Thursday, July 05, 2012

Others may be bigger, flashier and louder, but you can't beat the Shorewood fireworks for a good, traditional show

In the Rockets' Red Glare
Last night, despite the heat, we ventured out to get our accustomed Fourth of July fireworks fix. There were no traffic hassles, and we found easy parking along Lake Mendota drive just west of the Black Hawk Country Club golf course, where Shorewood Hills put on their show. It gets crowded up on the hill by the clubhouse, but there's plenty of uncrowded seating out on the western end of the course. It's a great vantage point. 

Shorewood's display is a traditional one that hasn't changed much in more than 50 years. It lacks many of the features the larger and better known Rhythm & Booms is known for -- F-16 fly-over, huge crowds, traffic and parking hassles, along with a heavily promoted, dramatically orchestrated and overproduced extravaganza set to music.  But we weren't looking for that, and we didn't miss it. On a warm summer night in July, we were just looking for some simple magic to delight the inner child in all of us, no matter what age.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

103 in the shade down by Lake Wingra

103 in the Shade

When I took the photos in this Autostitch photo mosaic this afternoon at Wingra Boats, the Weather Channel said it was 105 degrees, while Channel 3 said it was 101, so I split the difference. (The iPhone is like a camera with a bunch of different thermometers built in that don't always agree.)

No matter how you measure it, today's high is a record for the 4th of July in Madison -- and the earliest in the year we've ever experienced triple-digit temperatures.

Watching the full moon rise over Monona Terrace

Artificial Moon with Satellite

We went to Monona Terrace last night to watch the full moon rising over Lake Monona.

The Poignance of an Empty Outdoor Cafe at TwilightTwilight was settling in when we arrived. This is the rooftop cafe. I love the poignance of an outdoor cafe at dusk when the umbrellas have been folded up and have gone to sleep. Lonely and cozy at the same time.

Monona Terrace Lights at Dusk
There were many moons on the roof of Monona Terrace -- the signature Monona Terrace beehive hemispheres glowing warmly in the dying light. It made the real moon almost seem to be another satellite of these artificial moons. Should be even more beautiful tonight, when Monona's Fourth of July fireworks display takes place across th elake beneath the full moon.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The future is here but not yet quite ready for prime time

The Future Is Here but Not Quite Ready for Prime Time There are a number of these charging stations for electric cars around town (this is on Monroe Street, next to the library), but so far, few takers. I have yet to see anyone filling up an electric anywhere in the city, though there must be a few people who do.

One reason might be that here in the Midwest, all-electrics don't have nearly as good a carbon footprint as hybrids. That's because so much of our electric power is generated by coal.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

One way to beat the heat

Pheasant Branch Creek Trail
Want to bike or walk in the Madison area but the direct, baking sun and temps in the mid-nineties are just too much to take? This bike path runs along the Pheasant Branch Creek in Middleton as it meanders toward the Pheasant Branch Conservancy and then Lake Mendota. The path is cooler than the surroundings. It's shaded by the trees, and the same sunlight that is so hot elsewhere flilers beautifully through the trees, casting highlights on and near the creek.