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!

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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.

B

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"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.

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Chiropractor, City Events, City Life, College Town Life, Life, Madison WI, State Street, The Isthmus, The Isthmus Block Party, Things to do/Places to go, University of Wisconsin--Madison, University Students

Strike Up the Band!

Form a line, oh, oh
Come on, let’s go
Hey, Mr. Leader,
Hey, Mr. Leader,
Please strike up the band!

George and Ira Gershwin sung by Tony Bennett
I went to the chiropractor yesterday, Dr Ted Week over on Winnebago Street in the Atwood Neighborhood, just for a tune-up treatment not for any particular aches and pains and goodness I came home and slept for 2 hours. Then went to bed early and slept another 9 hours without having to take a sleeping pill. I woke up feeling really refreshed and actually did my dishes. That’s the best sleep I’ve had in ages.

It’s a dull cloudy day today, a threat of rain in the air. Suddenly after a heat wave with temperatures in the high 80s and 90s with stuffy humidity for a couple of weeks it’s 59* and there’s a hint of fall in the air to welcome the students back to town. Classes don’t officially start until after Labor Day which is still better than two weeks away so the weather is jumping the gun a bit.

Last night I heard a marching band playing and thought for a moment that the students were already back but I suspect it was probably a Band Camp for High School kids hosted by the University of Wisconsin although I can’t find anything on the ‘Net about Band Camps this late in the summer. There were two in June. Nor can I find anything about the UW band being back on campus this early. But I swear I heard a band just after night fall. It was a good one too.

One of my daughter’s foster daughters spent three weeks at the University in various dorms attending these kinds of camps. It was a wonderful experience for her. When my daughter was in HS she attended an Engineering Camp for kids but because we lived in town she didn’t get to have the experience of living in the dorms. More’s the pity.

I miss the University of Wisconsin students during the summer. They take some of the vitality of the city home with them when they leave in the spring and everything quiets down. State Street seems empty even though there are still people on the street, just not so many and not the students. There is a palpable difference when there is a lack of those thinking young minds concentrating on abstract ideas and concrete problems.

I’ll be glad to have them back in spite of the bartime nonsense that begins on Thursday and ends in the wee hours of Sunday morning. What tickles me when it doesn’t irritate the hell out of me is that the Firemen at Station #1 seem to make it a point to make as much noise with their PA system and tools as early in the morning as possible on weekends. Pay back for being disturbed all night long by the merrymaking drunks?

The Isthmus Block Party is tonight. I got my official Email invitation as did probably half the city. :^) I think I’ll try to grab Big Al and drag him along if it isn’t raining. I think he’d enjoy it.  Sounds like they have some good music and fun times planned.

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"Igor the Mighty", City Life, Crime, Dogs, Downtown Madison, Madison WI, Pets, Police, The Isthmus, WISCONSIN

Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog

 I memorize every line
I kiss the name that you sign
And darlin, then I read again right from the start
Love letters straight from your heart

by Elvis Presley (words and music by Edward Heyman and Victor Young)

OK, here’s a question for all you dog owners out there. Do your dogs fake poop?  I take Igor out for one last walk every evening around 11:00 PM and we always walk the same route. He noses around until he finds a place he wants to pee and that could be anywhere but he always stops in the same spot to poop. A spot which he seems to need to locate exactly by smell.

Then he takes the pooping stance. You know that “Omigawd I’ve got to dump a big one and it ain’t gonna be pretty” contorted dog stance? The one that makes you look away and pretend that that isn’t your dog on the end of the leash you are holding in your hand. The one that makes you cringe because it looks like something so damn painful is about to happen. The one where they get “that look” on their face, like they’re concentrating on something very important.

OK so he makes the stop and takes the stance and does the poop dance. You know, the poop dance. Those four or five steps a dog takes when they are are all hunched up in the contorted poop stance with that far away look on their sweet faces while they are actually releasing the poop from their colon. THAT dance.

Ok, so Igor does the poop dance in the same place every night but I’ll be damned if I can ever find the evidence. I swear, there is NEVER any poop there. I thought maybe I just can’t see the poop. Bad night vision and all that but when I go back to look the next day I could never find any evidence of poop.

I really doubt if there is a poop patrol out there cleaning up after Igor and me. But one never knows and Madison has laws about leaving pet waste laying around. I don’t want to be breaking any laws. Especially not shitty laws.

My friend Kathleen has started walking with us for the past few nights and she couldn’t see any poop either. So tonight she reminded me to take my flashlight and brought hers along as well. We decided we were going to solve this poop mystery. Dogs just don’t FAKE poop.

Igor fakes pooping. Every.single.night. He goes throught the ritual of pooping but he doesn’t poop. He pretends to poop!

Why? Why does he assume the stance, get that look on his face, and embarrass himself and me every.single.night? What’s with that?

B

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