Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Liquidz progress ... Paul's?

The (by now) somewhat long and winding road for Liquidz Bar & Grill perhaps approaches a fruitful juncture, as the establishment has erected a Facebook page. It has a handful of revealing photos of the interior refit at 147-151 E. Main, and outlines a scheme for VIP cards that entices with mention of performances by "national" acts.

Meanwhile, folks on Twitter yesterday suggested that Paul's One World Cafe in the Bergman Building on Market has finished. I drove past yesterday at 3:30 p.m., and there were neither lights nor activity. Readers, do you have any information? If so, please post here, and withhold from Dan Coffey -- he's happier that way.

More summer of hot and cold showers as incomplete council centipedes annexation.

Lately the city council has been performing more often than the Rumors, except that the band's members generally show up, and when the music's over, the crowd leaves actually feeling good about the experience.

Last night, councilmen Gonder and McLaughlin were absent as the body considered annexation and found the five votes necessary to stave off Steve Price's "polly wanna cracker" abstentions.

Interestingly, one definition of abstention is "the act or habit of deliberate self-denial." In Price's case, he denied himself a "no" vote. When you're getting paid for piece work by the frequency of rejection, does that constitute a pay cut?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Learning about economic localization.

A buy local video from the National Main Street Program:

And a suggested reading list from the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE):

: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition, by Michael H. Shuman

: Building Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age, by Michael H. Shuman

: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, by Bill McKibben

: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth, by David C. Korten

THE GREAT TURNING: From Empire to Earth Community, by David C. Korten

: by Michael Abelman

: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver

PLENTY: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally, by Alisa Smith, J.B. Mackinnon

: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan

: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham

: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, and Place, by John Abrams

: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place, by John Abrams

: How to Build Business Partnerships That Strengthen Your Community, by Laury Hammel and Gun Denhart

: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses, by Stacy Mitchell

: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy, by Gar Alperovitz

: A Personal Guide to Creating Groups That Can Solve Problems and Change the World, by Michael Jacoby Brown

: A Manifesto, by Michael Woodin and Caroline Lucas.

Monday, June 28, 2010

From The New Albanist blog: "Annexation 101: The 2010 Initiative."

The New Albanist returns with a detailed analysis of Annexation 101: The 2010 Initiative. Here are the opening paragraphs. Follow the link to read the remainder.

In my most recent posting (NAC note: see "The New Albanist on annexation, and the tail that wags the dog"), I provided a cursory review of the annexation proposed by the City of New Albany, making the assumption that readers who wanted to drill down into the details would do so and that others who have read my policy posts in the past would know that I had done the homework and could provide a reliable summary.

I also indicated that had I been a member of the council I would have voted to proceed with the annexation process despite any objections to the timing of the mayor’s initiative.

Apparently, there is more interest in the details than I had assumed – my assumption being predicated on the fact that practically no member of the general public attended the presentation of the resolution and ordinance.
I will presume that parliamentary difficulties will be resolved and that Tuesday’s special called meeting will end with a fiscal plan approved (resolution) and the annexation declared by ordinance on first reading.

Here are some key facts ...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Views from the blues fest yesterday.

At the Potable Curmudgeon blog, there is a belated Saturday report.

Or, how to properly froth a Cappuccino.

The Tribune's Chris Morris reports that City Hall has called a second council meeting in hopes of convincing more than 5/9 of the membership to attend, and then feels the lash of spittle as the Wizard of Westside searches for his political equivalent to Cialis.

However, Coffey said the council only had two days to look at the plan following Thursday’s vote, and that was not enough time to digest the plan.

“They work on this for months and we get the information one or two days before ... no,” he said. “They expect someone from the council to understand all of this. I’m tired of this administration trying to ram stuff down our throat at the last minute.”
As numerous people can attest, Dan Coffey repeats these words or a variation of them at least once at every city council meeting.

Exactly what constitutes the "last minute" in this context? What has Coffey -- what has the council -- done to alleviate the situation? Can anything be done? Should anything be done? Why can't we be friends? Or, do we merely dodge spittle and splutter forever, or until the 1st district finally upends the petty wannabeen?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Already gone.

Less that 24 hours later, it's been demolished and carted away: Charred excitement across the alleyway, circa 1:00 a.m.

The New Albanist on annexation, and the tail that wags the dog.

We've known for years that City Hall eventually would move to annex the commercial corridor outside the beltway on Charlestown Road. There are no surprises in it, and what's more, there's nothing unusual about Dan "Wizard of Westside" Coffey voting against a measure he claims to support and using his own lack of patience with reading as an excuse for saying "no".

But: Why is it that something so plainly telegraphed comes forward for consideration during a special council meeting? Why not before, packaged and positioned to inform and succeed? Why, for something this important, do only five of nine council members bother attending the special meeting?

Fortunately, the New Albanist has been analyzing these latest instances of New Albany's chronic, malingering political dysfunction, and provides welcomed clarity in this essay at his blog: Tail Wags Dog, June 2010 Edition.

Here's a teaser ... but you really must read the whole piece.

... I believe Dan Coffey’s vote was a bad vote. He favors annexation, but used this moment to strike a blow for his and the council’s prerogatives. So nobody wins. Not Coffey. Not England. Not the residents of New Albany.

In the ongoing game of Red Rover, the players again got roughed up. The barometer of ill will goes up a bit more.

There’s no excuse for bringing this annexation measure forward with so little time for the fiscal plan to be examined. And there’s no excuse for Coffey’s “no” vote or for the boycott by the other members.
For more on the annexation vote:

ANNEXATION: YES OR NO?, at the Voice of the People blog.
Dan Coffey slays the annexation dragon ... for now. (NAC)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Blues, brews, soccer, beer walks, Farmers Market ... and more brews ... this weekend.

I can remember a time not so long ago when Harvest Homecoming was the only period of the year during which anything at all might (or might not) be happening in New Albany. This is no longer the case, as the coming weekend attests.

Tonight (Friday), the Dennis Ervin Band plays at the Riverfront Amphitheater, and craft beer drinkers will note that NABC and Studio's are collaborating ("what a concept", noted frequent reader Mike) to bring Progressive Pints to the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater for this performance, the blues festival, and next weekend's Independence Weekend activities. After that, we reassess and plan for events to follow.

Tomorrow is packed with possibilities. The Farmers Market is in full session (Josh and I had a great time there last week), and only one firkin of "USA vs Ghana – Former Colonies Bitter" will be tapped for the World Cup match at Bank Street Brewhouse.

On Saturday from 3:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m., the Booty Shakin' Blues Festival is happening at the Riverfront Amphitheater, again with NABC beer as vended by Studio's.

On top of it all, Saturday is the first of three summertime beer walks in New Albany, kicking off a bit after the soccer match: NA 1 Night Stand Triple Up Beer Walk.

You can rest on Sunday, okay?

Dan Coffey slays the annexation dragon ... for now.

In our latest episode of "Shower After Filing," the Tribune's Chris Morris draws the short straw.

New Albany annexation suffers setback; Mayor plans to call another special meeting Tuesday

The New Albany City Council failed to approve a fiscal plan for the project by a 4 to 1 vote at a special meeting. The proposal needed five yes votes, and with four members absent, there was no room for a no vote.

