Countdown: 70 – 36 in NA Confidential’s Top 70 posts of 2017.

Speck became sausage, and all
we got was a lousy “enhanced”
pedestrian crosswalk. 

2017 was a good year in terms of blog readership. I’m not the sort to immerse myself in analytics, but casual observation is vindication to me. Thanks to all of the blog’s readers; it’s not about 100% lockstep agreement, but the marketplace of competing ideas.

A few weeks ago, there was a preview of what to expect in 2018.

The blog, our swamp, a whole year of my life and the outlook for 2018.

This blog will remain a place where ideas and alternatives are discussed, and satire is encouraged — after all, satire is more important than booze when it comes to coping with the saturation-level stupidity all around us — but no streak lasts forever, and mine is no exception. I can promise there’ll be no new record for posts set in the year 2018.

As such, among the year’s high points was topping the 1,400 mark for the fist time. It probably won’t happen again. NAC’s 12,000th post since 2004 appeared this year, too.

Today begins the annual survey of the top 70 of these 1,400+ posts, in ascending order, according to Blogger’s page view metric.

The mix of topics reflected in this list is very pleasing given the blog’s founding conceit of ultra-localism. Recurring themes include food & drink, local independent business, the resistance (against Gahan, not Trump), street grid changes, the public housing putsch, and the saddest ones of all, death notices.

If there is to be change, it begins at the grassroots, in this community, where we spend most of our time. I hope you enjoy this look back at 2017.

70 to 56

801 (November 16, 2017)

ON THE AVENUES: Harvest Homecoming chairman of the board David White replies to Cisa Kubley’s column of November 2.

Even before Cisa’s column was published, I spoke with David White and asked him if Harvest Homecoming would tender a reply, for which I’d supply as much space as necessary. Here it is.

807 (March 2, 2017)

The Cosmopolitan: Turns out The Breakwater isn’t the first fire at a Flaherty & Collins development under construction.

The article is eight years old. It was anonymously written, and it is the only post at the blog. Links are broken. By 2010, the arrested man had been released for lack of evidence, and the Cosmopolitan development was completed and opened. Therefore, this link is purely for entertainment value.

Until it isn’t. Thanks, A.

812 (March 15, 2017)

R.I.P. Josh Rodriquez.

I never met Josh, but we’ve so many mutual friends that it seems like I knew him very well. Our thoughts are with the bereaved. We’re very, very sorry.

828 (September 26, 2017)

Talk about a grand opening — it’s a Good Time to take a look inside what used to be Love’s Cafe.

831 (February 26, 2017)

The Breakwater fire: Luckily there were no injuries, but are we REALLY sure the deity favors subsidized luxury?

Yesterday morning the unoccupied, about-to-be-completed wing of The Breakwater, comprising two-thirds of the development’s residential space on the west side of the block (Elm and 4th), caught fire. The sprinkler system had not been activated because construction was ongoing. The result was an arduous daylong firefighting battle in adverse conditions.

833 (July 14, 2017)

Grid Control, Vol. 14: Yes, you can still park on the south side of Spring Street during the stalled two-way grid project.

“First, a deep breath. The parking spaces shown in front of Destinations Booksellers and Taco Steve are fully available for your use when visiting. This was confirmed to me by the city’s parking enforcement officer, though we’ve had no problems.”

834 (April 2, 2017)

Saying goodbye, and resuming the journey.

Getting back to the point, my parents were pragmatists, and seldom made frivolous expenditures. In this spirit, it seemed appropriate to me to bury their ashes together in the place they’d originally chosen. Yesterday this was done.

835 (April 30, 2017)

How does Bill Allen get away with this pile? Is he a Ginkins-level donor to Jeff Gahan, or what?

Why is Deaf Gahan more eager to terrorize public housing residents than enforce codes v.v. the likes of Bill Allen?

848 (October 30, 2017)

Democratic State Senate candidate Anna Murray replies to our question about the New Albany Housing Authority.

Anna K. Murray is a Democratic Party candidate for Indiana State Senate, District 46. The seat currently is held by two-term incumbent Ron Grooms, a Republican, and the election is in 2018. In a Facebook comment, I asked Murray whether she’d be taking a position on the public housing controversy in New Albany. This is her answer, for which she is to be thanked, given the party’s continuing reluctance to engage in discussion.

849 (October 20, 2017)

You see the damnedest sights from the levee on a Friday at lunch.

As I’m sure Lt. Colombo would ask, “Now, if they’re the girlfriends or wives with those guys on the bus, why didn’t they all get on the bus at the same time, together?” Surely there are a number of explanations, although when I mentioned it to the Green Mouse, he told me it’s a relatively simple matter to hire models for outings, although it’s less clear why you’d need them.

