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.