Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Thanks for asking, Delta Air Lines. I'm happy to tell you how likely I am to recommend you to others.

Hello Roger,

We wanted to follow up on the opportunity to share your feedback regarding your experience on your flight from Atlanta (ATL) to Louisville (SDF) on February 22, 2018. We are committed to providing exceptional service on every flight and understand that we didn’t meet those expectations with a delayed arrival.


Please know that we are committed to providing exceptional service on every flight, and we appreciate hearing from valued customers like you. We ask that you share your thoughts regarding your recent flight experience by completing this short survey.


How likely are you to recommend Delta Air Lines to others?

Thanks for “reaching out” to me, Delta Air Lines.

On the evening of Thursday, February 22, we left Atlanta for Louisville roughly on time, to be informed by the captain that arrival at SDF might actually be a tad early.

This was welcome news. We’d already been awake for more than 20 hours since rising to depart Porto, Portugal for Amsterdam and Atlanta, and gratefully, we hit the runway in Louisville at 11:35 p.m., a full 20 minutes early.

Then we exited the plane – at 12:35 a.m., after waiting an entire hour for a gate to debark, which was explained to us by the captain as a case of other flights being diverted because of fog (with heavy rain predicted after midnight), and with one plane apparently sitting at our arrival gate with almost no workers present to move it out of the way.

He never explained why someone decided to park a plane at a gate where another flight would be due later that evening. If there is any justice in the world, it was an ex-employee.

We got to the car just as the rain started. The way back to New Albany took a bit; we were so long getting off the flight that the storm had moved in, and effective visibility on the interstate a few yards, with a speed of 35 mph.

A little after 1 a.m., we were home, where we rushed immediately upstairs to check on our elderly cat Hugo.

Wait – I forgot to mention that we’d been informed by the cat-sitter that our elderly cat Hugo didn’t look well, and the hour spent on the tarmac was vivid in my mind as we sadly found him lying dead. The circumstances strongly suggested that he passed after midnight. The faithful little guy tried to wait for us, but Delta had other ideas, so listen carefully, engorged multi-national corporation.

Neoliberalism and monopolies being what they are, and Louisville’s connections with Delta being pervasive, we have little realistic chance of boycotting Delta in the future. To claim such would be unrealistic, and I’m not in the mood to shake my fist at you.

Just know that I’ll never, ever forgive you for whatever staggering levels of incompetence led to a plane being parked where it shouldn’t have been, and for sitting on the ramp for a full hour, knowing our cat needed us, and being unable to get to him in time.

Fuck you, Delta Air Lines.

In the future, every time I authorize a payment for a flight, I’ll pause just for a second to honor Hugo’s memory, and I’ll look at the Delta logo, and I’ll repeat, perhaps as many as 16 times (his age): Fuck you, Delta Air Lines.

If it is humanly possible to “hate” a corporation, then be aware that I hate Delta Air Lines’ guts. Apart from that, the flight was just dandy.

Sincerely,

Roger

P.S. I see that there was no oval to be blacked in with my response to the question of whether I’d recommend Delta Air Lines to others.

The proper reply: I’d rather drink Miller Lite; if you know me, you know exactly what this implies: Fuck you, Delta Air Lines.

"Dianne Feinstein Isn’t Too Old—but She Is Too Out of Touch."


We know all too well.

Dianne Feinstein Isn’t Too Old—but She Is Too Out of Touch, by Miles Howard (The Nation)

It’s not her age that should disqualify her from reelection. It’s her political distance from the rising Democratic base.

Dianne Feinstein is the oldest sitting senator in America. She entered Congress in 1992 (when I was 4 years old). Today, at age 84, she is running for a fifth term in office, and a lot of people in the Golden State are unhappy about it—enough to deny Feinstein the state Democratic Party endorsement at this past Saturday’s convention.

Feinstein spent a great deal of that convention serving scrambled eggs to the delegates and giving speeches about her decades of legislative experience—which suggests that she still doesn’t get why her reelection bid hasn’t been embraced by all. Her primary opponent, State Senate President Kevin de León, put it bluntly during the convention when he proclaimed that “it’s time for a new generation to lead.”

He’s right.

 ... As with all aging politicians, it’s not Feinstein’s numerical age per se that is the problem. Rather, it’s her political distance from a Democratic base that is becoming younger and more progressive. Millennials and Gen Xers—who outvoted Baby Boomers in 2016 and will likely do so again this November—are a demographic that Democrats must turn out in high numbers. And the inconvenient reality for Feinstein is that her politics are not shared by this rising electorate. Her record of service, while impressively storied, contains highlights such as voting for the 1994 crime bill, voting for the Iraq War, giving the NSA carte blanche to spy on citizens, and recently writing a bill that would have required local authorities to comply with ICE.

Feinstein has made the case that her experience should be considered a powerful asset. But, with good reason, younger voters are skeptical of that argument. In American politics, decades of service in public office is often confused for a kind of civic meritocracy. Henry Kissinger, who should be considered a war criminal, still gets invited to black-tie dinners and Ivy League campuses. Hillary Clinton, a politician with dodgy judgment, was hailed as “the most qualified presidential candidate ever.” By this logic, someone like Feinstein should have been a shoo-in for the party’s endorsement.

But today’s young voters are looking for more than just experience for the sake of itself. These voters hold progressives views in high regard, but also consistency and integrity when it comes to those views—leaders whose politics, party affiliation, and actions are closely interlinked and non-contradictory ...

First Friday Concert at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library: Myra Craig and Owen Heritage, this Friday (March 3) at noon.


I've known Myra for a long time, and it's great to see her take advantage of the chance to perform music from the classical repertoire at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library. Kudos to the library for staging these shows. Count me in, although I'm not sure about where to score lunch. Alas, I'm sure beer isn't allowed.

First Friday Concert: Myra Craig & Owen Heritage
March 2, 2018
180 West Spring Street, New Albany, IN 47150
812-949-3522

Free lunchtime concert held the first Friday of the month at 12:00 noon at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library. March 2nd: Myra Craig (viola), Owen Heritage (piano). Program: Suite for Viola and Piano (Ralph Vaughan Williams); Suite no. 3 for Cello (J.S. Bach) – transcribed for viola; Sonata for Viola and Piano No. 1 (Christopher M. Wicks).

The First Friday Concerts are free and open to the public, and no registration is required. Feel free to bring your lunch. The concerts are co-sponsored by the Kentuckiana Association of Musicians and Singers, and Hastie Piano Service.

Looking for a place to get your food business started? The kitchen space at Destinations Booksellers is open.



Taco Steve is no more - if you have the right idea, as a tenant or as a partner, make an appointment to make your pitch. We are committed to use our "hatchery" to launch another restaurant here. It works.

For the uninitiated, Taco Steve has been operating for a couple of years in a complete and furnished kitchen and cafe area in the rear of Destinations Booksellers.

With Taco Steve's current move to the kitchen space at Bank Street Brewhouse, Randy and Ann are looking for "next."

For prospective food service operators, it might be an incubator arrangement, or a permanent location. All options are on the table, and a potential market of several hundred residents at The Breakwater is situated right across Spring Street (which carries automotive traffic and boasts bicycle lanes).

Destinations Booksellers
604 E Spring St
New Albany, Indiana
Call (812) 944-5116

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Can a dog's idiom mean two entirely different things?



Someone asked me about our cat Hugo's passing, and without thinking, I tossed back a bon mot:

"That feline led a dog's life."

First things first: maybe it's best for me to avoid humor when I'm jet-lagged ... and what the hell is a bon mot?

bon mot

bän ˈmō

noun: bon mot; plural noun: bon mots; plural noun: bons mots

a witty remark.

synonyms: witticism, quip, pun, pleasantry, jest, joke

origin: mid 18th century: French, literally ‘good word.’

