John A. Lindquist

Participating in the Bread-Bed Experience (You can always ask about that.)

Scholastic Background (a lifetime in school):


Subject Matters.

Near the headwaters of Howard Creek: Ultimate source of the water which flows to the Gulf of Mexico via Lake Itasca and the Mississippi River.


This is the Red Rock River in the Centennial Valley – a few miles east of Monida, Montana (population 2). Following it up to the Centennial Mountains in the far background, one comes to Hell Roaring Creek, the ultimate tributary of the Missouri River where a drop of water placed at its source (Brower's Spring) has the farthest distance to get to the Gulf of Mexico. I'll get back to that area for a closer look in the Summer of 2017.

My real home – where cool and scientific heads have always prevailed and mirthly pleasures abound – is up in the hinterlands of Northwest Wisconsin: A genuine old-growth forest and partly navigable wetland which has always been filled with a variety of forest and swamp creatures, some photos of which are below. Spare time at home (which I have occupied since 1948) is filled with experiencing the wonders of nature along with extra-special treats and adventures such as indulging in Kellie's special formulation of pomegranate meringue pie and hitting the road to obscure geographical spots written about by the old, forgotten explorers. One such area comprises the real headwaters of the Mississippi River that flow and seep into Lake Itasca and continue on to the Gulf of Mexico. Why just do the slippery, skull-cracking walk across Itasca's outlet when you can seek out extreme sources such as Howard Creek whose head starts the longest perennial course of open water through the Mississippi River to the Gulf (except for tributaries of the Missouri, one must note at least parenthetically). A revisit to far southern Montana to get a view of Hell Roaring Creek (and, incidentally, the total solar eclipse) is on the docket for 2017. That particular creek does for the Missouri River what Howard Creek does for the Mississippi. (See photos at right.)  Lake Superior is good for all seasons as might be hinted at here, and there are a few weeks in many years that we can truck on over the ice road to Madeline Island as seen in this movie taken with my pocket-size dashcam. Sand Island once supported the northernmost community in Wisconsin and lately has become my favorite island of them all. Some photos are here and here. Photos from recent expeditions to Devil's Island and Stockton Island are here and here.

Now retired from my job as a microbiology lab instructor, I hang out occasionally in my emeritus office and still do a bit of lab work at UW-Madison. I also find scheduling those road trips to be a bit easier than before. With the deteriorating highway upkeep of recent winters in mind, I put my Mitsubishi-built 2001 Dodge Stratus Coupe (which had lost its "winter legs") into semi-retirement in the fall of 2014. It had just passed the 436,000 milestone while keeping up its great gas mileage, achieving up to 41 mpg on the open road. Presently, my primary vehicle is a 2013 Chevrolet Captiva Sport SUV, an offshoot of the German Opel Antara which has generated clones under various brand names over much of the world, including our 2008-10 Saturn Vue. The Captiva Sport was imported to the U.S. from Mexico in 2012-15 to fill a gap in the U.S. rental market, and thousands of lucky buyers were able to purchase the used vehicles and become happy owners.  Now the Buick Envision (basically the same car but twice as expensive) has emerged and become the style leader of the "clone family" and is being imported from China with the intent of filling the gap between Buick's large and small SUVs for the general new-car buyer. How long that will continue under the new U.S. administration remains to be seen – as does the longevity of the Captiva Sport which is now restricted to a few Latin American countries including Brazil. It may never get its style update and will probably always resemble the 2008-10 Saturn Vue, which actually isn't a bad thing. Perhaps the Western Hemisphere will be importing the Opel Antara which was already introduced to Chile!

Having wound down my 137th and last semester (the 2014 Summer Session), some extended blather about my work-related activities and general attitude (which really hasn't been too bad) can be found here. Subjects we have been teaching in Microbiology 102 at UW-Madison for many years are listed here. The subject certainly matters! There is a framework behind all this which one may not find in a lab manual. The overall theme of this course has been what bacterial cells do and how they fit into the scheme of things. What they look like is relatively insignificant, although one might think they really should be twice their size in order to account for all their doings!

