Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Donald Trump and Jeff Gahan have the same self-serving explanation for not obeying the law.


Both of them, Donald and Jeffie, blame their own illegality on their political enemies. Their sycophants chortle, and the only clear winner is two-party hypocrisy.

As we contemplate the extent of City Hall's newfound (purported) compliance with a law about information requests, a law that makes no mention of the questioner's party affiliation or history as candidate, don't kid yourself. Team Gahan has treated these requests like toilet paper before, refusing full 100% disclosure, and they'll continue doing so.

There is considerable irony in the fact that the News and Tribune itself could clear up some of these questions about taxpayer dollars and advertising revenue.

And it won't. Why is it no one, including the alleged newspaper of record, seems to want to tell the truth about the money?

New Albany officials provide records after missing deadlines, by John Boyle (Hanson's Non-Disclosure Journal)

NEW ALBANY — One of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the City of New Albany has stated that city officials have complied with a records request.

The legal battle began Nov. 1, when Floyd County residents Irvin Stumler, Stephen Roberts and Heather Rae Peters sued the city for failing to respond to public records requests that were submitted in August. The trio sought documents related to River Run Family Water Park, Denton Floyd Real Estate Group, ProMedia Group and advertising in the News and Tribune.

Up until Monday, the city had missed multiple deadlines to provide the information requested. Now, Stumler said he has learned that city officials have made a delivery to the office of his attorney.

“I heard that sometime yesterday afternoon, the city brought some records and a check to my attorney’s office," he said. "I haven’t seen it. I don’t know what all’s in there. My attorney’s out of town.”

The presence of the check is likely the product of a default judgment issued by special judge Vicki Carmichael on Dec. 18. Her order mandated that the city produce the documents no later than 10 days after the judgment — with a fine of $50 for each subsequent day. Payment of $1,642.50 for plaintiffs' attorney fees, $162.10 for filing feels and $300 to the plaintiffs by the city was also required.

New Albany officials maintained the administration's position that the request was politically motivated in a statement to the News and Tribune.

"At this time, we have supplied documents per the request," city spokesman Mike Hall said in an emailed statement. "As mentioned before, Mr. Stumler is a former mayoral candidate and critic of this administration who has unsuccessfully sought local elected office numerous times" ...

Local Democrats angrily rally against openness and transparency as "The City of New Albany Defies Court Order on Records’ Requests."

Monday, December 30, 2019

Local Democrats angrily rally against openness and transparency as "The City of New Albany Defies Court Order on Records’ Requests."


At this point just about any fair-minded citizen can't avoid the only real question.

Gahan's public records scandal: WDRB's Marcus Green breaks it down as the News and Tribune flails ineffectually.


Exactly what is Gahan hiding?

Go to The Aggregate for the scoop.

The City of New Albany Defies Court Order on Records’ Requests, by Nick Vaughn (The Aggregate)

 ... The default judgement, issued on December 18th, ordered the city to provide the plaintiffs with the documents they requested back in August within 10 days and the payment of over $2,000 in legal fees.

On December 30th, The Aggregate News staff checked in with one of the plaintiffs, Irv Stumler, regarding whether the city had provided the documents and court fees by the December 28th deadline.

In a text message, Mr. Stumler stated that "No, we have not heard from anyone at the city" ...

New Albany's restaurant and bar openings and closings for 2019.

I had to pick one of them for the photo.

Following is our crowd-sourced list of restaurant/bar openings and closings in New Albany for 2019: Indies only; no chains, and just businesses within city limits.

Here's a special category: Floyd County Brewing, which expanded into the Biergarten after launching Grain Haus in 2018. They're still all common ownership, but deserving of note for organization of available space. 

Did we miss anyone? There are two reasons why Our Lady of Perpetual Hops isn't on this list: (1) it doesn't have a kitchen, and (b) I'm still not sure whether it's city, fringe area or county. The beers are good, though.

OPENING IN 2019 ... 8 + 3 (see below) = 11
Boomtown Kitchen
Chicago City Pizza
Fistful of Tacos
Get It on a Bun at Booty’s
La Catrina
Tacolicious To Go
The Earl
The Standard Plate & Pour

CLOSING IN 2019 ... 6 + 3 (see below) = 9 
Bank Street Brewhouse/Taco Steve
Cox’s Hot Chicken
Hull & High Water
Mandarin Cafe
Red Men Club
Sinaloa

BOTH OPENING AND CLOSING IN 2019 ... 3
Bliss Artisan
El Rico Taco
Mirin

There are little bits of many things in NA Confidential's Top Ten posts list for 2019.


Rather than undertake a more elaborate accounting, I went back and calculated the Top Ten posts at NA Confidential for the year 2019. They're a mixed bag, indeed.

The most obvious update in need of appending has to do with the My Scratch & Dent building. Not only did it change hands, but the buyer (the city itself, duh) unceremoniously demolished the building late in the year. More acreage off the tax rolls, eh?

Without further ado, here they are. I've already compiled a list of the top columns of the year.

A six-pack of the most-read ON THE AVENUES columns from 2019.


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2,269 (September 9)

Return of the Fork in the Road public art installation -- bad location, but it's Gahanism, after all.


It's a horrendous location; there's no literal "fork in the road," and the installation will be overshadowed by the parking garage, but in New Gahania we save the best spots for the most generic structures -- because that's how pay-to-play gets done, whippersnapper.

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2,570 (March 23)

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: The My Scratch & Dent building has not changed ownership -- at least yet, but Loop Island luxury might depend on it.


On the one hand, Tiger Trucking is no fan of Gahan's; on the other, everyone has their price. It appears that Nickelin LLC purchased these two properties in 2004 for $2.4 million. It's hard to imagine Flaherty and Collins, or any other well-heeled developers, buying these on their own dime. Tax Increment Financing? That's another story, even before the sewer tap-in waiver gifting.

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2,768 (April 15)

Recbar in Jeffersontown to open second location in downtown New Albany.



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2,855 (April 16)

But didn't taxpayers already forward $750,000 to Denton Floyd to "stabilize" the Reisz Luxury City Hall?



Of course, they might be maypoles. They're certainly not giants.

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2,921 (May 25)

Just another driver "flipping" over the beauty of the East Main Street Project median.


It is a matter of genuine curiosity for me as to why so many drivers bounce off the median eastbound at the starting point of beautification. I'd guess the drag strip speeds coming out of the stop light at Pearl, given that the city refuses to calm the section of Main Street between Pearl and 5th.

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2,949 (October 21)

Hull & High Water is winding down, so go over there and say goodbye.


As I reported earlier at Food & Dining Magazine, Hull & High Water is winding down. Owner Eric Morris made the announcement earlier today at Facebook.

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3,034 (October 8)

Democrat David White: "I am asking ALL the people who have supported me over the years to help Mark Seabrook put People First!"


Finally, it is my belief that Mark will surround himself with people of decency, integrity and a desire to put the best interest of our community first.

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3,103 (March 24)

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Why is the New Albany Housing Authority buying commercial property at the dumping grounds downtown on State Street?


