Friday, April 14, 2006

Life imitates comedy

Aside from the viola, the bagpipes and the banjo, no musical instrument is the butt of more jokes than the accordion. So while I was distressed to learn from the Internet forum of the Kissers, Madison's storied Irish rock band, that the group's tour van was burgled in New York, I couldn't help but smile when I learned just which instrument the thieves left behind, untouched and unharmed.

Fortunately, most of the musical equipment was safely stored elsewhere, so the Kissers didn't lose much. Be careful out there, Kissers!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hut hut

A sure sign of spring: This afternoon, I looked out my cubicle window onto Pinckney Street, and there I saw a lovely young woman standing in the middle of the road and tossing a Nerf football to someone I couldn't see. She wore high heels, a white blouse and a smart black skirt. She had a fine arm.

Over near the UW-Madison campus, in the area of Langdon Street, it is common to see unimaginatively dressed young men toss footballs in the streets -- the very streets upon which motorists endeavor to drive. This is part of the fraternity culture, in which the brothers blithely and pointedly make nuisances of themselves.

I suppose this woman was being a nuisance, too. But it was weirdly disorienting and satisfying to see her, immaculately clad and shod, tossing the pigskin in the street -- far from Fraternity Row, and in the middle of the downtown business district.

She really could throw that thing.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Campaign advice

Things have never looked grimmer for the Bush administration. So maybe it's time for the chief executive to reinstate an old standby of Republican governance: the Whip Inflation Now button. Of course, inflation is not a problem these days, and come to think of it, Gerald Ford lost that election.

But it's never too early to get out in front of the issues.

Or there's always bombing Iran. What about a Whip Iran Now pin?
Good word

"The moral is, never be sorry for a waiter."

-- George Orwell

Monday, April 10, 2006


I bore easily, so I'm generally not given to marathon bouts of television-watching. So why did I spend five hours glued to the tube yesterday? The Masters golf tournament, of course, which Phil Mickelson won commandingly. I'm a fan of televised golf from way back, and the four major tournaments -- the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, the P.G.A. Championship -- can make for engrossing TV. (The Masters didn't make for engrossing TV on Saturday, when rain delayed the competition for four hours. How much old footage of Bobby Jones can one really watch?)

My enthusiasm for televised golf started shortly after college, when I discovered the pleasure of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, in which celebrities like Alice Cooper and Bill Murray compete. It's satisfying to watch movie stars and rock singers golf because, in this venue at least, they look like regular people. So viewers get to be treated to the sight of, for example, Joe Pesci chipping into a water hazard, over and over. The Chrysler Classic also is nice because it takes place in the dead of winter, so just looking at the shirtsleeve weather of Palm Springs in February is a balm to frozen Midwesterners like me.

At some point, though -- perhaps it was when David Duval shot a 59 at the Bob Hope in 1999 -- I must have noticed that although the gaffes of the stars are entertaining, the sorcery of what golf pros do on a course is simply mesmerizing. I was hooked. And so golf is the only professional sport I follow. Wouldja believe that the first section I read in the newspaper this morning was the sports page? Usually I discard it, but today it has a nice color picture of Mickelson posing in a green blazer, the prize for winning the Masters. (That, and $12.6 million.)

My attention to televised golf has been spotty in recent years, though. Who wants to set aside five hours on a Sunday afternoon? But in this, My First Year With a TiVo, everything is possible.

Do you suppose there many people like me: Fans of televised golf who have never set foot on a links?