Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Bicentennial Park Summer Concert begins with the Billy Goat Strut Revue.

The Billy Goat Strut Revue was the season-opening act at the Bicentennial Park Summer Concert Series last night. Judging from beer sales alone, last night would have been the second best volume night in 2013, so that's a good sign. Later, I checked on the Big Four Burger trailer at Bank Street Brewhouse. Matt said it was an encouraging start.

"If it's designed to make people go fast, they will."

New Albany's street grid is designed for traffic speed incompatible with the stabilization of neighborhoods and the expansion of the downtown business district, thus actively contradicting monies spent and efforts expended to improve quality of life.

If current office holders and their appointees spent any time at all inhabiting the streets by means other than autos, they'd grasp the situation fairly quickly.

But they don't, so pedestrians like me need to remind them as often as possible that their perspective is skewed. There are elements of intellectual laziness and political cowardice as well, but why pile on?

Here's another example from Rhode Island.

Nice Try, But No.

This video is from Waterfire night, and is taken from in front of the police station--if people speed with impunity there, where won't they speed?

Finally, a basketball coach says something interesting.

I haven't cared much for the topic of high school basketball for about as long as the period since Floyd Central's last sectional title, which came when the Berlin Wall still stood.

The announcement itself was about to pass unnoticed ...

Floyd Central names Todd Sturgeon boys basketball coach, by Justin Sokeland (Courier-Journal)

Floyd Central hired former college coach Todd Sturgeon as its new boys’ basketball coach during Friday’s meeting of the New Albany-Floyd County Schools board of trustees.

 ... but I kept reading, and despite the cliche-ridden utterances commonly emitted by the basketball coaching profession, guess what? Two very interesting observations were forthcoming.

(Sturgeon) also wants his team to mirror the discipline and toughness of college teams such as Virginia, Wisconsin and Butler.

“Those are the teams that reflect what I would like to put on the floor,” Sturgeon said. “We have an outstanding academic school, so I would like to think we would play a team reflective of that, that we will play intelligent basketball and also tough basketball.

“My biggest focus is changing the mentality. I think we need to practice more and play fewer games. We have an AAU culture in American basketball right now that Floyd Central, in particular, has suffered from. We just have to roll up our sleeves and get to work, concentrate on getting better today. If we get better at the fundamental things, we’ll see large improvements in the win-loss columns.”

Sturgeon's incoming analysis yields an under-utilized asset (intelligence) and posits a plausible fix: Combine intelligence with attention to a culture change of stressing fundamentals.

For the first time in a quarter-century, my curiosity is piqued.

Can someone please remind me to pay attention this fall?

I tidied up the city's ad campaign to reflect current reality.

 After all, we're where you should be if you're a tractor trailer.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Monster Truck Project.

I've been taking photos of the 800-lb gorillas hanging over any pretense our city claims to retain when it comes to completed, human-friendly streets.

Please take your own revealing photos, and send them to me. I'm working on a concept.

Above are four examples, not one of them reflecting Padgett's and QRS's use of prime streets in the historic business district for heavy truck traffic that surely contradicts every precept of walkability that we presumably are going to implement when Jeff Speck completes his street study.

The answer? I'm not sure, but the problem is fairly clear. Does the city intend to do anything, or shall we add the 18-Wheel Invasion to the list of historic, perennial non-enforcement?

It's opening night for the 2014 Bicentennial Park Summer Concert Series.

The set-up should be somewhat the same as last year.

Local NABC beer, diverse live music headline New Albany’s summer concert series.

Meanwhile, we'll be doing a food collab just down the street at home base.

"Big Four Burgers joins forces with NABC for Friday evening food at Bank Street Brewhouse."

Does anyone know of a good source for cheap body condoms? It's what we expect to be ordered to wear by the Floyd County Health Department when it next spins the wheel of random enforcement.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gifts to cover the steeple.

I'm mostly of the view that no city money at all should have been devoted to the refurbishment, but at least most of it is coming from private donations. In a city desperately in need to future thinking, it seems that historic preservation sentiments continue to exercise weirdly disproportionate weight in decision-making when it comes to big ticket projects. Meanwhile, there are a few hundred vacant lots.

Infill, anyone?

Steeple chase: Push is on to replace a signature piece of New Albany's Town Clock Church; Organization needs $150,000 to replace landmark steeple, by Daniel Suddeath (The Tifton Gazette)

NEW ALBANY — There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Less than two years into the project, the organization Friends of the Town Clock Church has raised about $233,000 toward the rehabilitation of the building that is the namesake of the organization.

And the focus is on the former focal point of Town Clock Church — the sizable steeple that served as a sign of freedom to slaves coming from Kentucky during the Civil War era.

“We’d love to get a single gift to cover the steeple,” said Jerry Finn, a member of Friends of the Town Clock Church and one of the organizers of the refurbishment project ...

• To learn more about how to donate, visit the website

ON THE AVENUES: A summer abroad in 1989.

ON THE AVENUES: A summer abroad in 1989.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Right about now -- at some point near the end of May, but 25 years ago -- I was on my way to Berlin, with a stated intention of remaining in Europe for seven months.

It astounds me that a quarter-century has passed since that momentous time, one made far more meaningful than the mere ramblings of a 20-something American traveler by the fact that 1989 was the year when the Soviet Bloc collapsed.

Berlin wasn’t the capital of Germany in 1989, at least in part because there were two Germanys … and two Berlins. Bonn was the capital of the Federal Republic, known to us as West Germany. My flight in May, 1989, landed in West Berlin, a municipality entirely surrounded by the territory of the German Democratic Republic, or communist East Germany, of which East Berlin was the capital.

Berlin remained divided into zones of occupation, as administered by the triumphant Allies of World War II. The western side included American, British and French zones, and representatives of the three countries still met at regular intervals to discuss their stewardship.

