Wednesday, April 30, 2014

As April comes to an end, a reminder that public toilets are not dead.

Looks like they're out of TP again.

LEO returns to the Yarmuths. By the way, LEO needs a beer column again, eh?

In a probable triumph of localism against the dull conformity of media chains, LEO will again have Louisville ownership.

This qualifies as good news, I believe, and of course, I can't help reliving the villainous time of my shit-canning as beer columnist, back when telling the truth about wretched mass-market swill led directly to my principled departure -- and then another principled departure by the ax-wielder herself, some years hence. As Grandpa Jones always said, "Truth is stranger than fact."

Just go here and read about it:

Coming around again: Matters of principle at LEO.

Best of luck to the new ownership group. Some times a freshening is needed.

LEO Weekly Bought By Group Led By John Yarmuth's Son, by Joseph Lord (WFPL)

Long before he was a congressman, John Yarmuth was the founder of Louisville's alternative weekly, LEO.

And now his son is its principal owner.

The Nashville-based media company SouthComm Communications has sold LEO to a group of local investors led by Yarmuth's son Aaron, LEO staff writer Joe Sonka reported in a blog post Tuesday.

Gonder: "I believe that building can again be a jewel in that neighborhood."

Before it was Dorothy's, it was Haughey's Place, and may well have been one of the first re-licensed drinking spots after Prohibition was repealed. In this essay, councilman John Gonder makes his usual eloquent case, and does not neglect liver and onions.

The Sum of Its Parts (at Gonder for New Albany At-Large)

The building above remains a structure in jeopardy.

When I was a child, my father, my uncle and my grandfather referred to this neighborhood tavern as Dorothy's. That may or may not have been the name of it. But for some reason, unfathomable to me, and now known only to those long-departed souls, going to Dorothy's was a special gustatory treat. If my father and I dropped in at my grandfather's house, where my uncle also lived, for a Saturday afternoon visit, my uncle would occasionally announce with glee, as though it were a good thing, "Dorothy's made liver and onions". And off we would walk, from Elm Street to the building pictured above. An unspoken deal let me substitute a coke and potato chips for the offal and onions. We went there other times, besides these sterling occasions, and had things I considered food, open-faced roast beef sandwiches, mashed potatoes, all drowned in gravy. It was a good neighborhood spot. It was one of many neighborhood taverns in New Albany. It was a part of the fabric of the community.

I wrote a letter to the editor, because "It’s time for some street smarts."

Published yesterday.


— It’s time for some street smarts

On Thursday, April 23, I was working from home, periodically jolted from the computer screen as Spring Street residents were treated to a preview of the street grid’s enduring malfunction, courtesy of the Main Street’s Deforestation Project. With brief traffic delays occurring on Main, heavy vehicles are self-diverting to nearby, unpoliced streets like ours.

In short, during one brief half-hour segment just before noon, I counted six dump trucks, six more garbage or related recycling vehicles, and five block-long semi-trailer rigs, all shaking the rafters as they thundered past my house on Spring Street.

If a single one of these vehicles was traveling anywhere close to the posted speed limit, I’d be very surprised.

Do school buses always drive this fast?

From the very start, the deforestation project’s chief architect, John Rosenbarger, as well as its same-engineering-firm-as-always design team (can’t we freshen the gene pool every decade or so?) have insisted that when completed, Main Street’s 13-foot wide lane widths would accommodate these destructive, pass-through monstrosities, most of which are not making stops in New Albany, but trying to find a shortcut from points east to points west.

From the very start, these protests have been both disingenuous and frankly insulting. The single point for pass-through drivers isn’t lane width; it is unobstructed speed of travel, and one-way Spring Street is designed to mimic an interstate highway in this regard.

Having become accustomed to self-diversion during periods like the present one, there is little chance these vehicles will return to Main Street when the project is finished, whether lane widths are 11 feet or 13 feet. Everyone involves knows this, but insists on saying otherwise. Spring Street residents are seeing more of these vehicles than ever before, feeling their homes shake, and vividly illustrating that not only are the “experts” incapable of effective street design — they also can’t lie very well.

All we can hope for is that Jeff Speck’s street study reveals the extent of their fabrications. In this town, you hope for the best … and plan for the worst.

— Roger A. Baylor, New Albany

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Erika changes her mind and get Diane Benedetti-McCartin's name backwards, too.

I was delighted when Erika endorsed me at Freedom to Screech.

Anyone but Gahan and England in 2015.

Well, I'm anyone -- and so are many others, for that matter. Now she's reversing field and withdrawing the endorsement, it having taken only 20 days for her to notice that she'd done so in the first place.

Our final thoughts: A message to Mr. "Bully" Baylor. Hell would freeze over before Freedom of Speech would EVER Support or Endorse you.

Easy come, easy go. I think she's just biased against non-smokers.

But there's even more. See if YOU can locate the coherent English-language sentence in this nicotine-stained gargling from the wee hours, this morning.



What we here at Freedom Of Speech believes is for those opposed to intolerance, excessive government control of our lives, and attempts to monoplize opinion or suppress freedom of thought, expression and worship.

It's just that simple.....

For heaven's sake, lady; what did the King ever do to you to have his native tongue mangled this way?

Or was it just the Bud Light Lime-a-Rita talking?

All about the bands on the outdoor stage at Boomtown Ball on May 25.

Production Simple fills in the blanks and tells us about the music slated to be performed on the outdoor stage at the Boomtown Ball and Festival on May 25. Houndmouth is playing a sold-out show at The Grand the same evening. No worries; it is Menorial Day weekend, so you won't have to work on Monday.

NABC is delighted to license the Boomtown event for adult libations, and to work with other downtown drinks vendors to curate a lineup of beer, wine and cocktails for the occasion. We'll be meeting tomorrow to discuss details. Our collective aim from the start has been to provide genuinely local flavor to Boomtown, and to showcase the 365-days-a-year efforts of local business, whether bar or boutique. Just so you know ...

And now, the music.


The line-up for the outdoor stage curated by Houndmouth; music begins at 1:30 p.m.

The River City Blues Band 
Hailing from Louisville, KY, the River City Blues Band plays a variety of Blues - West Coast, Delta, Chicago. Members Denny Thornbury, Jimmy Gaetano, Hank Dobson and Tom Murray play straight up BLUES, man!

The Kernal & His New Strangers
Based in Jackson, TN, The Kernal & His New Strangers call the Downtown Tavern home and from that halfway point between two Tennessee music mecca’s, tour the country with their home-grown brand of Southern mystique. Tied deeply to the legacy of the wandering musician and the historic Grand Ole Opry, the Kernal, a southern gentleman with an old soul and youthful ambition, found his sound and showmanship in the greats of the classic Country music scene like Del Reeves.

Members Adam Faris, Michael Homan, Yuto Kanii and Alfonso Ramos were jamming out in an abandoned candy factory on Floyd Street in Louisville, in order to let loose and nail down some new songs. Now, after a trip to Kevin Ratterman’s La La Land, the New Albany band has a new album entitled The Bard. “We kinda stumbled upon the album title while reflecting on our demos at Ratterman’s. The inspiration was found through the storytelling aspects of the album,” says Alfonso Ramos, lead singer of Ranger.

Daniel Martin Moore is a singer and songwriter (and a great many other things arguably less relevant to this particular piece of text) from Cold Spring, Kentucky. On the strength of an unsolicited demo he sent in January of 2007, Sub Pop released Stray Age in October of 2008, a quietly striking album and Daniel’s debut full-length. And, in February of 2010, Sub Pop released Dear Companion, an album written and performed by Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore together, and produced by Jim James from My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk.