That's right: It's the New Albany Housing Authority, and a "Power to Grab Today" scratch sheet presumably lying atop Gauleiter Duggins' desk next to the moldering Arby's wrappers.

The Green Mouse can find no evidence indicating that Andres has donated to Gahan4Life for the privilege of playing, but maybe the bunker drain trust is taking no chances and hiring him to work at NAHA, as they did councilman Matt Nash.

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4,267 (April 9)

NA Social's about to be dead, so "Long Live NA Social."


Never mind that NA Social did it better than that other organization, because the latter had the official stamp from approval from the "cool kids," and NA Social didn't.

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5,496 (January 15)

We Are All Family In Kentucky (and Indiana): Schedule of restaurants providing meals as a show of support for federal employees.


"We Are All Family In Kentucky

"In an effort to help employees of the Federal Government who are not getting paid through the shutdown, a group of restaurants has banded together to provide meals as a show of support and appreciation for the dedicated men and women who keep our community safe.

"Together, we strive to be better and to overcome adversity as one community."

Sunday, December 29, 2019

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Social media reports indicate that New Albany's venerable Red Men club will vacate its Main Street space.


There aren't many Red Men members, which is an obvious problem for the club, and they don't have a consistent social media presence, but other folks are saying that New Albany's 120-year-old Red Men club is giving up its storefront on Main Street (at the very least) or perhaps even calling it quits permanently in the face of declining membership, aging and mortality.

The Red Men Club was founded in 1765 and was originally known as the Sons of Liberty. These early patriots concealed their identity and worked to help establish freedom and liberty in the early colonies. They patterned themselves after the great Iroquois Confederacy and its democratic governing body. After the revolution, the name was changed to the Society of Red Men. The New Albany charter was founded in 1899.

For the past two years (maybe a bit longer) the Red Men have been serving lunch at 211 E Main Street, but the kitchen suspended operations in mid-October just after Harvest Homecoming.

From the lunch counter:

We are sorry to say that we will not be reopening this year. We are not ruling out coming back after the first of the year, we are considering all options. We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts to our faithful customers. We will miss every one of you.

Thank you again,

Deb and Jessa

The club is locally renowned for its annual Harvest Homecoming chicken and dumplings, the proceeds from which carry the Red Men through the year. As recently as November 19, the club was accepting Thanksgiving carry-out orders for chicken and dumplings.

What's next? It's unclear, but we'll see. It is sad to watch as these old-school fraternal clubs and orders succumb to the inevitable march of time. They played their roles for generations, but as has been evident for quite some time, the  younger demographic tends not to be attracted to the concept. Cheers to the ones that remain.

Boomtown Kitchen's "family friendly 'Times Square Ball Drop' for kids on NYE."


I posted this one at the Food & Dining Magazine web site because it strikes me as a genuinely creative way to reach families.

Since then, I've learned of an equally great idea (thanks, Karen) for adults. Flanagan's Ale House in Louisville does an Irish New Year's Eve at 7:00 p.m. on the 31st -- because this is when it's midnight in Ireland.

"We have been doing this at Flanagan’s for years," Karen divulged on Facebook. "They have bagpipes, drop a lampshade, serve shots of Jameson. It’s brilliant. The oldsters leave, they clean up and do round two later."

She concluded with a thought that isn't a joke at all to me, seeing as we're usually asleep by 10:00 p.m.: "Wish someone did this on our side of the river for us old folks."

Who knows? Maybe next year.

Boomtown Kitchen’s family friendly “Times Square Ball Drop” for kids on NYE (by me at F&D)

Boomtown Kitchen in downtown New Albany gets props for creativity. The eatery, which opened this summer and occupies the fabled former South Side Inn building, was looking for a way to involve families in its New Years Eve festivities.

Boomtown decided to stage a New Years Eve(ning) for Kids. We asked about it via Facebook messaging … and it sounds like fun ...

Recbar 812's humorous "opening February 3" announcement.


Recbar 812 made the best of construction delays, turning the situation into gently self-deprecating laughs.

"When are you opening in New Albany?" The burning question of the year. It's been a much longer process than we ever would have planned and we appreciate everyone's support. We know Fall 2019 has come and gone but Santa is rewarding your patience with an opening date. February 3, 2020, Recbar 812 will open it's doors to over 200 games, a full bar & delicious grub menu! Merry Christmas from the entire Recbar Crew! #almostthere

Recbar 812's location is the southeast corner of Spring and Pearl, across from Bicentennial Park. Did I mention the grand opening is slated for February 3?

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: "First It Was Exploding Cans, Now 450 North Shrugs Off Miscalculated ABVs."


The tweeter's spot-on prelude, which I wish I'd written first:

"I love this story (below) so much. It's everything wrong with craft "beer" these days: Absolute shit product, exploding cans, Branding for kids, Zero QC, Zero integrity, (apparently) Zero accountability, Zero fucks given... and consumers still buying."

This is why I'm happily ensconced in the Realm of the Retro. To paraphrase General Grant, I'll fight it out on these principles if it takes the rest of my life.

Let the uninformed buyer beware?

To an extent, yes, but kaleidoscopes, tilt-a-whirls and rotating roulette wheels aren't my personal idea of fun, and this article is required reading for anyone who still cares about beer -- the actual liquid in the glass, not the institutionalized attention deficit disorder which seems to have gripped the land.

By the way, it's an Indiana brewery in the process of grabbing attention for all the wrong reasons. As an old friend once observed, "for shit's sake."

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ — First It Was Exploding Cans, Now 450 North Shrugs Off Miscalculated ABVs, by Kate Bernot (Good Beer Hunting)

THE GIST

"Holy shiiiiit."

So began the text in a provocative screenshot that was circulating on Twitter in mid-December. The image, whose origins and authorship are unknown, claimed to show laboratory test results of a beer from Columbus, Indiana’s 450 North Brewing Company.

The beer in question was Slushy XL Elephant Ears, a “smoothie-style” Berliner Weisse flavored with raspberry, blackberry, graham cracker, cinnamon, and vanilla, and which could be visually mistaken for a grape Slurpee. The release was part of the brewery’s Slushy XL line, a hype-darling series of kettle-soured beers packaged in 16oz cans and flavored heavily with fruit purees after fermentation. The test results showed the beer’s ABV was 2.65%, significantly lower than the 8% ABV listed on the can.

"If they sent this away to another lab the results would be exactly the same," the screenshot read. "Shocking."

Not only had the brewery apparently been wildly incorrect in its ABV calculations, but it was charging customers IPA-level prices—roughly $15-$19 per four-pack—that some might be reluctant to pay for such a low-strength beer.

450 North responded via a statement on Instagram posted Dec. 24. Signed by owners David and Brenda Simmons, the post breezily acknowledged the disparity, apologized, and stated the brewery would remove the ABV from its Slushy line until early 2020. It also said the brewery has since adjusted its ABV calculation process to “include any additional adjuncts added post-fermentation.”

