Friday, February 10, 2012

News and Schmooze (and blues) #2

An old item. One that never leaves my mind. When I was kid in Menomonee Falls, which is on the northwest corner of Milwaukee, I used to stay up late quite a few nights a week and listen to Ron Kuzner’s jazz show, The Dark Side, on WFMR. The show came on at midnight, and I wasn’t supposed to stay up late, obviously, because I was a kid who had to attend school the next morning. In order to avoid detection, I would curl at the end of my bed, near the clock radio, and listen to Ron Kuzner with very low volume, volume so low I sometimes had to hold the clock radio to my ear to hear it. I loved the jazz he played, sure, but listening to Ron? What a unique radio announcer he was. He had a way of speaking as if his voice were a trombone sliding through the registers, pausing at unexpected places, and he would speak profound truth without ever saying too much. When he did the sports on his show, sometimes he would just say, “Milwaukee defeated Minnesota. Kansas City defeated Detroit. Boston and New York (huge pause) did not play.” Perfect! And he always started his news segment with this: “And now for the news, or the blues, depending on your perspective.” In that spirit, therefore, here is my news for the week.

Steak’s cheap this week at Beck’s Meats on Main Street in Oshkosh. Just FYI. It’s cheap every week, actually, and even though New York strip is bad for the heart and the soul or whatever, I walk the dog over there once or twice a week and see what’s on sale. Nothing like acquiring meat from an old-school butcher shop. This joy, however, is about to come to an end. End of this month, I’m moving from Oshkosh to Appleton – that’s twenty miles north – and either I will need to find a new source of meat or I will have to do the right thing and cut steak out of my diet for cycling season. ßIs that the right thing? I’m looking forward to life in Appleton, though. Should be an adventure because isn’t everything?

On Monday or Tuesday next week, The Massachusetts Review will run a longish piece of mine in their online edition. The piece is called “This Problem of Taste,” and I wrote it as a sort of oddball speech to give on the last day of the Pacific University Brief-Residency (that’s the term, I guess) MFA residency in January. It’s about writing and art and some other high-minded stuff of the sort I usually don’t write about and present to an audience. So I’m nervous and happy to let it loose in the wilds. Obviously, I would like this piece to spread far and wide like a disease of truth over the internet, but who knows? I will post the link here then moment it becomes available, of course. In advance, I thank you for telling people how wonderful and insightful you think my piece is! J

And in two weeks, maybe ten days, I will begin writing a regular blog, once a week, at For now, the blog will be called “The Bike in Balance,” but this may change before it goes live. The subject matter will focus on how I want to ride fairly seriously and do some races and such but at the same time I want to find a way live a normal life (not possible for me, really, I know), one where I can do stuff like not obsess about bikes all the time and where I can hang out with noncyclist friends on weekends, and so on. To people who don’t ride bikes, this may not make sense, but to cyclists, the idea of balancing training and doing events and having positive relationships with human beings away from the bike – well, it’s tough to manage. So that’s what I’m going to try – not only to manage riding and living but to write about it, too.

And for at least two more weeks, I’ll be leading early-morning spin classes at the downtown YMCA. That’s 5:30 a.m. We have a great group every morning, and we’d love to see you there. My Thursday night classes – 5:30 p.m. – will run every week till the end of April. I’m leading the 8:00 a.m. Saturday class at the downtown Y this week, too, and the 1 p.m. Sunday class, and it’s snowing like crazy today in Oshkosh, and the temps are about to tank into the zero-Fahrenheit range. So what’s your excuse for not showing up for class again?

Okay then. Keep on writing and riding and being groovy people. I close with a link to some classic Ron Kuzner. The guy was one of a kind. No doubt. Enjoy.


  1. Congrats on the The Massachusetts Review publication. I loved this piece when you read it at Seaside. It gave me the courage to write some stuff in my personal essay that I thought I couldn't before. It makes a difference. Thanks for that.

  2. Thanks, Sherri! I hope your semester is rocking and rolling so far. :)


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