Daily Bread for 7.24.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Sunday in town will be partly cloudy, with a high of eighty-nine, and an even chance of afternoon thunderstorms.  Sunrise is 5:39 AM and sunset 20:23 PM, for 14h 43m 34s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 76.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Friday’s FW poll asked whether readers thought that unofficial national holidays (for foods, causes, etc.) were inspiring or irritating.  The results were about evenly split, at least compared to most FW polls that wind up leaning strongly one way or another.


By Martin St-Amant (S23678) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8450312
Photo by Martin St-Amant (S23678) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

On this day in 1911, historian Hiram Bingham makes an extraordinary discovery:

Machu Picchu (in hispanicized spelling, Spanish pronunciation … or Machu Pikchu (Quechua machu old, old person, pikchu peak; mountain or prominence with a broad base that ends in sharp peaks,[1] “old peak”, pronunciation.. is a 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres (7,970 ft)above sea level.[2][3] It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Peru,[4] above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows.

Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas” (a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.

Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of how they originally appeared.[5] By 1976, thirty percent of Machu Picchu had been restored[5] and restoration continues.[6]

Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.[3] In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll.

On this day in 1892, Iron River experiences disaster:

1892 – Fire Destroys Iron River

On this date a major fire destroyed most of Iron River, Wisconsin. After the fire was extinguished, the town resembled a “tent city” during the rebuilding. [Source: “B” Book I, Beer Bottles, Brawls, Boards, Brothels, Bibles, Battles & Brownstone by Tony Woiak, p.18]

Daily Bread for 7.23.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Saturday in town will be partly sunny with a high of eighty-nine, and a one-in-five chance of an afternoon thunderstorm. Sunrise is 5:38 AM and sunset 8:24 PM, for 14h 45m 31s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 85.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Viviana Guzman, the “Flute Queen” contends that the humpback whales of Half Moon Bay like her flute playing. Perhaps they do – one came close recently, as recorded below:

It’s Raymond Chandler’s birthday:

Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was a British-American novelist and screenwriter. In 1932, at the age of forty-four, Chandler became a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Great Depression. His first short story, “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot“, was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. In addition to his short stories, Chandler published seven novels during his lifetime (an eighth, in progress at the time of his death, was completed by Robert B. Parker). All but Playback have been made into motion pictures, some more than once. In the year before he died, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died on March 26, 1959, in La Jolla, California.[1]

Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature. He is considered to be a founder of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers. The protagonist of his novels, Philip Marlowe, like Hammett’s Sam Spade, is considered by some to be synonymous with “private detective.” Both were played in films by Humphrey Bogart, whom many consider to be the quintessential Marlowe.

Some of Chandler’s novels are considered important literary works, and three have been considered masterpieces:Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Little Sister (1949), and The Long Goodbye (1953). The Long Goodbye was praised in an anthology of American crime stories as “arguably the first book since Hammett’s The Glass Key, published more than twenty years earlier, to qualify as a serious and significant mainstream novel that just happened to possess elements of mystery”.[2]

Lyrics from Hamilton

If you’ve not heard the cast recording from Hamilton, you’re missing out – it’s memorable from first to last. 

Although I’m not big on standalone quotes, here’s one, from that musical’s Washington on Your Side, that’s both memorable and, I think, often figuratively true:

If there’s a fire you’re trying to douse,

You can’t put it out from inside the house

(It’s not a direct historical quote from anyone, to my knowledge, but rather clever lyrics. Jefferson and Madison sing these words in the musical.)

There’s much to be said for an independent position, for a policy of distance, detachment, and (in all cases) diligence.

An Ideological Conservative on the GOP

Over at the Journal Sentinel, while lamenting his party’s current politics, conservative Christian Schneider quotes from a Courtney Barnett song:

“I must confess I’ve made a mess of what should be a small success.”

