Apartment life, Capitol Square, Chiropractor, City Life, City of Trees, Crime, Homeless, Homeless Shelter, Isthmus Daily Page, Madison WI, Metropolitan Place, Panhandling, Personal Health Issues, Police, Poverty, Real Estate Development, State Street, The Isthmus

Gentrification Redux

However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.

Henry David Thoreau

Some time ago I asked whether or not gentrification was a good thing. Frankly, I think it’s a mixed bag. Our neighborhood is becoming more “foot-friendly” and there are more and more daily services moving into downtown Madison. Gentrification does have its pluses if it is done judiciously.

I recently visited Dr Aaron Abplanalp who has opened up shop at Life City in one of the Metropolitan Place retail spaces. He’s a fine addition to the neighborhood and since I need the services of a chiropractor frequently due to some serious injuries to my back, the convenience of having a good doctor within walking distance is a treasure.

At the same time this kind of rhetoric on the part of developers in the downtown area reported on in “The Isthmus Daily Page in late September just smacks classicism and possibly racism since many of these people are people of color:

Teen center eyed as homeless shelter

Developer calls for moving homeless men off the Square
Vikki Kratz on Wednesday 09/26/2007

Madison developer Cliff Fisher is bothered to see homeless men on the Capitol Square. He wishes they were somewhere else.

“People come here and all they see is people standing around, begging for money,” says Fisher, who owns more than a dozen downtown properties. “We have the most beautiful Capitol, and you see people panhandling.”

Granted it isn’t pleasant to be harassed by homeless people for money but I live in Mr Fisher’s neighborhood. I walk the streets past his developments and I interact with these homeless people. For the most part I don’t see them harassing anyone when they’re turned down politely.

What I HAVE seen are people who are publicly intoxicated or strung out on drugs harassing people. That is a different matter entirely. That is a law enforcement problem.

That they also happen to be homeless is incidental. Those people could be removed from the scene if the police were properly enforcing the law.  If people called and reported the fact that someone who was publicly intoxicated was being a public nuisance the police would have to go out there and do their jobs.  I doubt the Madison Police would have a problem doing that.

For the most part, the Police do take care of the public nuisances as they walk their beat in the downtown area but they can’t be everywhere at once and like naughty children the bad apples in the barrel will wait until the Police have their back turned to act out. When you are being harassed, call the police. Hang around in the vicinity until the cops arrive and point out the bad apple. Take the risk.

Moving the homeless shelters off the square and away from the ritzy condos isn’t going to solve the problem. Do you think these people are stupid? State Street and the Square are their bread and butter. They’ll just walk eight blocks or however far you push them out to get back up here where the cash and the foot traffic is.

Don’t be absurd and think you can get rid of a social problem by trying to hide it, Mr Fisher. Don’t be part of the problem; be part of the solution and help create jobs for these people so they have no need of shelters or begging on the streets of this beautiful city of ours. And don’t be so presumptuous that you forget it is their city too!

City Life, College Students, College Town Life, Crime, Downtown Madison, Freakfest, Halloween Party, Madison WI, Police, State Street, Surveillance Cameras, University of Wisconsin--Madison, WISCONSIN, Wisconsin State Journal

An the Goblins Will Get Ya If Ya Don’t Watch Out!

Little Orphan Annie’s come to my house to stay.
To wash the cups and saucers up and brush the crumbs away.
To shoo the chickens from the porch
and dust the hearth and sweep,
and make the fire and bake the bread
to earn her board and keep.
While all us other children, when the supper things is done,
we sit around the kitchen fire and has the mostest fun,
a listening to the witch tales that Annie tells about
and the goblins will get ya if ya don’t watch out!

“The Little Orphan Annie” by James Witcomb Riley

The big Halloween Party weekend has come and gone for another year. Freakfest was a huge success at least in terms of safety and lack of violence and property damage. According to “The Wisconsin State Journal” it only cost the city $500, 000! Somewhere in the neighborhood of 34,000 people attended and paid the $5.00 admission fee and only 175 of them got arrested.

It was pretty tame from my point of view except that the last band was really loud and one of the points of exit must have been close to home because there was a significant amount of boisterous foot traffic on my street which made my dog nervous. The light went out well before 3:00 am though.

