Saturday, August 17, 2013

From "Got to Give It Up" to "Blurred Lines": Imitation or Inspiration?

I go with inspiration.  Though "Got to Give It Up", a funky 10-minute jam, is by far the better song.

Songwriters Sue to Defend a Summer Hit.  (The New York Times, 8/16/2013)

Hear for yourself.



Chevrolet Sparks Interest in Minicar Marketplace



Chevrolet’s Cheap Minicar, the Spark, Is a Surprisingly Strong Seller.  (The New York Times, 8/16/2013)

Excerpt:      The Spark, made in South Korea, seats four, has room for groceries — and starts at $12,170, significantly less than the Fiat 500’s starting price of $16,100. It’s also inexpensive to run, getting about 35 miles to the gallon.



Not Everyone is Enamored of the Gray Seals Proliferating in Cape Cod Bay



Thriving in Cape Cod’s Waters, Gray Seals Draw Fans and Foes. (The New York Times, 8/16/2013)

Excerpt: These days, they emerge by the thousands on sandbars or pop up in small groups along the shoreline. They delight visitors who watch their heads bob above the waves. But they invade fishermen’s nets, draw sharks closer to the shore and are rankling those who make their living by the sea so much that some are calling for blood.

NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources.   Gray Seal (Halichoerus grypus)

Seal Abatement Coalition.    A not-for-profit corporation that brings individuals and organizations together to understand the problems and find solutions to the large and rapidly growing population of gray seals.

Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library's Street Piano

Friends we went out to dinner with last night mentioned seeing street pianos during a recent visit to Boulder, Colorado.  (Didn't find a video specific to Topeka.)



Playing in the Key of Art?  (Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library teen blog, 7/24/2013)

Excerpt: Ten students, two library staffers and a whole lot of Elmer’s glue, newspaper, acrylic paint and spray paint went into a musical attraction that will soon sit outside the library. 

A piano, complete with bench, is intended to be played and viewed as a work of art. Teens came in during weeknights in mid-July to paint and learn some art lessons from the lead artist on the project Christian Sauerman, a Washburn sophomore majoring in art.

Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library to Offer 24/7 Holds Pick-up

Coming Soon: A New Way to Pick Up Your Stuff



Smartlocker from bibliotheca.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Digging Below the Surface of Job Gains: "Not That Wonderful a Picture"


Meet the Council.

The annual pay for someone working full-time at $9.50 an hour is $19,760.

For a family of two, the poverty line is set at a household income of $19,090 per year.  For a family of 4, it's $23,050.

Grim Picture of Recovery in Forecasts by Retailers. (The New York Times, 8/15/2013)

Excerpt:     “A lot of the gains have been in extremely low-paying sectors: 
  • retail, 
  • health care, 
  • temporary employment,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief economist at MFR
When it is not full-time work, he said, benefits are low to nonexistent.

Wonder what kind of benefits those $9.50 an hour jobs have?

Two Americas: The Retail Edition

Grim Picture of Recovery in Forecasts by Retailers.  (The New York Times, 8/15/2013)

As quoted in the Times article.  (The emphasis is Retiring Guy's.)

Retail Metrics.  . An independent, quantitatively oriented, research firm providing timely retail industry research & data to the institutional investment community.

Roadkill and Home Menu Planning: I'm Not Sure This is What the Montana Legislature Envisioned

The video -- and it's part of a series, if you like this kinda stuff -- opens with a warning. Some people may find the following content disturbing.



Learn more about "stunt eater" Louis Cole.

Roadkill Gains Traction as a Home Menu Item.  (The New York Times, 8/15/2013)

Excerpt:      This year, the legislation passed with bipartisan support and was signed by Gov. Steve Bullock. Now, anyone who wants to gather roadkill need only obtain a free permit from a peace officer within 24 hours. 

“You have to take the animal in its entirety,” said Ron Aasheim, spokesman for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department, which is currently accepting public comment on how the new law will be administered. “And you have to dispose of it.”



Time for breakfast.


With a sprinkling of Craisins.

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Nation's Second Busiest



Bolt Problem Won’t Delay San Francisco Bridge’s Opening. (The New York Times, 8/15/2013)

Excerpt: The new stretch of the bridge is equipped with the latest in antiseismic design. But in March, 32 in a batch of 96 high-strength steel bolts holding shock-absorbing devices called shear keys snapped, a failure that Steve Heminger, the chairman of the committee, later described as “catastrophic.” 

The defective bolts are being replaced with steel cable saddles. Last month, transportation officials said they would postpone the opening of the bridge until all the saddles were installed, pushing the opening date into December at the earliest. But some experts, including the bridge project’s chief engineer, favored the Labor Day opening because they argued that the new bridge, though incomplete, was already safer than the existing one.

