Mixed grill.

Here’s my “Alice’s Restaurant” tradition: For a number of years when I lived in Fort Wayne, I would rise on Thanksgiving Day, shower and immediately head out for Columbus, in happy anticipation of dining with my family in a few hours. Depending on atmospheric conditions, I could usually catch the entirety of “Alice’s Restaurant” twice and sometimes three times, on classic-rock stations in Fort Wayne, Columbus and sometimes Dayton.

You needed to know that, didn’t you?

I mention this only because the WashPost has an amusing story about Stockbridge, Mass., Alice, Arlo and the song that made it famous in Sunday’s travel section.

And so we kick off all-bloggage Monday. Why? Because there was some good stuff in the papers over the weekend, and I’m so tired I can’t think of anything else to say.

My brother claims that he once told a gym weightlifter that “today is no-grunting Tuesday.” I’m sure the weightlifter wasn’t amused. No-grunting rules, however, are no joke, as this NYT story points out:

Albert Argibay, a bodybuilder and a state correction officer, was at a Planet Fitness gym with 500 pounds of weight on his shoulders one afternoon this month when the club manager walked over and told him it was time to leave. Mr. Argibay, the manager explained, had violated one of the club’s most sacred and strictly enforced rules: He was grunting.

“I said to her, ‘I’m not grunting, I’m breathing heavy,’ �? recalled Mr. Argibay, 40, an energetic man with the hulking appearance of a pro linebacker. “I guess she didn’t like the fact that I challenged her, because she said to me, ‘Meet me up front; I’m canceling your membership.’ �?

He continued lifting, but soon was surrounded by town police officers, who told him to drop the weight slowly and pack his bag, then escorted him from the gym. Now Mr. Argibay is considering suing the club, claiming the notoriety the incident earned him in this cozy 5,000-person town 75 miles north of Manhattan is tantamount to defamation. Mr. Argibay said he has endured ridicule from colleagues who call him and make grunting noises, and he fears that inmates will lose respect for him.

No grunting at a gym? That’s like no sweating. I can see a please-minimize-your-grunting rule, but man, this place goes a little overboard:

At Planet Fitness gyms, grunters and other rule-breakers are treated to an ear-rattling siren with flashing blue lights and a public scolding. The “lunk alarm,�? as the club calls it, is so jarring it can bring the entire floor to a standstill. (A lunk is defined, on a poster, as “one who grunts, drops weights, or judges.�?

The worst grunter I ever saw wasn’t even at a gym. It was at a public playground in Fort Wayne, on a weekend. On weekends, the ratio of caretaking fathers to mothers increased dramatically, due to either dad’s-turn or custody weekend. On this particular weekend, an impressively bulked-up dad turned his kids loose and promptly went over to a set of parallel monkey bars and started working on his guns. He grunted so loudly I thought at first he’d taken a stray bullet from a nearby gun battle. But no, he was just being a jerk.

Busy day, leading up to the holiday. More later, maybe. Discuss The Game, if you want to. I had my hopes pinned on the last few minutes, but it wasn’t to be.

Posted at 8:55 am in Current events |

16 responses to “Mixed grill.”

  1. MichaelG said on November 20, 2006 at 10:39 am

    The game? Cal played very well for a time but then . . . Tedford’s task is to get them to play for 60 minutes. Then they’ll be dangerous. Maybe next year. I have always liked Pete Carroll. I think he’s an excellent coach. I also like a guy who has fun at a football game and Pete’s exuberance, his huge grin after a successful play, his genuine liking for his players showcase a guy who’s having a great time.

    Grunting? I don’t care about gyms but I can’t watch women’s tennis anymore because of the animal sounds emanating from the court. Call me whatever you want, but the noises are just too distracting. They’re also not necessary. That Planet Fitness establishment sounds like a place to avoid. Only posing allowed in their joint. It reminds me of the clueless idiots who move to the country and then complain about the noise of roosters crowing.

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  2. brian stouder said on November 20, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Mr. Argibay said he has endured ridicule from colleagues who call him and make grunting noises, and he fears that inmates will lose respect for him.

    Well, THAT caught my attention!

    Apparently when I first read

    Albert Argibay, a bodybuilder and a state correction officer, was at a Planet Fitness gym with 500 pounds of weight on his shoulders one afternoon, what struck me was that the guy could sling a quarter-ton around, and STILL the female club gym manager was ready to run his ass out of the place RIGHT NOW!

