Friday, August 31, 2018

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Were two city employees injured in a sewage treatment plant accident? If so, let's hope they're recovering speedily.

The Green Mouse has been informed that two employees of New Albany's wastewater department were injured by scalding hot water in an incident two weeks ago at the city's sewage treatment plant.

NA Confidential wishes a speedy recovery to both city workers.

Our wastewater department currently is struggling with the ramifications of a raw sewage spill, which was reported in the local chain newspaper.

Speaking of raw sewage leaks ...

However, these two employee injuries, which in the case of one worker are reported to be sufficiently severe to keep him hospitalized, have not been reported by local media sources.

Let's hope Team Gahan is fulfilling its OSHA responsibilities.

Report a Fatality or Severe Injury

  • All employers are required to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
  • A fatality must be reported within 8 hours.
  • An in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss must be reported within 24 hours.

Forgive the Green Mouse for indulging in pure speculation, but if the mayor even bothered visiting the hospital, just imagine the uneasiness and stammering as he grappled with the implications -- not of the injuries, but his chances of being named in the inevitable lawsuits.

The 2019 primary is eight months away. That's why he's there, if at all.

Speaking of raw sewage leaks ...

Apparently Tricky Dickey wasn't available for comment.

10,000 gallons of raw sewage leak into Slate Run Creek

FLOYD COUNTY — An estimated 10,000 gallons of raw sewage has discharged into Slate Run Creek, according to Floyd County Emergency Management officials.

Director of New Albany Wastewater Department Rob Sartell reported the incident to the Indiana Department of Environment Management around 2 p.m. Thursday, according to a news release. The discharge was the result of a broken force main behind Kahl's Body Shop on Mount Tabor Road in New Albany ...

PINTS & UNION PORTFOLIO: About a burger, and draft list notes.

A beer update follows, but first, let's eat.

The "Oklahoma" burger was introduced earlier this week at Pints&union. It's a riff on the Oklahoma Onion Burger, with homemade ketchup, mustard and pickles, and buttered with Duke's Mayonnaise.

The burger is $6, and a side of fries is $2. Throw in two Imperial pints of Falls City Classic Pilsner at $4 each, add tax and gratuity, and it comes to $23. That's a good price point for quality food and drink.

Owing to difficulties with installing the kitchen hood, the food program was the last component of Pints&union to be "dialed in," and the process continues. To date, I've enjoyed everything I've tried.

It's important to know that we are a bar with a kitchen, not a full-service restaurant. Small plates inspired by international street food make up the menu, and there'll be changes from week to week, although the burger is an everyday item.

Elsewhere, the pub got some good ink at SoIn. Thanks, Mikael.

Pints&union: Commune with the Past in the Present, by Mikael Attebury (Clark-Floyd Counties Convention-Tourism Bureau)

 ... This isn’t the place to watch the game – not that there’s anything wrong with sports bars. Pints&union just is not that kind of place. It is a place to talk to your neighbors, to read, to write, or simply to revel in the joy of existence with friends, pint in hand.

I'll spare readers the longer narrative about beer wholesaler iniquity, a fact of life that I've re-learned surprisingly quickly after a decade away. Here's the short version.

Pints&union began operations a month ago with the stated intent of specializing in Fuller's London Pride on tap; we sold three kegs in 12 days, and suddenly the entire state of Indiana ran dry, with reinforcements not expected until October.

On Monday I ordered a keg of Anchor Porter, only to be informed that the wholesaler is depleted and cannot restock for at least a month.

I substituted Wychwood Hobgoblin for Fuller's, and now a fill-in for Anchor Porter must be determined next week. Suitable temporary replacements include Bell's Porter, Founder's Porter and Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, the latter back in Indiana after a decade or longer away.

All three are solid, but the point to this digression is that having determined to buck the on-premise trend of tilt-a-whirl draft lists, it appears my war also will have to be fought with the wholesalers, who understandably have adapted their purchasing to reflect constant rotation, as opposed to stability.

And that's okay.

I've spent my entire career in the beer business swimming against the tide, and it's too late to stop now. To complain would be churlish; rather, it's time to go over the heads of wholesalers, grit my teeth and do their jobs for them as in days of old by directly contacting breweries and importers.

I did it before, and look forward to doing it again.

Nick Vaughn announces the formation of an exploratory committee, but what office is he seeking?

Two weeks ago the Green Mouse's nose began twitching.

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: What does it mean, this social media surge by Nick Vaughn?

Last night we received a press release.

REMINDER: Nick Vaughn to File Exploratory Committee

At approximately 11:30 AM at the Floyd County Clerk's Office, Nick Vaughn will file an Exploratory Committee for an unannounced office in the upcoming New Albany city elections. Additionally, Nick will be available for approximately 15 minutes to answer brief questions from any media members or citizens. An additional press release will be sent out around noon on August 31st with more information regarding the exploratory committee.

Thank you and we hope to see you there!

What's an exploratory committee? Here's the official Indiana explanation, circa 2016.

A candidate’s committee is designated by a candidate to accept contributions and make expenditures for the purpose of promoting the candidate for election. A candidate who has not decided whether to become a candidate for a specific office may organize an “exploratory committee.” (IC 3-5-2-7) This candidate must file an amended statement of organization when the individual decides to become a candidate for a specific office, when the individual has filed a declaration of candidacy.

More to the point, exactly which office is Vaughn considering? In 2015, he contested the Republican nomination for 6th district city council, narrowly losing.

The Green Mouse says: Think bigger in 2019.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

ASCE on kickbacks: "Spiro Agnew: Ethics Case Study No. 3," or when is group-think not the right think?

This pleasant suited engineer explains Spiro Agnew's insatiable taste for "5% Gravy," a practice that persists in New Gahania.

Agnew's speechwriters also coined the phrase "nattering nabob of negativism," which the soon-to-be-disgraced VP used to insult ink-stained wretches who insisted on following his money.

It isn't known if Agnew preferred anchor-shaped tie clips. Shane, is this something you're familiar with?

Thanks for the link, N.

Terry Neimeyer, P.E., CEO and Chairman of the Board for KCI Technologies, describes the Spiro Agnew kickback scandal and the types of financial and environmental pressures that can drive engineers to skirt their ethical obligation in the drive to compete for work.