To the east, continuing all the way to Vladivostok, was the Soviet zone. The Berlin Wall was the line of demarcation between the Allied zones and the sovereign territory of the GDR. It had graffiti on one side, and machine guns on the other.

In short, it was the Cold War in everyday life, although those first three days in May were intended only as a teaser. A return was planned for August, when I’d arranged a month-long stay in East Berlin. I’ve written previously about my experiences working for Herr Honecker, and hope to repost the essays later this year. For now, I’ll sketch the 1989 trip’s overall parameters.

Quite early in the morning of June 2, 1989, I tiptoed out of my West Berlin hostel dorm and took to the street, where I caught the first bus of the day into the center of the city. At Zoo Station (later immortalized by the U2 song), there was a suburban rail (S-Bahn) train to catch, a few stops east, above the wall, into the Friedrichstrasse station in East Berlin.

Clambering off the train, I found myself standing on a sealed platform. It was possible to transfer to other commuter trains (and subways) headed to destinations in West Berlin, but not to walk out onto the street outside without passing through passport control and customs. Such was the bizarre transport arrangement reflecting the city’s division.

I had a time-sensitive transit visa for East Germany, allowing me to pass through the country without stopping. My ultimate destination was Prague, in the nation then known as Czechoslovakia. After a brief orientation stroll and gut check (the streetscape in East Berlin was so different from what I’d experienced less than a mile westward that it might have been another planet), it was back onto an “Ossie” S-Bahn to a different train station, and my rail connection via Dresden.


For the next five weeks, Czechoslovakia was my home, courtesy of the family of by dear friend George Hrabcak, who at the time was a criminal defector who’d have been arrested and incarcerated had he so much as set foot in his homeland. There is no telling how many miles I covered walking during two weeks in amazing Prague, followed by the same amount of time exploring Ostrava, then the Pittsburgh of Czechoslovakia.

Pork, dumplings and delicious Pilsner beer were consumed in abundance. It was a very happy time.

In early July came the long-awaited 36-hour “express” train from Prague to Moscow. “Back in the USSR,” indeed. In theory, my time in the Soviet metropolis was supposed to be spent learning conversational Russian as part of a program at Moscow State University. It was an experimental teaching method, and it didn’t much appeal to me, especially considering the lessons (and foment) waiting to be learned outside the classroom during the high point of glasnost.

I’ll share just one anecdote about my time in Moscow in 1989. Several fellow students planned to leave the city heading in the same direction, and our sponsoring organization helped arrange train tickets back to East Berlin, but we had to obtain a Polish transit visa on our own. Three of us arrived at the Polish embassy, only to find a block-long line composed primarily of Soviet citizens and foreign students from socialist countries (i.e., Cuba, Ethiopia and Vietnam) seeking visas.

After standing for a very long time, some English-speaking Russians nearby advised us to walk to the front of the line and ask (in English) to be allowed to skip the long queue and enter. We shrugged it off … for about another hour, and then we took their advice.

The Polish military guards were delighted to see us, and we were processed within minutes. It was a valuable metaphor about imperialism, and how in those days, it ran in both directions.


After another week in West Berlin, it was August, and time to cross into East Berlin for my work assignment. By early September, I was in Copenhagen visiting friends. There followed a swing through Western Europe and Ireland, and a brief foray back into Czechoslovakia and Hungary. In mid-November, somewhat exhausted, I was back in Denmark.

Snacks and beers were gathered, and we sat around the television and watched news reports of the Berlin Wall being pulled down. Briefly we debated boarding a ferry and train to go there ourselves. It was only five or six hours away, and looked like a wonderful party. In the end, we decided against it. It was a party, but it was theirs, not ours.

Certain things were ending, and others beginning – both with Europe, and my own life. I returned home, and the cycle of trip planning began anew.

Solidarity, Duke Ellington and Dracula, or learning about history by reading the NYT obituaries.

When I passed through Poland in 1989, Gen. Jaruzelski remained on top, but the elections in which Solidarity was victorious had already been held, and the clock was ticking.

NYTimes: Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, Solidarity’s Foil, Dies at 90

General Jaruzelski earned a villainous place in history when he suppressed Poland’s powerful Solidarity labor movement, but was later consoled by the idea that his reputation would improve.

Who'd have imagined that Duke Ellington's suave male vocalist from the 1940s still lived? The life of Herb Jeffries informs us about race in America.

NYTimes: Herb Jeffries, ‘Bronze Buckaroo’ of Song and Screen, Dies at 100 (or So)

Mr. Jeffries sang with Duke Ellington and starred in early black westerns using a nickname that evoked his malleable racial identity.

I read Professor Florescu's first Dracula exploration at a very young age.

NYTimes: Radu Florescu, Scholar Who Linked Dracula and Vlad the Impaler, Dies at 88

Professor Florescu wrote books that sought to identify Vlad, the 15th-century monarch, as the historical inspiration for Bram Stoker’s antihero.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Six community-building event lessons" that we generally ignore.

There are good points in this article pertaining to how to get things done with meetings. I've culled the six lessons and provided bullet points. How often do the many merchant/community meetings in New Albany take these into consideration?

Six community-building event lessons learned from the Good Hundred Experiment, by Tad (The Local Good)

Lesson #1: Have a clear objective and perspective
There are few things worse than bringing together a group of amazing people and saying, “We should all do something together. What you do you all think it should be?” That way lies madness. You can get away with that move once. Maybe twice. But after that, your credibility is gone. Those events are largely a waste of people’s time.

Lesson #2: Pick your people carefully
Over the years, I’ve learned that, outside of a clear intention based on a need in the community, 90 per cent of an event’s success is about who’s in the room.

Lesson #3: Have a clear schedule and structure, but don’t overschedule
If the focus of the day is clear, it’s much easier to create the schedule and flow of the event.

Lesson #4: Uniqueness is not a weakness. Diversity makes us stronger.
We believe that diversity gives us more points of view. It makes us wiser and our solutions better. It helps complicate things in the most wonderful way. It gives our projects and perspective subtle nuances they would never have had before.