Flashback to 1989



Bay Bridge History.  (Groundbreaking for the bridge took place on July 9, 1933.)

No audio.  And the video doesn't stay focused on its subject, or so it seems, but still fascinating to view.

Self-Confessed "Shoe Addict" Previews the September Issue of 'Lucky'



Eva Chen, Trending Now at Lucky Magazine. (The New York Times, 8/14/2013)

Excerpt:     The question now is whether she can resuscitate the ailing Lucky, the Condé Nast shopping magazine that seemed avant-garde when it was started by Kim France in 2000, but has suffered in recent years. 

[Another area of life where circulation is a big deal.]  Circulation has remained steady at around 1.1 million since the previous editor, Brandon Holley, took over in September 2010, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. But ad dollars were down over 10 percent in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, according to the Association of Magazine Media.


Anna Wintour Brings On Eva Chen to Help Save Lucky Magazine. (Fashionista, 4/10/2013)

Excerpt:   Lucky Magazine, with its drop in ad pages over the last few years (the mag dropped 38 pages in 2012) and flagging circulation, is at the top of the list, it seems.


LINKcat libraries (51 locations) that subscribe to Lucky:
  • Dane County Library Service (bookmobile)
  • Fitchburg
  • Alicia Ashman Branch (Madison)
  • Hawthorne Branch (Madison)
  • Lakeview Branch (Madison)
  • Pinney Branch (Madison)
  • Marshall
  • Monona
  • Sauk City
  • Spring Green
  • Sun Prairie
  • Verona
  • Wisconsin Rapids (McMillan Memorial)

L. C. King Manufacturing in Bristol, Tennessee



Dirty Old Factories. (The New York Times, 8/14/2013)

Excerpt:     Since 1913, L. C. King Manufacturing Co., of Bristol, Tenn., has been making workwear under its Pointer Brand label. In recent years, fashion designers from as far away as Japan have taken notice of the timeless occupational attire and American craftsmanship. The family-owned company now works with regional and international designers whose cuts and hems transcend the workday for the runway.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Community Deficit Fighters at the Cleveland Public Library



Cleveland Public Library. 2011 Report to the Community.

(Can't access the the CPL homepage right now.)

One of the Oglala Sioux's Greatest Enemies Will Soon Be For Sale on the Reservation

If the 1,645-1,494 vote holds up to scrutiny.

 

At Tribe’s Door, a Hub of Beer and Heartache. (The New York Times,3/8/2012)

Excerpt: Nearly all the alcohol bought in Whiteclay winds up on Pine Ridge or is consumed by its residents, tribal officials say. Pine Ridge is home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe and is one of the poorest places in the country, according to 2010 census data.

Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Alcohol Lawsuit Dismissed in Federal Court Without Prejudice.  (Indian Country, 10/3/2012)

Excerpt:   On October 1, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) against brewers, retailers and distributors of alcohol sold in Whiteclay, Nebraska. The lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge John M. Gerrard, without prejudice, which means the tribe is free to take their claims to state court.

Pine Ridge Reservation Votes to End Alcohol Ban. (The New York Times, 8/14/2013)

Excerpt: Tribal election officials on Wednesday evening confirmed that tribal members, in a public referendum, had voted to overturn the ban on possessing and selling alcohol on the reservation. The vote tally was 1,843 in favor of legalization and 1,678 against it, according to the election commission. 

Tribal members will have three days to challenge the result, but the election chairman, Francis Pumpkin Seed, said the burden to get a vote struck down was high in that whoever complains would have to prove that election law was violated.

I Know from Experience That Those Stack Movers Work Very Well





View the Construction in Progress at the New South Hadley Public Library



South Hadley Public Library Building Program

A New York City (Primarily Manhattan) Bibliography

Why hold onto yellowed clippings from the New York Times when I can access most of the articles online via Google?


What follows is casually composed, not according to Hoyle, as they say.

"Fear of Crime Is Now Woven Into Fabric of New York Life."  (January 31, 1982)

"'Sliver' Apartment Houses (and Tempers) Going Up in City".  (February 8, 1982)

"New York Addicts from Out of Town".  (November 26, 1982)

"About New York:  On Matinee Day, All of Midtown's a Stage".  (December 2, 1982)

"Luxury Is Alive and Well".  (December 17, 1982)

"Welfare Children Growing Up in Times Sq. 'Hell'".  (June 25, 1984)

"Youngsters Annoy Travelers at Manhattan Depots".

"City's Prices are Hard on Youth".  (August 29, 1985)

"Explosive Growth is Just Around the Corner for the Upper West Side".

"Woody Allen's Selective Vision of New York".  (March 7, 1986)

"The Hidden Charms of the Far West Village".  (April 18, 1986)

"52d St. Loses Clubs for Skyscrapers".  (April 23, 1986)

"Towers Portend Future of Midtown".

"'New' Madison Ave. is a European Street of Glittering Shops".

"A Quiet Place in the Sky Drifts Onto a Page of New York's Past".  (June 18, 1986)

"Battery Park City is a Triumph of Urban Design".  (August 31, 1986)

"Local Supermarket:  A Declining Breed?"  (September 6, 1986)

"What are Dakota and Montana Doing in New York?:  How Styles Shift in the Naming of Apartment Houses"  (September 28, 1986)

"New York Night Life and Cocaine:  Still Entwined".  (October 11, 1986)

"New Apartment Houses Evoke New York's Past".  (October 13, 1986)

"To Expert Eyes, City Streets Are Open Mental Wards".  (November 4, 1986)

"Homeless in New York City:  a Day on the Streets".  (November 17, 1986)  

"Welfare Hotel:  Where the Displaced Live Grim Lives Amid Faded Glory".  (November 18, 1986)

"Families In New York Welfare Hotels Find Existence a Daily Battle of Wits".

"Big Battery Park City Dreams".  (December 1, 1986)

"Harlem and the Speculators:  Big Profits but Little Reward".  (December 19, 1986)

"New York Problem:  Streets as Urinals".  (December 29, 1986)

"Times Square Renewal:  Trying to Retain 80 Years of Warm Memories".  (February 5, 1987)

"Garment Industry In a New Squeeze".  (September 26, 1987)

"Downscaling the Avenues on the Upper East Side".  (December 3, 1987)

"Preserving Upper West Side History".  (December 27, 1987)

"Tenements of 1880's Adapt to 1980's".  (January 3, 1988)

"Is the Upper East Side Moving North?"  (January 31, 1988)

"Japanese Interest; In Harlem, Megaprojects Create Hope - And Fear".  (April 17, 1988)

"The Promise of Harlem Draws the Middle Class".  (April 25, 1988)

"Battery Park City: A New Phase Begins".  (June 19, 1988)

"Grim Seeds of Park Rampage Found in East Harlem Streets".  (May 2, 1989)

"As Tompkins Square Park Declines, Neighborhoods' Attitude Is Shifting".  (December 7, 1989)

"Raw and Bawdy, 42d St. Awaits a Big Change".  (December 11, 1989)

"Exclamation Point for Battery City Park".  (March 11, 1990)

"Angry Invective Blots Out Sun Over Genteel Gramercy Park".  (February 2, 1991)

Life in the Towers:  Home in a Hard Place

"New Districts Revive Debate:  Where and What Is Harlem?"  (May 8, 1991)

"More Singles Jilt the City for the Suburbs".  (May 9, 1991)

"The Graying of a Co-op: Looking Within for Help".  (May 19, 1991)

"For the Boat People of Manhattan, Low Rent and River Views".  (October 5, 1991)

"A Shantytown Society Grows In the Shadow of Skyscrapers".  (October 20, 1991)

"Squatters in City Buildings Face Eviction by the Landlord".  (October 20, 1991

"Keeping the Moat, but Putting Out the Welcome Mat".   (November 15, 1992)

"Downtown's Empty Feeling".  (May 9, 1993)

"Developer Plans New York Tower To Set a Record".

"The Suburban Ideal Still Exists in New York City".  (Sutton Place, Staten Island)

"Symbolic Scale of Proposed Towers Could Overwhelm a Wide-Open Site".

"Trading Air to Build Towers".

Gary, Indiana: The Mayor's Dollar Home Program



A Chance to Own a Home for $1 in a City on the Ropes. (The New York Times, 8/14/2013)

Excerpt: Officials say that a third of the houses in Gary are unoccupied, hollowed dwellings spread across a city that, like other former industrial powerhouses, has lost more than half its population in the last half-century. 

While some of those homes will be demolished, Gary is exploring a more affordable way to lift its haggard tax base and reduce the excess of empty structures: sell them for $1.





Gary Works (United States Steel Corporation)

Hutchinson Public Library: An Award-Winning Video and a Homepage Filled with White Space



This video was the winner for the state of MN in the 2012 Teen Video Challenge hosted by the Collaborative Summer Library Program.

This is what I find when I google hutchinson library minnesota.

This is what I find, however, when I got through the Pioneerland Library System.  MUCH better.


Here's What Got Ron Johnson's Undies in a Bundle (NoRoJo in 2016, Chapter 12)



Ron Johnson Accuses Group Fighting Climate Change Of 'Environmental Jihad'. (Huffington Post, 8/14/2013)

Excerpt:   The group's advocacy arm announced the $2 million campaign Monday, targeting Johnson and House Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) and Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) in their districts. The spots will run for two weeks both on TV and online.

The League of Conservation Voters

Related posts:
Chapter 1.  (1/2/2013)
Chapter 2.  (1/10/2013)
Chapter 3.  (2/12/2013)
Chapter 4.  (2/13/2013)
Chapter 5   (3/11/2013)
Chapter 6.  (3/25/2013)
Chapter 7.  (4/8/2013)
Chapter 8.  (4/9/2013)
Chapter 9.  (4/12/2013)
Chapter 10. (4/14/2013)
Chapter 11.  (5/2/2013)


In the News: The Federal False Claims Act (Is Nothing New)


Incentive proposal for identifying waste and fraud raises concerns. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/14/2013)

Excerpt: Twenty-nine other states and Washington, D.C., have laws similar to the one being proposed in Wisconsin. The proposal is based on the federal False Claims Act, which provides individuals with rewards often of 15% to 25 % of the amount saved as a result of their tip, according to co-author Rep. Chad Weininger's office.

The False Claims Act: A Primer.

The False Claims Act:  Questions and Answers.

The law was enacted in 1863, during the Civil War, as a result of Congress's concern that suppliers of goods were defrauding the Army.

As for that 15% to 25% reward?  Apparently it's no slam-dunk.  There's a qualifying phrase:  ....depending upon the extent to which the person substantially contributed to the prosecution of the action

Vos Damns Olsen Proposal with Faint Praise

First of all, he calls it "a good place to start".

Olsen proposal puts focus on voucher accountability. (Oshkosh Northwestern, 8/14/2013)

Excerpt:   Vos also used his statement to say that the sponsors, Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, and Rep. Steve Kestell, R-Elkhart Lake, negotiated with the Department of Public Instruction on the bill. Many Republicans distrust DPI, given state Superintendent Tony Evers’ opposition to expanding voucher schools.



Or, perhaps, or insure it goes up in smoke, especially since School Choice Wisconsin president Jim Bender gives the proposal a thumbs-down.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Remember Annuals? (As in Publications Appearing Once a Year)


For Sports Fans, Before the Internet, There Were the Complete Handbooks. (The New York Times, 8/13/2013)

Excerpt:   From 1971 to 1997, Hollander edited sports yearbooks, brick-sized tomes known as Complete Handbooks, which in the pre-Internet era were almost holy objects to a certain type of sports-crazed youngster. Here, in one glorious place, was information — statistics, team rosters, records, schedules, predictions for the coming season and more — freed from the restrictions of newspaper column inches and far beyond what a still embryonic cable television system was providing.

:/

Historians and Their Shtick: The Pauline Maier Edition



Pauline Maier, Historian Who Described Jefferson as ‘Overrated,’ Dies at 75. (The New York Times, 8/13/2013)

Her aim is not so true. Professor Maier aimed her books at general as well as scholarly audiences by building suspense in telling stories whose outcome readers already knew. Her model was the popular historian Barbara Tuchman, who made a point of never mentioning an outcome until its proper moment in the story.

Books by Pauline Maier in LINKcat..  (43 member libraries + 8 Madison branches.)
s

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory Seems to Prefer the Company of Other Middle-Aged White Men

At least from the evidence of the photos on the Governor's homepage.

The (white) men outnumber the (white) women 10 to 2.

The (white) men outnumber the (white) woman 5 to 1.

The (white) men outnumber the women 4 to 0, although there are some young'uns, male and female, at the left side of the photo.

Showing some improvement, McCrory poses with three men and two women.

Just in case you're wondering.


What got me to thinking along these lines?

North Carolinians Fear the End of a Middle Way.  (The New York Times, 8/13/2013)

Can't provide a URL right now, as the Times website is down.

Cast a Long Shadow: The Movie Trailer and the Morning Photo



TCM thumbnail summary.  Audie Murphy plays a hard-drinking drifter who tries to claim a deceased cattle baron's estate.


Photo credit:  Retiring Guy

At the intersection of Gateway South & Elmwood Avenue, Middleton, Wisconsin, 6:15 a.m., Wednesday, August 14, 2013.

Summary:  Retired librarian confronted by his elongated form during peaceful morning walk.


"It's a Whole New Ballgame": The Next Chapter


The AAU's Growing Influence.    In recent years, attempts by the NCAA to control the summer league teams have largely failed, and their power has only increased. In recruiting, the independent travel team coaches are now viewed as being more influential than most high school coaches. Without strong AAU ties, recruiting at an elite level becomes difficult, if not impossible, according to college assistant coaches.



Excerpt:    The head of a major Amateur Athletic Union basketball program in Washington was arrested last week on drug trafficking charges after what law enforcement officials said was a yearlong investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration.


Outagamie County Drags Its Feet on Domestic Partner Benefits for County Employees

The City of Appleton approved domestic benefits for its non-union employees nearly 2 years ago.


