"Igor the Mighty", City Life, Dogs, Humor, Life, Madison WI, Senior Citizens

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire, Your Nose Is Longer

Liar, liar, pants on fire
Your nose is longer than a telephone wire

Ask me, baby, why I’m sad
You’ve been out all night, know you’ve been bad

The Castaways

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–I mean he really snuffles around to find it and I’m patient, I let him take his time.

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 realeasing 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, well,  maybe I just can’t see the poop. I’m old, bad night vision and all that but when I went back to look the next morning I could never find any evidence of any poop either.

Now Madison is a really clean city but I really, 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 shitty  mystery. Dogs just don’t FAKE pooping.

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?

By the way, did you know that Dachshund literally means Badger Dog?  Pretty appropriate dog for Madison folks to have, eh?  There are all kinds of them in the downtown area.  Most of them are miniatures.  I have one of the kingsized ones.  Or maybe he’s a Large Economy Size.  Compared to the Mini’s, he’s a giant!  I’ve actually met one with blue eyes!   That is a really cool dog!

My daughter’s greyhound has red eyes though–that’s even cooler.  I thought it was my camera making her eyes red and kept trying to take the red out until I really looked at her when I was taking a picture of her to be sure the flash wouldn’t catch her eyes.  She’s ebbil!


Alcoholism, City Life, Downtown Madison, Drug Addiction, Family, gentrification, Homeless, Homeless Shelter, Madison WI, Real Estate Development, WISCONSIN

Gentrification Redux Take II

Goodness gracious, another person responds with real dialogue about an issue! Wonderful!

Christopher Patton wrote in response to Gentrification Redux:

I don’t think urging people to use the police force as a proxy to handle ‘bad apples’ really solves the problem of homelessness or drug addiction. It is merely another attempt to push societal problems out of sight instead of trying to confront them on a personal, interactive level (Cliff Fisher and you might have more in common after all). If you truly value your community than you won’t relegate it’s policing to a group that upholds the power structure by treating already disadvantaged people unfairly.

I’ve dealt with alcoholics and drug addicts my whole life. I am, in fact, what I would consider a non-addicted alcoholic who made the decision early in life that I would not go down that path because the way I drank and the effects of alcohol on me WHEN I drank could too easily have led to addiction.

I was lucky because I became educated before the booze took over my life. Many of my family members and my children’s father’s family members did not have that advantage. Alcoholism and drug addiction claimed their lives. Some of them were homeless as well.

The one thing I know about an addict and had to learn through painful demonstration over many years of trying to save the alcoholics and drug addicts I have loved is that they will not give up their addiction until they become convicted that they have no other choice. They have to hit their own personal rock bottom.

People hit bottom when they have to suffer the consequences of their behavior. You may believe that involving the police in curtailing the abusive behavior of people who are drunk and strung out on drugs is treating an already disadvantaged person unfairly. I happen to believe holding everyone to certain standards of civil behavior is more than fair. It may be the best thing that could ever happen to an addict.

I’ve learned that the only kind of love that truly helps an addict or alcoholic is tough love. It’s the same kind of love a good parent gives their child. The best present I ever got from my son is a kitschy little plaque that begins “I had the meanest Mother in the world…She loved me enough to say no.”

I’m more than willing to interact with the homeless and would agree that there are definitely social issues that need to be addressed to solve the problem. I’m not advocating that the homeless be thrown in jail wholesale but I know better than to try to confront alcoholics and addicts “on a personal interactive level” while they are using.

They don’t have an interactive level in that state. It’s a waste ot time. Basically there is no one home because they aren’t going to remember the interaction the next day anyway.


agnostic/atheists, atheism, Christianity, Life, Madison WI, Pibel Nebraska State Park, Pible Bilbe Camp, Religion

Mr BoJangles, I’ll Dance the Truth With You


He danced for those at minstrel shows
and county fairs throughtout the South
He spoke with tears of 15 years
of how his dog and him travelled about
The dog up and died, he up and died.
After 20 years he still grieves

Bob Dylan

Well Mr BoJangles, you left this provocative comment for me after you read “Praise God and Pass the Ammunition:”


“It’s ever so much easier to kill people who are not members of your tribe. People you have dismissed as less worthy of your empathy and respect. People you have already deemed damned to eternal perdition because they have not made the right choices in deities. People your God would call an enemy Unfortunately I believe that most if not all of American Christian churches teach this if not outright from the pulpit on Sunday morning then certainly by implication. Try reading the Old Testament of the Bible all the way through.”


Most wars in human history have been in started in the name of political ideas or religious beliefs. This is a passionate way to get the troops rallied when they will see little benifit. If you think it is in regards to oil or something people want, look closer. Believers in Christ hate the sin but love the sinner.


True believers would rather share the life changing power of forgiveness rather than kill someone. I have been to that little camp in Nebraska you are talking about and I have seen a lot of peace makers, not war promoters come out. If your judgement is clouded and you are having a hard time seeing your God.