869 (November 27, 2017)

ASK THE BORED: It’s Mt. Tabor Road’s turn to be pillaged as our lumberjack fetishist mayor readies another round of clear-cutting — for the sake of the cars, of course.

It’s been four months since the mayor triumphantly announced what amounts to a survey of previously sawed stumps; having felled hundreds and perhaps thousands of trees during the course of his Ceausescu-esque TIF and Green(!)way projects, he’d now prove there was the beginning of the precursor to an embryonic “master” plan to reforest the city by 2065 or so.

872 (July 31, 2017)

Grid Control, Vol. 17: Judging by the misdirection of this “CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP” sign, we now reside in the British Empire.

As our alert contributing reader (and driver) notes, “The signs posted for when Spring Street starts being two way have the arrows going the wrong way. Didn’t know if you saw that but wanted to share with you. I personally need signs to give correct info and not lead me into oncoming traffic.”

That’s because strictly speaking, New Albany’s brand new “cross traffic” signs are appropriate for Great Britain, Ireland or Australia, where traffic proceeds on the left, not the right as is the case here in America.

882 (October 8, 2017)

Mike Pence’s NFL walkout proves our former governor still isn’t “worth a bucket of warm piss.”

About which we are thankful that Dave Zirin sets matters straight about John Nance Garner’s quote. Warm spit never made any sense to me.

922 (January 3, 2017)

The ultimate in bright shiny objects? Now Jeff Gahan’s going to build a pro soccer stadium in New Albany.

New Albany officials said they would welcome the investment of a new stadium and would consider some public support to lure the venue to Indiana …

It’s impossible to judge until we know the answers, and until then, let’s just allow the satire to write itself, as with the scene right now at 8:00 p.m., with Team Gahan functionaries armed with flash lights and tape measures, crawling around the perimeter of “the project” on Bono Road.

925 (May 21, 2017)

328 Vincennes Street, and those things that make you go hmm.

55 to 46

938 (October 16, 2017)

Be careful what you wish for: “The President Pence Delusion,” including a pivotal cameo by a New Albanian we all know.

Absolutely vital reading in The New Yorker. It is impossible to summarize several thousand words with just one paragraph. I’ve chosen to highlight the essay’s conclusion. But you’re curious aren’t you? Well, if you want to know which New Albanian was interviewed for the article, you’ll just have to go look for yourself.

959 (August 22, 2017)

Grid Control, Vol. 23: City’s fuddy-duddies losing their minds as the debut for a two-way Spring Street is pegged at August 29.

Thirteen years later, it’s the end of the beginning. Speaking personally, I think the Spring Street conversion announcement should have been made at roughly 2:30 p.m. on Monday, when the combination of a solar eclipse and impending two-way-street rationality (finally) would have sent the Luddites streaming panic-stricken toward Birdseye.

966 (June 3, 2017)

A tale of two riverfront murals, and more. Or less.

They’re so very telling. Both gaze out on rows of automobiles, but the similarities end there. The graffiti wall actually encourages the viewer to think about artistic expression, while the other one is a vehicle (pun intended) for the “unofficial” civic anchor seal, which nonetheless now appears on every street sign and Gahan for Life mailer, and was shoved down a city’s collective throat by barely literate time servers who believe dogs playing poker constitute the acme of artistic expression.

976 (November 4, 2017)

Mathes Pharmacy will expand into a new building. Congrats to a New Albany indie stalwart.

985 (October 3, 2017)

Grid Control, Vol. 28: Elm Street capitulates to two-way modernity with a whimper, not a bang. Now, to the next stage.

This morning, a few days belated, Elm Street was reverted to two-way traffic. Probably no one even noticed, and therein lies an observation. I’ll always be fascinated by a decade or more of sheer sloth and acrimony, followed by 3-4 years of municipal bureaucratization, then the doomsday predictions of dozens of experts on social media — and two days after Spring Street became two-way, there was complete and utter silence, with nary a peep since.

998 (November 12, 2017)

Chain and big box subsidies cost us far more than we imagine, but who cares so long as Starbucks is there?

I’ve always wondered if the presumed “neutrality” of chains and big boxes — they’re generic and identical from place to place, all buttons with no fingers — fills some sort of psychological need in those for whom “localism” implies not a set of economic nuts and bolts, but the local community’s parochialism (or worse).

1,008 (October 29, 2017)

Main Street intersections at Bank and 4th are hazardous for pedestrians. Where’s City Hall, apart from a state of denial?

An increased number of businesses are on the north side of Main Street. More are on the south side (Underground Station) as well as one of the larger expanses of surface parking (by the levee). Notice the crosswalks and other means of making pedestrian passage across this wide street easier. That’s right. There are none.

1,014 (November 11, 2017)

THE BEER BEAT: It’s a cornucopia of ephemera, from Quaff On to Lazlo Toth.

