Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Comments and Questions?

It's your turn to do the work. Let's try something a little different. Just submit a comment about whatever you want (prefer Monona or area-related, but that's not essential). Put down your take on whatever is making you happy or putting a bug in your shorts. (A big crawly bug with huge eyes and lots of legs and eggs on its back - like a Belostomatidae).

Everyone's got an opinion about something and some people have an opinion about everything, so let's hear yours.

Afghanistan war. Property taxes. The Four Lakes. Climate change. Trains. Buses. Sidewalks. The Monona Drive project. Biking. The weather, The Brewers or the Cardinals or how bad the Cubs are. (But please NO football yet!) Schools. Cost of college. Summer in Madison. History, reading, libraries, books, bookstores - used or new. Web sites for books. Whatever. Mix all of those into one comment have too much time or your hands.

Or just ask a question and I will pretend I know the answer to everything.....


This is a gross giant water bug or fascinating or both depending one's perspective. I came across the photo by Alex Wild on Tree of Life web project. See the bottom more details.

Scientific Name Abedus sp.

Location Stebbins Reserve, Solano County, California, USA

Comments Male giant water bug with eggs

Specimen Condition Live Specimen

Sex Male with eggs

Life Cycle Stage Adult, eggs

Copyright © 2003 Alex Wild

Infor on the Tree of Life Web Project. 2005. Belostomatidae. Giant water bugs. Version 21 June 2005 (temporary). in The Tree of Life Web Project,

And check out Alex Wild's photography web site. Awesome stuff.

I snapped this little dandy myself over the ALNC a month or so ago.
Doug Wood (c) 2010


  1. The Citgo on Monona Drive and Dean is closed. anyone know why?

  2. I would like to hear MononaDoug followers' thoughts about how to get more Mononans engaged in their community -- participating in governance (elections, attending committee and council meetings, being on the committees and council, etc.), joining local groups, spending their dollars here rather than elsewhere, working and starting businesses here rather than elsewhere, etc.

    It seems there are so few who really join the efforts to make a better community. What are some ways to encourage these people to become more involved? How do you reach them?

  3. Doug:

    I know this has been brought up before, but I'm wondering if -- when the first portion of Monona Drive is complete -- the city can combine with maybe Dane Co. or DOT or even the chamber to really emphasize through marketing the proper use of the middle turn lane. I can't tell you how many times lately I've been driving on Monona Drive (and I tend to avoid it during construction) and see traffic backed up to a stop while some car makes a left-turn from the main driving lane instead of the central turn lane. It's an accident waiting to happen (not surprised if there have been a few fender-benders already), and this entire project quite properly was designed in part to mitigate accidents. Sounds like a small thing, but it's happened several times in my admittedly limited travels on the drive.

    Thanks for all of your work on the blog!

  4. Now that the Winnebago Squaw Road and Bay folks have flexed their political muscle, trying to get their 'road' restricted to village status, maybe the rest of us citizens can get back to using our public road as it is intended, as a main thoroughfare in Monona.
    It is not Monona Drive, but it is not a merely residential street either. I hope we resist any effort by these folks to extend the stop/slow signs. This is Monona, not Winnebago Squaw Bay Village.

  5. " when the first portion of Monona Drive is complete -- the city can combine with maybe Dane Co. or DOT or even the chamber to really emphasize through marketing the proper use of the middle turn lane."

    I'm confused. When it's done that sectio will have two lanes in each direction plus a median. There will be breaks in the median for turns and intersections. These breaks will provide a protected left-turn bay. I would hope anyone with a license knows how to use those.

    Or did I miss your point?

    I can't recall whether phase two will have the third lane or not. There will not be a smuch demand for it, but one person turning left could really bolix things up.

  6. "The Citgo on Monona Drive and Dean is closed. anyone know why?"

    I don't know, but the one time I went in there, they acted like I was going to rip them off. And they had the most expensive gallon of milk in the Western World. Apparently the notion of using low-priced milk as a loss-leader never occurred to them.

