Tag Archives: Madison

Madison minus nice things = Rockford

The wonderful city of Madison, Wisconsin, is the home of the University of Wisconsin, and without that university, Madison “would be Rockford with lakes,” said Stuart Levitan in a program about the history of Madison that was recorded in 2010 and broadcast recently on the Wisconsin channel.

Ha, ha — Rockford sucks. I laugh because, well, I live near Rockford and people around here don’t seem to realize how much better things are just a few miles away, at Madison, Milwaukee, or the Chicago suburbs. So it felt like a breath of fresh honesty to hear the put-down of Rockford.

I live here because my family is from here, and because my professional license is good in Illinois. I would love for my home-area to get amenities that other places take for granted: say, a Trader Joe’s store, or a jogging/biking path, or so many things.

My former Daily Illini boss and current NPR reporter, Kelly McEvers, reported recently on her hometown of Lincoln, Illinois:

It turns out that what’s happening in Lincoln is happening in so many towns and communities across the country: As we recover from the Great Recession, jobs are coming back. But they are not middle-wage jobs — they are either high-wage jobs or low-wage jobs. The middle class is in serious decline. And that has all kinds of repercussions.

It’s a little frustrating to live in a declining area, but I’ll give it this — housing’s cheap, there’s little traffic, and with the Internet, we’re much less cut-off than we used to be.

UPDATE: It’s a couple days later, and I’m not sure what good it does to complain about the area where I live. Not that I’m changing my opinion, but that my opinion is kinda pointless. Sure, there are things I’d like to change here, but in my particular day-to-day experiences, I go to my job, I go to the grocery store, I walk my dog, and I go to bed. Very little of my daily experience has to do with demographic or economics generalizations or statistics. I try to remind myself of this, to let go of generalizations and opinions, and just keep my mind open to receive new ideas.

‘An ear-splitting shriek’ heard in Madison

1. Last night,  at the Union Terrace at Madison, on the outdoor seating above the boathouse, one middle-aged white dude told another middle-aged white dude about his job testing aircraft engines, and how, after one test, he received this note:

Pilots report an ear-splitting shriek whenever they turn on the environmental control system.”

[If this information helps anyone score a big win in the stock market, you’re welcome.]

2. “Walter!” shouted a young woman, at a table with several other young women, to a young man on the sidewalk below our outdoors balcony. “It’s Lilly and Willa!”  she near-rhymed. And then when the boy told them he was coming up, one young woman said to the others, “be nice to him.”

Later on, one of the girls also said, “The fact that I got into a fight with my best friend at Ed Debevic‘s makes me so unhappy.”

And also later, a girl also told another one, “the second you left, he got normal — well, as normal as an actor can get.”

3. Later, about 9 p.m. on State Street, near the Triangle Market, one girl walking with other girls said,

If you tweeted about me falling, I didn’t actually touch the ground.”

4. And walking down on State Street, I told my wife that, probably 80 years ago, my great-great-grandfather had “a dentist appointment” someplace nearby. My wife said that wasn’t really all that noteworthy. I said, approximately, “well, he was the dentist, so, I’m sure he had lots of appointments.”