Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm a librarian

Fast facts about Wisconsin public libraries in 2010
  • Over the last five years, public library visits have increased by over 10% and circulation has increased 15%. The number of paid library staff decreased 0.6%. Public library staff per capita has decreased 2.6% over this period.
  • In comparison with other states, Wisconsin ranks 8th in per capita in circulation, but 22nd for total operating revenue and 21st for total operating expenditures per capita.
  • Six out of 10 state residents are registered library users. These library users made over 35 million visits to Wisconsin public libraries in 2010. Season attendance for Brewer home games in 2010 was 2.8 million.
  • The average number of user visits per week to Wisconsin public libraries is 676,000. Season attendance at Packer home games is about 566,000.
  • Over 65 million items were circulated by Wisconsin’s public libraries in 2010. Wisconsin ranks 8th in per capita circulation nationally.
  • On average, 1.25 million items are checked out of Wisconsin public libraries each week. More than one-third of these circulations are children’s materials.
  • Each year 9 million items are shared between libraries to fill requests for materials not available locally. Wisconsin ranks 1st nationally in per capita interlibrary loans. Resource sharing coordinated by public library systems and the DPI is a model for how to use public resources efficiently.
  • Wisconsin has 385 public libraries and 80 public library branches. Almost all of these libraries will serve any Wisconsin resident. All of Wisconsin’s public libraries have voluntarily chosen to participate in one of the states regional public library systems that provide efficiencies through sharing and consolidation of services.
  • The average per capita municipal and county property taxes paid by Wisconsin residents for public library operations in 2010 was $36.27. Wisconsin ranks 18th in per capita local and county tax support.
  • Nearly all of Wisconsin public libraries offer wireless Internet access to library users. Over 93% of Wisconsin public libraries provide access to licensed electronic books and downloadable audio and video files.
  • Every Wisconsin library and citizen has access to thousands of online newspapers, magazines and books through the DPI’s BadgerLink service.
  • Over 98% of Wisconsin public libraries help people access and use employment resources, including help with job searches, creating resumes and submitting employment applications
  • Programs provided by public libraries and directed toward children had attendance of over 1.6 million. Summer library program attendance for children and young adults was nearly 500,000.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

More Sunday Fun (?)

So after I finished the earlier post and went outside to see what Tom had decided, he was examinng the front door and deciding it needs to be touched up. (No question about that.) Then I pointed out that the whole entry way looks terrible -- dirty siding, dead bugs, spiderwebs, a coffee can filled with cigarette stubs on an unpainted bench alongside an assortment of clippers and garden spades. This led to some discussion of power washing and the next thing I know, I am taking the carpet shampooer down to the basement and looking for the wet-dry shop vac.

The wet-dry shop vac turns out not to be in the basement but in the garage. What is in the basement is a mess by the litter box. The cats have apparently found the new kitty litter wanting and have taken things into their own hands by thinking outside the box. And doing other things outside the box, too. So Tom begins working on the entry way and I begin cleaning up the cat's mess. I have to agree with them that the new litter is not up to standard. It is sandy in texture, does not clump adequately, does not absorb all the moisture of the cat by-products deposited there and seems to be no discernible help in the whole odor department. But of course that may be blamed more appropriately on all the by-product splashed around the box without benefit of the litter at all. For those of you who want to avoid this brand, it is sadly misnamed Cat's Pride Scoopable. It is guaranteed safe to flush, but you might just want to skip the middle person and teach your cats to use the toilet directly if this is your only other option.

Here is Tom totally not power-washing the entryway and siding but doing things the old fashioned way with sponge, hose and soap.

Now you may wonder why all the photos of work actually happening are pictures of Tom. To this I make the following points.
  1. I am holding the camera, and therefore it is natural that the pictures are of someone else.
  2. Do you really want to see pictures of me scooping up cat by-products?
  3. My work is keeping a record of Tom's virtues for all to see and appreciate.
Make sense?

The other librarians constantly point out to me that Tom spoils me, and I cannot deny this. But I am the one who scooped up the cat by-products, and surely that counts for something. And to show my appreciation, I promise to compliment Tom on the wonderful dinner he will no coubt prepare for me later this evening.

Eat your hearts out!

Sunday is Fun Day!

The librarians asked me yesterday what we planned to do on this, my day off. Assuming we would go somewhere exciting or do something exotic, I suppose.

We had planned to go to the Ho Chunk Nation Pow Wow nearby yesterday evening with John, Judy and Matthew, but that got cancelled at the last minute. So we decided to go eat in Reedsburg and do our grocery shopping on the way home. That would leave all of today free for fun and edutainment.

Sadly, a thorough search online and of the area print events listings showed nothing particularly attractive. It is a sunny, dry day and thus Tom was moved to have us shampoo the large rugs in the dining and living rooms. We moved furniture, he rolled them up and took them out to the pad outside the garage and got to work. I swept and mopped the floors, straightened up the kitchen a bit and scoured the cutting boards.

At first our carpet shampooer did not want to work, but Tom got it going and went at it. Here he is doing his due diligence:

While he was doing the first rug, he realized we were going to need more Bissel Fiber Cleansing Formula for Carpets and Upholstery For Use in All full Size Cleaning Machines and Containing Scotch Guard. (Whew!) I headed off to Home Depot to restock while he finished up.

To my surprise and dismay, Home Depot did not have this product, which I would have assumed was the standard for all etc. I looked first in the cleaning materials area, which I located after discovering that it was no longer located near the sign that said "Cleaning supplies". I then tried over by the carpet and rug area, where we had purchased said rugs some years back. (I thought we got them from Kohl's, but that was the rug in the library. Kohl's did not have rugs large enough for the dining and living rooms.) No luck there. Then I tried by the actual carpet shampooers and steamers. There were some cleaning products, but no Bissel Etc. Frustrated I did what no male likes to do -- I asked for help.

And they told me they did not carry it.

This meant I needed to go next door to Walmart -- a thing I hate to do on any occasion -- to see if they had it. Wetry to avoid Walmart if we can, but living out here in the back of beyond, in the Waterpark Capital of the World (registered trademark), sometimes Walmart is the only place you can get things. So I went in and discovered that I was to be spared the ignominy of giving them any of my hard-earned cash. They did not have it either. In fact, they had nothing except the spray on foaming spot cleaners.

I called Tom and explained the dilemma. He told me to get whatever I could get, as if we had any option, being unable to get whatever we could not get pretty much by definition. So I bought some Zep stuff and brought it home. Not that I have anything against Zep products, but seriously, is that the best name you could come up with? Zep? Makes me think of old cigarette lighters or one of the Marx brothers.

As I write this, Tom is out working on the second rug. And I am noticing how lovely the floors are without the rugs. Here you see the dining room opening into the kitchen. Of course, the table and chairs are not there, but you get the idea. (Those old coffee cans stacked in the corner contain bird seed.)

And here is a view of the mostly empty living room, looking through the door into my room where some of the furniture has been temporarily moved.

I think these photos make the house look tiny. But the kitchen/dining area/living area/library are all one big open space divided by bookcases and a buffet Tom built. The rooms all have over- sized windows looking out onto the back yard and woods. The ceiling in dining area/living area/library is a sort of cathedral thing, so it feels spacious, light and roomy.

Plus we have great art on the walls, most of it done by Tom. That painting you can barely see over the stove in the kitchen photo above is one Tom's father painted. We have several of his things, too.
This 4'X4' [1.22 m x 1.22 m] painting hangs on the wall in the living room. It represents the house Tom and Helen had in Hyde Park next to Helen's parents. When it hung in our apartment in Chicago, people waking down the sidewalk would stop and peer into our window to look at it. I apologize for the angle of the shot, but it was the only way I could avoid a glare spot.

More typical of Tom's work are the monochromatic portraits. They are of a variety of people, a graduate student at the University of Chicago, a homeless street vendor who sold Streetwise down on 57th Street and so on.

They are also rather large.

Well, Tom has finished the rugs and now they have to lie out there and dry for a few hours. We are trying to figure out what to do for the afternoon. But as you can see, it can be entertaining just walking around our place.

