Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Trumpolini's bogus pandemic stats and the flowering of the GOP's death cult.


You're entitled to your own opinion, just not your own facts.

Donald Trump rushed to reopen America – now Covid is closing in on him, by Robert Reich (The Guardian)

The surge in cases isn’t because America is doing more tests for the virus, as Trump contends. Cases are rising even where testing is declining. In Wisconsin, cases soared 28% over the past two weeks, as the number of tests decreased by 14%. Hospitals in Texas, Florida and Arizona are filling up with Covid-19 patients. Deaths are expected to resume their gruesome ascent.

The surge is occurring because America reopened before Covid-19 was contained ...

It's the very Nadir of the Know Nothings.

No, President Trump, Testing Is Not Causing Case Counts to Rise. The Virus Is Just Spreading Faster, by Charles Ornstein and Ash Ngu (ProPublica)

The Trump administration has doubled down on its claims that coronavirus case counts are up because the U.S. has increased testing. However, a closer look at graphs of testing numbers and positive cases shows that this isn’t the case for many states.

The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin bears scrutiny, given the bizarre inaccuracy of her analysis v.v. the recently contested Kentucky primary.

However, this home run travels about 535 feet.

This outcome is the triumph of Republicans’ tribal politics, in which identification with the cult and assault on the truth win out over common sense, science and even self-preservation. To be a Republican — at least in the eyes of millions of them — means to adopt illogical, anti-factual beliefs and oppositional conduct. You cannot take seriously the threats of climate change or the novel coronavirus because … well, because that is not what Republicans do, and to do otherwise would be to concede that the dreaded radical left and elites (presumably one can be both) are right. At the extremes, Republicans will engage in objectively destructive conduct to prove their point — hoarding hydroxychloroquine even if the Food and Drug Administration says the drug is ineffective or dangerous, and, of course, going without masks.

Yes, that's it.

Pay attention, local theoretical Democrats: "Public Transportation Is a Human Right."


It's a review of James Wilt's book Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars?: Public Transit in the Age of Google, Uber, and Elon Musk.

Everyone in the upper echelons of municipal government should read it.

They won't, though -- will they?

Imagine how far ahead of the curve we'd be if Jeff Speck's street grid plan for downtown had been implemented in full instead of gutted.

Sad. So very sad.

Public Transportation Is a Human Right, by Paris Marx (Jacobin)

For a century our cities have been transformed by the car industry, making way for drivers at the expense of cyclists and pedestrians. A renewed movement for urban public transport is pushing back.

After decades of building new roads and expanding highways, commuters are still losing more time in traffic and their commutes keep getting longer. The evidence shows that adding more roads doesn’t relieve traffic; it simply encourages people to drive more.

That reality seems to finally be sinking in with a growing segment of the American public. There simply isn’t the room to fit more cars on congested roads, and that’s leading to renewed investments in other forms of mobility.

In recent years, ballot measures have been proposed around the United States to expand public transit and other non-auto transportation — and they’ve been very successful. Los Angeles’ Measure M passed with the support of 70 percent of voters in 2016 and will funnel $120 billion into transport projects over the next forty years. It’s not alone. In 2019, nearly 90 percent of transit ballot measures were successful, continuing a growing trend over the past few years of residents voting to raise their own taxes to fund better transit.

But not everyone’s excited about such a future of public transit projects. For the past decade, the tech industry has been adamantly pushing technological enhancements to cars that they promise will solve the congestion, the carbon emissions, and the deaths that, in the US alone, number in the tens of thousands every year and balloon to 1.35 million around the world. But the electric cars, ride-hailing services, and autonomous vehicles that are proposed as our mobility saviors aren’t the silver bullets they’ve been presented to be. In fact, the Kochs have even been financing opposition to transit ballot measures using the prospect of self-driving cars to position transit as outdated.

With transport volumes much lower than usual as a result of the pandemic and growing calls to open streets to cyclists and pedestrians, we face a rare opportunity to start making major changes to our transportation system. James Wilt’s new book Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars?: Public Transit in the Age of Google, Uber, and Elon Musk was published at the perfect time to give us the tools to challenge tech’s arguments for more cars and imagine a better, collective way of organizing our transportation system.