Three years ago I listened and watched as the tension with at least twice as many people versus a much smaller police force came to a head and the riots began. Walking down State Street the next morning was almost like walking through a warzone Our Mayor and City Council deserve congratulations and Thanks for turning this annual gathering into a safe but fun party once again.

Unfortunately I had developed a fine case of insomnia but the city was calm and quiet by 3:30. There weren’t even any house parties with loud music disturbing the peace nearby. No screams and cries for help like I heard this past summer when one of the rapes took place nearby. No arguments from domestic disturbances. Pretty tame for a Saturday night. Gosh, it’s good to have the students back in town!


City Life, College Students, College Town Life, Downtown Madison, Freakfest, Halloween Party, Life, Madison WI, Police, State Street, University of Wisconsin--Madison, WISCONSIN

Butterflies and Queens! Sluts Are In!

Igor and I met up with Kathleen when we went out for the last potty run of the day. I saved up both of our energies so we could make a long circuit of the periphery of State Street and scope out the scene. Kathleen said she could not get a taxi to come and pick her up to go to Escape on Willy Street because they were so busy tonight.

Walking down Broom Street we met plenty of people young and old in costume. As usual Devils, Death, Ghosts, and Witches made appearances but there were an awful lot of male and female Butterflies and pretty young men cross-dressing. There was one exceptionally large Milkmaid with yellow trashbag braids and a blue gingham dress that I know was supposed to be an imitation of some brand name dairy product. I simply cannot recall the name of the brand name at the moment to save my life! He did a great job with the costume though–everyone will “get it.”

There was a disturbing amount of emphasized cleavage to be seen and hotter hot pants than anything worn in my day. Honey, didn’t those seams crawling up into your crotch hurt? I mean seriously, you are going to do yourself some permanent damage if you make those kinds of fashion choices very often. Plus you need to lose some of the chub to pull it off more delicately.

I read another blog this afternoon about sluttiness being in and it looked like a lot of these girls bought their costumes straight out of a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog. Thigh high stockings and mini skirts or hot pants with push-up cross-your-heart wonder bras beneath skimpy tops that left nothing to the imagination seemed to be the norm. The girls had goose pimples the size of goose eggs on their midriffs. The guys, of course, had the sense to dress warmly. I guess the age old competition for the best spermatic DNA is still being waged.

There really didn’t seem to be as big a crowd as they expected. At least not at 9:30. It was bustling and lively out there but it’s bustling and lively every Saturday night. This was just jacked up few notches. It was just as busy last night if not more so when I was out. There seemed to be about as many people outside of the cordoned off area as there were IN the State Street area two and a half hours after the party started. I know it’s cool to be fashionably late but gee…

Everyone was nice and friendly. Several people called out that they liked my dog. I like my dog too. He behaved very well in nerve-wracking conditions. I was quite proud of him.

There didn’t seem to be any blatant public drunkeness although there were a few partyers who had obviously had plenty to drink and smoke. One happy young man invited us to follow him to a house party for ganja and drink. Wasn’t that generous of him? <grin> It wasn’t his house or his party! Probably not his ganja or drink either.

The band that is playing now is pretty good and just loud enough to be enjoyable. That damn light is obnoxiously bright. I hope it keeps everyone safe.


City Events, City Life, College Students, College Town Life, Halloween Party, Life, Police, State Street, Surveillance Cameras, The Isthmus, Things to do/Places to go, University of Wisconsin--Madison, University Students, WISCONSIN

Demons and Wizards! The Wicked Witch is Dead!

There is a demon
An evil mind
Inside us
Oh I know, I know
We all know the rules
When water will be shed
The wicked witch is…


Demons and Wizards Wicked Witchon the Touched By The Crimson King” album. 2005


Halloween 2007 has begun in earnest at shortly past 7pm. I can hear one of the bands fairly well if I want to leave my window open to enjoy the tunes. It’s a mite chilly for that this year.

