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blog-O-rama archives
september 05 ...284 days of radio silence... november 04 october 04 september 04 august 04 july 04 june 04 may 04 april 04 march 04 february 04 january 04 december 03 november 03 october 03 september 03 august 03 july 03 june 03 may 03 april 03 march 03 february 03 january 03 december 02 november 02 proto-blog


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1 week
1 month
284 days

we arrived in paris one week ago.

we left rivendell one month ago.

I updated my blog 284 days ago.

2 years and 2 days

since I started this blog. so far so good.

no grand vision has assembled itself out of the bits and pieces of my life made public, at least not that I can see. there are no pearls of digital wisdom rolling around in my head, waiting to fall from my fingers, just the same nagging refrains, I really ought to update my instant friends page, finish that entry about being a vegetarian, post that collection of newt pornography.

tomorrow maybe, now it's late. orelia has just headed back to her parents' house --- she stopped by to hang out for a few hours after going to a counter-protest against a protest of the laramie project organized by professional bigot and hate-monger fred phelps. vanessa went to see the play in the afternoon (the evening performanca was sold out) and saw the phelps folks out there, including several young children holding signs that said "faggots eat poop." I really wish we could just ignore him. unfortunately, fred phelps isn't tinkerbell --- he won't just fade away if we stop believing he exists.

vanessa made yummy chili from the moosewood cookbook for dinner, using a very small fraction of the very large quantity of kidney beans we bought in bulk from the coop. earlier today we had a work party to plastic the windows in the living room and to clean the refrigerator, the latter being a huge project and long over-due. matt confirmed that the light goes out when you close the door. the tupperware reorganization squad decommissioned 42 bottomless tops and 5 topless bottoms. jason, however, insists that bottoms outnumber tops by about 10 to 1.

you can check out who's living at rivendell and take a tour of our post-renovation post-inspection house at bill is doing a great job as webmeister.

rivendell also has the most awesome dining room table. I absolutely, positively must post the pictures. it's at the top of the list of website things to do, ahead of posting the newt pornography collection.

life is good here at rivendell these days, but there's always a dark lining in every silver cloud. tragically, we are having trouble locating the pink tea cozy. carolyn was crowned the queen of cute-but-crazy last january, but we all expected megan would snatch the cozy crown away as soon as she moved in. the problem is, we're not sure that megan has moved in, the most we've seen of her recently is her picture on the back of the milk carton. laura may have taken the CbC crown away from carolyn on halloween with her herpesaurus costume, well, with the herpesaurus mating dance that she performed in the basement just after the jello shots and before heading out to the annual riot on state st. meanwhile, matt (*) says that if laura didn't take the tea cozy on halloween, then he's entitled to half of it, because he went camping with carolyn last january. on the other hand, if we're going to let people wear the crown for stuff they do when they're not living living at rivendell, then megan's got it for sure. or maybe orelia took it to burning man with her. this would be a lot easier to resolve if the pink tea cozy weren't so invisible.

okay, it's so late now that it's tomorrow, but I'm still going to post this as if today were yesterday.


(*) folks who are keeping score at home should note that the person named matt who thinks he may have half of a tea cozy is not the same person as the person named matt who lived here last year. he's the person named matt who lives here this year, easily distinguished by the large antler growing out of his head.

pick a number, any number

a secret number between 1 and 100 is drawn at random. you and another player each pick a number between 1 and 100, sequentially. the person whose choice is closest to the secret number wins. ties are decided with a fair coin toss.

this one's pretty easy --- whoever goes first should choose 50 and whoever goes second should choose either 49 or 51. but what if there are three people, each choosing sequentially?

I thought about it a bit, and my first guess turned out to be wrong. I'm interested in what people (people=you) think is the right answer.

yeah, yeah, I know that the problem can be solved with backward induction --- bill & I worked out a few small cases while we waited for our dinner at a mexican restaurant. but before mathematica spits out the answer to life, the universe and everything how about taking a guess...


player 1 chooses

player 2 chooses

player 3 chooses

here's why:

here's who:

potato palace update

there is way too much nothing going on in the last six pages of chapter 7.

hair update

it's short. very very short.

email update

my inbox has converged to a new steady state of 200 messages.


slouching towards normalcy

before we travel too far down the road back to business-as-usual please consider this email from my awesome friend mary lucking, sent 3 nov:

This is as close to a spamming as I will ever do, with the exception of another new mailing address I was feeling down because of the election results, and I got to thinking that this election has been really effective at making me, and a lot of my friends, more politically active than we have been before. The whole campaign mess as gotten us think about the state of our country and our world, and what we want for it, more than we are used to.