(Subheadings include: Car Tech Won’t Save Us ... Coronavirus Won’t Kill Transit ... Better Transportation for a Better Future)

During the pandemic, people around the world remarked at the clean air in their cities once most of the cars were off the road. Now, polls show people want new restrictions to keep it that way. Similarly, bike shops in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, have reported increased sales as cities around the world are planning to build new bike lanes and give more space to pedestrians — some temporary, but many permanent.

There is a serious shift taking place, and we must seize the opportunity to reclaim our cities from the automobile as much as possible. In 1973, André Gorz wrote that, “After killing the city, the car is killing the car.” It wasn’t dead yet, however, because it had successfully arranged “for the alternatives to disappear, thus making the car compulsory.”

The fight for better transportation should be driven not just by getting rid of the automobile, but, as Wilt writes, it must be “one for democratic control over communities” — of which transit is a key part — and “to build a much more beautiful world.” After the death and devastation wrought by the pandemic, especially in the United States, that’s exactly the kind of vision we need.

Monday, July 06, 2020

ON THE AVENUES took a week off. Here's what I've been writing while on holiday.

There also was a house-painting project.

Having made it through six months of weekly ON THE AVENUES columns without a single rerun, I decided to celebrate by taking a week off and hopefully reloading for "the second half" of the year. The July 4 holiday weekend seemed perfectly placed for an intermission.

After all, July 4 is an extremely important date in human history; as of 2020, it's been 44 years since The Clash’s debut gig on the 4th of July, opening for Sex Pistols at a pub in Sheffield, England.



Regular readers already know that 2020 would see a curtailment of activity at NA Confidential, which has been rigorously pro bono and non-profit since its inception in 2004. My time has shifted to platforms where I'm writing for material reward. It's as simple as that.

I'll likely never be sufficiently organized to function as a true free-lancer; however, writing is my job as digital editor at Food & Dining Magazine, and it's a big part of what I'm doing at Pints&union, especially lately, with the pub largely dormant while awaiting the reopening (this week, maybe Friday), and a need to do something to help keep our clientele engaged during the down time.

Consequently, I'm delighted to have received so many positive comments about my series of "Staycation Stories," many of which have been reworked beer travel tales from the archive along with a few newly written vignettes. Most, if not all, have been illustrated with recently digitized photos.

Volga outing, 1999.

Following are the eleven most recent, with other available for perusing at my P&U Beer Blog.

Staycation Stories: My shoes are filled with Volga mud (1999), Part Two 

Staycation Stories: My shoes are filled with Volga mud (1999), Part One

Staycation Stories: The Birra Korça experience, and beer in Albania, 1994

Staycation Stories: of Sligo, Knocknarea, Guinness and Freddie, 1985

Staycation Stories: Under the volcano in Catania, Sicily (2016)

Staycation Stories: One fine evening at the Zlatý Dukát in Košice, 1991

My alternative “6 Bucket List Destinations for Beer Lovers

Staycation Stories: The late, once great Brauhaus Nussdorf in Vienna

Staycation Stories: The Dolphin, one of the great pubs in the world

Staycation Stories: Good times in the bike saddle at the Radler Tankstelle

Staycation Stories: A Bohemian countryside beer walk (1989)

On the Food & Dining Magazine side of the ledger, I'm responsible for two web posts each weekday (just one on weekends), with linkage to social media feeds. Some are short and functional, others longer and more detailed. We've started work on an autumn issue of the quarterly print publication (the summer issue was cancelled this year).

Here are a few F&D highlights from the past couple weeks

Hip Hops: How do craft breweries survive the pandemic? Any which way they can


Edibles & Potables: But what about the workers?

Celebrate July 4 at St. Benedict’s Brew Works in the shadow of The Dome (Ferdinand IN)

Board and You Bistro & Wine Bar prepares to broaden the charcuterie in New Albany

Hip Hops: Black Is Beautiful collabs are on, Fest of Ale is off (until 2021)

Edibles & Potables: Wet markets, food safety, food justice and Halal localism

Anthony Bourdain’s genius was not in the kitchen. His genius was in knowing which side he was on

I'm also charged with laying out weekly F&D columns contributed by others, including Marty Rosen, Susan Reigler and Ron Mikulak.