What I didn’t anticipate in 2014 was (first) that Big Woods/Quaff On would be the next brewery to fulfill my prediction, or (second) that it would do so not on the Indiana side, but in the vacated Doc’s Cantina space in Louisville.

1,024 (September 29, 2017)

GOP mayoral politics, 2019: Al Knable says no, Mark Seabrook says yes, and we say “WHERE’S THE BEEF, MARK?”

To date, since announcing his exploratory committee, Seabrook has been willing or able to reveal only that his family knew the Scribners personally, he really wants the job, and by extension, it’s his turn; he feels it is his sinecure to grab based on longevity and desire alone.

This makes me want to scream, and it cannot cut the mustard.

1,031 (March 19, 2017)

Lucky ol’ Cornerstone Engineering: Redevelopment awards $17,500 contract to explore the possibility of “wrapping the parking garage and adding apartments and businesses to the structure.”

Redevelopment Commission secretary Adam “Where the Fix Is Always In” Dickey records Irving Joshua’s strange musings on the possibility of the State Street parking garage’s adaptive reuse (from the meeting of February 14).

45 to 36

1,032 (November 14, 2017)

THIS JUST IN: ‘We Are New Albany,’ a campaign to save the homes of more than 1,700 New Albany residents from planned demolition, will publicly launch on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at the City-County Building.

“New Albany, IN ­ – ‘We Are New Albany,’ a campaign to save the homes of more than 1,700 New Albany residents from planned demolition, will publicly launch with a press conference at 4PM on Thursday, November 16 at the pillars/steps on the NE corner of the City-County Building in downtown New Albany.”

1,034 (April 10, 2017)

Better times? Off with the mummy’s vinyl at 114 E. Market Street.

Earlier, I declined to guess how many cubic yards of debris were coming out of such a small building. However, I had no idea the vinyl was coming off today.

1,036 (June 29, 2017)

“10 Steps to Fix a City,” including axing anyone on staff who believes the fixes are unworkable.

Imagine you attend a meeting of City Council, the Redevelopment Commission or the Board of Public Works and Safety, and as you’re sitting there, expecting the same ol’ same ol’, an elected representative or appointed official begins explaining what he or she read at Strong Towns.

1,038 (July 22, 2017)

The Sacramento Valley Mirror: “I don’t see many small papers doing what we do.”

“It does get people talking, that’s for sure. Nobody will admit to reading it, but everybody seems to know what he writes.”

I’m interested in hearing from readers who are or have been in the newspaper business. Why does it take a cranky country publisher/curmudgeon to be the exception to what should be the rule?

1,042 (October 1, 2017)

It’s just music to me: The Louisville Orchestra plays Mostly Mozart at the Ogle Center.

The best spin I can attach to the term “classical music,” this being inevitable shorthand that I tend to resist, is that it capably assists in delineating a broad swath of territory until there is time to break it down more specifically.

1,046 (April 25, 2017)

Now even the bones are visible at 114 E. Market Street.

And the exterior brick in front is gone. I’m not sure how much more of the building can be stripped before there’s nothing left except air.

1,077 (January 12, 2017)

The Parthenon is coming back to life: “TheatreWorks to Open a Community Arts Center in Downtown New Albany.”

These folks have been working for a long time to make TheatreWorks a reality, and I’m happy for them. Stay tuned as the project unfolds.

1,117 (August 11, 2017)

Let’s all eat at Israel’s Delicias de Mexico Gourmet on Saturday, August 12.

It seems a shame, and perhaps even an embarrassment, to stage a Taco Walk and not include the gifted chef who, in point of actual fact, taught damn near all of us in New Albany just how wonderful Mexican food could really be. Hence my unsolicited sales pitch on behalf of Chef Israel. If you’re on the Taco Walk, wonderful. If not, consider showing Israel some love tomorrow. If DNA can’t “send” you there, then NAC will.

1,135 (June 22, 2017)

Grid Control, Vol. 5: Egg on HWC Engineering’s well-compensated face as it botches Spring Street’s westbound bike buffer cross hatching.

The cross hatching is “aimed” the wrong way on the north side of Spring. The lines should be giving at least the subliminal signal that you should keep your west-moving car to the left of the buffer, but as painted, they imply that you should veer right.

Not only that, but as we observed previously, the parking spaces on the north side of Spring are consistently 6 to 8 inches less deep from curb to line, enhancing the prospect of cyclists being “doored.”

1,145 (September 27, 2017)

Grid Control, Vol. 27: A case of parking space inconvenience on Market Street.

It’s worth noting that our street department had nothing to do with the grid modernization design (HWC Engineering) and implementation (Ragle). Still, street department employees probably will be dealing with seemingly minor matters like this for some time to come … except they aren’t minor at all for daily users.

Tomorrow: All the way to number one.