Now I’m a libertarian, but well aware of how many ideological conservatives feel out of place in Trump’s GOP.  Schneider is such a conservative.  I’ve a genuine sympathy for those who feel they’ve lost an ideological home, even if it’s not a feeling I share. (I’ve been home for forever in libertarianism, so to speak.)

Libertarians are outside the two-party dynamic, but outside still offers a view. From this outsider’s view, the GOP looks unrecognizable even from a decade ago. 

The clever lyrics Schneider applies to his party are as much understatement as anything, considering how very different this year looks. 

They are, however, lyrics worth remembering in the months ahead, as America is likely to have more need of confessing that we’ve ‘made a mess of what should be a small success.’

City Press Release on Grocery Store Recruitment, 7.21.16

Update: the press release was changed during the day from its original wording, as indicated below.

Posted immediately below is the full and unaltered text of a City of Whitewater press release on recruitment of a grocery store. Needless to say, I don’t represent the city, but it’s fair to pass along the complete municipal press release —

Press Release
Grocery Store Recruitment Update
July 21, 2016

Daniels’ Sentry Foods closed its doors for the last time in December 2015. Since that time, the Whitewater Common Council and Community Development Authority (CDA) have been rigorously engaged in efforts to recruit another grocery store in Whitewater.

As part of the City’s efforts, the CDA commissioned Chuck Perkins, a respected marketing consultant in the grocery sector, to conduct a grocery market analysis in order to identify various locations for a new store, as well as clarify a store size the Whitewater community could support. Based upon his market analysis, Mr. Perkins indicated that a smaller store located at the site of the now vacant Daniels’ Sentry Foods building has the greatest opportunity for long-term success. Shortly after the completion and release of the market analysis report, the City of Whitewater was contacted by an independent grocer interested in potentially locating a store in the community.

Since the first contact with the interested grocer, city officials and staff have been working closely with the potential grocer to develop a plan which would allow for the establishment of a new grocery store in Whitewater. As of Tuesday, July 19, both parties have verbally agreed to a tentative framework that provides for a grocery operation to be located at the site of the former Daniels’ Sentry Foods.

Earlier this year, the UW-Whitewater Foundation, in an effort to address UW-Whitewater space needs on campus, submitted a formal offer to purchase the Daniels Sentry property. Their offer has been accepted and a lease agreement for use of the space awaits confirmation by the UW System Board of Regents.

Due to the University’s need for additional space to allow for campus growth and the public’s need for a grocery store to bolster the Whitewater economy, the City is actively seeking to create a mutually beneficial solution that would allow for a grocery store to locate in the former Daniels’ Sentry building while still addressing the long-term space needs of the University.

Residents interested in expressing their sentiment on this issue can contact the Common Council directly at commoncouncil@whitewater-wi.gov. or contact the UW-Whitewater Chancellor at kopperb@uww.edu Substituted text: Comments submitted will also be shared with UW-Whitewater Foundation and UW-Whitewater officials.

Questions or concerns regarding grocery recruitment efforts can be directed to Patrick Cannon, CDA Director, pcannon@whitewater-wi.gov, 262-473-0148 or to Cameron Clapper, City Manager, cclapper@whitewater-wi.gov, 262-473-0100.

Daily Bread for 7.22.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Friday in town will be mostly sunny with a high of ninety-two. Sunrise is 5:37 AM and sunset 8:25 PM, for 14h 47m 25s of daytime. The moon’s a waning gibbous with 92.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1864, the Battle of Atlanta rages:

Confederate General John Bell Hood continues to try to drive General William T. Sherman from the outskirts of Atlanta when he attacks the Yankees on Bald Hill. The attack failed, and Sherman tightened his hold on Atlanta.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis had appointed Hood commander of the Army of Tennessee just four days before the engagement at Atlanta. Davis had been frustrated with the defensive campaign of the previous commander, Joseph Johnston, so he appointed Hood to drive Sherman back North. Hood attacked Peachtree Creek on July 20, but he could not break the Federals.