Lesson #5: Celebration!
It can be easy to get caught up in work, work, work. But so much of the glue that holds communities together comes from informal socialization and celebration.

Lesson #6: Reflection — bringing in the harvest
We take time regularly to reflect on our event. What went well? What went poorly? Ask for feedback.

London as an urban national park, New Albany as an open air museum.

And then there's the Main Street Deforestation Project. You know -- something New Albany actually grasps.

Why Greater London should be made into an urban national park, by Daniel Raven-Ellison (Guardian Professional)

London is 47% green space. If it became the first national park city issues such as obesity and climate change could be tackled

Last year I visited all 15 of the UK's national parks. I explored windswept tors, hidden gorges, wild waters and enjoyed the view from the top of Britain's highest peaks. During this journey I could see something was missing: a major urban habitat.

Covering up to 7% of the UK, urban areas are recognised by Natural England as a distinct habitat, and by that definition London is truly remarkable. The population of 8.3m shares the city with 13,000 species of wildlife that inhabit the conurbation's 3,000 parks, 30,000 allotments, two national nature reserves, 36 sites of special scientific interest and 142 local nature reserves.

A massive 47% of London is green space, making it one of the greenest cities in the world for its size. It is home to the world's largest urban forest and its 3.8m gardens cover 24% of the capital.

Class with Chef: The official press release.

First there was this:

Local joys of cooking at Every Day Fresh.

Then there was this:

Foodie foreshadowing & denouement: Class With Chef.

Now there is the official press release. The notion of cooking classes held in a bookstore with a fully functional kitchen is entirely logical, isn't it? It's also fascinating to watch as businesses evolve, seeing as I have a stake in just such a transformation.

Take it away, Class with Chef.



NEW ALBANY, Ind. – Southern Indiana is rapidly becoming a hotbed for culinary entrepreneurs and starting next month, home cooks (and wannabe cooks) can join in the excitement.

Every Day Fresh, the food consultancy of Chef Gina Brown, is launching “Class with Chef” in a space once occupied by a popular New Albany soup and sandwich shop. Group classes on kitchen and culinary skills will begin on Thursday, June 5, at 6 p.m.

Brown, a veteran of professional kitchens and a long-time New Albany resident, spent more than a year looking for a kitchen where she could offer hands-on instruction. “We want to show people how much joy there is in cooking great food,” she said. “The best way to learn about food is to get your hands messy and with a Chef Instructor on hand to help, we think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The chef is already offering meal planning and food shopping excursions to private clients. “We wanted to expand those services into a group setting,” she said, “and now we think we have the perfect place to do that. We’re excited to extend the Every Day Fresh concept to a more social environment.”

Class with Chef will launch in the former Dueling Grounds Café space inside Destinations Booksellers, 604 E. Spring St. in New Albany. Landlord Randy Smith said he and his wife had been looking for the right tenant and have always envisioned the kitchen, built in 2009, as a perfect incubator space. “Gina and I have talked, and we think there is still room for one or more part-time tenants,” he said, inviting inquiries from other food entrepreneurs looking for a chance to “prove a concept.”

For the time being, Chef Brown will be the sole instructor, with classes planned for Thursday evenings and Saturdays during the first month or so.

Brown is a graduate of Sullivan University with an A.S. in Baking and Pastry Arts and has more than two decades of experience in professional kitchens. She is currently a Chef Instructor at Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg, Ind., and has previously taught at Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky., and the Prosser Career Education Center in New Albany. She is also a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor.

Classes are by reservation only and fees will run from $35 to $75 a person, depending on the class description, and includes all materials and equipment use. Customers can also purchase classes as a gift for a friend or loved one. Each class is limited in size to ensure adequate instructional time for each customer. Group rates are also available.

The June 5 class is Pie Making 101 and includes instruction in making the perfect flaky crust. Each class member will make a classic Spring pie and a galette (rustic tart) to take home.

The Saturday classes on June 7 and June 14 are called “Follow Me to the Market,” and features a guided trip to New Albany’s Downtown Farmers’ Market where Chef Brown will guide the selections for each class member to make a seasonal, locally-sourced meal.

For details on classes and to reserve a spot in an upcoming class, call Chef Brown at (812) 697-0266 or visit Every Day Fresh can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A fresh round of bald-faced lies from the Floyd County Health Department's resident Red Shirts.

Speaking of Boomtown, I haven't even mentioned the Floyd County Health Department.

Last year, the Red Shits specifically informed beer vendors that hand sanitizer and wet wipes were sufficient to pour beers, along with a non-statutory permit that is 100% bogus according to no less an authority than the Indiana attorney general (a ruling the FCHD refuses to heed). Now, the very same bureaucrats say we must have a hot water hand washing station, and in familiarly Orwellian fashion, they state that this was true last year, too -- just like last year, they said they'd always been enforcing fraudulent permits, when a public records request showed they hadn't.

That's why, as an entity, the FCHD is a lying piece of mongrel cur's feces -- and you can tell 'em I said so.

My new favorite downtown New Albany dish is ...

It's Sashimi Flatbread from Dragon King's Daughter, as shown in the two front carry-out containers. That's a pint of Beak's Best Bitter, and we're dining on the veranda at Bank Street Brewhouse following the Boomtown Ball on Sunday.

Indiana University Southeast on athletic diversity: "If You Can Play."

I rarely do college sports touts, but this one's an exception.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Boris Johnson gets his folkloric clogs on.

Boris Johnson is a blowhard, and it isn't readily apparent that his conclusion follows the premises, but no matter; you have to hand it to him for using the word "jacquerie" in the year 2014.

And his hair is longer than mine.