ON THE AVENUES: From Baltic to Mediterranean, the diary of an unrepentant New Albanian Europhile.

ON THE AVENUES: From Baltic to Mediterranean, the diary of an unrepentant New Albanian Europhile.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

In less than two months, the Confidentials will travel to Gdansk, Poland for a long overdue appointment with my bucket list. It’s sweet of the missus to indulge me.

In 1980, the Solidarity trade union was established at Gdansk’s Lenin Shipyards, an act made provocative by the fact that Communist doctrine of the time in Poland precluded such an independent challenge to orthodoxy.

In theory, the Polish Communist government already was protecting the interests of workers, and for Solidarity to suggest this stewardship was deficient plainly represented a threat to the established order.

Unfortunately for the party bosses, it wasn’t their only problem. The Soviet Union had imposed communism on the devastated territory of a revamped Polish state following World War II, but the indigenous Polish variety of red star rule was capable neither of collectivizing agriculture nor curbing the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Smallholders and clerics remained as obstacles to "enlightenment." 

In combination with these obvious resistance sources, Solidarity proved to be a mortal contagion. Nine tumultuous years after the trade union emerged, Communism collapsed both in Poland and across the “East Bloc,” a demise attributable to socio-economic pressures from within as well as Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s calculated gamble of jettisoning the USSR’s vassal buffer states to buy time for an ultimately doomed effort to reform his homeland.

By all rights I should be preparing for the trip to Gdansk by learning a few words of basic Polish, like numbers, greetings and restaurant menu items, but instead I’m suddenly immersed in the Southern Peloponnese -- specifically, the Mani Peninsula, where a tangle of jagged mountains on the Greek mainland yields to the cooling breezes of the Mediterranean Sea.

As my preoccupation with Europe has been throughout the past four decades, so it continues for me in 2018. I am an unreconstructed Europhile, an enthusiastic scattershot generalist fascinated by all things European irrespective of where they’re located on the continent, and as yet stubbornly unwilling to concentrate on any one facet of Europe long enough to become an expert, whatever this word means.

Except as it pertains to beer.

The process of boning up for Pints&union led me first to the United Kingdom and readings about traditional pub culture, cask-conditioned ale and the history of Guinness in Ireland, pausing for a digression into Bavarian wheat ale, and recently followed by an overdue re-reading of Michael “Beer Hunter” Jackson’s seminal Great Beers of Belgium, last updated shortly before the legend’s death in 2007.

Stuck somewhere in the middle of Fuller’s, Weihenstephaner and Duvel samples came The House of Government, a lengthy tome by Yuri Slezkin, which gently lured me back to previously dormant Kremlinology via the history of a 1,700-unit Stalinist apartment block built on the Moscow River embankment.

Cast against a 2018 summer’s backdrop of raging Putin paranoia in America and the World Cup successfully held in Russia, this book had me contemplating the eternal Matryoshka “Slavic enigma” dilemma all over again.

Rest assured, it has not been resolved.


Christianity of the Russian Eastern Orthodox persuasion connects Mother Russia to Greece by way of Byzantium -- or Constantinople, now known as Istanbul.

Hence my current serendipitous choice of reading: Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese, written by Patrick Leigh Fermor. My friend Ken loaned me two of Leigh Fermor’s travel accounts some months back, and last week my internal alarm clock serendipitously reminded me it was time to begin, Gdansk or no Gdansk.

Regular readers will recall that Greece was a prime motivation for my first trip to Europe in 1985. Toying with the idea of studying in Greece, I actually was accepted into a “year in Athens” university program, but decided against it, and instead spent three weeks in the country as a tourist (including an idyll in Istanbul) before returning to Italy by boat.

I haven’t returned since, and I've no idea why.

Thanks to my cousin and mentor Don Barry’s recommendation, my lone visit 33 years ago was encouraged and prefaced by a travel book by the American novelist Henry Miller, called The Colossus of Maroussi.

Following is background from a previously published piece.


For someone as renowned for his bawdiness as Miller to pen an entire book with nary an explicit mention of the horizontal arts will come as a surprise to some, but The Colossus of Maroussi is just that volume.

Written and published as World War II made ready to welcome the United States as participating/liberating belligerent, it recounts Miller’s months-long holiday in Greece in 1939, a respite coming at the conclusion of his Depression-era tenure as a Parisian urban expatriate, and immediately prior to his relocation and reinvention as tree-hugging primitive in California’s Big Sur.

Ostensibly, Colossus is a travelogue about Greece as a country caught in transition during the middle of the 20th century, with one foot in the grubby present and the other very much rooted in an epic (and generally exaggerated) past. Much of Miller’s narrative focuses on a larger-than-life Greek poet and raconteur named George Katsimbalis, and therein hides a significant clue, because as readers have understood virtually since release, the book actually is all about Miller …

… For all its flaws, The Colossus of Maroussi was essential and compelling reading, and I cannot underestimate its profound influence on me during the early 1980s. Upon request in 1984, the Greek tourist office in New York had mailed a huge package of brochures and maps, and as I read Miller’s account that winter, I plotted his progress with their assistance. At the time, Ernest Hemingway meant more to me as a writer, but he hadn’t written about Greece. Spain would come much later.

There I was, finally in Greece, well aware that the intervening decades would render dated Miller’s descriptions unlikely, and this much was true. 

Many things had changed, but happily there were moments of timelessness when the pre-war mood still jibed, and when, not unlike the writer, I stood at Mycenae, Epidaurus and Delphi, brushed off the dust from the journey by bus, and felt the weight of millennia … when I’d hear a tinkling bell and see a shepherd’s profile on a hillside, and later devour tomatoes, cucumber and feta doused with oil, kick back a cool beer or tumbler of Retsina … watch the grizzled old men nursing their cloudy drams of ouzo at breakfast … and then be reminded that back at the hotel, one was officiously instructed to keep toilet paper out of the commode lest the too-narrow sewage pipes became clogged.


Patrick “Paddy” Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was the son of a well-to-do English family, not a product of Miller’s hardscrabble, working-class Brooklyn. However, their shared obsessions with Greece are mutually evocative.

