Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2,000 Words

No words are really needed. These two lovelies were in a bouquet I received for directing the Cycropia Aerial Dance show last week.

Pink Lily

Yello Lily

There are more like this in a SLIDE SHOW, and I think they are worth viewing large.

For those who care about such things, these were shot with my Nikon D40 using a 50 mm f/1.8 manual focus lens. ISO 800, Shutter = 1/30, Aperture = f/5.0.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Sportster's Lament


The Sportster's Lament
When conceived I was a powerful motorcycle,
Big, impressive, reliable, and fast.
The world moved on, but,
my Creator's have feet of clay.
My moniker claims sport ability,
yet I have a few impediments:
I am a hundred pounds overweight,
My brakes don't impress (or stop),
My suspension is soggy,
and my paint-mixer motor
has neither power nor grace.
Why yank the throttle,
for I yield only The Sound®
but no fury.
My vibration will leave you
shaken, not stirred.
I am from a time gone by
and my name is irony
(but The Company® calls it Iron®).

Fortunately as part owner of said Harley-Davidson Sportster, I know all of that and so do not let it interfere with enjoying it as a ride. If considered a vintage bike (like circa 1960) rather than its proper age (1990) and ridden accordingly the Sportster is an enjoyable bike to ride. One cannot hurry. It is too heavy, too slow, and too unforgiving in corners. I have a similar vintage custom built 500 cc single cylinder motorcycle in the garage that, while facing an almost 40% gap in displacement (and a cylinder), will out run, out stop, and out handle the Sportster. Nevertheless, there is a time and place for the Sporty. It reminds one to slow down, to take roads with names that do not start with an "I", or "US", or even "State" Highway. No, stick with County highways, or even those roads named after the farmer who owns all the land in the area, and all will be well. Those roads that go through towns you never see on a map because they are too small, unincorporated. Wave to the septuagenarians on their porches. Observe the tractor tilling the land. Note how high the creeks and rivers are.

When ridden thus, there is no Sportster's Lament.

Book of Nataraj, Chapter II, Verse 19.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Engaging Shapes

There are certain shapes that appear in spring that never fail to engage me. I find myself looking at them frequently with a certain amount of glee.

Unrolling Fern

Mayapple (DS3_8088)
Mayapples Unfurling

Jonquil in Bloom

There are more of course, like Bleeding Heart blooms, Iris buds, and Hosta leaves uncurling, but those are for another day. Soon, but not today.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Rite of Swing - Final Push

Yesterday we commenced creating the stage at the Boys and Girls club, the venue for Cycropia's imminent aerial dance performance. It is a lot of work to transform a gymnasium into an attractive stage.

Rigging the Show

We started with the stage itself, getting large velvet panels hung to make a stage back. The ceiling is 24 feet or so, making the process slow.

Rigging the Show

Other tasks were done to set the stage, but we are not done. Since this is not a dedicated performance space, but rather a gymnasium that serves area youths, we have to fly all our setup to get it out of the way of daytime programing at the club.

Rigging the Show

Tonight we rig and wire the lighting. Rehearsals are all but over. Our tech and dress rehearsal is next, and then IT IS SHOW TIME! The performances are Thursday and Friday at 7:00 PM, and Saturday at 2:00 and 7:30 PM. Only four performances, so make sure you catch us while you can! Here is the link to the show site for detailed information.

These photos, and a small group of rehearsal photos are in a SLIDE SHOW for your enjoyment.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 62 ... We're Still Here

It's Day 62 of protesting in Madison. It is abundantly clear our work is not finished yet. Every day brings revelation of further evildoing in the GOP that threatens to roll WI (and other states) back to the bad ol' days of the 1920's where corporations were free to, and did, exploit their workers and there were no social safety nets. If you do not earn more than $1,000,000 per year, you should be nervous.


As much as it is easy to ridicule Fox "News" with their fallacious reporting, it hurts terribly to catch your own hometown media doing the same sort of thing. Today while I was at the Capitol I split my time between the ongoing anti-Walker rally and the Tea Party rally. It was instantly apparent that Things Were Different on the T.P. side. There was orange plastic snow fence up to keep people away from the stage area, and my valid press pass would not get me past the State Police (acting today as political goons under the direction of their top boss, the father of the GOP boys who are heads of the WI House and Senate). There were dozens of State Patrol officers in evidence on the T.P. side. Yet my local "news" Channel 3 had this to report:

"In contrast to the protests that surrounded the Capitol for much of February, there was no fencing and less security on hand on Saturday in contrast to the kind that had been accompanying other demonstrations in recent weeks."

