From the UW Archives:
Fred Westphal, Six-time All-American Swimmer

circa 1959

I'm such a sucker for UW male athletes of the 50's. I love the wide expanse of tile in the foreground of this image, which for me is all about contrasting textures and visceral evocations.


From the UW Archives:
Dynamic Women on Campus

Featuring Badminton

Co-ed Badminton, circa 1920

circa 1950

circa 1980


3 Works of Art Online That Currently Astonish Me

It Ain't What You Do

Anita's Paper Dolls

James and Christopher Beard Rubbing + Christopher Wakes Up

Morning Pillow Talk

Kenneth: I dreamed that I was playing Zaxxon with the son of Kathleen Falk.


From the UW Archives:

Miss Frances Dummer (Class of '21) - Venetian Night - May 28, 1919

Mis Dummer, even if she isn't particularly dynamic in her swan, is still quite lovely.



What became of the forsaken herbed mayonnaise.


APT picnic(s): a sort-of repORTage entry

Both of us having dallied in our own ways and both of us caught off guard by the 6:00pm start time of Saturday evening's performance of Timon of Athens at APT, we zoomed somewhat tensely down the highway toward Spring Green. Kenneth proposed that we eat in the truck to save time; I, having spent a good part of the day preparing our picnic, did not like the idea of awkwardly gulping it down...

Suddenly, as we rounded the bend just before the parking lot, Kenneth-- keeper of the tickets, organizer of this event-- announced, "These tickets are for tomorrow night!"

The air thus cleared of rush and tension, we made our way to Unity Chapel, after checking out whether Talliesin (which is right near APT) had some sort of picnic area. Prior to that we'd opted out of paying an entry fee to a state park in the area. Needless to say, the tables at the chapel offered a stunning venue for dinner. The picture is a bit blurry, and that seems fitting-- the whole scene had a fantastical quality, what with the autumn light, the tremendous trees, the aura of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Wisconsin countryside.

There were reminders of the earthly: it was very buggy. If you enlarge this picture, you will see a mosquito on Kenny's face and Kenny's hand translucent because mid-swat.

Chocolate crinkle cookies for dessert.

A 6:00 Sunday evening show time, we both agreed, makes much more sense. We had a very similar picnic the following night before the play.

Tuscan tuna sandwiches and gazpacho. I replaced the deviled eggs with grapes and roasted fingerling potatoes. Sadly, the herbed mayonnaise which I made for dressing up the potatoes remained at home in the fridge.

With plenty of time to prepare, I remembered to pack a tablecloth and baked chocolate spice quickies in addition to more chocolate crinkles.

Timon, while not as revelatory as the production of Death of a Salesman we saw on Thursday night at Madison Rep., was tremendous. All-in-all, a lovely set of picnics and evenings.

Early Autumn Saturday Drive


From the UW Archives:
Choose Your Crew

Crew Class Champions, 1899

Varsity Crew, 1929

Songs composed and sung during my recent morning bike commutes

Where e’er you’re from
In your fancy togs
You look to me
Like fussy frogs.

[I swear that I love the French and bikers.]

Your tiny arms: I’ll break them.

Your scrawny legs: I’ll shake them.

[a death metal ditty that celebrates my new love of weightlifting and consequent disdain for the hardcore bicyclist’s physique.]

She’s drinking coffee while biking
That doesn’t seem like a good thing

But, she is science

That means that she
Knows the weight of energy.

[I don’t know what that last bit means, exactly, but I like it. The woman biking and drinking coffee had a travel mug from some scientific convention: it featured a diagram of a chemical compound.]

Yes, friends, commuting by bike in the morning can be stressful, but singing these verses out loud like an angry yet smiling lunatic makes me feel better.


From the UW Archives:
More Dynamic Women on Campus

circa 1950 (goodbye summer!)

circa 1949

circa 1958


Summer Becomes Winter

We've reached that particular time of year in Madison, WI when the weather vacillates between summery warmth and wintry bleakness. I'm not convinced that we have a fall here, just a long period of indecision-- is it summer? is it winter?-- followed by, well, a very decisive winter.

On a particularly chilly day at the end of last week, our table reflected the season. We had fried okra, which we can never eat enough of and which represents high summer in my language of vegetables.

And, right next to the okra, pure autumnal fare: brussel sprouts stewed in cider with local Macintosh apples.

From the UW Archives:
Dynamic Women on Campus

A physical-education baseball game, 1916

100-yard dash on May 27, 1921
Is that Samantha Morton's great grandmother on the left?

Lacrosse, 1932


From the Townsend Archive

While on our vacation in Townsend, TN, I discovered this picture of Kenneth's father Gerald with his tuba. Of course, it had to go in a frame and on the mantle. Gerald looks very serious, quite fierce, actually.