I’m chagrined to concede that until seeing Leigh Fermor’s obituary in The Economist seven years ago, he was completely unknown to me. Had I been aware of his incredible life story, perhaps a trek to the Mani Peninsula would have been in order back in the day. He’d have been 70 years young then, and still a working writer. He might have helped me with my Retsina education.

In 1933 at the age of 18, Leigh Fermor -- later described by a journalist as "a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene" -- departed London on a journey to Istanbul by foot, first to Germany and then along the Danube into the heart of the Balkans.

In all this walk lasted almost six years, until Leigh Fermor returned home to enlist in the fight against Hitler. Later in life, he authored a trilogy of books documenting these pre-war travels; the final unfinished volume was published after his death. They’re acclaimed to this day as incredible snapshots of Europe, pre-destructive spasm.

During the war Leigh Fermor, a master linguist, was a special forces operative in Nazi-occupied Crete, where he famously orchestrated the kidnapping of a German general. Remarkably, the two soldiers became friendly owing to their shared love of antiquity, and met again two decades later on a Greek television show based on “This Is Your Life.”

Eventually Leigh Fermor settled among the Greeks in his beloved Mani with true love Joan Rayner, a photographer, in a house they built on a hillside at Kardamyli. The book I’m reading now begins with the couple trekking from Sparta with guide and mule through wild forbidding mountains into the Deep Mani, and a first glimpse of their village of destiny.


Such is the agony and ecstasy of the aging Hoosier hick as persistent Europhile, frustratingly wrestling for the 34th consecutive year with nagging expatriate thoughts that have been tamed in twilight, though never altogether dispensed.

Might it all have unfolded differently?

It's a stupid question, and I avoid it 98% of the time. My oft-aborted escape plan from the 1980s would have been furthered had I hailed from a wealthy family, possessed some semblance of a skill (linguistic, literary or artistic), or displayed more raw ambition.

At the same time, as crazily fortunate as I’ve been in this charmed life, it would be ridiculous to lament spilled milk. After all, I hate milk.

If there exists any such thing as a celibate expatriate, I suppose that’s me. Nothing wrong with that; a voyeur from afar, looking not touching, and scratching the itch with short trips like the one to Gdansk, and later, Munich.

Someday if we liquidate everything we own and get just a little bit lucky, a period of retirement in Europa might be an option. A collegiate classmate has done this in Ecuador, which comes recommended for affordability. She loves it there. The problem for me is an utter lack of interest in places like Ecuador. Nothing personal; I'm just a Porto kind of guy.

I’ll hold onto this pleasant retirement dream for a moment or two, until reality rudely intrudes, and then as always regroup, channeling the mad European impulse into a beer travel story from the salad days. This tale will be told at Pints&union, hopefully to someone who hasn’t heard it before.

I may still be stuck inside of NA with the Mechelen blues again, but whenever passing along the chronology, I'll at least have done my job as cantankerous wannabe expatriate.


Recent columns:

August 23: ON THE AVENUES: The "downfall" occurs when we all fall down.

August 20: Non-learning curve: This ON THE AVENUES column repeat reveals that since 2011, we've been discussing the safety hazards on Spring Street between 10th and 9th. Too bad City Hall is deaf.

August 9: ON THE AVENUES: There's only one way to cure City Hall's institutional bias against non-automotive street grid users, and that's to #FlushTheClique.

August 2: ON THE AVENUES: Daze of future passed.

The newspaper faithfully records what Deaf Gahan wants us to know about the new zoning ordinance. Boots, meet fish tanks.

As we contemplate the questions that might yet be asked, from the intended effect on slumlords and the public housing putsch, to those fine-print exceptions required for heroic statuary of Deaf Gahan to be erected on mid-slope by the sad bison at our Summit Springs fun mudslide park, here is by-the-numbers coverage from the local chain newspaper.

7 things we've learned about New Albany's new zoning ordinance, by Danielle Grady (Tom May Monoculture Daily)

Over the next few weeks, the City of New Albany will be conducting public input sessions to gather feedback about its revised zoning ordinance, which will set new requirements for any future buildings (and all other projects) that residents and developers want to bring to the area.

A steering committee of New Albany planning staff, city council members and a hired contractor named 11th Street Development created the updated ordinance.

About this 11th Street Development firm ...

1. It’s the first overhaul of the city’s zoning ordinance since 1971.

The vision for New Albany has changed quite a bit since the ‘70s, but the city’s zoning ordinance has not.

There have been some updates to the ordinance on an “ad hoc basis,” but not much beyond that, said Brian Stumpf, the president of 11th Street Development, which is based in Lebanon, Ind.

The original ordinance was based on a comprehensive plan for New Albany that was written in the 1960s, according to Stumpf.

“Much like zoning in the 1970s, this envisions New Albany as a suburban community, very low-density, very residential,” he said.

That’s not the vision the city has for New Albany now.

We already know that Deaf's personal vision is tinted green. It involves a regimented wetting of beaks, but it's always nice to have a new age contractor to apply lipstick to City Hall's in-house porcine campaign finance generator.

It will be interesting to see when 11th Street's reported iceberg-tip donations begin.

The numbered newspaper list continues; you can go to the newspaper's web site with a machete, cut through multiplying thickets of Tom May-penned content, and read the list in its entirety. In the process, you'll absorb exactly what City Hall wants you to believe, sans critiques or hard questions.

You know, like always.

2. The zoning ordinance will help implement the comprehensive plan.
3. The ordinance is meant to encourage infill and redevelopment.
4. The ordinance simplifies property classifications.
5. The ordinance may be simpler in some ways, but more detailed in others.
6. The ordinance creates a design review board.
7. It’s all about future development.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: What's the difference between a Gyro and a Shawarma?

They're all Döner Kebap to me, but Mike Sajaja has a better answer.

People always ask what is the difference between a Gyro and a Shawarma?

Invented in Turkey in the 18th or 19th century, the doner kebab, meaning “rotating grilled meat.” came into existence. When the same concept was introduced to Greece, the locals named it “gyros,” the Greek word for “turning.” Likewise, when it spread through the Middle East, it was called “shawarma,” an Arabic word for “turning.”