So. George won, and I'm upset. I'm upset because I don't like George, but more importantly, I'm upset because there are a lot of specific things that I worry will happen because he has won: I worry for the environment, I worry for civil rights in the US, I worry for human rights worldwide, I worry for science and for art.

And I know that in a week or a month, things will start to get back to normal, the sky won't fall in, and that I'll get back to normal life without thinking about these things very much.

So before I forget how upset I am, I've decided to look at my list of things I'm angry about, choose the two that I care most about, and make a commitment to working to change them. I can't count on my government to save the trees, but I can do something myself.

And although this feels like one of those spams calling for action that I loathe to receive, I'm writing to a few friends because I believe that there's a lot of passion out there right now that can be harnessed if we recognize it before it dissipates.

I'm not asking you to forward this email, but if you think the concept makes sense, then I'm asking you to call the ACLU or the Sierra Club or Planned Parenthood or whoever's work you believe in, and see what you can do to help. And maybe ask a fellow upset friend to do the same.

thanks, and big, warm hugs,



here's a link mary will like and a thought mary, and everyone else, may appreciate:

As a solution to various problems you may encounter upon the way, let me suggest this:

Make Good Art.

It's very simple. But it seems to work. Life fallen apart? Make good art. True love ran off with the milkman? Make good art. Bank foreclosing? Make good art.

Keep moving, learn new skills. Enjoy yourself.

excerpted from a somewhat odd speech neil gaiman gave at the harvey awards and posted on his blog a couple days after the election:


that's my brain, trying to process my pre- and post-election experiences while simultaneously digging out from the avalanche of everyone else's post-election analysis, agony and conspiracies (arriving daily in an email account near you!).


We need time to reflect on these last days. It is easy to rush into analysis and blame and learn the wrong things. So I want to be cautious in offering thoughts prematurely on what we should do now.

We all know that the changes we need to make are deep and systemic, that no politician's victory will make them for us. Had Kerry won, I believe we would be on an easier road. Now the way ahead will be hard and stony, but it may be clearer and there may be unexpected twists and turns ahead. And it may yet turn out to be steeper but shorter than the easier path.

However, one lesson I take away from this last month is this: As progressives, as radicals, those of us who are far left of the left, anarchists even, cannot afford to ignore or disdain the electoral process, Not because we see it as fair or just or empowering, which it is not, nor even a potential arena for power, but because it is a powerful arena for mobilizing people and building the alliances we need to transform power.

and tell:

that's an excerpt from an essay by starhawk that was forwarded to me. (it doesn't seem to be posted on her website.) numerous friends have recommended starhawk's novel the fifth sacred thing. it's been sitting on my shelf unread for over a year because, in addition to suffering from a permanent glut of potential reading material, I am also allergic to several forms of new age spirituality, including pseudoshamanism, chakra envy and obsessive-compulsive aroma disorder (both the incense and essential oil variants), all of which tend to make my aura break out in purple hives. after surfing around the activism section of starhawk's website I decided it was safe to bump her book to to the top of the stack.

love, bill

you always come first ann, if you don't count me.


red hoodie

Down the hall, down the stairs, feet descending step by step. She paused before the door, pulled the hood of her red sweatshirt over her head, trapped the warmth of the house around her ears. She opened the door and stepped outside.

The latch closed behind her with a flat, echoless click. Silence. The sound of something falling into a well and never hitting the bottom. She swung around in panic, grabbing for the key she always wore around her neck, tugging frantically at her sweatshirt. She could feel the key's absence, the missing warmth of the ribbon across the back of her neck, the place it had sat on her breast.

She tried the door handle, then banged on the door of the empty house in frustration. The first shadows of twilight crept along the street. The house loomed over her, radiating darkness and a thick, eery silence.

She ran.



you were born a caterpillar.
you are a caterpillar,
      a fuzzy little caterpillar.

one day you'll look in the mirror
and realize you've become
      a great big fuzzy caterpillar.

you'll die a caterpillar.

fsck transformation.
these fuzzy spikes are wicked cool.


sedition, redux

A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles.

It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt.

If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake.