Dan Coffey voted no while John Gonder, Bob Caesar, Pat McLaughlin and Kevin Zurschmiede voted for the fiscal plan. Jeff Gahan, Steve Price, Jack Messer and Diane McCartin-Benedetti were absent.
As Councilman Cappuccino contemplates updating his blog (moribund since April 4), Mayor England pledges another meeting, this time presumably sending squad cars to rope in the non-attendees.

Charred excitement across the alleyway, circa 1:00 a.m.

To my knowledge, there wasn't even a deep fryer in there.

It's at the rear of 1116 (1118?) E. Elm, with the 1117 ESSNA's official garbage receptacle visible on our side of the alley. Whether anyone currently lives at the house is unknown to me, but in seven years residing here, I've never seen a human being inside the ex-garage. Last summer I painted over graffiti on the garage door that was visible to us since the hurricane destroyed our privacy fence, and I recently had been considering going to cut the weeds and (perhaps) remove the turf from the gutters.

As we await the fire department's verdict ... and the clean-up?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Today's Tribune column: "Italian idyll--Pecetto to Venice."

The 25th anniversary travel series continues today in the Tribune. In unrelated news, yesterday at Potable Curmudgeon, I posted what would have been the next LEO beer column, and intend to do weekly long-form Wednesday pieces in lieu of Mug Shots. In fact, I fully intend to keep shedding responsibilities (and sanity) until I get it right. New Albany's the perfect place for that, don't you think?

BAYLOR: Italian idyll--Pecetto to Venice

It was June 1985, and I'd somehow reached the village of Pecetto in the northern Italian hills. The ensuing six-day sojourn with my cousin Don and his friend (and host) Scott provided an ideal chance to stop, relax and enjoy a slice of rural Europe in temperate summer.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dead trees gone.

Kudos to the street department, Board of Works or whomsoever sent the crews around earlier today to remove dead trees along Spring Street, including this one in front of the 1117 ESSNA. We are sincerely thankful, and now there's space for an expanded condom machine: World's largest condom machine to eliminate the need for membership dues at the 1117 East Spring Neighborhood Association.

Now, about that stump grinding ...

1SI's legislative agenda: "Make the hard choices," so help us ROCK.

I just received a draft of One Southern Indiana's 2010-2011 Legislative Agenda, suitable for sharing with blog readers.

You're sure to have questions and comments, but the omission that baffles me is the 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt parrot the blatherings of Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana."

It must be on the double secret draft.


Dear 1SI Members,

Our Public Policy Council is a group of business leaders who work together to promote pro-business advocacy at the local, state and federal level. Each year, the council formulates policies on issues that affect business. Over the last few months the group has developed a draft One Southern Indiana 2010-2011 Legislative Agenda. This is your opportunity to comment on issues that affect your business. Please click here to review the draft agenda, and email any comments or additional issues back to us by June 28th. Your input will help us craft our business advocacy positions for 2010-2011.

Should you have any questions please call or email Tonya Fischer, (812) 945-0266 ext. 204 or Michael Dalby, (812) 945-0266 ext. 202. Please note your comments at the end of each issue on the agenda and fax back to us at 948.4664.

Thank you


2010 - 2011 Legislative Agenda

General Policy Position:
One Southern Indiana supports public policy that facilitates high-wage / high-skill job creation, capital investment and business retention and expansion. We also support public policy that contributes to a strong quality of life that will attract and retain jobs and investment.

Federal/State Issues
o River Ridge Development

o Support their efforts to obtain utility Infrastructure funding for on-site improvements (Federal & state funds – water, wastewater, roads, fiber)

o Completion of the I-265 extension and the approach to the east end bridge component of the Ohio River Bridges Project

o Designation of the “River Ridge Commerce Corridor” – Port Road and Highway 62 E (from I-265 interchange to Hwy 3). [Rep Stemler’s proposed HB 1225.]

o Port of Jeffersonville – Coordinate with local and State of Indiana port leadership and gain support for their capital needs.

o Immigration – We oppose the hiring of illegal workers. However, immigration is essentially a matter that must be legislated at the federal level. The General Assembly should not attempt to address the immigration issue at the state level.

State Issues
o Unemployment Insurance – In 2009 the Legislature made changes to Indiana's unemployment insurance system that were intended to replenish the totally depleted Unemployment Trust Fund by increasing the taxable wage base and the maximum tax rate paid by employers. In 2010 any changes were delayed for one year. Increasing the taxable wage base would have put too heavy of a burden on business owners who were already dealing with a bad economy.

o We support a statewide smoking ban in recognition of the message it sends that Indiana values the health of its citizens and recognizes the connection between going “smoke free” and attracting innovative companies that boost our region’s economy.

o Monitor utility rate issues and their potential impact on business, and give testimony and member survey responses to State Regulatory Commission.

o Inform members on the impact of the “1-2-3%” tax caps on property tax prior to the constitutional vote in November.

o We support the funding and construction of the Education and Technology Building proposed for the IU Southeast campus. It will provide critical classrooms, labs, and technology needed to educate our future teachers and engineering technologists. The building project will help to attract and retain top talent and demonstrate a valuable partnership between IU Southeast and the Purdue College of Technology to support two rapidly growing programs that contribute directly to a bright future for the region.

o Encourage and support collaboration between Ivy Tech, Purdue, IUS and Louisville higher education institutions in providing post-secondary education offerings that translate into higher skill – higher value business innovation.

o Just as our member businesses had to make cuts during the recession, our school districts need the tools and authority to adjust their budgets. Therefore, we support the elimination of Public Law 217 (collective bargaining) and/or give administrators more flexibility and input on decisions regarding promotion, retention, reduction of certified staff.

o We support the entire Ohio River Bridges Project (two bridges and the redevelopment of the I-65, I-71 and I-64 interchange in Louisville) and will continue to engage the issue via the Bridges Coalition.

o We support the work of the Bi-State Authority.

o We encourage the immediate development of the Old Salem Road Interchange (Gateway to River Ridge) with visible progress by the end of 2010.

o Major Moves – Our position is to ensure funds designated for the Ohio River Bridges Project remain committed.
o We support the process that has been put in place by both Kentucky and Indiana - the formation of the Bi-State Authority - and giving them the ability to review any and all funding options. Let the Bridges Authority do its job and develop funding options. If viable funding options emerge that don't include tolling, we fully support that approach. Nobody wants to pay tolls. However, if including high-speed electronic tolling is the only way to fund the project and get it built in a timely manner, then we will accept a funding solution that includes tolling.

Local Government Issues
o Continue to support local government simplification efforts that can increase government efficiency, increase inter-governmental cooperation and, where appropriate decrease the number of elected officials.

o We commend the progress that has been made and support the push to continue to improve efforts to get tax bills out on time. We will work to show the negative impacts of Municipalities and school districts always having to borrow funds to get through the year, and we will also celebrate successes.

o Support local Government funding for job creation and economic development efforts from the locally collected Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT).

Federal Issues
o Card Check – 1SI surveyed our members in early 2009 and the response was overwhelmingly against the Employee Free Choice Act in its then form. If a new form is proposed, we will again survey, but all indications are that it will be strongly opposed.

o Cap & Trade – As our region’s power is derived from coal-fired power plants, and as our region’s low electricity costs have been and are currently an incentive for industrial jobs, we oppose this legislation in its current form. We do support the development of clean energy alternatives and the jobs associated with production of “green” technology systems.

o Healthcare – As details on the Healthcare Reform bill emerge, we will inform, poll and survey our members as to the impact and report to our Federal Elected Officials.

o We are dismayed by unrestricted Federal Government spending fueled by debt. As a business organization, our members know that this is a formula for failure in business. Just as our member businesses had to make difficult cuts during the recession, we encourage our federal elected officials to make the hard choices necessary to get our federal debt under control.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NABC, Studio's collaborate to bring Progressive Pints to the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater.