So now you know. No matter what you call it, it is one of the best, and most popular, foods on the planet. Get yours at Aladdin's today.

For a tad more depth, visit Plated.

The gyro and the shawarma are two staples of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine that have gone mainstream in the United States. But even though some gyro-producing companies can make enough meat to crank out 600,000 sandwiches a day, we often don’t inquire about what goes into either of these dishes. However, we at Plated like to uncover every technique and mystery food has to offer, so we’re about to reveal what’s actually wrapped up in that pita.

Earlier in the year, longtime Louisville-based food writer Robin Garr stopped by Aladdin's and filed a favorable report in LEO.

I was still jonesing for labneh, so went for the full plate, an $8 appetizer. The thick, creamy white cheese reminded me of quality whole-milk ricotta in texture, but its yogurt base added a tangy high note to the sweet dairy flavor. It was spooned onto a shallow dish and generously topped with fruity greenish olive oil, with a single black olive for garnish,

I usually say ho-hum hummus, but Aladdin’s version ($7) may rank as the best I have ever had. Remarkably creamy and smooth, it boasts a rich tahini-to-chickpea ratio, and I’m fine with that. Both apps came with plenty of excellent, thick and fluffy pitas.

Finally, in the local chain newspaper, Danielle Grady explains Aladdin's recent addition of a store in the space next door.

Aladdin's new corner market stocked with homemade favorites

NEW ALBANY — Before Mike Sajaja and his family opened Aladdin’s Mediterranean & Middle Eastern Cuisine in New Albany five years ago, many residents in the area hadn’t heard of labneh or foule mudamas or kibbeh.

Now, they know what it is, Mike says with a pinch of pride in his voice. But with that, came a problem: His customers wanted their eastern favorites for themselves. In their cabinets.

Sajaja’s long-time-coming solution? A corner store and juice bar stocked with all the homemade, signature items that Aladdin’s fans love, located right next to the New Albany restaurant in its Underground Station, 37 Bank St., home.

The miniature market opened last week, and the Sajajas are slowly stocking it with new items. The natural juice bar will open within the next couple weeks (if not before, Mike said) ...

Human rights commission? It's just a "vehicle" to stop criticism, says worst-mayor-ever Warren Nash.

"I felt like the city was being maligned back then and I thought this would be a vehicle to stop that criticism. The complaints against the city were all unfounded."
-- Warren Nash

Chris Morris has done us a great service by capturing this breathtaking quote, which reveals the politically-motivated, self-serving conniving that has characterized Warren Nash's whole career as a self-appointed mover/shaker in New Albany.

Plainly, the human rights commission means nothing to Nash in any sense of furthering the cause of human rights.

Rather, it's just a vehicle -- a purely cynical propaganda jalopy -- to thwart criticism, which at the time of Nash's single term as mayor almost 50 years ago (he was mercilessly crushed seeking a second term and never won another race) was criticism directed against Nash's own incompetence as the worst mayor this city has ever endured ... until Jeff Gahan, Nash's eager pupil, who subverted the current human rights commission and now has doubled down on the damage by appointing his unspeakably dull Svengali to serve on it, so as to perpetuate the do-nothing fix for a new generation, one that deserves far better than either Nash or Gahan allowed anywhere close to a decision-making post.

But it's plenty good for Gahan's campaign war chest, isn't it? In New Gahania, money has more rights than humans. Maybe we need a Campaign Finance Rights Commission.

Thanks, Chris.

The city needed to see exactly what Warren Nash is, and how he operates. In 2019, we can retire Nash by firing Gahan, and in the process, free ourselves from the reign of vendor cash and the stifling yoke of the C-Minus Clique.

New Albany's Human Rights Commission looking for fifth member (Tom May Escalator Duplex)

NEW ALBANY — For a commission that hasn't met in two years, there are going to be a few bumps along the way once that group reconvenes.

The rust was evident during the first 15 minutes of New Albany's Human Rights Commission meeting Tuesday night, the group's first meeting of 2018 ...

Barksdale made HIS bad choice, and now it's unlikely the Moser Tannery can survive any more of Deaf Gahan's tender loving care.

Who'd have guessed he studied architecture? You'd think it was an elective at veneer salesman's school.

Moser Tannery photo credit: Nick A.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Not often in New Albany, but imagining "what the world might look like if the people who designed it – politicians, planners, developers and architects – were more diverse."


Mayor Jeff Gahan's pathological need for complete civic thought control has manifested itself in the form of institutional inbreeding in building and design.

A shockingly narrow (and yes, noticeably white-male-dominated) number of engineering, consulting and contracting companies increasingly are responsible for the city's design template, which appears to have been derived from frequent Bud Light Lime-soaked vacations at Disney World.

How we pay for it is another topic, for another time.

The same old inner circle suspects are contracted, and the same tithes magically appear in Gahan's exploding slush fund. The worst part of this isn't the shameless corruption, or the Dickeyesque complicity of the DemoDisneyDixiecratic Party.

It's the numbing uniformity of design results, and to make this point, consider that to this very day in a place like Italy, the eight-decade-old fascist architectural legacy is so glaringly obvious that visitors barely need to look twice before thinking, yep, that's a Mussolini building, all right.

New Albany is being designed to be New Gahania, and these principles of design emanate from the C-minus mind of a Babbitt-grade veneer salesman.

City Hall should be encouraging diversity in design, but alas, design monoculture better serves the interest of campaign finance, and so we're becoming a theme park --and this theme is dismally bland, indeed. Read this wonderful essay about diversity in design, and remember:

#FireGahan2019, and #FlushTheClique

What would cities look like if they were designed by mothers?, by Christine Murray (The Guardian)

Architecture’s lack of diversity shows in environments created by people who never need step-free access or to take a bus

 ... Lately I’ve found myself imagining what the world might look like if the people who designed it – politicians, planners, developers and architects – were more diverse. I don’t believe that men and women design differently, or that poverty and ethnicity inform architecture, but lived experience is a great teacher. The regeneration projects of the past decade are more about planters and cappuccinos than access to free drinking water, public toilets, cheap groceries and a post office. They appear to solve only the first-world problems of the monocultural illuminati who created them.

