Thursday, November 26, 2009

The day before Thanksgiving was another day of umbrella weather, but then it snowed

Umbrella Weather
The last couple of days have given Madison the dreariest kind of November weather -- dark, gray and gloomy, with a cold, all-day drizzle. Snow would definitely be an improvement.

First SnowAnd, just like that, we got our first snow Wednesday night. It couldn't make up its mind whether it wanted to be snow or rain, or whether it wanted to stick around. In the end it decided to hang around a little longer, although it was expected to melt later today. But at least it was here long enough for us to spell out our very best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From "Yes You Can" to "Yes We Did" to "Yes, but What Did We Do?"

From "Yes You Can" to "Yes We Did" to "Yes, but What Did We Do?"
Did we elect President Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan (in a speech at West Point, of all places) and follow in the footsteps of another Democratic president who was destroyed by escalating an unwinnable war? Did we elect President Obama to deal with the economy by putting foxes in charge of the chicken coop? Did we elect him to take a hands-off approach to healthcare reform so that lobbyists could write the legislation?

Yes we did, apparently. Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. Looks like we're in for some interesting times afterwards.

The University Avenue Holiday Lights are back

The University Avenue Holiday Lights Are Back
The University Avenue Holiday Lights -- making the grayness of the season a little less gray and more colorful. They seem to have been part of the Madison holiday season forever, but it was 1995 when Madison dentist Dr. Jack Kammer started illuminating the wall of 228 arborvitae trees he had planted earlier along the University Avenue railroad right of way.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Segoe and University: Personally, I think a Tarzhay would be a big improvement

Personally, I Think a Tarzhay Would be an Improvement
This is the corner of Segoe and University at Hilldale that was excavated two years ago to make way for the bold new vision of developer Joseph Freed & Associates' new Hilldale: "Shop it. Live it. Love it." New condos were going to flank a big, new Whole Foods. Then the market softened, and the condos fell through, to be replaced by a proposed hotel and office building. Then those fell through. Then Whole Foods pulled out. The hole remained.

Now Target wants to build a store here, in their new urban configuration. Some object to bringing in a Big Box. Others are tired of looking at the Big Hole. I think the novelty has worn off the hole. Sure, it added a nice backdrop of seedy urban grunge to the glitzy Hilldale scene, but eventually that gets tiresome. A Tarzhay would be a nice change of pace -- especially for downtown and near west shoppers who want to buy a pair of socks at a reasonable price without commuting to the far western burbs.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 22 compared -- 2008 vs 2009

Lake Wingra Freezes in Black and White
I took this picture of Lake Wingra exactly a year ago today. This year the lake doesn't seem close to freezing, and the weather today was more like that of a warm day in early April than one in late November, except the grass was a bit greener than it usually is that early in April.

A Quiet Moment on the Southwest Bike Path, November 22, 2009This is what it looked like during an unusually quiet moment on the Southwest Bike Path. Most of the day it looked more like the Beltline at rush hour, with bicyclists, roller-bladers, joggers and walkers all getting out to enjoy the extraordinary weather. The weatherman said the high was 58°F, but it seemed warmer -- and on the asphalt corridor warming itself in the sun, it probably was.

Start of Brett Favre late-season collapse? Not.

It's late in the third quarter, the Minnesota Vikings are leading the Seattle Seahawks, but the Vikings' starting QB has come out of the game. Is Brett Favre injured? Has his 40-year-old body finally succumbed to the rigors of a long NFL season? Is this the beginning of his predicted late-season fade, expected by lots of folks based on his poor performance in the final games of last season with the NY Jets (when he was playing injured and not making a big deal of it)?

Um, not exactly. Favre was healthy enough for a personal career-high 88% passing day (also a Viking single game record), completing 22 of 25 pass attempts for 213 yards, with no interceptions and four touchdowns -- the 22nd time he has done that, breaking Dan Marino's career record for most games with four TD passes. Oh, and a not-too-shabby QB rating of 141.7.

So why did he leave the game? The coaches wanted to rest him and give Tarvaris Jackson some playing time. Maybe everything has worked out for the best with the Packers trading away Favre. The Packers really do need a young quarterback who can take a physical beating, because he has to play without the protection of an offensive line. If Favre were still in Green Bay, he'd probably be in the hospital by now, instead of resting in the fourth quarter. His new team gives this NFL legend the perfect way to extend his playing career.