The Pass
Louisville, KY’s The Pass tout a “neverending quest for a balanced perfection of synthesizer pop and dance-floor psychedelia.” The music is compulsively listenable, danceable and playable. Their momentous sound and infectious onstage energy keep the crowd moving.

Discount Guns is the brainchild of John Ford & Edward Vincent. The two grew up in Central Ill. and met in 2006 working at a farm machinery store. The men both ended up in Louisville, Kentucky and Discount Guns was born. In the summer of 2010, they started writing music together. After failed attempts of finding a drummer, the two decided to learn to play the drums and become a 2-piece, switching off on guitar and drums.

Fly Golden Eagle is currently touting their latest, psych-funk release, "Swagger", wherever they go and are done with their follow-up, "Quartz", to be released soon. In the past year the band has toured with Alabama Shakes, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Dr Dog, Arctic Monkeys, Clear Plastic Masks and Chrome Pony. See them outside and in the sun.

San Fermin is the work of Brooklyn composer and songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone. After finishing his musical studies at Yale, Ludwig-Leone wrote the album in six weeks while holed up in a studio on the mountainous border between Alberta and British Columbia. He focused on lifeʼs top-shelf issues – youth, nostalgia, anxiety, unrequited love – and tied these vast themes to different characters through vocal contributions from longtime friend Allen Tate, as well as Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius.

This event is produced by Louisville based buyers Production Simple, Concerts & Events and radio sponsorship is being provided by 91.9 WFPK.

Jamey Aebersold Quartet at the Carnegie Center, this Wednesday (April 30)

For more information on the occasion, there's International Jazz Day.

We know that Jamey Aebersold frowns on smoking, and the Carnegie Center is a smoke-free facility, but there is no word on whether growlers from across the street are fair game ...


Celebrate International Jazz Day with the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Quartet, this Wed. April 30, 7:30 pm at the Carnegie Center!

Jamey Aebersold is well-known to those who attend our exhibit opening receptions at the Carnegie Center. Here's another great opportunity to hear the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Quartet here, but this time center stage, in our lower level meeting room. Jamey Aebersold Jazz has generously made it possible for members of our community to experience a free concert of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Quartet.

Don't miss this "Tribute to the Masters" concert celebrating International Jazz Day around the world! This program is free and open to the public.

Thank you and we hope you'll join us this Wednesday April 30 at 7:30 pm for a great night of jazz with our wonderful friends, the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Quartet.

(This concert was originally to be held in the NA-FC Public Library auditorium.)

Thank you,

Laura Wilkins, Director of Marketing & Outreach

Hitler, Oasis and Noel's thoughts on aging.

It's old, but it's good. Hitler's Reaction to the Oasis Split (Downfall parody) is one of ten Oasis facts at The Observer, including Noel Gallagher's thought on aging:

"I don’t stay up for two or three days on end, fuckin’ talking shit about aliens, but I’m becoming more of a belligerent old man, you know what I mean? It’s the usual. When you get to a certain age you find that other people’s opinions don’t really matter anymore, and you get kind of uncomfortable with your place in modern life."

Noel's right about that. Oasis is defunct, and will not perform at Boomtown Ball. Too bad; I could use me some "Cigarettes and Alcohol" right about now.

The internet guide to Oasis

Fisticuffs, swearing, brilliant put-downs and some decent tunes – the brothers Gallagher are a gift to the social media age. Introducing the top 10 Oasis facts we can learn online...

Southern Living touts all-time favorite "white kitchens."

Into the neighborhood's what? Damned right I did a double take.

But it turns out to be decor, not people.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Here is a rough sketch of the Boomtown Ball site plan for May 25, with explanation.

(April 29 update: All about the bands slated to perform on the outdoor stage)

To understand how the Boomtown Ball on May 25 is to be done, it helps to be acquainted with Indiana's Alcohol & Tobacco Commission.

The ATC licenses and regulates any business that serves beverage alcohol. Integral to the ATC's operational philosophy is the concept of a floor or site plan -- basically, a map showing the ATC one's everyday bricks and mortar business layout.

The very same idea applies to temporary serving permits for temporary events, and so when the idea of the Boomtown Ball was being minted this winter, and the decision was made to include alcoholic beverages as part of the plan, the range of possibilities immediately narrowed. If alcoholic beverages are to be vended, in this case with NABC acting as master caterer and procurer of the requisite supplemental catering permit, certain fundamentals must be observed.

As the entity applying for the permit, it is NABC's (read: my) job to follow the ATC rules and be sure the pertinent legalities are observed, and it's something we take seriously. Hence, the site plan pictured above, which was submitted with the standard application. The beverage vending will be done by NABC and a team of downtown ATC permit holders; stay tuned for further information.

An event like this must be enclosed, generally by being fenced, with the familiar orange or green plastic utility fencing being the ATC's preference. There can be various points of entry and exit, but alcoholic beverages can not be carried in or out, meaning there usually must be personnel manning these points (as city police do during the Bicentennial Park concert series). If the greater expanse of the fenced grounds is to be occupied by all ages, then the bar area itself must be enclosed and allow only persons 21 and over to enter. Those of legal age can purchase beverages at the bar, and carry them into the all-ages area.

From the inception of Boomtown Ball, Houndmouth (the band), Production Simple (the music agent) and the city conceived of a Sunday street festival with music, the Flea Off Market's diverse booths, and both food and beverages. The original idea was to locate it on Market and Pearl Streets, but this proved to be too difficult a fit, for two reasons: First, from the standpoint of the ATC's licensing needs, and second, because it would have blocked access to existing independent businesses located on these two streets, which needed to have the opportunity to participate if desired.

It was suggested that the event be moved to the vicinity of the farmers market, and as the diagram shows, this radically simplifies the required layout, as well as impacting far fewer local businesses; in fact, the shops on the ground floor of the Odd Fellows building and near them on Bank Street will not be blocked by booths within the adjacent enclosure, will have full access near the event entry portals, and should nicely benefit from the patronage of the event's attendees, should they choose to open.

Meanwhile, current ATC permit holders (Habana Blues, the Frenchman, Toast and maybe La Bocca, if it's up and running again) on The Grand's short block of Market Street can conduct their business normally while drawing increased trade from the Boomtown Ball attendees, especially as ticket holders for the Houndmouth indoor show at The Grand begin arriving. Pearl Street remains open, not shut off and with businesses blocked, as it would have been at first.

I'm explaining these things in this forum for a variety of reasons.

To help spread the word.

To familiarize readers with some of the esoteric factors that lie behind the plans for events like the Boomtown Ball.

To reiterate that New Albany's indie business community downtown is "cool" of its own merit.

To note that on the 25th, there'll be ample opportunity for these downtown businesses to shine for what should be good crowds.

To ask for better overall communication between the various downtown stakeholders, all of the time.

As observed previously, there are two meetings scheduled this coming week: Sons and daughters of the former Merchant Mixer on Tuesday, and drinks purveyors on Wednesday (if you are among the latter and wish to attend, please let me know).

At both of these gatherings, a prime topic of discussion will be how to make localism as much a part of the Boomtown Ball event as humanly possible, both on the day of the show itself and the week preceding it, which we're calling Houndmouth Week as a working title, or some such.

Please stay tuned, and I'll tell you what I know, as I know it.

