Saturday, April 30, 2005

Good word

"The ordinary citizen, called to war, asked to board the landing craft to Normandy or the bus to Selma, takes greatness up. The brilliant are asked to set greatness aside in the voting booth and the grocery line, to live quietly. They are able to do this because they see the potential for greatness in those they join. Democracy has taught them that honor is greater than glory."

--Anne Norton

Friday, April 29, 2005

Big gig

Hey y'all, be sure to head down to the King Club tonight for a set by the World's Greatest Lovers, the honkytonk group I sing with. We are, to my knowledge, the only country band in town that plays Donna Summers' "Hot Stuff."

Opening is the great singer and songwriter Sara Pace, of Madison.

Showtime is 9:00, and cover is just $5. The King Club is at 114 King St. in downtown Madison.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Insert coin

Nowadays the video game industry makes more money than the movies, or at least that the's conventional wisdom (read: I'm too lazy to research this claim right now). So it's hardly surprising that mainstream media outlets cover games more and more.

I'm not always superattentive to this coverage, but I think The Onion has a great thing in its weekly "Games of Our Lives" column, penned by former child actor Wil Wheaton. Every week Wheaton, 33, picks some forgotten gaming classic from the golden age (two weeks ago it was Phoenix, a personal favorite of mine) and riffs on it nostalgically. He also riffs ironically; he is a Gen-Xer, after all. It's the perfect way for The Onion to get greying Xers like myself to linger a while on the games page, which I otherwise would probably skip. My interest is not stirred, at the moment anyway, by articles like (in this week's Onion) a comparison of new baseball games for GameCube, Playstation 2 and Xbox. That's just me.

About that Phoenix column: is it just coincidence that Wheaton's costar in Stand By Me was River Phoenix?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Ereck can confirm that recently I wanted to refer to either fashion designer Helmut Lang or fashion designer Kenneth Cole, but it came out Helmut Kohl, former chancellor of Germany.
Good word

"It's sort of like the prom--everyone's in tuxes and ballgowns and you take an escalator."

--Natalie Portman on the Oscars

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Are you ready?

I was surprised and a little sad to learn "Monday Night Football" is moving to ESPN next year. For most of my life I was indifferent to pro football--to virtually all sports--but around 1996, I started to take a mild interest in the NFL, and "Monday Night Football" was one of the reasons. I was and am a Bears fan, God help me, and that year Chicago beat the champion Dallas Cowboys in an exciting season opener at Soldier Field, on "Monday Night Football." I was hooked. I guess the first one's free.

But as much as the matches themselves, I liked the "Monday Night Football" broadcasts, and not just because of the Hank Williams, Jr. theme (though that was a big part of it). The show had the feel of momentous television, especially when the games were good. That had a lot to do with the personalities--or personality, I should say, since when I began watching, two-thirds of the announcing team were the laughable Boomer Esiason and the amiable but ineffective Dan Dierdorf.

But then there was Al Michaels. From the beginning, I loved his way: smooth, polished, smart. Natty and lean, he looked like the geeky sports broadcasters I knew in college, who didn't play a lick but chewed every statistic, on WHPK, as they announced University of Chicago Maroons games from Stagg Field. I hung on Michaels' every word.

My enthusiasm for the NFL and "Monday Night Football" waned when I moved to Wisconsin in 1999, and I've tuned in irregularly since then. I caught a few of the disappointing shows a couple years back with comedian Dennis Miller, before his bizarre and disconcerting slide into right-wing ideology on basic cable. And I only saw bits and pieces of the recent shows with Michaels and John Madden, which seemed like a broadcasting dream team when it was announced--but by then I had stopped caring again.

So as I say, I was only a little sad to learn "Monday Night Football" is leaving broadcast television. After all, the utopian in me wants to begin transforming society by smashing professional sports. Except that sometimes those games are pretty exciting.

Monday, April 25, 2005


One of my recent obsessions is Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons, a flamboyant Madison band that's one of the best things going, around these parts, and I don't say that just because certain Pons from time to time bring me cake. (Two of them work at my favorite diner.)

I had this to say about SCCatP in the latest Isthmus:
In case you wondered, rock 'n' roll pageantry is alive and well in Madison. For evidence, look no further than any performance by Screamin' Cyn-Cyn & the Pons, a pop-punk group that enlivens sets of music with props, sketch comedy, flamboyant costumes and songs about bodily fluids.
Read the rest here.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Good word

"Anyone who does research knows you have to stay focused on your topic and not go down every interesting avenue you pass, or you will end up wandering aimlessly in attention-defecit limbo."

--Ian Frazier