    I never went back.

  7. Doug: I was under the impression parts of the new Monona Drive would have a center left-turn lane for drivers in both directions -- in essence a fifth lane, with the turn lane running down the middle (like now, except instead of one lane each way, there would be two lanes each way plus the middle left-turn lane). If not, apologies all around. If it's all designated left-turn lanes, there doesn't seem to be much of an issue. But if it's a middle turn lane, I can still see cars driving in the left lane of the two-lane road taking a left, instead of heading over to the middle turn lane.

  8. No, there won't be any TWLTLs ("suicide lanes") in the final roadway.

  9. I miss that Citgo--they had the cheapest mid-grade in the county, and often the cheapest regular. Then a few months ago it started being among the most expensive, and now they're gone. Weird.

  10. Doug-
    I know you like history like I like
    thought you might like these depression ear color photos:

    no need to post

  11. I've seen many turn left from the drive (right) lane as opposed to the the turn (middle)lane in the construction section.
    My horn doesn't work well to educate those who can't read the signs, or the road pavement, or notice what other drivers do, or remember from drivers ed what a solid-dash-dash-solid line means, but it does make me feel better.

  12. No suicide lanes in final plan that I saw. Citgo went bankrupt and is now owned by a bank. Don't remember which one.

    I'm concerned with UW Clinic building on Broadway that the current building on Monona Drive will sit empty forever just like the tan building next to it currently is. Do you know if there is any intrest in that block for redevlopment yet?

    I also heard that McDonald's is moving somewhere once Phase III starts? Maybe that whole area from McDonalds to Subway/Jiffy Lube can be redesigned as a "downtown shopping area"

  13. I agree with the Anonymous poster who voiced concern over empty buildings on Monona Drive. Next time your on Monona Drive, count the number of "For Lease" signs. I wouldn't be surprised if our vacancy rate is close to 50%. The economy and construction are probably taking a toll, but when was the last time Monona Drive really thrived?

  14. In my opinion, one of the reasons Monona Drive hasn't thrived is because it's a street with many ugly buildings and lots of destination businesses like the auto part store, the auto repair business, and the funeral home. If businesses catered to local people who would like to walk and bike there, Monona Drive would be more inviting -- a nice cafe, a coffee shop like Crema mid-Drive, a food co-op? (And, unlike what was said in an earlier thread here, please don't encourage more franchises and chains! We don't need a Panera bread, Trader Joe's or a Barnes and Noble making us look like all the other boring places in America.

    A reason there are so many "for lease" signs is that businesses don't want to rent on Monona Drive while construction is going on. Although dependent on how the economy fares, the Drive should have many fewer empty buildings when the construction is over.

    Whether "facade improvement" is enough of an improvement for some buildings remains to be seen. Think of the initial improvement of the coin and jewelry place on the corner of Monona Drive and Dean -- looked good when they resided and painted, but then they kept going and added cutout diamonds on the roofline and garish red accents, and, voila, once again the building looked tacky, just an ugly tacky, instead of a run-down tacky.

  15. Doug,

    I am seriously worried that Monona's status as a "left-leaning, progressive, socialist utopia" might be seriously, SERIOUSLY in danger due to a lack of focus on the real issue at hand. While we've been concentrating on sustainability, renewable energy and locally grown food, other communities are forging ahead with the *real* catalyst of a workers utopia....


    Yes, that's right. Bicycles. Colorado is currently welcoming their new UN overlords in powder-blue planes with such things as anti-automobile "bike lanes" and freedom-hating "bicycle sharing". They are encouraging companies install showers (free showers!!) so their employees can clean off the sweet smell of Maoism before engaging in their putrid capitalist enterprises. And they're cleverly using all of this to deprive their citizens of basic rights enshrined in the Constitution (like driving a car on *any* portion of the road, etc).

    They're obviously trying to hide this shift so that other progressive communities won't be able to find out about it (and steal their ideas) till it's too late, but it's been outed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes!!

