January 7, 2009

Booze and Books


MFA programs, or at least AWP, should advertise itself as booze and books, don't you think? But, anyway, I have other blogging business with that title.

Here in Madison all liquor stores close at 9pm daily. And that's a frustrating thing because there is no such thing as a late night beer run in this town, or maybe in all of Wisconsin, as I don't know if this 9pm booze curfew is just for the county or what. So last night after returning from the Charlie Parr concert at Cafe Montmarte we were unable to get a re-up of beer to make a full night of it, and the show was over at something like a quarter after 9. (It was great by the way, as Charlie had a harmonica/jaw harp player with him, plus the washboard/spoon/railroad spike guy...plus no idiot Sugar Room dancers getting in my way...also this show means that I have seen Charlie perform every which way he can except with a female backing vocal.) I know the beer is a diet wrecker, obviously, but we were out, a good time was being had, my emotional brain took over from my logical brain and therefore beer was craved.

What's frustrating about the whole 9pm thing is really the same frustration as the Blue Laws in Mankato...it's remarkably arbitrary and skewed toward the bar business. If I want to drink on a Sunday in Mankato or a 9:30 on a Friday in Madison, and don't have beer at home, why must I go to a bar if I don't want to? How does that benefit anyone except the bar business? And doesn't that make the roads more dangerous, putting more potentially drunk in public people out there when they could be perfectly drunk and in home? Yes, yes, you could stock up, buy the booze in advance, but I don't want a cache of alcohol in my fridge at all times on the off chance that I'll want to down a few some night because if they are in my fridge I will drink them.

It seems odd to say this but Carbondale had the most logical liquor laws I've lived under. Bars open until 2, liquor stores open until 2. Only makes sense. If you can get booze, why restrict where you could get it, steering business unfairly to certain sectors. I should run for mayor of this town or something and change these beer laws here....okay, I feel better now.

As for the other part of the title of the post, the books. I did a recount of the titles I haven't read on the shelf. The number includes books I have read part of, but not all, and wish to complete...and also books read in high school as I don't think that counts. While I remember liking The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye, and thoroughly despising Pride and Prejudice, I couldn't tell you what about them I found particularly interesting or foul, so I think they belong on the list. I included some other books that I mistakenly left off the list last time like this history of the St. Louis Cardinals that I have had for years now. Anyway, the new total stands at a still ridiculous 243 books. This includes the just bought (because I earned it) Melanie Rae Thon collection "First, Body" (first time I've seen it on a shelf in a used Madison shop). So, yes, I have a long, long way to go. I need to read more than just at my lovely job to really dig into the volume of books I have to go. What sucks is that there are a couple used book sale offs coming up in February and March, with the Madison Public Library and the UW-Memorial Library doing sales soon where paperbacks, good ones not just mass-markets, are a dollar. Must be strong...

I'm going to make a shopping list of books to get as well so I'm not so impulsively drawn to things in those shops if I find myself there. Like last time, when I bought this Shirley Hazzard book "The Great Fire"...total impulse. Yes she won the Man/Booker and she's one of Australia's finest literary writers, but still...you know?

viva el mustache

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