Most drivers will ignore the fact that Louisville has gotten a pedestrian safety grant.

It does not require the re-animation of Albert Einstein to grasp that if walkability is an aim, something must be attempted to address the hegemony of automobiles on streets originally designed to accommodate all users, but now given over to the internal combustion erection.

The reigning obliviousness of urban drivers is a given; if they cannot be re-educated overnight, as the Department of Transportation grant suggests a couple dozen of them per million dollars expended just might be able to achieve, then redesigning the streets seems the most cost effective and promising course.

Naturally, local politicians and appointed time-servers must want to do something, as opposed to nothing.

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Winners of Pedestrian Safety Grants

Louisville, New York City and Philadelphia to Receive Funding to Raise Awareness, Provide Education, Increase Enforcement

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that Louisville, Philadelphia and New York City will receive grants totaling approximately $1.6 million for public education and enforcement initiatives to improve pedestrian safety. The new grants are part of the Department's Everyone Is a Pedestrian campaign to help communities combat the rising number of pedestrian deaths and injuries that have occurred from 2009 through 2012 ...

... Louisville was awarded $307,000 and will use the funds to create a pedestrian education program for school-aged children and create safe walking routes for senior citizens. In addition, the funds will be used to conduct law enforcement training and crosswalk enforcement activities. In Louisville, a total of six pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2012, representing 10 percent of the city's total traffic fatalities.

D'Alessandro: "Everyone already knew that Donald Sterling was a despicable human being."

It seemed prudent to wait until I found a writer at a higher pay grade capable of saying it better than me, and here he is: Dave D'Alessandro, who used to be the NBA columnist for The Sporting News (has it really been nine years?)

Donald Sterling’s candid moment? It’s business as usual, and NBA business is often ugly, by Dave D'Alessandro (Star-Ledger)

... We’re not here to put Donald Sterling’s racism on a scale with other social sins practiced by Adam Silver’s business partners, which stretch from here to Seattle.

We can only remind you that everyone already knew that Sterling was a despicable human being. If you didn't know it, you simply weren't paying attention, or – like Stern and Silver and everyone else in the NBA – you chose not to care.

Racism is an indelible part of what he is. If he issues a thousand mea-culpas today, nothing changes that. He has stood courtside with a what-me-worry visage for decades, because he is part of a lunatic fraternity that always embraced him as a bit eccentric, but always One of Ours ...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever."

I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, "Yes" or "No." He who led the young men [Olikut] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are -- perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.

It is not certain to me when the phrase "I will fight no more forever" first came to my attention. Perhaps Junior High school, though probably before. The saga of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce fascinated me then, and this morning I caught up on the historical record at the PBS website.

"Chief Joseph"

The man who became a national celebrity with the name "Chief Joseph" was born in the Wallowa Valley in what is now northeastern Oregon in 1840. He was given the name Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, or Thunder Rolling Down the Mountain, but was widely known as Joseph, or Joseph the Younger, because his father had taken the Christian name Joseph when he was baptized at the Lapwai mission by Henry Spalding in 1838.

Three chapters of the Nez Perce story have stayed with me these many years. First, there was the attempted retreat to Canada.

The army began to pursue Joseph's band and the others who had not moved onto the reservation. Although he had opposed war, Joseph cast his lot with the war leaders.

What followed was one of the most brilliant military retreats in American history. Even the unsympathetic General William Tecumseh Sherman could not help but be impressed with the 1,400 mile march, stating that "the Indians throughout displayed a courage and skill that elicited universal praise... [they] fought with almost scientific skill, using advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications."

Second was Chief Joseph's surrender speech, excerpted above. Finally, there was the inevitable American chicanery, seen clearly by the vanquished Native American, if not by generations of Kroger Joey clones.

In his last years, Joseph spoke eloquently against the injustice of United States policy toward his people and held out the hope that America's promise of freedom and equality might one day be fulfilled for Native Americans as well. An indomitable voice of conscience for the West, he died in 1904, still in exile from his homeland, according to his doctor "of a broken heart."

Joey's Song: How do those fools survive?

To the Kroger employee named Joey, who mistakenly thought my name is "Bubba,"dealing as he was so utterly tactlessly with the Japanese woman last Thursday morning, permit me to reiterate what I told you in person:

Listen, douchebag, if someone doesn't understand English very well, saying precisely the same thing, just far more loudly than before, tends NOT to work. She won't understand you any better or more quickly when you're yelling, which you were, in spite of your sniveling denials to the contrary.

While we're at it, if you call me "Bubba" again, I may take away your Lite beer and Cheetos, and send you to your room.

Lastly, your opinion of what constitutes good barbecue is both idiotic and execrable -- and the indie BBQ joint owner who was incredulous as you told him this was laughing at your cluelessness.

How do fools like Joey survive?

Great cigar review for Riverside's House Blend.

I don't go there enough, but I love the joint, and Jeff's cigar recommendations are flawless. There aren't many places to smoke indoors these days (New Albany's Billow is one), and at Riverside/Match, there's also a quality libations list.

Riverside Cigars
Match Lounge

Riverside now has its own house blend cigar, which is given a glowing review here: Cigar Review: Riverside Cigar Shop & Lounge House Blend (by Jonathan David, at Toasted Foot)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Boomtown Ball & Festival details: Of bands, businesses and beers.

For those who've been asking about the music at Boomtown Ball, this graphic released by the city provides a list of performers.

Among the details implied by "more" will be adult libations (beer, wine drinks) with NABC and other downtown drinks purveyors, as well as something quite important that keeps getting lost: By moving the original site plan to the farmers market (remember, temporary alcohol serving areas must be fenced in) and keeping Pearl and the block of Market (by The Grand) open, those year-round local businesses occupying these prime addresses have the choice of being open for business on the 25th, and being part of the fun.

There are two meetings scheduled this coming week: Merchants confab on Tuesday, and drinks purveyors on Wednesday. At both of these gatherings, a prime topic of discussion will be how to make localism as much a part of the Boomtown event as humanly possible, both on the day of the show itself and the week preceding it (Houndmouth Week, or some such).

Boomtown concept originators Houndmouth (the band) and the city of New Albany are correct in imagining that it will be a well-attended festival. It took a bit of tweaking to bring the concept into focus, and all parties involved deserve credit for listening and adapting along the way. As such, Sunday the 25th of May is the ideal opportunity to show off what we have to offer all of the time, in addition to the Boomtown-only program, and any such effort simply must be led by the merchants and food and drink purveyors themselves.

I believe it is going to be a good event, and the run-up starts now.

Coming in June, the NABC World Cup Trilogy for 2014: USA vs. Ghana, Portugal and Germany.

For devotees of "traditional" American team sports (baseball is the author's choice), every fourth year brings a reminder that most of the rest of the planet begs to differ. They call it football, we call it soccer, and the 2014 World Cup coming to critical mass as the 100th anniversary of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination (and the subsequent outbreak of World War I) strikes me as perfectly symmetrical.

More happily, it provides my brewery with a second opportunity to tailor small batches to the occasion, in the form of the World Cup Trilogy. There will be numerous venues for watching the action, but how many of them will be brewing three entirely new, small-batch beers to commemorate the USA squad's opening matches?

The details can be found at NABC's web site, and there'll be more as we get closer. First, there's this little Houndmouth show in May to cater.