Marty's "Letter from the Editor" appears on Wednesday, and Susan's "Bourbon News & Notes" on Friday. Last week Ron began a weekly Tuesday column called "Comings & Goings." As an example, consider Marty's column last week, which deserves a wider audience:

Letter from the Editor: Face masks, yes. We have a collective responsibility to hold each other safe.

It would verge on redundant for me to point out that I'm by far the junior partner when it comes to the experience and skill of these writers. It makes me a better writer merely by arranging their pieces for publication.

The lesson we should be learning from the pandemic is that what we build may seem everlasting, when in fact it's ephemeral. Things change very slowly, then all at once. I'll be 60 very soon, but my new life and the next chapters actually began in May of 2014 when we closed the restaurant at Bank Street Brewhouse.

From that point, I understood something had come unmoored. There had been a conclusion in my life, and it would be followed by completely new developments. It all took some time, but the shift occurred. As oft times before, I came out the other side. Obviously, in order to come back, one must first go away, into the wilderness, for the required cleansing.

Consequently, I've no idea whether my currently productive era will last, and if it does, for how long. However, for the moment it is quite good, both personally and professionally, and I'm keenly aware of the irony inherent in making such a statement amid pandemic and social upheaval.

The very presence of irony points to the necessity of my staying involved, albeit minding my manners v.v. the local power structure, and advocating for change as it pertains to this dysfunctional shibboleth of a nation, fully half of it engaged in denial of a magnitude I can't recall witnessing.

Maybe I'll write about it for ON THE AVENUES this coming Thursday.

A little-known monument in Fairview Cemetery.


You won't find it in the tourist guides -- do we HAVE tourists? -- but it's one of Fairview Cemetery's most compelling monuments, called the Memorial to the Victims of Inept Urban Forestry.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: Believe it or not, "Drunk people can't socially distance."


Yep, it takes a pandemic to grasp that drunks slobber, hug each other, start fights and behave abominably. Been there, seen that. To be honest, done that, myself.

If bars elect to pack them in as though the past six months haven't even happened, we can expect more of the same. It's happening everywhere right now. My loyalty to the food and drink business precludes me from calling out anyone; it's just personal with me now, and there are places I'll likely not go for a very long time into the future.

My main question about the reopening of pubs in the UK is how hard it's been for those still specializing in real ale to prepare when the actual reopening dates have changed. 

No one thinks about living beer during a pandemic, do they?

'Crystal clear' drunk people can't socially distance, say police in England in The Guardian

Police Federation chair says revellers would not adhere to one-metre-plus rules as pubs opened on Saturday

Drunk people are unable to properly socially distance, the chairman of the Police Federation has said as pubs reopened in England for the first time since lockdown.

John Apter said it was “crystal clear” revellers would not adhere to the one metre plus rule as restrictions were eased on Saturday.

Prof Chris Whitty said the pandemic “is a long way from gone” and urged the public to follow social-distancing rules as pubs and restaurants reopened.

But images from London’s Soho showed packed streets into the early hours of Sunday ...

GREEN MOUSE follows up: "How Dollar Stores Became Magnets for Crime and Killing."


Picking up where we left off on February 13, when I asked, "What sort of upper crust prohibitionist’s rationale is being advanced here?"

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Neo-prohibitionism, foppery and hypocrisy at Indiana Landmarks as Family Dollar on Vincennes gets a perfectly legal alcohol sales permit.


This led to a traumatic Facebook kerfuffle, deletions and recriminations, and subsequently I was made aware of other back-channel goings-on, but by then the dark pandemic clouds were gathering and nothing much happened with any of it. Honestly, I've no idea whether the Family Dollar in question ever received the alcohol permit.

At the time, I was perfectly well aware of the controversies engendered by the contemporary growth of Family Dollar, Dollar General and other such carpetbagging stores in the context of impoverished areas, employment practices, food deserts, inept local governments and a host of other ills that capitalism gleefully exploits for the benefit of the accumulators of capital, at the expense of ordinary people who exist to be steamrolled.