On the State Street, anti-Walker side of the Capitol, I had no problem working backstage (as I have done on numerous occasions over the past weeks) with easy access to speakers. I did note that in an update of this article this blatant lie was removed. I wonder how many people other than me called the station?

With the goings on in Michigan yesterday, I feel quite justified in continuing an active fight with the current government. I will NOT allow basic democracy to be stripped away.

In the wake of a bill that was signed into law with high objection from the people, as it was a bill that threatened local communities, schools, townships, and municipalities, the first order has been officially issued in Benton Harbor. Joseph L. Harris has used his emergency manager powers to “exercise any power or authority of any office, employee, department, board, commission, or similar entity of the City, whether elected or appointed.” In addition, the Emergency Manager has the power to supersede any officer or entity and the power to act on behalf of the city.

There is growing evidence that our Governor is attempting to implement something similar. When I see concrete evidence, I'll post it.

There are more photos from today in a SLIDE SHOW going back to Feb 15th. The most recent photos are up front.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011


Sometimes when I am out in the garden the quality of light compels me to get my camera. I love how these look almost like a watercolor painting.

Bleeding Heart

Dutchman's Britches

There are more spring photos in a SLIDE SHOW, with the most recent up front.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I love how fast spring happens

I love how fast spring happens. One day your yard is snow-covered. The next it is just brown. Two days after that a snow drop or crocus pokes out of the ground. After a week or two of consistently decent weather where it does not freeze overnight and KA-BLAM! Everything starts happening.

Transplanted Bleeding Heart

Yesterday I transplanted a bleeding heart that was nearly a foot tall, but it was too close to our air conditioner compressor. While I was doing that I noticed my black trillium was up. Today it is opening and the bud is formed!

Black Trillium

A little more each day, our cat learns to be comfortable outdoors with me. She pretty routinely runs either to me, or to the open garage for safety. The backyard is fenced and she is still timid, so for now I can leave her off leash if I am out there with her. Once she gets too bold I will have to hook her up, but until then, she can nose around with me.

Nala of the Serengeti

I started a SLIDE SHOW of spring photos. I will add to it from time to time. Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

It is all different with a dog's eye view

I took a bunch of photos at the protest rally - again - in Madison where we are - now - protesting highly suspicious election results from a Republican tool who has been charged with election misconduct in the past AND has been an employee of the Supreme Court Justice whose extra votes she "found" 29 hours after all the election results had all been filed, tipping the election in her former bosses favor. Is this Wisconsin or some banana republic? (please do not answer that!)

And I am sick and tired of posting protest photos. Maybe I will post them one day, but that day is not today.

These FUN photos were taken over the weekend while I was doing some puttering in the yard and taking a hike with friends. No one was chanting or shouting, and no one was carrying any signs. Of course, the conversation occasionally looped around to politics, but then we all remembered we were there for FUN and changed the topic.


Yea for the bees!

Dog's Eye View 1 (DS3_7957)

It is all different with a dog's eye view!

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pending Rhubarb Pie

Seeing the rhubarb up, strong and motivated, is making my mouth water for rhubarb pie! Last year I think I made a dozen of them, keeping at it as long as I could find rhubarb. Along the way I discovered that my mother in law really liked it. To keep the ball rolling, I was given a couple of plants from her yard, and these are they (there is another plant next to this one).

Rhubarb (DS3_7797)

Here is the link to the simple pie recipe I used.

• 4 cups chopped rhubarb
• 1 1/3 cups white sugar
• 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

• Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
• Combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle 1/4 of it over pastry in pie plate. Heap rhubarb over this mixture. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour. Dot with small pieces of butter. Cover with top crust.
• Place pie on lowest rack in oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

I used 8 T. of flour to make it gel more. I used 3 c. of rhubarb and 1 c. of strawberries. I used 1 c. sugar rather than 1-1/3 c (figuring I like the tartness of the rhubarb, and the strawberries would lend some sweetness). I made two open-face pies with my two crusts, so the recipe needs a slight tweak: Mix the remaining flour-sugar in with the fruit before dumping it into the crust. I did still put 1/4 of it on the crust before adding the fruit, and it did seem to keep the crust drier. Oh, and I skipped the butter as it didn't seem to be relevant.

