Jim Bartlett’s Blog

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In December of 1980, John Lennon‘s comeback single, “(Just Like) Starting Over” was riding high on the charts. On December 8, 1980, a Monday, he was shot to death in New York City. This left the producers of American Top 40 with a dilemma. The show for the next weekend, December 13/14, had already been […]

I grew up in a musical house. One of the bedrooms is still known as the “piano room,” where my mother’s upright piano has sat since the day my parents moved in, before I was born. I started piano lessons when I was eight, and I learned how to read music a little bit, which […]

Lanette and Sara both posted recipes on their blogs this past week. Ginger says she’s been doing some fancy cooking at her house lately, too. But if you are waiting for me to post a recipe, you’ll be waiting a long time. I don’t like to cook anymore, although I used to. When I was a […]

You have probably seen some of your friends on social media posting #MeToo. This is a campaign that started last weekend, encouraging women who have suffered sexual assault or harassment to post the hashtag #MeToo. The goal is to make people visualize the scope of the problem—that victims are not just people who are famous […]

This past weekend, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I was hanging out in a brewery tap room when a woman came in. She was there to lead a yoga class (yoga in a brewery is a concept I can get behind). While she was waiting for her students to arrive, we started to visit. It turned out […]

Through the middle of the 1970s, Steely Dan was merely a band I heard on the radio, although I liked whatever I heard. Under the right conditions, “Do It Again” can still transport me back to the winter I turned 13 and how I tried to figure out just what it was about—and not just […]

“I feel weird,” Madea said. “Me too,” I said. It was three minutes until the total eclipse in Princeton, Kentucky. The sky was turning dark, and a 360-degree orange sunset was descending. The sun through our eclipse glasses was reduced to a tiny, shrinking sliver. But what was most notable at that moment was the […]

A couple of Saturdays ago, Ann and I visited a spot that zoomed up our list of favorite Madison hangouts after a single visit. The Biergarten at Olbrich Park opened at the end of June. Milwaukee has had public beer gardens in parks for the last several summers, but Olbrich is the first one in […]

The announcement this morning that Brennan’s Markets are closing at the end of September is a shock to everybody—especially to those of us from Monroe. Brennan’s was established in Monroe in 1942, so almost none of us can remember when they weren’t part of our town. If my memory is faulty the following details, I […]

Every summer, from the time I was six or seven until I was 16, I got to spend a few days with my cousin Rob in Brodhead (and later in Madison), and he would spend a few days on the farm with us. These vacations became the kind of thing a kid looks forward to […]

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