European elections 2014: This is one peasants’ revolt that Brussels can’t just brush aside, by Boris Johnson (The Telegraph)

... There is a kind of peasants’ revolt going on, a jacquerie. From Dublin to Lublin, from Portugal to Pomerania, the pitchfork-wielding populists are converging on the Breydel building in Brussels – drunk on local hooch and chanting nationalist slogans and preparing to give the federalist machinery a good old kicking with their authentically folkloric clogs. There are Greek anti-capitalists and Hungarian neo-fascists and polite German professors who want to bring back the Deutschemark. They are making common cause with Left-wing Italian comedians and Right-wing Dutch firebrands and the general slogan is simple: down with technocracy, down with bureaucracy, and give power back to the people!

"If you think it’s too expensive to take care of our veterans, then don’t send them to war."

Bernie Sanders: Help Vets on Memorial Day, by Ruth Conniff (Progressive)

One way streets bow to the imperative of a Boomtown beer run.

The first time we needed backup kegs at Boomtown, we sent Josh.

The second time, it was a bit more serious -- with David at the wheel.

It was that kind of day.


Photo credit: Production Simple

Well, THAT was something, wasn't it? If I heard it once, I heard it one hundred times in varying combinations of words:

"Boomtown was Harvest Homecoming that doesn't suck.

Production Simple's coda late last night pretty much recaps matters on Sunday.

Thank you and goodnight from the historic Grand Theatre in beautiful downtown New Albany, and from the first Boomtown Ball & Festival ever! Special thanks to Houndmouth for not only curating an amazing festival, but also for playing one heck of a show to a capacity crowd in their hometown. Thanks to the City of New Albany, the numerous bands that played throughout the day, our generous sponsors including WFPK, and last but certainly not least, everyone that made it out at any point today -- we sincerely appreciate all of the love and local support...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Boomtown Ball today, Houndmouth tonight ... and Flea Off, bands, beer and things.

Houndmouth says: Come out all day to Boomtown Ball and pick up one of these amazing Madpixel Art and Design prints. Only 200 available."

If you haven't already heard, Houndmouth's evening show at The Grand tonight is sold out. But there will be eight hours of merriment before that, free of cover charge.

Houndmouth curated the musical lineup, and Production Simple did the rest. The Flea Off Market will run inside the enlarged all-ages "beer garden" area, within which there'll be food and ...

The Boomtown Tavern is a cooperative venture between NABC, JR's Pub, Irish Exit, Feast BBQ and 502 Winery, with a percentage of proceeds helping to start our New Albany food and drink non-profit. Outside the fenced-in festival area, many downtown shops and eateries will be open, some of them observing special hours.

At Bank Street Brewhouse, we've scheduled an unveiling.

Houndmouth bombers are the first bottling of what is projected to be regular 22-oz availability for NABC's Session Series (also Beak's Best Bitter, Community Dark and Tafelbier) of low-gravity beers. These will be sold exclusively at our two locations, so look for them later this summer.

Don't forget that in less than a week, on Friday, May 30, this summer's concert series (staged by Production Simple) begins at Bicentennial Park. NABC will be vending at the park, along with River City Winery, Irish Exit and JR's Pub.

Meanwhile, a block away ...
Big Four Burgers joins forces with NABC for Friday evening food at Bank Street Brewhouse

Beginning on Friday, May 30, Big Four Burgers will have its new mobile burger trailer parked outside Bank Street Brewhouse on the very same Fridays as the concert series. Burger hours will be from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., allowing music lovers to have a Big Four burger and NABC progressive pint before or after the musical performances just down the street.

Indiana as Deep South wannabe.

Before Hoosiers like me prematurely crow at the expected nearby state appearing therein, we need to take a look at the list. Let's hear it, Mike Pence ... and St. Daniels.

Drum roll please: With a few stray exceptions, we're looking at stupidity, poverty and Republican Party hegemony in this bottom ten.


The 10 Dumbest States in America, by Tony Owusu (The Street)

Here is a list of the 10 "dumbest" states based on percentage of the population with Bachelor's degrees.

Erika swoons as Todd Bailey returns as police chief.

The last time Todd Bailey's name appeared at NAC, it was attached to one of Professor Erika's whacked-out-standing-men lists. Luckily for Todd, unlike some of her previous honorees, he wasn't dead yet.

Having served his political penance, Todd is back as police chief. I thought he had some good ideas last time, so here's to the reprise.

Todd Bailey named New Albany Police Department chief; The former chief was named to replace Sherri Knight, by Jerod Clapp (Suwannee Democrat)

NEW ALBANY — Todd Bailey will again take the position of New Albany’s chief of police after Sherri Knight’s reassignment Tuesday.

Bailey, who was the chief immediately preceding Knight, was named as the department’s leader in a news release from Mayor Jeff Gahan’s office today, May 24. Kenneth Fudge, who was the chief of detectives, will serve as deputy chief and William Popp will remain the uniform division commander ...

... Bailey openly campaigned for Irv Stumler for mayor in the 2011 Democratic Party Primary. After Gahan was elected, he was reassigned as the department’s second-shift commander.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Big Four Burgers joins forces with NABC for Friday evening food at Bank Street Brewhouse."

It is the first of what I hope will be many ways that we can partner with local food purveyors, pairing our beers with their culinary expertise. Throw in some advocacy, music, board games, art, lectures, brewery tours, politics and an ordinary sunny day with a pint and cigar in Lloyd's Landing, and our decision to shutter the kitchen will make more sense.

Big Four Burgers joins forces with NABC for Friday evening food at Bank Street Brewhouse

Beginning on Friday, May 30, Big Four Burgers will have its new mobile burger trailer parked outside Bank Street Brewhouse on the very same Fridays as the concert series. Burger hours will be from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., allowing music lovers to have a Big Four burger and NABC progressive pint before or after the musical performances just down the street.

Matters of the facade, 2: Haircut and shave, two bits.

I began Friday morning as above. Then this happened.

A few scissor cuts and random razor swipes later, I emerged like this, all inoffensive and corporate.

It was for a good cause, and I recommend you join me in making a donation to Camp Quality. Give Strandz & Threadz a shout, and they'll tell you how.