What particularly bothered me back in February was the involvement of Indiana Landmarks, whether active and real or merely tactically suggested by opponents of the Family Dollar alcoholic beverages permit, as well as the paternalistic attitude of more than one self-identified (and Reisz-stuffed) historic preservationist concerning their responsibility to help the poor folks lest too many paychecks get squandered on booze -- an argument that was tired and regrettable a century ago in the run-up to Prohibition.

To be precise, I take none of it back -- not a word -- and note only that with the intervention of more important matters, the discussion came to an end. So it goes.

Now, about Family Dollar, Dollar General and others of the species. ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power, and in this gripping long read, Alec MacGillis explains "How Dollar Stores Became Magnets for Crime and Killing."

 ... The Gun Violence Archive, a website that uses local news reports and law enforcement sources to tally crimes involving firearms, lists more than 200 violent incidents involving guns at Family Dollar or Dollar General stores since the start of 2017, nearly 50 of which resulted in deaths. The incidents include carjackings in the parking lot, drug deals gone bad and altercations inside stores. But a large number involve armed robberies in which workers or customers have been shot. Since the beginning of 2017, employees have been wounded in shootings or pistol-whippings in at least 31 robberies; in at least seven other incidents, employees have been killed. The violence has not let up in recent months, when requirements for customers to wear masks have made it harder for clerks to detect shoppers who are bent on robbery. In early May, a worker at a Family Dollar in Flint, Michigan, was fatally shot after refusing entry to a customer without a mask.

The number of incidents can be explained in part by the stores’ ubiquity: There are now more than 16,000 Dollar Generals and nearly 8,000 Family Dollars in the United States, a 50% increase in the past decade. (By comparison, Walmart has about 4,700 stores in the U.S.) The stores are often in high-crime neighborhoods, where there simply aren’t many other businesses for criminals to target. Routine gun violence has fallen sharply in prosperous cities around the country, but it has remained stubbornly high in many of the cities and towns where these stores predominate. The glowing signs of the discount chains have become indicators of neglect, markers of a geography of the places that the country has written off.

But these factors are not sufficient to explain the trend. The chains’ owners have done little to maintain order in the stores, which tend to be thinly staffed and exist in a state of physical disarray. In the 1970s, criminologists such as Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson argued that rising crime could be partly explained by changes in the social environment that lowered the risk of getting caught. That theory gained increasing acceptance in the decades that followed. “The likelihood of a crime occurring depends on three elements: a motivated offender, a vulnerable victim, and the absence of a capable guardian,” the sociologist Patrick Sharkey wrote, in “Uneasy Peace,” from 2018.

Another way of putting this is that crime is not inevitable. Robberies and killings that have taken place at dollar store chains would not have necessarily happened elsewhere. “The idea that crime is sort of a whack-a-mole game, that if you just press here it’ll move over here,” is wrong, Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, told me. Making it harder to commit a crime doesn’t just push crime elsewhere; it reduces it. “Crime is opportunistic,” he said. “If there’s no opportunity, there’s no crime” ...

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Independence Day? Two, with pleasure: "The only Founding Father worth honoring this 4th of July is Thomas Paine."


It's a long read, and this is a short excerpt. It's worth your time.

Why? Because July 4 makes me feel radical and revolutionary, and it's never too late to make good on promises deferred, especially in 2020 (see Pierce, Charles P. for more).

There's still a chance to bust this sucker wide open, folks. For more on the topic, see "Happy Birthday, America!" by Ricky L. Jones in a past issue of LEO Weekly.

Reading Paine From the Left, by Sean Monahan (Jacobin)

Though embraced by the likes of Glenn Beck, Thomas Paine was the American Revolution's most radical figure.

 ... Paine was a consistent advocate of a strong federal government and also a sharp critic of economic inequality and poverty who designed the world’s first fully fleshed-out scheme of social welfare provision. Beyond that, he introduced millions to a radical critique of private property and class society, and pointed to democratic politics as the solution.

