Saturday, May 28, 2011
I drive through the streets, and I care not a damn;
The people they stare, and they ask who I am;
And if I should chance to run over a cad,
I can pay for the damage if ever so bad.
So pleasant it is to have money, heigh ho!
So pleasant it is to have money.
-- A. H. Clough
Update of a drawing I did last year.
Bookstores are closing and e-book sales are starting to outstrip printed books at Amazon. Today Amazon, tomorrow the world. The tipping point is near. Soon books on paper will become as old-fashioned as photographic film, done in by the same digital revolution of price, convenience, and digital connectivity and all it makes possible. There will be hardcover books around for a long time, just as there are many photographers who still swear by film and audiophiles who treasure their vinyl albums. But for most of us, most of the time, what we'll be reading won't be books but digitized hybrids.
Books will start morphing into something else, the same way that records and albums became tracks and mp3s. As books become virtual, will hyperlinked snippets and samples and remixes replace the extended discourses between readers and authors we know as books? Digital media lure us in into an electronic present of perpetual upgrades to the next new thing. Will the past come to be seen as an obsolete operating system? Will history disappear along with books as we know them?
Friday, May 27, 2011
This leg is on Old University Ave. If you're headed west, you can't get there from here -- at least not on this street. Eastbound traffic only. Have fun!
One of the most unique features of the University of Wisconsin-Madison lasted for 50 years, from 1912 through 1962.
Providing inexpensive natural living in a woodsy paradise, the "Tent Colony" was the place along Lake Mendota below what's now Eagle Heights where every summer tents were erected on permanent wooden platforms to serve as housing for up to 300 students and family members, creating an amazing summertime community along the lake.
We were walking through the UW's Lakeshore Nature Preserve yesterday and came across this marker along the path through Tent Colony Woods, the stretch of woods between Frautschi Point and Wally Bauman Woods. In a curious mingling of past and technological present, the marker gave a phone number to call for the story of the "ghost town by the lake," and we dialed right into history. (To hear the entire narration, call 608-327-5715 from anywhere -- although the effect is more dramatic when you're standing there amid the ghosts of the past, with the wind rippling through the trees.) The "Tent Colony" link above also provides more history.
Wondering what that large concrete block is in the background? That's where the Tent Colony's hand-operated water pump once stood.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Judge Sumi's ruling today reminded me of March 9, the day T and I happened to be in the Capitol when we heard that upstairs the Republicans had decided to suddenly ram through Walker's collective bargaining bill behind closed doors. I can still feel the sense of shock we felt. We rushed up the stairs, and this was the scene we encountered.
Today Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi affirmed what everyone outside those doors knew: What was going on behind the doors was illegal.
"The rights violated by Open Meetings Law violations are public, not private rights. These rights belong to all Wisconsin citizens.”Now the ball is back in the Republicans' court. They can try to get the Supreme Court to reverse the decision (they decide whether to take the case June 6), which will take time -- or they can try to pass the bill legally. It will be interesting to see if they have the votes, what with the recall elections coming up.
In her 33-page ruling, which Judge Sumi wrote would be her last on this case, she concluded: “Our form of government depends on citizens’ trust and confidence in the process by which our elected officials make laws.”
It was noisy. There were vuvuzelas. There were chants -- first of "Shame, Shame, Shame!" and then "Recall Walker." Despite the soaking rain, people showed up to make themselves heard down below the window of Scott Walker's office in the Capitol.
And some people came to simply stand in the rain and bear witness as Walker signed the Voter Obstruction and Suppression Act of 2011. While Walker and his puppet masters say the law is about preventing voter fraud through photo ID, most people know better. They know it's about disenfranchising groups of people who tend to vote Democratic -- the elderly, the disabled, the poor, and students who move a lot. All people whose current photo ID -- if they even have any -- tends not to match their current address. Getting the required documentation is laborious -- and, in the case of birth certificates, increasingly expensive. Shame!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
You're often likely to spot a Great Blue Heron or two at Tiedeman's Pond on the far west side (though sometimes they've flown over to nearby Stricker's Pond for a change of pace).
Getting close enough for a good photo is not as easy. We saw this one in the distance, but although we approached as quietly as possible, it was still spooked and flew off to another spot along the shore a few hundred feet to the west. As we rounded the bend, we could again see it in the distance and crept up quietly. But once again it flew away, this time going back the way it had come. So I was able to photograph it coming and going.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
This is the Capitol outside the office of Nick Milroy, the Democrat representing the 73rd Assembly district in northwest Wisconsin. I took the photograph exactly two months ago today, on March 24. Today is Day 100 of the fight for worker rights against the Walker administration and its far right, anti-labor policies, and the sign is still here. We're still here. And we'll be here tomorrow, too.
Tomorrow, Gov. Walker will be signing one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation. At noon there will be a rally outside his office on the King Street side of the Square to let Scott Walker know what we think of this attempt at voter suppression. See you there!
Monday, May 23, 2011
"Hide and Go Seek" is a sculpture installation by artist Christopher Murphy alongside John Nolen Drive just outside Olin Park, funded by the Madison Arts Commission's BLINK temporary art program. In the daytime they're easy to miss when you drive by, but the figures are hard to miss after dark, when they are lit from within by LED lights. Last year, Murphy did the "Girl on a Ledge" atop the Madison Children's Museum, also illuminated from within.
Note: If you want to take a longer look than you get flashing by at 50 mph headed downtown, take the Olin Ave. entrance into the park's south parking lot. You'll be able to park nearby for a closer look. Better yet, ride a bike -- they're right on the bike path.