And for no reason at all, a gratuitous picture of our cat, Nala, who loves to burrow into this piece of fabric. It's pretty much hers now.


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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This Is What Democracy Looks Like!


Voter turnout is reportedly running quite high as voters, presumably both Democrat and Republican, are quite energized. I cast my ballot around noon and was voter number 822 out of a potential pool of around 3,000 voters. Later in the afternoon, around 3:30, the count was up to 1,300 or so.


I will certainly be glued to the news once I get done with rehearsal tonight. Go Kloppenberg!

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Fight The Power

There was another rally at the Capitol last night, timed to commemorate the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to rock the vote for today's election. Using my shiny new press pass got me riiiight up front for a change. That was pretty cool as Michelle Shocked flew back to Madison and rocked the crowd joining Madison's own VO5. VO5 has been in the front lines of the protests, so this was a nice feather in their cap.


When Shocked noticed the Madison Fire Department's pipe band waiting their turn on stage, she called a bunch of them up (the stage got pretty crowded) and the three groups managed to rapidly find a key they could all play in and blew the crowd's mind.


The turnout was pretty good. I have not seen an official estimate, but I will call it at somewhere between 2-3,000.


Indeed, there are many ways to fight the power! Music, poetry, compelling speech, marching around the square, photos, videos, being present and counted, or simply driving around the square while running errands honking your horn to the rhythm of "This is what Democracy looks like!"

But the best way of all is to get out and VOTE.

There are another 20 or so pics from yesterday in a SLIDE SHOW. The show contains protest photos all the way back to Feb. 15, but the most recent ones are up front. Enjoy.

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It is a new day - Go VOTE!

State Street (DS3_7745)

There are local elections today, and they have far-reaching implications. There is a Supreme Court justice race, and the incumbent (Prosser) has sated that he is a Republican partisan and will likely support the GOP agenda (which includes attacks on PLanned Parenthood, health care in general, as well as the whole worker's rights thing). His opponent, JoAnne Kloppenberg, has promised to remain impartial (though she rallied with We The People at the Capitol). I will vote for Kloppenberg.

The Mayoral race is less compelling. The incumbent mayor is OK but not hugely effective, and I think he wasted a lot of time and capital on strange issues. The challenger, Soglin, has been mayor twice before with mixed success, though I am a fan of State Street as a pedestrian mall (see photo above). I intend to vote for Soglin.

We also have a race for County Executive, and there is another case of a Republican candidate who supports the Governor's agenda. In no way will I vote for her. The Democrat challenger, Joe Parisi, gets my vote.

There are also two local referendum, both dealing with the misbegotten concept of Corporate "personhood" as established by the Supreme Court in the "Citizens United" case. A YES vote on both questions says you disagree with and want to overturn the idea of corporations having the same rights as people. I strongly urge you to vote YES.


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Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Flowers Did Not Think It Was Funny

As is typical here in Wisconsin, we get a week or more of nice weather with temperatures in the upper 40's or even low 50's (F) in March, then in early April we get snow again. So it was yesterday, April 1, or April Fools Day as it is known. Typically a day for harmless pranks and spoofs. Mother Nature chose to implement rain as slushy snow for her prank.


The blooming flowers were not amused. I am reasonably certain that I have never seen Siberian Iris being used as cups to contain slush before. No real harm done though. It did not get below freezing last night, and those two blooms are still strong this morning. Spring flowers are tough!

It is sunny today, and the temps are headed to the upper 40's again. I expect to see a bunch of new crocus blooms as well as noticeable growth or sightings of rhubarb, lilies, iris, sweet woodruff, snow on the mountain, hostas, tulips, and sedum. I am watching daily for a glimpse of my trillium (both black and white). I love spring.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools Crown Their King

Today it was my great privilege to be a fool. One of a group of fools who today met at the Capitol to crown our king, the King of the Fools: Governor Current Occupant Scott Walker.


Bedecked in our best motley, many with clown noses in place, we marched from the rotunda to the Gov's CO's office to present him with his KoF Crown and Scepter.


Because as our chief legal fool, Justice David Prosser, says, "If you are going to act like a clown, you should dress like a clown."


The law enforcement officers at the Governor's Current Occupant's office thought the situation was pretty amusing. The Governor's Current Occupant's representative was a bit more dubious, uncertain how to play his role.


Following our visit to the Gov CO, we paraded to the offices of those Republican senators and representatives who are the target of recall efforts. Each was given a proclamation and a souvenir clown nose.

Mission accomplished.

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