Outagamie going slowly on domestic partner benefits.  (Appleton Post-Crescent, 8/13/2013)

Excerpt:    Outagamie County supervisors are taking a deliberative approach to Executive Thomas Nelson’s proposal to extend benefits to the domestic partners of employees. 

The county’s Legislative/Audit and Human Resources Committee on Tuesday postponed a decision on whether to send the proposal to the County Board for a vote. 

The committee will revisit the issue later this month. When Nelson introduced the proposal in July, he touted it as a way to stay competitive in recruiting and retaining quality employees.

Retiring Guy notes that at least one supervisor seems intent on blocking this proposal,

Photo credit:  Outagamie County

Pleuss is also concerned about the "potential for abuse" and, as the above quote illustrates, sees a "moral element" here that needs to be defended.

Perhaps none of this is all that surprising.


On the other hand, maybe Jim should take a look at this list:  Wisconsin Employers Offering Domestic Partner Benefits. (Fair Wisconsin)

In the News: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies


Wisconsin Ranks 48th In Nation In Arts Spending. (Wisconsin Radio News, 8/14/2013)

Excerpt:     The study also found that with a slowly improving economy, states are once again investing more money in the arts. Governors in most states are recommending increases in arts funding for the next fiscal year. But the Wisconsin Arts Board will see a slight decrease in state funding.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kraft sez "Get your chef together"



Off-Color Wordplay From Kraft, Part of a Big Marketing Blitz. (The New York Times, 8/11/2013)

Excerpt:    The new line of nine meal-starters, called Kraft Recipe Makers, is being introduced with a campaign that features two celebrity chefs, Rocco DiSpirito and Carla Hall, presented in commercials as if they were a smart-aleck brother and sister critiquing their parents’ ability to come up with new and different dinner menus. In keeping with efforts by Kraft Foods to reach younger consumers, the campaign also will run in a full range of nontraditional media that includes digital ads and a presence in social media like Twitter.

Retiring Guy sez, if you really want to get your shit together in the kitchen, bypass the highly processed packaged goods and go directly to this recipe.

New Kraft Commercial Eerily Depicts Everything Wrong About Food TV. (Flipbeets, 8/12/2013)

Excerpt:    The campaign's accompanying slogan is "Get your chef together," which sounds a lot like the admonishment "Get your shit together." But a Kraft brand manager tells the New York Times that it isn't intentional: "We were not targeting it to be a play off a vulgar word,"

Oh, please!




Skirt Chaser 5K Coming to Middleton?


Looking into the experience.

Skirt Chaser 5K.  (Life is a Journey....Enjoy the Ride, 6/22/2013)

Excerpt:    I also could not find a charity or benefit recipient for this race, thus making it a 'for profit' event... not something I usually attend as I prefer to choose races that give back to the community thus validating the expense behind public competition.

10 Wacky, Tacky, and Insane Races.  (Healthy Tipping Point, 5/15/2012)

Excerpt:    The Skirt Chaser 5K mixes “flirting and racing.” Most participants sign up as a couple, and the women get a 3-minute head start on their partners, who try to ‘catch them’ on the course. If you’re single and looking for a love who appreciates racing as much as you do, you wear a special sticker – who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone nice on the course!

Skirt Chaser 5k Report.  (Pieces of Me, 9/8/2008)

Excerpt:   The skirts were surprisingly comfortable to run in. The "undies" part didn't chafe or rub (at least on me). BUT... let me tell ya - this race could have easily changed it's name to "ASS CHASER 5k." I saw more ass than a political convention.

Some of the ladies must have purchased the "g-string" version because when the skirt flipped up a bit while running, the cheeks were hanging out the bottom. Lots of cheeks, floppin in the wind.

And for those of you skirt chasers planning ahead.....


A Soft-Spoken Eydie Gorme Tries to Stump the "What's My Line?" Panel



The show is from early 1964.   In her introduction of Steve Lawrence, Arlene Francis makes reference to his starring in the Broadway musical version of "What Makes Sammy Run?", which opened on February 27, 1964.

Thokoza: A New York Times Profile



A Musical Get-Together of New Old Friends. The Women of ‘I Sing for Freedom’. (The New York Times, 8/11/2013)

Excerpt: These six women, who have settled into a regular Monday night slot at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, first sang together for an audience only in February. Before they began rehearsing for those shows they didn’t even all know one another. 

Now not only does their music sound intricate and effortless, but their banter — a crucial part of the show — does, too.

A Royal Baby: Just What the Doctor Ordered for Sagging Celebrity Magazine Newsstand Sales


"Lord help us if this turns out to be a long labor."

Simon's caustic remarks seem to have fallen on deaf ears in the U.S., as.....