I had no sooner uttered the words "a dog's life" than the raging doubts started. When we speak about a dog's life in this sense, do we mean it was a good existence (my intended connotation) or a bad one?

Actually, it can mean both such lives -- perhaps depending on when the speaker was born.

Noun: dog's life (plural dogs' lives)

(idiomatic) A miserable, wretched existence.

(idiomatic) A life of indolence where the individual may do as he or she pleases, just like a pampered dog.

Usage notes

Originally the term referred to the hard life of the working dog: sleeping in a damp barn, chasing rats and other intruders, living on scraps, etc. Today, however, it has in some circles acquired the completely opposite connotation indicated in sense 2.

I looked at a few other explanations off-line, and it seems that in the late 1990s, the view remained intact that "a dog's life" implies a short and unhappy one. Since then, the "pampered" definition seems to have gained ascendance.

We miss Hugo a lot, and maybe the truth of the matter is that he was a perfect exemplar of a "(house) cat's life," with the dogs having nothing whatever to do with it, whether indoors or outside.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Roadrunner Kitchen has opened; Double Barrel (bourbon bar) next on the agenda at 147 E. Main.


Kevin Gibson is spending a lot of time in New Albany.

New bourbon bar, Double Barrel, to open in former Match New Albany location, by Kevin Gibson (Insider Louisville)

Match Cigar Bar’s short stay in downtown New Albany won’t leave a vacancy for long: Double Barrel, a bourbon bar and lounge, hopes to open in the spot at 147 E. Main St. sometime in early March.

The aesthetic won’t change too much — much of the décor and furniture still remain, at least for the time being — but there won’t be smoking, and part of a wall was knocked out to facilitate an extra bar.

The place offers a serene, laid-back atmosphere bordered with exposed brick and accented with modern furniture and lighting. The copper-backed main bar is already loaded with dozens of spirits, with more to come.

The queue for pole position across Main Street from our forthcoming Anchor Inc civic HQ already has witnessed an opening: Roadrunner Kitchen, which got started yesterday in the space where Urban Bread used to be.

Roadrunner Kitchen set to open Monday in downtown New Albany, by Kevin Gibson (IL)

Stacie Bale is a proponent of fresh, locally sourced food — but she wants to make it clear that her new venture, Roadrunner Kitchen, is not a vegan restaurant.

A previous restaurant Bale owned and operated, Earth Friends Café, was regarded by many as a vegan establishment, even when there were few if any vegan restaurants open.

“We always had meat,” she said.

Roadrunner Kitchen, which she plans to open Monday, Feb. 26, in downtown New Albany along with business partner Sarah Hastings, will have veggie options, for sure, but it will also feature plenty of meat, cheese and other non-vegan items.

It's 30 years in the books; let the historical revisionism begin.


Special thanks to my wife Diana, to my friend and attorney Lisa Fleming, and to Stock Yards Bank & Trust for doing what MainSource Bank wouldn't.

And now, my special guests ...



Previously: THE BEER BEAT: At long last, my NABC business divorce is about to be finalized.

At Strong Towns: "The surprising difficulty our towns face when it comes to the basic task of informing residents about public meetings."



As we've seen countless times in the past, it begins with a measure of authenticity (often lacking in New Albanian ruling circles) with regard to genuinely desiring public input.

It extends through fiascoes like the famous potted Mt. Tabor project final gathering (above), when the city engineer finally mustered the candor to concede that decisions already had been made, but please, speak as much as you like so we can go home.

Time and again, Team Gahan has indicated its preference for pre-determined outcomes over give-and-take. There's a simple solution: #FireGahan2019

4 PROBLEMS WITH THE WAY GOVERNMENTS COMMUNICATE ABOUT PUBLIC MEETINGS, by Rachel Quednau (Strong Towns)

Last week, I shared my frustrations about how hard it is to find out about public meetings in my city. I was overwhelmed by how many people responded to the piece. Some shared similar concerns. Others offered their perspective on these challenges as government employees themselves. Today, I want to review this conversation about the surprising difficulty our towns face when it comes to the basic task of informing residents about public meetings, and talk about some concrete solutions based on everyone’s feedback.


  • 1. Requirements to publish public meeting notices in the local paper are very outdated.
  • 2. Communicating in a variety of media is helpful, but it can also confuse people.
  • 3. Restrictions on government communication make this whole process harder.
  • 4. Some people just don’t think residents want to be involved.

To basics:

This whole discussion is about an incredibly basic thing: Making sure residents know about public meetings that are being held so they can get information and provide their input. We haven’t even touched on the issue of how meetings are held: where and when, what sort of transportation is available, what sort of childcare is provided, etc. — all of which have a tremendous impact on the ability of residents to really participate in local decision-making. (Check out these two articles for more on that.) But I think if we can't even get the communication aspect right, we don't have any hope of getting the access, timing and location right.

One of the core tenets of a Strong Towns approach is that you can't build a strong city or town without strong citizens. Let's figure out how to keep those citizens informed about what's happening in their community so they can be part of making it better.

Monday, February 26, 2018

THE BEER BEAT: At long last, my NABC business divorce is about to be finalized.



Three years ago on this very day (February 26, 2015), I began letting go.

Media notice: Roger A. Baylor will take a leave of absence from NABC to run for mayor of New Albany.

Consequently, the first of many transitions on the path to come begins today. Effective immediately, I’m taking a leave of absence from the New Albanian Brewing Company (NABC), so as to devote my full attention to the campaign for mayor.

Five-odd months later, with a bit more time to think things over, the leave of absence became permanent.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2015

After a quarter century, Roger Baylor will move on from New Albanian Brewing Company, by Kevin Gibson (Insider Louisville)

... Roger Baylor, well known for his long career in beer and brewing, is now running for mayor of New Albany. If he wins, that will be his new focus. If not, well, he’ll look for another path to follow. Either way, his position as the public face of New Albanian has come to an end. He already had announced he would step away if he won the election — instead, he’s moving on ahead of the decision. It was simply time, he says.

As is my habit, I started trying to explain myself.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2015

A future mayor? An ex-brewery owner? 30 years later, there's another fork in the road, and I'm pumped.

Thirty years ago, I closed my eyes wide shut and jumped -- not so sure where or even if I'd land, but firm in the realization that I needed to do something to change my life.

Of course, NOTHING IN MY LIFE IS EVER SIMPLE.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2016

Another twist in the Great NABC Non-Buyout Saga 2016.

Today was a landmark of sorts in the history of the New Albanian Brewing Company. It's the last time I'll mention it, at least for a while. I've always tried to be transparent in these matters, and see no reason to stop at this late date ...

... Last summer, I announced my intent to sell my shares in both businesses to my two business partners, in the hope that negotiations with them in good faith prior to activating the provisions of our buy/sell agreement might keep a few dollars out of the hands of attorneys.

Unfortunately, these negotiations have not amounted to much, and in order to protect my interests, I have not yet initiated the timetable according to the mechanism specified in the buy/sell. This means that I remain 1/3 owner/shareholder in both businesses. In short, I continue to enjoy the all risks of ownership without any commensurate rewards.

And then another year and a half passed.

FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2017

THE BEER BEAT: The timeless wisdom of Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon.

It's colossally sad, and you wish it were possible for there to be a "do over," but there isn't, and in the end, that's life.

There's no sense in being bitter about things or people or feelings over which you have no control. When you know in your heart that you did your fair share, and your fair share mattered when it came to creating considerable value from absolutely nothing, then it really isn't about money, pride or reputation. It just is, and they can't take that away from you.