Look to your neighbor first, before you make cynical judgements of the international wars around you. I do believe there is a God in heaven and I do believe his wrath is shown from time to time. But, more often, I see his mercy and grace upon a rebellious world. He gives us a lot more chances than we deserve.


I doubt you have ever been to a week of Pible Bible Youth Camp. Pible Bible Camp baptizes in the Lake of the Pibel Nebraska state park that is adjacent to the property, not the Little Blue River. It has been that way since Guy B. Dunning opened the camp decades ago. Your facts are less than credible on this subject, so it makes me question others. You may have had a bad experience that turned you bitter.


We may not think a like in thought, but that is OK. I welcome your firendship and a friendly, non-violent discussion.


I think that proves that not all of us are wanting to get rid of people that are not like us.



I decided this comment was so provocative and chock full of points to “discuss” in depth that I would give it its very own Blog! So here you are.  Let the discussing commence!

There’s an interesting thing about that word doubt Mr BoJangles. Used in this context, essentially you’ve just called me a liar. Ah, ah, ah…I can hear you protesting. Yes you did, you surely did. You could have found a far less provocative way to question my assertion that I was baptized in a river while attending Pibel Bible Camp than to question my “credentials.”

Here are some facts that you should check so that you feel more comfortable about my credibility. In 1966 or 1967 the dam at the lake at Pible State Park had either sprung a leak or the lake was deliberately drained because the dam was undergoing routine repairs. Maybe they were just digging all the sludge out.

I’m sort of fuzzy on exactly which year it was anymore because it really has no meaning for me except as an amusing incident from my childhood so I will admit that my pertinent facts are a bit fuzzy but I think it was probably 1967.  It’s sort of like remembering which year you got The Candyland game for Christmas.


Whichever the case, the lake had been reduced to little more than a giant mudhole and was not suitable for baptisms that year. Or anything else. I see from a visit to the State Park website that the lake has been “recently renovated” again.


That’s how I came to be baptized in the river nearby and you know, looking at the map of the surrounding area I’m not sure it WAS The Little Blue. It might have been The North Loop since it’s close to Loop City and Ord. Again, I’m fuzzy on my facts.  I haven’t been in Nebraska for 15 years much less to that area.

It’s been 40 plus years since I was baptized and frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass which river it was. There aren’t a lot of rivers in Nebraska but there is a Little Blue River in Nebraska. I was baptized in a river near Pibel Bible Camp in Nebraska in 1966 or 1967. Close enough.

Oh yeah, we had to travel quite a ways to get to that river so everyone who felt moved to answer the call to come to Jesus that week had to wait until Thursday evening to be baptized. Then we all traveled down to the river and it took a long time to baptize everyone with two ministers doing the baptisms and the last few to be baptized (including me) were baptized by candlelight and flashlight shortly after dusk. It was a very emotional experience.


Pretty sure I was 15 but I used to say I was whatever age I was going to be during the summer before I turned that age so I might have only been 14. Oh gee, I stretched the truth back then, too. LIAR, liar pants on fire. Sue me.


If you know any of the people from that time and place you may remember the man who baptized me. His name was Burklund. He came to be the minister at my home church in Clay Center, Nebraska that fall. He had a  daughter, Christie, who was just a toddler at the time.  She got leukemia but survived and grew up in Clay Center.

They also had a son my age and two other children who were younger but I can’t remember their names at the moment. You may also remember Kerry Hookstra who was a very popular youth minister in his late teens and early 20s.  He might have been from Omaha or Grand Island.  There were girls there that were from both places and he was with one of those sets of girls.  There were also some boys from the same church.  I remember Kerry’s name because I thought it was a cool name and there was a boy in Clay Center who had the same unusual name and I thought that was wild


I was very excited and proud to be chosen to be romanced that year by the most popular and best looking boy at camp–Jon Zlomke. Thinking I really didn’t have a chance amongst all the beauties who were vying for his attention, I pretty much ignored him. Besides, I wasn’t one to be chasing boys around. I was much to shy for overt flirting. He later told me that’s what he like most about me–I wasn’t boy crazy. When I got home my father made me quit writing to him. He wouldn’t let me date yet, not even by letter.


My name is Barbara Gavin if you want to check to see if I was ever on the roster at that camp or go looking for the baptismal records. I’m sure there must be a record somewhere that I am still a member of that church in Clay Center since I never moved my membership out. Unless they have ousted me for back taxes (tithing) or something and that particular sect doesn’t keep track that I’m aware of, at least not in writing.


So now we have my “credentials” ironed out and perhaps established to your liking, we can take up your statement that you “welcome a friendly non-violent discussion.” Of course you do. That’s why you called me a liar.


As for the rest of your comment, most so-called believers in Christ only give lip service to their beliefs until and unless they have need of said beliefs to justify what they are doing that makes their consciences twinge. That’s why there is such a revival of religious fervor during times of war, in my opinion. People turn to a power greater than themselves to justify their personal sins against humanity.


