Morning Bus Ride

Erk is the first to board the special extra #38 which sometimes runs at the end of rush hour.

The driver, jawing on his cellphone, greets him warmly. Erk is overwhelmed with joy to enter an empty bus.

The driver smiles throughout the drive; he repeatedly waits with a cordial look on his face as people dash for the bus.

Two Communication Arts graduate students begin to talk about their students, who have asked for an extension. Erk finds this stultifyingly dull and turns up his Sony Ericcson Walkman Phone: I'm not a child anymore. I'm tall enough, To reach for the stars. I'm old enough To love you from afar...

Erk exits the bus and, as he marches past the resting bus, waives to the driver not really caring if the fellow sees the gesture. Don't say that you love me! Just tell me that you want me! Tusk!


From the UW Archives:
Godlike Hair & Racy Shorts

Rugby match, November 1971

With this image in mind, I welcome the approach of November.


Wait a minute baby...

Listening to Tusk which sweet Kenny gave me for my birthday. Puzzling over the song Sara:

"Drowning in the sea of love,
Where everyone would love to drown."


Morning Bus Ride

Riding the #4 bus to work, Erk puzzles over fellow rider's woven South-American-looking backpack, every pocket of which is crammed full of godknowswhat.

Erk puzzles over anti-fur button pinned to above-mentioned backpack. The button is not new.

Erk witnesses above-mentioned rider hand anti-fur card to another rider with a fur-lined collar. The card has an image of an animal and the text, "I'm not a coat." Erk puzzles over this.

As above-mentioned rider exits the bus, fur-lined collar and her male companion smile and puzzle over the anti-fur card.

Someone riding a bicycle on the sidewalk crashes to the ground. The crashed bicylist places hands on face and unhelmeted head and lies still with leg twisted in wheel.

Tweeners at the back of the bus exclaim, "...he hit the ground so hard!" and begin to puzzle over the gender of the crashed bicyclist.

Above-mentioned back-pack-wearing fellow rider, having exited the bus during the bike accident, runs over to crashed bicyclist. She throws her backpack aside and kneels down beside the crumpled body. Bus driver briefly hops off the bus and then begins to call in the accident on his phone in the bus. Anti-fur continues to talk to the bicyclist, gingerly attempting to remove the bicyclist's book-laden backpack which lolls awkwardly to the left. Another woman joins the crashed bicylist. She lifts the bicycle away, untangling the rider from it. The once tangled leg assumes a more natural position.

Tweeners now refer to the crashed bicyclist as she. Erk, with earphones in one hand, looks on like monks afloat in the river in Andrei Rublev.

Crashed bicyclist sits up, revealing a large bloody splotch on face. Also reveals gender. Anti-fur digs in her backpack, removing a tissue which she uses to blot the crashed bicyclist's injured face. Crashed bicyclist takes the tissue, holds it to his face, and, sitting upright, folds into a fetal position with his face in hands. Additional helper offers him an unopened bottle of Glacéau Fruitwater.

In this gesture, she reveals to all that she has a purple cast on her arm and wrist. From the bus, Erk realizes she is explaining that her injury resulted from a bicycle crash. There are other women assisting the crashed bicyclist but they remain plain, only their gender and their number (the group is small enough to read as concerned individuals willing to assist, but not so small as to need additional assistance) is apparent.

Tweener goes to the head of the bus, gets a bus schedule, and returns to the rear of the bus. Erk cannot tell if she did this merely to get a closer look or different view of the crashed bicyclist.

The bus's phone rings. The driver answers it. Erk has ceased breathing but does not realize this. The bus driver steps off the bus and reports something to the group, which appears slightly smaller. Anti-fur's movements are tender, appear nurturing. Purple cast looks calm yet intent. Crashed bicyclist continues to hold tissue to cheek and face in hands.

The bus rolls forward, and Erk puzzles over what he has witnessed. The next stop, roughly 200 meters away from the accident, is his.


From the UW Archives:
Airborne Women on Campus

Long jump circa 1916

Circle dance, undated (prob. 1930's), by Fritz Kaeser

Basketball, circa 1935


Conte d'automne

Autumns in Wisconsin, since I've known it, have been dreadfully short. A prolonged alteration between winter days and summer days, with the former zapping the trees' leaves long before they have a chance to turn pretty. This year, though, everything is gorgeously autumnal: golden leaves awash in intensely golden light which both dazzles me and makes me wistful.

I swear I've been working on my dissertation, just haven't used these particular books recently. I discovered these webs after a stint of pleasure reading. I'm floating through Ann Radcliffe's gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho. Radcliffe's melancholy, atmospheric prose is perfect for this time of year. Plus...

Can you imagine a better epigraph? High-pitched yet weirdly obtuse. If you think you can root out something better, you should sit down and start penning neo-gothic prose, a chapbook at the very least. I'm off to climb into the bath, bask in some golden light, and fret over poor Emily...


Beet Gratin Afterthoughts

The flash made this look a little freakier, a little less humble than it was. Yet, I can't resist sharing the beet-colored cream oozing out beneath the slices. It's my new favorite beet dish (and an Erk original).

My Perfectly Hardboiled Egg


From the UW Archives:
Great Basketball Uniforms

If you were being a good reader below, you focused exclusively on the smooth chests of the 1941 basketball team and not much else. Because I know you're all good readers, I post this 1941 portrait of John Kotz in order to draw your attention to the brilliance of the 1941 basketball uniforms. I love the sheen of the shorts paired with the matte tank. And that the belt matches the terrific socks. If basketball still looked like this, I might take a greater interest in it.

Kenny on the Job

Another great image of Kenneth. Here he's attending a cheese tasting at Fromagination which he wrote about for the Isthmus website. In private, we've been ruthless about the name of this place; however, after a visit to the store, I must admit it's earned my respect. I'm beginning to think that Kenneth and I should occasionally replace our dessert course with a cheese course.

The image comes from dane101.com, an Isthmus competitor. You can, if you must, read their coverage of the tasting here. The reporter is an idiot: what food writer claims that her "stomach is incapable of digesting any sort of blue cheese"!? And that doesn't even begin to deal with her weakness as a writer. My mind is incapable of digesting such foolishness. But look at Kenny: ain't he cute and scrumptious-looking scribbling among all that lovely cheese!?


Kenneth Caricatured

I thought readers not based in Madison might get a kick out of the fact that Kenny's on the cover of Isthmus this week. Here's a proof of the cover image.


From the UW Archives:
Chest Hair?

My friend and fellow blogger Chris is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail. Last week, when he hiked through his native Maryland, he took a few well-deserved cushy days during which he stayed at his mother's house while hiking sections of the trail. Doing so enabled him to make some phone calls, one of which I was honored to receive. He'd just found my blog, he expressed enthusiasm for the UW Archive posts, and he noted that none of the male athletes sport any chest hair. Could this be true? Could I-- an avid fan of chest hair-- have celebrated so many smooth-chested fellows? Chris was indignant: were college guys of the early 20th century not plagued with chest hair? I joked that somewhere along the Appalachian Trail there was probably a bird's nest comprised mostly of Chris's chest hair, but... I was quick to express support for Chris's hairy chest and derision for contemporaries who shave and wax their chests.

In the days following our conversation, I searched through all the athletics photos that I could access in the archive and discovered that, with few exceptions, Chris is right.

Shots like this 1923 photo of three-time Big Ten wrestling title-winner Ed Templin are pretty much the standard.

Search and magnify as I might, I can locate nary a chest hair on the entire 1941 Men's basket ball team, which incidentally won that year's Big Ten and NCAA Championships. So much championship and so little hirsuteness: baffling! Are all these guys shaving their chests? Again, this isn't the exception: I searched through numerous shots of teams from a variety of sports.

However, Chris, my friend, you are not entirely alone. A number of boxers sport the chest hair.

Steve Gremban (left) and Dwaine Dickinson (middle) both showing a little fur in March 1949.

NCAA Boxing Champ Dick Murphy is not without chest hair in this 1951 shot.

Gene Rankin (the only boxer in NCAA history to win three titles-- 1939, 1941, 1942-- at the same weight class, 135 lb.) representin' in 1941

Even track star Chuck Fenske (below left) featured a touch of chest hair in 1941.

Fenske and Walter Mehl (above right) both look a little odd-- like they have the heads of middle-aged rather than college-aged men. Maybe it's just the high-waisted shorts, which still look peculiar on men at the moment.

