Friday, August 26, 2005

Ain't no good life but

The cover story of this week's Isthmus is the latest installment in my ongoing series about Madison nightlife. Share and enjoy.
Good word

"It was always: 'Socrates, what is truth? Socrates, what is the nature of the good? Socrates, what should I order? Socrates, what are you having?' And not once did anyone ever say: 'Socrates, hemlock is poison!'"

--Steve Martin
Hack hacks

My summer cold notwithstanding it was, as you might guess from today's Isthmus, a busy week for me. I wrote the cover story, a highly arbitrary look at Madison nightlife options, and I filled in on the music column. For the latter, I previewed this weekend's Robbie Fulks concert and blues festival, and I bade adieu to fiddler extraordinaire Vassar Clements.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bring me no blues

A different way to go postal.
Big music tomorrow

Lest I forget: tomorrow night, Friday Aug. 26, rockabilly legend Sleepy LaBeef will be performing at the Memorial Union Terrace, 800 Langdon St. in Madison. And joining him, for a quick set beforehand and maybe other stuff, will be the White Mule Country Blues Band, a combo whose ever-shifting lineup includes yours truly, Low Rollin' Joe Nosek of the Cash Box Kings, Chris Boeger of the CBK and the World's Greatest Lovers, and others.

There is no damn cover, and music starts at 9:00.
"Closer to the dogs"

The Nashville Tennessean takes a comprehensive look back at how the 1970s streaking fad manifested itself in Music City. Streaking on the stage of the "Grand Ole Opry"!
Meet and greet

Say howdy, y'all, to my dear friends Walter and Alison. They just moved from Nashville to Charleston, and they started a blog for the occasion.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Le mot juste

I began my recent piece on the state fair with musings on an essay the Gen-X wunderkind novelist David Foster Wallace wrote about the Illinois State Fair. I enthusiastically commend to you his very funny article, which he wrote for Harper's and which is in the collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (Boston: Little, Brown, 1997).

But when I cited the title of Wallace's article, "Getting Away From Already Pretty Much Being Away From It All," something didn't seem right. Would Harper's really run that title? So I looked at the copyright page of the book and found that, sure enough, in the magazine the story was called, simply, "Ticket to the Fair."

I checked the other titles and discovered a pattern: The piece "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" appeared in Harper's as "Shipping Out," and how did Esquire title the story that in the book is called "Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff About Choice, Freedom, Limitation, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness"?

"The String Theory."

I can't say that Wallace's titles improve on what the magazine editors did. But it's all in keeping with his writing philosophy: never use one word when 50 will do, plus eight footnotes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Good word

"While I'm a big Hugo Chavez supporter, I do agree with Pat Robertson on one thing: that feminism encourages women to 'kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.' But I also want to note that this is precisely why I'm a feminist."

--Matthew Stratton

Monday, August 22, 2005

One man's trash

I'm more excited about our city's new recycling bins than I really have any right to be. No more tying up cardboard with string! A big machine comes to your house and picks up the bin! We can recycle magazines now!

When I first came to Madison, I wasn't in the habit of recycling. I came from Chicago, where the recycling program seemed to be a big patronage boondoggle and was largely ignored. But these days I'm a green machine.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I'm so sorry

On the web, it's harder than I thought to find up-to-the-minute lists of U.S. dead in Iraq. But here's a page on the Washington Post's web site that has pictures and brief biographies of every American who's gotten killed through the end of last month. Grim reading.