Friday, August 26, 2011

St. Mychal of the Towers

When All Saints Church sought to signal its hospitality to gays and lesbians, the Catholic parish in Syracuse, N.Y., turned to a well-known image from the 9/11 attacks: five firefighters carrying a body from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. The body belonged to the Rev. Mychal Judge, a Franciscan fire chaplain who rushed to the burning buildings and was killed by falling debris. Later, a half-hidden secret emerged about the gallant priest: he was gay. All Saints hopes the statue will demonstrate that the parish, following Judge's lead, is committed to closing the chasms between rich and poor, black and white, gay and straight, said the Rev. Fred Daley, the church's pastor. Moreover, Daley said, the monument will memorialize a man who, like many gays and lesbians, struggled to fit into a church that considers homosexual desires "an intrinsic moral evil" and seeks to prohibit gay men from becoming priests.

"Here's a gay person who was committed to celibacy, flourishing in the priesthood. It breaks so many stereotypes that people have," said Daley, who came out as gay himself in 2004."For young gay people in particular, how good it is that Mychal Judge can be a role model for them."

Of 9/11's myriad effects on American life, among the more surprising is the emergence of a New York City Fire Department chaplain as a gay icon -- a hero bordering on sainthood to scores of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics.

A gay civil rights group has produced a documentary called Saint of 9/11; gay activists hold vigils on the anniversary of his death; statues and icons of the sandal-shod Franciscan crop up nationwide; and his example has been employed to oppose Vatican policies that bar men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from the priesthood.

The gay Catholic pundit Andrew Sullivan has called Judge's death an "emblem of service and holiness and courage," and argued that, by the Vatican's logic, the priest "should never have been ordained."

Researchers estimate that thousands of gay priests like Judge serve the church while remaining faithful to their vows of celibacy. Only a few, however, have publicly revealed their sexual orientation, leaving a dearth of positive role models for gay Catholics, Daley said.

The Rev. James Martin, culture editor of the Jesuit magazine America, said some Catholics are uncomfortable with Judge's sexual orientation and downplay that aspect of his life.

"But why should they be? For all we know, he lived a perfectly celibate life," Martin said. "He lived as the Catechism asked him to live and kept his ordination promises. Gay, straight or somewhere in between, he's a hero. If you rush into a burning building to minister to people, while knowing that you might die, that's true holiness."

Omitting any mention of Judge's sexuality, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has used Judge's heroic life and death for its own ends: in promotional materials encouraging men to join priesthood.

"One's orientation should never dominate one's ministry as a priest," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the bishops. "Clearly, it did not dominate the ministry of Father Judge, who by all reports was held in high esteem by many, especially by the fire department he served so well."

Charismatic and witty, Judge made legions of friends and admirers during his 68 years -- from President Clinton to homeless addicts. His funeral was packed with conservative Catholics, politicians, firefighters, recovering alcoholics and gay activists, recalls friend Brendan Fay.

"He had a strange way of weaving his way through communities that could barely tolerate each other," said Fay, a gay rights activist in New York.

Journal entries published in The Book of Mychal, a 2008 biography, show Judge struggling with the secretiveness his sexual orientation sometimes required. "I thought of my gay self and how the people I meet never get to know me fully," he wrote.

The priest bent church rules by joining the gay Catholic group Dignity and allowing it to meet in his Franciscan-run parish. He counseled gay couples and the parents of gay children, according to Fay, and began ministering to AIDS victims during the 1980s, when the disease was considered a gay scourge.

But even some of the Judge's closest friends didn't know he was gay, said David Fullam, whose firehouse sat across the street from the Franciscan friary. The former firefighter wears a bracelet emblazoned with Judge's name and donated $240 recently to All Saints' monument fund.

"We knew that he ministered to the AIDS population and the gay population," Fullam said. "He was very inclusive." While some firefighters were taken aback when they learned that Judge was gay after his death, they would have accepted him regardless, he said.

"We didn't care if he was gay or straight," Fullam said. "We loved him."

Although the Roman Church has not officially canonized Fr. Mychal, he was declared a saint by the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America in 2002.