The Venus Transit of June 5, 2012 – projected with reversed binoculars onto a hand-held, orange note card. More images can be found on Facebook.

Occasionally I come across microbes that one doesn't consider in the usual bacteriology course. A couple examples: A colony of the green alga, Chlorella, turned up in a bacteriological plate-count analysis of water from the actual headwaters of the Mississippi River. After several years, it still maintains itself on slants of Nutrient Agar just like a bacterial culture. And it is always reasonably fun to isolate purple non-sulfur photosynthetic bacteria from rain, snow, icicles and hailstones and then see if any can produce hydrogen. Isolating and running tests on this type of photosynthetic bacteria became a special feature of our Microbiology 102 course. Wouldn't it be great if we could get them to use light energy to synthesize propane!

I grew up thinking I would wind up in a geography and cartography-related career, but I got sidetracked by biology and a couple college courses got me interested in the micro world. Decades later, the thought of retirement from active teaching really had me down for quite awhile, and my very best friends were convinced that such would be a mistake. I'm too young for such nonscience, one would think. But from superficial appearances, I seem to be getting along with "giving up the job" OK. Actually, I do "get out more" and frequently indulge my aforementioned passion for geography. I haven't really retired from microbiology and will always maintain my interest in simplifying some of the basics of microbial science, continuing to put relevant things on-line and thereby continuing to do the teaching thing. As an example: How about the concept of "programming" selective-differential media to isolate pathogens of a certain physiological type? Isolation plating is still being done in clinical labs; it isn't all DNA detection.  So, enough with all that stereotypical nonsense about how happy everyone should be by (1) quitting it all and (2) getting on with what passes in simple minds as retirement. Toward the end, I really was having enough of the show over substance attitude with being pulled in front of a crowd by relative newcomers (three times) to be cited for longevity in the career with no time allowed to say a word in my defense of what I was there for.

Adding stuff to the web continues to be enjoyable.  I am still doing HTML the old-fashioned way, building on what I taught myself back in 1997 when I discovered it was intuitive and easy. (Go to your browser's source viewer and check it out.) A marketed HTML editor finds no place in my desert island emergency kit. Anyone can do it; just keep the code clean and modular. My favorite HTML-checking web browser suggests that I move up to XHTML and stylesheets which may not be a bad idea, as the browsers of the near future just might not lower themselves to recognize HTML 3.2 any more! As for old browsers, I remember getting a lot of enjoyment using the old state-of-the-art and speech-capable (and still-downloadable!) NCSA Mosaic 3.0beta4. By the way, here is the Web's First Splammo Page.

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Where does the hardly-earned money go? Partly to fund badly-needed playtime and the escapes into the real world referenced above. Here are some more: On the right are photos (taken with real film!) that show (1) a sunset taken from the top of Bell Mound near Black River Falls on Sept. 13, 2001 when dark clouds in general were no longer just on the horizon, (2) a view of Jackson Hole, Wyoming suitable for calendars and postcards that was taken in August, 1961 and (3) a similar view of the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina taken in May, 1975. The fourth image was taken with my digital camera out of the plane window in October, 2014 on my way to Eddie Cochran's 76th birthday commemoration (with cake!) in Bell Gardens, California. For awhile it seemed we were racing the clouds while over the mountains. The Apostle Islands area has always ranked high on my list of cool places. In my biased mind, Wisconsin has every bit as much photogenic scenery as any other part of the world – except maybe Chile which continues to beckon. Sweden, Crimea and England are also on my bucket list; in fact, tracing the Thames in England to its ultimate source must be done!