Now it's 2018, and tomorrow morning -- three years after I followed Dr. Freedman's advice to pull down my pants and slide on the ice -- my ass is FROZEN SOLID, and a bit chapped, but the exit transaction finally will be complete.

Just like that, 28 years (plus a couple of months, in all) of affiliation with NABC and its precursors officially will be put to rest. This is the same length of time that Bill Champlin was a member of Chicago (the band), but perhaps a better analogy is Peter Cetera, whose hit songs have been sung by a succession of replacement singers for more than three decades.

At least Cetera has enjoyed songwriting royalties. I'm settling for farthings and eternal notoriety, and if I'm lucky, everyone who ever said they'd buy me a beer now can join the queue at their earliest convenience.

As many readers already know, a new project has been gestating during this time of self-imposed exile. In some ways, I'm glad the process took so long. This allowed time to do much thinking, and to reconnect with Joe Phillips.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018

THE BEER BEAT: The twentieth Gravity Head begets a Pints & Union update.

Here's an update about the emerging Pints & Union project.

I learned a hell of a lot those first 25 years at NABC, and perhaps even more during the past three away from it. The time has come to put all of it to use. In addition to partnering with Joe at the pub, I'll continue to write, and to perform periodic free-lance beer advocacy.

It's time.

Thanks to everyone, and especially Diana. She's my rock, and her patience has been otherworldly.

LIVE TO EAT: "A Honky-Tonk Grows in St. Matthews" -- from Food & Dining Magazine.


When the latest issue of Food & Dining Magazine comes out ...

LIVE TO EAT: Read my stories about Chef Space and Tito's Handmade Vodka, and grab the latest issue of Food & Dining Magazine, out now.

... I go back to the previous edition and reprise my contributions. In this instance, it's Winter 2017 (Vol. 58; Nov-Dec-Jan), and profiles of Waylon's Feed & Firewater and Akasha Brewing Company (the latter appears elsewhere at NAC).

---

A HONKY-TONK GROWS IN ST. MATTHEWS

Legendary restaurateur Tony Palombino puts his brand on Waylon’s Feed & Firewater, reinventing the honky-tonk in his own urban neighborhood.

Perhaps the most important thing you need to know about Tony Palombino is his extraordinary ability to see what isn’t there.

Not mysterious ghosts or invisible bunnies, but undervalued restaurant niches waiting patiently to be spotted and filled.

For two decades, Louisville’s resident restaurant conjurer has been plucking creative concepts from the gloaming and bringing them to life, like award-winning gourmet pizzas served at evolving incarnations of BoomBozz Craft Pizza & Taphouse, and more recently, an explosive launch of Nashville-style hot chicken at Joella’s.

Even Palombino’s lesser-known efforts fathered memorable culinary innovations, whether healthy sandwich twists at Thatsa Wrapp, or ahead-of-their-time fish tacos from Baja Grill.

Those were then, and Waylon’s Feed & Firewater is now. It’s the second of Palombino’s loving homages to the honky-tonk hero in all of us; Waylon’s in St. Matthews is a spin-off of Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, which Palombino opened in downtown Louisville five years ago.

I believe Waylon’s and Merle’s have tapped onto a fascinating vein of geography, music, history and regional culture, taking us from the Great Plains through the Bible Belt and back, with bourbon, tacos, pedal steel guitars and even an ice-cold draft beer tossed in for good measure.

They’re all part of the distinctive legacy of the honky-tonk, which derives from America’s melting pot at its very finest.

I'll be there when they burn
The last honky-tonk down
In body, mind, and spirit
Under the table or under the ground
The fading echoes of a bar-room band
Might be the only sound
I'll be there when they burn
The last honky-tonk down
-- Wayne Mills, “The Last Honky Tonk”

The namesake of Palombino’s honky-tonk eatery is country music “outlaw” superstar Waylon Jennings, who was born in Littlefield, Texas, a town located in the Lone Star State’s panhandle near Lubbock and the Oklahoma state line.

It’s where honky-tonk originated, first as a dance hall or saloon with live music, then as a musical descriptor, with origins in country, boogie-woogie, western swing and southwestern ranchero.

In the 1930s, twin catastrophes of depression and dust bowl sent thousands of Oklahomans fleeing west in search of work. Many of these “Okies” turned up California’s Central Valley, particularly in Bakersfield, where their homegrown music became known as the Bakersfield Sound, famously performed by the likes of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos and Merle Haggard.

By his own admission, Palombino loves country music and is a huge fan of Haggard, hence the naming of Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen. However, in the beginning his downtown honky-tonk was called Manny and Merle – and Manny wasn’t even a musician.

Rather, Manny -- Manuel -- is a kitchen ace and longtime employee of Palombino’s, his contributions a reminder of the culinary influences of Latin America in both Bakersfield and Louisville.

Unsurprisingly, honky-tonk “feed” is as diverse as its musical pedigree: Mexican-derived tacos, carnitas, pico de gallo and chorizo; staples from the South like fried chicken, slaw, barbecue and green beans; and not to neglect heaping all-American platters of burgers and fries.

At Waylon’s, Palombino’s team has combined these influences into a crossover menu of honky-tonk comfort food.

A fresh (never frozen) house beef brisket burger blend goes into the Texas Gold Burger, named for a mustard-laced, vinegar-accented barbecue sauce and topped with bacon and cheddar.

Slow-roasted brisket gets top billing in two popular weekend brunch dishes: Hash A Go Go (with eggs) and Benny and Brisket, an Eggs Benedict adaptation served on skillet cornbread.

Southern Taters are like Kentucky poutine, with an Angel’s Envy barbecue sauce, sour cream and queso smothering tater tots, chicken and jalapeno. In the absence of flatware, extra napkins are recommended.

Both sweet and salty, thick-cut Candied Bacon can be a starter or dessert. It’s served with a side of Old Forester Bourbon maple glaze and is an obvious whiskey pairing.

Just about everyone at Waylon’s who isn’t a vegetarian agrees that the Green Chili Pork Taco is the crowd favorite, with pulled pork, green chili jam, garlic crema and cilantro. Other taco fillings from the restaurant’s Taco Stand include chicken, barbecued pork, flat iron steak and wild mushrooms.

The Mexican side of the Waylon’s appetizer selection further embraces three styles of homemade guacamole and El Jefe Nachos, the latter Spanish for “the chief,” and suitably addictive for cerveza.

The Boss Hog Burrito makes no mention of Rosco P. Coltrane, but is amply stuffed with roasted pork, bacon, chorizo, black beans and potatoes – and yes, there are salad options at Waylon’s, though the greens in the Cowboy Cob are obscured by grilled steak, bacon, eggs and avocado.

The kitchen crew at Waylon’s worked through Fruity Pebbles and several other breakfast cereals before choosing Frosted Flakes to crust Toast with the Most, French toast served with Old Forester whipped cream.

Along with the requisite honky-tonk liquid binders of bourbon, margaritas and beer, these and many other menu items combine to define Waylon’s Feed & Firewater, as conceived and steered by the ubiquitous Palombino, whose pathway to a career as a restaurateur actually began in far-off Naples, Italy – the birthplace of his parents.

Like so many others before them, they came to the United States and went into the restaurant business. Would son Tony follow in their footsteps? At first, it was a tad complicated.

A BUDDING RESTAURATEUR CONCEIVES HIS PLAYBOOK

In 1994, Palombino was out of school, young and restless, and unsure what to do next. After all, first-generation children don’t always remain in their immigrant parents’ small shops and stores.

Abruptly, a game-changing opportunity arose.

“I’d been in the restaurant business all my life up to that point, with my family,” Palombino remembered. “I got into the banking business, then I got a call from my mentor in Kansas City. He wanted to open a wood-fired pizza concept, which was unique for the time.”