What would our cities be like if mothers had more of a role in designing them? There would be ramps everywhere, for a start. Schlepping a pushchair around makes you think differently about stairs. I cried when my nearest station was revamped without the inclusion of a lift. To stand at the bottom of that flight of steps with two kids and a newborn in a pram is to experience the kind of despair usually reserved for rat-infested dungeons. Any station or public building undergoing refurbishment should by law be made step-free.

But I’m unlikely to find many sympathisers among architects. According to a recent survey by the Architectural Review, 75% of women in architecture don’t have children. Most architecture graduates think they’re designing access ramps for the odd wheelchair, not every child under three ...

CoreLife, another unspeakably contrived chain "lifestyle" restaurant, is opening on Veterans Parkway. The marketing-speak is appalling. Anyone got a bucket?

It's a restaurant "brand" with 300 locations, describes itself in Goebbelsian-level prose as a "lifestyle restaurant" and employs a "chief concept officer" to utter unalloyed piffle like this:

"Our food is top-quality fuel that complements the busy, active lifestyles of our clientele."

Of course, the marketing drone did it in a news release, because can you even imagine a human slinging vapid dreck like this through his pie hole?

Food as "fuel"? Considering that atrocities like CoreLife routinely are situated in almost exclusively car-centric suburbs, we see the circle of futile American alchemy completed: One isn't merely dependent on the car, but has become the car.

What's next, an active lifestyle human detailing shop?

By the way, DEATH TO CHAINS.

New ‘active lifestyle’ restaurant opening next week, by Caitlin Bowling (Insider Louisville)

CoreLife Eatery, which describes itself as “an active lifestyle restaurant” chain, will open its first Louisville-area location Friday, Sept. 7.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Chicanery as always: City Hall gifts us with the 238-page draft zoning ordinance a mere 24 hours before two "public input" meetings. Rental property owners, turn to page 159.

Earlier today, City Hall released the latest in a series of triumphant announcements. The News and Tribune made feeble non-invasive gurgling sounds, so again it falls to us to warn you.

Zoning Ordinance Set to be Updated for First Time in Nearly 50 Years

As usual, this one raises as many questions as it answers, and a good place to begin is the front page of the "draft" document.

Here's the skinny: It's a 238-page ordinance, and although it was finished a month ago, today marks the first time it has been made available for viewing, which is oh so fortunate, since two of the three public "meetings" scheduled to allow functionaries to condescendingly explain what already has been concluded in private take place tomorrow -- on Tuesday, August 28.

It's almost as though Gahan's lickspittles don't want members of the public to have time to digest a document that if passed surely will mark the single greatest expansion ever of city government's powers.

In other words, if your idea of progress is David Barksdale wielding 238 pages of details in a daily crusade to coerce 37,000 residents into organizing the condiment bottles by size and purpose, then this complete absence of fair vetting time will be orgasmic.

I've skimmed through all 238 pages of the ordinance, and it's impossible for non-bureaucrats to grasp -- which reminds me, who is 11th Street Development, and how much money has it already shifted into the mayor's Midas Money Machine?

Rental property owners will be interested in the section beginning on page 159, as it is the debut of the long-delayed inspection/enforcement component of the rental property registration toe-in-the-water.

Rental Housing Maintenance Standards.

1. Purpose and Applicability: The purpose of this Section is to establish periodic, systematic inspection of rental housing within the City to protect the health and safety of the public, prevent blight, and preserve property values. This Section shall apply to all rental housing units within the planning jurisdiction of the City unless otherwise exempted in Section 6.17(D)(2).

But never fear, slumlords; you've been handed a magical "Self-Certification Program" that probably is tied directly into the Gahan re-election campaign cash depository.

Here's the boilerplate. You bring the lube and I'll bring the gin.

Zoning Ordinance Set to be Updated for First Time in Nearly 50 Years

For the first time since 1971, a full-scale replacement zoning ordinance is set to go before the New Albany City Council for approval. The ordinance has been carefully crafted by a team consisting of the New Albany City Planning staff, City Council members, and qualified consultants. The proposed ordinance simplifies the existing zoning districts into 10 easy-to-understand districts derived from the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan.

“This action is long overdue, and we are excited to bring the first Zoning update to the council in nearly 50 years,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan. “This ordinance incorporates the best qualities of our recently adopted Comprehensive Plan and sets a sound path for future development and redevelopment of New Albany.”


Open Door Meetings Scheduled to Gather Public Input

Three open-door style meetings have been scheduled to gather valuable feedback from residents and business owners in New Albany. We encourage you to attend one of the following meetings:

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Strassweg Auditorium, NAFC Public Library

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Griffin Street Recreation Center

Thursday, September 6, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Hazelwood Middle School Cafeteria

A public hearing will also be held by the New Albany City Plan Commission on Tuesday, September 18th, at 7:00 PM in the third floor assembly room of the City County Building (311 Hauss Square).

ASK THE BORED: Faced with 75 signatures on a petition, Nash, Summers and the clueless BOW non-safety board can't muster a single empathetic response.

Last Tuesday the Board of Mute Nostril Agony reached a new low. 

A brief summary: With their own two eyes, 75 neighborhood residents can see that drivers speeding through their neighborhood need to be slowed at the critical intersection of Elm and Jay, and the response from Warren Nash and Larry Summers? In essence, it's this:

We're the experts, peasant, so believe us when we tell you that your own two eyes are quite mistaken. INDOT is like a God, and we merely arrange the sacrifices.

Their hallowed engineering metric says there must be many more cars, traveling at even greater rates of speed, making the situation far worse, before slowing drivers can so much as be considered.

Only then will they check their nut sacks to see if any courage might be hanging there. Spoiler: there isn't, so they'll drag HWC's Jim Rice down from Indianapolis to explain that Daddy Gahan Knows Best.

It's offensive and appalling, this robotic lack of basic human empathy with which Gahan, Nash, Summers and their board of abject time-serving cowards pretend to care about "safety" even as they duck, cover and flee responsibility when drivers claim the lives of Chloe Allen and Matt Brewer, and strike and injure so many others.