Click on the photo below which shows three generations (circa 1915) immediately preceding mine. Among the three kids in the front row, you see a future school principal and architect, a future farmer and heavy equipment mechanic, and a future aerospace engineer. In 1920, my grandfather Clarn (on the far right) built a barn on his farm near Hayward; as it stood in 2002 is shown here. In the 1920s, he sharpened the saws for the Schroeder logging operation on Outer Island, photos of which are found here.

The older lady (front and center) is my great-grandmother, Anne. Once we found out her maiden name (and its correct spelling!), it became a breeze to trace our family back to the Folkung family group of 12th-century Sweden. As we went back in time with the help of Ancestry.com, we found several lines converging on family members ably depicted in the epic Swedish TV mini-series "ARN–The Knight Templar" – namely Birgir "Brosa" and his brother Magnus "Minnesköld" (both surnamed Bengtsson) and Magnus' son Eskil Magnusson. All three are shown in this order in a promotional photo for the TV series, and the official trailer is seen here.

Surf's Up!

  • The obligatory site outline, pets and links pages.
  • A special site outline for my microbiological web pages is here. Sites for various courses I've taught appear on this outline as "archived" or "semi-retired," although certain pages devoted to pure subject matter may be updated from time to time, such as my Salmonella page which includes mention of an organism named after Michael Jordan!
  • My "Homepage Part 2" reviews things about the job and lists various publications which include my classic Bacteriology 102 Lab Manual, a chapter in Bergey's Manual, and a couple ASM posters.
  • Some applied food microbiology from the old (20th century) Bact./Food Sci. 324 course: Sauerkraut fermentation, sausage fermentation, and the ultimate basis of food microbiology in general which is the concept of water activity. Do you remember Kraut Fest? And here is our special handout on making yogurt!
  • And then there are bioluminescent bacteria:  So bright, you can read by their light. How to isolate them is described here.
  • Hopefully coming by the end of 2016: A summary composite of photos, tables and other information regarding my Edwardsiella tarda Isolation Project (aka "ET Project") which I have had the honor to present over the years at various Microbiology poster sessions. The first one (in Dallas, Texas) was so well-received that I was invited to stay all afternoon rather than the regular 90-minute time slot, happily explaining my selective isolation medium ("ET Agar") which is summarized in The Prokaryotes "Edwardsiella" chapter.  My earlier M.S. Project (mentioned somewhere below) pales in comparison.
  • Sixteen pages cover the Demolition of E. B. Fred Hall including the Nov. 7, 2004 aurora event.
  • Very amateur photos of comets, eclipses and the Venus and Mercury transits are on my astrophoto page along with some good astronomy links.
  • Recalling how fascinated I was in grade school with the fact that 2 + 2 = 2 × 2 and how that sort of thing just didn't appear to happen with other numbers, I came up with a simple formula which generates similar occurrences. I'm sure many others must have played with this over the centuries, but its possible usefulness escapes me except to shed a little more light on the significance of the mathematical constant e.
  • Some Iowa History: The annual reunion at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake and Captain Allen's 1844 Expedition.
  • Old maps of NW Wisconsin with associated photo-essays on various historical and geographical items include the following:

    A few slant cultures of our spectacular isolate of Photobacterium, and the cells are shining by their own light. My Bacteriology 320 students isolated this strain in 1984. We can even write the cells on Petri plates!

  • Movies on YouTube along with detailed descriptions and references – but only if required:
  • Most surprisingly, I recently found that these items have crept onto the web:
    • *An essay on the late, great Bobby Vee which I wrote for the Encyclopedia of the Great Plains that was extremely relevant at that particular time. (Note the photo in this essay which is actually of another entertainer from North Dakota!) Bobby occasionally talked about "sampling retirement living" in his sixties but had his life shortened by succumbing to Alzheimer's disease at the young age of 73.
    • Mention of my 1975 M.S. Thesis here and also its being referenced in various publications. Some of the observations made during this project from decades past are summarized on this site.
  • More videos, images and other stuff are on Facebook, although I have had much better success getting the substance of things across on these webpages.

