January 2006 Odd Wisconsin
Here in Wisconsin we've sometimes enjoyed looking down on the corruption of governments elsewhere in the nation. Recently, of course, we've had to trim our sails a bit, as the news media have revealed a series of allegations about lawmakers and subsequent convictions. From county boards to the capitol dome, a critical mass of officials appear to have forgotten what...
Posted in Curiosities on January 29, 2006
Our publication this week of Aztalan: Mysteries of an Ancient Indian Town (the first monograph on Aztalan since 1933), and the recent discovery of important prehistoric remains by 7-year-old Joshua Bradford near Sauk City, seem to demand an archaeolgical Odd Wisconsin. Luckily, today is the birthday of Wisconsin's most famous archaeologist, Roy Chapman Andrews. Raised in Beloit, Andrews once said,...
Posted in Odd Lives on January 26, 2006
This weekend's showing of Orson Welles' 1963 film The Trial (1:30 Sunday, at the Society headquarters in Madison) faithfully recreates the surreal tale of a man who finds himself accused of a capital crime but cannot learn what he's charged with, and who gets ever more hopelessly entangled in a sinister bureaucracy as the story progresses. Such existential dilemmas were...
Posted in Strange Deaths on January 19, 2006
Dirty Dan, Eight-day Bill, Ham-bone Smith, Moonlight Bob, Prune-Juice Doyle, Smutty John, Squeaky George, The Cleaver, The Pope, and Three-fingered Ole -- these are just some of the names used by lumberjacks around Rhinelander 100 years ago. Doesn't that last one make you wonder? Some were given to loggers by their peers and others were adopted on purpose by lumberjacks...
Posted in Curiosities on January 11, 2006
When the Civil War broke out and President Lincoln called for enlistments, Wisconsin was teeming with new immigrants. Although they might have been forgiven for not wanting to get involved in the domestic quarrels of their adopted country, many felt passionately that their new homeland of united states should be preserved, and joined the Union ranks. Some regiments were made...
Posted in Curiosities on January 4, 2006
As 2006 gets underway, let's cast a backward glance at what occured during the '06 of previous centuries. Two great explorers concluded trips in 1806. William Clark returned with Meriwether Lewis from the Pacific and was put in charge the next year of relations with western Indian nations, including Wisconsin's. In the spring of 1806, Zebulon Pike returned from the...
Posted in on January 2, 2006