Saturday, December 11, 2010

University Avenue Holiday Lights in the rain that preceded our blizzard

University Avenue Holiday Lights in the Rain Before the Blizzard
A classic winter mess: Rain and warm moist air, preceding an arctic cold front blowing in blinding snow and sweeping winds, followed by subzero cold spell in which to try and recover. Welcome to the Midwest. Meanwhile, the rain made the University Avenue Holiday Lights look more magical than ever. T and I stopped to look at them on the way home from the store where we stocked up for the storm, as we don't expect to see any snowplows on our street tomorrow.

Illuminating the Nativity on Tokay Boulevard

Tokay Boulevard Nativity Scene
I love to find excuses to drive to the Whitney Way Walgreen's this time of year, because it's an excuse to drive by the electric sheep on Tokay. I don't mean to slight the electric camels, but nothing says Christmas like electric sheep. They really brighten the December night.

Friday, December 10, 2010

McCartney and Fallon perform "Scrambled Eggs," the original placeholder lyrics for "Yesterday"

A special moment was added to the annals of musical trivia on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon when the host and the former Beatle performed "Scrambled Eggs," the nonsense lyrics McCartney originally used as a placeholder when composing "Yesterday," the most covered song in history. McCartney also sang his 1982 tribute to John Lennon, "Here Today."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A great day for Tundra Swans on Lake Mendota

A Great Day for Tundra Swans
For humans it's been pretty chilly for early December, about 20 degrees below normal lately, but the visiting Tundra Swans on Lake Mendota seemed to be enjoying it yesterday. The lake is starting to freeze over, but there are still large areas of open water for the swans to cavort in. Some glide majestically on the water, others bob under the water for food, and some stand on the ice preening. Another beautiful, sunny day in Swan World.

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Experimental biodegradable traffic calming island on Madison's Capitol Square

Experimental Biodegradable Traffic Calming Island on Capitol Square
It's there when it's slippery, but when they don't need it anymore, they just let it melt away. Cool!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Looking at the "vampire squid" reach out again while Matt Taibbi is on Wisconsin Public Radio

The Vampire Squid Reaches Out Again"You never stop growing" -- especially if you're Goldman Sachs. I had a truly surreal moment yesterday when listening to the Kathleen Dunn Show on Wisconsin Public Radio. Her guest was Rolling Stone's brilliant journalist Matt Taibbi, talking about his book on the financial meltdown, “Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America.” It was a great show. Taibbi was as good a talker as he is a writer, and that's saying a lot. Dunn was well-prepared, asked smart questions and wasn't afraid to express appropriate outrage. And the callers were even better than usual. You can download an mp3 here or stream the show here.

While I listened I was browsing through the New York Times and came across this new ad from Goldman Sachs, the "vampire squid" of Taibbi's title. I guess they're tired of laying low. Time to go after a new batch of suckers by dangling their version of the American Dream in front of them -- you know, "give us your money and watch it grow from the bunkbed days of your childhood to the 10-acre ranch of your future." Ironically, the ad seemed to confirm one of the things Taibbi was talking about: Why did Wall Street get away with it? One reason was that what they actually did was so complicated that the American public never really understood what happened to them. Still don't. And so it's starting all over again.


Two months ago on John Lennon's 70th birthday, Joan Baez -- who herself turns 70 in January -- sang "Imagine" as her second encore at the University of Wisconsin Union Theater in Madison. That's when I shot this video.

"Imagine" is the word that comes to mind on this melancholy anniversary. Of all the tragic and nightmarish killings of public figures in the last century, John Lennon's death 30 years ago today still seems the most senseless, leaving a void that has never been filled. Imagine if he had lived.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The war of the rich and their political allies against the rest of us, poor and middle class alike

You've got to see this powerful speech by Sen Bernie Sanders about the war of the rich and their political allies against the rest of us. Funny thing -- I didn't see this on the evening news. But C-SPAN and internet updates are better than nothing. Pass it on!