Waning days of a beautiful Wisconsin summer

The end of last week brought us some of those spectacular Wisconsin summer days that make this place like no other.  Wispy clouds, a deeper and clearer blue in the sky, a crispness to the sunlight that highlighted the contrasting greens, yellows, purples and other colors of our Northwoods palette without making anything too sharp.  Pines, birches and tamaracks, rivers and lakes, red barns and rolling hills, all with just enough focus to spotlight their beauty, but enough softness to remind us of the fragility of those passing, perfect days.

We were fortunate to be able to share our Wisconsin with a niece from Texas.  She got to try Paul Bunyan’s donuts in Minocqua and camp at Copper Falls State Park, eat a garlic-asiago roll from Ashland Baking Company and a sub from Penokee Mountain Deli and Sausage, and run the trails and throw rocks into the water at Amnicon Falls State Park.

It was a fantastic time.  There aren’t suitable words or space to relate how wonderful it was and how blessed I felt to be able to share it with two rambunctious little girls — my 7-year-old daughter and her 11-year-old cousin.  There’s nothing like being around kids who are likely to burst into loud Christmas carols at the mention of the town of Rudolph or shriek with unbounded joy at finding a better stick to play with than the last one.

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Another sure-fire way to save Wisconsin’s budget

Just pay the taxman, you deadbeat. Who do you think you are -- Popeye? (YouTube link)

Just pay the taxman, you deadbeat. Who do you think you are — Popeye? (YouTube link)

Dear Wisconsin Legislators:

I have been reading about your proposed $25 tax on the purchase of new bicycles in the state, but I have an even better idea: tax people for disagreeing with you.

Sure, a bike tax is a brilliant way to help kill everything from people to nature to clean air by encouraging the dirty, unhealthy and economically critical habit of driving uninsured deathtraps along our deteriorating highways and bridges.  It’s also a cleverly subtle attack on the profitability of the family business of our last Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

But there’s so much more you can do to reach your social and economic goals.

Seriously.  Until you can finish discouraging the populace from thinking, why not make everyone pay for disagreeing with you?  Something along the lines of $2 per reasonable idea ought to be plenty as a start.  Let’s call it the Rational Thought Tax.

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Words count, even on Facebook

The just-announced entry by the New York Times and other major media into Facebook should put to rest any doubt about the importance of social media for communication.

I finally got on the Facebook bandwagon a little more than four years ago, when Wisconsin’s political attacks on education and the middle and lower classes began. Since then, I’ve mostly followed Facebook news and groups, rarely posting except to reply to friends as an occasional method for conversing in the virtual world.

There are a number of reasons for stepping up my Facebook and other social media activity.  Among them is my disappointment with more conventional local means of governance — especially after UW-Stevens Point’s baffling decision to disempower its faculty senate.

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