The temperatures are seasonal and within the “normal” range for a Wisconsin Halloween. No global warming heat waves or early snowstorms to report. But we haven’t had a good heavy frost to really kill off the ragweed yet and my “hayfever” is still giving me fits. I may have to break down and ask the Doctor for something to combat the constant drip drip drip of postnasal drippiness lest I get a sinus infection.

But I digress, Halloween is being played out at my feet and soon I will have to take Igor out for another walk to see what’s up. Ruth was whisked away to a dinner and a movie away by friends who thought it was better to get her out of temptation’s way. What a pity that we elders are not encouraged to act on our more frivolous and adventurous impulses.

What could it have possibly hurt for Ruth and I to take a stroll down State Street early in the evening to watch the zombies and freaks collide. Young people aren’t inhuman heathens who might eat us for heaven’s sake. More than likely they would have been delighted by our presence and given us a courteous welcome just as we would have done to our elders back in our own day.

Mary, with the Madison Police Department is back on her loudspeaker monitoring the surveillance cameras on State Street from the Command Post at Fire House #1. I wish I could understand what she is saying. About all I can make out is “For your Safety.” and “Thank you.” The big old spotlight they have used every year since the “riot” to light up the downtown area/State Street is shining right into my windows.

Igor is very nervous about all of the noise and disturbance of what he had begun to come to expect as the norm. Poor doggie.


"Igor the Mighty", City Life, Halloween Party, Madison WI, State Street, The Isthmus, University of Wisconsin--Madison, WISCONSIN

The State of State Street Halloween 2007

It’s 11:37 and I just got back from taking Igor for a walk. Halloween has already begun. Broom Street was crowded with young people in costume. I was surprised that the crowds had already begun to gather and get so large.

Buzz Lightyear came running down Johnson Street to greet us and got Igor even more excited than he already was by all the uproar! He gave a hearty bark and caused some people across the street to look and exclaim “Look, that dog has on a muzzle!” while young Buzz Simply ignored the hot pink muzzle contraption and made friends with my sweet little dog.

Even with global warming giving us balmy temperatures of 49* it wasn’t enough to keep the young ladies in skimpy attire wandering the streets from shivering without coats at the end of October. I suppose their plans are to end up in some bar somewhere but for goodness sakes, is it really worth it to be out on the streets in strapless mini-dresses in these temperatures?

Everyone was in good spirits, having a good time even the young police officers I spoke to between Gorham and Gilman. They reported that so far everyone is behaving themselves. “Mary” on the loudspeaker at Firehouse #1 is making periodic announcements that I can hear through closed windows but not quite understand. Supposedly she can see exactly what is going on via cameras strategically placed on State Street and admonish offenders in the act.


City Events, City Life, College Students, College Town Life, Freakfest, Halloween Party, Life, Madison WI, State Street, Things to do/Places to go, University of Wisconsin--Madison

Ghosts and Goblins Under a Hunter’s Moon

They did the mash
They did the monster mash
The monster mash
It was a graveyard smash
They did the mash
It caught on in a flash
They did the mash
They did the monster mash

Bobby “Boris” Pickett

We had two full moons this month again.  Last month it was the Harvest Moon.  This month it was the Hunter’s Moon.  Diana, Phoebe, and Selene’s Moon.  These are the huntress and moon goddesses of Greek and Roman mythology

Tomorrow night is Freakfest, the annual State Street Halloween Party.  I was playing 500 with my friend Ruthie this afternoon and she asked me if I would go with her.  I just about choked on the water I was drinking.

Ruthie is at least 70 years old and is probably closer to 80 and she wants to go to Freakfest.  I haven’t been to a State Street Halloween party in a gazillion years  because I really don’t enjoy crowds all that much especially not drunk and rowdy crowds but I really should go with Ruthie.

I bet it would be fun.  She’s a hoot and one of my favorite people here at the three threes.  She would probably want to wear a costume.  <heh>

It probably wouldn’t be too bad if we go early in the evening before the revelers get drunk and disorderly.  Now that it’s a semi-organized event with a heavy Police and Rent-a-Cop presence as well as limits to the number of attendees (50,000!) and fences to keep the riff raff  and trouble-makers out once they’ve been identified and ejected, it might actually be fun.