"The findings were unexpected," they wrote. "The independent testing of multiple Slushys has determined that our calculation process was critically flawed."

According to Instagram, the brewery has released seven Slushy beers since then, but did not disclose any of their ABVs, or assumed ABVs. The Simmons haven’t addressed the issue since their lone response on Christmas Eve.

WHY IT MATTERS

This isn’t 450 North’s first quality control stumble related to its super-fruited beers. In August 2018, its brewers acknowledged some of its fruited, kettle-soured beer cans might explode if not refrigerated immediately after purchase, because yeast present in the cans could continue to ferment thanks to the the hummingbird-nectar levels of sugar added post-fermentation. Can conditioning isn’t new, but it is a delicate process that takes nuanced attention to allow a beer to finish gracefully—let alone safely. 450 North, however, opted to add levels of fruit that could have been a can’s kryptonite.

“If you want something super fruity, that’s the risk you’ve got to take, it seems like,” 450 North’s assistant brewer Brian Pine told the ABV Chicago podcast at the time. The brewery charges roughly $15-$19 for 16oz four-packs of these beers, noting on Instagram that “the amount of fruit added to our Slushys has always dictated the price.” It’s unclear if that’s specific to actual fruit puree, or fruit juice, which caused the latest problem for the brewery.

But these ABV errors, which the brewery’s Instagram post calls “critically flawed,” raise additional red flags and beg even more questions. Namely, how did the brewery miscalculate its ABVs so drastically? Did it really not know its beers would be less alcoholic following significant additions of fruit? Did it just not care? Do its customers care?

The controversy also raises questions around the Simmons' two other beverage alcohol companies: Simmons Winery and Gnarly Grove Hard Cider. The couple clearly has an understanding of fermentation when it comes to a variety of alcohol categories, so what happened with 450 North?

Those questions can’t be answered here, however, as 450 North did not return messages left with taproom staff, or direct messages on social media.The email address listed on 450 North’s Instagram account is invalid. Additional follow-up calls to the brewery went unanswered; the brewery’s voicemail was also full ...

Saturday, December 28, 2019

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: The unremitting scourge of bangorrhea.



(Originally published on August 18, 2018)

No sirree, I won't back down.

I will continue my lonely struggle against bangorrhea (exclamation mark diarrhea) for so long as an ounce of strength remains to tear my hair and mutter recriminations.

To be honest, it never occurred to me that rampant exclamation mark misuse and abuse could be traced to terminal punctuation anxiety. Thanks to the Bookseller for focusing my awareness.

Guys! Exclamation Points Are Out of Control.

By Heather Schwedel (Slate)

Everyone knows that ending a sentence with a period is just about the rudest thing one human can do to another, murder and cuckoldry notwithstanding.

“I hope this note finds you well.” Brutal. “See you then.” Honestly, a little menacing.

It wasn’t always this way—periods have only taken on a sinister cast in response to the rampant exclamation point inflation of the past 15 or so years. The advent of smartphones and, before them, the personal computer, led to the rise of emailing and texting, which long ago surpassed the spoken word as our dominant form of communication. An article in Monday’s Wall Street Journal joins a chorus of other publications that have written about our changing terminal punctuation mores—and the anxiety they can cause. (An anecdote in the WSJ story focused on an employee who thought her boss was angry at her when she ended an email without a slammer.)

What can we do about this? Is there any way to fight back? Or are we doomed to live in a world where every sentence will need to have a minimum of three exclamation points in order to be read as anything less than outright hostile?

To me the answer is perfectly clear. It's not Yiddish -- it's English: STOP IT.



It seems that we have Urban Dictionary to thank for coining "bangorrhea."

If you move past the definitions involving disgusting sexual disorders (which every UD entry has at least one of) and the culinary shortcomings of Bangor, Maine, you’ll find bangorrhea defined as “[the overuse of] exclamation points in a vain and failing attempt to make your writing sound more exciting.” At some point in our careers, all copy editors have to clean up someone else’s bangorrhea. And we complain about it, too. This handy word makes it easier to talk about.

This isn't the first time "bangorrhea" has graced these pages. It was almost exactly five years ago, on August 24, 2013.

In which we examine the phenomenon of bangorrhea. Thanks to B for the link.

Elmore Leonard: Do we use too many exclamation marks?, by Finlo Rohrer (BBC)

Elmore Leonard has died at the age of 87. The crime novelist really didn't like exclamation marks, notes Finlo Rohrer.

His 10 rules of writing from 2001 are arguably as famous as any of his novels. Point five reads: "Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose."

He wasn't the only enemy. "Cut out all these exclamation points," F. Scott Fitzgerald urged. "An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke."

There's even a word, bangorrhea, that describes their overuse.

A six-pack of the most-read ON THE AVENUES columns from 2019.


Funny, but the columns of mine I like the most usually aren't the same ones that score high in terms of readership. This year is an exception. I'm very happy with the columns I wrote detailing the ill treatment endured by Donnie Blevins and Greg Pennell -- and they also were the most-read of 2019.

Yes, I know; the outcome of the year's election cycle was not affected by the these revelations. But these accounts needed to be told, and I'm glad they were, if for no other readership than posterity.

Some sweet day, it will matter.

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682 (December 19)
ON THE AVENUES: These parents oppose their children's exposure to the PURE Initiative as part of the NA-FC Schools curriculum. Here's why.

Let’s have a look at faith-based abstinence as a component of health education in New Albany-Floyd County Schools. But first, just a bit of background to explain how the topic came to my attention.

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803 (August 1)
ON THE AVENUES: The whys and wherefores can drive a man to drink; our lives just ARE, and that's that.

Birthdays get piled into desk drawers alongside rusty paper clips, obsolete business cards and bits of senseless plastic that somehow have evaded landing in the ocean. It would be pleasant bonus if the annual birthday observance yielded something genuinely revelatory; to paraphrase Michael McDonald, we'd trade it all right now for just one minute of real insight.

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866 (September 26)
ON THE AVENUES: Socialists for Seabrook, because we desperately need a new beginning in New Albany.

In 2019, this European-style Social Democrat will be voting for Mark Seabrook for mayor of New Albany.

Before telling you why, just a wee bit of personal background. I’ve come to understand that my political frame of reference is utterly negated by America’s two-party system and the “traditional” call-and-response psychoses stemming from it.

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991 (October 31)
ON THE AVENUES: In which Team Gahan's looming appointment with unemployment is examined.

New Albany political history in my own lifetime reveals that it is entirely possible for a New Albany mayor to be viciously humiliated in a re-election bid. Witness one Warren Nash, Gahan’s cadaverous and enduringly vacuous mentor, who won 60% of the vote in a winning bid in 1971 but then just 34% in 1975 while suffering a cataclysmic landslide loss.

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1,012 (April 2)
ON THE AVENUES: Donnie Blevins tells his story.

When Blevins returned, his supervisor called him inside to deliver the ultimatum he'd just been given. According to the supervisor, who said he had no idea why any of it was happening, Gahan had gone “berserk” about Blevins, referring to him as “that son-of-a-bitch” and promising to “fire his (Blevins’) ass the first chance I get.”

