Friday, July 07, 2006

I hope Parade picks this up

Check out my Daily Page interview with wonderful Martin Price, apropos of the untimely demise of the Slipper Club.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

What condition is your condition in?

Every summer I scan the Web pages of Wisconsin county fairs to see whether any legends of country music are performing. I had a life-changing experience three years ago when I saw George Jones at the Wisconsin Valley Fair in Wausau, and I keep hoping I'll get another opportunity to see someone of that caliber -- in a pleasant outdoor setting.

Except there's no one else of that caliber. Nevertheless, I'm breathless with excitement about the artist performing Sept. 1 at the Walworth County Fair in Elkhorn, near Lake Geneva: Kenny Freaking Rogers.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


When my parents lived in Chicago, they routinely left the city on July 4 because their neighborhood was rocked by explosions, thanks to the damn kids and their fireworks. Our neighborhood was a little like that yesterday. There Ereck and I were, trying to have a lovely dinner on the back porch -- and it was freaking Shiloh out there, except without the rivers of blood. Actually, just one neighbor was shooting bottle rockets, one every minute or so. But some exploded near us, and the mere suspense of wondering when the next blast would come completely harshed my salad Nicoise. So we moved inside.

When I was a child, my family did not shoot fireworks. That was largely the decision of my surgeon father, who saw the worst of Independence Day, year after year. I remember one July 4 I went with him to the hospital, where I waited in the doctor's lounge as he made his rounds. Nearby I could hear an adolescent boy's blood-curdling screams, and as we left I asked Dad what was happening. Turns out the kid dropped a firecracker into a bottle, and didn't get away quickly enough. Zillions of tiny shards of glass had to be plucked out of his body, one by one. It was hard to listen to. Sometimes I still hear those screams.

That said, I do understand the appeal of fireworks, especially for boys. One summer in high school, some friends and I spent a July 4 evening flinging bottle rockets at one another. This was completely idiotic, and also wonderful. I never did it again, and never want to.

And now I'm just another cranky old man who's mad at the damn kids.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

But Mr. Adams

To my American readers, Happy Independence Day! I believe it was the Chicago radio host Steve Dahl who once wondered: Did the Continental Congress have a continental breakfast?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Even Moses probably had to look them up