Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Long weekend

Due to the library director's confusion, I was scheduled to work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday this week. But since we get paid for Friday (Good Friday being a paid holiday with the library closed), that would mean I got too many hours. So Tuesday she told me I did not have to work Saturday. Then today the schedule for next week came out and I discover I am off on Monday. So I have a four-day weekend!!!

But a little late to plan anything. Kris suggested I spin a bottle and then just drive for four hours in whatever direction the bottle pointed. I might end up in the Mississippi River or Lake Michigan or even Lake Superior, I suppose. So I probably won't do that.

But I will think about a getaway of some sort.

But not to the place in the photo!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Maybe? (Yes!)

I love this Ricky Martin song, and I used to know it almost by heart in Spanish. A totally inadequate English translation of the lyrics is below the video.

After you click on the arrow, the song may load in bits and pieces. If so, just let it go all the way to the end and then play it again. It should play straight through without interruptions. (Maybe?)

The title, Tal vez (Maybe), is particularly interesting today.

Maybe it's that this story already has an end.
I don't know why today I feel you so far away from me.
And even though I try again
Maybe it will be too late, there's nothing more to do,
And I can't believe that the time we both had
Maybe has run out.
Maybe, it was I who never gave you an entire night
Maybe, I never gave you what you hoped for
And I wasn't there when you needed me.
Maybe I didn't listen to you, maybe I neglected you,
Maybe I forgot that I love you
Maybe........ ay,ay,ay,ay
Maybe, now there's nothing more to talk about.
Maybe, this time we need time to think.
And I, for myself, propose trying again, thinking again.
The more I think I can't think of one reason
To go on without you.
Maybe, it was I who never gave you an entire night.
Maybe, I never gave you what you hoped for,
And I wasn't there when you needed me.
Maybe I didn't listen to you, maybe I neglected you,
Maybe I forgot that I love you.
Maybe life surprised me from behind,
And tore and tore until the bond broke.
Maybe I never understood what you were for me.
Maybe I never knew who I loved...
And I, for myself, propose trying again, thinking again.
The more I think I can't think of one reason
To go on without you.
Maybe, it was I who never gave you an entire night.
Maybe, I never gave you what you hoped for,
And I wasn't there when you needed me.
Maybe I didn't listen to you, maybe I neglected you,
Maybe I forgot that I love you.

חג כשר וסמח Chag kasher ve'same`ach.

Passover begins at sunset on Monday, March 29 and lasts a week. (For those who are not Jewish, you might want to know that the first two days of Passover are full-fledged, no-work-allowed holiday days. The subsequent four days are Chol Hamoed, when work is allowed, albeit with restrictions. Chol Hamoed is followed by another two full holiday days.) I hope everyone who celebrates has a happy (and kosher, if that is your way) Passover.

Although in English we say Happy Easter for the feast of the resurrection that many Christians will celebrate next Sunday, in many languages the greeting is closer to the Hebrew for Passover (pesach). [Spanish: Felices pascuas floridas; French: Joyeuses Pâques; Italian: Buona Pasqua.]

So if you celebrate Easter, this is an early wish for your happy day as well and for Holy Week for those who began with Palm Sunday yesterday.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Update

This past week at the library was rather hectic. The woman who normally helps with the bookmobile was out of town babysitting her grandkids, which meant one of the other librarians was supposed to accompany me. leaving the on-site staff one short. Then Jim (the other guy librarian) called in sick a couple of days, meaning I went out one day without anyone and the library was still short of staff. My time on the bookmobile was fairly calm, but the time at the library itself was full.

I had coffee with my friend Barry today and got him interested in volunteering at the library. He figures it will make his wife happy because it will get him out of the house. And we can always use the help.

The Elijah book has had a small bump in sales this past month. Not sure why, but it's nice to see. Meanwhile both copies of my mystery at the library are checked out at the moment, which is also nice to see.