Strandz & Threadz in New Albany hosts their annual Cuts for a Cure May 23 (WDRB)

Matters of the facade, 1: BSB.

It would be nice to have a medieval guild sign like Spezial's (photo credit: Brewsreporter):

While I'm at it, a building like that would be nice, too. But ours is fine, and Tony is in the process of painting the long-awaited sign.

When he's finished, I'll post the results.

The sidewalk of New Albany's future is for 18-wheelers.

New Albany's plan is to use sidewalks as passive/aggressive energy generators.

I'm joking.

I think.

The Sidewalk of the Future Is Not So Concrete, by Nate Berg (City Lab)

... Some cities have started to rethink the traditional sidewalk as a result. Local governments and technology companies all over the world are considering new ways of building pedestrian pathways that go beyond the common mix of cement and aggregate we know as concrete. These materials have broadened not only how cities construct sidewalks but also the very notion of what a sidewalk can be. They can now enhance walkability, generate renewable energy, and improve public safety, even as they withstand all those tree roots that have been breaking concrete slabs for decades.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Speaking of food: "The secret of the Mediterranean diet?"

Of course, the other relevant aspect of the Mediterranean diet is how good it tastes. As someone who has been eating what he likes, just less of it; drinking what he likes (same tactic); and walking every chance he gets, there is much in this commentary to CHEW on.

The secret of the Mediterranean diet?, by Joanna Blythman (The Guardian)

Whoop-de-doo, researchers at King's College London and the University of California claim to have identified the "secret" underpinning the oft-quoted healthfulness of the Mediterranean diet. From their lab tests on mice (not just any old mice, genetically modified ones) they conclude that when olive oil and vegetables are eaten together, they form nitro fatty acids that help lower blood pressure – a risk factor for heart disease – by blocking the enzyme epoxide hydrolase.

Hmm. That whole thing about the Mediterranean diet -- where does that come from , anyway?

The longevity of Mediterranean populations, we were assured, was explained by their high consumption of fruit and vegetables (true), and low consumption of red meat and saturated fat (false).

In fact, no sentient visitor to southern Europe could fail to notice the reliance on fatty lamb, full-fat yoghurt and cheese (feta, mozzarella, manchego, pecorino), kebabs and slow-cooked red meat dishes, such as the Greek beef stifado. Even vegetables come stuffed with red meat. Yes, monounsaturated olive oil is the default oil of the Mediterranean region, but a serious amount of saturated fat is eaten too.

Modern perceptions of the Mediterranean diet stem from observation of dietary traditions in Crete, Greece, and southern Italy in the 1960s, when people were physically active, spent lots of time outdoors and ate shared communal meals of fresh, seasonal, homecooked, locally produced foods. That's not the same thing as bolting down a huge plate of pasta in a cook-in sauce, followed by a high-sugar, reduced-fat yoghurt, while watching MasterChef on the settee.

In the preceding paragraph, the underlining is mine, especially the "physically active" part. Following is the coda:

We may not know yet with great certainty what is good for us, but using our own powers of observation, it is crystal clear what is bad for us: a diet of processed, industrialised junk food.

Foodie foreshadowing & denouement: Class With Chef.

Just the other day I took a glance at Gina Brown's Every Day Fresh, and while aware that further connectivity was afoot, the exact dimension was not known to me.

These two posts at the Destinations Booksellers blog tell the tale, and it is an encouraging development, indeed.

First, a tease ...

Ann and I Are Expecting

For some readers, this will come as a jarring shock. For others, it will bring tears of laughter to imagine us bringing a little one into this world.

No, it’s not what you’re thinking, except perhaps metaphorically.

Since 2004, we’ve tried to create a place for community, bending our backs to recruit, nurture, and facilitate the efforts of creators, whether they be communitarians, authors, or entrepreneurs bringing unique products and services to our city. And let there be no illusions: creators are the soul of a city.

There is always a dividing line between the creators and the looters, and hardly anyone qualifies as neither. One is either building and creating or one is extracting and looting.

We like to encourage the creators and it has long been our dream to build an incubator where they can do their thing without undue risk and with some infrastructure support.

... then, the hook.

A Kitchen Reborn: Welcome “Class With Chef”

It’s the culmination of a dream for Chef Gina Brown of New Albany. After more than 30 years as a professional and more than ten years as a chef instructor, Chef Brown is launching her own business and we at Destinations Booksellers are excited to become co-tenants with her.

Every Day Fresh with Chef Gina Brown is proud to announce the opening of “Class With Chef” [] in the former kitchen space of Dueling Grounds Cafe inside Destinations Booksellers.

Houndmouth: Shane Cody speaks.

And Kevin Gibson is right there.

Houndmouth brings it on home for the Boomtown Ball, by Kevin Gibson (LEO Weekly)

Houndmouth performs Sunday in a triumphant homecoming at the city’s Boomtown Ball & Festival, a daylong downtown celebration. We caught up with drummer/vocalist Shane Cody on the road a couple of weeks ago. He greeted us by saying, “It’s good to see a 502 area code.”

Thursday, May 22, 2014

ON THE AVENUES: Complexities and simplicities in Boomtown.

ON THE AVENUES: Complexities and simplicities in Boomtown.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Friday is a very important day. That’s because I’m getting a haircut. Personally, it is slated to be a timely and symbolic act, considering that my year to date has constituted a journey from complexity to simplicity – and for me, taking care of foot-long hair has become far too complicated.

This hirsute situation, which has taken several years to create, will be rectified in short order with the generous assistance of Strandz & Threadz, which will be staging its annual Cuts for a Cure. My original aim was to solicit donors for the occasion, but unfortunately the daily grind has been a bit too … well, complicated, so instead, I’ll make a donation on behalf of those friends who would have been subjected to the hard sell. It’s simpler that way.