Thomas Jefferson
writing in 1798
after the passage of the Sedition Act.

This quote from Thomas Jefferson came in one of the many post-election keep-up-the-good-fight emails that have Of course, I didn't remember what the Sedition Act of 1798 was, so I grabbed a book off my shelf, and not just any book mind you, it wasThe American Pageant by Thomas A. Bailey, the textbook for my AP American History class in high school. (I found a nice clean copy at a used bookstore in San Jose this summer.) Here's what I learned...

In 1798 John Adams, a Federalist, was President, while Thomas Jefferson, the runner-up in the election and Adams' chief opponent, was Vice-President. The country seemed headed for war with France, with Alexander Hamilton and other pro-British Federalists leading the charge. Anti-French sentiment rose to a fevered pitch, and war preparations were well under way. The Federalists took advantage of this political opening to pass a series of bills designed to silence their Jeffersonian opponents. The "Alien Laws" raised the residence requirement for citizenship from 5 to 14 years and significantly expanded the President's powers:

The President was empowered to deport dangerous foreigners in time of peace, and to deport or imprison them in time of hostilities.

Bailey, who is heavily prone to editorializing, continues with his opinion

Though defensible as a war measure --- and an officially declared war with France seemed imminent --- this was an arbitrary grant of power contrary to American tradition and to the spirit of the Constitution.

The Sedition Act took aim at the Federalists' political opponents, scoring a direct hit on the First Amendment.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Specifically, the Sedition Act imposed fines and imprisonment on anyone who "impeded the polices of the government or defamed its officials, including the President." One Jeffersonian editor was sentenced to 4 months in jail for ridiculing President Adams' "unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and selfish avarice." Not only did the Federalist-dominated supreme court tolerate this attack on fundamental civil rights, the Sedition Act also prevailed in the court of public opinion as well --- the Federalists triumphed in the 1798-1799 Congressional elections.

And then what? The Federalists themselves broke into factions and the huge debt and tax burden caused by preparations for a war that didn't happen (Adams successfully pursued a negotiated settlement) turned the popular tide against them. They didn't go down without a fight, though, in the 1800 Presidential election:

They concentrated their fire on Jefferson himself, who became the victim of one of our earliest "whispering campaigns." He was falsely accused of having robbed a widow and her children of a trust fund, and of having fathered numerous mulatto children by his own slave women. As a liberal in religion, Jefferson had earlier incurred the wrath of the orthodox clergy, largely through his successful struggle to separate church and state in Virginia. From the New England stronghold of Federalism and Congregationalism, the preachers unfairly thundered against his atheism, although he did believe in God. Old ladies of Federalist families, fearing Jefferson's election, even buried their Bibles or hung them in wells.

Jefferson won the presidency in 1800, in a real squeaker of an election that ended up being decided in the House of Representatives. the residency requirement for citizenship was returned to 5 years and the Alien and Sedition Acts were allowed to expire. The Sedition Act was declared unconstitutional in 1964. (No, that's not a typo --- 1964.) States with manhood suffrage, that is, without property requirements for voting, were critical to Jefferson's victory. While he could not directly extend suffrage he did "persuade the apathetic and overawed marginal voter to go to the polls --- the citizen who had just enough property to vote but who was loath to speak up against his 'betters.'"

Those Federalist old ladies somehow managed to hang onto to their Bibles through Jefferson's tenure as President, but Jefferson's political descendents are still planning to take them away, at least according to this year's GOP campaign literature:

GOP Mailing Warns Liberals Will Ban Bibles

Fri Sep 17, 6:24 PM ET
By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee (news - web sites) warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November.

The literature shows a Bible with the word "BANNED" across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word "ALLOWED." The mailing tells West Virginians to "vote Republican to protect our families" and defeat the "liberal agenda."

I'm not sure if I should be relieved or appalled that we've been through all this before. History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. The parallels between the Alien Laws and the imprisonment of foreign nationals at Guantanomo Bay, between the Sedition Act and the USA PATRIOT Act are so conspicuous I feel like an incorrigible pedant even mentioning them. But in these days of political gloom, with the future clouded in a desperate, unknown haze, re-stating the obvious may help us regain our bearings and find the way forward. It's an old fight we're fighting, one where both defeat and victory have always been hard-fought and temporary.


All unattributed quotes and historical information from
The American Pageant: A History of the Republic by Thomas A. Bailey, 3rd ed., (1966) pp. 173-182.

