Getting to Know ...

by Mark Sweeney | 11/17/04 6:00am

The Dartmouth: Huey Lewis once sang that "the heart of rock and roll is in Cleveland," which happens to be your hometown. What are some of the best aspects about living in the Midwest?

Dan Linsalata: That's an interesting question, because most Midwesterners outside of Cleveland consider it to be more of an Eastern city. And of course, people on the East Coast consider it part of the Midwest. And the city itself is a bureaucratic mess, even without the river catching on fire. It's much like the Middle East; nobody wants to live there, and everyone's always fighting. Although we do have Great Lakes Brewing Company. So that's a huge plus.

The D: When it comes to determining the most influential and talented musical composers in history, typically the finalists boil down to Beethoven, Mozart and Jimmy Buffett. Which of this group do you most admire?

DL: As tough as this decision is, I'm going to have to go with Buffett. I find his tone of sitting on a beach and doing nothing for my entire life to be very inspiring. Plus, he performs his own music, and sings in English. Which is nice, because I can understand it. When was the last time you saw Mozart sing one of his own songs in English?

The D: Explain why croquet is an unmatched exercise in athleticism and mental fortitude.

DL: Initially I scoffed at croquet as being unmasculine and unathletic, but decided to take it up anyway upon my doctor's advice. You see, last spring I suffered a series of minor heart attacks climbing the two flights of stairs to my dorm and was advised to adopt a more active lifestyle. I found the strenuous effort of swinging a weighted mallet and the strenuous walks along the length of croquet lawn in front of Baker Library to be just the ticket.

As for the mental side of the game, it can only be described as "chess on grass," though with the added difficulty of dealing with people trying to play football at the same time, as well as any inconsistencies of the lawn. Fortunately, FO&M has traditionally been very good about keeping it well manicured.

The D: You are known around campus for your keen sense of fashion. First of all, what is the maximum sum of money you'd willingly offer for a high-quality polo shirt, and why is this particular article of clothing such a necessary part of any person's wardrobe?

DL: I was in Boston last weekend, and was dismayed to learn that, this year the cost of a Ralph Lauren polo has gone up to $62.50, although Lacoste and Brooks Brothers polos have held at $69 and $45, respectively. If I plan on wearing the shirt on the outside, I will occasionally pay retail price. If I'm only going to use it for layering with other polos, or to play squash in, then I try to pay no more than $30 or so. I've recently taken to buying them in packs of five or 10 on eBay. A nice golf polo, for reasons I can't explain, can run north of $80, and I have yet to find a way to avoid this cost; I typically wear these until they wear out though.

Polos are great because they're so flexible; I can dress them up, wear them casually, layer them, wear them for IM football, or use one to wipe spills off my desk, then throw it in the laundry with my socks and underwear.

The D: Secondly, you did not own a pair of jeans until recently. Why did you abstain from them for so long, and what spurred you to drop your anti-jean stance?

DL: I'm proud to say that I now own two pairs of jeans, as I purchased a second pair shortly before returning to school. I don't really have an answer for why I avoided them; I had to wear khakis to school every day in high school, and found that there was nothing I could do in jeans that I couldn't do in khakis, particularly the stain-defenders. Stain-defender pants might be the greatest thing ever invented. Except for polos. But you never have to wash stain-defenders. Or jeans either, for that matter. Maybe that's why I like them now.

The D: In examining all of Chevy Chase's films, some would say either "Caddyshack" or "Vacation" featured the aforementioned performer at his peak. However, I would tend to disagree and choose the 1985 classic, "Fletch." It's also important to note that Chase wasn't even the funniest character in "Caddyshack;" that distinction would go to Judge Smails as played by Ted Knight. That said, why do you enjoy gambling?

DL: Nick the Greek once said, "The greatest feeling in the world is collecting on a bet; the second greatest is paying one off." He was an idiot; the second greatest is clearly suckering the guy out of everything he just won with a can't-lose proposition bet. Stuff like that was always more profitable than selling drugs.

The D: Apparently there was an election recently, and your home state of Ohio played a crucial role in the outcome. How does it feel to be personally responsible for the re-election of the incumbent president?

DL: Well, as a convicted felon, I couldn't vote myself. But if I could have, I don't think mine would have counted -- I live in the most liberal county in Ohio, one of only a couple that went for Kerry.

The D: It's been a while since Cleveland had a championship contender for a sports team, besides when the Indians choked away the 1995 and 1997 World Series. What's it like being a Cleveland sports fan?

DL: I would say excruciating is an understatement. This summer, named Cleveland the "Most Tortured Sports City." It's tough to be anything but a fair-weather fan; we're already counting down the days until LeBron's contract expires and he signs with the Lakers for some ungodly amount of money. Because that's just what happens. Clevelanders have kind of adopted Ohio State, even though they're not really in Cleveland, because they're the only team that wins consistently. Oh, and Michigan sucks.

The D: You are a faithful subscriber to the precepts of the Preppy Handbook. Which rules matter to you most and why?

DL: Above all, it is important to maintain the illusion that sorority girls do not have sex, and men will always leave the tie on the door, as a courtesy to his roommate. Also, "summer" is a verb.

The D: Finally, if there is a quote or saying that best sums you up as a person, what would it be?

DL: Someone once told me that I'm like black licorice; most people hate me, but those who don't really like me. Having never eaten black licorice myself, I don't really understand what that means.