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Sunday, 07 April 2013


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Love the pool cue. A personal connection? A local artist?

Hey, although not born here, don't forget Fred MacMurray:

MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois, to Frederick MacMurray and Maleta Martin, both natives of Wisconsin. When MacMurray was two years old[citation needed] the family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and several[vague] years later settled in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, where his mother had been born in 1880. He earned a full scholarship to attend Carroll College (now Carroll University), in Waukesha, Wisconsin. While there, MacMurray participated in numerous local bands, playing the saxophone. He didn't graduate from the school.

I think there was even an early movie of Fred's where he's coming back from the war to open a mink farm in Beaver Dam!

Also don't forget Rock Royalty: The Violent Femmes and The BoDeans.

Green Bay IS American football.

Hopefully I am not disappointing you too much, but I'm willing to bet that "Bong Recreation Area" is named after Dick Bong, a Wisconsin native and one of the leading American fighter aces of WWII. He flew the P38 Lightning in the Pacific Theater. I know this because I grew up in Dousman, Waukesha County. I think Milwaukee's airport may have been called "Bong Field" at one time. My family drove through Mt. Horeb several times a year to travel to see family in Iowa, but this is the first I have heard about the trolls. Maybe they are recent immigrants...

Hate to tell you Mike but Les paul didn't actually invent the electric guitar, although he was very important to it's developement. The original electric was invented by George Beauchamp - born in Texas - who joined with Rickenbaker in California to produce them commercially. Not to do down the great Les but jus' sayin' y'know.

I spent a couple of weeks working in industrial plants across Wisconsin. Here are a few things that Mike missed.

Kohler is a factory town and home to the plumbing fixtures sold under that name, founded in the late 1800s. According to the village website: "The Village of Kohler is a community of friendly people, charming homes, and diverse cultural and recreational amenities." I would imagine it is also a community of above average bathrooms. The Kohler works are instantly visible on Google maps satellite view.

Once while driving in a very rural area between towns that were more than a short distance apart, in the middle of nowhere I drove past a barn that had been converted to an adult novelties store. No further comment on this. I still don't completely understand it.

Baraboo is the former winter home of the Ringling Brothers circus, and now home to Circus World. Only India surpasses the US in milk production, and Wisconsin is #2 to California in the US.

Oscar Mayer was founded in Chicago but is now headquartered in Madison, not too far from the airport. And yes, the smell in the air is bologna.

Wisconsin still has many breweries, including about a dozen large and regional breweries, and about 30 microbreweries (not including another 30 brewpubs). A few are in Milwaukee, but many others are scattered throughout the state.

It is definitely an interesting place.

From Mike: "My ambition in life is to have a pool table. And there is still time."

And where o' where are you gonna put that one Mr. Mike?

[No room for it here. I swear if my living room were two feet wider, there would be a pool table in it right now. Not kidding one bit. --Mike]

Good to see that we Dutch are not the only cheeseheads on the world!

Wisconsin is also the fastest rout to drive between the eastern and western Canada.

Hi Mike. We were recently in the Wisconsin capital city Madison, on the way to the Twin Cities. What a cool place to visit! (Sorry for the old word "cool"; must be an indication of my age.) There we discovered the really amazing capital building. It was totally open to visit and the people working in the building on a Saturday morning were really friendly and helpful. We are planning a return to Madison, soon.

So did Minnesota Fats use a Wisconsin cue?


It makes for a much less fun statistic, but the nation's largest milk producer is actually California. The geographic area and population discrepencies, though, make it awfully impressive that Wisconsin's output is 60% of California's, and more than any of the other 48 states. Wisconsin's output is twice that of New York, it's nearest competitor.

You did not mention Senator Joseph "Joe" McCarthy. He was a celbrity, albeit a nitwit.

Spellcheck: It's "Urlacher." And I guess the Pack will do well as long as they don't meet the Giants in the playoffs.

Don't forget that Wisconsin was also the home of Joseph McCarthy. As crazy as they come.

Unfortunately the Saint Croix River is not deep enough, and I was forced to work with three brothers who commuted from Wisconsin, they were "Mild", "Sharp" and "Extra Sharp".

..."My ambition in life is to have a pool table. And there is still time."

Yes, but is there space?

By the way, was there ever a wave of outrage among Packers fans (i.e., shareholders) when the University of Georgia simply changed the colors of the team's logo and adopted it as its own?

I'm relatively new to this area (Athens, GA) and am admittedly lame on the history of such things.

To see what I mean, this amazingly long copy-and-paste URL will provide graphic evidence of what I mean.


I'd include the graphic itself, but UGA has it trademarked, copyrighted, registered with every bureaucratic agency known to man and regularly threatens to sue anyone who uses it in any way without paying a license fee.

Say, that didn't work at all -- apparently the comment box doesn't wordwrap underlined terms. A Google search of images for UGA logo is what I should have suggested.

What happened to all the beer?

My parents retired from Texas to Middleton, outside Madison, where my mom was born and where her parents and both sets of grandparents lived. (My great grandfather Sellery was president of U. of Wisconsin for a time and has a dorm named after him). Your post made me want to go back for yet another visit, though I'd probably wait until the weather warms up a bit. ;-) I thought I knew a lot about Wiconsin, but your list included quite a few new, fun facts. I've been to Mount Horeb (it really *is* full of trolls!), but have never even heard of the Peshtigo fire and the museum. Regarding famous Wisonsinites, how about Les Paul (from Waukesha, no less!), Georgia O'Keeffe (Sun Prarie) and Orson Welles (Kenosha)?