Over the course of the nineteenth century, while ruling classes were cursing Paine’s name from pulpits and palaces, the growing radical workers’ movements were toasting to his memory and reprinting his works. The Irish Republicans, the Chartists of England, and the early American labor movement all lauded Paine and his ideas echoed across Europe in the Revolutions of 1848. For generations, the revolutionary’s birthday was celebrated every January 29 by fledgling trade union and socialist movements on both sides of the Atlantic, who regarded Paine as one of their intellectual fathers and a role model for democratic revolutionaries.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the only Americans who dared to openly claim Thomas Paine for their own were radical trade unionists, freethinkers, abolitionists, and socialists. As John Nichols points out, in 1856 the New York Times warned that the “many socialist Painites . . . and their affiliation to every species of radicalism in the land boded evil to the future of our republic.”

The Prussian Forty-Eighter, disciple of Karl Marx, and Civil War Union Army Gen. August Willich praised Paine’s radical criticisms of authority at dozens of the birthday celebrations held by radical German-American organizations. Eugene Debs too was an open Painite, and at his trial for sedition for publicly opposing World War I, he cited Paine’s declaration, “My country is the world. To do good is my religion” as a model of the “wider patriotism” that he espoused.

As Harvey Kaye observes, the Communist Party published a collection of Paine’s writings in 1937, and hailed him as the “foremost fighter for world democracy,” the “chief propagandist and agitator of the revolution,” and a visionary radical who saw “beyond the limits of the bourgeois revolution,” attacked the “accumulation of property,” and proposed a “system of social insurance.”

Paine was at the center of two of the great democratic revolutions of the late eighteenth century — the American and the French. (Beyond that, though he found the violence of the Haitian Revolution “distressing,” he considered it “the natural consequence of slavery,” which should “be expected everywhere.”)

Not only was he a central personality in the “age of revolutions,” he was one of the first radicals to connect the cause of political democracy to economic demands. Because of that, he was touted as a champion not only of the rights of the commoners against aristocracy, but, as Eric Hobsbawm put it, “the radical-democratic aspirations of small artisans and pauperized craftsmen” against the owners of property ...

Independence Day? One, as Charles P. Pierce writes: "We're in Another One of Those Moments Where the Great Bluff Gets Called."


The speeches referred to by Pierce are lengthy, eloquent and worthy. In my estimation, they're best read prior to hamburgers and fireworks; for those seeking an antidote to The Trumpian tendency to spew verbal sewage, they're especially helpful.

But you see, you must want to learn genuine facts, as opposed to the bilge fed you since kindergarten days.

This Fourth of July, We're in Another One of Those Moments Where the Great Bluff Gets Called, by Charles P. Pierce (Esquire)

It is the same bluff Frederick Douglass called in 1852, and Dr. King called in 1962.

This is a great year to have a Fourth of July. This is a great year to have a Fourth of July because we are in the middle of another one of those historical moments in which the great bluff gets called, loudly, raucously, and in the public square. You remember that great bluff. It is the bluff that Frederick Douglass called in Rochester in 1852.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

It is the bluff that Dr. King called in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1962.

In a sense we've come to our nation's Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds.”

It’s the one that is being called by thousands of people in the streets, and by the removal of every memorial to every traitorous gossoon, and by defiant young people who are pushing all their chips to the center of the table. This is the bluff they’re all calling ...

Friday, July 03, 2020

Shut up and mask up -- but first, this Twitter user documents sweet freedom in a restaurant setting.


@libbyjones715 wrote these words on Twitter.

---

Welcome to the Freedom Cafe! We trust you to make your own choices if you want to wear a face mask. And, in the same spirit of individual liberty, we allow our staff to make their own choices about the safety procedures they prefer to follow as they prepare and serve your food.

We encourage employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom, but understand that some people may be allergic to certain soaps or may simply prefer not to wash their hands. It is not our place to tell them what to do.

We understand that you may be used to chicken that has been cooked to 165 degrees. We do have to respect that some of our cooks may have seen a meme or a YouTube video saying that 100 degrees is sufficient, and we do not want to encroach on their beliefs.

Some of our cooks may prefer to use the same utensils for multiple ingredients, including ingredients some customers are allergic to. That is a cook’s right to do so.