Palombino went to Kansas City, and in 1995 he entered a specialty pizza into a contest sponsored by Pizza Today magazine – and won.

The trophy remains proudly displayed at Palombino’s office, and soon his phone was ringing off its pre-cellular hook.

“Pizza Today sent out a press release (to Kansas City media). People started calling, asking about the contest. Literally, within three of four days I was on every television station in Kansas City, and it was a lightbulb moment.”

To Palombino, the potential power of marketing was an epiphany, helping him to begin understanding the nuts and bolts of being in business. Creative cooking wasn’t enough; an owner/operator had to master the financial underpinnings of a restaurant as well as keep it in the public eye.

“That’s when I had this formula – what I call to this day ‘The Playbook’ – of building concepts,” he said. “I was able to take the best part of what I know, the creative part, and to do what I could to make it successful.”

Using his parents’ 700-foot St. Matthews storefront as an incubator, he kicked off BoomBozz in 1998, a pizzeria dedicated to “gourmet” pies in a market where traditional tomato sauce, pepperoni and extra cheese were the norms.

BoomBozz met with quick popular and critical acclaim, and has enjoyed continued growth over two decades. Still, Palombino hasn’t once hesitated to tweak a winning formula.

“As time goes by, you’ve got to reinvent yourself and stay relevant,” asserted Palombino, “and it gets harder every day.”

Consequently, keeping all of his restaurant concepts relevant is an obsession, and he knows it can’t be done alone.

“It’s all about the people who’ve been with me for five, ten, fifteen years. You don’t want to let them down. You want to have success because you want them to be successful, too.”

“It is about people, and it is about your staff,” continued Palombino. “It’s who you surround yourself with. If I didn’t have a support team, I’m not opening another restaurant.”

REFORMATTING THE HONKY-TONK FOR ST. MATTHEWS

Wayne Sweeney, a seasoned general manager, came to Waylon’s Feed & Firewater from Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen to do just that: open another restaurant.

“The team we formed at Merle's is what made Waylon's possible,” Sweeney told me.

“It’s believing in the process and following through. We want to be a great bar with great food. We pride ourselves on our diverse staff, outgoing personalities and vast knowledge of Bourbon.”

Behind the wooden expanse of the bar, more than 100 examples of Kentucky’s distilling heritage are arranged by family, and Bourbon is a prominent motif of the honky-tonk’s comfortable overall décor.

“I threw ‘firewater’ in there,” Palombino explained. “The uniqueness about that name is the original BoomBozz location in my parents’ little house, which for many years was a liquor store called Firewater – I wish I still had that sign!”

If he finds the sign, it’s sure to be on the wall somewhere in the barroom, which features plenty of rustic wooden design flourishes and is larger than it looks in spite of the musical stage in one corner. Between the barroom and the entryway is Waylon’s Garage, an airier space with windows and more light.

For the most part, the food and drink formula at Waylon’s already had been tested at Merle’s. According to Sweeney, “We talked about doing a few things different, like adding wine, but we decided to stay true to who we are.”

(It hadn’t occurred to me before: Can a honky-tonk even have a wine list and not be relegated to fern bar status?)

Moreover, why did Palombino decide on the Waylon’s brand extension in the first place?

He’d placed a BoomBozz in the space (“It was doing okay”), then took a second look at St. Matthews; true to form, Palombino saw something that wasn’t there.

“Whatever anybody says, St. Matthews is a nighttime destination. At nighttime past eleven at night, it’s all college kids coming out to party, except there was something missing, and that’s my age group that lives in St. Matthews.”

Palombino should know about local demographics. He grew up on Willis Avenue and graduated from Trinity High School, both situated within minutes of the present Waylon’s location.

“Is Waylon’s the place where I want to drink beer out of a plastic cup? No, that’s not what this place is,” Palombino said.

“This is where you, me and the wives can listen to some great live music, have some great food with decent pricing; maybe throw some brunch in there.”

STAKING A CLAIM TO BRUNCH, WAYLON’S-STYLE

“The brunch crowd doesn’t come in all at once. It usually builds slowly,” remarked Sweeney.

Sweeney is the director of operations at Waylon’s Feed & Firewater, where we were chatting on a Sunday morning in October. It was opening time, 11:00 a.m., and Sweeney needed to get to work, so I made for the door – and froze.

Two dozen or more customers were streaming through, and I had to wait my turn.

Outside in the parking lot there was a crazy scene lifted straight from the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, with those covered wagons and pack mules of old replaced by minivans and hybrids, newfangled horseless carriages jockeying for prime parking acreage rather than homesteads.

New waves of apparently ravenous brunch customers were headed past me, so no, it wasn’t going to be a typical slow-building Sunday brunch at Waylon’s, although crowds like this were a hopeful omen for an eatery that had been in business less than two months.

It got me to thinking. Had Tony Palombino hit the conceptual bullseye once again?

City Hall Wants You ... to "collaborate with cross-functional teams" and "maintain City information in a confidential manner."

Never Forget: Inflatable Date Night.

Dude -- I saw where it talks about maintaining city information in a (NA Confidential) manner, so I tried to apply on-line.

Damn thing blocked me.

But that's okay.

After all, it doesn't say anything about pay scale in official Anchor City scrip.

---

Events and Promotions Coordinator
City of New Albany - New Albany, IN

This position is responsible for all marketing and event coordination. This includes all planning, coordinating, and execution of the events. This position is critical in planning and facilitating events for the Community and staff throughout the City of New Albany.

SPECIFIC DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

"*" denotes an essential function of the job

Collaborates with cross-functional teams to create and gather necessary internal resources, such as advertising, human resources and information technology. 

*Develops and distributes internal communications regarding upcoming promotions and events via social media and other marketing materials. 

*Monitors daily spending and invoice status to ensure total costs are within the established budget and routinely coordinates with the Parks Director before, during and after event purchases. 

*Maintains inventory of displays and other equipment needed for upcoming events and promotions. 

*Addresses staff and guest questions and/or complaints in a professional manner and works to reach a timely resolution. 

*Arranges entertainment or guest speakers for events and promotions, as approved. 

*Assists with vendor contract negotiations. 

*Prepares reports, presentations or other materials as appropriate per event. 

*Leads the promotion or event from concept to clean up and every detail in-between. 

*Assesses promotions and events to ensure employee understanding, guest satisfaction, budget alignment and profitability. Perform other duties as assigned.

STANDARDS OF PERFORMANCE

Demonstrate informative and professional assistance when working with vendors, co-workers, and the public. Act independently and originate new procedures and new approaches to problems. Display excellent verbal and written communication skills. Maintain initiative to preserve the flow of work. Work under stress and with commitment to deadlines. Sustain interpersonal relationships which encourage openness, candor and trust, both internally and with the general public. Complete projects and/or reports in accurate and timely manner. Maintain City information in a confidential manner.

MENTAL AND PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

Ability to work as a team member. Display professional appearance, warm demeanor and positive attitude. Be a motivated self-starter. Work independently and to be accurate, efficient and organized. Manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Work under pressure with time constraints in a changing environment. Stand, walk, sit, reach with hands and arms, climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl occasionally. Lift and/or move up to 25 pounds occasionally. Specific vision abilities required by this position include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, and the ability to adjust focus.

WORKING ENVIORNMENT AND CONDITIONS

This position requires working in the internal and external environment. This position requires a flexible work schedule; night and/or weekends may be required.

EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING

Minimum of high school diploma required; some college preferred. One to two years events, promotions or marketing experience preferred. Previous customer services experience. Ability to effectively communicate both orally and in written form. A pleasant, friendly, and outgoing demeanor. Experience in Microsoft Office products, specifically Word, Excel, and Outlook required. Ability to handle a high volume of activities and/or events simultaneously. Willingness to take on additional tasks as assigned.

EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS

Computer and peripherals. Event and Promotions Equipment. Recreational equipment. Aquatics equipment.

City of New Albany - 3 days ago

View job

Update: "Attorney for Haymarket Whiskey Bar owner presses alleged victim for details about sexual encounters."


By any objective standard, the terrain has shifted since the start. This is why I'll continue updating the story. Apologies for the tardiness of this follow-up; the reporter Riley's piece appeared just as we were readying to depart for Porto.

Attorney for Haymarket Whiskey Bar owner presses alleged victim for details about sexual encounters, by Jason Riley (WDRB)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An attorney for Haymarket Whiskey Bar owner Matthew Landan has subpoenaed a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by Landan to provide the date and time of each instance she had sex with Landan and identify anyone else present.

As part of seeking evidence in Landan's defamation lawsuit against women who accused him of rape and sexual assault on Facebook, attorney Andrew Horne has filed a request in Jefferson Circuit Court for information from the initial accuser.

Horne has identified the woman he believes initially posted a picture of Landan on Facebook on Nov. 13, saying, "Matthew Landan is a rapist" and accused him of raping her. She has been subpoenaed to provide the information within 45 days.

Previously:

Landan: "I have never sexually assaulted anyone, regardless of where they made their claims."

A precipitous decline: "Haymarket owner says former employees exaggerated the number of his rape accusers."

THE BEER BEAT: "Akasha Brewing Company: Karma and craftsmanship, cruising under the radar" -- from Food & Dining Magazine.


When the latest issue of Food & Dining Magazine comes out ...

LIVE TO EAT: Read my stories about Chef Space and Tito's Handmade Vodka, and grab the latest issue of Food & Dining Magazine, out now.

... I go back to the previous edition and reprise my contributions. In this instance, it's Winter 2017 (Vol. 58; Nov-Dec-Jan), and profiles of Akasha Brewing Company and Waylon's Feed & Firewater; the latter will appear elsewhere.

---

HIP HOPS | Akasha Brewing Company: Karma and craftsmanship, cruising under the radar.

As today’s beers are being poured, let’s learn a word in Sanskrit.

AKASHA … a·ka·sha (Hinduism)(Noun) A supposed universal etheric field in which a record of past events is imprinted.

While Indian cosmology might make a fine category on Jeopardy!, the story of Akasha Brewing Company (909 East Market Street) in Louisville’s ever-evolving NuLu neighborhood is decidedly more prosaic.

Especially since Akasha wasn’t even the first choice of names.

Brewery co-owners Rick Stidham and Gerald Nawrocki originally selected the working title of Muse Brewing Company. In Greek and Roman mythology, Zeus’s nine daughters are called the Muses, each representing an artistic or scientific endeavor. A muse can be the personification of artistic inspiration, and when used as a verb, “to muse” is to engage in thoughtful contemplation.

In fact, some of us have been musing over beers for years.

Unfortunately, nowadays the denizens of Mount Olympus are guarded by a cordon of lawyers. Stidham and Nawrocki quickly learned Muse had been trademarked for beer use. Calmly, they chose to switch identities.

“It wasn’t worth fighting,” Stidham recalls. “So, we went down to Against the Grain Brewery, ordered a couple beers and started going through our list of backup names.” They agreed on Akasha: “I’d seen it in an article about quantum physics, signifying ‘everything from nothing.’ That sounded about right to us.”

Duly recast, Akasha Brewing Company opened for business in September, 2015. Eight months later, new equipment began arriving, and output reached 600 barrels in 2016.

Currently assisted in the brewhouse by Kacy Machir, who doubles as Akasha’s graphics generator, Stidham is the company’s wryly good-humored public face. He’s thoughtful and on the quiet side, but possessing ample beer savvy and a resolute confidence in his abilities.

“The beer we put out there is consistently good,” Stidham says, and this is no idle boast coming from a man whose commitment to craftsmanship was nurtured as a methodical homebrewer, one so devoted to self-improvement that he’d repeatedly brew styles he didn’t even care to drink, all the better to hone his technique.

Now two years old, Akasha’s lineup of regular beers continues to evolve. Recurring favorites include Always Sunny in Amarillo (dry-hopped American Pale Ale) and Piper Cherrywood Smoked Porter, although two other very different styles recently have risen to pre-eminence.

One of them is Gose (go-zah), an obscure German ale that delightfully exemplifies craft beer’s prevailing eclecticism, given that it’s about as unconventional as Germans allow their beers to get.

The grist is half barley, half wheat. It is only lightly hopped, low in alcohol content, purposefully tart, and spiced with coriander and salt. The style reached its zenith in Leipzig in the early twentieth century, then gradually lapsed into near extinction. By the late 1990s, revivals began popping up.

For Akasha’s version, Stidham achieves a slight tanginess by means of kettle souring, a technique recently developed as a comparatively simple way of imparting desired tartness to beer.

After mashing, the wort is flash boiled in the kettle, then recirculated through the heat exchanger to cool down. When the liquid returns to the kettle, lactobacillus bacteria is added for the requisite souring.

A bit later, the hops, salt -- Pink Himalayan, as “it gives a different, better taste,” according to Stidham -- and coriander are added, and when the boil is finished, regular ale yeast is pitched.

The other current best-seller at Akasha is Fehr’s XS, the rebirth of a lager formerly brewed in Louisville by the Frank Fehr Brewing Company (1872-1964). It’s the polar opposite of Gose.

In order to bring Fehr’s XS back from obscurity, Stidham worked closely with Jeff Faith, a Louisvillian who acquired the rights to the brand’s copyright. Faith researched its pre-Prohibition recipe, and he found in Stidham a kindred spirit with a shared zeal for authenticity.

Faith’s determination was such that he purchased a fermenter specifically for Stidham’s use at Akasha in brewing Fehr’s XS, so that a beer requiring slow, cool aging wouldn’t interrupt the brewery’s normal production schedule.

Fehr’s XS is formulated according to the pre-Prohibition custom of using six-row barley, rice, Cluster hops (for bittering) and aromatic German finishing hops. It is straw golden and light-bodied; crisp and firmly-hopped; and in the mold of a Pilsner, though uniquely flavored.

“We have plans to continue to bring Fehr's back to wider availability in Louisville and the rest of Kentucky,” notes Stidham. “We drink a good bit of it at the brewery, and I get a kick out of seeing it on tap at so many places.”

Akasha is designed to be a production brewery. While there are no cans or bottles at present, kegs travel to outside accounts via Dauntless Distributing in Kentucky and Starlight Distribution in Indiana.

However, beer lovers are invited to stop by Akasha’s dog-friendly taproom for pints and samplers, carry-out growlers and the occasional game of Monopoly. Apart from packaged snacks, no food is served at the taproom; however, this being NuLu, sustenance is always quite near.

Grind Burger Kitchen lies just across Campbell Street, and the Louisville location of Feast BBQ is roughly 20 paces from Akasha’s front door.

“We’re Feast’s de facto overflow dining room,” Stidham says, and Feast’s owner Ryan Rogers not only agrees, but adds an inspiring primer on localism.

“Rick’s right, and it speaks volumes to the symbiotic relationship we have with Akasha,” explains Rogers.

“We sell their beer on draft, which is a privilege for us because their product is so good that we want it despite their brewery selling it a dollar or so cheaper a few steps away – and they actively encourage their patrons bringing in food from the local restaurants.”

The neighborly affinity is real. Earlier this year, Stidham collaborated with Feast BBQ and Royals Hot Chicken (also owned by Rogers) to brew a beer called Royal Feast in Helles, a wonderful Bavarian-style golden lager.

