engage those folks standing just beyond the tent flap.

That’s because many of them want to come inside. Let’s give them a reason to do so.

I can’t be sure that Rod Serling would have appreciated craft beer, but I believe he would quickly see the merit in purging narcissism from the culture of craft beer appreciation. It’s repellant, even to those of us who already get it.

Clip art mania: Compare and contrast posters.


Above: 2013.
Below: 2012.


From house to garden



Top photo via GR; bottom one by the senior editor. The badly decayed house came down in the summer of 2012, and the East Spring Street Neighborhood Association is making the vacated space into a park and garden.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boz Scaggs finds "Love on a Two-Way Street." But can New Albany?



Written by Sylvia Robinson, performed by Boz Scaggs on his new album, Memphis.

Tricentennially speaking, the Culbertson Mansion is "the jewel of New Albany."

I'm delighted to confirm NABC's official partnership with the Culbertson Mansion for its Garden Party on June 1, at which we'll debut NABC Tricentennial Ale: I'll see your bicentennial, and raise you a Tricentennial. Whatcha got?

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The Culbertson Mansion - Jewel of New Albany (uncredited; at the city of New Albany's web site)

If you grew up around New Albany in the 70’s, chances are you had an opportunity to take a class field trip to the Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site at some point during your school years. But have you been back since? If not, you’re missing out as this historic landmark is not only an architectural masterpiece; it is an integral part of New Albany’s rich heritage, as were the Culbertsons.

“It was saved by New Albany, and it’s for them. If they feel ownership, they're more inclined to get involved,” said Jessica Stavros, program developer, Culbertson Mansion.

In the 1960s, New Albany almost lost the Culbertson Mansion when developers attempted to bulldoze it to make room for a gas station. Thankfully, a group of historic-minded individuals saved it. By saving the mansion, all can continue to learn about its legacy and the early philanthropic efforts of William Culbertson.

“William Culbertson took life experiences and he used the privilege of his money to improve the quality of life for New Albany,” said Stavros. Among the many contributions that William Culbertson made, he was the benefactor for much of New Albany’s infrastructure, as well as a philanthropist, establishing the Widow’s Home and an orphanage.

As we celebrate New Albany’s Bicentennial year, the Culbertson Mansion is a perfect stop because William Culbertson played such an integral role in the early history of New Albany. The interpretive staff and seasonal, hard-working docents, offer tours throughout the week, and there are a variety of special events during the year. Mayor Jeff Gahan met with Stavros earlier this year to discuss the upcoming events held by the Culbertson during New Albany’s Bicentennial Year.

"We are very fortunate to have such dedicated group of individuals working to keep this rich piece of history alive," stated Mayor Gahan. “I encourage everyone to stop by the Culbertson for one of their upcoming events.”

The Culbertson Mansion will hold its annual Derby Murder Mystery on April 26 and 27. This year, the setting will be the roaring year of 1929, and will feature Sam Culbertson, the son of William Culbertson. (Sam Culbertson once served as the president of Churchill Downs, and he will always be remembered as the person who started the Garland of Roses tradition.)

“Sam changed the Kentucky Derby forever,” said Stavros.

During the Annual Herb Sale on May 10 and 11, there will be a special herb workshop featuring certified herbalist Jenny Boice. This will be the perfect time to learn about different traditional herbs and the variety of uses.

“Herbs have many uses beyond the kitchen. Most homes during this time would have had a home apothecary, and the lady of the house would know what herbs alleviate headaches, which herbs bring down fever, and so on.” said Stavros.

This year, we’re all looking forward to the Garden Party. This will be the first Garden Party since the Culbertson Mansion became a museum in 1976, although the Culbertson Family held such parties regularly. During the original parties, the Culbertsons decorated the yard with Chinese lanterns, and brought the Oriental rugs from inside to the lawn. Stavros is excited to announce that they will do the same for this party. The Garden Party will feature live music, and in an official partnership with the New Albanian Brewing Company, they plan to debut the new “Tricentennial” beer. Roger Baylor, the owner of the New Albanian Brewing Company, will give a talk about the history of beer in New Albany, and the Culbertson Mansion will showcase bottles from local historic breweries along with Culbertson family letters that reference beer.

“This will be our celebration of New Albany’s Bicentennial,” said Stavros.

The Garden Party is open to those 21 and over. Events at the Culbertson Mansion may require an RSVP by calling 812-944-9600.

The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 pm to 5 p.m. The tours occur on the hour, with the last one commencing at 4.

•Derby Murder Mystery: Friday, April 26th & Saturday, 27th. 7:00 p.m., cost: $20 per person, $35 per couple. Reservation & advance payment required.

•24th Annual Herb Sale: Friday, May 10 & Saturday, 11th from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., workshop both days: 2 p.m., $7. Reservation & advance payment required.

•Community Open House, Saturday, June 1 & Sunday, 2nd from 1-5 p.m. cost: $2 for adults, $1 for children

•Garden Party, Saturday, June 1st from 8-11 p.m., 21 and over. cost: $10

Daily Tours: $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, $2 for children, children under 3 are FREE. For more information, please visit: www.indianamuseum.org