Fr. Mychal's Prayer:

Lord, take me where You want me to go,
let me meet who You want me to meet,
tell me what You want me to say,
and keep me out of Your way.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Under the Big Top

Saturday night Tom and I attended the wedding of Fred Clark and Kerry Schuman in Baraboo. Fred is our state assemblyman. They got married at Circus World Museum at the Hippodrome. It was a fun wedding and they looked great. From the wedding they rode an elephant to the reception hall two blocks away, accompanied by Fred's son Joe and Kerry's daughter Emma. I had joked with Mama that I didn't know whether to wear my clown nose, but they handed out clown noses at the reception hall for everyone to wear to greet the elephant and its happy riders. If you look carefully at the person in the front right on the photo with his back to you, you can just make out the spot of red indicating his clown nose.

A good time was had by all, and we wish Fred, Kerry, Emma and Joe the best in their new family.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A bit of American Revolutionary thinking from 1776

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason."
Thomas Paine
Common Sense

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Kathie Holly, my companion on the Bookmobile, gave me this hydrangea as a living memorial for Daddy. It is named Limelight, because the flowers are a light green all summer, then turn to pink in the fall. The bush is about three feet tall now and should grow to about six feet tall and six feet around eventually. This photo shows it after Tom got it in the ground, and so you see the garden hose there.

We decided to position the hydrangea at my end of the house, where it will get morning sun and afternoon shade, down far enough to be visible from the deck in back ...

and partly visible from the front drive as you pull in and then fully from the sidewalk as you walk to the front door. That spot of red up there is Tom's truck on the pad outside the garage, so you get an idea of where this is in relation to the house. (Sundance had to get in the picture.) These two pictures were taken when the plant was still in its pot. Now it is in the ground and Tom is already building up a bit of garden around it, featuring wild roses, of which we have an abundance, and some other things. Next year I will try to get a picture of the whole arrangement in situ.

Thanks to Kathie for this thoughtful gift and reminder.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I just got back from Texas this evening. My father died peacefully in his sleep last Tuesday morning, August 9. The obituary notice is below. The photo was taken in December 2009.
Everything went well, and I think my mother and the rest of us are doing well. Thanks to those of you who were aware of this and sent messages of condolence. The family is grateful for your prayers and thoughts at this time.

Tom, ever generous, filled in at the library while I was away so that things there were as little disrupted as possible. As my mother said, he is a great friend.

My good friend in the Carmelites, Fr.Steven Payne, lost his father Larry to lymphoma two days after my father died. I commend his family to your prayers, too.

James Byron Dodd

Funeral services for James Byron Dodd, 89, of Whitehouse are scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, at Whitehouse Church of Christ with J.C. Tate officiating.

Following the service Mr. Dodd will be laid to rest in Whitehouse Cemetery under direction of Burks Walker Tippit Funeral Directors.

Mr. Dodd was born Sept. 17, 1921, in Hoschton, Ga. Byron served his country while in the United States Navy during World War II and retired as a teacher with Windham Independent School District. Mr. Dodd was a member of Whitehouse Church of Christ and lived in Whitehouse the past 15 years. He was preceded in death by brothers, Ray Dodd and Weldon Dodd; and sisters, Peggy Ray and Tacky Mitchum.

Byron is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Roxie Mitchum Dodd of Whitehouse; sons, Michael Scott Dodd of Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Ted Byron and wife Cynthia Dodd of Borger; brother, George Talmadge and wife Ann Dodd; brother-in-law, Rayburn Mitchum; sisters-in-law, Bobbie Mitchum Stevens and Florence Dodd; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Pallbearers will be Randy Arnold, Vincent Broccolo, Justin Dodd, Billy Ray Duren, Acker Hanks and Jason Kirk. Honorary pallbearers will be The "42" Gang.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I am so hacked!

Someone hacked my Yahoo email account and sent out a link to unsuspecting friends and family. I sent a follow-up reminding them/you that emails claiming to be from me will always end with this quote:

I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.
- Augusten Burroughs

If that is not there, I did not send the message and you should not click on any link or follow any instructions. Delete, delete, delete!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy 100th!

I remember reading once that every hour of every day, an episode of one of Lucy's television shows is airing somewhere in the world.

Thursday, August 4, 2011