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2,177 (April 30)
ON THE AVENUES: Greg Pennell tells his story.

Stammering and visibly uncomfortable, Bailey replied that he had only a quick minute, so Pennell got straight to the point and asked about the signed agreement for his return to chief of detectives. Bailey told Pennell he could go back to the detective division, but not as a captain, meaning Pennell would have to give up his merit rank of captain, which he had earned through the testing procedures put forth by the New Albany Police Merit Commission.

Sadly, Bliss Artisan is closed. The franchise lasted ten months at The Breakwater.




Bliss Artisan opened in January 2019. At some point by November's ending, so was Bliss.

Bliss Artisan Ice Cream & Handcrafted Pizza is to occupy the long vacant Breakwater retail space.


I have little to say; this closing seems to have escaped notice, and I thought it should be noted. As for whether it "means" anything, my hunch is the terms of the lease might tell us a lot. This isn't a good space for a business like this, at least in my estimation.

Martini bar, anyone?

Follow the Auschwitz Memorial page at Twitter and root yourself in reality.


A disturbing number of my fellow Amerikaners have decided the Holocaust didn't occur. Stupidity or ignorance? Either way, dipshittedness of this magnitude is just about as unimaginable as the fact of the atrocity itself.

A few weeks back I saw that the Auschwitz Memorial page at Twitter is seeking to add followers in the run-up to the 75th anniversary of the death camp's liberation in January.

The material posted by Auschwitz Memorial on a daily basis at Twitter isn't easy or pleasant reading. It's just essential to being a responsible and responsive human being.

If you are of the tweeting persuasion, go there and give them a follow. There is a Facebook page as well. The web site is here.

Should you be one of the deniers, you're advised to examine your own life with care and precision; if we happen to be acquainted, then get the hell out of my life until yours is placed in the context of reality.

Thank you.

Friday, December 27, 2019

He changed the game. This is why Curt Flood belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame.


If you ask me, Bowie Kuhn and Bud Selig in the Baseball Hall of Fame is far more repulsive than Donald Trump being president.

Long read: "Major league baseball has a long but little-known history of rebels, reformers, and radicals."


In the late, great Jim Bouton's seminal Ball Four, he observes that the famously eccentric (and highly talented) genius/pitcher Mike Marshall once authored a university term paper titled "Baseball Is An Ass."

Marshall's paper would have been written during the mid-1960s, just before Curt Flood challenged the reserve clause -- and as the late Marvin Miller took the reins of the players union.

Quite simply, Miller belongs in the upper tier of most transformational figures in the history of baseball. Only this year did Miller gain admittance to the Hall of Fame, primarily because of the owners' resentment of a man who enabled them to garner unprecedented wealth by first forcing them to share some of it with the men on the field who made it all possible.

Flood belongs, too. Thanks to IAmHoosier for the link.

Fifty years ago on Christmas Eve, Curt Flood mailed a letter that changed baseball history, by Derrick Goold (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Baseball’s declaration of independence, as brief and blunt as it has proven impactful, was sent to the commissioner’s office on Christmas Eve, 50 years ago, and it had St. Louis as the return address.

The brick building with its six white Ionic columns still sits at 8007 Clayton Road, and behind its “For Lease” sign is The Creative Services Building, home to a company that specializes in promotional products to help companies establish their brand, create awards for employees, or fashion gifts for anniversaries. On Dec. 24, 1969, Curt Flood & Assoc. Inc. and Curt Flood Studios resided there, and under its letterhead and that date the former Cardinals outfielder typed a letter that changed baseball history.

“After twelve years in the Major Leagues,” Flood’s letter began, “I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes.”

Flood’s rejection of a trade to the Phillies ignited the labor relations revolution that cost him his career. Between addressing commissioner Bowie Kuhn and signing his name, in an economical 127 words, Flood launched what would help create this winter’s billion-dollar free agent market ...

NAC's New Albany "Person of the Year" for 2019 is Dear Leader's pervasive, relentless Automobile Supremacy.


It’s time once again for NA Confidential to select New Albany’s "Person of the Year." As in 2018, there'll be no run-ups and time-wasting teasers, although our basic definition remains intact, as gleaned so long ago from Time.

Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year) is an annual issue of the United States news magazine Time that features and profiles a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or for worse ... has done the most to influence the events of the year."

Given the outcome of the 2019 municipal election, with the incumbent mayor Jeff Gahan winning a third consecutive term for the first time since C. Pralle Erni in the 1950s, the conventional wisdom suggests that Gahan -- currently an unchallenged, dominant figure in terms of accumulated power and authority -- would easily win the title of "Person of the Year."

Maybe in a milquetoast milieu awash in donor dollars, but all I can say to this is "Fuck a bunch o'that."

Rather, let's look at the prime beneficiary of the past eight years of pay-to-stewardship, Gahan-style. What do the following signature Gahan projects all have in common?

  • River Run splash pad
  • Silver Street pleasure dome
  • Cannon Acres luxury doggie park
  • Roadway corridor expenditures (Grant Line, Mt. Tabor, McDonald Lane, State Street)
  • Summit Springs hilltop chain orgy
  • Reisz Mahal opulent HQ
  • Downtown grid "improvement" project

Answer: They all promote automobile centrism/supremacy at the expense of other users, whether those on foot, riding bicycles or preferring mobility options like public transportation.

They all came from Gahan with illusory promises to the contrary, which were little more than bait 'n' switch window dressing for the driver-fluffing floor show.

As traffic speeds increase, errant drivers go unpunished and sharrow symbols somehow fail to protect, Gahan has seen to it that the car stays king in Nawbany, and all other street and roadway users remain second-class citizens -- and he'll continue lying about it until the day comes when he finally goes away.

However, there is a certain irony to Gahan's love for our cars. The extended period of the Sherman Minton bridge's repairs and ensuing traffic disruptions will constitute the first serious challenges to the mayor's "Wizard of Bling" stewardship during eight years of cruise control, for which he'll be woefully unprepared and forced to cooperate with Republicans for any semblance of relief.

It will and it won't be hilarious, simultaneously.

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Previous winners:

    Thursday, December 26, 2019

    Enough Absurdity: "Neoliberal globalization and Third Way politics are plainly not up to the task, and the historical Left has, for the most part, gone missing."


    "After almost three years of Trumpian rule, it has come to this. The worst American president ever, along with a bunch of embarrassingly servile flunkies, are calling the shots; while the opposition party’s establishment is working overtime to stifle changes that would undo the conditions that made Trumpism all but inevitable."
    -- Andrew Levine

    And yet still I'm told by "left" centrists (is that contortion possible?) that if I don't publicly support one of their Democratic presidential candidates -- any candidate, whether his or her platform jibes with my own world view or not -- then I'm guilty of abject failure to properly resist Trump.

    Pfui. Why is it that I'm always the one who must alter my dictates of conscience/consciousness to suit the Lighter Shade of Republicans? Why must my principles be the ones forever mutable?

