Ahlgrim, who has clearly done a rotten job of living up to his name, started building the course 26 years ago when he moved the family mortuary from Elmhurst, Ill., to its current location in Palatine. Originally he hoped merely to amuse his children and their friends. But word of Ahlgrim's macabre nine got around, and he was soon fielding inquiries from Rotary and Kiwanis clubs. "And we get a lot of 40th birthdays," he says. "They'll have us put out a casket, and they'll decorate the room with black balloons." There is no charge for playing the course, which Ahlgrim says is used twice in a typical week.
Ahlgrim has just one very strict rule: No golfing during wakes. "People ask to, but we can't let them," says Ahlgrim. "The noise from the basement goes right up the ducts."
FOR PETE'S SAKE
One of the best pacers currently racing at the Meadowlands is a 4-year-old named Sayitain'tsopete. Part-owner Darrell Griswold, a police lieutenant from Clinton, Md., named the horse with Pete Rose and the legendary line about Shoeless Joe Jackson, "Say it ain't so, Joe," in mind. Since Jan. 7, when Rose was released from the federal prison camp in Marion, Ill., after serving a five-month sentence for income-tax evasion, Sayitain'tsopete has been particularly impressive, winning two stakes races and finishing second in another.
Sayitain'tsopete shares several attributes with Rose, according to trainer Dan Murray. "He's kind of small, but he's put together real well," says Murray. "He has a great motor." And like Rose, Sayitain'tsopete is an Ohio-bred.
GETTING THE STORY
There are 780 members of the press covering the Persian Gulf war. There were 2,200 on hand at Super Bowl XXV.
A GIANT EMBARRASSMENT
Champions for Life, a 10-minute-long piece of antiabortion propaganda that first appeared 14 months ago, became the subject of controversy last week when the New York Giants made it to the Super Bowl. Underwritten by Giants co-owner Wellington Mara, the video, which has been sent to hundreds of organizations, uses footage from New York's win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI, statements by six members of that Giants team and closeup shots of spectators, none of whom were asked how they felt about the issue.
No matter how one feels about abortion, it's hard not to be repulsed by the video's inflammatory language. At one point, one of the Giants, Mark Bavaro, says, "Now, with abortion death squads allowed to run rampant through our country, I wonder how many future champions will be killed before they see the light of day?" Elsewhere, Jimmy Burt Jr., the nine-year-old son of Jim Burt, a former Giant now with the 49ers, looks into the camera from atop his father's shoulders and says, "It's great to be alive."
Apart from questions of taste, there's one further objection that should be raised. As columnist Anna Quindlen noted in The New York Times, no women are heard from in the video. In fact, women aren't even mentioned.