July 5, 2004

A walk that starts at the zoo.

Chris, who wanted my car so he can go to see "Fahrenheit 9/11" with friends, drove me to the starting point of my walk: Henry Vilas Zoo. As soon as he drove away, I saw that I'd forgotten my camera, so I called him via cell phone, and he came back, drove me home for the camera, and re-drove me to the zoo. The extra driving elongated the conversation, which was about whether you could isolate your view of the art of a documentary film from its message. We agreed that you could. The example of "Triumph of the Will" was raised. Ah, here we are back at the zoo.

The orangutan was meditative:



The flamingoes were in love with the letter S:



Heading back toward home, I climbed up on Bear Mound, an Indian burial mound:



That is centered in the beautiful Vilas neighborhood, where, as a photographer, I gravitated to the unsightly things, like this area behind the bars across from the football stadium:



Can you see the grafitti under the white squares? It says: "Institutions support war. Stop supporting institutions."

Here's another wall I found photogenic:



Go here for the full set of today's pictures: I'm resisting displaying the "proud" grease vat, for example. [ADDED: Hmmm... Jeremy claims he used to live in the above-pictured boarded-up building with the proud grease vat next to the back door. ADDITIONAL ADDED: Now, he's saying he lived next door ... and was traumatized by a dumpster.]

Here's a faded "legalize" sign:



And some sadly under-neoned signage:



Ah, I've reached my midway-home goal, Ancora Café on Monroe Street, with its very blue, very well-ducted ceiling:



I get a tall cappucino and an almond scone and sit down to finish my book ("Stiff," by Mary Roach):



I read about the prospect of disposing of human bodies by freezing them, shattering them, freeze drying them, and then using the freeze dried bits "as compost for a memorial tree or shrub." The shattering part would be easy after freezing, I read, because the human body is mostly water, about 70 percent. Here's a morsel of the author's humor: "[Jellyfish] are either 98 or 99 percent water, and that is why you never see dried jellyfish snacks."

Then it's on to home to post these pictures and ask Chris how he liked the film.

UPDATE: Chris said the film was "okay." In answer to questions, he said it wasn't art, and it wasn't very funny, and it didn't change his opinion on anything political. He said the Madison audience really loved it--especially the brief part when Tammy Baldwin is on screen.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The book "Stiff," pictured above, was prominently displayed in the episode of "Six Feet Under" that ran on July 11, 2004.

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