Yes, it is finally here. 2012, the year of speculative doom and guaranteed political overload, stretches before us, 12 months in which we may suffer catastrophe as prophesied by ancient Indians or commit mass self-extinction to avoid the 4,879th issue ad of the presidential campaign paid for by an anonymous corporation.
Picking up on this scenario of impending whatever, our normal cover story treatment is transformed into a graphic depiction of "The 12 Signs of the Madison Apocalypse" by Alan Talaga and Jon Lyons. These are the guys who produce the "Off the Square" cartoon in each issue of Isthmus. They help us kick off our first effort of this new year with their thematic presentation, showing just how the end might look coming down the pike. Sort of reminds you of the 2000 hoopla, doesn't it?
Meanwhile, there is real stuff going on in the Madison area this week, prominently the USA Cycling National Championships in Cyclo-Cross. The event, whose program is included with your Isthmus this week, began on Wednesday at Verona's Badger Prairie Park. The action, as outlined in the program, continues through Sunday, with the awards ceremony scheduled for 4 p.m. that day.
When I first heard that the USA Cyclo-Cross people would be contesting their championship in January in Wisconsin, I feared for the cold and muck they would have to face. Now I fear that the frozen ground will give the medical station indicated on the course map land-office business. However, I also notice a beer and food garden on the premises, so they should be good for all eventualities.
Badger Prairie is a straight shot out 18/151. I'm sure the Verona Area Chamber of Commerce, which welcomes the bikers from all over the nation, would welcome you, too. Reminder: There is no football of immediate interest this weekend.