NABC World Cup Trilogy for 2014: USA vs. Ghana, Portugal and Germany

Has it really been four years since NABC’s first World Cup Trilogy beer series, as minted by former NABC brewer Jared Williamson (now brewing with Schlafly in St. Louis)?

Yes, it has, which means that NABC will repeat the Trilogy in 2014, with three fresh new beers – each meant to honor the three national football squads facing the USA in Group G of the opening round: Ghana, Portugal and Germany.

Beginning on June 16, 2014, the beers will debut as the American squad’s opening matches are played.

To make an omelette, you break an egg. To revitalize a downtown ...

From Brooksville (Florida) comes this bit of advice for the city fathers in New Albany, in which the word "vision" seems actually visionary: Revitalize by nixing one-way streets and rerouting heavy truck traffic.

Latest push is on to revitalize downtown Brooksville, by Ferdinand Zogbaum (Bay News 9)

The Brooksville Vision Foundation has a new push in an effort to revitalize the city's downtown ... the main thrust of the latest effort is to bring more people to downtown Brooksville by eliminating some one-way streets and heavy truck traffic.

Foundation members favor making Broad and Jefferson streets more appealing to additional traffic by opening them up to two-way traffic. Also, the group wants to move noisy, commercial traffic out of town.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Does fright or sloth better explain City Hall's refusal to confront the truck traffic issue?

Simply go to Google and search: heavy trucks downtown revitalization ... one after another, the hits point to places where the fundamental incongruity of monster semi-trailer rigs and heavy industrial vehicles, when people-friendliness in a renewed, walkable setting is actively sought, is recognized as fact.

Then, as you listen to sounds not unlike that generated by columns of military vehicles rumbling through the Ardennes during World War II, contemplate the senselessness of revitalization efforts in the face of the city's ongoing failure to so much as try to enforce the rules it already has.

Why is this city so eternally slothful and just downright stupid?

Divert them: Does a truck this size have any place in a walkable downtown street grid?

Matt surveys INDOT's "bridge to nowhere."

You can almost see INDOT scratching its turbo-powered head, muttering: "Whass them pad-estrians want, aneeway ... the hole damn werld?"
NASH: Our ‘bridge to nowhere’, by Matt Nash (N and T)

During the 2008 presidential election “the bridge to nowhere” got a lot of press. The Alaskan bridge that hundreds of millions of federal dollars were earmarked for became the poster child for pork barrel spending.

Fast forward a few years and the citizens of Southern Indiana and Louisville have been sitting around waiting for the completion of the Big Four Bridge which has been a literal “Bridge to Nowhere.”

Here's the takeaway, one that most driving commuters never stop to consider.

Most people don’t realize it but hundreds of people utilize the Clark Memorial Bridge to get to work on a daily basis. Whether walking or riding a bike you can see people on the span at all hours of the day whether for exercise or for their basic transportation needs. Without a way to cross the Ohio River many people will not be able to make it to their jobs for several weeks without being able to utilize the Big Four Bridge.

As though INDOT would consider any non-automotive conveyance, whether a bicycle or one's own feet, as constituting "transportation."

There may be a mole in the Louisville Bats twitter agency.

I'm not sure what to make of the Louisville Bats favoriting my tweet as to the team's better beer failures, but the propaganda value is priceless.

It gets even worse for better beer at Louisville Slugger Field.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Playing against type: "It's My Life," by Charlie Daniels.

I haven't thought about this song for years, but today, for some reason ... at any rate, even though I'm an atheist, and not wedded to all the thoughts expressed herein, it remains that Saddletramp and High Lonesome are my favorite Charlie Daniels albums, and the overall tone of this song pretty much nails it.

ON THE AVENUES: The pea outside the pod.

ON THE AVENUES: The pea outside the pod.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Consider this a trial balloon of sorts. I'll loft it here at NA Confidential, primarily because a fair number of folks regularly read this blog, even if they deny it afterward, and even as they're responding directly to what they never seem to be able to admit they’ve read.

It’s okay. I’m accustomed to it ... and it makes me laugh.

And no, this isn’t a trial balloon about running for office. I’ve already made the definitive statement on this matter, and look forward to the coming months organizing an insurgency. Or not.

This trial balloon is about beer, and a perennial itch to educate, pontificate and lance various boils pertaining to it.

Those among you with longer memories will recall the “Mug Shots” beer column I wrote for LEO a few years back, roughly from 2007 through 2010. It ended amid a slight disagreement with the editor at the time, who did not favor my habit of abusing one of the publication’s key advertisers (read: Anheuser-Busch, later AB-InBev) with facts related to its perpetual villainy.

During the same period, 2009 – 2011, I wrote weekly non-beer guest columns for the pre-merger New Albany Tribune. This portal closed when the New Albany and Jeffersonville newspapers were combined at the behest of semi-literate pensioners in Alabama, and my good faith proposal at the time to help the incoming editor economize his operation by swapping my civic guest column for a new beer column has met with dead air until the present day.

The key element for me both times, at LEO and the ‘Bune, was the fact that my work resulted in remuneration, albeit it scant. Writing isn’t easy, at least not the way I must go about doing it in order to get it done. We cannot all be Isaac Asimov.

In much the same way as "On the Avenues" replaced the Tribune column, I eventually used the Potable Curmudgeon blog to do a "Wednesday Weekly" beer column for a year or so (2010-2011), which then segued into a space called "Baylor on Beer" at

It was my good friend and former NABC salesman John Campbell who originally brought me into when it began in 2011. He subsequently departed, but my column has been there ever since, as barter for a small NABC advertisement. At some juncture the name of the column was changed to "The Potable Curmudgeon," and then I transformed it into a weekly (on Monday mornings) instead of every other week. Given that writing is hard work, deadlines and regularity help boost the work ethic.

My quarterly beer writing gig at Food and Dining magazine has not changed, and has been a constant for ten years. I get a few farthings for that one, too.


So, it is now 2014. At this point in time, in my chosen profession of all things beer, I'm in roughly the same position as Willie and Waylon were in 1973. I'm out of synch with the new normal, and as good as outlaw, if not an outright crank.

I find that it suits my inner Socrates somewhat gloriously.

What’s more, being invited to participate in the University of Kentucky craft beer writing symposium this past February, and having the opportunity to be openly contrarian and counter-cultural before a crowd of bona fide listeners, proved to be crazily stimulating (and frankly, vindicating) in ways that have taken a bit of time to register.

In short, I’ve spent more than two decades writing about beer in my own peculiar way, and it’s high time I recognized that my writing has value. To be sure, we are compelled to live in an age when the prevailing expectation is that “content” of variable quality will not be remunerated in the form of cash (content providers, you have nothing to lose but your chains, although it might help to be factual now and then), and as such, I’m prepared to accept self-aggrandizement in a venue like NA Confidential -- something indisputably me, and totally mine.

Therefore, in the case of my beer column, I've been thinking that maybe it needs to move to Potable Curmudgeon and stay there. Damn the torpedoes, and full speed ahead. My audience (all six of you) will find me, or it won't. Beer “geeks” don't do long-form these days, anyway -- and my selfies are abysmal.

Lest there be any misunderstandings, I've got no deep-seated beef with the guys at, and will continue to support their efforts. Maybe an op-ed on occasion. In the end, John King was right: It's not about them; it’s about me, and my recent experiences have added up to a pressing need to be solo, and to go it alone. Perhaps there comes a time when it's time to move on, revisit the grassroots, and to try something different. Maybe I’ll become a wine snob, instead.

That was a joke.

