“Did I Just Hear That?”

One of the charms of living in the city is to eat outside at sidewalk tables.  My delight with this comes from growing up in a rural setting where I could only dream of such times, and even though I am 51 it still just is a most relaxing way to eat and enjoy the evening.

So as James and I were seated for a late evening snack on Williamson Street, near a corner with a stoplight, one of those things happened that I consider rude and just another sign that things are going in the wrong direction with some in our society.

Pulled up to the stop light was a large SUV type vehicle with the windows half-down on a truly wonderful evening with light breezes and temperatures hovering near 70 degrees.  A type of night that we waited for many months to arrive in Madison.

There was music playing loudly so that every word could be heard.

Most of it did not register as I was tuning it out until it repeated the phrase about F…… Y…   As in the act of ……

I turned to the woman in her 20’s that was cleaning up a table adjacent to ours and asked “Did I just hear that?’

She crunched her mouth up, shook her head affirmatively, and lowered her eyes.

Now I obviously question the quality of people who record such ‘stuff’ and call it music, and simply wonder who would produce or distribute it.

But as we walked tonight I also started to wonder about the type of person who would not only buy it, but play it in the fashion that he did.

If this had been a 19 year-old-guy it might all be passed off as showing off or someone still needing to grow up.  But the man in the SUV was I estimate in his early 30’s and seemed shameless about the trash he was not only listening to, but spilling out onto the streets for others to be forced to hear.

Since this place we were seated at serves awesome ice-cream it goes without saying that parents take kids there, and everyone loves an outside seat if one is to be had.

I know this will be passed off by some that I am a grouchy old man who probably yells ‘get off my grass’ at passersby.   But nothing could be further from the truth.  I am really quite friendly, open-minded, and reasonable.

But I see more and more the fringes of society acting without regard for anyone else in ways that are embarrassing, low-brow, unseemly, and obviously without any sense of how one ought to behave in normal society.    Too often instead of a harsh rebuke others just let such behavior slide and pretend the newest lowest common denominator is now to be expected and accepted.

I just can not do that.

And I do not think others should either.

Debasing women and using profanity for the sake of being crude and rude is just not what anyone wants to hear.

Bet You Have Never Seen This Before

This is one of those unusual series of photos that just deserves to be posted.  For weeks I had a widget for this nest on the sidebar to my blog.

The eaglet at Berry College has fledged and now only visits the nest for some meals and at times at night to sleep.  Since leaving the nest for the first time last week the young female eagle has been tormented by blue jays.   While they are a pretty bird (there were many of them around when I was a boy back in Hancock, Wisconsin) there are far fewer on the Madison isthmus.

For the eagle just starting her way in the world, as the pics show, she can not find peace even when eating.    All in all a most unusual situation.






Do Not Call The Governor When An Alder Will Do

There was always one constant part to the remarks students would hear when they came to the State Capitol for a class trip during the time I worked with Representative Lary Swoboda.   No matter the age of the class Swoboda made it clear that they needed to know which part of government could assist them with a problem.  If you had an issue with unemployment compensation that was a state matter, but concerns with social security was an issue for the federal part of government to deal with.

This afternoon I again thought of Swoboda making his pitch about knowing what various parts of government can do for citizens while listening to a local man explain his problems with local government.

The Madison man is a professional, smart, well-versed, and really quite nice and interesting.  Knowing all that made it hard for me to fathom the rest of the story.

Several winters ago a local city snow truck driver in Madison destroyed a portion of a curb in front of his home, and after calling the streets department to fix the problem no resolution has ever been implemented.

With growing frustration at not getting any new curb stone installed and with continual soil erosion taking place he decided to call the governor’s office to complain.  “For all the high property taxes I pay something should be done” was the message he left with the person who listened to his plight from the State Capitol.

It was at this point I bit my inner lip as I wanted to stay engaged with the story but quietly wondered what must have been going through the head of the person taking the call.

The man finished his story by telling me he has now decided to spend his own money to pay for cement and fix the curb.  It was then I asked what seemed to me the most obvious question.

“What did your alderperson have to say about the matter?”

With a totally confounded look on his face he stated he had never thought of that, and then added he had no idea who his alder was, or how to find out.  Again, I bit my lip and quietly pondered who he voted for at the last aldermanic election.

After telling him not to spend his own money to fix the problem and then how to find out who his alder is he started to make his way to his car.  Turning he again thanked me for the advice on getting in touch with his alder.  I told him I wanted to follow up on his concerns and asked that he let me know how things were proceeding.