Celebrity Weeklies Are Reveling in a Royal Baby, and Sales. (The New York Times, 8/11/2013)

Excerpt:   For the struggling weeklies, the royal baby has become the story that keeps on selling. People, which published the first royal baby cover with the “Royal Baby Joy!” collector’s issue, was expected to sell 1.4 million copies during the two weeks it remained on newsstands, said Larry Hackett, People’s managing editor. He added that it was the magazine’s best-selling issue so far this year.

Look for improvements, i.e., smaller declines, in this column graph next February.



Related posts:
Magazine newsstand sales continue to decline.  (8/9/2013)
Once upon a time, people used to buy magazines to read celebrity news. (2/8/2013)
Magazine Subscriptions Flat, Newsstand Sales Decline by 10%. (8/9/2013)
The Pluses and Minuses of Newsstand Magazine Sales. (2/4/2012)

Stage 1, Phase 1 of the Verona Road (US18/151) Project

In all stages and phases,it's a biggie, folks.


Stage 1. proposed improvements include: 
  • Single point interchange at Beltline and Verona Road (US 18/151) 
  • Jug-handle intersection at Verona Road (US 18/151) and Summit Road 
  • Ramp improvements at Whitney Way and Seminole Highway 
  • Improved pedestrian and bicycle accommodations 
  • Adding noise walls 
  • Expansion of the Beltline to three lanes to Whitney Way


Perhaps the biggest dislocation right now is the closure of the Seminole Road bridge over the Beltline.  The interchange and bridge are being reconstructed.

Wouldn't you just love to have the Beltline to yourself just once?  (A variation on a Twilight Zone theme.)

Don't You Hate When This Happens?


Latest status report here is from last week.

On the other hand, downrightnow sez Twitter may be experiencing issues right now. It's a key indicator of service trouble, so our status information might be temporarily incomplete.

Iowa City Public Library and the City Plaza Children's Garden



Watch the garden grow at I.C. library.  (Cedar Rapids Gazette, 8/11/2013)

Excerpt:    The City Plaza Children’s Garden was planted in 2012 as part of the Iowa City Public Library’s Children’s Day events. This downtown garden is the result of collaboration between New Pioneer Co-op and the city of Iowa City. Scott Koepke, education and outreach coordinator for New Pioneer Food Co-op’s Soilmates program, and Rachael Carlson, who works with the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization, planted the garden with the help of children who attended Children’s Day. 

Debbie Dunn, a library assistant in the Children’s Services Department, was also involved in organizing this effort. The Iowa City Public Library sees the garden as another hands-on opportunity to educate children about where their food comes from and how things grow.



New Cedar Rapids Public Library Grand Opening is August 24



An April 2013 construction progress video.


Other CRPL posts:
High hopes for new Cedar Rapids Library, not so much for operating funds, (2/11/2013)
And that's where we are.  (8/5/2012)
Construction time lapse. (8/3/2012)
Groundbreaking celebration.  (5/2/2012)
Construction update.  (12/1/2012)
Construction of new library starts December 5.  (10/14/2011)
Cedar Rapids PTA Council supports new library with penny drive. (9/19/2011)
Contracts sent out for bid.  (8/30/2011)
A "progressive and forward-looking design".  (1/11/2011)
FEMA sez it can't support site for new Cedar Rapids library. (9/16/2010)
New library construction will include old bricks.  (8/18/2010)
Library circulation plummets at temporary location.  (8/6/2010)
Library staff looking at the best design ideas. (5/6/2010)
For sale, old library, needs work.  (4/9/2010)
Site Selection Raises Ethics Concerns.  (2/9/2010)
Cedar Rapids Library Board to Recommend Site for New Library. (01/26/2010)
FEMA Reconsiders, Decides Library Provides an Essential Service. (12/24/2009)
Hide and Seek: Downtown Cedar Rapids Satellite Branch Library. (11/30/2009)
Early Days of Cedar Rapids Public Library. (11/20/2009)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Some Older Voters Take a Journey to the Center of the Republican Party's Mind and Don't Like What They See


Are Seniors Souring on the Republican Party? (The Atlantic, 8/10/2013)

Excerpts: Just 28 percent of voters 65 and older had a favorable view of the Republican Party in a national survey conducted last month by the Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, versus 40 percent who had a positive view of the Democrats. That's a reversal from a poll Greenberg conducted in early 2011, when 43 percent of seniors saw Republicans favorably and 37 percent saw Democrats that way.


Since these results are from a Democratic pollster, I'll hold off on the high-fives for now.

And perhaps there's not all that much to cheer about, considering the Democrats gained just 3 percentage points while the Republicans lost a whopping 15.

Makes me wonder if a growing number of older voters are saying, "Throw the bums out -- all of 'em!!"

They make be souring on the Republican party, but they don't seems to be getting much sweeter on the Democrats.