Well that and to hedge their bets just in case the other side can aim better than their side. Their are an awful lot of “convenience store Christians” in the pews when we go through troubled times. Not so many when all is well on the international political front and the Dow is gaining.


I feel entitled to say these things because at one time I was an insider. I watched it happen and I participated in the ebb and flow of my own Christian fervor. You question whether my experiences made me bitter and I have to truthfully admit that yes, I have had many experiences that could have made me bitter. I thank my ability to reason and my native intelligence that I was able to see through the bunk that is Christianity and dump it by the wayside before I got to bitter!


Had I not seen that my life is truly my own affair and the choice to live it with dignity and grace is my own to make, rather than groveling on my knees at the altar of a false god, clamoring for attention and begging for relief, I might have lost my mind. Ironically it is this prayer that taught me that naked truth and opened my eyes to the indisputable truth that the christian god I had been taught to believe in was sheer and utter nonsense:

Grant me the serenity;
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference,
living each day, one day at a time.



Based on The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr.







Adult children, Capitol Square, City Life, Family, Farmer's Market, Farmer's Market on the Square, Grandchildren, Life, Madison WI, Things to do/Places to go

Closing Farmer’s Market On the Capitol Square 2007

It was another gorgeous day in the neighborhood with temperatures nearing 60* under mostly sunny skies. We still haven’t had a hard frost and aren’t even going to see a light frost tonight with temperatures only dipping down into the mid to upper 30s.

What is it they say about people with a predilection for constantly discussing the weather? <grin>

Today was the last Farmer’s Market on the Square for 2007. I bought some Lemon Basil Pesto, an Eggplant, some baked goods and a wonderful arts and crafts planter for my daughter for Christmas. She is going to love it. It is so her. I can’t wait to see her face when she opens it.

I’ve found the T-shirt I want to get my son-in-law online but I don’t like the price so I am going to keep hunting. I have a general idea about my son and about where to get it–right here in the neighborhood which is great but have no clue about my nephew who probably won’t be here for Christmas anyway so I have time to delay the decisions about him.

I still don’t know what to do about the #1 (biological) Gr-son although I have some ideas. Expensive ideas. <heh> #2 Gr-son is decided. #1 Gr-daughter is taken care of. #2 Gr-daughter is partially taken care of but I don’t know what else to do for her. Each child will get two gifts. With four children that’s a lot of gifts. Biological Gr-son will probably get one more because the other (foster) gr-children have other parents and gr-parents who will be giving them gifts so bio gr-kid SHOULD be favored by me, IMO.

I think #1 Gr-son might be old enough for the game Battleship. He’s good at mazes and concentration games. He’ll be eight in March. Son used to love playing that game and it was one I could play while I made dinner or helped Daughter with homework if need be.


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!

air pollution, Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, Anglers, Conservatives, Democrats, GLOBAL WARMING, Heat Records, Hunters, Iowa, Iowa Caucus, Liberals, Madison WI, Politics, Presidential Election 2008, Republicans, Sportsmen, Weather

SportsGuy Says: America Has a Strong Moral Responsibility!

You asked what land I love the best, Iowa, tis Iowa,
The fairest State of all the west, Iowa, O! Iowa,
From yonder Mississippi’s stream
To where Missouri’s waters gleam
O! fair it is as poet’s dream, Iowa, in Iowa.

Song of Iowa words by S.H.M. Byers to the traditional melody of “O, Tannenbaum.”

Wow! Another beautiful day in the neighborhood! It is currently 52* with clear skies at 8:00 PM and all is well on a Friday night. So quiet and DARK compared to last week. There is no spotlight shining in my window in anticipation of partying rioters. Fall is winding down.

But hey, the flowers in the courtyard are still blooming! Seriously, the impatiens and marigolds and other flowers are still out there putting forth the color and it’s NOVEMBER. It’s FIFTY-TWO DEGREES FAHRENHEIT outside at eight o’clock in the evening! In WISCONSIN!

What’s with that? All together now: GLOBAL WARMING!

How much do you want to bet that the Republicans change their stance on the issue of Global Warming as more and more public opinion polls bring in results like this one in Iowa?

Poll: Iowa Sportsmen Say Global Warming Must Be Curbed

DES MOINES, Iowa, November 2, 2007 (ENS) – Three-quarters of Iowa hunters and anglers responding to a new public opinion poll say America has a strong moral responsibility to act now to limit the worst effects of global warming. The statewide poll was released Wednesday by the National Wildlife Federation.

The poll shows that of the sportsmen who say they will vote in January’s caucuses, only nine percent have decided who they will support. And 66 percent of respondents said conservation is just as important to them as gun rights issues, if not more important.

W00t! You Go Iowa!

The people have spoken; let the people be heard! To the polls everyone! To the polls!


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!