More thoughts on the election coming soon!

click on pic to see the rivendell post election blackboard

NOTE: unless you live within about 3 blocks of my house you don't actually vote at lowell hall.

this is how I know

that john kerry is going to win on nov. 2.

last night at the slipper club's weekly burlesque show the neil diamond impersonator segued into a vote-for-kerry pitch in the middle of a song.

he's got the neil diamond impersonator vote in hand. how can kerry lose?

still not convinced?

maybe you need to visualize winning.


send lawyers, vans and money

Early in september Bill got a letter from the Democratic National Committee written by James Carville. Bill was so impressed by it he gave it to me to read, and I was so impressed by it I got out my checkbook and sent them a check. I came across the letter on my desk a few days ago, and it's even more relevant now than it was at the beginning of September.

Dear Friend,

We either pull out all the stops over the next few weeks or we will live to regret it.

I'm not talking about a pinch of remorse or a brief moment of regret. I'm talking about four long years of kicking ourselves because we let George Bush, Dick Cheney, and the Republicans hold onto power.

Let's not go there. Let's give John Kerry, John Edwards and other Democratic candidates the unstinting support they need to pull through to victory.

Look, we've never seen anything like this. No presidential election has even remained so close for so long.

Today, both John Kerry and George Bush have enough potential support to win this election. And, I'm willing to bet the same will be true right up to Election Day.

So, this election will go to whichever side wants victory more, whichever party approaches the final weeks of this campaign with the clearer focus and the deeper sense of determination.

I am asking you to take out your checkbook, right now, and write the most generous contribution you can afford to deliver the margin of victory on November 2nd.

Writing a check is a lot to ask. But, believe me, regret will be a lot more expensive.

Just think what damage this Bush-Cheney crowd can do to our hopes and dreams if they keep their grip on power for four more years. Just imagine what they'll try to pull once they know they will never have to face the voters again.

The next page and a half of the letter reviews Bush's record...loss of jobs...ballooning breaks for the rich...pandering to drug companies...destruction of international good will...retrograde motion on civil rights...the disastrous and ill-advised war in Iraq. Carville concludes:

We've got two choices in this election --- act now or regret it later.

Remember what I told you. John Kerry and George Bush will both wake up on Election Day with enough potential support to win this election. Who will end that day in victory depends on which party does a better job getting its candidates supporters to the polls.


Four years ago, we fell short of victory by only a handful of votes. Just a few more contributions from just a few more Americans, who meant to act but never did, could have carried Florida for Al Gore and written a very different chapter in the history of our nation.

But four years ago, we did not know what we know about George Bush today. Four years ago, no one could fully understand what might be demanded of an American president and how poorly George W. Bush would measure up.

Now we know, and because we know how much is at stake, there is no excuse for failing to act.

Help John Kerry, John Edwards and other Democratic candidates pull through to victory.

James Carville

P.S. Don't wake up on November 3rd and wish you had done more. Good intentions won't put Kerry in the White House. Take out your checkbook now and help fund the voter turnout campaign on which our victory depends.

For the past couple of weeks, and from now until election day, I have been and will be working with PAC on their Leave No Voter Behind get-out-the-vote campaign. Last night I phoned into a conference call with Eli Pariser and Adam Reuben from PAC --- there are literally tens of thousands of volunteers (including me!) out canvassing voters, identifying Kerry supporters, and getting ready for the final push in the 72 hours before election day. PAC is also running a terrific TV ad by Sisters Speak Out --- check it out.

I regularly run across canvassers from America Coming Together (ACT) who are also doing a tremendous job --- they are in need of 1200 vans in Florida alone to get voters to the polls to vote early and on election day.

The Kerry-Edwards campaign can't fundraise now that it has accepted federal election funds but you can still donate to the Democratic Party and to the Kerry-Edwards 2004 General Election Legal and Accounting Compliance Fund (GELAC)which is assembling teams of lawyers in place to handle election fraud and recount issues.

The People for the American Way Election Protection Program will have thousands of trained legal volunteers out on election day ensuring that everyone eligible to vote is able to cast a ballot. Their recent report The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today demonstrates how far we have to go.