    I'm no longer sure it matters. This circling of the drain began long ago, and the cycle probably will be compelled to play out. Circa the year 1987, writer Gore Vidal spoke briefly and eloquently about the reality of the day.

    The last best hope of earth, two trillion dollars in debt, is spinning out of control, and all we can do is stare at a flickering cathode-ray tube as Ollie “answers” questions on TV while the press, resolutely irrelevant as ever, asks politicians if they have committed adultery. From V-J Day 1945 to this has been, my fellow countrymen, a perfect nightmare.

    Pretty much, dog. Pretty much right now.

    Enough Absurdity: Time To Get Smart, by Andrew Levine (CounterPunch)

    ... We got into this fix because our political and economic elites never quite figured out how to execute a soft landing in a world in which “the American century” was becoming undone by demographic changes, geopolitical exigencies, and the increasingly evident dysfunctionality of our overripe capitalist system.

    Neoliberal globalization and Third Way politics are plainly not up to the task, and the historical Left has, for the most part, gone missing. Thus, a large segment of the general population is left without constructive means for addressing a host of justifiable grievances.

    A reconstructed Left is the solution, but its first intimations are still in their infancy. This could change quickly, for better or worse, but for the time being, there is just not enough there there.

    And so, all over the world, “populists,” rightwing nationalists essentially, have rushed in to fill the void, just as their counterparts did nearly a century ago, after the revolutionary upsurge that followed the Bolshevik revolution sputtered out, only to be swamped before long by forces of darkness even more odious than the ones now on the rise.

    This process has been in the works at least since the dark days of the Reagan administration; it has taken its toll in both the Republican and Democratic parties, causing them to drift, or, in the Republican case, to gallop to the right.

    The idea that, in America, there is only a middleclass has been another casualty of these on-going transformations. Thus, it has become harder than it used to be to deny the existence of a ruling class, or to deny that, at least in some quarters, working-class politics has revived.

    As they say, “what goes around comes around.” There are two reasons, though, why the stakes are a little different this time around, and a lot more urgent ...

    Gahan's public records scandal: WDRB's Marcus Green breaks it down as the News and Tribune flails ineffectually.


    On Christmas Eve, Marcus Green of WDRB broke down Jeff Gahan's public records scandal; the screenshots and transcriptions follow. Green concludes with three questions:

    1. Why didn't (city hall) respond to the citizens' request before (the judge's ruling)?
    2. Does it believe it doesn't have to respond to requests it deems politically motivated?
    3. Why didn't it respond to the access counselor?

    To which I can add only one additional query:

    Where the hell was the News and Tribune for all those weeks prior to the judge's ruling?

    The Aggregate reports: "The City of New Albany was ordered to pay over $2,000 after it failed to fulfill a public records request."


    Green makes it so simple that even a Democratic precinct committee-person can understand it.

    ---




    Marcus Green @MarcusGreenWDRB

    This is an interesting public records case from New Albany.

    A judge rules that @NewAlbanyIN must release records sought by citizens: https://bit.ly/39b6yoc

    Ok. Let's break this down.

    Judge rules New Albany must release requested public records

    NEW ALBANY — Just under two months after a lawsuit was filed against the City of New Albany for failing to respond to public records requests made by three residents ...
    The city's attorney, Shane Gibson, told the @newsandtribune this:

    “The city was sued by former political opponents and non-city residents' days before the November mayoral election to try and influence the outcome," Gibson said in an emailed statement. "We are pleased those efforts failed. While these actions were politically motivated, the City of New Albany intends to comply with any court order regarding the matter.”
    First, the citizens filed the lawsuit only after @NewAlbanyIN ignored their records request, which was made in August, per @newsandtribune. They then asked for Indiana's public access counselor for an opinion.

    The counselor, the state office that addresses public records disputes, says @NewAlbanyIN's city attorney, city controller and parks director refused to respond to its questions.

    The state then found New Albany violated the law: https://in.gov/pac/advisory/files/19-FC-105.pdf

    Then the citizens sued.

    The city attorney now says @NewAlbanyIN will comply with the court order.

    Questions: Why didn't it respond to the citizens' request before? Does it believe it doesn't have to respond to requests it deems politically motivated? Why didn't it respond to the access counselor?

    Chief edible tourism bourbonist Greg Fischer is "praying" that restaurant meals will be taxed higher because that's "easiest" for him and his oligarch friends.


    Is he daft?

    Fischer Says Restaurant Tax ‘Easiest’ Option For Covering Pension Obligation, by Amina Elahi (WFPL)

    Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said budget talks are already underway and will pick up in earnest in the new year. City leaders will again need to contend with a large pension bill that is expected to grow another $10 million in the fiscal year starting in July. The question is whether they will turn to cuts for a second year in a row, or successfully raise taxes instead.

    The easiest option would be a 3% restaurant tax, which could cover most of the city’s pension costs for the next few years, Fischer said in a year-end interview with WFPL. That move would require authorization by state legislators, which he said would be easy to do. It wouldn’t need a Constitutional amendment, and smaller cities already have the power to implement it.

    “I pray for that,” Fischer said. “And we’ll, we’ll see if that happens.”

    Short of that, he said the Metro Council may need to reconsider the insurance premium tax they voted down last spring. Fischer said it’s the only real option they have for increasing taxes without state approval. And he said public backlash to cuts that resulted from that vote may encourage Council members to reevaluate ...

    ON THE AVENUES: Four more years? Heaven help us all, but there are five reasons to be optimistic.


    “The only thing you learn from history is that no one learns anything from history.”
    -- Otto von Habsburg

    There was a time in the late 1980s, only the briefest of moments after Raygun had gone out to pasture, as Bush the Elder became heir to the nuclear code, when it still seemed as if Madonna wasn’t calculating and cynical ALL the time.

    Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always greatly admired and fully appreciated the Material Girl exactly for who she is, a savvy musician and performance artist with an amazing head for business.

    But even as late as 1989 Ms. Ciccone could toss out a bouncy ditty like "Cherish" and you’d pause for a moment, smile and think: “Wow, what a sweet chorus, and it really hasn’t been that long since 'Borderline', has it?”

    Speaking of defining lines in the dross, since the conclusion of the municipal election cycle in 2019 my love (for Nawbany) has been pushed over the borderline, clearing the top of the guardrail, and come to rest at the bottom of a shambolic sinkhole once used as latrine and landfill by immigrant Gahans arriving here on the Mayflower.

    Or was it the Titanic?

    But that’s all right with me, because my innate stubbornness eliminates the possibility that these kingpin nitwits will ever govern MY head space. Rather than dwell on the dipshittsian dysfunctionals, let’s see if there is a case to be made for this municipal glass being half-full with our delicious Pilsner Urquell, rather than half depleted of their Bud Light Mang-o-Rita pet shampoo.

    Because I promised ... here are FIVE POSITIVE TAKEWAYS FROM THE NOVEMBER 5 ELECTION.

    5b. City council addition by subtraction.