I'm puzzled by the fact that in this February 4, 1940 photo of Fenske with the Wannamaker Mile Trophy, he looks smooth-chested (and more dashing). Am I just projecting hair onto Fenske's chest in the previous image? Are photographers touching up all these photos? Does something about the photographic technology wash out the chest hair? Is this just the difference a year can make in a young man's hair growth? Any thoughts or theories?


A Kenny in the Ear...

is worth a lot.

"It was like Sophie's choice, except with reference works."

"Anyone who's seen Mary Poppins has seen 'a woman taken by the wind.'"
--Kenny, at the end of a long uproarious conversational gambit about the chorus of Fleetwood Mac's Rhiannon ("All your life you've never seen a woman/ Taken by the wind...").

PS - One of the more haunting images I've seen lately.
PPS- I appear to be the only person who voted for "Women's calisthenics" below. In the end, I was overcome by the rhapsody of this woman, who appears in the thrall of being "taken by the wind."


APThe end of this season

When we purchased October tickets for APT, we expected to bundle up for the show. Instead, we were swatting mosquitoes and sweating in shorts and flip-flops... At least the change of seasons was marked by a dinner picnic which began in the twilight and concluded in the dark.

The fabulous Clara joined us for Misalliance, a play by Shaw which Kenneth and I both adore.

Here's Clara looking so smart in a brown floral dress. For dinner, I made sage focaccia, deviled eggs, and potato-chard gratin.

The deviled eggs up close

Clara got up early and fetched magnificently fresh greens for a salad which she served with a delicious, sharp mustard vinaigrette.

Kenneth and I have few pictures of us together, so here's a rarity for which we can thank Clara.

Thanks also go to Clara for the delicious dark chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream icing. In anticipation of my Oct. 8 birthday, Clara decorated my cupcake with a candle. Sorry about the crumbs in this pic, but it was quite dark by the time we got to dessert.


From the UW Archives:
Dynamic Women on Campus Poll

Let's see if I can stir up more controversy than I did with the "Choose Your Crew" poll, which-- let's face it-- had only one reasonable choice. Below, I was quite torn.

Women's calisthenics, circa 1920's

Broom hockey on Lake Mendota, circa 1950's

Maypole Dance, circa 1903-1917

Field-Day tumbling, circa 1940's


Under-Mine and Blow-Up

In case you didn't know, shit like this thrills me to no end: extended apocalyptic freak outs about emergent political parties which were wholly reasonable and not-at-all fanatical. The operatic pitch of Charles Leslie's title! Goosebumps! And it only gets better. How's this for an opening line?!

"Herod and Pilate, who cou'd agree in Nothing else, were made Friends, when they Joyn'd together against Christ."
Mind you, my mocking of Leslie is possible because I read him 300 years later. While I mock, I also take his arguments and concerns quite seriously.


Night of the Iguan/

Sunday evening, we once again set off to APT in Spring Green, this week to see Night of the Iguana. Weather for the picnic was crystal clear, but as soon as we sat down for the show, the evening got windy, which was great because in the first act there's much talk of the onset of a storm. Perfectly exhilarating. A downpour forced the show to end 10-15 minutes before completion-- a disappointment but the whole thing had been so stimulating up to that point that I was scarcely disappointed.

The picnic included shrimp in escabeche; the July '07 Gourmet's quicker version of pissaladière sans the anchovies; an anchovy & radicchio salad by Judy Rodgers-- a recipe that Bradford's been raving about lately-- and Roth Kase Knight's Vail, a local, limberger-like cheese that I recently discovered and love. For dessert, meringue-topped white chocolate brownies which didn't travel so well: they were delicious but I tossed the pictures because they looked so sad.


Today, we at Siege of Derry/Garden of Ashes mourn the loss of Back With Interest. While we anticipated this passage and are wholly supportive of decisions that led to the blog's demise-- or indefinite hiatus, which is still so much death to us-- we already quiver at notion that we will no longer check in on the site 40-50 times a day in the off chance that a new "Good Word" or well-crafted paragraph has been posted. Farewell, my dear Back With Interest, and thank you for all the joy & insight you shared.