When asked to chart Akasha’s future growth, Stidham is cheerfully imprecise.

“When we sell enough beer in 2018 to continue selling beer in 2019,” he laughs, “that's enough for me to be happy.”

Cowardly lyin': "No legal or policy violations found yet after NAHA Taser comment" -- just the standard default everyday Team Gahan ethical and moral jaundice.


"Tawdry means cheap, shoddy, or tasteless. It can be used to describe almost anything from clothes to people to events or affairs."

Back here in New Gahania, it's yet another Magical Mystery Detour.

No legal or policy violations found yet after NAHA Taser comment, by Danielle Grady (News and Tribune)

NEW ALBANY — One month after a New Albany Housing Authority resident said he felt threatened by a comment the interim director made about him that the director says was originally meant as a joke, little has been done on the part of the agencies the resident complained to, two of which say they found no legal or policy violation.

When it comes to ethics on Jeff Gahan's watch, the already subterranean bar already was submerged before the flood waters came, as Brandon Brown is learning.

Brandon Brown, a six-year resident of NAHA, filed actions with the New Albany Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, the Indiana State Police, the New Albany Police Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after NAHA Interim Director David Duggins instructed a New Albany police officer to shoot Brown with his stun gun on Jan. 22 after a NAHA board meeting that Brown taped with his cell phone.

As words go, "staged" and "stooge" are interchangeable as they pertain to potted apologies.

Duggins apologized to Brown for his comment later in an email, and told the News and Tribune that while it was insensitive, he meant no malice toward Brown.

A regular stand-up comic, that "interim" buldozer contractor of ours.

Duggins said he prefaced his comment by saying that next time when Brown filmed the meeting he should get his good side, and if he didn’t, the police officer should shoot Brown with his stun gun. Brown’s account differs. He says that Duggins asked him if Brown was on his side, and then said something that sounded like “since you like videotaping,” before he told the officer to shoot Brown with his stun gun.

I deeply appreciate the follow-up on the part of the News and Tribune, but once again, it must be asked whether anyone has asked for Gahan's viewpoint, even once. My guess: he'd hurriedly shunt the question to Irving Joshua.

Joshua said that personal problems have prevented him from scheduling a private, executive session among board members regarding the complaint, but that he plans to in the future.

First, he has to ask Duggins to provide him with a written summary of what happened, as well as one from Schneider.

Joshua said that he believes the board will have to do something about what Duggins said, although Joshua did not elaborate on what that could be.

Gahan probably would have us believe it's all about Joshua, who Gahan himself placed in the current position, meaning that the buck stops with Gahan and everyone knows it apart from Team Gahan itself, although it's been instructive to watch as the shadowy cronyist operator Joshua on loan to NAHA from redevelopment consistently flees the spotlight.

Then there's the police department.

The New Albany Police Department also has completed its review of the stun gun comment and its aftermath, prompted by the formal complaint made against its police officer, and has determined that no policy violations occurred, said New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey in an email. No punitive actions were taken against Schneider either.

“I will say however it was a good training opportunity for officer Schneider as well as the rest of the department,” said Bailey.

See, Brandon? Your distress can be blithely explained away as a mere training exercise.

Of course, since Team Gahan first charted a course for constant evasion in this case, the news cycle has provided an augmented perspective. Jeff Gillenwater threads the needle with devastating precision.

When a public official and fellow Gahan crony issues a threat, police chief Todd Bailey accepts “it was just a joke” at face value and calls it a training opportunity for the officer who witnessed it. Likewise, the county prosecutor does nothing. When a teenager issues a threat online and Bailey and others agree it was a joke and no real harm was intended, they immediately arrest the teenager, charge him with a felony, and go on TV to proudly announce there will be no tolerance of threatening language, that anyone who engages in threats will be arrested and prosecuted. Their political posturing and hypocrisy leaves one young man intimidated and at risk of more with no recourse and another in jail and facing a lifetime stigma for behaving like a public official. New Albany justice, much more a matter of political connections than actual behavior.

The number of functionaries who have, in words or effect, gone on record as finding zero issues with Duggins' characteristically intemperate taser threat now includes Gahan, Joshua, Bailey, Dickey and prosecutor Keith Henderson ... and NAHA board members like Robison, Ginkins and Norwood ... and councilmen Coffey and McLaughlin, with Barksdale and Phipps both straining to look the other way.

With one exception, they're white males; most are proud members of the Floyd County Democratic Party. In short, they're supposedly  our best and brightest, although none care to fathom the sheer moral and ethical rottenness of Duggins in charge of feeding your pet hamster, much less the future of actual human beings fearing for their future.

It's political business as usual, and it's power-trip bullshit.

If you agree with me, don't forget to vote against each and every one of them when next you have the chance.

#FireGahan2019

The morning Constitutional: "It is capitalism that must be overcome to solve its inherent inequality problem."

Certain lessons therein.

I'm old, and the memory gets hazy.

Can someone refer me to to section of the Constitution where it stipulates capitalism?

On a daily basis since kindergarten, someone always is hovering near, insisting I must worship something, whether god, flag or economic system.

I still feel the same as I always have. For so long as they're tolerable, okay -- but stay off my porch, please. Indoctrination never has been confined to a particular system of thought. Sorry, but I'd rather drink myself to death.

Following are three articles about capitalism -- directly as well as indirectly.

---

Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story, by Richard D. Wolff (CounterPunch)

The conclusion to be drawn from the US story is not that efforts to reverse deepening inequality are foredoomed to failure. It is to face the fact that mere reforms such as tax law changes are inadequate to the task. To make reforms stick – to overcome temporariness across so many histories – requires going further to basic system change. Because capitalism tends toward deepening inequality and can defeat reversals by keeping them temporary, it is capitalism that must be overcome to solve its inherent inequality problem.

---

When Capitalists Go on Strike, by Kevin Young, Michael Schwartz and Tarun Banerjee (Jacobin)

... Capitalists routinely exert leverage over governments by withholding the resources — jobs, credit, goods, and services — upon which society depends. The “capital strike” might take the form of layoffs, offshoring jobs and money, denying loans, or just a credible threat to do those things, along with a promise to relent once government delivers the desired policy changes.

Government officials know this power well, and invest great energy and public resources in staving off fits by malcontent capitalists. The profoundly rotten campaign finance system is just one manifestation of business’s domination over government policy. The real power resides in the corporate world’s monopoly over the flow of capital.

---

Buddhist Economics: How to Start Prioritizing People Over Products and Creativity Over Consumption, by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings)

Much has been said about the difference between money and wealth and how we, as individuals, can make more of the latter, but the divergence between the two is arguably even more important the larger scale of nations and the global economy. What does it really mean to create wealth for people — for humanity — as opposed to money for governments and corporations?

That’s precisely what the influential German-born British economist, statistician, Rhodes Scholar, and economic theorist E. F. Schumacher explores in his seminal 1973 book Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered — a magnificent collection of essays at the intersection of economics, ethics, and environmental awareness.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

If Dan Canon is railing against the Republican mayor in Charlestown over housing issues for the working poor, but not the Democratic mayor in New Albany, there's a big problem.

I thought it was clear where matters stood, and then it wasn't. Something changed for me in September, 2017.

That's when my preferred 9th district congressional aspirant Dan Canon came down fast, forcefully (and correctly) on Mayor Bob Hall of Charlestown, who happens to be a Republican. Canon's rhetoric was blazing as he considered the implications of Hall's Pleasant Ridge cleansing fiasco.


Unbelievable. This guy has no shame about driving the working class out of the city by destroying entire neighborhoods. I am trying to avoid the internet this weekend but this is so appalling I can't stand it.