However, last Tuesday police chief Todd Bailey offered a potentially devastating, constructive observation.

We have ourselves a precedent.

There's a "line of sight" issue at the intersection of Elm and Jay -- and at several other nearby intersections, too, including Elm and 13th, and 9th at Spring, where the Williams Plumbing trucks continue to park unhindered, and impede sight lines, in spite of this futile ordinance prohibiting it.

Ordinance enforcement, anyone?

(crickets chirp, pins drop, and somewhere, a dog barks)

Instead of tired bureaucratic excuses conjured unconvincingly by the usual C-minus students, maybe there can be action without the same-old campaign fund donations?

Dead Man's Curve has killed, and it will kill again unless our cowardly ruling clique does its job.

Here, there and everywhere, "In crashes that kill pedestrians, the majority of drivers don't face charges."

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Both Jeff Gahan and Warren Nash believe that driver convenience far outranks considerations of human life.

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST Exploding beer cans? If I want to risk injury, I'll try to make it across a New Albany street on foot.

Absolutely no disrespect to my bar-none favorite liquor store, just puzzlement at the decadence of the peak craft beer marketplace.

I'll have one of the gimmick-suppression beers on the right. Urbain Coutteau is a fine guy, indeed.

The irony in all this is that a few days before the advent of Neopolitan Grapefruit Milkshake, I'd dropped by The Keg to purchase a few German-brewed Oktoberfest bottles for a vital personal sampling, and was told a case of 450 North had just detonated in the storeroom.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, allow me to paraphrase an old saw: I may be entirely befuddled by what you're brewing, but I'll fight to the point of unconsciousness in support of your right to brew it.

At the same time, count me among those who can't come to grips with the notion of craft beer as potential can bombs. In response to this cognitive dissonance, I ducked into the wayback machine, armed with my tasty Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner and Hofbrau seasonal lagers, comparing their malty nuances and calculating which among them is best suited to induce the quaffing of another mug without recourse to check-ins, on-line ratings and narcissistic selfies.

In short, my own snug, tasty, dependable counter-revolution -- sans flying debris. The wonderful Bryan Roth takes it from here.

It’s Lit — The Unfortunate Trend of Exploding Cans in Craft Beer
, by Bryan Roth (Good Beer Hunting)

Think the process to go from grain to glass with an ingredient-laden Pastry Stout or lacto-fruit milkshake IPA is strenuous? For some breweries, adding a phone call to their lawyer may be a new, necessary step, too. At least, that's the advice from one attorney regarding a controversial new trend in beer.

“I’d say you definitely need to seek basic legal counsel just to verify what verbiage should be put on a can,” says Candace Moon, a partner and member of the Corporate Department at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. “Even just to share how things are communicated, because a second set of eyes could be meaningful.”

Such is the awkward reality—and surprising conundrum—of who should be responsible for an exploding can of beer. For all the challenges in today’s beer industry, it’s a rather strange and new one, spurred by discussions not around the quality of a product, but its ability to harm the consumer ...

Sunday, August 26, 2018

On John McCain.

Like the majority of capitalist wars, Vietnam occurred because power elites needed enriching. It was not a "just" war by any remotely sane calculus, but this isn't the fault of those ordinary people enlisted to wage it.

In the main, we're raised both to follow orders and to rationalize matters that make no sense, like this one: we praise heroes who fight plainly unjust wars, so long as they're on our side. Ask us to apply the same thought process to ordinary German soldiers in WWII, and we make gurgling sounds.

Obviously this remains a contradictory and perhaps irreconcilable ethical quagmire, and so we gratefully sidestep it.

America as an entity currently is killing people all across the planet in the name of anti-terrorism, just as occurred a generation previous in the name of anti-communism. Big money is the cause and the only beneficiary of these wars, and while I fervently hope that some day our anger as muddy commoners finally is directed against capital accumulation -- our true oppressor -- it's also understandable that we use whatever mental tools are at our disposal to mitigate cognitive dissonance.

This brings me to John McCain.

McCain was a soldier, and soldiers follow orders. His bombing raids killed innocent civilians, and this in another ethical morass. He was captured, and endured his captivity with absolute courage and resolve. Upon entering politics, the ex-soldier displayed occasional quirks and was referred to as a maverick even when the bulk of his political activity was devoted to keeping the elites enriched, thus guaranteeing more ruinous wars.

By periodically standing up to our diminutive Trumpolini, McCain was praised by progressives even before his death, and termed by his ideological opposites to be the far better man; then again, I have discolored pocket lint of higher caliber than The Donald.

The former POW also foisted the plainly fascist Sarah Palin on the public, and whether or not he regretted it, one must concede a noticeable absence of real-world judgment.

There it is, and here we are, arguing about John McCain's legacy.

Humans crave the certainty of black and white, and we'll always conjure it from the prevailing gray shades when necessary to help us sleep. Far be it from me to deny my own role in the charade. I do it as much as anyone else, so rest assured no fingers are being pointed that haven't already been jabbed in my own eyes.

In McCain's legacy there is typically American nuance and ambiguity, and speaking only for myself, I'm comfortable with the pea soup fog. McCain was and was not a hero. He was and was not a noteworthy Senator. He was and was not memorable in these and other ways.

Like us all, in our own microcosms.

In the time it has taken me to write these words, a few trillion dollars more has nestled safely in the bosom of the 1%. We apparently cannot fathom this pathology of destructive inequality, and consequently, we take to social media to debate the merits and demerits of dead leaders, and resume screaming at each other.

Our squawking absolves us from hard thinking, and that's the way life works -- until it doesn't.

Dead Man's Curve has killed, and it will kill again unless our cowardly ruling clique does its job.

Sorry, but we need to be blunt.

We can't possibly be progressive unless the truth about street safety for all users is told aloud, and make no mistake: if the speed-through status quo works for you, that's not progressive at all.

In fact, it's embarrassingly regressive.

Of course, rule of law would be helpful on widely scattered occasions.

Here, there and everywhere, "In crashes that kill pedestrians, the majority of drivers don't face charges."

By the way, Gahanesque and Hendersonian bi-partisan political cowardice isn't the only phenomenon causing us to be killed.

