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 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.


City Government, City Life, College Town Life, Crime, London, Madison WI, Police, State Street, Surveillance Cameras, United Kingdom, WISC-TV, WISCONSIN

I’ll Be Watching You

Every breath you take
And every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
Ill be watching you

STING “I’ll Be Watching You” (Feat, The Police)

So it begins, the constant eyes watching our every move as we make our way to and from work or play. The authorities are putting up the first security cameras in my neighborhood. It will be set up at the bottom of State Street according to reports from WISC-TV Channel 3. Police officers will be able to monitor the feed from their patrol cars.

I don’t know how to feel about this Orwellian touch of Big Brother intrusion into the daily lives of our citizens. Part of me hates it because…well, because I’m a liberal and I’m supposed to hate any intrusion of the government into my privacy. I don’t want to live in a world where we’re under constant surveillance by the authorities.

But To be honest with you, I’m worried sick about the crazy, awful stuff that has been going on in my neighborhood out on the streets after dark. I’m scared to walk the streets after dark without an escort. And there are all kinds of people out and about on the well lit streets in my neighborhood after dark so it’s not like I’m going off into some dark alley somewhere.

Heck, I’m almost scared to scurry across my courtyard to the grocery store and back without an escort. Someone got mugged in MY COURTYARD late at night (actually in the wee hours of the morning) not too long ago! But they were flashing cash, having stopped at the ATM. I’m not that dumb. But still…

I heard the horrified screams of the victim of one of the recent rapes from the safety of my apartment earlier this spring. It happened two blocks away from me. I heard her terror and her pain. I called 911 and then I listened to it happen and felt awful because I couldn’t help that victim any more than I already had.

I’m having a hard time finding a solid reason why it isn’t a good thing to have those cameras there on State Street. I mean, seriously, if we had the cash we could put a police officer on those same street corners 24/7 watching for the same things they are watching for with the cameras. It’s a public place, haven’t you already given up some of your rights to privacy by walking out your front door?

The Bobbies in London are going to be wearing helmets with cameras soon. The UK already has surveillance cameras everywhere, now their policemen are going to be filming every step they take. Bobbies doing double duty so to speak.

It’s a sad comment on the break down of society that we have to even think about taking such steps as putting surveillance cameras up because we don’t have enough manpower to keep track of the criminal element amongst us and protect ourselves from them much less bring them to justice. It may be Orwellian but the question has to be raised:  Don’t we have too many missing persons and too many unsolved murders in this town to sit here and be opposed to surveillance cameras just on principal?

Damn, it hurts to say that! This could be a very slippery slope we are starting down.