In conjunction with the catering arm of Studio’s Grille & Pub, the New Albanian Brewing Company is pleased to make locally brewed craft beer available at New Albany’s Riverfront Amphitheater for these upcoming events:

June 25
CONCERT SERIES: Dennis Ervin Band, 7:30-10:00 pm

June 26
HERITAGE FESTIVAL SERIES: Blues Festival with Josh Garret and the Bottom Line from Nashville, 3:00-10:00 pm

July 2
CONCERT SERIES: Persuasion, 7:30-10:00 pm

July 3
HOLIDAY SERIES: Riverfront Independence Festival with Wulfe Brothers and 100% Poly, 7:30-10:00 pm

Coming on the heels of the craft-friendly Celts on the River concert two weeks ago, these first four cooperative ventures between Studio’s and NABC are intended to gauge interest in craft beer to accompany music by the river at a gorgeous venue.

Progressive Pints at the Riverfront Amphitheater benefit whole notion of locally-based food, drink and entertainment. In addition to the four dates above, NABC beer will be on hand at the Amphitheater to complement the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Festival (July 31); Relic Bluegrass (August 6) and German Strassenfest (September 25). Depending on the success of the overall experiment, we may announce further dates soon.

NABC thanks Trish Meyer, Studio’s and the riverfront steering committee for their support of locally brewed craft beer in New Albany. Look for our banner, and enjoy the shows.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This round goes to the Liteweights, as Mr. Mug Shot is no more.

This just in: LEO's editor, Sarah Kelley, has fired intrepid "Mug Shot" columnist Roger A. Baylor for myriad offenses against taste and decency.

Which is why I thought the "independent" "alt"-weekly hired me in the first place, but verily, times and people change. There'll be time later to discuss. Until then:

Under-employed former LEO beer columnist with pompous proclivities and a large, loyal fan base desires biweekly forum for fermentable truth-telling. Pay is negotiable. Note that the columnist is allergic to censorship and poor taste. You know where I am. Have beer -- will write/right.

The Story of Stuff.

21 minutes and 25 seconds that can save your life. And mine. And your grandchildren's.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One fine morning at the Farmers Market.

Photo credit: AW

“The statue can be destroyed and gone, but Jesus can’t be.”

Amy pointed to this news item last week. First the oil spill; now this. I just can't believe Jeeebus is gone.

Jesus statue fire damages estimated at $700,000

MONROE — Charred remnants remained this morning, June 15, of the large Jesus statue iconic to Interstate 75 that was destroyed following an apparent lightning strike during a thunderstorm late Monday night.
An entire generation of Internet cynics knew the sculptural embarrassment as Jeeebus a.k.a Big Butter Jesus. For believers, the ontological argument from rabbit ears can be glimpsed here: Viewing…

Photo credit

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Exclusively New Albany, version 2010.

Amanda Arnold provides the Tribune account of Thursday’s Exclusively New Albany fete at the home of Mayor and Mrs. England, the highlight of which for me was Guy Tedesco's sculpture.

Mayor England opens house for Develop New Albany event

NEW ALBANY — On Thursday evening, Mayor Doug England and Michelle England welcomed Develop New Albany onto the lawn of their 1837 restored home where art and community came together for the Third Annual Exclusively New Albany. The mix of art and a social gathering complimented this year’s theme of "It Takes a Village."

It was another in a series of brutally hot and humid days, but a big crowd still turned out. There was music ...

... and even ice for the NABC beer samples.

Other personal highlights included the Windsor's rack of lamb, Tommy Kaiser's cigar bar, and the admirable pre-council meeting "beer abstinence" displayed by Matt Lorch.

This just in: NABC subversion at the Farmers Market today.

Chef Josh Lehman's going to sling some of his chorizo hash for breakfast at the Farmers market today, and I'll be there to dispense wee samples of lager and ale for those desiring a bit of a wash. The fun begins nine-ish, or perhaps a bit after. While there, I bet I buy some steaks from those great folks in Depauw.

Friday, June 18, 2010

And then we elected Raygun.

June 17 city council wrap.

The Bookseller commented with this council update last evening, and I'm lifting it to this stand alone post. I saw councilpersons Gonder, Benedetti and Gahan at the Exclusively New Albany gig (great crowd, overheated weather and a sprinkling of cold shoulders), circa 8:30 p.m., and knew that the meeting hadn't lasted long. There probably isn't much to add, but please do if the spirit moves you -- or just slobber all over your kitchen table.

If you'll excuse me, I have a USA - Slovenia match to attend at Bank Street Brewhouse.


City Council adjourned before 8 p.m.

They will meet Monday and Tuesday evenings for budget work sessions.

They will meet for a special meeting on Thursday, June 24, to introduce an annexation ordinance to take in the commercial district northeast of the Lee Hamilton Expressway at Charlestown Road.

They will meet in regular session on Thursday, July 1, at 7:15.

They will meet at 6 p.m. on July 15 for a work session on code revisions and then at 7:30 for the second regular meeting of July.

Ordinances expected to come forward on July 1 include a paving ordinance, a public safety funding ordinance, and an extension of the current sanitation contract with SIWS.

The 2010 budget was approved. The general fund budget was approved at $15,816,448, compared to the 2009 general fund budget of $14,499,572. It is possible that the tax cap/circuit breaker could reduce this number across the board, but it won't be known until Friday.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Because people are just laughing at us..."

This video, shot during the mayoral campaign in 2007, highlights a portion of Mayor England's proposed solution for rampant slumlordism in the city. Apologies for the audio being slightly out of sync with the images. It's a copy of a copy of a copy. It's also strangely apropos, owing to the fact that what was said still doesn't match what we see.

Pre-election, the mayor promoted the idea that while a full-time city attorney wasn't necessary, irresponsible landlords would never take the city seriously until they started getting hauled into court. This occurred in addition to multiple promises at other times to make public examples of the most egregious offenders with no concern for what the slumlord population might think.

Two and a half years into the mayor's return to office, we have a full-time city attorney and to my knowledge no one has faced a judge to be held accountable for the condition of their rental property(s). If I'm wrong about that, please correct me. It certainly hasn't made the news or been otherwise communicated. If I'm not, should we assume they're still laughing?

City council meeting tonight -- crickets chirp, pins drop, and kitchen tables are soiled with tequila droppings.

There is a city council meeting tonight.

Fast-moving reporter Daniel Suddeath also provides a Tribune account of the mayoral forum last night, here, and explains Redevelopment's Greenway funding and Bobo riverfront development discussion, here, including this classic line: "Some council members, including Dan Coffey and Steve Price, have expressed disdain for funding another parking garage with public dollars."

That's the mild way of describing the screaming, ranting, hissing, floor-pounding, breaths-held, full-court-press-against-modernity approach of the conjoined councilmen, but it is accurate.

The light agenda for tonight's council meeting normally is here., but it has not been updated since May 3.

I can't go, thus risking my status as member of the Gang of Pour, because I'll be at the annual Exclusively New Albany fete at the mayor's home.

Then, later tonight, me thinks the Keltics will defeat the Lakers and win the NBA title. Will Iamhoosier be watching?

