Saturday, May 08, 2010

Every Missing Pet Poster Tells a Story

Every Poster Tells a Story
They tell stories about pets and their owners, wrenching tales of heartbreaking loss -- along with the hope of a happy ending. This poster about a bilingual cat caught my eye last night. The fine print:
He has brown striped fur, white fur on his chest, and green eyes. He also responds to Der Müssen. He's been missing for about two weeks. We miss him!
I've put up more than a few missing cat posters myself over the years, and although we've usually been lucky, I know that aching sense of loss. Years ago, I read an experimental novel by Carole Maso called The Art Lover: A Novel. It was a narrative about loss and mourning in New York City in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Elements of collage mix with a story within the story, and found objects -- newspaper clippings, photos and missing pet posters -- are interspersed with the story line. I don't really remember the characters or what happened very clearly, but I do remember the lost pets. There was Rebecca the ferret, there was a parrot, and there was a missing dove. The plaintive notes, the owners' heartbreak expressed in drawings that seemed more real than photos -- it all contributed to a haunting sense of loss.

Here's hoping that Der Müssen's story has a happy ending. If you live in the Madison and know anything about his whereabouts, give his owners a call at 612-296-3836 or 651-235-7185.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

What's with the wild and crazy winds in the Madison area the last couple days?

What's with the Crazy Winds in the Madison Area the Last Couple Days?
We were walking along Tiedeman's Pond yesterday, and it was windy as hell. Clear blue sky, so there didn't seem to be any storm risk. It was just annoying, and other than that, we didn't think twice about it. Suddenly we heard something behind us that sounded like a string of firecrackers, going off, at an accelerating pace: CRACK . . . CRACK . . . CRACK CRACK CRACKCRACKCRACK. We spun around just in time to see a large green mass falling to the ground. It took a second to register what we had seen. The wind had split this tree, and half of it fell to the ground, just missing the house.

Since when does the wind start knocking down trees under a clear blue sky? Same thing today. Steady wind, but occasional gusts that feel like they're going to sweep the house right off to Oz. There's a lot of talk about global warming and the coming age of "superstorms." years ago I skimmed what I assumed was a crackpot science book on the subject in a bookstore. The argument was that if you pump enough heat into a closed atmospheric system, you generate global superwinds that never stop, blowing endlessly at hundreds of miles an hour. As on the surface of Venus. So is this how it starts?

View Large On Black

Double-crested Cormorant in the treetops

Green Heron in the Treetops
Stricker's Pond, Middleton. I'm pretty sure this is a green heron, but if anyone has a better idea, let me know. Thanks.

Update (and correction): I'd be lost without the Internet. Thanks to my Flickr commenters (click on photo to see comments) -- Double-crested Cormorant it is.

View Large On Black

Monday, May 03, 2010

Drama in the world of birds: Sandhill Crane being harassed by Red-winged Blackbirds


I think the blackbirds are defending their nests, eggs or fledglings, but you almost have to feel sorry for the Sandhill Crane. The crane ended up so frustrated that it charged a Canadian Goose out of what seemed sheer frustration right after I turned off the camera. The goose backed off and the crane finally settled down.

The skies above Madison put on quite an impressive and changeable show Sunday

Weather Effects: Sunday, May 2, 6:49 p.m.
This was the scene as we left Owen Park at 6:49 p.m. (Large On Black)

Weather Effects: Sunday, May 2, 6:59 p.m.Ten minutes later, this was the scene looking south from Metcalfe's at the Hilldale Shopping Center. The rainbow was still visible to the east, but it was starting to fade, especially in comparison with these roiling, boiling storm clouds.

Rainbows are one of the many reasons I always like to have a compact digital point-and-shoot with me (since I only use my phone for talking, though that may change as the technology keeps improving). Years ago, I saw a brilliant rainbow that arched over and perfectly framed the Capitol dome. A perfect picture, but no camera. Never again, I thought, and ever since I've usually been prepared.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Madison's May Day rally for the American Dream

Rally for the American Dream
You could say the May Day rally (more photos in this set) at the Capitol, one of dozens around the country, was about immigration reform. You could just as well say it was about the American Dream. "Si se puede" ("yes we can") was the rallying cry that united the marchers.

Rally for the American DreamParticipants were protesting the new Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, that threatens constitutional rights and creates a climate of fear for legal and illegal immigrants alike. It was a rally in favor of decency, equality and human rights. It was a rally against the forces of bigotry and fear.

Rally for the American DreamIt's a never ending struggle that reaches far beyond Arizona, whose new law is just the most extreme example of the immigration xenophobia that permeates American life, usually stoked by cynical politicians for their own ends. And, as the WSJ reported, it's not as if we don't have problems right here in Madison.
Alex Gillis of the Immigrant Workers Union, which led the effort to organize the rally, said the Arizona law was a powerful motivator for those who want federal law to protect immigrants.

“This is about taking our country back,” Gillis told the cheering crowd.

Gillis and other speakers also criticized the Dane County Sheriff’s Office practice of informing federal authorities about jail inmates who don’t have permission to be in the U.S.
America is a nation of immigrants. Immigrants built this country. We're at our best when we welcome immigrants -- and we're at our worst when we turn our backs on them in fear of "outsiders."