Mayor Hall: consider that if the torches and pitchforks come (and let me be clear that progressives are trying to stop that from happening), they are coming first for elected officials who wipe out the working poor to accommodate the wealthy. You can only take so much from your own people. Taking their homes is going too damn far.

At the time I was inspired, because everything Canon wrote about the situation at Pleasant Ridge applied just as accurately to Mayor Jeff Gahan's forcible seizure of the New Albany Housing Authority -- and still does, even more so in the wake of David Duggins' recent termination-worthy intimidation tactics.

As I thought in September, surely candidate Canon was ready to apply the same logic to Gahan's putsch, and to lead. As we all know by now, this hasn't happened.

Yes, Canon attended the We Are New Albany candlelight vigil, so there's that. However, in the main, it appears that when Bob Hall attacks the working poor, that's bad, but when Jeff Gahan attacks the working poor ... it's largely unmentionable.

First, a look at Canon's response to the issue during his recent town hall meeting in New Albany, as reported by the newspaper. Then, a few thoughts.

Canon candidate conducts town hall, by Erin Walden(News and Tribune)

Addresses public housing, school shootings


NEW ALBANY — Congressional candidate Dan Canon met with voters Saturday at a town hall at Clean Socks Hope and two key issues arose: public housing in New Albany and school shootings in America.

... The public housing situation in New Albany drew at least two Southern Indiana residents to the town hall. Aaron Fairbanks, a volunteer who has canvassed for Canon, attended because he says he believes in Canon but needs to know where he stands on housing.

“There’s definitely an issue with [public housing] in New Albany … With government cooperation, [the government] has the ability to reduce homelessness so that’s an issue I’m incredibly interested in — fair and affordable housing. I want to get a more concrete idea of where he sits on that,” Fairbanks said.

The issue, Fairbanks said, is the plan to demolish some of the public housing units with no concrete plan to replace those units.

“Having lived in public housing before, it is a bit personal,” he said. He knows that all the blame can't be placed on the local government, but coming up with solutions, and dollars, at the federal level to put into public housing would be a good place to start.

“Basically without knowing exactly where Dan [Canon] sits, I don’t know know if he would be for a remedy that would bolster public housing stock, and that’s what I’m interested in,” Fairbanks said.

Candace Brewer, chairperson for "We Are New Albany," a group formed to oppose the plan to demolish the housing units, also attended the town hall to check out Canon’s stance on housing.

“... It’s an absolute fact people will be made homeless [from this plan]. It’s my number one issue right now,” Brewer said. According to Brewer, she doesn’t care which party a candidate belongs to as long as they fight for the working class.

Even though what’s happening at the New Albany Housing Authority is localized, Canon says solving community problems at the federal level is possible with a representative in the House who is in touch with their constituents.

“We get into talking so much about what is happening at a national level and at Washington D.C., what the national topic du jour is. Congressional candidates on both sides of the aisle run a sincere risk of losing focus on local issues. More often than not the federal government has a big role in alleviating some of the problems going on on the ground in their district,” he said.

Most of what he said he hears in the town halls, such as a comprehensive solution to the opioid crisis or a handle on healthcare, the “issues people talk about at their kitchen table every day” as Canon put it, are solvable through legislative action.

Canon says there are several ways to bring real change to the housing issue. The first would be to “simply provide more resources to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other agencies that are dealing with the problem of homelessness and housing in general. Beyond that, education and outreach to end chronic homeless and poverty" would counteract homelessness, something he says is lacking in the current leadership.

On social media, Jeff Gillenwater dissects this.

Canon goes to Washington, advocates for more federal housing funding along with the rest of a platform that has little to no traction with Democratic leadership locally or nationally. Jeff Gahan and local Democrats maintain their positions. Canon takes credit for advocacy, Gahan takes credit for “revitalizing” public housing areas, and half the previous public housing residents still end up on the street. If criticized, Canon says there’s nothing he could’ve said or done as it’s a local issue, Gahan blames the feds, and Democratic leaders and attendant sycophants will determine if that’s good governance by whether or not they get re-elected. So it goes, here and elsewhere.

Paraphrasing another thought of Gillenwater's, we all understand that Canon speaking out about public housing in New Albany right now could help make a positive difference for those residents. Many of us are suggesting he should. If Canon is railing against the Republican mayor in Charlestown over housing issues for the working poor, but not the Democratic mayor in New Albany, there's a big problem.

In fact, it's an even larger problem than Adam Dickey's behind-the-scenes string-pulling.

If I'm to vote for a genuine progressive on the left, then shouldn't the progressivism be equally applied, across the board, come what may?

Or is it more important that local DemoDixieDisneycrats retain their sinecures, even if it means cynically abandoning whatever shards of progressive thinking that somehow seep through Dickey's cordon of self-interested censorship?

New Albany's traditional older white male small-pond power brokers, a slight majority of whom remain nominally Democratic (albeit rarely democratic), have no interest whatever in Canon's enunciation of progressive political thinking. They're laughing at him behind his back, because everyone knows that politics in Floyd County is about beak-wetting and not ideology.

Except they're perfectly willing to to piggyback on Canon's anti-Trumpista platform, because it distracts the younger Democrats who might otherwise see through the public housing putsch, thus providing the Elders with breathing space to fulfill their mythology-fueled dream of slaying the resource-sucking vampire of public housing -- arguably the single biggest straw man in this city's ignoble history of intellectual underachievement. 

Fact is, they'll turn against Canon in a Eastridge Drive Minute. They're using him, not the other way around. What actually needs slaying is the local Democratic Party; then it can be rebuilt into something that matters -- and if Canon might be elected to Congress with the local party staying exactly as it is, what good would that do us? 

I'm completely assured that if elected, Canon intends to stand in opposition to Trumpism, and will be a progressive advocate. Suits me, but I can't vote for him on these stances alone.

To avoid hypocrisy, Canon also needs to oppose local Gahanism, which has been proven by the mayor's public housing putsch and personnel choices to be indistinguishable in its degradation from the moral rot oozing from across the aisle.

I don't know if Canon will, or if he won't; ironically, just like my vote.

At Strong Towns: A Conversation with Walkability Expert Jeff Speck."


Here's the pitch.

Jeff Speck is a nationally-recognized expert on building walk-friendly, people-oriented places. His book, Walkable City: How Downtown can Save America, One Step at a Time, is beloved by planners, leaders and residents of cities big and small; and his planning firm, Speck & Associates, works in communities across the country.

We recently invited Jeff onto our webcast to chat with Chuck Marohn about how to build slower, safer streets and why this goal is so important if we want to live in prosperous, successful cities.

At the 27:54 mark, Speck name drops New Albany (along with Oklahoma City) as an unqualified success story for two-way reversions. Personally I find it highly qualified, but don't let this stop you from listening.


A CONVERSATION WITH WALKABILITY EXPERT JEFF SPECK
(Strong Towns)

Questions discussed include:

  • What have you seen change in our national dialogue about walkability and on the ground since publishing your book? (3:42)
  • Why and how did you make your book accessible to a broad, non-professional audience? (5:34)
  • Tell us about some of the innovative changes you're witnessing and taking part in in cities around America in terms of walkability. (7:25)
  • Why have you shifted your goals from eliminating suburban development to reforming it or building new urban development? (14:16)
  • What population density is required to support a walkable commercial center? (18:43)
  • Can bus rapid transit be a viable transit option as opposed to light rail? (22:30)
  • How do you make change around walkability issues when a majority of residents aren't politically engaged or involved in established government processes? (24:40)
  • How can we convince municipalities to convert one-way streets to two-way streets? (27:54) Has tactical urbanism ever been used to accomplish this? (30:50)
  • Why do we have to push a button to get a walk signal at some intersections? (33:08)
  • Do you see the growth of ride-hailing services as helpful or harmful to our cities? (37:10)
  • In your recent essay, 10 Rules for Cities Thinking about Automated Vehicles, you talked about the issue of induced demand, which goes counter to many of the autonomous vehicle boosters who argue that the proliferation of these cars will decrease auto usage overall. Walk us through your argument. (42:50)
  • What is the best practical argument to persuade local leaders to reduce parking requirements? How should we be approaching this issue in our communities? (50:55)
  • Many small towns seem set up for the worst kind of development. When you go into a small town hoping to change things, where do you start? (55:44)

Sadly, Karem's Meats has closed its doors.


