August 2005 Odd Wisconsin
Many of us have been glued to the television over the last 48 hours watching the wind come ashore and the water rise in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities. Our hearts and prayers go out to those people we see marooned on rooftops, holed up in the stifling Superdome, or just watching like ourselves from hotel rooms all...
Posted in Curiosities on August 30, 2005
More odd things happened in Wisconsin lumber camps than were ever written down, but perhaps few were as curious as the lumberjack betrayed by a violin. This short memoir tells how in 1885 a murderer hiding in the depth of the forest in northeastern Wisconsin was tracked down and identified by his musical taste. In the process it reveals a...
Posted in Curiosities on August 29, 2005
Despite our state's republican, democratic, and progressive traditions, various Wisconsin institutions have been quick to crown a queen whenever it might serve their public relations purpose. Naturally we've had numerous prom queens, a Dairy Queen and a Sweet Corn Queen, and even a Kraut Queen. A few weeks ago we wrote here about Queen Marinette, who gave her name to...
Posted in Curiosities on August 21, 2005
Israelís forced removal of settlers from Gaza this week invites comparison with the forced removal of Native Americans from Wisconsin 150 years ago. In Israel, many settlers believe that they reside on traditional homelands where their ancestors lived for thousands of years. Many also believe that these lands were given to their ancestors by the creator and that they possess...
Posted in Curiosities on August 16, 2005
That's the claim made by the not-so-mighty Hillsboro and Northeastern, which maintained a grand total of 4.8 miles of track between Hillsboro and Union Center, west of Wisconsin Dells. Its story is told in this 1927 Wisconsin State Journal article, which explains the crucial role the private line played in shipping the products of local farmers to major railroads and...
Posted in Curiosities on August 15, 2005
Summer's reached that point where we can hardly recall icicles in the mustache, damp and bone-chilling lakeshore winds, and days so short that it's dark when we arrive at work and dark again when we leave. No, now it feels as if we'll always lounge like these two in summer hammocks, listless as basking reptiles, until we get up for...
Posted in Curiosities on August 10, 2005
That's what Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, is often thought to have remarked when the condition of starving peasants was reported to her. History caught up with her by replying "Off with her head" and she died under the guillotine at noon on Oct. 16, 1793. By then her wealth and her palace had been plundered by the revolutionary mob....
Posted in Curiosities on August 7, 2005