Back to the Animal Farm:

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Up in my neck of the woods, various interesting animals have been observed including Domino the black squirrel who could chew through wood and plastic and destroy all kinds of "squirrel-proof" bird feeders, Little Ollie the good-natured teddy-bear type who was unjustly accused of taking down our feeders, and a big mama bear with triplets who got caught in the act performing a precision pulling operation to take the feeders down. Here she comes to examine the source of the flash, only to take a most unflattering self portrait. For photographing these shy creatures at night, I use a wide-angle camera with an automatic motion detector.

Genuine forest animals – wise to the ways of the great outdoors! Bright, motivated, self-aware, professional, prosperous and innovative. A true joy to observe. For the truth about black bears and some great videos, go to bear.org.

Garbage cans have always been a natural attractant for animals. Here is Little Ollie down on one elbow scanning the bottom for the serial number, and here is one of our rather large raccoons.

We also have plenty of foxes in our woods – both gray and red. An evening visit by a gray fox is shown in this photo taken through the kitchen window.

Delighting all who saw her strolling through her domain was this genuine albino doe who appeared as big as a horse and was first seen in our woods in February 1999 prancing through the snow. A photogallery is shown here. A couple years later, she disappeared and a smaller albino doe showed up in her place, appearing more goat-like. She is caught here with the bear camera, and a couple photogalleries are shown here and here. She especially loved walnuts, and if presented with an apple and a similar-sized scoop of mashed potatoes, she would take the mashed potatoes every time and just sniff at the apple. We lost her as the result of a car accident in early November 2004. The "regular" kind of deer are all we have now, and they are still always interesting to watch.

The ravens can put on a good show, sometimes spending a lot of time passing things real and imaginary from one to another. The crows outnumber the ravens at least twenty to one, and here is one beating the daylights out of a grass flower in order to obtain a few seeds.

Not too many days out of the egg, here are some very young birds at the communal bath trying to figure out their new world.

We see hawks of many kinds year-round, and a real treat was seeing this big baby goshawk land in front of the car to examine the remains of some roadkill left by the vultures. I never thought of goshawks as carrion eaters, but I suppose anything is fair game if they are hungry enough. We occasionally see a red-tailed hawk out on the prowl for fresh eats. This photo was actually taken on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus in 1999. Quite familiar with masses of people, this individual was often seen playfully buzzing crowds and feeding on rabbits and rodents, disappearing upon hearing the approach of crows.

In late fall, groups of wild turkeys come through our yard and provide an interesting sight. This group actually showed up on Thanksgiving Day! Not so common a sight are sandhill cranes which we were lucky to see casually stroll past our car while parked just off the road on Madeline Island.

In the summer, we often see insects bouncing around like tiny blue balls of cotton – traveling in a small pack, flying skillfully against the wind and landing preferentially on raspberry and black cherry leaves. When we first noticed them in our back yard in the 1980s, we decided they shall be called fuzzy blue cherry gnats, and I searched the literature in vain for their true identification. Lately an increasing number of photos and descriptions of such insects have been showing up on the web, so what we have here is one of many species of wooly aphids.

My Mom loved sitting by the picture window and watching the animals emerge from the woods. Here is her photo of twin bear cubs resting in the back yard.


Life is far more important than what you do for a living.
(Richard Dean Anderson said that.)

This is the 20th Anniversary Edition of my home page which was originally placed on the web on January 28, 1997, and it subsequently found sanctuary with my other pages on dotcom and dotnet domains circa 2001. Latest update was on January 10, 2017 at 12:45 PM, CST.
You must let me know if any quote or image on these pages is improperly credited. All photos are by myself unless they are credited otherwise or are obviously ancient archive photos such as this one.

Bacteriological Email: lindquis @ bact.wisc.edu
All other Email: jlindquist 001 @ gmail.com
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The weather back home:

Click here and lighten up.


Vamos a torcer de nuevo, como lo hicimos el verano pasado.