A tale of two columns.

21 June update: This round goes to the Liteweights, as Mr. Mug Shot is no more.


“You do not change what I write!"
-- John Reed, played by Warren Beatty, in the 1981 movie "Reds"

I write a weekly general interest column for the New Albany Tribune, a fortnightly beer column for Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO), and a quarterly beer column for Food & Dining magazine.

To greater or lesser extent, I maintain two blogs: NA Confidential (life in New Albany) and Potable Curmudgeon (life in the beer business).

Generally speaking, I’ll provide a link to the Tribune column each week on Thursday at NA Confidential, and a link to the LEO column every other week on Wednesday at Potable Curmudgeon. Since Food & Dining does not maintain an active web archive, those articles are published in their entirety at Potable Curmudgeon on a delayed basis.

This week, the LEO and Tribune links are running together, following this explanation. If you follow my periodic ranting on Facebook, you already know the reason, and therein lies a story.

Basically, the top brass at LEO proposed to censor the column I wrote for publication this week, citing my reference to my own business (necessary to tell the story, and also offered to readers sans the establishment’s actual name) and my mention of Miller Lite (even when humorously altered, and even when it was the specific product mentioned by my on-line critic).

This presumably happened because roughly two years ago, the Louisville branch of Anheuser-Busch Thin-Skinned 800-lb Multinational complained about something I wrote; former LEO editor Cary Stemle thought so little of it that he didn’t even tell me until much later, but those who've subsequently occupying his chair evidently have established a new policy, paraphrased:

One mustn’t tout feel-good real beer and craft beer culture by harmful and factual comparison to bad beer and the excesses of macro beer culture, and one mustn’t offend any potential advertisers, because even though we at LEO egregiously attack errant nitwit politicians, mountaintop removal companies and wretched taste in popular culture, those entities probably weren’t planning on advertising with us, anyway, and after all, beer’s amusing, but not really important enough to waste anyone’s personal integrity defending.

I’m exaggerating just a bit -- a wee bit -- although that’s the gist of it.

I spent about five minutes pondering the blatant hypocrisy, shrugged, withdrew the column, added a few words to bring it to 900, and resubmitted it as the weekly Tribune column, where it appears today, entirely uncensored, courtesy of a local newspaper that in this case possesses far bigger balls than LEO’s, which will continue to term Jim Bunning a son-of-a-bitch while prohibiting (for example) earnest and revealing commentary on a nefarious corporation (A-B InBev) that currently seeks legal changes to deny craft brewers self-distribution in Illinois.

But what the hey: You want someone to take down Justin Bieber or Rand Paul, you know exactly where to look.

Meanwhile, I wrote a completely different LEO column, and within it cleverly insulted a LEO advertiser (the carpetbagging Top of the Hops beer festival) without anyone at the office catching it. As Steely Dan once noted, "Throw out the little ones/And pan fry the big ones/Use tact, poise and reason/And gently squeeze them."

Because so many people have told me that they read and enjoy the LEO column, I’ll continue to submit whatever emasculated Pablum the staff desires, make it as relevant as I can to a real world denied my scrutiny by the Man/Woman, and go on cashing my checks -- even if I have to take a shower after each cha-ching.

As for the Tribune: Thanks, guys. In the year and a half I’ve been submitting columns, only once in my memory has Steve "Coach K" Kozarovich overruled me, and that was in May of 2009 when I proposed to run four consecutive East German travel epics. He was right that time, and the Tribune is far better than it used to be.

In the Tribune, June 17: BAYLOR: Still killing: The scourge of L.I.D.S.

In LEO, June 16: Mug Shots: It’s Christmas in July

Photo credit

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Open thread: Your thoughts on the mayoral forum?

I saw many readers in attendance tonight. It seemed to me to be roughly 1/3 city employees, 1/3 blog readers, tweeters and chronic council attendees, and another 1/3 random citizens.

If there was any central point to emerge from what I heard during my admittedly brief time eavesdropping, it was that so much time, effort and political capital are required to achieve daily city operations in the teeth of Indiana state government's draconian deprivations, and against fanatical resistance from the city council, that it's a wonder we get anything else accomplished at all.

Such is life in a state where the governor can use mandated malnourishment as a springboard to national prestige.

But enough of that. Tell us what you think.

Public forum with the mayor tonight, 6:30 p.m., in the library.

The Tribune's Daniel Suddeath sez: Time to meet New Albany's mayor; Doug England to meet with residents during public forum.

Previously, we signposted here: RemCha: "The Mayoral Forum will be June 16 at 6:30-8:00 in the Library."

I'll be there. To paraphrase a friend: Is anyone (else) sane going?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Which amphitheater events are suitable for locally brewed craft beer? How do you decide whether or not to attend?

Saturday’s Celts on the River concert was the biggest summertime event so far this year at New Albany’s Riverfront Amphitheater, but bookings of music and entertainment continue well into September, just prior to Harvest Homecoming. As most of you know, to coordinate these bookings, and to tend to other details at the amphitheater, the mayor appointed a committee. They've contributed much hard work, and should be thanked for their efforts.

Speaking in public comments here yesterday in her official capacity as Chairperson of the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater, Shelle England asked me:

“When (is) the New Albanian team ... available for Friday and Saturday events at the Amphitheater?”

She added:

“We are committed to supporting our locally owned businesses (by) giving them the opportunity to be present at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater. All performers and vendors are scheduled through the Riverfront Amphitheater Committee, so we are ready to add the New Albanian to our calendar, which contains performances through September.”

Heartened and encouraged, I immediately apologized for any misconceptions that may have occurred, such as my naive assumption that NABC's volunteering to contribute a percentage of event profits to the amphitheater's upkeep as part of a transparent and comprehensive annual vendor selection process might be viewed as progressive and desirable, given the mayoral imperative in place to stage "free" events that nonetheless incur expenses in preparation, cleaning, mowing and the like:

“It had been my understanding that the committee generally has ruled autonomously as to which of its amphitheater bookings are appropriate for "regular" catering choices and which ones are not, even if this duality of formula has remained obscure, and that the committee would be suggesting selected bookings suitable for our future vending presence. Consequently, I will touch base again with NABC's team members to collect their opinions about events suitable for craft beer.”

I want your opinions, too.

Readers, can you help me identify those amphitheater events suitable for locally brewed craft beer, as opposed to the ones where just regular beer will do? How do you differentiate? We can sell beer at some, not all. I believe that locally brewed craft beer goes well with jazz, alternative, classical, blues, country, rock and oom-pah; with theatrical, musical and spoken-word productions; and on all public holidays except Christmas, when the state of Indiana refuses to allow alcohol sales.

Here is a link for you to peruse: 2010 Schedule.

Moreover, given that musical styles, weather and personal scheduling will remain the most important factors in your decision to attend events at the amphitheater, how important is the availability of good beer when you make such decisions? If locally brewed craft beer is pouring for these events, would it make you more likely to attend? What about other food and drink: Would you like to see rotating "food court" vending choices, or are you satisfied with a smaller number of providers?

Thanks for your input. Transparency in public dialogue is infinitely more productive than opaqueness, don't you think?

Supreme Court to NA: Cleopatra's free to remain tacky, R.O.C.K. free to pray for divine intervention, remainder of us free to yawn.