Some servers may wish to touch your food as they serve it. There is no reason that a healthy person with clean hands can’t touch your food. We will take their word for it that they are healthy and clean.

Water temperature and detergent are highly personal choices, and we allow our dishwashing team to decide how they’d prefer to wash the silverware you will put in your mouth.

Some of you may get sick, but almost everyone survives food poisoning. We think you’ll agree that it’s a small price to pay for the sweet freedom of no one ever being told what to do - and especially not for the silly reason of keeping strangers healthy.

Stop it. Stop fluffing INDOT. In fact, f*ck INDOT. Sherman Minton repairs should be deferred for at least a year.


It wouldn't ever be easy, but with the tribulations of COVID-19 and the challenges that independent local businesses in New Albany already have faced, to disrupt access to New Albany in 2021 without us first having the chance to regain a foothold during an ongoing pandemic is sheer bureaucratic insanity.

Automobile supremacy might well be an American religion, but sorry, INDOT is not a God. We needn't worship it. In fact, it probably should be consigned to the dumpster fires: DEFUND INDOT sounds mighty fine to me.

Are the courts a possibility in delaying this vicious kick to the skull by our own presumed state government?

Sherman Minton closures will be limited during construction under plan, by Daniel Suddeath (Hanson's Beige Machine)

After almost two years of conducting public meetings and garnering input, planners of the Sherman Minton Renewal are ready to submit their traffic proposal for the $90 million improvement project.

The recommended plan released today limits full closure of the Sherman Minton Bridge to 54 days out of the estimated 834 days of construction on the bridge, which could begin as early as April.

The full closure days would be limited to nine consecutive days per direction a year and up to a trio of three-day weekends per direction each year of the project. The 54 days of closure will not occur consecutively.

The proposal is an alternative to a full closure of the bridge for the duration of construction— a move that business owners, elected officials and residents warned could have caused devastating effects on New Albany.

“We have taken the public’s input very seriously,” said Sherman Minton Renewal spokeswoman Andrea Brady.

During full closures, Indiana traffic will be detoured via Interstate 265 to Interstate 65 under the plan. Kentucky traffic on I-64 and Interstate 264 will be diverted to the I-65 bridges for Indiana access.

“Naturally during peak traffic periods there’s going to be more traffic congestion but there will be signage in place so people can plan accordingly,” said Brady, as she added there will be “significant communication” during construction to alert the public about any closures or other traffic issues.

The plan will allow for two eastbound and two westbound lanes to remain open for the majority of the project and will keep access ramps open for the bulk of construction. One lane in both directions will be closed throughout construction.

The contractor will be allowed to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and some of the lanes may be closed nightly during construction for up to 180 nights per calendar year.

Though it’s better than a complete closure of the bridge, Joe Phillips, owner of Pints & Union in downtown New Albany, fears the project will create another burden for businesses that are currently dealing with losses due to the coronavirus ...

Thursday, July 02, 2020

New Albanian Brewing Company looks to reopen on or around the 1st of August.


The post below drew almost 500 likes on Facebook and generated 80-odd comments, almost all of them positive. When you've been around 33 years, making NABC among the oldest continually operating pub businesses in town, that's the way it works.

While I'm no longer a part of NABC, make no mistake: I want them to succeed, and I'm confident they will. After all, 25 of those years included me, and I'm quite proud of what we accomplished in making New Albany a better place.

---

June 30, 2020

The New Albanian Brewing Co. Pizzeria & Pub (aka Sportstime Pizza) was TEMPORARILY closed in late March due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic. We had hoped for better news by now regarding the spread, testing, or vaccinations of this virus but this does not seem to be the case. We are still not satisfied that opening our doors would be in the best interest of our employees or the public. We are all facing unprecedented circumstances and this has not been easy to make business decisions but we are doing our best.

As such, we are announcing that NABC will remain closed for the month of July. Our plan, as of today, is to REOPEN on or around the first of AUGUST.