With 225 shares on Facebook since the 19th of February, this will come as old news to many of you, but note that Karem's Meats has closed.

AFTER 53 YEARS OF SERVING NEW ALBANY, KAREM’S MEATS REGRETS THAT THEY MUST CLOSE THEIR DOORS. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK EVERYONE THAT HAS BEEN A PART OF KAREM’S MEATS SINCE THEY OPENED IN 1965. KAREM’S HAS ENJOYED BEING A PART OF THIS COMMUNITY AND APPRECIATE THE LOYALTY FROM THE CUSTOMERS THAT HAVE PATRONIZED OUR HOMETOWN MEAT MARKET FOR GENERATIONS

It's been only seven months since Karem's enjoyed a rebirth.

Karem's Meats: Grand (re)opening and customer appreciation day is Saturday, July 29.

Indie business longevity: "Karem's Meats is New Albany's locally owned Meat Market since 1965."

Earlier in 2017, Karem's shifted to a new location at 3306 Plaza Drive, off Grant Line Road (near Aldi and NABC's original location). This weekend, they're celebrating.

Indie business ownership is rewarding.

It's also unrelenting trench warfare, especially in a monopolistic system of terminally ill capitalism, now firmly jigged toward chains and franchises.

Perhaps the relocation of an indie business is the most difficult of all these tricks. Customers develop habits, and they're hard ones to break. There isn't always time to adjust, or to develop a new shtick. 

I'm reminded of my experience working at the old Scoreboard Liquors, which was situated for quite some time on the 100 block of West Spring, just across the street from the federal courthouse.

In 1987, the liquor store's owners were told the building was being sold, and their lease wouldn't be renewed. They had a year to make a decision, and eventually opted to move the store all the way across town, to a fixer-upper on the corner of Beharrell and E. Spring (it had been a Night Owl food mart decades previously).

Scoreboard made the move; Chase Bank now occupies the space where the store and Cadillac Lanes bowling alley once stood.

Jim and Ed had nicely remodeled the building at Beharrell and Spring, but while highly visible to traffic speeding past -- well, the basic problem was that traffic kept speeding past, because access was feasible only when traveling westbound. I didn't know it at the time, but I was witnessing one of several reasons for traffic calming and human-scaled streets.

Neighborhood trade made up for some of it, and yet the fact is that the new location never really jelled. Eventually the license was purchased by a competitor, and Scoreboard Liquors passed into history's mists.

I feel awful for Matt Nash, who's as good a bloke as I know. May his next step be more rewarding -- and as an extremely reluctant capitalist, this isn't to imply money alone.

Sleep's more important in the end.

A few more thoughts about the passing of Hugo.

Rest in peace, Hugo (2002 - 2018).

On Sunday morning, it occurred to me that there was more to say. 

---

Coming home from a journey overseas hasn't been this profoundly bittersweet since my father's death in 2001.

Hugo -- to many of you the No Tolls Kitty -- died Thursday night. He was a little bitty tabby with a huge personality. There is a stillness in the house, though it's safe to say our hearts are full with memories of a life well lived. For all intents and purposes, Hugo's presence spanned the entirety of our lives together as a couple; conversely, we witnessed most of his life.

These were fruitful, loving times.

Speaking personally, and risking the analogy in this time of flooding, Hugo's final act was a dam-breaker. I'd gone two or maybe three years without crying, through the passing of so many people close to me -- mentors, my close friend Kevin, and even my mother. I trudged through, mourned silently, and kept control; it wasn't really a conscious effort at being robotic, but it's the way things went.

Well, so much for dry cheeks.

The torrent has been loosened, and these past three years of upheaval properly registered. Kleenex stocks have risen to an all-time high.

What's more, a cosmos that adores irony has struck again; Hugo has gone, and on Tuesday at long last I'll come to the final settlement of my NABC divorce. We went to Portugal to eat Francesinha sandwiches and grilled octopus, and to drink Super Bock and Tawny Port, and now I've returned to the end of multiple eras ... and with the forthcoming Pints & Union pub project alongside my business partner Joe, to new beginnings.

On Friday morning I awakened to these sea changes, with a song playing in my head: Queen's "The Show Must Go On." Indeed it must, whether good, bad or indifferent. So it will, in this case mostly positively, though never forgetting what came before. That's because we can't deal with the future without understanding and honoring the past.

Thanks for the memories, Hugo. You made our world a better place. Crossroads can be confusing, but only momentarily. A flip of the coin can lead to new opportunities, or into eternity.

Our paths have diverged, but I'll never forget you.

LIVE TO EAT: Read my stories about Chef Space and Tito's Handmade Vodka, and grab the latest issue of Food & Dining Magazine, out now.


The Spring 2018 (February/March/April) issue of Food & Dining Magazine is out, and once again, I have two articles in this edition. You can read them at issuu.

"Chef Space: A Kitchen Incubator (and a community venture)" is a featured profile.

What exactly is Chef Space?

“We’re Louisville’s only non-profit kitchen incubator, dedicated to helping early stage entrepreneurs launch their food-based businesses,” explains Andrew Held, vice president of operations.

Christopher Lavenson is the president of Chef Space, and he proceeds to a bigger picture.

“We’re part of a larger revitalization project, and this basically is an engine to create jobs through food entrepreneurship.”

Regular readers will recall this post, which was one of the blog's most-read in January.


A kitchen incubator is the sort of idea that might work in that big building at 336 Pearl Street.


In a little over two years since opening, 13 members have "graduated" from the Chef Space incubator to their own bricks and mortar. Another is about to do so, and I took a look at V-Grits just last week: THE BEER BEAT: V-Grits, False Idol Independent Brewers, their bricks 'n' mortar vegan brewery in development.

Food for thought, indeed.


My second contribution to the current issue is an e-mail interview with Bert Beveridge, founder of Tito's Handmade Vodka.

In recent years vodka has exploded past all former limitations of national origin and price point to become as diverse and specialized as any other type of tipple, but aside from waffle-flavored vodkas distilled according to ancient Druid techniques, exactly how did a regular guy from Texas create a craft vodka that recently toppled the perennial powerhouse Smirnoff as America’s number one spirits brand, hurdling other famous names like Bacardi, Jack Daniels and Jose Cuervo, and in the process completely reordering the American vodka hierarchy?

I’m speaking of Bert “Tito” Beveridge and his creation, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which dates to humble beginnings two decades ago in Austin, Texas.


I hope readers enjoy these profiles, which will be reprinted at NA Confidential in text format once the next issue of Food & Dining (Summer 2018) is released in May.

Later this week I'll get around to doing this for the previous two profiles I wrote: Waylon's Feed & Firewater and Akasha Brewing Company, both from Winter 2017.

As a side note, diligent readers will recall my work on a feature-length exploration of the exploding restaurant and bar scene in Jeffersonville. For various reasons this piece has been delayed, but I'm hoping it will resurface some time in 2018.

As always, thank you for reading.