Sunday, March 25, 2007


All elements of the trip to San Jose when very smoothly. What a difference a day makes! We were a little screwed up on the time when we arrived as Costa Rica has not jump-started Day Light Savings Time as we did in the States.

We had a very pleasant conversation with the rep from our tour company on the way to our hotel. Among other things my wife asked him what he called hummingbirds. He said, "Hummingbirds! ... I speak English so often, I forgot what to call them in Spanish" Ya Think?

In any event, we have a 4AM wakeup call as we are to be picked up at 5AM to head for the airport to jump in the little plane on our trip to Tortuguero.

Buenas Noches

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The weather was great in the Wausau area when my wife and I started our trek to Costa Rica. However, the weather was rotten in Chicago. All afternoon commuter flights were cancelled. We found out they were cancelled out of Green Bay as well. Taking a chance on a late night flight was not good because all flights to Los Angeles were booked solid because of heavy travel on the Spring Break weekend.
So we booked a flight out of Green Bay on Sunday. Green Bay/Atlanta/San Jose. As a result we will miss all the activities planned for Sunday in San Jose. That includes my special tour of the National Library ! Bummer !
Also, the lodge in the Tortuguero area, where we head to first, does not have Internet access so I will be out of touch until mid-week. However, with a lifetime of experiences behind me, I've "learned to hit the curve-ball" and we'll handle the situation and still have a great time !

Hasta Luego


Saturday, March 24, 2007


This week's post of a celebrity who has been caught reading is Patty Duke. She is shown with a person who is visually impaired reading a braille book. Patty Duke has always been a favorite actress (actor) of mine. She has tackled some very tough roles centered on significant social issues. Hats off to her!

I also make this particular post because of a visually impaired person I met this year. She is Katherine Schneider. Kathy teaches at UW-Eau Claire. She is also very active in the Friends of the Library group in Eau Claire. Kathy was at Library Legislative Day and stood up and spoke up for library issues and legislation regarding impaired people of all varieties. I know that Kathy gets caught reading all the time!


Friday, March 23, 2007


A gentleman I met a number of years ago has had a significant effect on Costa Rica. He was the brother-in-law of a person I worked with in my job. This guy came from a farming background and achieved an agriculture degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In the Sixties he went to Costa Rica as a member of the Peace Corps. He got some Costa Ricans interested in dairy farming. Next they needed a way to market their product so he helped them form a cooperative known as Dos Pinos (Two Pines). It has developed into the major distributor of dairy products, not only in Costa Rica, but in all of Central America. They now market fruit juice products as well as their dairy offerings.
In his spare time, this Wisconsinite spent time on the beaches near Quepos on the Pacific shore of Costa Rica. He convinced officials that the area should be protected from development and helped them form the first Costa Rican National Park .... Manuel Antonio! A photo of the part of the beach at Manuel Antonio is included in this post.
I haven't seen this gentleman in a few years, but the last time he and his wife were at our house they indicated that they planned to buy a house in a small town about 30 miles outside of San Jose and retire there. Vacationing in Wisconsin during June, July & August was also in their plans. Sounds like a good plan to me. I hope they've followed their dream!

One man, willing to work hard and give of himself, can make a big difference in the lives of people ..... and even of a country!



The picture accompanying this post shows something I hope I will NOT see when I look out the window of the aircraft.

My wife and I are in the final stages of preparation for the trip. We packed several times, weighed the luggage, repacked, tried over again, repacked .... you get the idea. Because of various modes of transportation during the trip, we are limited to a total of 30 pounds each. When you figure in cameras, binoculars, birding manuals, BOOKS, and underwear there's not too much room for anything else. But we'll do it!
We also hope all the internet access points are up and working so we can remain in contact.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Tuesday, March 27th, is the 19th Annual American Diabetes Alert Day. The ADA is issuing a one-day "wake-up" call encouraging diabetics (I am one) to inform their family, friends, co-workers, whomever, about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated. Since I will be on vacation that day, I am passing on the Alert today.
Sixty million Americans are unaware they have diabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
WHO'S AT RISK?Your risk for type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, gain too much weight, or if you do not stay active. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Having high blood pressure (at or above 130/80)

  • Having a family history of diabetes

  • Having Diabetes during pregnancy or having a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth.


Take the test that appears on the ADA website

Take the American Diabetes Risk Test and if you score high, schedule an appointment to see your doctor. This test is available on the site in both English and Spanish.