By all rights, Tuesday should have been a day for New Albanians to triumphantly remind the world that while Jeffersonville’s connecting ramp to the Big Four Bridge finally was open, those many months of barred, inaccessible ineptitude could not possibly be forgotten – and, by comparison, New Albany still had its act together as the Brooklyn/Hoboken/Boomtown/Not Jeffersonville of the Falls Cities.

In fact, one can conceive of only a handful of ways for us to flush such a commanding lead in the waning seconds, among them photos of a Democratic grandee in bed with a sheep, a Padgett truck wedged into two Spring Street buildings while trying to make a turn, or 387 Little Leaguers forming a human chain across the Plan Commission.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and somewhere in the world an elderly Franco Harris donned a Red Devils uniform, grinning broadly in approval as we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, yielding the usual media spin:

Reporting from Jeffersonville:
Look at these delighted folks crowding the Big Four in their spandex with Bibles, ice cream cones and homespun drooling.

Reporting from New Albany:

Two days later, it has gotten even more Byzantine. Sifting through the usual stenography from the same Jimmy Olsens:

First, a police officer registered a complaint over alleged incidents some years back, and threatened a lawsuit.

Next, the chief of police suddenly quit for “family” reasons, followed by her second in command, albeit of a different family.

Then, a grand jury made a report on a recent alleged episode involving a police officer, but declined to issue an indictment.

An agoraphobic City Hall seemingly shaken to its core by the grudging necessity of appearing in public to address any issue other than “quality of life” in EDIT-funded parks gradually rushed forward to reassure the citizenry that each of these policing occurrences took place in a hermetically sealed vacuum similar to that surrounding municipal parks construction decision-making.

Now our choices are to ignore these protests of non-linkage and retreat to our favorite watering holes to formulate conspiracy theories, a habit sometimes referred to by cultural anthropologists as the “old lady Internet troll with dangling cigarette” theorem, or to go even deeper by pondering which is worse, multiple acts of weirdness taken together or separately?

As far as I’m concerned, it’s Rosenbarger’s fault, and nothing a few bump-outs wouldn’t cure.

But seriously: At this precise moment, the only thing crystal clear about any of it is that we’ll have a new police chief. Beyond that, it’s all innuendo and murk. I’m not jumping to conclusions.

When we’re finished gossiping, might someone – City Hall, police department, Democratic central committee, Kim Jung-un – take an interest in the escalating speeds on our almost entirely unenforced one-way arterial streets?


This brings me to Sunday, when there’ll be a new event downtown called the Boomtown Ball and Festival. Boomtown is the brainchild of Houndmouth, a Southern Indiana musical group with strong ties to New Albany. The city has played a leading role in this celebration, as with the Bicentennial Park Concert Series, which begins on Friday, May 30.

On Sunday evening, the band will play a sold-out indoor show at The Grand. During the afternoon preceding Houndmouth’s performance, other bands will play on an outdoor stage at Market and Third, as selected and booked by Houndmouth and Production Simple, while in the farmers market space and on Bank Street, there will be vendors of all varieties as organized and arranged in the loose aggregation known as the Flea Off Market. It’s an all-ages, all-interests event.

A consortium of downtown food and drink businesses will operate the Boomtown Tavern, located within the confines of the farmers market pavilion. Owing to Indiana state law, the entire Boomtown festival will be located within a fence and enclosures, but of course, the full range of downtown’s independent businesses are a short walk away. Many of them will observe special Sunday opening hours for the occasion.

In a conceptual sense, if the Boomtown festival were to declare its relationship status, the likely choice would be “It’s Complicated.” Nothing about it has been simple, and yet the day slowly is coming together. By Sunday, we’ll be ready to muddle through it, and I’m sure everything will work out acceptably.

It’s worth remembering that when it comes to serving the cause of simplicity, communication goes a very long way toward reducing complexity to manageable levels, if not eliminating it outright. During the course of my involvement with Boomtown, I’ve tried to make decisions and urge solutions on the basis of more communication, not less, and in the simple recognition that downtown stakeholders already have issues with unanswered questions pertaining to pre-existing impositions (read: Harvest Homecoming) without needing any more of them.

I’m hoping that in spite of the many rough spots experienced while planning and executing this complicated first-time event, all those working so hard to make it happen will learn from the input offered by those doing business downtown, every day of the year. I can’t speak for everyone, but it has been revealing for me.

Downtown has changed, and we just can’t persist in top-down planning without seeking some measure of consensus first, from those who stand to be affected by the actions being considered. Granted, the Boomtown Ball will bring commerce downtown on a Sunday, and of course, that’s a good thing, but it must be grasped by those in positions of authority that starting the Ball rolling by emphasizing the importance of a Louisville-based flea market – a fine and reputable institution in its own right – sent an immediate and frankly insulting signal to local merchants, which sounded like this: “We’re not good enough here, so we’ll bring in someone else’s panache.”

No, this was not the city’s intent. However, it was ill-considered just the same, and it has complicated every step of the process since.

Simplicity? Please, and here’s an example.

“Do you mind if we use your space?”

Give me fried chicken, and stop with the top-down beautification propaganda -- both of you.

The single most relevant element that no one at all -- Jeff, Letty, Irv -- seems to understand is that the elusive "wow" factor comes when the excitement bubbles up from the grassroots as populated by dozens of diverse points of view, rather than being dictated from above, whether "above" means one official city group or another temporary collection of volunteers.

Can we be reality-based for just a moment? The planters in question simply cannot be described as "cosmopolitan" without the use of hallucinogenic chemicals, ever -- and my saying so doesn't imply I agree with their removal, only that offering us yet another two-party "solution" makes a strong case for vacating town, not volunteering.

(The independent mayoral campaign platform writes itself)

The problem here goes way beyond Dale Moss's dogged analysis. It remains a case of either this or that; City Hall vs. Clean and Green in a struggle over which elitists decide what "cleaner" and "prettier" and "attractive" mean. Meanwhile, the city's unforgivably obtuse and dysfunctional infrastructure pushes right back to make everything nastier, 24 hours each day, negating well-meaning efforts even if we agreed on the definition of well-meaning.