As we await scathing commentary from the only public-mullah-policy entities that really matter – Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana (R.O.C.K.) and its Mohlerite chieftain, One Southern Indiana’s annual Theocrat of the Year Bryan Wickens (will God please build the downtown bridge?), it would appear that the Supreme Court's refusal to hear New Albany's case against the adult store now known as Perpetuall Deserted Cleopatra's dooms the costly six-year effort to run porn out of town.

There is disagreement on this point in the local media. In Daniel Suddeath's article for the Tribune, city attorney and autumn Indiana House candidate Shane Gibson remains mindful of possibly observant reading voters, and does not rule out future action.

Meanwhile, at the C-J, Harold Adams quotes Mayor England as being ready to end the war: Supreme Court declines to hear New Albany adult store case.

Me? I'm still waiting for R.O.C.K. to define the culture it proposes to reclaim, and to do so without rewriting history. Don't worry. I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Unimaginative is, as unimaginative is, as unimaginative is ... you are now sworn into office ... unimaginat ...

This week we're being told that the Coyle property is back off the table as it pertains to a future city-county government center.

Next week, the might wheel of unimaginative non-communication will be given a mighty heave, the press will be breathlessly summoned, and mass yawning attacks will break out in all corners of the Open Air Museum.

Meanwhile, I have a vision of the following TV report flickering onto the tube, and higher-ranking local elected officials glaring at it numbly for as many as four seconds before savagely fingering the remote control to "does not compute": Project Green: Is "old" the new "green"?

Yeah, I know; NA-FC, where ideas go to die and be murdered, and all that (weary sigh of disgust).

The Dandy Lion opening at 310 Bank Street.

The following message from The Dandy Lion was posted as a comment and deserves marquee status. In my view, retail shops like this one and an increase in living space are the next two downtown tasks. My only complaint is that landlord Dave Thrasher is referred to as "art man," while I've always known him as "wild man." I suppose either phrase is appropriate.

Hello! I am writing on behalf of The Dandy Lion, a boutique opening @ 310 Bank Street. We are very excited to be a part of the community, and to climb on board the development of our downtown.

We will be a showcase/ storefront for independant artists, clothing designers, and jewelry makers, multi-functioning as a non-profit children's art studio by day (as well as other valuable lessons like gardening and living organically), and a music venue by night. We are joining forces with art man Dave Thrasher and plan to do a lot of cross promoting with other downtown businesses like the NABC and hold lots of fun events!

I was excited to find your blog.

You can follow our progress at Keep rocking!

The Dandy Lion

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Open thread: Celts on the River show at Riverfront Amphitheater -- Yes? No? Undecided?

Thanks to anyone and everyone who braved the miserable heat and humidity and turned out for Celts on the River yesterday. My sense is that there were actually more Louisvillians than locals in attendance, and that makes me curious.

If you came down, did you like the event or dislike it? If you chose not to attend, why? I'm delighted to see so many people from across the river, but still wondering how this show is being viewed in Indiana, and what can be done to improve it. Of course, the weather refused an invitation to take part in the panel discussion.

NYT readings from Rich, Friedman.

Required Sunday reading from the New York Times, and not only for Li'l Stevie and the Drifters before they embark on their Oblivious Rocks! concert tour of the 3rd council district.

First, Frank Rich:
Rich: Weddings, Divorce and ‘Glee’

... Domestic partnerships and equal economic benefits aren’t antidotes, (David) Boies explains, because as long as gay Americans are denied the same right to marry as everyone else, they are branded as sub-citizens, less equal and less deserving than everyone else. That government-sanctioned stigma inevitably leaves them vulnerable to other slights and discrimination, both subtle and explicit. The damage is particularly acute for children, who must not only wonder why their parents are regarded as defective by the law but must also bear this scarlet letter of inferiority when among their peers.
Next, Thomas L. Friedman on the "best reaction I’ve seen to the BP oil spill," in the form of a letter written by his friend Mark Mykleby to a newspaper in South Carolina.
Friedman: This Time Is Different

"I’d like to join in on the blame game that has come to define our national approach to the ongoing environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

"This isn’t BP’s or Transocean’s fault. It’s not the government’s fault. It’s my fault. I’m the one to blame and I’m sorry. It’s my fault because I haven’t digested the world’s in-your-face hints that maybe I ought to think about the future and change the unsustainable way I live my life. If the geopolitical, economic, and technological shifts of the 1990s didn’t do it; if the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 didn’t do it; if the current economic crisis didn’t do it; perhaps this oil spill will be the catalyst for me, as a citizen, to wean myself off of my petroleum-based lifestyle.

"‘Citizen’ is the key word. It’s what we do as individuals that count. For those on the left, government regulation will not solve this problem. Government’s role should be to create an environment of opportunity that taps into the innovation and entrepreneurialism that define us as Americans. For those on the right, if you want less government and taxes, then decide what you’ll give up and what you’ll contribute.

"Here’s the bottom line: If we want to end our oil addiction, we, as citizens, need to pony up: bike to work, plant a garden, do something. So again, the oil spill is my fault. I’m sorry. I haven’t done my part. Now I have to convince my wife to give up her S.U.V."

Brutal day, great Celtic music and the usual -- you know, the usual Open Air Museum stuff.

At about a quarter 'til one on Sunday morning, I had a pint of Bitter in my hand, a stomach full of mussels, and was listening to a half-dozen musicians, some New Albanian locals and others from far-away Ballyfermot, all of them playing and singing together in the corner at Bank Street Brewhouse.

It's the little things that make it all worthwhile.

Saturday was a long, brutally hot and deathly humid day with far more in common with the equitorial rain forest than an ideal Southern Indiana day in June. Obviously, the Celts on the River show went on as planned in spite of the heat and a strictly personal level of annoyance with utterly non-communicative local powers that be which might have hit even higher on the Rog thermometer than the scorching surface temps; evidently, transparency ain't nuthin' but a four-syllable word that no one ever bothered to learn in school 'round here.

But please, let's accentuate the positive.

I crossed my fingers and NABC vended slightly more beer than last year while the great music was performed. Yes, the crowd seemed a bit down, which was understandable given the weather, but it was undoubtedly a successful event, and will be back in town next year. We may well have a tradition on our hands, but to preserve it, there needs to be a higher level of grassroots support on our side of the river. How we achieve that -- if it even is achievable -- I really don't know.

As for the usual local politician watch: Ed Clere and family were there. I saw Diane Benedetti and Pat McLaughlin (city councilpersons), and as always, searched in vain for Steve Price, Dan Coffey, Burger King and King Larry (who still believes he's a local politician). If I missed someone, please let me know. Gads -- a free concert, no tax monies extorted from them people, and still Professor Erika did not attend. Perhaps the inhaler tube got blocked with sticky tobacco bile.

By the way, in light of my experience yesterday, I have a question and follow-ups for the mayor at the coming mayoral forum on Wednesday, June 16:

Can we have fresh locally brewed craft beer down there at the waterfront for the approaching 3rd of July celebration, or is that one of the events arbitrarily selected to patriotically honor multinational swill?

What about the other events and how the city plans to treat 3-way supplemental catering permits?

Does anyone at City Hall know what 3-way supplemental catering permits are?

Is there a game plan for the decision-making process to award access to vending by the river, or is it a chaotic variation on the Oklahoma land rush?

Can you explain how the bidding system works?

Thank you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday, June 11 recap: One fine night with the Bicentennial Art walk.