Tom and Peter and I went to Baraboo tonight for dinner and then shopped Farm & Fleet before hitting Tanger Outlet Mall. Peter had never been there apparently. The Disney Store at the mall has Perry the Platypus stuffed animals (as well as Phineas and Ferb), but I resisted the temptation to buy. Otherwise the most interesting thing we say was a Polo Ralph Lauren camouflage jacket. Peter and I wondered what it would say about someone that he would wear a camouflage jacket from Ralph Lauren.

I got my lab reports back from the doctor and everything is normal and stable. That's the first time in recent memory that anyone has said anything about me is normal and stable. I doubt it will last.

And that's about it. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. The schoolkids will have off all week, which means the bookmobile will be quieter but the library will be full of kids.

I guess it never ends.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Many people are afraid of the dark," an ancient Greek saying goes. "But the real tragedy is those who are afraid of the light."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How dinosaurs became extinct

I saw this over at the Presbyterian Church on the office door and had to share it. (Cleaned up for Mama's sake!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Sunday on the way back from Madison, we stopped at Delaney's Surplus and wandered through the junkyard into Dr. Evermore's Art Park. To save you the time of looking it up or me writing about it, this is the Wikipedia entry:

Forevertron is the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world standing 50 ft. (15,2 m.) high and 120 ft. (36,5 m.) wide. It is housed in Dr. Evermore's Art Park on Highway 12, in the town of Sumpter, in Sauk County, Wisconsin, United States.

Its creator, Dr. Evermor, was born Tom Every[1] in Brooklyn, Wisconsin and is a former demolition expert who spent decades collecting antique machinery for the sculpture and the surrounding fiction that justifies it. According to Every, Dr. Evermor is a fictional Victorian inventor who designed the Forevertron to launch himself "into the heaven on a magnetic lightning force beam." In addition to the Forevertron itself, Every/Evermor has built a tea house from which he says Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (both long dead in reality) may observe the event. The sculpture incorporates an actual decontamination chamber from the Apollo Project, as well as dynamos built by Thomas Edison, and scrap salvaged from the nearby Badger Army Ammunition Plant. Dr. Evermore's Art Park is also home to many other sculptures, including various gigantic insects and a bird symphony. The park is closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays. On the days when it is open, if the main gates are still locked the park can be accessed from the junkyard of the surplus store adjacent to it.

The whole park is an amazing collection of stuff, some of it for sale. The artist himself was there, and he and Tom had a nice long chat about a variety of things while I wandered around in amazement. I did fall in love with a group of sculptures that look like eight-foot-long snake skeletons, rearing up as though to strike you at head level. For a mere $1500, one of these could be yours! (Just the day before, one had been stolen from right outside the police station in a neighboring town where it had been on display.) I could not find a photo of the snakes online, but here is a shot of a gigantic spider you could easily walk under.

Next time I will try to get a shot of the snakes. He also has dragons -- small and ginormous, but the snakes appealed to me more, not because I like snakes but ... well, if I can get a photo, you will understand. They are just so amazingly made.

Well, maybe you'll understand.

Monday, March 22, 2010


For the past decade, I have been an instructor in the Distance Learning Program for the Carmelite Institute's graduate courses that are offered through the Washington Theological Union, a Catholic graduate school of theology (and seminary) in Maryland. I have been happy to have had the experience and especially grateful for the additional income during my recent lean years. Some years it constituted about a quarter of my total earnings.

After getting the library job, however, I notified the Institute that I was withdrawing as one of their regular instructors because my new full-time job and other obligations as a volunteer here left me less time for the work. I did tell them, however, that I would help out from time to time on an case-by-case basis.

When I mentioned this to Steve Payne, he told me that almost all of the Discalced friars and nuns who had been teaching had also withdrawn over the years because of other demands. Now it seems that I am being asked to take even more students than I had when I was a regular instructor on staff!

The extra income (again, not big bucks) is always helpful, although they do not withhold anything for taxes and so on, and it actually makes my income taxes more complicated. (Ask poor Tom who does them for me!) I guess I am committed to follow through with the students I have for the year, but I may have to make a clean break by 2011.