America’s Car Culture is Literally Shortening Your Life: Study, by Angie Schmitt (Streetsblog)

The U.S. has been falling behind its peer nations on traffic safety and now life expectancy as well. There's a connection.

Driving is driving us to the grave.

Life expectancy at birth declined steeply in the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, a new British Journal of Medicine study reports — a finding that was attributed partly to the opioid crisis, but also to America’s ongoing traffic violence problem.

In 16 peer nations studied, life expectancy at birth was fairly steady over the same period, but dropped by .2 years in the United States — a decline that is two-and-a-half times worse than the dip in 2012.

The researchers said that about 42 percent of the shortfall is due to the opioid crisis. But the leading cause for declining longevity remains “external factors” such as traffic fatalities, which is blamed for 44 percent of the decline, the study said.

Study author Jessica Ho, a gerontology professor at the University of Southern California, didn’t address the role of traffic accidents in this study, but told Streetsblog that an earlier study found that traffic fatalities accounted for 18 percent of the “life expectancy shortfall” for men under 50, and 16 percent for women in the same age range between 2006 and 2008 compared to similar nations.

So while the opioid addiction grabs headlines, cars have quietly remained a leading killer. In 2015, for example, the U.S. traffic fatality rate jumped 9 percent. And in 2016, it jumped again 5.6 percent, wiping out nearly a decade of improvements. It was the biggest two-year jump in 50 years.

Traffic fatalities have long been a leading cause of death of Americans, and in 2015, they were the 13th leading cause of death in the U.S. overall. But because cars kill a disproportionately high number of younger people, they rank seventh in total years of life lost.

Other Western nations have been making far faster progress on reducing traffic fatalities than the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control sounded the alarm last year, reporting that between 2000 and 2013, traffic deaths per capita in the U.S. dropped at just under half the rate of 19 peer nations. Our death rate per capital is roughly double that of Canada and France ...

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: There's a place for retro beers, but for better or worse, they don't taste the same as they once did.

New Albany retro, lost to history.

Recently I indulged a digression about Falls City in both old and new incarnations, and my friend Scott pointed to something that may be worth a second look.

My question is, are any of the retro beers actually the exact same recipes as when we were teens or has our tastes changed as we have aged? City, Pabst, Sterling were undrinkable to me then. Just nasty like Miller Lite still is today. Stroh's was okay. That was my beer for a few years before I went up to Miller High Life.

Following is my answer, right or wrong, without having done the slightest research on the matter.

To me, it's just common beer sense that many, if not all, of the contemporary "retro" beer brands have little in common with their foundational predecessors.

By "retro" beer, we're pinpointing those brands available regionally (some were national brands) prior to the craft beer era, ones that ceased to exist for a time and since have been revived, almost always as brewed at a location other than their original brewery site.

Obviously, the beer portfolios of BudMillerCoors cannot be considered "retro" according to this definition, as they've continued in production since the end of Prohibition, and throughout the modern era. Granted, their multiple brewing locations muddy the waters, but not too much. The point is their continuity.

Conversely, a panoply of beers -- dozens nowadays, including Stroh's, Schlitz, Hamm's, Narragansett, Sterling, Champagne Velvet, and yes, even Falls City -- were born at a particular brewery, enjoyed long life spans and generated iconic branding that remains familiar, but they've long since ceased being brewed "at home," so to speak. They disappeared from sight, if not always in totality, and have been brought back to leverage the adjective "iconic" in terms of marketing, not to rediscover the original recipe.

Any way you look at it, there's almost no way these recipes could taste the same, even if they are the same on paper.

For one, even the Budweiser purportedly brewed in St. Louis according the the same formulation as used 125 years ago isn't the same now as then, because the barley and hops have evolved over this span of time. The same goes for everything we as humans consume. Does chicken today taste like it did in Mark Twain's day? Selective breeding and hybridization suggest it's highly unlikely.

There's also a slightly more obtuse consideration, although I believe it to be merited. I've been rereading Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium, which the Beer Hunter published in 1992, with several updated editions appearing prior to his death in 2007.

Intentionally avoiding depth of detail in the interest of an overview, and acknowledging the passage of time, Jackson notes that numerous factors enter into a beer's flavor profile, including the obvious choices of malt and hops, but also water softness or hardness (nowadays adjustable through water treatment), as well as the chosen yeast, this being perhaps the least understood element on the part of beer drinkers who aren't well versed about beer making.

In short, while much of modern brewing history centers on the application of science to make yeast behave predictably, they remain living creatures with habits and eccentricities of their own. Jackson observes that in traditional brewery settings like Belgium during the period of his visits -- think of old industrial architecture and not the pristine operating theater of a modern hospital -- yeasts would come to adapt to their variable surroundings.

The same basic yeast strain carried to a different brewery eventually would adjust to the new environment; given that we're speaking of ales fermented at a higher temperature, these yeasts would contribute to the ultimate flavor profile of an individual beer, and if the same strain was used to brew more than one beer, there'd be a "house character" of sorts across the whole of the product line.

While it's true that the art of lager brewing advanced across the planet as a way of standardizing brewing science and reducing these eventualities, it isn't far-fetched to imagine that especially in the period prior to Prohibition, America's lager beer makers benefited from a similar serendipity, their recipes and yeast-driven house character coming into being just like at the Belgian breweries surveyed by Jackson.

Whether or not "fire brewing" in the context of Stroh's (direct flame on the kettle as opposed to jacketed heat) caused hot spots and added a little something caramelized to the finished beer, the brewery's choice of yeast probably did. Fast-forwarding, one might take today's Stroh's or leave it, but neither the yeast nor the "fire" process is the same in the reconstituted brand. 

At this precise moment, writing on a Sunday morning, I can distinctly recall what these beers mentioned by Scott tasted like when I was younger. He's correct in saying that our ability to taste is altered as we age, but this does not compromise my memories.

These brands had a definable house character. There was a Stroh's flavor, and a Sterling flavor, and a Budweiser flavor, and I always could pick them out. Some I liked, others not.