"I downloaded the pattern off the internet,"
says well-meaning friend.

yesterday morning I got up, made myself a cup of tea, and started to sew.

this is noteworthy for two reasons: despite a longstanding passion for sewing, quilting and the affiliated but separate activity of acquiring fabric I haven't done much sewing for the last decade; and it marks the return of a working sewing machine to the desk next to the window where I spent many hours stitching after I first moved to madison in 1988.

at some point in the circuitous journey from madison to madison my old sewing machine, a sturdy singer zigzag, got swallowed up by the basement of doom. hours spent crawling over piles of junk and struggling with boxes during my last three visits to cape cod produced only a severe allergic reaction and an extremely foul mood. my mother took pity on me and took on the project of finding me a new sewing machine.

as a result, I now have two sewing machines. and my brother john just emailed me with news of another. I can hear the basement of doom laughing all the way out here in wisconsin.

I wanted a small test project that used some of the new-fangled decorative stitches on the newer of the two machines, so I decided to make a couple of bibs for bryce, who, according to mom donna, is in need of things to drool on. fortunately, there's a very nice fabric store located right next to the sewing machine repair place so I could indulge in fabric acquisition moments after I had at long last obtained a fully functioning sewing machine.

I showed rather remakable restraint, if I do say so myself, given how much awesome fabric they had for babies and kids. I only bought a couple of different flannels for bibs, plus lightweight batting for inside the bibs, oh, and some purplish cotton in case I wanted to applique something on the bibs, and a yard and a half of heat-reflective material for the table runner that I definitely plan on making for rivendell's new dining room table. babies get things dirty really quickly, so I'm sure bryce will need all 72 bibs that I bought material for.

one of the pieces of flannel I chose is covered with brightly-colored non-gender-specific splotches of color, like paint spatters or droppings from a bird of a very different color. I showed it to bill when I got back and he said "they had tons of awesome fabric for kids and you bought that?" he just doesn't get it --- it's for a bib, so the fact that it looks like a baby has already spit up on it a couple of times is a good thing.

with sewing machine and fabric in hand, all I needed was some kind of pattern. I was of course unwilling to purchase an actual pattern, which would have involved a trip to a different fabric store (not that there's anything wrong with that) and an outlay of $8-10 (there's definitely something wrong with that). so I went online. and I surfed. and I surfed. I looked at many astonishingly-ugly baby-oriented craft projects, things that would definitely be improved by having a baby spit up on them a couple of times. I finally found two straightforward bib patterns, in different sizes and cut out one of each. (probably on 24 sept.) then I put the fabric and cut out bibs in a pile next to the sewing machine.

meanwhile, I edited, copied and handed out 10 pages of chapter 7 of building the potato palace to my writing group, went to northeastern missouri with mignon to visit dancing rabbit and sandhill, found and started rehearsing a monologue for the acting class I'm taking through UW extension, went for a walk with matt and liz, shopped and baked up a storm for the rivendell open house and voted early at the city-county building. but mainly I knocked on a whole heck of a lot of doors canvassing for moveon PAC and spent a lot of time on the phone trying to convince other people they ought to be doing the same. (this is also my primary excuse for the criminal neglect of my blog.)

this frdiay and saturday I spent a weekend with my novel, because we've become estranged ever since door-knocking superceded typing as my number one priority. I finally got back to the bibs saturday night, running the new machine through its paces. the neck opening in the smaller of the two bibs looked awfully small, so I took a deeper seam allowance, then fipped it inside out.

the opening still looked small.

but so did the business end of the bib.

if I made the opening larger the bib would get even smaller.

but what use is a bib the doesn't fit around a baby's neck?

I measured the opening, 4 inches in diameter, 1/2 inch larger than indicated on the pattern.

I emailed donna in a panic --- how big is bryce's neck?

apocalyptic visions crept up on me as the clock edged past midnight.
I could see the tabloid headlines as I tossed in bed (*):

"I don't know how anyone could have thought that bib would actually fit on a baby!" astonished bystanders exclaim.

"I downloaded the pattern off the internet," says well-meaning friend.

sunday morning I got up, walked over the sewing desk, picked up the large bib and put it around my neck. it fit me comfortably. I tried the small bib. it fit around my neck snugly, with the velcro just barely closing.

I finished off the two bibs with decorative stitches in blue, pink and purple thread, likewise for the 2 matching drool-absorbent burp cloths, then packed it all up and put it in the mail.


(*) those of you who find my fears inexplicable have apparently never heard the long and tragic tale of my former pets, 4 birds, 3 gerbils and 1 rabbit. nor are you acquainted with my near-pathological fear of infants.

how dumb are they?

really dumb.

really really dumb.

