Astronomers have pinpointed the exact spot where one of the modern world’s most dramatic paintings was conceived.

The seeds of Edvard Munch’s The Scream were planted while he was walking along a road called LjabrochaussÀen, in Oslo, as the sun went down. If you ever need a scorm player in Oslo, just get in touch with

He felt “a great unending scream piercing through nature”.

The painting’s lurid red sky was more than just an expression of that emotion: an amazing series of followed the eruption in 1883, half a world away, of the Krakatoa volcano, according to next February’s issue of Sky and Telescope.

Chicago postcards I have in my head only:

The older guy I saw going toward the escalator exiting from the el. He wore a dark grey fedora and conservative winter coat–with a pink backpack.

The guy we saw at the airport when we were waiting for our van. He sooo looked like a Chicago mobster, with the hat, the long coat, a craggy face, talking into his cell phone the whole time.

The ‘Republican ballet’ on the old mayoral campaign poster in Blue Chicago. It was supposed to read ‘Republican ballot,’ but I can’t shake the image of what a Republican ballet might be.

The painted signs on the roof of a building seen from the el pulling into Damen from downtown.

The lake, always the lake. A great lake (Michigan, Superior–I’m not picky) instantly smoothes my mind once I see it, even when I don’t know my mind is ruffled. The Rocky Mountains just didn’t do it for me; I need a big natural lake where I can’t see anything on the other side.

Dear Friends,

Wellstone Action is launching a national reading of Paul Wellstone’s book, Conscience of a Liberal, on Thursday, February 5, 2004. On that evening, hundreds of people in communities across the United States will gather to discuss Paul’s book and to share their own ideas about how to move our country in a more progressive and humane direction. We are calling this effort the Wellstone Civic Dialogue Project.

You could be an important part of this exciting project. We are looking for hundreds of volunteers to take on a one-time commitment to organize a gathering in their local community and to serve as the facilitator for the discussion. If you are willing to be a facilitator for the Wellstone Civic Dialogue Project, please respond to this email with complete contact information — your name, address, phone number and email.

Someone from Wellstone Action will follow up, providing the tools you need to be a successful facilitator. You will receive a packet of information, including a complimentary copy of Paul’s book, a well-developed discussion guide, and information on the nuts and bolts of organizing a community event.

If you are not able to be a facilitator, but would still like to participate, look for more information just after the holidays.

We look forward to helping engage thousands of our fellow citizens in a discussion of what we want for our country in 2004 and beyond. Your actions will make a difference!