Interestingly enough, it’s not just the academic excellence that makes kids want to come to The UW-Madison campus.  This annual party is one of the reasons that the University of Wisconsin at Madison makes it on the list of the Princeton Review’s  top ten party schools.   If you’re disposed to do so, you can get your degree in alcoholism and drug addiction here, too.

"Igor the Mighty", City Life, Classical Piano, Dogs, Fazil Say, Igor Stravinsky, Life, Madison WI, Memory Lane, Pets, Professional Wrestling, State Street, Veterinary, WISCONSIN

“Igor The Mighty” Stravinsky! errr… Who?


Igor Stravinsky – Le Sacre du Printemps For Piano – Fazil Say

I got a dog. The primary reason I got a dog was because of the worrisome increase in the crime rate in downtown Madison. This is probably still one of the safest cities of its size in the US but there have been some pretty violent crimes in downtown Madison recently.

I decided I absolutely needed a dog when I had to get a restraining order against someone who lives in my building. Security locked buildings don’t protect in cases like that and I’ll be damned if I’m going to move! I like where I live.

This is my Dachshund/Beagle (Dachsle)



Igor’s name was Snoopers before I got him but I thought that was a pretty lame name for such a manly fella so I renamed him because he looks exactly like the dog my baby brother brought home when I was 11. Except he’s at least three times as big. That dog was named after “The Mighty Igor” a huge weight lifting wrestler of the 1960’s because he was so tiny.

I found him on Petfinder.com. I was keeping an eye on the Dane County Humane Society website well. I had also looked at a few rescue organizations. Boston Terriers in particular. The ad said his legs are twisted but they don’t hurt him, they just look funny. I thought that was a funny/suspicious thing to say in an ad but some people just don’t have a clue about advertising so I sent an email and asked for pictures.

His legs do look funny but not that bad and omigwd he looks jut like Igor the first so I asked to meet him and I was really impressed with his personality and how healthy he looks.  On closer inspection it looks like he is double jointed and may have a club foot but nothing medical going on that is going to cost big bucks to manage.

Nevertheless I wanted to get him checked out right away and besides, my building management says I have to have vet certification that the dog I get is healthy and up to date on all of his shots so Tuesday I called Badger Cab and asked them if they would take me and the dog to the Veterinary. They would and they did! Yay Badger Cab!


Badger Cab

We went to see Dr Mike Kohn the Petinaryat 1014 Williamson Street. He took care of my son’s American Buldog who had some pretty serious skin allergies for years until son’s roomate won the dog in a custody battle and moved out of state.


The Petinary

Dr Kohn put my concerns about his front legs to rest right away. My Dachsle has some Basset Hound in him so that’s why he’s such a big guy. Basically he’s just a mutt. <grin> A very handsome mutt. My building manager brought one of her colleagues who works for the same corporation but in another building up to my apartment to see him because she thinks he is such a cutie. <grin> Everywhere we go he gets grins.

Mr. Adorable hasn’t been taught any city manners though and when we were out for our walks he was really dragging me around. My arm hurt from trying to control him and using a cane, I was afraid to go very far and definitely wasn’t about to try to cross a busy street until I had better control of the situation on our walks. Dr Kohn recommended the Gentle Leader Headcollar rather than a choke collar which were available right next door at MadCat Pet Supplies.

It’s magic! It stopped the pulling instantly and Igor is now walking at a heel with me making the decisions about where to go. He doesn’t like it because he can’t have his head and do whatever he wants to do but it isn’t hurting him.

They only had Hot Pink but I figure it takes a real man to wear pink and he can deal. I’ll have to get someone to help me take a picture of him with it on. I took him to the bank and pharmacy at the beginning of rush hour after two practice sessions and although he was nervous he did very well.

I love this city so much. Dogs are not only welcome here, he got treats at both places!


State Street at Noodles & Co.


This was part of our route although this picture was not taken Wednesday. This is the bus stop at Noodles & Co where I catch the bus to go almost everywhere I go by Metro.  It’s about two blocks from home if I take the short cut and three almost four if I don’t.


PS Did you notice the pictures? They were taken with my very own Canon PowerShot 460 and manipulated with Xandros Linux DigiKam.