    David Barksdale (at-large) wagered it all on the luxury Reisz Mahal, eagerly abetting Dear Leader’s megalomania but annoying one too many Republicans in the process. Thus hemorrhaging credibility, the votes he lost from his own tribe cost Nanny Barksdale his bid for re-election.

    Credit Gahan for divining Barksdale’s buildings-not-people Achilles heel and smacking it constantly with a baseball bat, then pushing the dazed ex-councilman aside to congratulate the candidate, pretend-Democrat Jason Applegate (see below), who beat him.

    Maybe someday people will see Gahan for who and what he really is, but until then, it’s #HisNA business as usual.

    However … counter-intuitively, Barksdale’s fall might actually make the anti-Gahan resistance stronger by removing its weakest link, while at the same time freeing Barksdale to return to the unelected sector, where he can do better works for the city than merely roll over and play dead for the pay-to-play Democratic vandals.

    5a. On January 1, 2020 the city of New Albany will be rendered utterly decaffeinated.

    Dan “Councilman Cappuccino” Coffey has retired from his council seat after two decades representing the 1st district, otherwise known as Westendia. Previously we have thanked Coffey in perfect seriousness for his long years of service, and irrespective of one’s “side” when analyzing his legacy, it cannot be disputed that Coffey has joyfully played the role of Freud’s id on council for all these years. His absence removes the scream from the body's primal. Maybe Pat McLaughlin can pick up the slack.

    On second thought ... no, that's highly unlikely.

    4. Coffey’s successor will not be a Dickeyite pushover.

    The 1st district race in 2019 pitted woman against woman. Has this ever happened before? Both were excellent candidates, but only one could win, and Jennie Collier (D) did. The Green Mouse says Collier is no friend of the mayor’s, and is likely not to be the rubber stamp Gahan demands his sycophants abase themselves to be, that she’ll think for herself and perform more as an independent than a boot-licking lackey of McLaughlin’s caliber.

    If so, a cooperative bloc of Collier, three Republicans (Al Knable and David Aebersold, both at-large, and newly elected 5th district councilman Joshua Turner) and independent 6th district incumbent Scott Blair could thwart the more egregious of Gahan’s harebrained schemes.

    3. Joshua (JT) Turner won in the 5th district.

    Not only is this an automatic energy boost of epic proportions, particularly compared with Turner’s somnolent apparatchik of a predecessor, but it bodes well for the future of the district. Once solidly Republican, the 5th has gone Democratic in recent years, although the races have been very close.

    Team Gahan’s effort to buy the 5th with its Colonial Manor fix-is-in plan miserably failed, exposing the mayor’s comprehensively clothes-less attire, and Turner flipped it. Meanwhile the junta will find a way to reward loyal servant Matt Nash with a few farthings more, and all will again be well in papa Warren’s interior world of ethics-free cajoling.

    Turner is going to be a hard-working, open-minded public servant. Keep your eyes on him.

    2. Let us join together in Extol.

    Newly elected at-large councilman Jason Applegate somehow passed through an entire municipal election cycle, occupying a whole calendar year, without ever once being questioned by even the first self-satisfied, card-carrying progressive member of the League of the Beautiful People about the word “conservative” appearing as his political identity at his Facebook page.

    Thousands of times they pilloried those nasty conservatives, and every single day Applegate hid in plain sight by describing himself as one. The woebegone Buttigieg Belt never noticed -- well, they noticed but chose not to.

    So yes, we all know that Applegate has been a Republican his entire life until encouraged to run for office (Q: Which office? A: Who cares?) and it’s equally obvious that he has attached himself to Jeff Gahan’s perfumed hip more slavishly than Terry Middleton, almost certainly because Big Daddy needs an economy-sized heir apparent.

    We all grasp the unexplained switcheroo respectability thus afforded the chosen at-large "Democrat" … but maybe, just maybe, the “conservative” moniker acts like a guilty conscience to lead him on widely scattered occasions to push back against Gahan’s ruinous indebtedness and mind-boggling expenditures, or to at long last contemplate that cooperation with David Duggins’ “blessings in a backpack” approach to NAHA administration is tantamount to loading residents onto cattle cars headed for Greenville -- as well as being an unmitigated crock of shit.

    1. New council blood means a different balance of personalities.

    In the final analysis, a juggling of chemistry is the most important outcome of the 2019 municipal election. Apart from council’s three intellectually exhausted returning Democrats, now purged of all pride, idealism and brain-matter to function as grim power-brokers for the oligarchs (Bob Caesar, McLaughlin and Greg Phipps, henceforth to be known here as the CMP, or “consent management platform”), there is at least a possibility of the body being a genuine mechanism of checks and balances, with legislative creativity thrown into the mix.

    Actions resembling this description won’t emanate from the kept Democrats, who are kept on a tight leash by Squire Adam. However, if that bloc of five bipartisan council members arises, it might yet be interesting.

    ---

    Did you hear the one about Gahan phoning McLaughlin at 2:00 a.m.? According to the Green Mouse, here’s how the councilman answered the call.

    Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone
    I hear you call my name
    And it feels like home

    When you call my name it's like a little prayer
    I'm down on my knees, I wanna take you there
    In the midnight hour I can feel your power
    Just like a prayer you know I'll take you there

    I hear your voice, it's like an angel sighing
    I have no choice, I hear your voice
    Feels like flying
    I close my eyes, Oh God I think I'm falling
    Out of the sky, I close my eyes
    Heaven help me

    ---

    Recent columns:

    December 21: ON THE AVENUES HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Truth, lies, music, and a trick of the Christmas tale (2019 Remix).

    December 19: ON THE AVENUES: These parents oppose their children's exposure to the PURE Initiative as part of the NA-FC Schools curriculum. Here's why.

    December 12: ON THE AVENUES: He who fights and runs away will live to fight another day.

    December 5: ON THE AVENUES: Ladislav's language, 1989 - 1990 (Part 2).

    November 28: ON THE AVENUES: Ladislav's language, 1989 - 1990 (Part 1).

    Wednesday, December 25, 2019

    Of Scrooge and The Dead.





    We watched two seasonal films on Christmas Eve, first The Dead (1987), then Scrooge, the musical with the late Albert Finney (1970). They're considerably different in terms of intent, but there is much to be said for both. It’s hard to imagine either being produced today.

    The Dead is a faithful and thought-provoking rendering of James Joyce's enduring short story, and it was director John Huston's final work.

    Finney is a colossus in Scrooge, appearing in almost every scene; the songs won't be familiar to contemporary listeners, but they're effective. Scrooge has been Diana's go-to for a long time, and she has converted me. The Dead probably won't be a film I watch every year, but I'll return to it, and reading the original novella is a must for me in the coming weeks.

    All in all, it was a quiet Christmas Eve at home with my soulmate and our cats; in a world filled with idiotic clamor, the evening was a respite and I'm thankful for it.

    Addendum:

    The song "I Hate People" from Scrooge speaks to me impressively, perhaps because it reminds me of our local political chat, as directed to the vicinity of NA's ruling elites.

