It's vaguely peanut-shaped, approximately tangerine-colored, and I guess sort of banana-flavored. I'm referring, of course, to the humble circus peanut, a peculiar confection that manages to decontextualize every one of its disparate elements. Nobody likes them, nobody eats them, nobody buys them, yet they are available for sale at filling stations and convenience stores all across this great land of ours, huddled together in dusty cellophane sacks. I think they put them on those wire racks so the candy section can never quite sell out. They are to the candy counter what most 20th-century music is to the concert hall.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
I have been told that in the 1920s in my family's home village, my Great-grandfather would bring home an annual Christmas orange. The old man would sit and solemnly, with great care, peel the orange. The kids would stand watching, waiting. And he would distribute single sections of orange to one kid at a time until it was all gone. That was it for oranges for another whole year. If they'd been here, now, he could have got sacks of oranges cheap from the supermarket to snack on till dinner was ready. But you can't get the mythic kind anymore.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Imagine a fellow who mostly listens to country music but sometimes Classic Rock when he's on a ladder because there's something about perspiring heavily while scraping window frames that makes a guy want to hear "Mississippi Queen" from a paint-speckled boombox on a milk crate. On his birthday, does this guy suddenly figure, "Hey, I'll break out the Schoenberg?" Does a lady who reads those Harlequin romances every day of her life suddenly on Independence Day crack the spine on Finnegans Wake? No. So how come on special occasions I'm suddenly expected to appreciate the complex subtleties of fancy food?
Monday, November 29, 2010
Did you even know there was such a thing as the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement? The idea is, you join the movement through a firm commitment to avoid reproducing yourself. Which, if you think about it, is no way to build a sustainable constituency. See kids, by taking yourselves out of the gene pool, you're actually giving the species a stronger than ever tendency toward procreation. The name's Mendel, baby. Gregor Mendel. Still, they do get a thumbs-up from me for pissing off the Catholics. Not that it matters much. Terms like "voluntary" simply do not apply to the inevitable.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sometimes when I'm eating something, let's say a sandwich or cookie, I'll get near the end and perceive that the remaining portion is less than two full bites and rather than accept two moderately undersized bites -- or worse, one normal bite followed by a woefully minuscule final bite -- I'll put the whole remainder, nearly two bites worth, in my mouth all at once, which makes me feel kind of piggy and also my food is gone sooner than I'd like. It is not in my nature to be so confessional and self excoriating, but I needed this catharsis.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Wait. Wasn't the 20th century supposed to be all about creating technology to release people from the need for ceaseless backbreaking toil so they could enjoy the best things in life? And the best things in life are free, right? So 10 percent unemployment should mean 100 percent of us happily working a 36-hour week. Unless they were lying to us about the 20th century. They wouldn't do that, would they, the folks with the money and power? Cause if they would, it's like we've gone to the movies and left the kids at home with a convicted cannibal pedophile.
Monday, November 1, 2010
On the frontier between the Quarter and the Marigny Saturday night, the street was a river of wildly attired humanity. The standouts? There were some gutterpunks that looked exactly like the real thing, a really great "tired waiter just trying to get home," a couple of extraordinary "glazed-eyed tourists," and my very favorite, some guys doing a conceptual group thing I'd call "downtown hipsters too cool to dress up for Halloween." Me, I went as Eugene Debs. Like him, I'd rather vote for what I want and not get it than vote for what I don't want and get it.
Monday, October 25, 2010
The job of America's Poet Laureate pays 35 thousand dollars per annum. Traditionally, our poets laureate are plucked from a pool of tenured English professors, to whom that stipend may seem like a stingy smidgen. But it's better than double the minimum wage, and to a whole lot of un- or under-employed citizens that might seem like pretty good pay for what you have to do, which ain't much. Sure easier than mowing lawns or cleaning hotel rooms. Why not fill the position through a nationally televised talent contest? I'll bet the winner would be a young man from Nantucket.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I recently had occasion to do research that had me following links that led to references to a pair of late-'80s teen girl singers named Tiffany and Debbie Gibson and I was pretty sure they meant either Britney or Debbie Boone but I checked and, nope, I was wrong, these are different people altogether and while the only thing Tiffany and Debbie Gibson have in common with Britney and Debbie Boone is that I don't really know what any of them sound like, I for one would pay good money to see all four in a TV wrestling cage match.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I'm the kind of guy, I never win anything. I wasn't hopeful when I filled out the little slip of paper at the Nix Library with my best estimate of the number of Rice Chex in a candy jar on the desk. I won by a mile. The head librarian tells me I got it within a single Rice Check, while nobody else got even close. I got a box of Rice Krispies treats as my prize. They're all gone. I ate them up and did not share. They tasted sweet, like victory. Bet that's how David Simon feels.
Monday, October 4, 2010
If it hadn't been for Tony Curtis, Elvis probably would have retired from driving truck for Crown Electric in 2000, bought a little trailer on an acre or two near Tupelo. Because it was always the hair, wasn't it, the loops and whorls, the improbable glistening rivulets and distributaries, the whole gleaming artifice of pomades and waxes and perfumed unguents, the jet black shining edifice springing from the brow like some vaselined Athena, an ebon rostral projection emerging from the faultless sculpted helm. They don't have hair like that now. It can't be done ironically, nor made to look accidental.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I'd have never guessed: Apparently, one of the worst things to do with rich alluvial soil and a long growing season is waste it growing stuff. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has proudly announced that by offering $600 million in tax-free bonds, he has managed to attract a large steel production facility to the banks of the Mississippi River. And this is land once thought fit only for agriculture. Isn't ponying up tax dollars to entice somebody to build a steel mill in your cane field is a lot like pimping for your sister and then lending the guy a twenty?
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
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Monday, May 31, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
From Rome to Rio
We mourn the loss of Ronnie James Dio.
There's no more joy,
There's no more glee-o
There's no more, no more, Ronnie James Dio
We ask ourselves
How can this be-o?
Goodbye goodbye to Ronnie James Dio
He replaced Ozzie
But who'll replace he-o?
There's no-one now like Ronnie James Dio
He sang con fuoco
He sang con brio
He sang with Rainbow, Ronnie James Dio
We weep now 'neath the old oak tree-o
The voice that rang from sea-to-sea-o
Is silent now, his soul is free-o
Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie James Dio
Monday, May 10, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Top 10 Milwaukee branding statements:
10: Like Minneapolis, with cheese!
9: Milwaukee: did you order this weather?
8: We used to brew beer.
7: Why is this lake named after the wrong state?
6: Small town thrills, big city charm.
5: Up to 15 days of sunshine every year!
4: Hey! Who remembers the Pacer?
3: If Chicago was New York, we'd be Jersey.
2: At least we're not Cleveland.
1: Milwaukee: A great city with a great motto.