NAC THROUGH THE BEERS: A history project in 1 – 5 – 10.


We’re twelve years and 11,000 posts into this great experiment, which means that the rear view mirror becomes ever more instructive. You get things right, you get things wrong, and as points are tallied, you own every single bit of it. 

Perhaps monthly (assuming I remember to do it), there’ll be a 1 – 5 – 10 post like this one. I’ll take credit for the good and the bad, because that’s the way transparency works.  

February 11, 2016

ON THE AVENUES: James Fallows, New Albany, and the primacy of bricks over string music.

Yes, I’m happy the New Albany Bulldogs are doing so well, and I agree, it’s just horrible what happened to Louisville’s college basketball team.

Damn that Ramsey.

But what is the city of New Albany’s shooting percentage when it comes to predictors of civic success? Let’s return to an article by James Fallows in The Atlantic: Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed.

This article appears in the March print edition alongside the cover story, “Can America Put Itself Back Together?”—a summation of James and Deb Fallows’s 54,000-mile journey around America in a single-engine plane.

By the time we had been to half a dozen cities, we had developed an informal checklist of the traits that distinguished a place where things seemed to work. These items are obviously different in nature, most of them are subjective, and some of them overlap.

But if you tell us how a town measures up based on these standards, we can guess a lot of other things about it. In our experiences, these things were true of the cities, large or small, that were working best.

I’ve lifted Fallows’ eleven success points verbatim (in bold), followed by excerpts of his explanatory comments (italicized), and then my own thoughts. Please consider reading Fallows’ article in its entirety to get a better idea of his larger perspective.

I’ll be shooting from the hip, with my immediate reactions sans labored edits. There’ll be things I miss, so let me know about them …

February 11, 2012

“Prejudice tends not to arise directly from low intelligence but from the conservative ideologies to which people of low intelligence are drawn.”

Been to a city council meeting lately, George?

The right’s stupidity spreads, enabled by a too-polite left; Conservativism may be the refuge of the dim. But the room for rightwing ideas is made by those too timid to properly object, by George Monbiot (

Yes, conservatism thrives on low intelligence and poor information. But the liberals in politics on both sides of the Atlantic continue to back off, yielding to the supremacy of the stupid. It’s turkeys all the way down.

February 11, 2007

In 2007 and beyond, the slogan should be “New Albany: No more excuses for failure.”

Our friend, Pastor Manzo, isn’t the only one willing to offer a Sunday sermon. My thoughts lean toward the secular, and those following were adapted from a previous posting.

It’s a municipal election year, and unsurprisingly, folks are becoming overtly peckish. Much of the current atmosphere owes to the crushing subliminal toll taken by two-party tribal loyalties, which when compared to otherwise inescapable realities, tend to conjure significant doses of cognitive dissonance.

This city is a mess (must vote straight ticket).
We need to make a change (must vote straight ticket).
Must … try … too weak … letting go (voting
straight ticket).

But politics are only part of the overriding problem, although they’re the most visible manifestation of dysfunction at this precise moment in time. Long neglected mirrors provide a clue as to certain of the other components, and I have long contended that the chief underlying cause for the underachieving malaise traditionally holding New Albany in its non-productive grip is a considerable vein of civic masochism that is perpetrated with almost evangelistic intensity by those mistaking themselves for community leaders …