I'm talking about those republicans in michigan, the ones who requested that michael moore be prosecuted in four counties for voter fraud after he offered a couple of non-voting students clean underwear and ramen noodles if they would promise to vote on nov. 2.

"get a life," the county prosecutors, 2 democrats and 2 republicans, told michigan gop officials, "we have real work to do." (I'm paraphrasing --- some of the actual remarks were a good deal less polite.)

newspapers across the country covered the incident, landing michael moore back on the homepage of googlenews for two days right after the dvd of fahrenheit 9/11 had been released.

as a result of the "controversy," I learned about moore's wildly successful slacker uprising tour --- turns out my housemate laura is on her way to milwaukee tonight to see it. when she gets back I'm going to ask her to repeat the 2004 slacker oath: "pick nose. pick butt. pick kerry." meanwhile, jason has rented fahrenheit 9/11 and vanessa has rented control room. check out more films to see before you vote.

PS: bill and I both laughed long and hard when we read this statement by michael moore a few weeks ago, back when the media were pronouncing kerry dead in the water.

10:23 AM

across the street from the coffeeshop is an old movie theater, the majestic, which has been converted to a night club.

the marquee now reads THEOLOGY ON TAP.


cars suck

Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.

Mary Ellen Kelly

not only did bill & I spend weeks trekking around the country in my car this summer (~7800 miles) we got sucked into the california car-o-centric lifestyles while living in san jose (~2400 miles). worse, the car has been creeping into my life here in madison. my writing group is in monona, 6.23 miles and a 15-20 minute drive from rivendell and I have a weekly appointment out past whitney way, 5.97 miles and a 15-20 minute drive, so that's a minimum of an hour and fifteen minutes in the car every week.

which is all really quite extraordinary when you consider that I hate driving. really, I do.

not only do I hate driving, I also think that cars suck. I was reminded of just how much cars suck this morning when I (accidentally) wandered by the kickoff for a two-week-long campaign to reduce car use, madison's car-free challenge, which starts today with world car-free day. (car-free quotations)

alas, the car has already insinuated itself into my plans for the next two weeks. this saturday bill & and I are going to american players theater to see twelth night. (I went to cymbeline by myself last sunday.) on sept. 29th mignon arrives from CA, I'll be picking her up at the airport and then we're driving down to northeastern missouri for a visit to dancing rabbit. however, I think I'll sign up for the challenge anyway and make a commitment to ride my bike to my writing group next monday and to my appointment next tuesday because it's easy to have good intentions when the sun is shining crisply for the first day of fall but who knows what the weather will bring by next week. plus you can win cool prizes. it won't do bill any good to sign up for the car-free challenge because it only counts if you substitute walking/biking/bussing/paddling for driving and he already walks to work every day. no prizes for him :-P well, except for a reduced risk of dementia.

in addition to free coffee and pastries I got an excellent map (online version) from the event organizer madison environmental group that combines most of the information needed for alternative forms of transportation in madison. one side shows where and when city busses run (you need a bus schedule to find out the bus number, times and transfers required) and the locations of intercity bus stations, car rental agencies and park-n-ride lots. the other side shows bike paths and routes and the locations of bike shops, boat access points and boat rentals. the map puts all the pieces together --- what a great idea. I wish I had picked up a few extra to give to people. (update: they still had an info table when I walked home, so I snagged some maps to give to my housemates.)

I also learned about community car, a car-sharing organization in madison that maintains a small fleet of vehicles parked at various locations in madison. community car members can use the cars for a small hourly and per mile fee. I've often thought this would be a perfect system for occasional car use, and they're offering a free trial membership in conjunction with the car-free challenge.

the madison environmental group is also organizing the footprint festival this weekend, sept. 23-24 at the monona terrace.

you break it, you own it

How could we have gone to war without friends, without equipment, without thinking, without strategy, without understanding who the enemy really was, because I don't think we even knew that. We still don't know that today.

Nita Martin
Wallingford, PA
mother of two Marines serving in Iraq


I don't understand!
It just shouldn't be this hard
to write a haiku!"

from a cartoon in
the funny times.


3:23 PM

the sun glints on the flickering edges of the waves.
small low-riding clouds cast rorschach shadows on the surface of the lake.

if the plane fell out of the sky right now I would be very dead.