Listen to the American Diabetes Alert podcast that you can find on the ADA website. It is an easy way to learn more about the risks and complications associated with type 2 diabetes especially for busy people on the go. The free podcast is also available on iTunes.

The growth of diabetes in our "fast-food" culture is enormous. Education regarding the growing problem could be a program for your library or your Friends group to help stem the tide in your own community.

Be sure to visit the ADA website.


Monday, March 19, 2007


Mark April 15th on your calendar. No...your taxes don't have to be in the mail on that day...its a Sunday, so you have an extra day to get started on doing that! April 15th is the day of the official celebration of the Marathon County Public Library's 100 Year Anniversary. That afternoon there will be all sorts of activities going on at the Library. The members of the Friends Board, the Foundation Board, and the Library Board will be acting as greeters and guides to show you around the library. Displays will range from the library of the past to the library of the future. There will be a trolley running to take you from your parking area to the library. There will be refreshments. There will be something of interest for everyone.
So, if you're in the area be sure to stop in. If you're not in the area....make a special will be worth it.



The subject of "Global Warming" is ever in the news these days. It first came up a few decades ago. The actions and words of Al Gore moved it up a few pages in the newspaper. And now, despite the fact that some politicians deny it's existance, "Global Warming" appears in virtually any publication you pick up.
Despite the publicity, it remains a controversial subject. Most controversial is what we should do about it. People in the State of New Hampshire are very concerned about it. In recent town meetings the subject is being widely debated. What is coming out of this is it appears that a state referendum on Climate Change will be put on the ballot. And this means that all the Presidential hopefuls that will be invading their state will be asked to comment on the issue and offer their opinion.
AN EXCELLENT IDEA. Check out the article which appears in today's New York Times at



This week's celebrity who has been caught reading hardly needs any introduction. "Rosie" has had a very colorful career. She always seems to be in the news. Her feud with Donald Trump is hilarious. Rosie has virtually taken over "The View" (Not that I'd ever watch that show .... but it occasionally shows up on the TV while I'm cleaning up in the kitchen...or whatever).

She is definitely a person who inspires strong opinions, and my opinion is very good .... now that she has been caught reading.



The SELVA VERDE LODGE is the third and final place my wife and I will be staying at during our visit to Costa Rica next week. We've been there before and have liked it very much. The Lodge is actually owned, in part, by Holbrook Travel, the firm who organized our adventure.

Selva Verde (pronouced Saylbah Bayrday in Spanish) is located on the Sarapiqui river. The river East of the Lodge is tranquil and we will be doing a boating tour on it. We have seen a myriad of wildlife including caiman on previous tours. The river West of the Lodge is very fast and rough, and white-water rafting is available. There is hiking available through a variety of terrains and many species of birds to be seen right there on Lodge property. I particularly like the Oropendola, which are a very large fruit-eating bird and found all over the Selva Verde property. They produce hanging sack-like nests similar to what the Baltimore Orioles do, but on a larger scale. You will never forget it's raucous cry, once you've heard it! There is also internet access at Selva Verde and I will be making blog postings and hopefully photograph postings as well from there. Check out the Lodge and it's facilities and surroundings at this web-site.........


Sunday, March 18, 2007


The Friends of the Medford Public Library will be hosting a Used Book sale for the general public on the following dates:

  • Thursday, April 19, 9AM to 7PM

  • Friday, April 20, 9AM to 5PM

  • Saturday, April 21, 9AM to Noon

Most books are priced at $.50 each. There are also tapes, CDs, and magazines available. The Medford Friends do a great job of organizing their sales. Take a trip next month to see Medford and their really super library!



The Wisconsin Badger Basketball Team had a great run this year. Their 30 wins are unequaled at any time in the school's history. They were an extremely talented group of kids that were slated for greatness before the season began. Some even forecasted them to win the Big-Ten title. They came close! So congratulations to seniors Alando Tucker, Kamron Tayor, Jason Chappel. Best of luck to you guys in the future. Who knows if and when we'll see another 30 win season.
However, I've never seen a group of athletes who were so poorly prepared to play. Time after time this season they came out onto the floor with a listless attitude, very little intensity, and netted poor performance as a result. At some time during the game they would generally get fired up and stage a come from behind victory, much to their fans' delight. Their great native talents and abilities, superior to most of their opponents allowed them to stage these fantastic come backs.
I guess I have to ask, WHY? Why would a team of this caliber come out cold and flat, game after game after game? Was it the coaching? But, the staff has excellent credentials. Was it a question of this team's character? Did they expect to win every time they stepped on the floor because the AP and ESPN polls said they would? After a few shoddy performances like this why did the coaching staff not take steps to change the mentality? I'm sure it's tough to read the riot act to a team that is winning virtually every game they play, but there is still the "tough love" that a parent has to demonstrate when a good kid does something beneath him.

