29 June 2012

Touch o' Class

15 June 2012

In the Old Days, Beer Came with Verse

The Christian Moerlein Brewery was a burgeoning business in the late 19th century. One of its bottled beers was "National Export" which had this poem on the label:

The Moerlein "National Export" Beer,
Parexcellence Stands Without A Peer,
From Native Shores To Foreign Lands,
It Heads the List of Beverage Brands,
The Convalescent, Sick and Well,
The Gay Dundine, The Natty Swell,
The Scions of Nobility,
The Peasant and the King,
Its Songs of Praise to Sing,
From Greenland's Icy Mountains,
To India's Burning Strand,
The Native and The Travelers,
Drink "National Export" Brand,
A Congress of All Nations,
Mid Round and Lusty Cheers,
Has Crowned The "National Export,"

The "Queen of Table Beers."

As I read this, I remembered a college writing assignment to re-write Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" in the voice of a contemporary couple. If I was a marketing professor I might give students a similar assignment with this beer verse. And who knows, maybe there's a brewer out there with a sense of history and humor who will once again bring us beer with corny verse. It made America great once before and it can do so again.

10 June 2012

Downtown is a Dirty, Dangerous Place so Please Ignore this Article

The Harvard Business Review's recent article Planting Entrepreneurial Innovation in Inner Cities really got me steamed. Just look at the some of the lies & misinformation it tries to pass off:

Remember just a decade ago when the term "inner city" basically meant "dead city...?" Scholars... are showing that although increasing problems accompany increasing density, urban access to the good things of life increases even faster.

We definitely have increasing problems. Sure, the downtowners want us to believe that the synergy of citizen support, government support, and private investment has led to the transformation of Washington Park, Gateway Quarter, Broadway Commons, Backstage Entertainment District, and so on. But what about the fact that I get drunk and sweat a lot when I have to wait two hours for a restaurant seat? Local Democrats aren't doing anything about that.

...the influx of ambitious, highly educated, opportunity-seeking entrepreneurs may risk creating social divisiveness. This can be countered with a strong message to entrepreneurs that they need to play a role in community building.

Sadly, it may be too late for this. Practically every OTR business and creative endeavor is involved in community events. I can't believe how many tents I see at OTR street festivals (which I hate and only go for recon purposes) One crazy chick started a damn kickball league with a specific intent to include neighborhood children alongside young (and not-so-young) professionals. What is this, the fucking holodeck? And if that isn't bad enough, the kickball league spawned an LLC which is going to organize even more OTR recreation opportunities. This is getting out of hand very fast and I hope our local heroes (gods, really) Smitherman, Winburn, Finney, Luken, Westwood Concern, & the FOP will be able to put the kibosh on all this before people start dying from all the gunfire. We need more police, not community building.

...in cities, you need to provide a broad platform to support the inclusive vision, encouraging restaurateurs, designers, neighborhood groups, schools and universities, real estate developers, law firms and architects, chambers of commerce and other government agencies to interact with each other in innovative ways.

Okay, we might be too late for that one, too.

Make your city an amazing place for the most talented entrepreneurs, innovators, and creative people to come to seek their futures, to live, work and play in. The coffee shops, environmental art, evening bars, museums, bicycle lanes and rent-a-bikes, all build the buzz. In every city I work with, I start by asking entrepreneurs where they really want to be — and the unfailing consensus is uncanny: entrepreneurs need to crowd around these urban watering holes.

Don't buy the hype, people. I rode my bike (at great personal risk) to ask the patrons at Senate, Pho Lang Thang, Mayberry, A Tavola, Bakersfield, Taste of Belgium, Coffee Emporium, Abigail Street, Neon's, Iris Book Cafe, Skirtz & Johnston, MIXX, MOTR, 1215 Wine Bar, Venice on Vine, Enzo's, Pizza Bomba, Lackman, Streetpops, Park & Vine, Lavomatic, Lucy Blue, Queen City Cookies, Cafe de Wheels, Turophilia, Taco Azul, Japps, and Schwartz's Point but they were all empty because nobody lives in, plays, or visits downtown.