    Scavengers and sycophants and flatterers and fools
    Pharisees and parasites and hypocrites and ghouls
    Calculating swindlers, prevaricating frauds
    Perpetrating evil as they roam the earth in hordes
    Feeding on their fellow men
    Reaping rich rewards
    Contaminating everything they see
    Corrupting honest me like me
    Humbug! Poppycock! Balderdash! Bah!
    I hate people! I hate people!

    Let's go Twittering and observe how Jeff Gahan and Mike Moore differ in their seasonal greeting approaches.

    Festivus is ongoing.

    It's widely understood that the cities of New Albany and Jeffersonville outsource their social media feeds to an autonomous contractor, ProMedia.

    The exact amounts of their expenditure remains hidden, but wouldn't you like to know how much daily propaganda actually costs these days?

    This said, observe the appearance on Twitter of holiday glad-handing by the two cities. The posts appeared one minute apart. In New Albany, Jeff Gahan can't say "happy holidays" often enough.


    Happy TIF Zones!

    Meanwhile in Jeffersonville, Mike Moore apparently has zero diversity enhancement f*cks to give, and instead grows straight for the Christian jugular.

    I thought it might be instructive to take a look at Charlestown's feed at Twitter.


    That's right. The most recent post was October 18. Did Bob Hall take the password with him as he was clearing out his desk?

    From Abbott and Costello to Gahan and Phipps -- that's the Great Rails to Trails Bait 'n' Switch of 2019.


    I'm turning over a new leaf ... on January 1. Festivus lasts until all my grievances are aired.

    In 2018, Mayor Jeff Gahan unveiled a wondrous plan for rails-to-trails to extend from just north of the former Pillsbury plant to Bedford, reminding us that when anything seems too good to be true, check your wallet.

    ON THE AVENUES: "That's why I voted no," explains Scott Stewart, pausing to duck rocks feebly lobbed by Team Gahan's propaganda pygmies.


    The hosannas rained down, the boot-polishers got giddy, and yet no observers in local mainstream media bothered asking the only pertinent question: Wouldn't an idea like this be far better linking the Greenway to IU Southeast? -- and besides, the city of New Albany wouldn't even be responsible for 95% of any such project perched on the outer edge of the city limits, right?

    Dear Leader took credit, the sycophants became orgasmic, and apart from this blog, conventional media outlets repeated the press release talking points with nary a moment of doubt.


    However, there was ample annoyance from property owners along the rights-of-way outside city limits, as well two or three oblique voices located far away from the Gahan inner circle, who kept pointing out an important fact: A component of the city's deal with Sazerac to move into Pillsbury included the provision that CSX would be re-opening the rail line running through the densely populated center of the city, which only a few years ago was a controversial facet of life downtown.

    Or, precluding the only rational use of the railroad's right of way for a rails to trails scheme owing to the elegantly simple reason that it was about to be put back into use, thus averting gazes elsewhere. Neither the mayor nor a single candidate for city council thought this entire situation important enough to clarify or so much as mention during the municipal campaign, prime among them Greg Phipps, who once upon a time was outspokenly opposed to trains disrupting the serenity of his hermetic third district.

    Gahan's rails-to-trails public relations stunt -- and that's all it ever was -- will be tied down amid lawsuits from property owners ... and it never had anything to do with New Albany, anyway.

    Meanwhile Phipps has become a born-again defender of corporate interests at the expense of -- shall we say it aloud? -- QUALITY OF LIFE in his district.

    And, notice yet again that Gahan's automobile supremacist default floats inevitably to the surface; in an ideal instance where non-automotive mobility might have been served by a downtown rails-to-trails, Gahan ends by assuring you that the roadway for your car will be smoother.

    Bait and switch, thy name is Gahan, but don't look at me. I didn't re-elect the evasive connivers -- you did.

    CSX has begun the process of replacing railroad components throughout New Albany, by John Boyle (No Newspaper Never Mind)

     ... Work to update the tracks and roadway intersections started in recent weeks, with crews popping up in areas throughout the city.

    No exact timeline for the repairs has been set, but Mayor Jeff Gahan said the work is in full swing.

    “It’s fully under construction," he said. "They want it done as soon as possible. They have removed some ties and done some road repairs."

    Early phases of the work have seen crews working to tear up and replace older components of the railroads to ready them for renewed traffic. Such construction has seen the closure of sections of roadways along the East 15th Street tracks, including some that have lasted throughout this week.

    Another feature of the final product will be improved intersections with the city's streets. Gahan said the city is looking to make these crossings smoother for vehicles ...

    Tuesday, December 24, 2019

    A fascinating and timely human interest story at Extol Magazine


    For those who are unfamiliar with Extol Magazine: "Celebrating Southern Indiana – and beyond. Find us in print at 500+ locations throughout Southern Indiana and Louisville or online." The magazine is published bimonthly.

    A LESSON OF LOSS AND GAIN (a first-person account by Southern Indiana resident Sally Hughes, at Extol Magazine)

    IN APRIL 2013, I did something that millions of women have done, seemingly without consequence, but for me it would turn out to be a life-altering decision  ...

    Anti-advertising protests in France are an inspiring holiday season corrective.

    "Consumer Madness":
    Photo credit, The Guardian.

    Nowhere else except France could there be a "Pee in Peace" parliamentary motion to "ban video ads above urinals and toilets."

    But there should be such a movement here. After a half-century or more of reducing human beings to little more than consumer drones, we're reaping what we've sown in the form of pervasive societal cluelessness.

    'Advertising breaks your spirit': the French cities trying to ban public adverts, by Angelique Chrisafis (The Guardian)

    Activists in Lille recently demonstrated against advertising, while Grenoble has replaced hundreds of adverts with trees and noticeboards. Could cities remove ads altogether?

    On a pavement in the northern French city of Lille, an advertising panel rotated pictures of bargain Aldi prawns and blended scotch whisky, competing for the average three-second attention span of pedestrians. Suddenly a 31-year-old hospital nurse darted across the street, unrolled a mass of white paper and began to cover the ads.

    “I’ve been treating sick people in emergency rooms for 11 years, but this is about treating a sick society,” he said, as he reached up with other protesters to tape the paper in place. “When you walk down the street, how can you feel happy if you’re constantly being reminded of what you don’t have? Advertising breaks your spirit, confuses you about what you really need and distracts you from real problems, like the climate emergency.”

    Passersby began to gather, some baffled, some nodding. Police officers arrived to move the demonstrators on, but they were already on the move, hurrying down into the metro to cover their key target: digital video screens advertising trainers.

    For decades France has had one of the most well-organised anti-advertising movements in the world, ranging from guerrilla protests with spray-cans to high-profile court cases. But now the boom in what is artfully called “digital-out-of-home advertising” – eye-catching video screens dotted across urban areas, from train platforms to shopping centres – has sparked a new spate of French protests, civil disobedience and petitions ...

    BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: Why is Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout on tap at Pints&union?

