Saturday, May 05, 2012
Using that invaluable tool The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) -- free for the desktop, paid app for iOS and Android mobile devices, the difference having to do with map licensing -- I lined up my shot early and was ready with my camera and tripod for the Supermoon to rise over the Madison isthmus. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. It was so cloudy that I had to use my Full Spectrum X-ray Vision Photoshop plugin to see through the clouds, and this is what I saw. Or thought I saw.
How's that war against women working for you, GOP? The Wisconsin recall elections on June 5th will provide an early test. Republicans are likely to gain a new appreciation of the old saying, "Beware of the wrath of a woman scorned." (Photo from the United Against the War on Women rally last weekend.)
Friday, May 04, 2012
A poignant reminder of better times -- the Occupy Madison site on the day their camping permit expired, not long before the "U.S.S. Occupy" and the rest of the encampment were dismantled. Words that once expressed genuine appreciation for community support took on a darker, ironic edge as the end neared.
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Equal pay for women is just one of the many women's rights under attack in the war on women. In Wisconsin Scott Walker and his cronies gave another gift to their business supporters by passing legislation repealing Wisconsin's Equal Pay Enforcement Act. Recalling Scott Walker won't end the war on women, but it's a start, and it will send a message that can't be ignored. (Photo taken at United Against the War on Women rally at the Capitol last Saturday.)
An enthusiastic turnout, but not a huge one -- on the same day that Occupy Madison was forced to leave its encampment on East Wash. Has Madison burned out on the politics of the street? Or are the recall elections simply sucking up most of the available energy?
That seemed to be the message. Tuesday noon was the deadline for Occupy Madison to move out of the old Don Miller lot on East Washington Ave., and they left on schedule. Now there's another empty parking lot on East Washington awaiting development sometime or other.
Occupy Madison had roots in the grassroots Wisconsin uprising against Scott Walker and also had ongoing ties to the local activist community, but in recent months, most of the people overnighting in the tent enclave were homeless. Together, they built a community that sustained and supported them, gave them hope and a chance to get on their feet, a place to stay while they saved for an apartment in a city with a 2% rental vacancy rate. Some had jobs. What they didn't have was any other place to live. Some lived in tents. Some lived in cars. At Occupy Madison they had a place they could call their own, a community that gave them hope.
Mayor Soglin said Occupy Madison could not be allowed to continue on the site past the April 30 expiration of their state camping permit. He cited problems with drugs, violence and theft. Paul Soglin is smart enough to know these problems that the homeless face every day do not disappear because they themselves are asked to move along and disappear. He closed down a community that was actively helping some of our most unfortunate residents. What does he propose in its place?
Monday, April 30, 2012
With "Notes on the Art of Poetry," Dylan Thomas has the last word on poetry on the Poetree at Sequoya Library, on the last day of Poetry Month.
I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books,
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,,,
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter,
such and so many blinding bright lights,, ,
splashing all over the pages
in a million bits and pieces
all of which were words, words, words,
and each of which were alive forever
in its own delight and glory and oddity and light.
Can't have a Poetree without some Robert Frost Hanging from it. This Poetree (actually, 2 Poetrees flanking the entrance) is at Sequoya Library and celebrates Poetry Month. What better than this Robert Frost poem with its frequently quoted final lines?
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
More low-hanging fruit -- or are they leaves? -- from Sequoya Library's Poetree, in honor of Poetry Month, which ends today. Invictus, by William Ernest Henley, another one of those grand old spirit-risers from the 19th Century that everyone used to memorize.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Margaret Atwood explains the contradictions in America to her visitors from Mars in terms of American literature
"LAST night the Martians touched down in the backyard. They were oval and bright pink, with two antlike antennae topped by eyes fringed with sea-anemone lashes. They said they’d come to study America."That's how Canadian author Margaret Atwood starts her essay about America in the Sunday New York Times, which had asked her and two other writers -- E. L Doctorow and Martin Amis --to write short essays on "the question of America and its role in global political culture" in connection with an upcoming writer's festival at the PEN American Center. Most writers don't do well with this sort of commission, which takes them from what they really care about to what they're supposed to care about, and it usually shows. The contributions of Amis and and Doctorow can best be described as dutiful, earnest and preachy.
Not Atwood. She uses the occasion to spin a delightful little fantasy that's whimsical, witty and insightful -- and actually fun to read, something that's rare for these Times-sponsored occasional pieces.
“Thank you,” said the Martians, after looking up “thank you” on translate.google.com™. “How may we best discover the essence of America?”
“Through its literature, would be my choice,” I said, “but I’m biased.”
“O.K.,” said the Martians. “What should we read first? Can we have marshmallows?”
“Let’s start with two stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne,” I said. “ ‘The Maypole of Merry Mount,’ and ‘Young Goodman Brown.’ Here are your marshmallows.”Atwood uses American literature to help her alien friends understand America and its contradictions. They begin with Hawthorne, but Atwood quickly has them move on to Moby-Dick (fortunately they are hyperspeed readers).
You can read the entire essay at "Hello Martians. Let Moby-Dick Explain" and find out what the Martians learn about America after digesting Moby-Dick. It's very funny and filled with insights from our neighbor to the north.
"Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!" Hope and determination brightened a dark, gray and rainy day at the United Against the War on Women rally.