You probably can't tell in this tiny picture, but that is me in the middle on the left-hand side of all those headshots up there. Steve is in the middle on the opposite side, with his head turned to the side.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Joseph and the Badgers

Earlier in the week, Kris at the library said, "Michael, you have to wear red on Friday."

"Because of St. Joseph?" I asked.

She looked totally blank. "I have no idea what that even means."

So I explained that the Polish (at least in Chicago) wear red on the feast of St. Joseph (March 19), I think to assert their presence after having been treated to all the faux-Irish hoopla on St. Patrick's Day. They drive around town with Polish flags (red and white) on their cars and so on.

Kris still looked confused, but she patiently explained that I was supposed to wear red (like all the other librarians) because of the Wisconsin Badgers, who would be playing their first game Friday in the NCAA basketball March Madness.

I am so out of it! But I guess I will wear my red-and-white retro shirt for St. Joseph and for the Badgers.


When I began working at the library, while going on about how much I loved it, I warned people to check back about Groundhog Day, by which time I expected I would be griping.

Well, here it is St. Patrick's Day and I am still loving it. As James Barrie, the author of Peter Pan said, "Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else."

That is not to say that I wouldn't rather sleep in on days I need to be at work early or that I wouldn't rather go home on days I have to work late. But really, I am still having a good time. Now that the weather is sunny and warmer, this is even more the case.

I'm sure the griping will come along -- knowing me. But today it feels like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And I like it!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Oops! I almost forgot ...

On behalf of Dr. Sheldon Cooper and math enthusiasts around the world,

Happy Pi Day!

And tomorrow, on behalf of bardolators everywhere,
Happy Ides of March!

Matthew and the train

John was up for a board meeting at the R&GN this weekend, and he and son Matthew stayed overnight with us. Judi was off at a craft show selling jewelry.

Tom recently bought some more track for the O gauge he got for Christmas, and Matthew put together the figure 8 layout. Here is a brief video. It may take a while to load, so punch the arrow and give it time.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'm just saying ...

Before you go to bed Saturday night ...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Life in a small town [With Update]

We are still waiting to hear more details about the ATM crooks. One thing that has the town abuzz is that the news reported on Wednesday that they had confessions from four more guys, three of whom are 18. For some reason, the news has since blacked out and none of the three names have been made public. This despite the fact that the first two 18-year-olds caught had their names on TV, radio and newspaper immediately.

There was one paragraph about the story on one of the three Madison TV stations Wednesday, and it contained exactly the same information that had been posted online that same day, including the names of the two Dells boys. The other stations posted nothing, at least nothing on their websites. The newspapers in Baraboo, Portage and Reedsburg -- all within less than 20 miles -- carried nothing. The Dells Events newspaper comes out tonight, and maybe something will show up there. But they have posted nothing at all online, not even the original story that was issued by the Dells police department.

So naturally we are all wondering whose kids are being protected.

The last I heard (still rumor mill) is that over a period of months, the group had taken $40,000 from ATMs in the Dells-Lake Delton area.

UPDATE: There are still details coming out, but photos and the names of more of the boys have been released. Interestingly enough, one of the two originally named is the son of a local police sergeant, and the police did not conceal that name at all. Seems there may be a couple more guys involved.

One thing -- no one seems to have been physically hurt in any of these burglaries, but the four ATM machines were all damaged beyond repair. So far $10,000 of the stolen cash has been accounted for, but the police are keeping quiet about the rest while the investigation into other [alleged] participants is in progress.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not much but ...

Yesterday we had dense fog, heavy rain last night and fog again this morning. It is supposed to transition (whatever happened to just saying "change"?) to rain beginning around ten this morning. And yes, today is the day we load carts onto the Bookmobile, unload them, reload them, unload them, reload them -- all day long. This will be my first experience dealing with that in the rain. I understand that we have some flimsy tarps to put over the carts, but the word is that they are not all that helpful. At least it is supposed to get up to about 53 (11.6 C).