    Totally missed that the guy is also a prison guard!!

    See – THIS is how the world is; all these rules that seem to exist simply to trip-up the uninitiated!

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  3. mary said on November 20, 2006 at 11:35 am

    I have a cat who grunts when she jumps up to a high place. I should call her on it

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  4. Danny said on November 20, 2006 at 11:42 am

    Man, at this gym I used to go to, there was this guy that grunted so forcefully and longly that it sounded like he was giving birth to an elephant or that he had been constipated for a year. I am not exaggerating one bit. It was ridiculous. The whole gym would come to a hear-the-pin-drop standstill as people turned their heads to stare in amazement and bemusement at this character.

    Michael, remember when Monica Seles was still playing? I never saw one photo of her in the paper when they did not get the worst shot of her in mid, double-backhand swing, apparently in mid-grunt, with her teeth beared like a cornered badger.

    Like this:


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  5. Danny said on November 20, 2006 at 11:44 am

    ah… bared, I meant.

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  6. Juno said on November 20, 2006 at 12:07 pm

    I don’t understand the grunting rule. There are certainly people at my gym who do their best to maximize their manliness with sound effects – and they are ridiculous – but how on earth is someone supposed to squat 500 POUNDS without making any noise?

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  7. MichaelG said on November 20, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    I know what kind of noise I’d make with 500 lbs on my back: SQUISH.

    Seles is the one who started the grunting among women tennis players. Poor Monica, she never did recover mentally from that stabbing incident in Germany.

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  8. mary said on November 20, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    This has nothing to do with the subject at hand, but I need to say this. There is a special ring of hell for consultants.

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  9. Laura said on November 20, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    Back to Alice. So glad to read that Arlo is still alive and kicking. He must have dodged the Huntington’s bullet. It is one seriously inhumane disease.

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  10. Connie said on November 20, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    Ah yes Mary, I will be representing my agency (actually there is a lawyer, in fact two of them) in a court hearing later this week that looks to be a battle of dueling environmental consultants. I was just figuring out how many dollars per hour the multiple lawyers and expert witnesses were going to cost me. All to determine the purchase value of a property appraised at 1.5 mill on which the cleanup and remediation estimate is 3 mill.

    As for grunting, well I try not to, but…… I have had this very wierd and painful nerve thing going on in my back, with recurring attacks roughly every 3 weeks. I find myself warning people about the likelihood of involuntary grunting. And hope I don’t get to the next level which is involuntary whimpering.

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  11. mary said on November 20, 2006 at 2:57 pm

    I have two consultants making my job easier by adding about three hours a day to my schedule. They do this by asking for lots of data, then changing their minds about either what they want to know or in what format they want it. Then they regurgitate what I have sent to them, and ask me to evaluate it.
    I’ve been doing 12 hour days for the past two weeks because of these bozos and it’s getting very old.

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  12. Danny said on November 20, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    Mary, take a cue from Office Space and tell them, “Dammit, I have people skills!”

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  13. mary said on November 20, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    I just told one of them that a project I was working on was stalled because a trainer I had hired had backed out. His suggestion was to find someone else. That had not occurred to me.

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  14. Danny said on November 20, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    Hey, like Nancy was saying a few weeks ago. here are two headlines about the school bus that crashed:

    CNN: Teens killed in school bus plunge identified

    Fox: 3 Dead in School Bus Plunge

    Plunge is indeed the favored verb!

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  15. mary said on November 20, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    “School bus plunges off Ala. interstate, kills 3”
    from MSNBC

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  16. Bob said on November 20, 2006 at 8:05 pm

    I had the pleasure of visiting Stockbridge in 2000, when the Norman Rockwell Museum was one of three venues in the Northeast hosting exhibits of work by artist Rockwell Kent (others were the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, NY, and the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, which has a permanent collection). Stockbridge is a charming town and Norman Rockwell’s studio, overlooking forested hills and the Housatonic River, provides a splendid view in autumn.

    I gained a new appreciation for Norman Rockwell’s work on that visit; I had always enjoyed the small-town folksiness of his paintings, but never before understood the meticulous preparation and craftsmanship that went into his work.

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