In any event, most of their games their opponents came to play. Generally, the Badgers did not, but their superior talent carried them to victory at the end. But today, with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line, the Running Rebels of UNLV came prepared to give 100% effort, 100% intensity, for 100% of the minutes. We did not, and they kicked our butts!



This morning I checked out the Toronto Star newspaper (on-line version, of course). Toronto is one of my favorite cities. I'm totally enamored with the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). So I frequently check out their newspaper to see what's going on around the town to see if it's time to cash in some frequent flyer miles again.

There is a lot of "same-old, same-old" stuff in today's paper, but I noticed one article about a Toronto vocalist, Martina Sorbara, who now works out of London. I clicked onto her "teaser" listing and got the article about her and her group, and wouldn't you just know it...a link to a YouTube video of one of her latest songs. It's pretty cool! It's also cool seeing a newspaper have a digital version with links to other elements of today's digital world. And don't forget that getting to know your way around YouTube is one of the "23 things" that librarians should add to their toolbox, as pointed out in the recent SirsiDynix web-seminar (webinar).

Check out the paper and the video at.............


Thursday, March 15, 2007


The Friends of the Minocqua Public Library recently stepped up to the plate and did their part in the funding for the "EXTREME MAKEOVER" of the Minocqua Public Library facilities. President Mary Louise Hansen and Treasurer Barbara Edwards presented a check exceeding $23,500.00 to Library Director, Mary Taylor !!!

The Minocqua Friends do a great job with generating funds from their two annual book sales, as well as other fundraising activities during the year. They do many other things in the community as well. Currently, they are paying for the re-publication of a children's coloring book which features images out of Minocqua's past, which will be sold by the Historical Society in Minocqua. They are currently setting up their Quarterly Newsletter on a "listserv" so they can reach area residents even when some of them go South for the Winter.



The 2007 Conference of the Wisconsin Association of Academic Libraries will be held in Wisconsin Dells.....April 17-20.
There are 40 quality programs to choose from when attending this year's conference, too many to list in this posting, but it appears that there will surely be something for everyone.You can save $15-$20 if you do the advance reservation thing (By April 9th). You can sign up at
Conference rates for rooms at the Wintergreen Resort and Convention Center end April 8th. You can contact them at 1-800-648-4765.
You should visit the conference website for the latest news on the programming, the special events and information on Wisconsin Dells attractions and entertainment.......



A recent Email from Kris Adams-Wendt reminds us that Spring Elections are fast approaching. On April 3rd many local offices and issues will come before the voters. There is also one major Statewide race, that for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

Non-partisan sources of information on this race can be found at the Wisconsin League of Women Voters website, Wisconsin Public Television website and the Wisconsin Public Radio website
Wisconsin Public Television will also broadcast a Supreme Court Debate as a "We The People" special on Friday Night, March 30th at 7PM The program repeats on Sunday, April 1st, at 10AM.

We keep telling legislators that people who use libraries VOTE. Let's make sure we do, and that we make intelligent choices.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007


The Wisconsin Educational Media Association (WEMA) 2007 Spring Conference will be held 3/25-3/27 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison. On this year's agenda are programs concerning copyright issues, intellectual freedom, digital tools in libraries, and many more. There will be a legislative forum on 3/27. It kicks off with a breakfast at 7AM. This is followed by an address by Elizabeth Burmaster, the State Superintendant. The Conference also includes an Author Fair.


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NASA launched two satellites last year called STEREO A & STEREO B. The purpose of these satellites is to take stereo pictures of the sun to aid in scientific studies of our mother star. NASA recently published a photo taken by Stereo B of the moon transiting the sun. On earth we see solar eclipses when that happens, because of the unique relationship of apparent size of the two bodies as seen from the Earth. From Stereo B's position in space, the moon is less than 1/4 the apparent size of the sun. As a result we now have a unique photo of the two, in a perspective that man has never seen before.