    Last night my pal Blake asked a perfectly legitimate question, which I'll paraphrase to suit this family-oriented publication.

    How can the guy who always spoke so persuasively and brilliantly against the robber baron brewing conglomerate AB-InBev and its craft brewery acquisitions -- particularly Goose "Trojan Goose" Island -- now be pouring Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout at the pub where he programs beer?

    It's a very good question, and I'm surprised it took a whole week for someone to ask it.

    This fact alone hints at part of the answer: It's true that my career in beer goes back a very long way, but when Pints&union debuted in August, 2018, one book closed and another opened. A new beer narrative began, in which I no longer was Reggie Jackson's "straw that stirs the drink," but rather the guy playing rhythm guitar in someone else's band. 

    And this, my friends, is genuinely relevant in the context of reinventing oneself. Logically speaking, a reinvention without change isn't a reinvention at all.

    In the space below you will find the longer explanation of how diplomatic relations were restored between the Beer Socialist (that's me) and the firm of LC Nadorff and Son, purveyor of AB-InBev wares in Floyd County. Since the Rhinegeist keg purchase in April documented below, Pints&union has added Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and Boddington's -- all from Nadorff's book.

    I'm not a fan of these beers. Our customers are. Nothing more needs to be said.

    When Nadorff's Jason Mott asked me if we'd like to have the only 1/6 barrel of Bourbon County Brand Stout that his wholesale house was allocated, I thought about it long and hard before immediately agreeing to purchase it.

    By doing so I was happily patronizing a locally-owned business with deep roots in New Albany. The beer itself always was fine, and so far our customers have approved in spite of a necessarily dear price tag. Do I like where the profits go? No. Do I plan to make it a habit? Beats me; probably not.

    But if Nixon went to China, I can be a cussed contrarian without losing sleep.

    Ultimately it all has to do with the sole aspect of our lives that stays the same, namely change. I kept one ball in the air for 25 years, then it was finished and I departed, hoping to find some way for an old dog to learn new tricks. Now I'm liberated, if only temporarily. There'll be new orthodoxies, because there always are. The dialectic never ends.

    However, my fundamental belief systems remain intact, although maybe ... just maybe ... I'm learning that 85% internal compliance is perfectly impeccable. A guy has to relax every now and then, and play against type.

    At least I possess fundamental belief systems, something quite a few Christian fans of Donald Trump might do well to consider while gazing into their mirrors.

    I appreciate Blake's question and I hope this has been an adequate answer. Here's the April post mentioned previously.

    ---

    BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: Fruited sour dark ale from the Bud Light handlers, or how my acquaintance with LC Nadorff and Son was renewed.

    America's three-tier distribution system for beverage alcohol has eroded at the edges in recent years, but it remains largely intact.

    The post-Prohibition regulatory model was designed to separate producers (brewers, distillers, vintners) from direct involvement in retail sales by inserting a wholesaler middleman into the transaction.

    Nowadays the most obvious exceptions to the three-tier norm are small brewers and winemakers, who are allowed to sell directly to the public from their tap rooms and tasting areas.

    In 35 states (including Indiana) some form of self-distribution is allowed. For instance, so far at Pints&union I've purchased directly from the Donum Dei brewery, which is perfectly legal because we're all situated in Indiana. Conversely, to buy from a Louisville brewery would require the beer to be handled by a licensed wholesaler in Indiana.

    All this is prelude to today being a momentous and perhaps even an historic occasion, because for the first time since 2002 (or thereabouts) I'll be accepting delivery of a keg of beer for resale at Pints&union via the beer wholesaler known as LC Nadorff and Son.

    Therein lies a brief story about the way that one's point of view evolves over time. To begin, I subscribe to the Pour Fool theory of a beer drinker's (and beer vendor's) life.

    The Pour Fool rules: "FUCK Budweiser: Your Basic Early Morning, Fed-Up Rant."


    Why sugarcoat it? Everyone knows my feelings about the matter, and historically, Nadorff as a wholesaler has been what we would call a "Bud House," with a measure of territorial exclusivity for the distribution of Anheuser-Busch brands (and later the merged AB-InBev range).

    Start with decades of personal antipathy toward Budweiser, and add into the mix a long tenure at NABC's Pizzeria & Public House devoted to purging mainstream beers from the premises, it's easy to see why there came a point in time roughly two decades ago when there was little interaction between Roger and LC Nadorff.

    It wasn't that I ever had anything against Nadorff, because they've always been pleasant people. However, as befits the position of any beer wholesaler in America, Nadorff always occupied the very middle of the chain between a multinational brewing conglomerate and a publican who despised the conglomerate.

    When NABC began brewing its own beer, we made the decision to eliminate mass-market beers from the building. As such, Nadorff was taken out of the loop. 

    But here's the thing.

    I might well be included on AB-InBev's "enemies" list, but I'm also a strident supporter of independent local businesses, and while Nadorff's bread and butter always has been the AB-InBev portfolio, it remains a family-owned firm with deep roots in New Albany -- so much so that 120 years ago there was a Nadorff family brewery in town.

    Six or seven years ago when NABC did a beer tasting event on behalf of the Carnegie Center museum we were positioned adjacent to Nadorff's table. I began chatting with Jason Mott, a youthful member of the founding family. This was prior to AB-InBev's various "craft" brewery acquisitions, but we had a good conversation and I finally began considering Nadorff in the context of localism.

    At this juncture I was full-tilt with trying to sell NABC-brewed beers, and subsequently there was my departure from the company, followed by years in the wilderness contemplating next steps. Resurfacing as Joe's beer director at Pints&union, I was at the pub one morning earlier this year when in walked Jason, accompanied by the area sales rep for Cincinnati's Rhinegeist.

    There'd have been a time when Nadorff's contract with AB-InBev might have excluded the presence of an American "craft" brewer like Rhinegeist, but times have changed, and we had yet another delightful talk. These days Nadorff carries beer from a few small Indiana brewers and imported brands as well as Rhinegeist and the AB-InBev acquisitions (Goose Island, Elysian, et al).

    I expressed interest in occasional draft visitations with Rhinegeist's brands, which brings me full circle to this afternoon, when Nadorff will drop off a sixth-barrel of Rhinegeist Ruby Paradox, a "fruited sour dark ale."

    That's right, fruited sour dark ale from the Bud Light handlers, but the Bud Light handlers are the local New Albany guys, and at this point in my life it's a distinction that matters to me. Whatever the merits and demerits of the three-tier system, the fact remains that at least in Indiana, there aren't many wholesalers like Nadorff still standing.

    While it's probably impossible to be a true "underdog" conveying AB-InBev products, in wholesaler terms Nadorff is scrambling like all the rest to find their place in the crazy quilt of the Post-Craft Beer Era.

    Owing to the nature of the beer program we're trying to build at Pint&union -- traditionalist, with occasional flights of fancy -- I can't predict how often we'll be pouring Nadorff's portfolio, and yet it's invigorating to renew a local connection.

    We need more of that, not less, so cheers to a renewed acquaintance.