Jamestown New York Also Finds Out That Flushable Wipes Aren't So Flushable



‘Flushable’ Wipes Causing Problems. Sewer Board Asks Those With Infants To Be Cautious. (Jamestown Post-Journal, 8/12/2013)

Excerpt:   "Until we find a way to deal with it, it is going to continue to be a problem."

Attention sewer board members:  They're also being promoted for adult use!

Soundalikes: Levy and Levee



Imagine That! (Gives new meaning to "Leave the driving to us!")

Some of you remember the jingle.



Disruptions: As New Targets for Hackers, Your Car and Your House. (The New York Times, 8/11/2013)

Excerpt:    Imagine driving on the freeway at 60 miles per hour and your car suddenly screeches to a halt, causing a pileup that injures dozens of people. Now imagine you had absolutely nothing to do with the accident because your car was taken over by hackers. 

Once Upon a Time, Alberta Darling was a Moderate Republican

(highlights added)

Her current legislative bio doesn't list her as being a "former member" of the two highlighted groups.

Sandy Pasch says she voted for Darling -- the original version, 20 years ago. (Uppity Wisconsin, 7/22/2011)



But perhaps there are limits.

Undoubtedly, Tyler August is Just Following Orders


Excerpt:   The chairman of the panel to which the measure is assigned — Lake Geneva Republican Tyler August of the Assembly Committee on Government Operations and State Licensing [7 Republicans, 4 Democrats, at last count] — says legislative redistricting reform will not even be granted a hearing. 

Undoubtedly, that’s because August knows exactly where his party colleagues stand on the issue. The Republicans are in power. They intend to do everything they can to stay in power. Rigging legislative lines worked like a charm following the 2010 census. And it can work like a charm again after the 2020 census if they can hang on and resist change.

Related posts:
Will Republican Leadership in Wisconsin Fail to Support Redistricting Reform? (7/22/2013)
The Redistricting Weasels Sing a Chorus of "Because I said so!!"  (5/16/2013)
Common Cause in Wisconsin asks, "Do your state legislators support non-partisan redistricting reform?"  (5/14/2013)
A trio of non-responses in this redistricting story.  (4/22/2013) 
Actually, Robin, Your Riposte is Patently Absurd.  (12/30/2012) 
Expect a Frigid Reception from Wisconsin Republicans to This Redistricting Bill.  (12/7/2012)
Close, but no cigar, in this Republican redistricting effort to steal an Assembly seat.  (11/20/2012)
Redistricting in Wisconsin:  The plumber controls the spigot.  (11/15/2012)
Eric Litke can't see the forest for the trees.  (11/12/2012)
Robin Vos and religious imagery.  (10/15/2012)
The faces of gerrymandering.  (10/9/2012)
What it's all about in Wisconsin.  (8/1/2012)
Who's running for state office in Wisconsin:  31st Assembly District.  (7/4/2012)
Not anymore!  (2/7/2012)
Redistricting in Wisconsin:  the Basics.  (12/6/2011)
Define "judicial activism".  (12/3/2011)
More headaches but this time Sen. Lazich has the cure.  (10/27/2011)
Legislative redistricting in Wisconsin, part 2.  (10/24/2011)
Legislative redistricting in Wisconsin,  part 1.  (10/18/2011)
Legislative Reference Bureau legislative brief:  Local redistricting readjustment.  (9/6/2011)
Let's call this bill exactly what it is:  an unfunded mandate.  (7/21/2011)
Wisconsin redistricting plan popeils DeForest, Windsor.  (7/21/2011)
Fred Clark gets redrawn out of  his district?  Just a coincidence, of course.  (7/21/2011)
Oshkosh Northwestern editorial board tells it like it is.  (7/29/2011)
Wisconsin legislative redistricting:  Abandoned principles, interactive maps, bill text, and more. (7/13/2011)
Congressional redistricting in Wisconsin.  (6/19/2011)

Residents of the Arid Southwest Encouraged to "Lose That Lawn"

Arid Southwest Cities’ Plea: Lose the Lawn. (The New York Times, 8/11/2013)

Excerpt:    In hopes of enticing, or forcing, residents to abandon the scent of freshly cut grass, cities in this parched region have offered homeowners ever-increasing amounts to replace their lawns with drought-resistant plants; those who keep their grass face tough watering restrictions and fines for leaky sprinklers. 

These efforts are drastically reshaping the landscape, with cactuses and succulents taking over where green grass once reigned.



Excerpt:   Las Vegas presents a model of how quickly the landscape can change when a city moves aggressively. In 2003, after a drought wiped out the city’s water resources, the Las Vegas Valley Water District offered what officials believe was the first turf removal rebate program in the country.  

Since then, the water district has paid out nearly $200 million to remove 165.6 million square feet of grass from residences and businesses. 

