Saturday, November 26, 2005


I had another celebrity dream last night. This time my celebrity was a Kennedy: Maria Shriver. I asked her what it is like to be a Shriver, which is an odd question. Her husband Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was with her, but he did not say anything. Just as well.

I have Kennedys on the brain these days, thanks to the fact that I am reading Symptoms of Withdrawal, the new memoir by Christopher Kennedy Lawford. He is the son of Patricia Kennedy and Peter Lawford, and the nephew of JFK, RFK and the others. I will have more to say about this book.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Give it up, y'all, to literary scholar and Telecaster slinger Dr. Matthew G. Stratton, who yesterday successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in the English department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Junker guitarist has done his Junkers proud!

Tuesday night we stopped at Woodman's for some Krispy Kremes. Woodman's, in case you didn't know, is a Madison institution, an astonishingly huge and well-stocked supermarket.

The joint was jumping, as you might expect on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It was the first holiday bustle I've encountered this fall -- nothing compared to last night's, I'm sure -- and although the shoppers were harried and purposeful, I also saw something I rarely see in Madison: people making eye contact with me and smiling. Their sheepish expressions seemed to say, Here We Go Again. I'm sure this goodwill is going to wear off once the true holiday grind sets in, but it's fun while it lasts.

Amid the bustle there was one pocket of stillness, however. In the front of the store, in a tiny room with a tiny window, two unhappy young women in puffy jackets were being detained by three women police officers. It was a shoplifting bust. One officer was in charge. She interrogated the blonde suspect and then the brunette, perhaps trying to catch them in an inconsistency.

The other two officers watched expressionlessly. Or almost expressionlessly: at one point a young mother came by as, behind her, a child of perhaps four walked very slowly and wailed. Momentarily distracted, one of the gun-wielding policewomen allowed a grin of amusement and sympathy to flash across her face. Then, catching herself, she sobered and returned her gaze to the miscreants.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Deep fried

Hey y'all -- and I mean it when I say y'all -- be sure to pick up this week's Isthmus. The cover story, "The South in His Mouth," is by yours truly, and it's about my search for real live Southern cooking here in Dairyland. The Isthmus web site has the article here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Garfield weighs in

Look, on -- the blog-like Web feature of my employer, Isthmus newspaper -- you can read my complaint about my trip to the movies last weekend.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Good word

"News robots can't meet with a secret source in an underground garage or pull back the blankets on a third-rate burglary to reveal a conspiracy at the highest reaches of government. Tactical and ethical blunders aside, actual journalists come in handy on occasion."

-- David Carr, The New York Times