Friday, March 26, 2010

Speaking of trains...

I mentioned in my last post how so many train tracks in Milwaukee have been abandoned and/or removed.
Below is one such site.

This is the back side of Downtown Auto Body (which is not downtown, really, but behind Holton and Townsend). There used to be a train track along the area at the bottom of the photo, and until the mid-1990's, the Circus Train from Baraboo, WI would stop right there and unload all the circus paraphernalia to head down to the parade site. This was quite a spectacle. This mural, painted last year, commemorates that time. It's really much nicer looking than in my poor photo. You will just have to go see it for yourself.

These tracks were removed a couple of years ago after becoming an attractive place to dump mattresses and construction debris, and a weird curvy trail that appears to be some kind of meandering bike path that goes nowhere was laid down. Stray cats use it, too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back to the Future, by train

I'm really excited that the long-abandoned Tower Automotive site on 27th and Capitol will be used for manufacturing trains. The area is so Detroit-style creepy right now. This repurposing makes perfect sense. Of course, it's sad that so many train tracks in Milwaukee and elsewhere have been not only abandoned, but removed- relatively recently, even. Now we (as a society) are realizing that, dang, trains are awesome! What were we thinking?

There's a great textbook that's been in my family for awhile, ¿Habla EspaƱol? An Introductory Course. (Lately, I've been poring over the por y para chapter.) It's dated 1976 and as such, a lot of the dialogs deal with subjects like, ¿Deseas conservar energia? Si! So I'm excited that the Ingeteam folks are coming here with wind turbines too. Anyway, el diccionario at the back of the book actually has an entry for el Talgo: "deluxe Spanish train." How cool is that? Maybe I should stop skipping past all the second-person-plural verb forms.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I can think of a few better ways to express like- or dislike, I can't really tell- of our President.
I took this shot last year in the Smoky Mountains, but this week seemed an apt time to post it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Prophet Blackmon, Milwaukee artist

Prophet Blackmon, whose art I have always found to be exquisitely evocative, died Feb 8th. His obituary is in the online Journal-Sentinel today. "I'm a street preacher," he told The Milwaukee Journal in 1982. "I stay in the streets. The greatest theology is in the streets. The troubles are in the streets. I go to areas where buildings have been torn down, where there are vacant lots and I minister to those people."

It is said that Prophet Blackmon did not recognize his own art when it was later shown to him. "I'm amazed! And I know it's not me," Blackmon said of his work. "I know it's inspiration from God, so I end up giving God all the praise and all the glory."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Birds on a wire

Birds suspended high over the Milwaukee River.