In the winter, watering is allowed only one day a week

Not everyone is on board, of course.



As you might suspect, Nick doesn't mention the winter watering restriction.

Three Independent Bookstore Fundraising Campaigns on Indiegogo

To Stay Afloat, Bookstores Turn to Web Donors. (The New York Times, 8/11/2013)

Indiegogo (slightly exceeded goal)


Save Adobe Books from kyle knobel on Vimeo.

Indiegogo (not even close to goal)

Spellbound Books (slightly exceeded goal)




Sunday, August 11, 2013

36 Hours in Lecce, Italy: The Armchair Edition

The New York Times travel article, 8/9/2013.

The intro: Thanks to dozens of mostly Baroque-era churches packing its maze of narrow streets, Lecce, the “Florence of the South,” dazzles with elaborately carved facades and interiors that erupt with symphonies of angels, cherubs, saints, saviors and Madonnas. But this small gem in Italy’s heel is far from a haven of monkish abstemiousness. A capital of southern Italian cooking, the city brims with rustic restaurants serving the hearty peasant cuisine and robust red wines of the Puglia (Apulia in English) region. Throw in a buzzing bar scene and nearby beaches of sun-bronzed bodies and you have a city fit for holy men and hedonists alike.














Saving the best video for last.



Novelist Michael Farris Smith Weighs in on Performance-Enhancing Drugs and Cheating

What If Novelists Took Steroids?  (The New York Times, 8/10/2013)


Note to South Central Library System colleagues with collection development responsibilities:  Please consider purchasing Smith's novel Rivers, to be published next month.

Are We Having Fun Yet? Museums and the Businesses of Experience



High Culture Goes Hands-On. (The New York Times, 8/10/2013)

Excerpt:  But the spirit of “Work No. 965” is everywhere, common among curators, museum directors and, of course, artists. You could see it in “Rain Room,” the popular summer installation at MoMA PS1 that was billed as giving “visitors the experience of controlling the rain.” 



You could see it when the Metropolitan Museum’s summer rooftop installations like “Big Bambú” by the Starn Twins (2010) 



and Tomás Saraceno’s mirrored, modular habitat “Cloud City” (2012) 



— both walk-through experiences — become the talk of the town, while Anthony Caro’s steel sculptures (2011)



and this year’s landscapes by Imran Qureshi did not.    (Don't think this is what Dorbrzynski is referring to)



At the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Carsten Höller’s appropriately named “Experience,” which gave visitors the opportunity to slide down a corkscrew path from the fourth floor to the second and was described, according to The New York Times, “as an art world amusement park,” drew lines around the block in 2011.



Need I mention Marina Abramovic’s “The Artist Is Present” at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010, a participatory performance piece that had New Yorkers queuing up for hours to sit in silence opposite the artist, who simply stared in return? What was that about but the experience?



Thinking Along the Same Lines: Jimmy Carter and Charles Blow


Charles M. Blow.  'A Town Without Pity'.  (The New York Times, 8/9/2013)

Excerpt: Today’s America — at least as measured by the actions and inactions of the pariahs who roam its halls of power and the people who put them there — is insular, cruel and uncaring.

In this America, people blame welfare for creating poverty rather than for mitigating the impact of it. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in June found that the No. 1 reason people gave for our continuing poverty crisis was: “Too much welfare that prevents initiative.”

NYPL Draws Big Crowd with $1 Vinyl Record Sale



22,000 Vinyl LPs for Sale by NY Library for $1 Each. (Epoch Times, 8/9/2013)


I would have been on the lookout for this overlooked gem from 1972.



Perhaps They Could Start with a Website Redesign

Notwithstanding the title of this post, congratulations are very much in order!

Canton Library Plans To Celebrate Centenary. (Hartford Courant, 8/11/2013)


Library history.

That was Then, This is Now: St. Louis County Library Foundation Family Heritage Center

Credit:  Skyscraper Forum

THEN
St. Louis County Library to build genealogy center. (St. Louis Business Journal, 5/28/2010)

Excerpt: The Family Heritage Center, expected to open by 2012, is to be built on six acres near Baxter and Wild Horse Creek roads in Chesterfield, west of Chesterfield Mall. Louis Sachs, chairman of Sachs Properties, donated land for the project. 

The specifics:
  • 63,000 square feet, which would allow expansion of the 
  • House library's existing genealogy collection. The building is to include an 
  • Auditorium 
  • Family history museum.
  • No cost estimate offered

NOW
Library's standalone genealogy center a lost cause. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 8/10/2013)

Excerpt: Despite that setback, and the resignation last month of its director, the library has the public funding to proceed with a $108 million, 10-year construction plan and will include a genealogy center in one of the libraries, says its interim director, Kristen Sorth.

Fundraising campaign didn't reach its goal.