It seems that I'm doomed to this compulsive writing affliction. It's about the only skill I possess, if scattershot and incompletely self-taught for the most part. It is glaringly obvious, and has been for quite some time, that when it comes to beer, I'm not in harmony with substantial elements of contemporary beer geekery, and when I try to be, analogies of pigs and dancing spring to mind ... in both directions. It's past the time to do it by myself and for myself, in the hope that it spurs greater insight.

Up went the trial balloon, and back down it came again. Of course, I knew what I intended to do before the first paragraph was written. I’ll be transitioning my beer column to my own blog, and trying to use Potable Curmudgeon more systematically, as a platform for my out-of-touch, stubborn, contrarian tendencies.

Time to get liberated.

It’s always a refreshing and necessary act.

Cuban baseball legend dies.

This is a wonderful short obit, packed with atmosphere and information -- about baseball, international relations, and an ebullient personality.

Connie Marrero, 102, Dies; Starred in Cuba and Majors, by Richard Goldstein (NYT)

“He was a wily, chunky guy, always with a cigar, even on the bench,” Wolff told The New York Times. “He could really make the ball do tricks. He was an excellent pitcher on a lousy team.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Speaking of infill housing for those vacant lots ...

Mr. and Mrs. Confidential have decided this would be our chosen design if we were to downsize and build a house on one of the vacant lots that Dan Coffey mentioned yesterday at the redevelopment meeting.

Don't you think it's time to spice up the historic areas with some punchy, efficient modern design?

Photo credit

Dan Coffey says sensible things about infill.

On duty at yesterday's redevelopment confab, during which most of the time was spent accepting bids from the usual construction and design suspects, councilman Dan Coffey got real.


Commission and New Albany City Council members Dan Coffey and John Gonder will head up a committee to look at ways to partner with private contractors to build homes in empty lots around the city.

“The city owns hundreds of lots,” Coffey told the members. “I would like to work with the public and private sector where a builder could buy a lot for a nominal fee and try to get some houses built instead of torn down.”

The committee will gather the information and report back to the commission.

If properly directed, territorial pissing might serve to fertilize the plants.

Three weeks ago, I devoted a column to this very topic.

ON THE AVENUES: Inkem binkem notamus rex, protect us all from the city with the hex.

 ... Thus ensued a textbook illustration of the city’s innate, enduring, politicized dysfunction; with any semblance of compromise yanked inelegantly from the table, a Keystone Kops movie broke out, the city moving with uncommon, absurd and perhaps even surreal speed to remove the offending planters, while Clean and Green’s own volunteers were racing just as quickly to move their dirt bowls out of the way, or collect them altogether, before the other side got to them first.

That’s right. They’re adults … at least in a chronological sense.

Before we turn to the newspaper's coverage, consider this.

Both Clean and Green and the city of New Albany want to beautify New Albany. However, consensus on the meaning of the word "beautification" is non-existent, and there exists no plan or template to achieve it. Might this absence of a mission statement be the basic reason for the disagreement?

Perhaps if there were a summit of sorts -- a public open house or meeting, no less -- of interested parties, there might emerge a basic plan, to which responsibilities could be assigned, and rowing in the same direction of beautification actually facilitated.

It's what I'd do if I were mayor.

Or does this make way too much sense for New Albany?

A MAKEOVER OR A TAKEOVER? New Albany Clean and Green, mayor butt heads ... Beautification group says it wants to improve city; mayor says rules must be followed, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)

NEW ALBANY — Keep New Albany Clean and Green was established with the goal of beautifying the city, but the organization has spent much of its time weeding through issues with the city’s administration.

From disagreements over planters to a stop-work order on the rehabilitation of Town Clock Church, Mayor Jeff Gahan’s administration and the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety have had more than a round or two of sparring with the organization.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Denver localism: "I'm not a beer snob. I just prefer to drink good beer."

It's worth noting that the Mile High Business Alliance in Denver is not an organization strictly dedicated to locally brewed beer. It merely sees locally brewed beer as an apt expression of localism in a more comprehensive sense ... and it is.

While politicians and pundits trade theories on how to stimulate the economy, the folks at Mile High Business Alliance are digging in and doing it.

The Alliance maintains that every dollar spent locally circulates at least three times more than one spent with a non-locally owned corporation or chain. Through programs such as the Colorado Local First Campaign and Local Flavor Guides, which celebrate the character of neighborhoods such as LoHi and SoBo. MHBA encourages everyone to direct at least 10 percent of their spending to businesses that sprout from Colorado soil.

The organization also maintains a user-friendly online guide to Colorado businesses. True, MHBA doesn't yet represent all 500,000 of the locally owned businesses in Colorado. But their clever campaigns ("My local coffee shop can kick your corporate coffee shop's ass," reads one MHBA-produced poster) spread awareness about the power of how and where we spend our dollars.

It perfectly encapsulates my viewpoint as to the marriage of localism and better beer.

Divert them: Does a truck this size have any place in a walkable downtown street grid?

Spanning Elm Street, headed for a right hand turn onto Spring.

Hurricane -- the man, the cause, the Dylan song.

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter has died.

From a personal standpoint, I mention this primarily because while it may seem trite to some, I thought Bob Dylan's song was inspiring back in 1975. If my memory is to be trusted, I bought the 45 rpm single, which had to be flipped over to continue the song. Or maybe not, and I'm thinking about the full version released on Desire the following year.

"Hurricane" by Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy ... the lyrics.

A video; ignore the visuals and just listen.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Seattle: A street doubling as a park. Can it be done here? Let's ask John.

NA Confidential asked John "The Rasputin of Redevelopment" Rosenbarger:

"Here in New Albany, where you've ceaselessly toiled for three decades amid the mouth breathers, would it be possible to shrink a two-lane, one-way street into a partial park without bonding $19 million from TIF?"

His interpreter provides the answer. 

Meanwhile, in Seattle there's an example ...
It's a park. It's a street. Is it safe?, by Marc Stiles (Puget Sound Business Journal)

 ... If you haven't been paying attention, construction crews from AGR Construction of Monroe have been working on Bell Street between First and Fifth avenues to make this road part street and part park ...

 ... You don't have to be an urban policy wonk to see how the $5 million project has significantly altered the character of the area. The two-lane, one-way street was a straight shot with parking on both sides. As part of an extreme "road diet," curbs were removed to create a flat surface the entire length and width of the right-of-way that today is dotted with planters and street furniture along the new roadway that slightly meanders and has just one lane for cars.

It's a grand experiment with the result being like no other street in downtown Seattle. Some people will love it, and some will hate it. Either way, expect to see more street parks in Seattle, where two similar projects already are under way ...

New Albany does Stonehenge.

But we don't stop there. We think Stone Age, too.

Is it a picnic area for giants? A conceptual monument to the former city dump? Or, just some rocks we left lying around?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter reading 3: "Easter is a pagan festival."

There's the Easter trifecta: The death of a hypocritical Christian; an atheists' convention; and a final dose of pagan symbolism.

The pagan roots of Easter, by Heather McDougall (Guardian)

From Ishtar to Eostre, the roots of the resurrection story go deep. We should embrace the pagan symbolism of Easter

Easter is a pagan festival. If Easter isn't really about Jesus, then what is it about? Today, we see a secular culture celebrating the spring equinox, whilst religious culture celebrates the resurrection. However, early Christianity made a pragmatic acceptance of ancient pagan practices, most of which we enjoy today at Easter. The general symbolic story of the death of the son (sun) on a cross (the constellation of the Southern Cross) and his rebirth, overcoming the powers of darkness, was a well worn story in the ancient world. There were plenty of parallel, rival resurrected saviours too.