Plenty of folks were strolling downtown New Albany last evening, and I overheard more than a few who'd been to the Amphitheater for music, stopped to look at the Bicentennial Public Art installations, checked in at Thorpe Woodworks or the Gallery on Pearl, and ended with a meal and libation at one of the eateries. We had a good crowd all night at the Brewhouse.

Leticia Bajuyo didn't really need my help describing the context and inspiration for her "Brew History: All Bottled Up" sculpture, but I stuck around and answered a few questions about beer and brewing history in New Albany.

Slow Charleston, an informal aggregation derived from the group Arnett Hollow, played on the patio and were bluegrassy-marvelous, even for me. The weather largely cooperated with breeezes and a slight reduction in humidity. It's looking like a chance of showers today for the Celts on the River show, but rain or shine, NABC will be serving beers and River City Winery wines at the Amphitheater.

Mitch wants a truce. But it's a purge that's needed.

"Their Man Mitch" Daniels, Indiana's governor, artfully buffs and polishes his pre-aspirational centrist credentials even as his economic policies achieve a savagely equal and opposite reaction in neighborhoods.

This is precisely what every single one of the Democratic candidates for office in Floyd County should be saying aloud, continuously, each and every time a voter is being pimped prior to the November election. At the local level, an anti-Daniels referendum is fitting and necessary.

Let's just say that given the local Democratic tendency to refrain from anything as inconvenient as a principled platform, and the local party's unwillingness to take "Democrats" to the woodshed for insisting they're "more conservative" than their Republican opponents, holding my breath would be only slightly more fruitful than looking for flavor in a can of Bud Light.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Next Thursday, June 17 is Exclusively New Albany.

It's at the mayor's house, and so we're really not expecting to see Professor Erika there, but let it be known: Upon showing a valid ID to me properly identifying himself, I'll pay Professor Erika's way inside the fundraiser just for the fun of it.

I'm excited and filled with anticipation ... but ...

But will we learn anything from it?

I've spent much of the past two weeks preparing for the onslaught of weekend events in New Albany. The starting gun fires later today, and in truth, a stranger might accidentally breeze into town this afternoon without knowing about any of it, and find sufficient cultural, degustational, recreational and fermentational activities to occupy his or her time all the way through Sunday.

It's going to be hot, taxing, tiring and fun.

Also, profitable for NABC and other downtown businesses? That would help, as would a more consistent effort on all of our parts -- business owners, City Hall and Develop New Albany spring to mind -- to implement what Andy Terrell pointed to in his Wednesday letter to the Tribune, and which was the point of one of my recent columns: "An organized and sustained 'shop local' campaign."

As Andy observed:

Students of local high schools are required to read books for a summer reading program. A number of parents from one of those schools brought the notice they received from the school about the book their child was to read. The notice specifically advised parents where they could find these books. All of the named places were either in Louisville or online.

The phrase "other local book retailers" was added at the end. With sales taxes playing a significant part of funding for schools, wouldn't it make sense for schools to encourage students to make purchases locally instead of sending them across the river or to their computer?
Granted, it's the very same school corporation that nonchalantly closes neighborhood schools; it may be too much to expect it to possess "buy local first" consciousness when it seems unable to connect other grassroots community dots. At least we can be grateful that Don Sakel lost. There needed to be others.

I know.

It's easy to blame such entities as the school board, and politicians, and DNA, and so on. Easy, and largely misdirected.

The simple recurring fact of the matter is that business owners and merchants whose livelihoods depend on locals buying locally need to see the nature of things and lead this particular "shop local" charge.

Regrettably, heretofore in the grand dysfunctional tradition of this strange city where almost nothing is taboo except principled, non-partisan cooperation to achieve a greater good, they have not. I'm not sure what can be done to change hearts and minds to veer away from grimly swimming alone against the tide to encouraging tides that lift all boats. Of all the crazed weirdness I've seen during the past six years, this inexplicable inability to grasp self-interest is tops. I wonder how many of them do all their personal buying at chains and big boxes, and never se the connection?

How is that possible?

Maybe the weekend to come will cause an epiphany somewhere. Perhaps the BeerMats have a song about it.

That perpetually stopped clock is bound to be right again, very soon. Right?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Karen's "big damn guide" to downtown New Albany this weekend.

Here's an amazing compendium of downtown (and near downtown) New Albany restaurants, shops, establishments and attractions, as compiled by Karen Gillenwater for the use of visitors this crazy chock-full weekend.

First, a brief recap of events, and then Karen's list. E-mail me with additions and corrections, and I'll execute an update later this afternoon.


Friday June 11:

At Thorpe Woodworks:
Four great artists under one roof (glass and woodworking), 137 E Market, 6:00 p.m.)

At the Carnegie Center: Phase Change: Works in Glass by C. Matthew Szösz

Throughout downtown: Glass by the Block Weekend (glass installations)

Througout downtown: New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project walk

At the Riverfront Amphitheater: Performing Arts and Concert Series - Rock & Roll Ballet with Lousville Ballet Civic Company, and Indie Music Fest with Whistle Peak and The Delorians

Saturday, June 12:

At the Farmers Market:
Weekly Saturday morning session of the Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Throughout downtown:
Glass by the Block Weekend (glass installations)

At the Riverfront Amphitheater:
Celts on the River concert, (Fox in the Morning coverage here, information about NABC's special Haggis Laddie Celtic Red here, a few more fest details here), 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

At NABC Bank Street Brewhouse (it's my blog, after all):
USA vs. England match in the World Cup and debut of "USA vs England – Ordinary Bitter", 2:30 p.m.; Louisville Ale Club at 5:00 p.m.; and Celts on the River after-party beginning at 10:00 p.m.


Local Restaurants:

(Hours below are for Friday, June 11 & Saturday, June 12.)

1. Downtown Diner & Coffee House
506 West Main St, 812-725-8680
Cooked-to-order diner and espresso bar ($5 - $7)
Friday & Saturday: 6 am – 2 pm

2. Dueling Grounds Café at Destinations Booksellers
604 East Spring Street, 812-944-5116
Coffee drinks, pastries (under $4)
Friday & Saturday: 9 am – 7 pm

3. Hobknobb Coffee Shop
419 State Street, 812-923-1458
Coffee drinks, muffins, bagels, pastries ($2 - $5)
Friday: 6 am – 9 pm, Saturday: 7 am – 9 pm

4. Jackson’s Seafood
400 West Main Street, 812-945-3474
Oysters & seafood (Under $10 per entrée)
Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm

5. Lancaster’s Cafeteria
225 West 5th Street, 812-949-2400
Home cooked style meals ($8 – $12)
Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm

6. La Rosita Mexican Grill
1515 East Market Street, 812-944-3620
Traditional and original recipes from Mexico City (Lunch: $7 - $8, Dinner: $9 - $13) (Outdoor seating)
Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 10 pm,

7. NABC Bank Street Brewhouse
Hosting the Celtic Fest after-party Saturday starting at 10pm!
415 Bank Street, 812-725-9585
“Casual” French fare with seasonal menu
(Lunch: $7 - $10, Dinner: $8 - $22) (Outdoor seating)
Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 11pm,

8. Patticakes & Pies Café
Art Walk Specials, Friday, 5 – 9pm:
$1 off Iced Coffee Drinks!
$1 off any whole Panini Sandwich!
$2 Grilled Hotdogs w/ all the fixins!
$7 Carry-out Boxed Lunches!
155 East Main Street, 812-725-8510
Breakfast, baked goods, soups, salads & panini sandwiches ($3.25 - $6.99) (Outdoor seating)
Friday: 8 am – 3 pm & 5 – 9 pm, Sat.: 9 am – 4 pm

