Category Archives: Images

Loyalty Building, Part 2: Slideshow

More images from the Loyalty Building. Since my office was the last to empty out, there haven’t been many people around to populate the photos. It seems wrong to photograph a building without people using it, but I guess that gives us an opportunity to focus on details. I think I’ll revisit the Loyalty after it is a hotel and see how many of these lovely curlicues and colors and patterns remain intact. Stay tuned.

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(p.s. My apologies to all the professional photographers I know who would have done this space more justice.)

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Shocking and amazing! Roadside attractions in the Driftless area

A windowful of antlers in Viola. Or LaFarge.

As I’ve documented before, I do a lot of driving around during my weekends in southwest Wisconsin. This past weekend, we had two friends along and decided to take a different route, heading to Viola and La Farge. Three times during the trip, we told our driver: STOP! TURN AROUND! (He is a patient man.)

STOP! Time Number One: An Antler Installation in Viola (actually, we now can’t recall, it might have been La Farge — anyone out there know?). Someone had converted empty storefront windows in an empty building to a vast collection of hunting trophies. That’s a lot of bucks. And yes, hunting season had begun in this part of the state.

Really, really big squash on Rte. 61, near Mt. Zion.

STOP! Time Number Two: A lineup of gigantor squash set out along Rte. 61. I think they might have been hubbard squash, but at this size who knows? For the record, sticking my head inside one of them was a little smelly.

We didn’t get a photo of STOP! Time Number Three, which happened when Deborah spotted a beautiful Siamese case in an alley, and made our Patient Driver stop so she could roll down the window and coo at it.

(Photos by John Koethe)


Filed under Going Driftless, Images

An answer to a question I sometimes get

Sometimes when I’m in the passenger seat (and maybe a little when I’m not) I’ll hold my Flip camera up to the window. I’m fascinated by the motion of the landscape going by. Here’s my first attempt to edit a bunch of video into something. From two recent trips to southwest Wisconsin.

(Country driving isn’t the only time I hit the record button to collect random scenery. I posted something from PrideFest earlier this year.)


Filed under Going Driftless, Images, nature

And now for something cheerier

Every office has someone who likes to decorate. At Christmas, it might be garland artfully looped under a shelf. Spring brings daffodils and pastels. Leading up to Valentine’s Day, red hearts are de rigueur. I consider myself lucky enough to be working with a group of quite tasteful and restrained people. To be honest, there isn’t much in the way of festoonment in my workplace, and that’s generally fine by me. The one occasional exception is R. She had some quite lovely lilacs set out this spring, and hydrangea in the summer. One day  recently I noticed a small array of colorful gourds had been set on the ledge that frames her cube. No skeletons and witch hats. What a relief.

So imagine my disappointment when I arrived one morning to see that someone had stabbed one of those petite gourds with a pair of scissors, and pasted a photocopied image of “The Scream” on said gourd.

I found this disturbing.

Now, I don’t think anyone meant anything by it. R. seemed wryly amused. Early Halloween hijjinks. We’re all adults. Some people I respect actually like the Chucky films.

Nonetheless, I decided one evening after everyone had left to make a quiet point about cutlery in the workplace. I removed the scissors and pasted the Mona Lisa’s face over “The Scream.”

R. and I had a little laugh about it and that was that, until this morning. I noticed that the Mona Lisa and the Scream face were both still adhered to two of her gourds and she said (wryly), yes. I have decided it is an installation.

Oh? I replied.

Yes, and it’s titled “Great Faces in Art Stuck to Gourds.”

I laughed so hard that I decided to make this video.

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Why I am a little happier than I was a week ago

Deauville Beach, N.J., the view from my beach chair.

Because, after too many years of making excuses (bathing suit fears), I spent some time at the beach. The end.

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The pot is on the stove

The corn I plan to eat tonight, as soon as the water comes to a boil, came from this place this morning. It was 35 cents per ear. Also for sale: laying hens $8, eggs $2, cukes 25 cents each, green and yellow beans $1.95 per lb., tomatoes $1.25 per small box. I bought four ears plus tomatoes.

Total bill: $2.65.

I threw $3 in the yellow cash box. I’ll bet they figure all the tourists round up like that.

We were on our way back from Waupaca. More about that trip later. I’ll also report in about the corn.

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Video: People-watching at Pridefest

I’ve taken to putting my Flip Video camera down here and there and seeing what it collects. This was simply too tempting yesterday when I was staffing a booth at Pridefest. It’s the first big festival of the summer here in Milwaukee, which is crazy with festivals in the summer.

Because I haven’t yet learned the editing program on my Mac, it’s not edited. But I am liking the meditative effects of watching it unedited. I find myself more able to be in the moment. I didn’t really notice, for instance, that the guy in the red shorts selling “I’m Proud” buttons was barefooted until I watched on video.

However, my reaction to it might be a  function of having been in the original moment and re-visiting it at a later time and place. So be warned: You could be bored.

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Image: Serra w/umbrella

Serra, umbrella, St. Louis, rainy day

A few weekends back I visited my dear friend Marilu in St. Louis. I had never been to St. Louis before. I love the experience of exploring a new place. This is my favorite photo from the weekend. It was taken in the back yard of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, from inside a Richard Serra sculpture there. The sculpture was commissioned as part of the building’s design, and Serra collaborated with architect Tadao Ando. These guys are art-world rock stars, and as art-world rock stars go they I put them in a category of people who have earned the awe that surrounds them. It was an overcast, rainy day, hence the umbrella. I always love the experience of walking into one of Serra’s spirals, which compress space, reorient the horizon (hey, where is the horizon anymore?), disorient their visitors while tantalizing them. The feeling I am most reminded of hearkens to childhood, when I’d find a secret space. A path in the woods, perhaps. Or a mysterious attic. When fascination could easily trump fear, because I knew too little to envision what kind of danger might be around the corner. I almost feel like that walking through one of Serra’s spirals.

I walked into the middle, looked up, then turned to wait for Marilu and her umbrella to arrive, and then I snapped this image.

Postscript: It’s been a Very Serra Spring, because I also visited a Serra on the campus of Princeton University recently. And this is where I have to publicly apologize for touching the Serra, which Marilu scolded me about. Of course she runs a sculpture park. And I would never argue with her, she’s too tough.

"The Hedgehog and the Fox" and me

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Everyone deserves to sit in a chair like this

I was visiting Princeton in March. The weather was beautiful, and we toured the campus. The Gehry-designed science library was a stop on our tour and I snapped a photo of these chairs as viewed through an interior window. I covet these chairs. I fantasize about working in a place where you can sit in these chairs to read, think, talk. Everyone looks beautiful and happy in them. Why don’t more people have chairs like these? I guess because they don’t have bajillion-dollar endowments like Princeton has. Sigh.

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