Easter reading 2: An atheist gathering deep in the heart of Mormon.

Who knew we had an association?

I mean, one of the best parts of being an atheist is not having to belong to anything, or to articulate a "positive" approach in the sense of evangelizing nothingness.

As I've noted previously in this space:

Why must an atheist (like me) be compelled to articulate a “positive” approach, when atheism at root merely describes the absence of belief in unseeable, unknowable and unprovable supreme beings?

Negation is inevitable in the sense of my being without personal belief in phantasmogoria. When any such solid evidence in support of a deist's perspective should appear, I'm ready to consider it. Until then, there is nothing.

It is superfluous for either deist or atheist to imply that atheism must present a “positive” platform or doctrine. Supernaturally speaking, nothing from nothing equals nothing. Unlike religion's confusing and contradictory directives, we as atheists needn't flail ineffectually in the search for something that can be artificially tied to supernatural sanction as stated by scatter-shot "holy" books.

But atheists the new Mormons? Er, no thanks. I'll stay an indie, thank you very much.

Are Atheists the New Mormons?, by Michael Schulson (The Daily Beast)

Atheists are holding their annual convention in Salt Lake City, but things have been surprisingly cordial. Maybe these uniquely American groups have more in common than they think.

It’s a bit like holding the Republican National Convention in Berkeley: This weekend, the American Atheists are gathering in Salt Lake City for their annual conclave. Attendees can hear a keynote speech by outspoken former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, attend workshops with titles like “So you want to debate Christians?” and mingle during a karaoke night and a costume dinner.

Easter reading 1: Charles Keating returns to room temperature.

From just this one obituary, a space alien might grasp American culture at its root.

Charles Keating: Crusader and fraud

Charles Keating, moral crusader and financial snake-oil salesman, died on March 31st, aged 90

... Mr Keating was so doughty in this holy war that Richard Nixon appointed him in 1969 to the national commission on obscenity. When the commission produced a feeble report, Mr Keating dissented. He wrote that “Never in Rome, Greece or the most debauched nation in history has such utter filth been projected to all parts of a nation.” At meetings of his 300-chapter organisation, Citizens for Decency through Law, he would stride round with a big red Bible in his hand. Sundays saw him devoutly at Mass, with thousands of dollars given to Catholic causes. Such was his local influence that when the Supreme Court ruled that obscenity should be judged by “community standards”, every adult theatre in Cincinnati closed down.

Strange, then, that this knight on a white charger—as he saw himself—was also the man who bilked 23,000 investors out of their savings. The total loss was $250m-288m, and the cost to the taxpayer $3.4 billion ...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Let's just say that I won't be counting on to crusade for truth and accuracy any time soon.

At the risk of my eyeglasses taking on a rose-colored hue not previously mandated by the optometrist, wasn’t there a time when “media” (a loaded term, indeed) incorporated into its daily mission some semblance of commitment to getting basic information right?

I don’t mean to imply matters like editorial judgments, with which we all can merrily debate, but just basic facts: Times, dates, addresses and the like. These are the sort of elementary listings that should be easiest to get right, and when they aren't, we see corrections all of the time, whether in print or electronically.

The electronic media probably performs no worse in terms of accuracy than old-school print, given the latter's salacious and scurrilous salad days, but  every now and then, it's useful to be reminded of why the Internetz cannot always be trusted. As evidence of the lamentably scattershot world we currently inhabit, indulge me while I tell a story.

It all began with a posting by Alexis Messmer at on March 27, in which the city of New Albany was highly praised. So far, so good, in a buffed 'n' polished, chamber of commerce sort of way, except that amid the boosterism, the brief description of my business interests was badly skewed, and required correction.

I sent a request for these corrections to by way of its website reply form, and heard nothing back. A few days later, on Twitter (April 3), I managed to get through with a message to the editor, Elizabeth Myers, and explained the problems with NABC’s citation in the original story, which began with the heading itself: “New Albanian Brew Company Pizzeria.”

First, it is inaccurate. The name of the company is New Albanian Brewing Company, not "Brew," and the full name of the location in question is Pizzeria & Public House, which a cursory visit to our web site will confirm.

What's more, the inaccurate heading doubled as a hyperlink, errantly leading not to the pizzeria’s section of the company website, but to the Bank Street Brewhouse listing therein. Here is the text of Messmer's original posting.

New Albanian Brew Company Pizzeria: The New Albanian offers bistro cuisines that are accompanied by their own house beers. You can check out what’s on tap on their website for the full list of beer choices. They offer drink specials throughout the week and Sunday brunch. Be prepared to call a cab, because drinking one beer won’t be enough. Don’t forget to try to the Hoosier Daddy, Crimson and Cream ale paired with pizza, bread sticks, and beer cheese. YUM!

I offered other necessary corrections beyond the heading/hyperlink error, because as those familiar with NABC can see quite easily, the author had mixed various elements from two distinct locations into one misleading mishmash.

NABC has two on-premise locations, and we sell our beer to other
establishments through the normal distribution channels.

NABC Pizzeria & Public House
3312 Plaza Drive (off Grant Line Road)

NABC Bank Street Brewhouse
415 Bank Street (downtown)

After the incorrect (and broken) link, she mentions bistro cuisine … which is served at Bank Street Brewhouse, not the incorrectly named and linked “New Albanian Brew Company Pizzeria.” She is correct that beers are listed at the website, but the link is wrong. Did she even go to the web site?

Drink specials are the same at both locations. She mentions brunch, which is only at BSB, not the Pizzeria location. Finally, after trying to link the Pizzeria to Bank Street, she talks about the pizza – which is at the Pizzeria, not Bank Street (where the link would have taken folks if not broken).

To the editor, I pointed to the mixed blessings inherent in the rapid sharing of fundamentally flawed and garbled information.

It’s nice for both of us (NABC and that the piece is being forwarded and linked electronically, but this paragraph is so muddled that I’m not sure it helps us very much. In short, for someone reading this without prior knowledge, it's likely to convey the impression that we serve pizza at BSB.

Beyond that, and while conceding that I can be an ass of epic dimension, getting some basic facts arranged correctly strikes me as a prerequisite of someone purporting to contribute content to a web site like yours. I know; I'm old, and have old-fashioned expectations. The NABC web site is fairly clear about it; the two locations have separate pages, and the descriptions are accurate. But the URL has to be right for it all to matter.

Here is the editor’s reply, also on April 3:

It is not old-fashioned for a business owner to have high expectations regarding the information distributed about his or her business. The web makes it far more difficult to do so, but I certainly understand your predicament.

I have removed the offending paragraph, so the article now has no reference to your business. I will forward your email to the writer (who happens to be a college intern in our office) and hopefully she can re-add the paragraph and correctly note the information you have so kindly given.

Again, so sorry you've had a negative experience. We are working very hard on a site redesign, and we have had a few server outages in the past weeks, so perhaps that is why your contact did not go through. In general it is best to contact me by email this address.

Thank you for your contact, and I hope you have a wonderful day, please let me know if I can be of further service.

Thus, we were completely expunged from the article, and I began looking periodically to see if corrections had been made. Crickets chirped; pins dropped. No correction was forthcoming, and so I decided to check back on the morning of April 18.

