Good Idea, Bad Idea

25 June 2001

It's time for another round of "Good Idea, Bad Idea!"

Good Idea: Buy Mark tickets to a Mozart Festival!

Bad Idea: Buy Mark tickets to a Mozart Festival that falls on Gay Pride Weekend and during an A's game!

Maybe, you're thinking, maybe you just have thought you didn't like crowds before because they didn't involve enough women wearing stickers on their shirts, something about cats, I didn't quite catch it. Or enough men wearing feather boas. Or enough people talking loudly about how much they charge their friends to drive them around in their cab while the friends are having sex. Or enough really sweaty people who smell of beer and argue about that call in the sixth. Nope. Turns out I just don't like crowds. Go figure.

The symphony was good, though. Very good. We enjoyed it quite a lot. And, wonder of wonders, it did not receive a standing ovation at the end. I think this is good. Most of the professional performances I've been to in the last, say, five years, have gotten standing ovations. Most of the amatuer productions have as well. So what distinguishes the grade schooll play where Little Tommy can't remember his lines from the masterful performance of Cyrano (grade school or otherwise)? How do people know when they've done a really good job? This is one of the things I truly appreciated about the physics department at Gustavus: you couldn't (usually -- there were a few classes that were exceptions) get an A unless you had done something really fantastic. Unless you were Just That Good, no A for you. And for the first time in my life, getting an A didn't mean, "Congratulations! You have a pulse!"

We went out to the Olive Garden last night, Scott and Michelle's choice, and had good food. Portobello ravioli, mmmmm. Came home and talked and looked at pictures from Hawaii and then from the wedding. Today we're going to go up to the City to Alcatraz and SF-MoMA. Should be a good time for everyone.

(Note: the original "Good Idea, Bad Idea" was on the animated series "Animaniacs." But the one I've done the most was from college. Chip, one of the younger physics students I got to know from teaching lab, was really susceptible to laughter. And he turned colors when he laughed. Bright, bright colors. So it was always rewarding to make Chip laugh. He told me once that his older sisters had wrapped him in a blanket and tickled him until he turned blue. I said, "Good idea, bad idea! Good idea: wrap Chip in a blanket and tickle him until he turns blue." Chip said, "Nooo!" "Bad idea. Wrap Chip in a plastic bag and tickle him until he turns blue." Chip said, "Noooooooo!" After that he didn't say much, because he was busy laughing and turning blue. Thereafter, all I had to say to get him going again was, "Hey, Chipster! Good idea, bad idea!" It's so nice to be permanently funny.)

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