This is my second stab at a website. This is a trial site and a dress rehearsal for my own lean, mean professional website – something that seems to have become the standard for job candidates. I expect it will be about me and my environs, thoughts on global politics, and what I am working on and thinking about, including occasional notes on sports, wine and cultcha. But enough about me – as the joke goes – I also want to hear about what you think of my work and thoughts.
I hope to have this site available to those who want to find it, and not for those who should not. A Goldilocks vision of Internet presence, but hopefully attainable.
Me and my environs: the site’s title refers to the trademark of Madison, a.k.a. City of Four Lakes. We live on the isthmus – a strip of land separating Lakes Mendota and Monona. We are southern New England diasporans, Connecticut Yankees out of water, gradually and happily acclimating to the Badger state.
In July, after two years in Beloit, we chose to move to Madison and buy a house here. The time had come for us to establish a base somewhere. But the choice of where to was quite open. Theoretically, we could have chosen Buenos Aires. Realistically, Washington, Paris, Chicago and Milwaukee all were on our list. Madison was the choice for its civilized pace, knowledge economy, its Wisconsin Idea of enlightened government, great restaurants, bikepaths, and affordable quality houses — plus a couple of old school friends and few relatives nearby, and a foothold of experience working in the state. But most of our friends and family and all of the close ones do not live here – or anywhere nearby.
Interestingly, there is a long tradition of Connecticut people and their neighbors in New York and New England streaming west by northwest to leave their mark in Wisconsin. Connecticut itself had large land claims in the Midwest that it ceded to the US prior to the establishment of the Northwest Territory in 1787, its Connecticut Western Reserve becoming Trumbull County, Ohio. Of course the Nutmeg state’s ambitions of dominion fell through – today look downright silly. But its sons and daughters went out in the 19th century to found Wisconsin towns and colleges. My sense is that in the 20th century the flow of Yankees was reduced and segmented, with the University of Wisconsin attracting a steady stream of students and scholars.
Historicizing our move here helps to remind me that “it ain’t no thing” what we have done. Ironically in a nation renowned for the mobility of its people, the mean recession has put some chill into life as a transplant. It is hard finding a good job in Madison, as it is in most places in the country in 2011. And in my speech, thinking and schooling, I am visibly different from that of native-born Wisconsinites. Becoming a fixture on the local scene will take time, and undoubtedly the process will involve steps forward and setbacks worth blogging about here.
The global angle: A key purpose of this site is to summarize some of my insights on local, regional and US as well as global issues in order to engage with family, friends and colleagues in other places. Hopefully it will elicit your input and help keep me plugged in to broader global issues, that you are watching, reading and taking part in.
That’s all for now folks!