Three weeks since the original piece ... two weeks since we exchanged thoughts ... and the net result, as it appears now, is that my being a business owner with high expectations translates into permanent removal from an article, merely because I pointed out not just one, but several errors.

Before I write about this experience on my blog, I'm just curious to know if this was the intended outcome from the start. Would it have been better for me to say nothing and tolerate the errors, because at least then the reference would remain?

I must say, all of this confuses me.

The reply came later on the 18th.

I am very sorry you've had a negative experience. In general, when an error on the site is pointed out to me I do my best to fix it right away. As I am personally unfamiliar with your business, I removed the paragraph entirely, to avoid the continued distribution of any misinformation.

Certainly it was not the preferred outcome for your business to be removed entirely from the article. The site is run mostly on contributions from freelance writers, and when a larger rewrite or edit is needed I contact the author of the article in question. I forwarded your email to the writer in this case, and it looks like she made the decision not to include your business in the article. I would guess that decision had to do with timing; as I'm sure you know, the site updates daily, and by the time you and I had our exchange, the article in question was completely "off the radar".

We do our best to make the site informative, fun to read and well written, and I am constantly working on the balance of content and quality. I appreciate your patience in dealing with us and pointing out our error; believe me, we love to know when we can fix a problem. I hope in the future one of our writers will cover your business in a more detailed and helpful way.

Have a great weekend

In short: As the person in charge, what do you expect out of me -- results? Let's try to absorb this stunning admission of editorial and administrative impotence.

An an entertainment news “source” deriving content from amateurs, free-lancers and interns. relies entirely on them to make corrections of their own mistakes, with cooperation purely optional, even when the corrections already have been provided free of charge, and although the editor, ostensibly better trained at some variety of “journalism” than these randomly selected contributors, cannot herself incorporate these proffered corrections, she can casually ask the contributors to do it if and when they wish – and anyway, after a certain amount of time, the whole shebang is dated, and no one, least of all the editor, cares any longer about what’s accurate and what is not … and golly, maybe next time one of our writers spins the coverage wheel, it will turn out better. Maybe. 

It's just plain breathtaking, isn't it?

If NABC paid these people for advertising, I wonder if the listing would be corrected, or merely offered to the originator for improvement if the chance arose -- no hurry or anything, and by the way, can you please provide more content, accurate or otherwise?

It's "The Front Page" for modern times, I suppose. Is it any wonder I’m bitter about the state of the information nation?

Answer the question, John Rosenbarger: Can Jeff Speck's ideas work here, or not?

Jeff Speck was in town this week to take his first detailed gander at New Albany's antiquated, Caesar-Standard street , and I was reminded that at several junctures during the past six months, planning Machiavellian John "Just call me Gail Wynand" Rosenbarger has been given credit for connecting Speck with the city.

In a literal sense, I won't dispute it, although button-pushing is a display of manual dexterity, nothing more.

When it comes to the bigger picture, recent months have amply illustrated Rosenbarger's decades-long double public life, in which he constantly assures the progressive-minded of his victimhood at the cruel altar of politics, whilst at the same time tightening the vise of political cruelty through inaction, and appeasing unreconstructed Heavrinites by doing next to nothing to align New Albany's infrastructure with a contemporary world.

If Elvis were to return, he'd no doubt say to John Rosenbarger, "A little less conversation, a little more action please."

Rosenbarger would reply with a stream of the usual vacuous nonsense, and endorse another paycheck, and those two bicycle lanes on Spring Street would continue to run in the same direction down a one-way arterial street, from nowhere to nowhere, uncontrolled traffic actively discouraging their use, with Rosenbarger eager to cite them as proof of his achievements.

Which, of course, they are.

I'm reminded of a February chat between Rosenbarger and a city resident, reported to me after the fact amid much head scratching and puzzlement. Paraphrased, the conversation was reported as such:

1. Dude (Rosenbarger) talks a lot, says nothing. I was there to get/share info about using a
public space. He thought it was really important that I know what all his kids are
doing, for some reason. That was the first hour.

2. In order to get back to the streets/sidewalk topic, I brought up the Speck
presentation. Rosenbarger then launched into a lengthy diatribe about how something
like that could never work here. Geez, what a negative guy.

Rosenbarger's appearance at the FAN Fair followed much the same script, including open public doubt as to whether what he is paid to do, can ever actually be done in this city.

It begs a rather obvious question:

Then why pay you at all?

Jeff Speck in New Albany: “I’ve never seen anything like that in America."

Jeff Speck's reconnoitering of New Albany eluded the News and Tribune's grasp, although the more "local" of our two chain newspapers did manage a bold pitch for Christianity.

Fortunately, the C-J's Grace Schneider catches the priceless moment when Speck repeats the timeless question most asked about this city in general terms:

OMG, what were they thinking?

(Incidentally, the answer is pure Ockham: They weren't.)

As a side note, given the historic obliviousness of the populace, Grace's piece will be the first inkling for many that such a concept as walkability even exists. The reaction may be instructive. Or, this being Apathy City, it may not.
Walkability advocate studying New Albany street grid

City planner and architectural designer Jeff Speck stood in the middle of Market Street in New Albany last Wednesday, making notes and puzzling over something he claims he’d never seen before in his travels to dozens of cities each year.

Two short blocks between his position at Hauss Square and State Street feature a grassy, shrub-filled median dividing Market Street — with both lanes of traffic running eastbound.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in America,” Speck said, because medians imply two-way traffic.

Life on Padgett Avenue.

How do future street grid changes factor Padgett's need to move block-long cranes and ancillary vehicles, generally oversized, along the company's currently preferred route -- using 4th Street as the axis, anchored to Elm and Spring?

It's both a serious and legitimate question, isn't it?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Making sausage.

Yesterday I remarked to the Bookseller that I can see editorial cartoons in my head, but lack the ability to draw. But where there's a will, there's a way.

Merchant Meeting ... Tuesday April 29th, 8:30 a.m.

Will the fried chicken be ready that early?

This meeting represents an effort to revive what used to be called "Merchant Mixer" gatherings, the most (in)famous of which was in 2011, and featured Councilman CeeSaw uttering the immortal words:

Emperor Caesar in 2011: "Change every street to two way (but) not Pearl Street. Pearl Street will NOT be two way."

As we await the inevitable self-immolation (with novelty cigarette lighter), here's Stefanie Griffith with the merchant meeting details.


Hi everyone wanted to let you know we are having a merchant meeting at Daisy's Country Cooking on Tuesday April 29th from 8:30-9:30, please help spread the word to your neighbors!

The plan is to start having monthly meetings again so we are able to plan events and pass information.

At this one we will talk about Night Out New Albany, a new event similar to the trolley hops in Louisville with a twist, have introductions because we have so many new neighbors and get your input, concerns, idea's so we will know more about what areas we need to be working on.

See you then and remember please tell your neighbors, the more of us that are on the same page the more we will all grow!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

SCOOP: The Freedom to Screech pavilion during Thunder.

"Hi, I'm a friend and supporter of Freedom Of Speech -- can you direct me to their reserved seats?"

"Of course, madam ... right this way."

ON THE AVENUES: Breakfast is better with kippers.

ON THE AVENUES: Breakfast is better with kippers.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Scoff if you wish, but I like to eat fish for breakfast.

Among the rotating selections from the cupboard at dawn’s early light are pungent smoked kippers and crackers; piquant pickled herring on buttered rye bread; and on special occasions, lox with the requisite bagel, cream cheese and just a light sprinkling of capers. On special occasions, just for garnish, there’ll be a garlic-stuffed olive.