Tomorrow I have my annual appointment with the doctor. This will be the first time with my new health insurance, as if that would make a difference. Dr. Ewing, knowing I had no insurance and little ready cash, has been great about prescribing generics and scheduling appointments for tests so that I didn't have to make multiple trips with multiple fees. Nice guy!

The other local news is that the police have arrested some high school boys for a string of ATM robberies. There is a persistent rumor that the case was broken in part because at least one of the guys bragged about it on Facebook.

I told you Facebook might be dangerous.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Facebook peekaboo

In case you noticed that I was on Facebook briefly today, that was because I was checking on something at the request of someone else. As I mentioned before, I am no longer using Facebook or Twitter.

That's it. No biggie.

Have a good week.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Too loose!

Because we are getting warmer, sunny days and the smell of Spring is in the air, I wanted to dress appropriately for work today. And so I am wearing the Toulouse-Lautrec posters tie that Helen and Jay gave me for Christmas. It has nothing to do with Spring per se, but it is colorful and lively, which seems to fit.

This past Tuesday, March 2, was not only Texas Independence Day and Sam Houston's birthday, it was also the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Tom and I looked for a Dr. Seuss tie in Madison last weekend without luck. (I only shop at thrift stores, of course, for ties.) So I have to keep an eye out for one between now and next March 2. I think the ideal tie would be the Cat in the (Cowboy) Hat, but I am not sure one that specific exists.

Anyway ...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And while you're wasting your time watching the national news ...

Dellona neighbors face-off over fence, town board steps in

By Anna Krejci, Dells Events

Whether a fence between two Dellona residents’ properties is smack on the edge of their properties is the question that has to be answered before the Dellona Town Board can take further action to settle a dispute about the fence.

Dellona resident Melanie Stenson, who lives on Stevens Court, approached the Dellona Town Board at a meeting in January and alleged a fence her neighbor, Larry Smith, erected was put up without an agreement between the two and without notification of the town as required by Chapter 90 of the Wisconsin State Statutes.

Stenson charged her neighbor’s fence was illegal and she asked the town board in January to make her neighbor remove it.

Since then the board discovered that Smith’s fence could be legal if it sits on his side of the property line. Stenson maintains the new fence is actually on her side of the property line. Stenson said in January she already has a fence erected on her property that should be sufficient.

Dellona Town Board Supervisor Aaron Kirby, who has been appointed a fence viewer with Supervisor Bob Giebel, said he had visited the properties Saturday.

“Again, it’s pretty tough to determine the fence line,” he said.

Kirby said he will be working with Stenson to find a survey of her property that will show where the property line is.

“So she’s going to find the survey, and we’ll go from there. Once the snow gets done, we’ll be able to better figure out where everything lies. So right now she’s happy with what’s going on so far,” he said.

The dispute between Stenson and Smith is playing out with several lawsuits pending in the background. Stenson told her side of the story to the board in January.

She said Smith was upset because her young children played in his field and damaged part of his crop. She said Smith is suing her in two lawsuits in Sauk County Circuit Court for a total of $10,000 for crop damage and for the costs he incurred while putting up the fence that she says is illegal.

Kirby also said the situation is more complicated because Stenson’s dog was recently shot. Now there is a question as to whether the incident is related to her dispute over the fence.


Gentle readers,

If you can make sense of this, please fill me in.

Dellona, by the way, is the Township that begins at the end of the Scharbach property line. We live in the Town of Delton, but we have a friend who used to be on the Dllona Town Board. I'm sure he is glad to be done with that.

Remember, "town" up here is a municipality within a county. All areas in the state that have not been incorporated as cities or villages are parts of towns. Towns provide a limited number of services to their residents. The U.S. Census considers Wisconsin towns to be minor civil divisions. As of 2009, Wisconsin had 1,258 towns