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In 2006 Minneapolis opened their new fantastically modern library to the awe and admiration of many. However, budget problems quickly arose which have seriously affected their city-wide system. Three branches appear to have been closed in order to cut system costs. Now they are proposing merging with the Hennepin County Library System in order to further cut administration costs. An article on their problems and current roadblocks appeared in yesterday's Star-Tribune.

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I'll have to admit that this photo which recently appeared in the Lakeland Times is pretty small but it will have to do. The shot supposedly shows a cougar approaching a deer feeder in Vilas County. There have been many reports the last few years of cougar moving into a niche in North Eastern Wisconsin that wolves fill in North Western and North Central Wisconsin, but few photographs have turned up that were not regarded as hoaxes. The Wisconsin DNR is very interested in this photo as it appears to be real and the vegetation in the background is consistent with vegetation in Vilas County. Not very much documentation arrived at the Lakeland Times with the photo so the DNR and the paper are actively soliciting people who shot the photo and have seen the animal to come forward.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


The lastest NEWSWEEK carries a feature article by Sharon Begley regarding "The New Science of Human Evolution". This field is changing dramatically with the advance of DNA technology. Up until very recently, anthropologists thought in terms of "begats" like the Old Testament. This species of hominid begat this species which in turn begat that species, etc. etc. etc. They are now finding that distinct lines of lineage like this are not the case. Anthropologists are finding that "nature" has tried experiments several times before one of them caught on. They have discovered a homonid which anatomically looked a lot like homo sapiens that lived several million years before our current line of humans split from the chimpanzees. But this older hominid was a dead end ..... he didn't make it.
It's only been since the science of DNA research has developed that scientists have discovered the many paths that life takes until it finds a "successful" line, or at least successful for that time. The visual I have with this post is a photo of a new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. The new display talks as much of DNA as it does of "stones and bones" in anthropological science.

The full article which appeared on MSN today can be viewed at .......
Look for the extensive article in the Tech/Science section in the left tool bar.

Sharon Begley will be on a live broadcast on MSNBC tomorrow, 3/14, at 11:00 AM CST. She will be answering questions submitted by viewers. You can submit questions to her today by accessing the website.



I had given you some visuals of the area my wife and I will be staying in when we are in the Tortuguero area of Costa Rica, in just a couple short weeks. Another place we will be spending time at is LA SELVA. This is one of the three biological stations in Costa Rica that are run by the ORGANIZATION FOR TROPICAL STUDIES. This group is a consortium of Universities and other groups, centered at Duke University. They perform all sorts of research in environmental issues relating to tropical rain forests. It's a fascinating place! The tours you take with a naturalist are simply amazing, as they point out flora and fauna unique to the area that you would have walked right by, had you been on your own. For example, La Selva is home to over 70 different species of BATS many of which roost hidden under large plant leaves during the day, come out and aid in cross-pollination of plants at night. My wife and I simply loved it when we were there a few years ago. You can actually sign up for classes and extended periods of stay where you can help the scientists in their research. Mary would like to do that in her retirement (which begins in 2 months, 27 days, & 13 hours!).

Check it out at:

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How are you doing on all those New Year's Resolutions? Especially those related to losing weight? Me neither! That is, until I stumbled upon a computer program that is really helping me in the effort.A few years ago I made a serious effort and lost 40 pounds (and then gained 10 back). The main tool I used was recording everything I ate, calculated calories and fat and compared them to desired levels given me by a dietician. It was laborious to do......but it worked!

I accidentally found a new site called THE DAILY PLATE, which does the same thing, but takes most of the tedious work out of it. You establish a weight base, a normal level of exercise activity, pick a weight loss goal or rate, and it calculates your daily allotments in many different catagories of diet elements. It lets you track your water intake against your daily goal. It lets you track your exercise from dozens of different activities. And most importantly, it lets you track your food intake. There are over 120,000 food items in the program's database, and you can add some of your own. You can even establish meals you frequently consume. Thus if you frequently have a half grapefruit, some Cheerios, 1% milk, toast & margarine, and a cup of coffee for breakfast....these can be put into a "meal" and entered into the system with one click!
Entries into the system are very simple and easy. You don't have to look anything up....the program does it for you. It gives you instant readout as to what you've consumed....calories, fat, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol, etc. etc......and tells you how much more you can comsume to meet your daily limit. It calculates the number of calories burned by each exercise activity, and gives you a credit in calories for doing the exercise! The program displays graphs of your consumption by individual food component (calories, sodium, etc.) so you can view trends. It allows you to track your weight.
AND ALL OF THIS IS FREE !!! The program allows you to get in contact with others trying to manage their weight, if you want to. Having a "buddy" is a recommended tool in any weight loss or exercise program. For a small fee you can get a "Gold Membership" which provides a lot more graphics, analysis, etc. if you're really into that sort of thing.
If you want to....need to.....have to....lose some weight, you owe it to yourself to check this program out at

