Friday, May 11, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane, or not

Anyone who uses Madison's Dane County Regional Airport should read this piece by Raphael Kadushin from the latest Isthmus. He tells an all-too-familiar tale of airline horror.
18 again

Here's a fun meme, and I rarely do memes: Five things about freshman year.

Five really 1989 things about my freshman year in college:

1. For the last time I wrote papers on a typewriter. I was weirdly phobic about computers.
2. The Berlin Wall came down. Who knew?
3. A popular Halloween costume for couples was Zsa Zsa and the cop.
4. I affected a taste for scotch. I never really did like scotch.
5. Greatest show ever: The B-52's, Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Nov. 27.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The quiet Junker

Enough praise can't be heaped on the songwriting of David Junker, bass player and namesake of my old alternative country band the Junkers. The typical Dave Junker-penned Junkers song had a patina of cheerfulness that masked deeply troubling, often death-obsessed themes. A good example is a tune by him that actually never made it out of the practice room, "Embalmed." It went: "Embalmed in the image of life, embalmed for a reasonable price." Staggering.

Yet there can be disarming tenderness and wistfulness in his songs, as in what is perhaps the most subtly mysterious Dave Junker song, and my favorite one, "Pretty Cups and Saucers" from our 2003 album Live Characters Nightly:
When we first met we talked over a coffee
You baked for me, and I brought you love
Our kitchen table held us like a wedding bed
Now I go to sleep alone and underfed
I bring his songs up because this morning I found myself humming another Dave Junker classic, "Can't Stop the Bleeding," from the debut Junkers album Hunker Down. That's the song whose acidly funny lyrics feature perhaps the greatest line of the entire alt-country genre: "I hope that my corpse don't scare your boyfriend."

The Junkers - Pretty Cups and Saucers

The Junkers - Can't Stop the Bleeding

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Read my Daily Page report from the Military Ridge bicycle trail.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Meet me at the food court

Modern shopping malls fascinate me, perhaps because I misspent much of my youth at one. So I'm glad to know there are Web sites whose authors turn gimlet eyes on these retail behemoths. One,, I learned about today from a Wisconsin State Journal article, and another I have been a fan of for ages: Happy shopping at your local dead mall!