Fix the damn streets first -- then argue about flowers afterward. Until the infrastructure is made right, this entire argument is a waste of newsprint and time.

MOSS: A plea for ‘green peace’, by Dale Moss (Ad Express & Daily Iowegian)

Two groups commit to making New Albany cleaner and prettier. Beats having none, for sure.

One group would be better.

That way, everything is shared, not split. There’s only cooperation, not competition. One vision, one budget and one set of volunteers ready to work up a sweat better leads to the one ideal.

I count on a merger/peace treaty/meeting of the dueling green thumbs. Please.

Praise the Lord and pass the Hoptimus, it's a miracle! Sister Hicks' sidewalk escapes Rosenbarger's (wrecking) Balls.

Gravel to the left of it ...

 ... debris to the right ...

 ... here it is, stuck in the middle, mon Dieu! But let's have a closer look before looking away in disgust.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

John Rosenbarger's crowning achievement, the Main Street Deforestation Project, continues to amaze and excite.

Other tourist haunts on Denuded Street remain verdant and cloistered.

Meanwhile, the heavy trucks speed through Spring and Elm, and the city says and does nothing.

Welcome to Nawbony: We're all here because we're not all there.

Red face, white flag and a thin blue line.

On the very same day that local media delighted in snapping 467 look-alike photos of citizens walking the just-now-walkable Big Four Bridge in Jeffersonville, the city of New Albany also made headlines, and like so often, they weren't flattering.
New Albany police chief Knight stepping down, by Grace Schneider (C-J)

New Albany police Chief Sherri Knight, the city’s first woman chief, is stepping down, Mayor Jeff Gahan announced in a brief statement Tuesday afternoon.

Knight has requested reassignment to her former position in the detective division, and a new chief will be named soon, Gahan’s administration said.

Assistant New Albany Police Chief Greg Pennell also requested reassignment Tuesday, according to city spokesman Michael Hall.

You can take a city out of medieval times, but ...

WDRB covered the story here: Top New Albany police officials request reassignment.

Naturally, during the course of crediting itself for breaking the story and promising vengeful wrath to come (between cigarette breaks), Freedom of Speech is jubilant.

As the various police department stories unfold during the coming weeks, it's going to be quite interesting to watch as the Gahan administration attempts to control the flow of information. If the past two and a half years have proven anything, it's that City Hall as currently populated is deeply (and perhaps pathologically) suspicious of transparency.

Of course, sunlight is the single best deterrent to scandal. Note this Fb comment by WDRB's Chris Turner.

That word, "contentious." We may be seeing more it it.

Local joys of cooking at Every Day Fresh.

How's this for foreshadowing?

"Still gotta keep it under wraps, but big things are happening!!! I'll have a huge announcement a week from tomorrow."

That puts it around the 26th. Meanwhile, you can read Gina Brown at her blog ...

Welcome to Every Day Fresh

My name is Gina Brown, and I want to show you and your family how to live healthfully and tastefully. Nothing makes me happier than teaching someone the joys of cooking. If you know someone who needs a little help in the kitchen, or a new bride/groom that wants to learn how to make some basic meals. I can show you how easily it is to stock your pantry, so you can create fantastic, yummy meals.

... and at Facebook.

Every Day Fresh

One of my favorite Julia Child quotes really sums up how I feel about food, ”Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun.” I want to help you find the fun in cooking!

Can't wait for that announcement.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Welcome to the Home of Super Bowl XVI.

It just seems like such a waste. How many homes for humans might be built out of what soon will be imploded?

By the way, Super Bowl XVI was played in 1982, and won by the 49ers over the Bengals.

Photo essay: The anti-social nature of dog poop in the grassy verge.

We don't own dogs. We own cats, and they poop in boxes. It is my view, one reinforced recently by yard signs in the neighborhood, that letting your dog defoul the urban landscape in the height of numbskullery. For instance, there's the pockmarked Cesar's Folly.

Let me tell you, the dog pictured above apparently consumed White Castles by the sack the evening prior to being photographed. The young lady girl stared at her phone throughout, then finally corralled the surely 5-lbs-lighter canine and started walking up the street, eastbound -- roughly 20 yards, before swinging left and entering a house within urinating distance of her pooch's reeking pile.


I like dogs just fine.

It's people I detest.

Business association meeting this morning at Bread and Breakfast.

I meant to get this out yesterday, but even though the meeting in question starts in less than an hour, (a) know that there are people trying to facilitate communications in the downtown indie business community, and (b) slide on over if you have the chance. If you're interested in being on the e-mail list, let me know, and I'll pass it along. 



As the businesses continue to grow in our Downtown New Albany district, we feel the need to come together as one for casual, monthly communication meetings.

The meetings should last no more than one hour. They'll provide a great opportunity to greet your neighbor, brainstorm and become aware of events and happenings in Downtown New Albany. In time, we may agree to meet less often and perhaps an occasional evening.

*Business Association Meeting - Tuesday Morning, May 20 at 8:30 AM. We will meet at Bread and Breakfast, 157 East Main St.*

We got off to a great start last month, we're still learning and growing as we go can see last month's letter below for additional details.

Last month began our monthly "Night Out New Albany" evening events. Our businesses have extended hours on that evening, inviting folks to Shop, Dine and Discover Downtown New Albany!

*The next, Night Out New Albany will be held on Friday, June 13 from 5-8 PM*

*The Boomtown Ball and Festival will take place, this Sunday on May 25 - please visit Boomtown Ball for more information. This should be a fabulous event for our Downtown New Albany!*

If you don't see one of our business neighbors listed on this email, please feel free to forward or pass this information along to them. We appreciate being made aware, so they can be added to the list.

Please "like" and share Night Out New Albany on Facebook ...good things are happening!