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Monday, March 12, 2007


This week's celebrity that has been caught reading is Becky Hammon. She is a star for the New York Liberty in the WNBA. This selection seems appropriate since this is MARCH MADNESS season. The WIAA girl's tournament just concluded last weekend, the WIAA boy's tournament will start on Thursday, and two Wisconsin based teams are in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Throughout Becky's young career she has been the epitome of the "student-athlete" and should be an inspiration to all who aspire to excellence in both academics and athletics. Get Caught Reading .... like Becky.



I picked a few good web-sites from last week's Email from the Librarian's Internet Index.


"Multimedia presentation about Joe Rosenthal's Pulitizer Prize-winning photo of the second raising of the American flag on the summit of Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945. It features two types of 3-dimensional views (one requires 3-D glasses), a photo of the first flag-raising, a description of the two flag-raisings, a video, and a slideshow. "
This event carries special signifigance for us in Northern Wisconsin and at the Marathon County Public Library. Betty Bradley frequently works the check-out tables at our Friends book sales. She is the wife of one of the flag raisers on that momentous day, and mother of Jim Bradley the guy who wrote FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS that Clint Eastwood's movie is based upon.


"Official site for the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, 'settled in 1607'. It was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. The site features tourist information, an events calendar, a link to educational material, activities and games for children, and descriptions of prior commemorations in 1807, 1857, 1907, and 1957."


"This site provides links to a selection of free online TV channels from around the world. It is organized by language. Listings link directly to the programming, and indicate which media player is necessary to view the content. "
Interested in watching El Jazeera? Check it out at


I hope you set your clocks forward yesterday! This site shows why we do it. "It explains why we adjust our clocks one hour forward in the spring and back in the fall (spring forward, fall back). Also find the history of Daylight Saving Time and a schedule for its occurrence from 1990 to 2015, includes trivia about time and links to related sites."



I'm sure that many of you have seen the latest Email from Paul Nelson, the WLA Library Development & Legislation Chair (LD&L). But in case you haven't, I'm going to repeat it here.

"Here's a heads-up about an important legislative alert coming your way next week.
As you may already know, the legislature's Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will hold six hearings about SB-40, the Executive Budget Bill, beginning March 20th. WLA will need you to communicate with JFC members about your support for the library-related funding measures in this bill. Please make some time in your schedule next week to complete this call to action. Both the dates & locations of the hearings and the contact info of JFC members are available online .
In the meantime, please take a look at WLA's Legislative Status Report. which summarizes these key issues, public library system aids, BadgerLink, statewide service contracts, school library aids re-estimate (Common School Fund), Newsline for the Blind .
Our success depends upon a strong response to next week's alert."

Remember guys, that 2007 is going to be the year that Trustees and Friends join library professionals in the effort to keep our legislators aware of the importance of key pieces of legislation affecting libraries and our great State.


Monday, March 05, 2007


Holy Book Marks, Batman ....... You've been caught reading!!

We've just found out how Batman can outsmart the bad guys like Joker or the Riddler .........he reads books!

I always did prefer Batman over Superman when I was a kid. Just like I liked Gene Autry more than Roy Rogers, and Pee-Wee Reese more than Phil Rizzuto. Man.....the choices we had to make when we were kids.

In any event, tell the kids you know that even Batman gets caught reading, and they should get caught reading too.

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Many of you are at the point of having to make a decision regarding whether you should upgrade from Microsoft XP to Microsoft's new Vista software. Initial reports as to its safety and effectiveness have been mixed.

The latest newsletter from the Wisconsin State Law Library contains some insights on this dilemma. Check it out at....

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The Washington Middle School in Kenosha has become the first school in Wisconsin to issue laptops to all it's students and teachers. Assistant State Superintendent, Richard Grobschmidt was among a large group of dignitaries on hand for the ceremony of handing out the computers to the students.