Two days later, Hood tried again at Bald Hill. The Union force under Sherman consisted of three armies: James McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee, John Schofield’s Army of the Ohio, and George Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland. Thomas’ force pressed on Atlanta from the north, at Peachtree Creek, while McPherson swung to Atlanta’s eastern fringe to cut the Georgia Railroad, which ran to Decatur. Hood struck at McPherson on July 22, but several problems blunted the Confederate attack. The broken, rugged terrain made coordination difficult, and the attack, which had been planned for dawn, did not begin until after noon. Most important, and unbeknownst to Hood, McPherson extended his line east. The Confederates had assembled along a line–which they thought was behind the Union flank–but was now directly in front of fortified Federal soldiers. Hood’s men briefly breached the Union line, but could not hold the position. The day ended without a significant change in the position of the two armies.

For the second time in three days, Hood failed to break the Union hold on Atlanta. His already-outnumbered army fared poorly. He lost more than 5,000 men, while the Union suffered 3,700 casualties.

A Google a Day asks a question on art and geography: “In what European capital can you view the city’s first nude statue by Sir Richard Westmacott erected in 1822?”

Goodbye, VCR

Embed from Getty Images

There’s a story over at Quartz about the end of videocassette-recorder production. Ananya Bhattacharya writes that

Japan’s Funai Electronics, which makes its own electronics, in addition to supplying companies like Sanyo, will produce the last batch of VCR units by July 30, Nikkei reported (link in Japanese). The company cites difficulty in obtaining the necessary parts as one of the reasons for halting production.

See, The last VCR will be manufactured this month @ Quartz.

What was once so important to so many has withered in a world of the DVD and Blu-ray. Of course, technologies will come and go, but compelling creative works, of original words and pictures, will prove evergreen, and as desirable a generation from now as a generation ago.

Daily Bread for 7.21.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Thursday in town will be partly cloudy and hot, with a high  of ninety-three.  Sunrise is 5:36 AM and sunset 8:25 PM, for 14h 49m 17s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 97.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Downtown Whitewater Board meets this morning at 8 AM, and the Urban Forestry Commission’s Subcommittee on Landscaping Guidelines meets in the afternoon at 4 PM.

First Battle of Bull Run, chromolithograph by Kurz & Allison. Via Wikipedia.
First Battle of Bull Run, chromolithograph by Kurz & Allison. Via Wikipedia.

On this day in 1861, the Union suffers a defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run:

Just months after the start of the war at Fort Sumter, the Northern public clamored for a march against the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, which they expected to bring an early end to the rebellion. Yielding to political pressure, Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell led his unseasoned Union Army across Bull Run against the equally inexperienced Confederate Army of Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard camped near Manassas Junction. McDowell’s ambitious plan for a surprise flank attack on the Confederate left was poorly executed by his officers and men; nevertheless, the Confederates, who had been planning to attack the Union left flank, found themselves at an initial disadvantage.

Confederate reinforcements under Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston arrived from the Shenandoah Valley by railroad and the course of the battle quickly changed. A brigade of Virginians under the relatively unknown brigadier general from the Virginia Military Institute, Thomas J. Jackson, stood their ground and Jackson received his famous nickname, “Stonewall Jackson”. The Confederates launched a strong counterattack, and as the Union troops began withdrawing under fire, many panicked and the retreat turned into a rout. McDowell’s men frantically ran without order in the direction of Washington, D.C.

Both armies were sobered by the fierce fighting and many casualties, and realized the war was going to be much longer and bloodier than either had anticipated, and not the short conflict that had been expected. The Battle of First Bull Run highlighted many of the problems and deficiencies that were typical of the first year of the war. Units were committed piecemeal, attacks were frontal, infantry failed to protect exposed artillery, tactical intelligence was nil, and neither commander was able to employ his whole force effectively. McDowell, with 35,000 men, was only able to commit about 18,000, and the combined Confederate forces, with about 32,000 men, committed only 18,000.[12]

On this day in 1921, Gen. Mitchell proves his point:

1921 – General Billy Mitchell Proves Theory of Air Power

On this date Milwaukee’s General William “Billy” Mitchell proved to the world that development of military air power was not outlandish. He flew his De Havilland DH-4B fighter, leading a bombing demonstration that proved a naval ship could be sunk by air bombardment. Mitchell’s ideas for developing military air power were innovative but largely ignored by those who favored development of military sea power. Mitchell zealously advocated his views and was eventually court martialed for speaking out against the United States’ organization of its forces. [Source: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Division of Archives & Special Collections]

A Google a Day asks a history question: “What abolitionist rented a house from the husband of the woman for whom Grace Park in Akron, Ohio, is named?”

Grocery Preliminaries (Part 2)

I wrote yesterday about a grocery in town, in a post entitled, Grocery Preliminaries.  The post’s subject line used the word ‘preliminaries’ because it seems likely that Whitewater will get a new grocery, whatever one thinks of a public subsidy to entice one.  

In this way, that post presumed a deal, and so was meant to be preliminary to one.

(Needless to say, whatever the challenges of subsidizing a grocery, it’s noting like importing trash into the city as a get-revenue-quick scheme.  Waste importation is a truly bad idea, destructive to the environment, health, and development of the city.)

One of the conditions for a new grocery at the old Sentry location is that the university’s interest in the property  (as a term of art and a general desire for expansion) be satisfied.  

It’s worth noting that unpublished discussion of UW-Whitewater’s interest in the property has percolated through parts of the community for months; it’s not new information for everyone.  

This only reinforces, however, the point from an earlier post, Informed Residents, about the need for open government.

This morning, many residents are sure to be surprised  (‘the university has a connection to this property?’) and a few will be frustrated  (‘why didn’t we know?’ & ‘is the university standing in the way of a deal?’).

These are merely elements of a transaction, and they could have been disclosed sooner.  This community needs neither confusion about a project nor frustration with the university over it. 

I know that open government seems soft and starry to some, but it’s neither. Open government is both a principled (as a right) and a prudent (as a practical) approach.  It’s not in opposition to realism, but rather a higher expression of realism, embodying as it does the recognition that information typically wills out, at a higher price for the delay.

I’m sure we will get a grocery, and almost certainly with a public subsidy. That’s not what I’d advocate, but the proposal has obvious support. 

We could (and can) have one, however, more smoothly than this. 

Daily Bread for 7.20.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Midweek in town will be partly cloudy with a high of eighty-seven. Sunrise is 5:35 AM and sunset 8:26 PM, for 14h 51m 06s of daytime. We’ve a full moon today.

Whitewater’s Tech Park Board meets this morning at 8 AM, and the Community Development Authority is scheduled to meet at 5 PM this afternoon.

On this day in 1969, Neil Armstrong walks on the moon:

July 1969. It’s a little over eight years since the flights of Gagarin and Shepard, followed quickly by President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon before the decade is out.

It is only seven months since NASA’s made a bold decision to send Apollo 8 all the way to the moon on the first manned flight of the massive Saturn V rocket.

Now, on the morning of July 16, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sit atop another Saturn V at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The three-stage 363-foot rocket will use its 7.5 million pounds of thrust to propel them into space and into history.

At 9:32 a.m. EDT, the engines fire and Apollo 11 clears the tower. About 12 minutes later, the crew is in Earth orbit. (› Play Audio)

After one and a half orbits, Apollo 11 gets a “go” for what mission controllers call “Translunar Injection” – in other words, it’s time to head for the moon. Three days later the crew is in lunar orbit. A day after that, Armstrong and Aldrin climb into the lunar module Eagle and begin the descent, while Collins orbits in the command module Columbia. (› View Flash Feature)

Collins later writes that Eagle is “the weirdest looking contraption I have ever seen in the sky,” but it will prove its worth.

When it comes time to set Eagle down in the Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong improvises, manually piloting the ship past an area littered with boulders. During the final seconds of descent, Eagle’s computer is sounding alarms.

It turns out to be a simple case of the computer trying to do too many things at once, but as Aldrin will later point out, “unfortunately it came up when we did not want to be trying to solve these particular problems.”

When the lunar module lands at 4:18 p.m EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel remain. Armstrong radios “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Mission control erupts in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we’re breathing again.”

On this day in 1976, Hank Aaron makes history:

1976 – Hank Aaron Hits Record Home Run

On this date Hank Aaron hit his 755th and last home run at Milwaukee County Stadium against the California Angels. [Source: Milwaukee Brewers]

A Google a Day asks a question about racing: “The Daytona Speedway recommends that fans read either the “Speedweeks ebook” or what guide before attending events?”

Grocery Preliminaries

I’ve written about the possibility of a government-subsidized grocery before, but only from an open-government perspective concerning Council’s last meeting in joint session with the Community Development Authority. There have been a few press accounts of previous public meetings about a grocery, but not one of the accounts shows the challenges involved in maintaining a subsidized grocery for the long-term.

The desire for a grocery in town is undoubtedly strong, and it would likely have a value in attracting newcomers, but keeping one going depends on attracting and maintaining customers where prior efforts have failed, in a low-margin industry. The key question isn’t whether one can attract a grocery, however hard that may seem, but whether a grocery one attracts will prove desirable and sustainable.

Prior local government projects that have subsidized businesses have done so farther from the public eye, mostly without the need to attract customers from within a single community, and not for an enterprise relying on high-volume but low-margins from among those in that community.

It’s no easy feat to keep a business of those characteristics going. It’s easy to see why policymakers and residents would like a grocery; maintaining one requires attracting and retaining customers apart from a public subsidy. To do so will require both gathering consumer demand now satisfied elsewhere and, longer-term, generating new demand from within the area.

Daily Bread for 7.19.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Tuesday in town will be sunny with a high of eighty-eight. Sunrise is 5:34 AM and sunset 8:27 PM, for 14h 52m 53s of daytime. The moon is full today, with 99.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Common Council meets tonight at 6:30 PM, and part of that meeting will include a joint session with the Community Development Authority.

On this day in 1799, a French soldier makes a discovery:

…during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaign, a French soldier discovers a black basalt slab inscribed with ancient writing near the town of Rosetta, about 35 miles north of Alexandria. The irregularly shaped stone contained fragments of passages written in three different scripts: Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic. The ancient Greek on the Rosetta Stone told archaeologists that it was inscribed by priests honoring the king of Egypt, Ptolemy V, in the second century B.C. More startlingly, the Greek passage announced that the three scripts were all of identical meaning. The artifact thus held the key to solving the riddle of hieroglyphics, a written language that had been “dead” for nearly 2,000 years….

Several scholars, including Englishman Thomas Young made progress with the initial hieroglyphics analysis of the Rosetta Stone. French Egyptologist Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832), who had taught himself ancient languages, ultimately cracked the code and deciphered the hieroglyphics using his knowledge of Greek as a guide. Hieroglyphics used pictures to represent objects, sounds and groups of sounds. Once the Rosetta Stone inscriptions were translated, the language and culture of ancient Egypt was suddenly open to scientists as never before.

The Rosetta Stone has been housed at the British Museum in London since 1802, except for a brief period during World War I. At that time, museum officials moved it to a separate underground location, along with other irreplaceable items from the museum’s collection, to protect it from the threat of bombs.

Around this time in 1832, Henry and Dodge pursue the British Band:

On this date General James Henry and Colonel Henry Dodge found the trail of the British Band and began pursuit of Black Hawk and the Sauk Indians. Before leaving camp, the troops were told to leave behind any items that would slow down the chase. The troops camped that evening at Rock River, 20 miles east of present day Madison. Some sources place this event on July 18, 1832. [Source: Along the Black Hawk Trail by William F. Stark, p. 119]

A Google a Day asks a geography question: “The cities of Amsterdam, including Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht make up what area that is home to more than 40% of the population of The Netherlands?”