9. Paul’s One World Café
133 East Market Street, 812-945-5555
Mexican & American cuisine ($5 - $10)
(Outdoor seating)
Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 9:00 pm

10. River City Winery
Presenting a reception with wine tastings,
Friday, 5 – 9pm, for artist John King’s Glass Artwork Retrospective!
321 Pearl Street, 812-945-9463
Gourmet pizzas, salads, appetizers ($5 - $15)
Friday: 4 – 9 pm, Saturday: noon – 10 pm

11. Steinert's Grill and Pub
401 E. Main Street, 812-945-8827
American cuisine with a few traditional German dishes
Friday & Saturday, 11 am - 3:00 am

12. Studio’s Grille & Pub
207 East Main Street, 812-590-3171
American cuisine ($6 - $15) (Outdoor seating)
Friday 11 am – 11 pm, Saturday: noon – 12 pm

13. Toast on Market
141 East Market Street, 812-941-8582
Breakfast & lunch ($4.75 – $11.50)
Friday: 7 am – 2 pm, Saturday: 7 am – 3 pm

14. Tommy Lancaster’s Restaurant
1629 East Market Street, 812-945-2389
Home style cooking ($7)
Friday: 11 am – 7:30 pm, Saturday: 11 am – 6 pm

15. Wick’s Pizza
225 State Street, 812-945-9425
Pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches ($4.75 - $30)
Friday & Saturday: 11 am - midnight

16. The Windsor Restaurant & Garden
148 East Market Street, 812-944-9688
American cuisine (Lunch: $8 - $10, Dinner:
$14 - $25) (Outdoor seating)
Friday: 10:30am – 2:30pm, 5 – 10pm,
Saturday: 2:30 – 11pm

Shopping & Services:
(Hours below are for Friday, June 11 & Saturday, June 12.)

1. Antiques Attic
145 East Market Street, 812-941-0437
Friday: 11 am – 5 pm, Saturday: 11 am – 6 pm

2. Destinations Booksellers
604 East Spring Street, 812-944-5116
Friday & Saturday: 9 am – 7 pm

3. Floyd County YMCA
Hosting a reception Friday evening for the New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project Art Walk!
33 State Street, 812-283-9622
Friday: 5 am – 10 pm, Saturday: 8 am – 6 pm

4. Gallery on Pearl
222 Pearl Street, 812-542-0780
Friday: 11 am – 9 pm, Saturday: 9 am – 4 pm

5. Preston Arts Center, Inc.
20% off all stocked merchandise!
315 Pearl Street, 812-944-0181
Friday: 9 am – 9 pm, Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm

6. Schmitt Furniture Co.
Celebrating 74 years in Downtown New Albany! 20% discount on all pictures, lamps and accessories! Cash discounts on furniture & financing available! FREE delivery within 50 miles!
On the Furniture Corner of State & Main Streets,
Friday: 9:30 am – 8 pm, Saturday: 9:30 am – 8 pm

7. Strandz Salon & Threadz Boutique
Mention the art walk for 20% off any retail
322 Vincennes Street, 812-945-5480
Friday: 10 am – 7 pm, Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm


(Hours below are for Friday, June 11 & Saturday, June 12.)

1. Carnegie Center for Art & History
Phase Change: Works in Glass by C. Matthew Szösz
201 East Spring Street, 812-944-7336
Friday: 10 am – 9 pm, Saturday: 10 am – 5:30 pm (Free)

Glass by the Block
Weekend glass installations around downtown New Albany and at IUS. Brochures available at sites in town and online at:

New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project

2. Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site
914 East Main Street, 812-944-9600
Friday & Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm (Free - $3.50)

3. Division Street School
1803 Conservative Street, 812-945-3204
(corner of E. 18th St. & Kathryn Hickerson Pl)
Saturday: 1 – 3 pm (Free)

4. New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
(Includes the Indiana History Room)
180 West Spring Street, 812-944-8464
Friday and Saturday: 9 am – 5:30 pm (Free)

5. New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater
Special performances Friday and Saturday. Brochures available at sites in town and online at:
On the riverfront, next to the YMCA at 33 State St

6. Padgett Museum / Floyd Co. Hist. Society
509 West Market Street, 812-949-2551
Friday & Saturday: 11 – 4 pm (Free)

7. Scribner House
Garden open, featuring art installations by the New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project artists.
Corner of State & Main Streets, 812-949-1776 (Free)

Today's Tribune column: "Celts on the Ohio River, too."

Have I though to mention that there's a Celtic music show at the amphitheater on Saturday?

BAYLOR: Celts on the Ohio River, too

Back when Ronnie Raygun was still President and Ginger Lynn everyone's preferred First Lady, my friend Barrie and I were in Ireland, conducting scholastic research on the foundation and practice of one of the world's most enduringly popular religions, Guinnessism.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

More Celts on the River details ... the show is this Saturday, June 12.

The fest committee continues to fill in blanks as the Celts on the River show approaches. The following was mailed by Peggy, who is referring to a new Zesto's creation in the first sentence.


Where can you enjoy a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone laced with Irish whiskey this Saturday ... at “Celts on the River 2010” of course. There will be non-alcoholic ice cream choices to enjoy as well.

FREE admission, FREE parking!

If your pocketbook allows, please donate a backpack for Blessings in a Backpack.
Boxes will be available at the fest for collection.

You can also enjoy:

A pint of “Haggis Laddie Celtic Red” from the New Albanian Brewing Co.

Fish and chips from the Knights of Columbus.

Scotch eggs from the New Albanian Brewing Co.

Delicious coffee.

Grilled chicken sandwiches and corn dogs from Bluegrass Kitchen.

A sampling of our retail vendors: O’Neal’s Irish Imports, Failte Irish Shop (Lexington, KY), Rigolo French Boutique.

For the wee ones: Children’s craft kits from The Treasured Child (LaGrange, KY).

For the 21+ lads and colleens: FREE samplings of Irish whiskey in the beer garden.

For everyone: Take a stroll through our cultural exhibit “Wild Irish Women,” which explores the history of famous Irish women throughout history.

Enjoy a FREE massage from “Celtic massages.”

Slainte ya’ll!!!

Weekend update: Thorpe Woodworking's Friday unveiling.

It's billed as "4 great artists under one roof," it includes the unveiling of Thomas' new table, glass artists, and wood carvings, and it's going on at Thorpe Woodworking on Friday, June 11, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

See the details at the Facebook invitation page.

We already glanced at a handful of downtown New Albany events on this most jam-packed of times: No sleep this weekend.

No sleep this weekend.

Busy, busy.

The NABC World Cup Series of small batch/USA match ales starts Saturday, June 12, with the debut of "USA vs England – Ordinary Bitter" at Bank Street Brewhouse, and our Haggis Laddie Celtic Red will be tapped for the "Celts on the River" concert on the same day.

Also this weekend: It's the rain date for the New Albany Bicentennial Public Art Project kick-off walk (Friday) and the Glass Art Society Annual Conference in Louisville (June 10-12), portions of which spill across the River into New Albany.

More when there's time ...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Open thread: Monday, June 7 city council meeting.

Task #325 was picking up my wife at work, and #326 quickly became an evening of dining on the patio at Varanese on Frankfort Avenue -- that's right, the uncouncilman Steve Price's pet bogey street -- with live jazz, red wine, beef, halibut, curried lamb empanadas, shrimp seviche, tawny port and too many reasons to count for why it was a better idea to eat, drink and celebrate life than rush back across the river to listen to the prattle of the usual clueless suspects.

But if you were there, please ... discuss.

Photos from "FOX in the Morning's" coverage of Celts on the River, earlier today.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Watch for it: Celts on the River festival promo Tuesday on "FOX in the Morning."

The Celts on the River concert is this Saturday, June 12, and tomorrow morning there'll be promos throughout the telecast of "FOX in the Morning," live from New Albany's riverfront amphitheater. Following are excerpts of what to expect, with thanks to Dell Courtney and FOX-41 for making it happen. I've posted more details about our Haggis Laddie at the Potable Curmudgeon's blog.


As promised, here are the details:

"Fox in the Morning" Show
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
5:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
New Albany Amphitheatre - east of I-64 at the foot of Pearl Street; it's right on the river.

Here's the line up:

5:20 - Peggy Baas with overview

5:50 - Kerry O'Neal with Charity Golf Scramble; she also will have a putter that will be in the silent auction, and may be accompanied by Bob Iezzi, GM at Fuzzy Zoeller's Covered Bridge golf course

6:20 - Guilderoy Byrne (local Celtic musical group playing on Saturday)

6:50 - Scotch Eggs prepared and served by Amy Baylor and Zesto's Ice Cream, served by Jim Young

7:20 - Guilderoy Byrne

7:50 - Roger Baylor of NABC with three beers that will be served at the Fest; he will feature NABC Haggis Laddie Celtic Red

8:20 - Guilderoy Byrne

8:50 - Larry Frederiksen from the Louisville Pipe Band, with a drummer - and maybe more members

I'm too busy to care very much, but for the masochists among you ...

... there's a city council meeting tonight. I plan on attending, assuming I complete 326 other tasks today and get the Volvo back from the shop on time.

The council's agenda is here, except that it's from May 3, the most recent one posted as of this morning.

A Tribune preview here focuses on the stormwater masterplan.

Freedom to Pseudonymously Screech applauds the next pre-ordained Steve Price "no" vote here, in what has become almost as retro-erotic as ordinary asphyxiation.

Speaking of Their Man Steve, last Friday in his column, Matt Nash prepared four our forth- and never-coming "da bait" with the Uncouncilman here.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Some calls should be reversed, others not.

Rather than dwell on the missed call and the perfect game that wasn't, a loftier and more problematic question is this: How did we come mere seconds away from three perfect games in less than a month, when only 18 had been pitched in the history of major league baseball prior to 2010?

I fully understand that mathematical lessons derived from statistical probability offer the best and most unimpeachable explanation for my query, but that's too much like instant replay for my tastes in sporting anarchy. I'm in agreement with umpire Weber. Keep the human in it, even if this means I must agree with the commissioner for once.

The Perfect Asterisk, by Bruce Weber (New York Times)

The egregious call at first base by the umpire Jim Joyce that cost a Detroit Tigers pitcher, Armando Galarraga, the chance to be only the 21st major-league pitcher to have tossed a perfect game has unleashed consternation on the land. History is denied! Incompetence reigns! Something must be done! Expand instant replay!

My personal belief is that this recent spate of dominant pitching performances proves the success of drug testing programs, and hitters are now as spindly and undersized as they were bulging and musclebound a few short years ago. Soon we'll have returned to the late 1960's, when Yaz led the American League in batting one season with a mighty .301 average.

Meanwhile, today's NYT is filled with fan letters expressing anguish over the perfect game's blown-call asterisk. They beseech the single worst commissioner in the history of baseball, Bud Selig, who remains barred forever from entering any NABC establishment as a pre-emptive measure, to take action and do the right thing. As noted, the bad call probably is a non-call, and grudgingly, I side with the hierarchy in doing nothing.

The notion that Selig might do the right thing, intentionally or otherwise, is laughable to me. You might as well as Steve Price to prepare, think and vote "yes" to the resolution stating that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. When it comes to either Price or Selig -- it ain't happening. At least one of them can be removed from office: "Yer out!"

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Not so bad, after all.

All this talk of cars and public transportation ...

Somewhere between leaving the Pizzeria & Pub and reaching I-65, the Volvo sprung a coolant leak, the arrow pointed red, steam hissed out the hood, and we pulled off at Kopp Lane and Eastern Boulevard to phone in a Ken Towery strike.

My first reaction was joy at having decided earlier not to make the drive to Bloomington today. How far would we have gotten before the antifreeze began spewing, and which cow would have cared?

The tow truck took a bit, and then the mechanics informed us they didn't have the proper adapter for the pressure test. We eventually took a Checker Cab home, and looked back on two hours utterly lost.

Funny thing is, it was fairly funny throughout. The tow truck driver was a rare wit, explaining how much he loves his job even when towing repos at 2 a.m. We had a great chat with the fellows at Towery's, including up-to-date accounts of their parents' holiday choices. And, the cabbie was vastly entertaining as he reminisced about the hurricane in 2008, when he and the preacher across the street watched a tree fall atop a neighbor's car.

Today's posting has no real meaning, other than to observe that an ability to laugh at the ludicrousness of a situation is perhaps the best way to skate through it. We'll now go back to walking -- to the Parish Green, and then to Bank Street for a Progressive Pint with my cousins. Life is a pain in the ass. It's also quite enjoyable at times.

Friday, June 04, 2010

And some not so great news...

TARC's entire 2011 budget: $63.5 million

Amount pledged to Bridges Project in 2011 by Kentucky Legislature: $185 million

And we're told we had no choice but to cut public transit services (about $5.5 million for the year) because we just can't afford them.

Great news about a great woods: The Dr. Sherman A. Minton, Jr. Nature Preserve.

Save a pre-meeting article by Lesley Stedman Weidenbener I haven't seen much ink devoted to it, but the Indiana Natural Resources Commission voted at their May gathering to dedicate approximately 1,300 acres just west of New Albany as the Dr. Sherman A. Minton, Jr. Nature Preserve.

The land is "generally north of Blunk Knob Road, west of Budd Road and east of Ind. 11" and described by the Department of Natural Resources as “a dramatically dissected complex of steep forested hills and mesic ravines" that serves as home to several endangered species including bobcats, gray bats, and various types of warblers. A drive up Blunk Knob Road, which shoots straight uphill from the point at which Budd Road and Five Mile Lane converge, proved the description apt and has me eager for further exploration.

In an email response, Lee Casebere of the Division of Nature Preserves said, "The DNR has owned this property in Floyd County for several years. The recent action by the Natural Resource Commission was to designate it as a 'dedicated' nature preserve. That action establishes a permanent, restrictive easement on the land so that it may be used for no other purpose except as a nature preserve on into the future. Dr. Minton was a well-known herpetologist, and the property has a diverse representation of reptiles and amphibians. Naming the site for him was 'a natural' since he grew up in New Albany."

"The property is open to the public, but there are no parking areas or trails, therefore access is not good. We hope to provide better access in the future, but it could be quite some time before that happens."

With such a tremendous, seemingly pristine resource to the near west and the Loop Island Wetlands on our eastern border, we're reminded that adaptive reuse of the urban core is about much more than the spaces bounded by concrete and bricks.