Obviously, this will present a new approach to education. One, not that computers are present to aid the education process, but one where use of computers is the education process. I'm sure the change in technology will be hard for some parents/teachers/students to grasp and accept. But I think its a change whose time has come.

I also feel that this is a time where we need to stand firmly behind the needs of school libraries and books for school libraries. They will be needed more than ever as support for the digital education process.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007


The Associated Press reported at 8PM Sunday evening that Ahman Green had signed a contract with the Houston Texans. He will be joining his former coach, Mike Sherman, along with former Packer teammates Samkon Gado and Mike Flannagan.

Since 2000 he put the Green in Green Bay as far as the running attack was concerned. He will always be remembered in Titletown because of his position at the top of several catagories in the Packer record books. Green's absence may well put Favre in more "Third and Long" situations, as it did many times when Green was injured. Ahman's departure would surely lend itself to Green Bay trading up in next month's NFL draft in order to obtain a quality running back. One strong possibility would be Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma.

Good luck, Ahman. When you hung on to the ball, you were among the best we ever had.
AP Photo

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Yesterday my wife and I took a trip over to the Mosquito Hill Nature Center just outside of New London, Wisconsin to participate in their Aldo Leopold weekend. Mosquito Hill is a terrific place that you should be aware of, if you're not already. They have a multitude of programs going on all during the year. There are several acres of "prairie" on the site (and they sell wild flower seeds), 10 miles of trails for hiking or snowshoeing, and activities ranging from astronomy to winter camping. (Check out their web-site ... link listed below)
This weekend they commemorate Aldo Leopold. The first weekend in March has been designated "Aldo Leopold Weekend" by Governor Doyle. This pioneer of conservation is famous for his book THE SAND COUNTY ALMANAC. He taught at UW in Madison and started many activities, programs, and groups such as the Wilderness Society. My wife and I constructed "Aldo Leopold Benches" yesterday. A photo of one accompanies this post. They are simple, efficient, amazingly comfortable benches that we enjoy around our campfires and vistas both at home and at our cottage. (The kit supplied by Mosquito Hill costs just $45, with the treated lumber being pre-cut and pre-drilled, and all hardware included)
To give you a flavor of THE SAND COUNTY ALMANAC I'd like to quote a few lines from Mr. Leopold's introduction to this seminal work:

"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.
Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as free speech.
These wild things, I admit, had little human value until mechanization assured us of a good breakfast, and until science disclosed the drama of where they come from and how they live. The whole conflict thus boils down to a question of degree. We of the minority see a law of diminishing returns in progress; our opponents do not.
Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. There is no other way for land to survive the impact of mechanized man, nor for us to reap from it the esthetic harvest it is capable, under science, of contributing to culture.
That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics. That land yields a cultural harvest is a fact long know, but latterly often forgotten.
Such a view of land and people is, of course, subject to the blurs and distortions of personal experience and personal bias. But wherever the truth may lie, this much is crystal clear: our bigger-and-better society is now like a hypochondriac, so obsessed with its own economic health as to have lost the capacity to remain healthy......... Nothing could be more salutary at this stage than a little healthy contempt for a plethora of material blessings.
Perhaps such a shift of values can be achieved by reappraising things unnatural, tame, and confined in terms of things natural, wild, and free."

Aldo Leopold ....... Madison, Wisconsin........4 March 1948

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Saturday, March 03, 2007


I'd like to congratulate Al Gore for winning the Oscar for his documentary on Global Warming - AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. Mr. Gore has been talking and writing on this subject for a couple decades now, and it looks like the rest of the world is finally catching up with him. (And Al, I really think you won the election .... I really do!).
However, as a few people have pointed out recently ... Al Gore's increase in girth looks like he hasn't been trying to save the planet ... it looks like he has been trying to eat the planet!
Many conservatives have been saying they don't believe in Global Warming and therefore we shouldn't do anything about it. But some people suspect that because of the results of recent elections, the conservatives would just as soon have New York and Los Angeles under water.

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Friday, March 02, 2007


Heather Eldred of Wisconsin Valley Library Service recently reported the following:

"Friday, MARCH 2ND will mark the 10th anniversary of 'Read Across America Day'. March 2nd is the birthday of Dr. Seuss and 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Dr. Seuss' book THE CAT IN THE HAT.