Thanks to all, we hope to see you tomorrow morning.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Joe Zawinul, his symphony, the Roma and food.

A few weeks ago, I picked up the late Joe Zawinul's symphony, Stories of the Danube. The fifth section is called "Gypsy," as in the Roma people, to whom Zawinul traced at least part of his own lineage as a part Sinti (guitarist Django Reinhardt is the most famous Sinti musician).

Oddly, all this struck me rather forcefully on Sunday while dining at the German Cafe in French Lick, because I ordered delectable Zigeunerschnitzel, which features a hearty paprika sauce. The German word translates as Gypsy Schnitzel, and as it turns out (unsurprisingly) is not as savory in connotation as the meal in French Lick.

We are against the word "Zigeuner"

The Roma (including Sinti; read this report from Cologne) were viewed as racially inferior, and harshly treated in Nazi Germany. It is believed that 25% of the approximately one million Roma living in Europe before World War II died in the Holocaust.

For deeper reading, this book is 20 years old, but invaluable: Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey, by Isabel Fonseca.

Zigeunerschnitzel may be politically incorrect, but enlightenment through cuisine remains an option, as in this encouraging story about Roma cooking.

Introducing Roma Cuisine, The Little-Known 'Soul Food' Of Europe, by Meghan Collins Sullivan (NPR)

 ... A development group in Slovenia has just opened the first large-scale Roma restaurant in Europe. Romani Kafenava in Maribor, Slovenia, began serving up traditional Balkan Romani dishes like stews and grilled meats in April.

Why Slovenia? About 12,000 of the small country's two million inhabitants are Roma. With more than 3,000 Roma, Maribor – Slovenia's second-largest city — has the biggest concentration of Roma in the country. As is the case with many countries in Europe, the Roma have long been ostracized here.

Rosenbarger giveth and He taketh away; thus shall autos be glorified at the Beechwood intersection with Charlestown Road.

Earlier this morning, we urged someone to tell John Rosenbarger that "Modern bike lanes call for modern reference guides."

Now, let's see how the Rasputin of Redevelopment applies such advice in daily practice. We begin with this newspaper story:

Busy New Albany intersection will soon be upgraded, by Chris Morris (The Moultrie Observer)

One of New Albany’s busiest intersections will soon receive a much needed upgrade, and most of the work will be paid for by the federal government.

The Indiana Department of Transportation met with New Albany city officials, engineering consultants, utility company representatives and contractors this week to coordinate implementation of a $214,792 Beechwood Avenue-Charlestown Road intersection improvement project. The work will include adding a left-hand turning lane on Charlestown Road to Beechwood and a new LED crosswalk and stop light.

Let's take a look at the aerial view.

If you look closely in the bottom left quadrant, you'll see bike lanes on both side of Charlestown Road between the Beechwood intersection. These lanes were triumphantly installed during the most recent England administration, after which the King drank a few bottles of wine. They extend roughly three blocks southwesterly, to terminate quite abruptly at Vincennes Street.

Now, look at this photo, top right-hand quadrant.

The bike lanes stopping short of the intersection on the southwest side do not begin anew until Lincoln Avenue on the northeast side; they run a few hundred yards further to the Silver Street intersection, where they end yet again.

Clearly, while there are two pedestrian crosswalks built into the current Beechwood intersection, there are no delineated bike lanes drawn through it.

Recalling that John Rosenbarger regularly has hailed this situation as proof of his urban design prowess, read on as Chris Morris gives us the LOL punch line.

The city did not have to buy right-of-way to expand the intersection. Rosenbarger said the bike lanes through the intersection will be absorbed for the road expansion.

But as the photos show, there are no bike lanes through the intersection. Three miniature bike lanes have dangled unconnected along Charlestown Road since being installed. In short, more (utter) bullshit, from the city's premier bullshit artist, who'll now point to the elimination of the non-existent as further evidence of his indispensable ability, even as he variously blames politicians, newspaper reporters, drivers, bicyclists, walkers, stupid commoners and the abominable snowmen for the nonsense -- just not that guy in the mirror.

Let's recap.

Useless bicycle lanes originally marked just a few years ago, which start and end nowhere, and that never were calibrated to guide a cyclist through an auto-centric intersection, now will be rendered even less useful than garden-variety useless ... with the compounded uselessness occurring just a few blocks from Monon Street, where there'll be a brand new park not connected in any way, shape or form to any non-automotive form of transport.

And, lest we forget, we're paying Jeff Speck $75,000 to explain just how useless this uselessness really is. Is it any wonder that few of us believe Speck's advice will be heeded?

It makes you wonder: Which Democratic central committee grandee lobbied for the automotive intersection to be made even more auto-centric?

Answer: Probably all of them.

Someone tell John Rosenbarger that "Modern bike lanes call for modern reference guides."

At the FAN Fair earlier this year, New Albany public works projects supervisor John Rosenbarger crowed unctuously about his shining record of installing bike lanes.

Typically, he did not add that most of them begin and end nowhere, rendering them largely meaningless; he also failed to mention that the most logical place for meaningful bike lanes would be as part of his pet Main Street Deforestation Project -- where none are included. It is to be surmised that Rosenbarger assumed the folks in attendance wouldn't know the difference. Unfortunately, I was there, and in fact, "fail" is the single best word to use in this instance.

The following infographic provides photos. These clearly illustrate that we've done next to nothing when it comes to bike lanes, apart from drawing lines, and failing even then (see: striped buffer). Photo credit is the story link.

14 WAYS TO MAKE BIKE LANES BETTER (THE INFOGRAPHIC), by Michael Andersen (People for Bikes)

Modern bike lanes call for modern reference guides.

With so many different methods being used to physically separate bike and auto traffic, the tradeoffs can seem countless. That's where this infographic comes in. One part inspiration and two parts catalog, it's intended for anyone who wants to quickly get up to speed on the most popular tricks being used by cities around the world to improve bike lanes.