A few months back I drank a little 7-ounce bottle of Miller High Life, and it tasted largely the way I remember it from high school. However, the Stroh's we're carrying at Pints&union does not taste the way it did when I sat at the bar of Lanesville's K&H Cafe in the mid-1980s with my friend Doc Holliday and drained the night away, at least until he retreated back up the hill to Maverick Mountain and I navigated the corn fields home to Georgetown.

Miller High Life may have been tweaked and adjusted, but there is a continuity in the way it is brewed. Stroh's almost completely disappeared and was passed around from speculator to speculator. By the 1980s, the same was true of beers like Falls City and Sterling. They'd stopped being brewed at their "home" breweries, been reduced to bundles of discounted marketing imagery, and sold to whomever might squeeze a few more dollars from the bastardization before the older generation of loyalists died.

When these brands returned to liquid form and once again were real, tactile beverages capable of being discerned by human palates, and not merely the offspring of advertising wearables, there no longer existed any connection between what they had been and what they had become. Any seasoned contract brewer capable of rendering batches of competently rendered lager might now affix stylish old labels and roll out six new/old beers from the very same vat.

They'd be perfectly and professionally drinkable, just decidedly indistinct, and if tasted blind, it's doubtful many of us could tell the difference.

Or, they might use 6-row barley malt, corn or rice, and make an honest effort to more accurately recapture the older formulations. Still, I suspect that once lost, the genuine and individualistic house character of these old imperial warhorses -- those unique traits that made them taste the way they did before adulteration, debilitation and decline rendered them moot -- is gone forever.

Hence the conundrum. A beer like today's Falls City Classic Pilsner tastes nothing like the original ideal of its predecessor, but it tastes far better than its predecessor did during the death throes in the 1970s and 1980s. To me, the best example of this is Pabst Blue Ribbon. Today's PBR, the delight of hipsters and throwbackers, doesn't taste like PBR used to.

Not at all.

Rewind to 1980, and you'd find Pabst to be a forceful, float-a-penny-on-top, full-flavored concoction. You might not like the house character, but it could not be denied. It ran through all of Pabst's beers at the time. These days, it cannot be discerned at all, and the overall viscosity of everyday PBR matches that of the 1980s-era light Pabst.

I'm not sure there is a conclusion to any of this apart from one's own personal perspective and pocketbook.

The reason why Stroh's, Old Style and Little Kings are available at Pints&union is that I drank them in days of youth. Only the latter tastes close to my memory of it, but they're all quite drinkable, as is the Falls City Classic Pilsner on draft. I still prefer Pilsner Urquell.

And there you have it.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Here, there and everywhere, "In crashes that kill pedestrians, the majority of drivers don't face charges."

Drivers surely comprise the most privileged class of Americans in history. Who else is able to wreak this much havoc with so little fear of punishment? Apart from the Pentagon, I can't think of any.

In crashes that kill pedestrians, the majority of drivers don't face charges. Between 2010 and 2014, there were 3,069 crashes with pedestrians in the Twin Cities and its suburbs. 95 were killed. 28 drivers were charged. But many of the deaths weren't even judged worth a traffic ticket.

I googled "how often are drivers prosecuted for killing pedestrians?" The top result says it all.


Most drivers in crashes that kill pedestrians don't face charges ...

May 22, 2016 - The majority of drivers who killed pedestrians between 2010 and 2014 were not ... Those who were charged often faced misdemeanors — from ...

Carol Wiggins crossed Territorial Road every day at the crosswalk on her way home from work in Watertown. But the driver of the car that hit her one evening said he didn’t see her until it was too late.

Wiggins never recovered from the traumatic brain injury from the 2011 crash, dying weeks later in a Minneapolis hospital. The driver never faced any charges — not even a traffic citation.

“It doesn’t help with trying to get any kind of closure,” her daughter, Monica Fortwengler, said. “You always have that little bit of, ‘Why was my mom’s life not deemed worthy of even a flippin’ traffic ticket?’ ”

The decision not to cite the driver who struck Wiggins isn’t unusual. The majority of drivers who killed pedestrians between 2010 and 2014 were not charged, according to Star Tribune analysis of metro area crash data. Those who were charged often faced misdemeanors — from speeding to careless driving — with minimal penalties, unless the driver knowingly fled or was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

There are plenty more where that came from.


Drivers in pedestrian fatalities rarely charged, prosecutors say | The ...
Aug 22, 2015 - Drivers who hit and kill pedestrians are rarely charged in those incidents, according to prosecutors and law enforcement officials.When drivers ...

Drivers who hit pedestrians often get little or no jail time - Orlando ...

Jul 9, 2013 - Drivers who strike pedestrians usually receive little or no jail time, found a ... "When you killed our Bobby, you took an innocent," sister Penny Stout, 49, ... The Sentinel identified 54 drivers charged with criminaldriving offenses ...

Few consequences exist for drivers who kill pedestrians - SFGate

Apr 29, 2013 - When drivers did face criminal charges, less than 60 percent had their driving ... Few consequences exist for drivers who kill pedestrians .... Forty percent of those convicted served no more than a day in jail; 13 drivers were ...

Sober drivers rarely prosecuted in fatal pedestrian crashes in Oregon ...

Nov 15, 2011 - But details are often sketchy because most pedestriandeaths ... Tito Jose Feliciano, the driver who killed Lindsay Leonard and Jessica Finlay.

Drivers who kill people on bikes often don't get prosecuted – Greater ...

Mar 17, 2015 - Authorities rarely prosecute the drivers, and when they do, punishments aren't very harsh. During ... Drivers who kill people on bikesoften don't get prosecuted .... I can say that when cyclists are behaving aspedestrians (on ...

The Outrageous, Unjust Rule That Lets New York Drivers Who Hit ...

Oct 1, 2014 - Local officials have tried to turn the terrible incident into social progress by ... from properly investigating, charging, and prosecuting drivers who kill. ... On the flip side, drivers who merely hit a pedestrian or cyclist—even hopping ... of a car sometimes, the list of problems with the "rule of two" is a long one.

Driver charged with slamming car into pedestrian, killing him

Jul 1, 2018 - An unlicensed driver was arrested on Sunday after he hit andkilled a ... p.m. when he lost control and drove onto the sidewalk, authorities said.