I know this man is more the norm than I care to admit when it comes to understanding government.

But I also know that Swoboda had his heart in the right place when making his pitch about knowing how government works, and which part of government is best suited to assist with problems we experience.

Lary would have loved to hear this all play out today.

In Memory Of Maya Angelou, Dead At The Age of 86

One of the most remarkable women that this country has known died today.

Maya Angelou was a novelist, actress, educator, professor, singer, dancer, and civil rights activist.  She died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  She spoke in the way that allowed for each sentence to be a crescendo of emotion, a call to everyone to act and to be better.

In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded her the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

Many today will recall the following moment in history, and be warmed once again by the strength of her voice and her resolve to live life and make for a better world.

What Is Wrong With This Poll?

What was the first news outlet you used this morning?

  • Internet

    Print newspaper




    Other – Please explain:

    So here is my problem with this poll that appeared on my online newspaper web site.  Now granted this issue does not rise to the level of the war in Syria or how to remove Scott Walker from office, but still it seems rather glaring enough to merit a posting on my blog.
    I wake up every morning and the first thing I turn to for news, weather, and information is the radio.  One radio is located in the headboard of the bed and it is a natural reaction to tune into the world via AM radio.  I have been doing that since in my mid-teens.
    I can not be so in the minority of still turning to radio for news that a listing like that above does not even include the medium!  Right?

Welcome Back John Williams To WGN Radio

Today the man who should never have been allowed to leave in the first place returned!

What Coffee Maker Should I Buy?

I knew this day was coming.  My Cooks coffee maker is needing to be replaced, and while I am aware of many options are available to make the darn near perfect cup of coffee I am not sure which to select.

Which brings me to writing for my readers to chime in and offer suggestions.

While I do not want to be overly expensive in my purchase I also am willing to spend a bit to get a product that makes for a far better brew than the one I presently own.

Several months ago I was listening to Wisconsin Public Radio as the guest talked about a wide variety of options for coffee makers and noted the temperature the water needed to be and that a cup should brew in one minute.  Now I am not sure how much data one has about their coffee maker, and I am not really asking for that information (unless you know it) but am more concerned about getting that flavor and punch from a cup that I get when out and about and buy one.

My days of loving coffee started when I would go to my grandparents across the road from where I lived as a boy.  Grandpa would snack before doing afternoon chores, and since I wanted to help throw the corn to the pigs I would sit at Grandma’s table and ask for some of the coffee that was being served.  I wanted to be like the adults, and so in a cup that was far more milk than coffee I had my first java experience.  Grandma always told me coffee would stunt my growth but in time the ratio of coffee to milk soon ran more in my favor and in time I was drinking it black.

Meanwhile at home my parents had a glass percolator maker that had a metal insert for the grounds.  Regardless of the type of maker or where the cup was served one thing was always constant in my life about coffee.  The best conversations and memories have often surrounded drinking a mug of black coffee.

So now that I have pulled you this far into the need to find a coffee maker for my kitchen………please advise me.

And thanks.



Census To Now Report Gay Married Couples As Families

This just makes sense.

The Census Bureau, which struggles to keep up with the rapid changes in American life, is about to start categorizing same-sex married couples as families.

The 2013 American Community Survey results, which will be reported in September, will mark the first time the census integrates an estimated 180,000 same-sex married couples with statistics concerning the nation’s 56 million families. Until now, they had been categorized as unmarried partners, even when couples reported themselves as spouses.

Efforts to count the relatively small slice of same-sex couples who are married have been beset by accuracy problems. Following the 2010 Census, statisticians reduced the estimate of same-sex married couples by 28 percent after concluding that more straight couples had mismarked the gender categories. The census adjusted the results by looking at first names and changing the gender when there was a 95 percent chance of a mistake.

“While I fully endorse this change, because it’s the right thing to do, we’re not completely sure how reliable the data will be to start,” said Gary Gates, who studies gay demographics at the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles Law School. “But on the social and cultural side, it’s important to tell researchers and the public that the federal government views these people as families and these couples as married. That in itself has utility.”

Census officials hope the accuracy will be improved by the 2020 Census. They are testing questions that they hope to introduce in surveys — but not until 2016. People will be given four explicit options to check about their relationship — opposite-sex spouses, opposite-sex unmarried partners, same-sex spouses or same-sex partners. They also will be asked whether they are in a registered domestic partnership or a civil union.