September 14th, 2002


Miniature Golf

At the BradleyFest, we had won certificates for six games of miniature golf and five ice cream cones at Golf World. So on Saturday, September 14, we went out to Golf World with Kevin, Alaina, and Austin to play miniature golf.

Golf World is part of a small entertainment complex with a big naming scheme. You can buy ice cream at Ice Cream World, and snacks at Food World. If it's raining, you can play arcade games at Game World. I started to feel that the naming scheme was being carried to excess when I saw the restored caboose with a sign saying, "Caboose World!" Signs inside explain that if kids don't have the socks they need to play on the climbing equipment, they can mend this lack at Sock World.

I had an astounding game of miniature golf, scoring one stroke under par for the whole course. I think this is the first time I've ever broken par. My usual experience is that I can par most of the holes, but even one bad hole creates a deficit that I can never make up. (Par is usually set at the best that a skilled golfer can consistently do; there's not a lot of slack to compensate for errors.)

The round of golf was certainly enhanced by scoring two holes in one on the course.

Despite my thrills with the game, I didn't think it was a particularly good course; I don't feel a great yen to drive out there to play again. I feel a yen to play a miniature golf course with an electric windmill hazard, and I have no idea where to find one in Pittsburgh.

Just over the hill from us in Braddock Hills is 'Old King Cole's Miniature Golf', which looks like someone built a mini golf course in their yard. I'd like to play that course some time.

Did Monkeys Invent the Monkey Wrench?

After playing minature golf, we decided to make a lazy day of it and drive a bit of the Green Belt to get home. This involved some driving among the very nice houses of Fox Chapel.

On the way, we stopped at a bookstore/coffee shop called The Book Cafe. It was so-so as a bookstore; it seemed to have a selection little better than a used bookstore, but it had new-book prices. But it had a lovely atmosphere, with lots of nice art and lovely shelves; I could easily imagine sipping tea and reading there.

I got three Perry Mason books that I hadn't read, which was a pleasant discovery. As I was checking out, then, I noticed a book called Did Monkeys Invent the Monkey Wrench? (by Vince Staten), about hardware stores and the products they carry. On an impulse, I bought it.

I've enjoyed reading it a lot over the past few days. It tells lots of entertaining stories about hardware, like the invention of the Phillips screw, or of Black and Decker's invention of the pistol-grip drill. I am seriously considering giving it to my father-in-law and/or my father as a Christmas present.

On the down side, it's an extremely fast read; I probably read the whole thing in less than five hours. But pleasant all the way through.