    Now, my question to you is, what can we do to reclaim the mantle of Most-Left-Leaning-Community-In-The-Country that I know that we all strive for? It's going to have to be something *good*, and not just some little "best library in the state award". Maybe "free bicycles for all paid for by the capitalist oppressors?" Or bicycle-only roads, with the houses along those roads given a bicycle trailer in addition to the free bicycle?

    I'm open to suggestions, but we'd better get started on this quickly, other communities might reach the Workers Paradise before we do...


  16. my deep thoughts are not with redevelopment (although I found this very interesting)....

    -I wish the outdoor pool had early evening 5-7 during the week...even one night. I know there are lessons during that time but I have little kids that go to bed early and the 7 pm start time on open swim is too late.

    - I would love to see park closer to Monona Drive. There is nothing in the East part of Monona. If I lived on the lake or in the center of Monona...lots of parks. Where I live, now that Nichols no longer has equipment, we have a good 20-25 minute walk to any play equipment. Doable, but with 4 little kids...a long walk. I know there is no where to go with a park but a boy can dream, right?

  17. The bug in my shorts will be my neighbor, who does not like that I spray for creeping charlie and makes a point to tell me. The neighbor is a proud member of the natural step. The neighbor will be collecting leaves with their mower and then will burn them in a few weeks.

  18. We all like our yards and gardens to look good. But what's wrong with creeping charlie except a perception? It grows low, has pretty flowers, and doesn't need mowing. Why do people value the look of a lawn over the health of themselves, their neighbors, our lakes, and any other creature that might tread across their property? (No, I'm not your neighbor. My neighbors have no creeping charlie that I have seen.)

  19. "Why do people value the look of a lawn over the health of themselves, their neighbors, our lakes, and any other creature that might tread across their property?"

    Because it suffocates the grass and I like grass better then that crap? Why does my neighbor think that burning or using a power mower help anything?

    What irks me is the natural step lady who displays the sign talks to me about these issues, while she BURNS her leaves and uses her POWER mower to gather them-

    I rake and don't burn-cause I know the implications not that I want a medal. I would love to burn, perhaps I should burn when she does and then she would get in trouble and not me-just a small thought.

    Yes, my behavior is not consistent just like the neighbor.

  20. "while she BURNS her leaves"

    I assume you know that burning leaves in the city of Monona is illegal. You could call the police the next time it happens.

  21. What I want to know is if you are actually killing creeping charlie successfully and if so, what you are using. Creeping charlie just laughs at whatever I throw at it.

  22. "What I want to know is if you are actually killing creeping charlie successfully and if so, what you are using. Creeping charlie just laughs at whatever I throw at it. "

    Step one 1. Pull on the nearest Natural Step sign and soak in 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water-spary. It works great!

    Seriously, spray in the morning when there is still dew-the weeds are soaking up the moisture and, of course, you won't no rain that day-sometimes in takes several treatments....spring is better-wear rubber gloves...most any weed killer will do. It does need to say creeping charlie, but the point is HOW you apply the crap.

  23. Also, what is the situation with Monona Moolah? It's a great program which we have enjoyed using, but they've been sold out for over 2 weeks now:

  24. - don't know anything about that; maybe someone else can answer that.

  25. Why is there a fountain in the lagoon? Has the DNR and the city council approved it? Why weren't the people who live around the lagoon informed that this was in the works again? Has informing the public been completely eliminated?

  26. If the anonymous person who doesn't like creeping charlie will contact me at info at (with the at being the at sign), I would appreciate it. I am the executive director of The Natural Step Monona and I would like it if you could share: 1) what "natural step" sign are you talking about? Since we have no "natural step" sign, I'm wondering if you have our organization confused with another; and 2) if you could privately share your address (or your neighbor's) with me, so I can discuss her leaf-burning habits. The Natural Step promotes using leaves as compost and mulch, not wasting their great value by putting a match to them. And, of course, we like to remain within the law! (See one of our blogs on leaves here: