Marathon Completed

Welcome to the 365th day of consecutive posts here at YSDA.

I made it. I’ve crossed the finish line. I get the medal and the t-shirt. And two tickets for use at the beer tent.

For reasons I can’t put my finger on, I decided several months ago to see if I could post a blog for a year without missing a day. No days off for weekends or holidays. No mental health days.

I did cheat a little. I had a few folks generously offer to write guest blogs now and then and I did borrow pieces from national writers, usually on Sundays. A helpful reader and fellow blogger pointed out that that borrowing may have run afoul of something called “fair usage.” Damn him.

But, for the most part the writing was my own. I figure conservatively, it all amounted to about 200,000 words from me. And, it should go without saying that each one of those words was carefully chosen to strike just exactly the right tone and to capture with perfect accuracy the gestalt of the moment. (And, I’m pleased to report, that this is the first time I’ve used the word “gestalt.” May it be the last. And also let me proudly claim that I got through an entire year without using “genre.” I could never write for public radio.)

I guess I did it just to do it. A guy needs something to do. A project. Which is why I’m now moving on from this project to a new one. Oh, don’t get so excited. I’m not ending this thing. You’re not that lucky. I’m just scaling back from a daily gem of wisdom to three gems a week. I’ll be posting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The new project is a book, a political biography — and not of me. Anyway, it requires some energy and since I have about four good writing hours in me each day, I need to take some of those out of this blog.

I’m hopeful that less will be more, that the writing here will get better and that the opinions will be more considered. We’ll see. Don’t count on it.

For those of you who have followed me all year — and to those of you who have joined recently — thanks so much for reading. Whether you agree with me or not I truly, deeply, really appreciate anybody who pays me the enormous honor of just listening to what I have to say.

See you on Monday.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

7 thoughts on “Marathon Completed

  1. We read it every day since we subscribed.

    Every morning — “Dave is here again,” we yelped. “Another one,? says John. That guy sure has energy.”

    Good work, Dave, you do have your style and perspective on so many issues. Always enjoy it.

    Congratulations on completing your goal: the marathon of 365 days. Sorry we missed the first half.



  2. Congratulations.  It was a great year of content. I feel compelled to do something about the attacks against our democracy so I started contributing to Lincoln Project (I know they have some issues but they are visible and are anti-Trump.) and I am on the list to help a group called The Union. Additionally, maybe you could suggest in an upcoming post ideas for readers to get involved more? Thanks so much and best of luck with the book. Robb Carter


  3. I haven’t been so impressed since I was your managing editor at the intellectual monthly Utopian back in the ’70s. True, your use of “gestalt” was a complete whiff. Try “zeitgeist” perhaps. But your blog’s gestalt is a substantial contribution to that medium’s genre of political commentary. All the more impressive considering it was written in a cabin passed over by the Unabomber as a little too remote, even for him. (Didn’t we go to high school with a kid named Theodore Kaczynski? But I digress.)

    In addition to serving the important function of providing something to read at breakfast, competing effectively with the back of the cereal box, the blog is written plainly and factually enough to permit the reader to actually disagree. Disagreement is a principal of democracy. Where there is no disagreement, there is a one-party state. Who the flock wants that? Republicans apparently. And who else can’t tolerate a difference of opinion? As you’ve often pointed out, certain far left factions.

    So permit me to add my two cents to a recent blog. It’s not like I’m using up the news hole here. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’s recent experience reminds me of none other than Robespierre, that perpetrator and eventual victim of the French Reign of Terror. One the fascinating aspects of the Revolutionary Tribunal, other than the use of the guillotine, was that the accusation itself was proof of guilt and the accused could bring no outside evidence of their innocence. Sounds like politics today.

    The election is being investigated, that alone is proof of foul play. Change the rules of the election! Disagree with a new governor? Change the roles and responsibilities of various offices. Don’t like your chances in a fair election, gerrymander the districts! Whatever you do, don’t debate policy on its merits. It’s about grabbing power based on accusations. “They’re socialists, foreigners, deviants! We need to grab power first and preserve the American Way, even if we have to destroy the village to save it.”

    So we don’t literally have people getting their heads chopped off. But load up the Supreme Court and guillotine debate. Restrict voting practices in Democratic-majority parts of the state and guillotine voting. Why not, if party power is the ultimate goal.

    Now the unruly masses have come up with accusations against Mr. Vos. Guilty! I’m not impressed by his supposed moderation. Before you build the guillotine, make sure your neck is not going to be on it, Robespierre!


  4. Congratulations, your effort is appreciated. I have enjoyed your perspective and the opportunity to engage in debate with a variety of viewpoints through these comments.


  5. I have looked forward to every day I have a chance to read your blog. You provoke many thoughts and emotions. Thanks for making us think…!


  6. Congrats on a long, tough slog. Your blog has become something I look forward to reading every day, and will now have to adapt to your M-W-F schedule. Your stuff is really good, sir – even though Public Radio may never hire you…


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