As you may be aware, we have been working on repairs and maintenance, cleaning, reorganizing and more cleaning since our shut down. Two of the bigger projects have already been completed during this time...a much-needed new roof for the entire complex as well as a new exhaust hood for our pizza oven! There has been some painting in both dining rooms and we have more projects planned during July such as adding a hand washing station in the Arcade, updating sanitation safety measures, updates to our employee handbook, printing new menus that will be easily wipeable, relocating the Gifts Store, installing new thermostats, installing two additional point-of-sale systems to provide less overlap of screen touching by front of house staff, and plans on how to layout the dining areas to provide distance and/or barriers of some sort between diners.

Opening will begin slowly for us not only to control the flow of customer traffic intelligently, safely and realistically, but because it will require quite a bit of time for us to ramp back up to full production of both food and beer. The brewery will take months to get back on track from ingredients ordered to brewing to tank time to tapping. Getting to our normal operational hours will take more time than anyone desires, but we feel it is the best course of action.

We are incredibly grateful for everyone's support, patience and understanding during these times. Please check our Facebook page for any new or updated information near the end of July.

Be safe. Wear a mask if you can. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Stay physically distant, not socially distant. Hope to see you all soon!

Much Love,
The New Albanian Sisters
AMY&Kate

"Another corruption scandal involving kickbacks for developers breaks news, this time in ... "


Ohio.

Toledo, to be exact.

"I think it’s a mistake to imply that we have the same type of issues other communities may be experiencing," said Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, by Zoom feed from Toledo, where he is on a fact-finding mission.

More City Councilmembers Arrested on Corruption Charges—This Time in Toledo, James Brasuell

Four members of the Toledo City Council were arrested this week, accused of accepting bribes and extortion. The arrests follow similar events in Los Angeles earlier this month.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Today's COVID must read: Marty Rosen on facemasks and collective responsibility.


Marty Rosen's "Letter from the Editor" column appears on Wednesday at Food & Dining Magazine.

On Friday, Susan Reigler offers "Bourbon News & Notes," and Ron Mikulak is back in the saddle, currently on Tuesday, with his weekly updates about restaurant coming and goings. I'm still hoping we're able to engineer the return of Sara Havens and "The Bar Belle," but that's above my pay grade as digital editor. 

My "Hip Hops" beer column runs on Monday. It's a weekly reminder to me that being on a team as formidable as this one is both an honor and a daily inducement to up my game. We're a small family-run magazine, and I accept that we don't have quite the range of other regional publications.

However, we definitely have the writing. Marty proves it, here.

Letter from the Editor: Face masks, yes. We have a collective responsibility to hold each other safe, by Marty Rosen (Food & Dining Magazine)

Of all the human emotions, none has garnered less attention from scientists, poets, artists, and songwriters than the one known as Disgust.

Certainly it’s a subject that never arises here at Food & Dining headquarters, where we while away our days sipping and nibbling on only the finest beverages and foods in our beautifully appointed stately pleasure dome.

And yet disgust, though it takes many forms, is fundamentally connected to food and dining. In its simplest, most literally visceral form, disgust manifests itself through symptoms like nausea and retching. We have all felt it when suddenly exposed to the odor of rotting garbage, for instance. And apparently it’s not a “learned” emotion ...

Find the anchor in this mural. C'mon, you know it's there.


Look carefully.

The propaganda arm of INDOT's three-and-a-half-year-long bridge "renewal" project finds the city's eight-whole-years-belated interest in public art to be cute! That's mighty nice of the state, isn't it?

Now INDOT will proceed to collectively kneecap any businesses downtown that somehow manage to make it past the pandemic's first few waves still standing, by (in practical effect) closing the primary access bridge for a period LONGER than the pandemic's likely reign.

Thanks, INDOT. May we have another punch to the skull? Of course, there'll be plenty of time for fewer downtown visitors to gaze upon the artistic finery (which I personally like, by the way). 

Meanwhile, file the mural pictured here under "More Works by David Thrasher That Have Been Consigned to Oblivion" by the city.


Others include his literal painted forks in the road, as well as the sculpture of the same name, last year ingloriously displaced to the shadow of the parking garage because no one 'round here ever "got it" -- just visitors who flocked to take selfies with it.

Dave, my man; ya gotta run with the right crowd. Be internationally known, dude.

Couldn't you do one of these instead? It'd be a huge hit at the Roadhouse.