From the UW Archives:
Terrace Iconoclasm, Oct. 1967

I find this image haunting because amidst the aftermath of a protest rests a Terrace chair. The Memorial Union Terrace is one of UW-Madison's loveliest features. During the warm months, students and locals all gather here for beer, brats, campus-made ice cream, sunshine, live music, breezes, people watching, chic-chat, and relaxation, all with a lakeside view of Lake Mendota, which borders one side of the campus. The brightly-colored, attractively-designed chairs of the terrace are icons that radiate the conviviality and ease of the place. Until I happened upon this picture, I never considered the history of these chairs and just how long they've been around.

Here's an image of terrace nightlife in 1960:

Fifty years later, any given night in June or September looks very much the same.

Sadly, there's less dancing like that seen in this image of 1956 which features the Terrace chairs in the bottom left corner:

I suppose we can thank those damned protesting hippies for the demise of structured social dancing...

I was amazed to see the Terrace chairs as early as 1933!

Is that a waiter there on the left?!

Here's a contemporary photo by Dennis Flood, an image not currently in the archive so far as I know but one that gives anyone unfamiliar with the UW campus a good sense of the Terrace's ambiance and how the chairs set the scene.

With all of this in mind, the post-protest image offers an amazing representation of how student unrest and political action shook the campus in the late '60s.


From the UW Archives:
Stunning Basketball Star Dick Cable, c. 1953

For Vince: Midway to Rockford to Madison

Kenneth and I spent the weekend in Chicago (more on that fun later, perhaps). He then flew to Tennessee for his grandparents' memorial service-- they passed away several years ago, and their ashes will be interred today. I took the bus back to Madison. Bus travel is for me mildly humiliating, filled as it is with the odors of air fresheners, concentrated cigarette consumption, and the deep folds of fabric soured with hours of light sweat. Although his flight left well after my bus, Kenneth landed in Nashville hours before I arrived in Madison; I had to transfer buses in Rockford. Luckily, traveling in the dark, I was able to read on the straight stretches of the trip. And, when the bus's lights were illuminated, the upholstery made me think fondly of Vince, who's known to appreciate such things.


Reasons to Embrace the Book:
More Sense and Sensibility

1. "[H]er visit was long enough to detract something from their first admiration [of her], by shewing that though perfectly well-bred, she was reserved, cold, and had nothing to say for herself beyond the most common-place inquiry or remark."

2. "The calm and polite unconcern of Lady Middleton on the occasion was an happy relief to Elinor's spirits, oppressed as they often were by the clamorous kindness of others."

3. "Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition."



Beautiful tile work in a bathroom of Lathrop Hall, where I work:

Less beautiful in the same Lathrop Hall bathroom:

Frances: I caught seven roaches in the men's bathroom and put them in the toilet with a LOT of bleach trying to kill them. I just wanted to warn you.

Indeed, the bathroom smelled like a large cylindrical tub of swimming-pool chemicals that day and for several days thereafter. This image reminds me of another (scroll down to the 3rd pic).

Frances has taught me, among other things, that one should never squash a roach with one's shoe because the residual gore can contain eggs which might drop off and later hatch, possibly in one's residence.

A very long flip-flop scrubbing scene ensued after I first received this advice.


Reasons to Embrace the Book:
Two Jane Austens, Two Dennis Coopers, and a Thackeray

Sense and Sensibility:
"There was a kind of cold hearted selfishness on both sides, which mutually attracted them and they sympathised with each other in an insipid propriety of demeanour, and a general want of understanding."

Sense and Sensibility:
"Because they neither flattered herself nor her children, she could not believe them good-natured; and because they were fond of reading, she fancied them satirical: perhaps without exactly knowing what it was to be satirical; but that did not signify. It was a censure in common use, and easily given."

God Jr.:
"When boys are allowed to pick their own costumes, they always want to be something that someone else has imagined."

God Jr.:
"Like every kid, I thought the world needed a face-lift, except the parts where Disney got there first."

[Thackeray is so wickedly sharp that he regularly makes me laugh out loud; however, the following is culled from one of his more sentimental strains and as such breaks with the tone established above.]

Vanity Fair:
"But oh, mesdames, if you are not allowed to touch the heart sometimes in spite of syntax, and are not to be loved until you all know the difference between trimeter and tetrameter, may all Poetry go to the deuce, and every schoolmaster perish miserably!"

From the UW Archives:
All-Male Dance Class, 1968


From the UW Archives:
Marge H'Doubler

With another tip of the hat to a friendly reader and former UW dance student... here are two pics of Margaret H'Doubler who first taught dance at the UW and who is widely credited with initiating college-level dance study in America. When someone proposed that she consider teaching some form of dance at the UW, Marge is reported to have replied, "What, and give up basketball?" Nevertheless, she experienced an inspirational intervention of some sort and taught her first dance class in 1917. H'Doubler rarely demonstrated movement to her students; instead, she utilized a skeleton and her students' own bodily knowledge. Thus the skeleton in both below photos. The first is a somewhat frequently circulated image here at the UW Dance Program, so I'm also including a less familiar one. Both were taken in 1965.