The Book was written in 1957 in response to a challenge in a Life magazine article by Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Hersey titled "Why Johnny Can't Read." Hersey theorized that one key reason was that reading primers were boring, and challenged Seuss to write a story that first graders couldn't put down. Seuss did just that in 236 words that became THE CAT IN THE HAT.

The WVLS staff will be celebrating on Friday and hopes that some Seuss/The Cat In The Hat-related activities will be taking place in your communities too."

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I just finished reading a book that I would recommend to readers of this blog. It is THE ALCHEMIST , written by Paulo Coelho. The book was originally published in 1988 in Brazil, and is a symbolic story that urges its readers to follow their dreams.
The copy I picked up from a catalog house that sells "remainders" is a beautifully bound book. The cover and it's companion slipcase are antiqued with a leather feel. It has a very good binding and a ribbon marker. This edition contains many beautiful watercolor illustrations. The book includes a separately printed note from the author, handsigned by him. Amazingly, I paid just a few bucks for the volume.
But aside from the aesthetics, the book is a very good read. It is a parable about a young boy attempting to find and complete his "Personal Legend". One of the most notable passages for me was when the boy speaks of "love without ownership"........... being able to love someone or something without having to possess the object of your affections.
Researching the book I found out that it has been translated into 56 languages and has sold more than 40 million copies in more than 150 countries, making it one of the best selling books of all time. Where the heck was I that I hadn't heard of it??
Paulo Coelho was born to a middle-class Brazilian family. The family was very upset when Paulo expressed a desire to be a writer rather than going into business ....... upset to the point that the family had him given electro-shock therapy to try to "cure him" of his passion for books and writing. Obviously, to our benefit, it didn't work!
In any event, try to pick up a copy. It will be worth your time and effort


Thursday, March 01, 2007


The February 28th edition of the Christian Science Monitor contains an article worth examining. It indicates that oral arguments were to be brought before the Supreme Court that day relating to the separation of church and state which has long been part of the foundation of the US government. At question is whether private citizens can bring action to protest financial support of "faith-based initiatives" being funded by the executive branch.

The current administration will be claiming that taxpayers can protest expenditure authorizations made by Congress, but can not legally contest expenditure authorizations made by the executive branch. They feel they can spend the dollars for anything they want, including "faith-based initiatives".

A lower court suggested that under the administration's view "the secretary of Homeland Security could use general executive funds to build a mosque and hire an imam in the belief that such visible support for Islam would reduce the rise of Islamist terrorist attacks against America." The taxpayers are saying that "the core purpose of the establishment clause is to ensure that no taxpayer is forced to contribute to government support of religion." Although this case is being brought to the court on the religion issue, the big picture is whether or not the executive branch of our government has a complete blank check-book to spend money on anything they want with no oversight or legal recourse by anybody!

It's a case that probably only a lawyer can truly appreciate, but I'd suggest you still read the article written by a member of the Stanford Law School at

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The Classics Book Club of the Marathon County Public Library held their monthly meeting yesterday to discuss the February selection, THE WOMAN IN WHITE. The book inspired a spirited discussion. Wilkie Collins is the author. He introduced the book as a serial in a weekly magazine published by Charles Dickens in 1860. The serialized book also appeared in Harpers Weekly in the USA at the same time. The book was formally published the following year.

THE WOMAN IN WHITE caused quite a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. It was truly the first novel in the Detective Fiction format published in the English language. Edgar Allen Poe had introduced the world to detective fiction with his short story Murders in the Rue Morgue about 20 years earlier. Harpers kept THE WOMAN IN WHITE in print for 70 years. Thus it was available from the start of the Abraham Lincoln Presidency thru the start of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidency. Various other publishers have issued it since, and it is still available at places like Barnes & Noble.

THE WOMAN IN WHITE was one of the first pieces of literature that was done on the silver screen. The first silent film of the book was shot in 1912. It has been filmed five times for movie theatres and twice for BBC television mini-series broadcasts. In 2004 Andrew Lloyd Webber introduced it as a musical comedy. Webber, of course, had previously provided us with works such as Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and many others.

Some in our book group questioned whether it is a Classic in the terms of War & Peace or Grapes of Wrath being classics. But we generally agreed that the work has certainly stood the test of time, and is a story that people still want to hear told. Check it out. It's a long read.....a little over 500 pages.....but worth the effort.

The visual is from promotional material for Webber's musical.

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