Yes, there are repercussions to such preferences. From nowhere, impatient cats find me as I’m walking down alleyways, and they make an eager, impromptu parade. Some mornings I get in a hurry, forget to brush my teeth, and inadvertently breathe on a prim, proper, crisply suited banker – and he wilts, as though beaned on the noggin by a stray aesthetic revelation.

If it doesn’t render the banker entirely unconscious, I’ll breathe on him a second time. That usually does it.

It’s clear: I like deceased marine life in the morning. Captain Crunch isn’t even close. Pop Tarts need not apply. Eggs will do, when pickled. Breakfast fish is real food for real people.

Obviously, these dining strategies are best complemented by stiff, aromatic black coffee, such as that produced through the saving grace of our home Saeco espresso maker. As side orders, just for balance amid the oil, vinegar and brine, properly bitter orange marmalade on toast and the occasional serving of Greek-style yogurt with fruit work quite well. Indeed, pungency settles the humors.

Until the pallid likes of Bob Evans and Cracker Barrel grasp the eternal wisdom of gustatory treats like these, it’s hard for me to take them seriously as contenders for my early morning dollars. May these franchised monuments to white bread, Velveeta and decaf never, ever besmirch the shining shores of Scandinavia, where so many years ago I learned to eat breakfast right.


It was in Oslo, Norway, that I experienced pickled herring for the very first time, almost 30 years ago. Thanks to a tremendous, short-lived exchange rate in 1985, Scandinavia briefly became almost affordable, and when I stepped off the overnight train from Copenhagen to explore Oslo’s main station in search of a bite to eat, a handy restaurant with an all-you-can-eat buffet actually was reasonably priced.

For the budget traveler, buffets meant two or maybe even three meals, not just one. A clean freezer bag could be stuffed full of meat and cheese when no one was looking. I went for it, and during the course of gorging on the goodies, noticed three ceramic pots positioned behind the rest of the food.

My guess was jam, and with curiosity aroused, I removed the lid and reached for the spoon … which was a fork. It didn’t smell anything like fruit, and the funky aroma tickled my proboscis. I hadn’t ever eaten pickled herring, not once, but I knew what it was when the filet was impaled on the fork. It was love at first chew.

Later that week in Bergen, Norway, I treated myself to a culinary splurge. For three hours at lunchtime, a renowned local eatery ran an all-you-can eat seafood buffet for the equivalent of $15. Bearing in mind that my daily budget for lodging, meals and alcohol was $25, this was a budget-buster, but the fact that it has lingered in my memory three decades later attests to the correctness of the decision to abandon fiscal rectitude.

The buffet served as a rube’s introduction to smoked salmon, something quite rare in the rural, corn-fed Indiana of my youth. In 1985, I had no way of knowing the same-but-different confluences between Norwegian smoked salmon and Jewish lox (the latter cultural norms just as uncommon as Vikings in Baptist-laced Hoosierland), or the meticulous strategies for preparing such treats, which are every bit as traditional, proud and locally varied as American barbecue methodology.

I just liked it. A lot.

The summer of 1985 was a veritable appetizer, and an introduction to all things European. I was enamored of the continent, and have remained so these many years hence. Specifically, engaging in strange, subversive encounters with un-American methods of consuming fish became a thread running through subsequent journeys, from pie, mash eel and liquor (gravy) in London just last summer, ranging back to the snack tray at Suzanne’s wedding on the Baltic in 1996, which included a different species of eel, this time smoked.

But my single proudest moment came when I enjoyed the distinction of being the oddball foreigner who introduced my pals, the Copenhagen residents, to the grandeur of the Faergekro restaurant at Nyhavn (“new” harbor) in their own city.

The daily herring buffet is a highlight of western civilization. At least ten varieties of pickled herring (with sour cream, curry and Madeira sauce, among others) are offered, along with dense dark bread, butter, and garnishes like raw egg, onion and caper berry. Whole smoked herrings are carved from the bone and replenished.

Beer is available, as well as Akvavit (Scandinavian schnapps), with the wonderful northern custom of providing house-made infusions of herbs and spices for flavoring the firewater and washing down the tasty pickled and smoked morsels.

You can spend whole days in a joint like this, and one time in 1989, I did just that, starting a tab at Faergekro for lunch, and finally arriving back at my temporary Danish doorstep in a taxi, pea soup fog choking the street as well as the inner recesses of my cranium, fully tempted to join WC Fields in asking: “Was I here last night, and did I spend $300?”

(Whatever the words for “yes you did” are in Denmark)

That’s good. I thought I lost it!

"Walkability - planning from the sky vs. designing on the ground."

It's a video: Walkability - planning from the sky vs. designing on the ground, from Gracen Johnson; as recommended by Bluegill.

St. Marks UCC: On the right side of New Albany street grid history.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stained Glass Gallery: On the right side of New Albany street grid history.

NABC beer dinner at MilkWood tomorrow (April 17) or city council? You know the answer.

At the Potable Curmudgeon blog, I mentioned an NABC beer dinner at MilkWood. The menu is above, and the story link below. As of 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, a few seats remain available. This one's looking epochal already, so consider skipping the city council meeting and joining the party.

Halfway to LCBW, all the way with NABC to MilkWood this Thursday.

New Albany's streets: Screwed by design. Why?

The YMCA is on the south side of Main Street, with parking on the building's west side. Feast BBQ and The Exchange (sorry, but the Hour/Tower/Shower of Power doesn't count) are on the north side of Main. Soon, across W. 1st Street on the north side of Main, there'll be the Seeds and Greens Natural Market and Deli, and of course the antique store already operates on the corner.

A half-block to the north are the municipal parking lots where the farmers market probably should be, if we were in the habit of thinking and acting in the interest of multiple usage.

The are multiple traffic lanes at W. 1st and Main in the approach to the stop light at State, and people crossing the street from the western parking areas more often than ever before. All that's missing is a crosswalk, as can be seen in the photo. I'd just bounded across after being cursed by a driver who'd be forced to wait an entire 10 seconds for my passage.

As it pertains to rationalizing the city's street grid, there are two 800-lb gorillas perched downtown. One is Padgett, which uses East 4th and Spring as its private driveway for maneuvering block-long heavy equipment from its site, which quite simply is increasingly obsolete in a revitalizing urban context.

The second is QRS (formerly Riverside) Recycling. Heavy trucks formerly bound for QRS from the east now divert from Main Street and barrel down Spring, unimpeded by the city's non-enforcement regime; meanwhile, those approaching from the interstate thunder past downtown businesses on State before turning onto Main at a point just to the left of the view in the photo. Of course, Main also serves as the conduit to the casino.

Naturally, when called upon to address the section of Main most in need of a refrofit, the city is devoting its time and resources to the residential stretch of the street in front of John Rosenbarger's house, picking winners in one neighborhood, and shifting pressing issues elsewhere (monster trucks on Spring), thus dully ensuring that the counter-productive situation with unregulated heavy truck traffic downtown will be downplayed for another decade or three.

Of course, we are perpetually assured that somewhere behind closed doors sans public input, this problem is being carefully studied -- but let's leave Democratic Party central committee bowling events out of it.

In the meantime, any number of calming and enforcement measures might be deployed to improve street scenes like the one depicted above. But in New Albany, we've only gotten one design issue right: Our streets are designed for chaos, and chaos is what they produce, on a daily basis.

Does it have to be this way?