Hey Mike, you left out Harley Davidson. If people never heard of Wisconsin, they probably heard of Harley. They probably have not heard of some of the rather good local beer companies which I managed to sample at Oktoberfest in La Crosse (summer of '89). One upside of the German heritage.

I knew about the ginseng! Only because we are going to take a Wisconsin vacation this year. Expect temps over 100 this summer, we seem to take the Texas heat with us wherever we go!But on a more important note, Who has the best fried cheese curds?

No mention of the snappy song "On Wisconsin"?
I mean if you are going to make a joke in the headline that obscure, you got to leave l a little bit of a clue.

Also how about that big Guernsey?"

[Caught ya. You didn't read till the end. --Mike]

As mentioned above, California produces more milk than Wisconsin. For completeness the numbers for 2012 are ...

California: 3,617,000,000 pounds
Wisconsin: 2,264,000,000 pounds

I recommend a visit to the Babcock Hall Dairy Store at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Quality over quantity.

And then there's EAA Airventure Oshkosh which turns the normally sleepy Oshkosh airport into the world's busiest for a few days. More than 10,000 airplanes and 500,000 people come to town to hang out, learn and be entertained.

When I was a kid in the 50s, Wisconsin law set the “white balance” for margarine. It could not be colored to look like butter. Margarine was chalky white and no kid would touch it. We lived just across the state line in Illinois, and when our numerous Wisconsin cousins came to visit, they would take yellow margarine home with them. (Shouldn't the fearsome muskellunge be mentioned in this column?)

In the midst of moving to Milwaukee so thanks, Mike, for this. Sounds like I'm heading to a very interesting place that'll consume lots of time exploring.

Gotta love a place where the State Dance is the polka. And it's Orson Welles, not Wells, since we are correcting surnames.

As a fairly frequent visitor (to EAA Airventure Oshkosh), I'll add the following from my own observations:
-Oshkosh Corp trucks
-Oshkosh B'Gosh clothes
-Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac
-cheese curds
-motels in Green Bay that prohibit kegs of beer kept in the bathtubs

I wonder if Pennsylvania is the second most German state? The lilt to people's voices strikes me as similar to the folks in and around Allentown & Bethlehem. I think also that at one time PA might have been second in dairy production.

Nice McDermott. Yours? The more I read, the more I think we share genes. I'm a longtime competitive pool player who would much prefer a real table to that useless slab of wood in the dining room. I only eat on that, and pool is more important by far. I've always wanted a Schon, but they're too skinny and feel all wrong to me (so I have a Joss, not from Wisconsin). McDermott's are also skinny. Wisconsin has a lot of trees, and cold places always have more pool players, so I guess it's not too surprising they have a lot of cuemakers. It's a noble profession. If you go to one of the big amateur tournaments in Las Vegas you'll find the Upper Midwest heavily represented among the players.

You can't forget John Muir and Aldo Leopold.

From an Australian now living in madison

Please, please, do not overlook Manitowoc...on the way to Door County, where you have never been Mike... "Manty" is home of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company and a sample of their wares sits in the harbor...a WWII submarine. As well as the home of Manitowoc Engineering...the maker of the world renown high rise cranes that have built many of the tallest and most memorable building in the world. I had the pleasure of living for several years in Manitowoc and the experience is a lasting positive memory.

P.S....ICE CREAM, a popular by-product of Wisconsin milk (far better that California's in a taste test), was FIRST turned into a SUNDAE, in a soda shop located in Manitowoc's Sister City up the Lake Michigan Coast to the north, Two Rivers...or "TRIVERS" as the locals prefer to pronounce it.


On a photography related note...Edward Steichen, while not born in Wisconsin, spent a good chunk of his formative years and started his photography/art career in Milwaukee. He eventually packed up and moved on to bigger and better things, but speaking on behalf of all Wisconsinites, I claim him as ours!

Despite the hue 'n cry for beer folk (who, I guess, could be considered industrialists, after all), there ARE some literary & art folk who hail from WI:
Thorton Wilder, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Georgia O'Keefe, Edna Ferber, & a couple more modern names would include Ron Kovic & Lynda Berry

A little more detail on the Packers "G" and it's use at universities, via ESPN (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=2071363) :

"But [Grambling State University] school records show that, in reality, the school didn't even apply for a trademark on the oval G until Jan. 14, 1997, and was turned down in February 1998.

The design was too close to previously registered trademarks, according to paperwork provided by GSU spokeswoman Vickie Jackson.

The Green Bay Packers hold the trademark. They've used their oval G since 1961.

The NFL club says it granted limited permission to use a similar mark to the University of Georgia (in 1964) and to Grambling."

Mike, you've really never been to Door County?



I find this as noted, extremely hard to believe.

Take a day off with a new camera and go there.

I have never been there, but I'd love to visit the Driftless Area, in the SW part of the state. Doesn't hurt knowing some locals who know where to take me fly fishing.

Road America, Elkhart Lake WIS - a racetrack of serious repute. (There are very few in the US.)

I'm sure Wisco is a great place and all but I do have a problem with "Cheese heads" The football kind. Years ago NE played The Packers in the Super Bowl. GB won and that's ok cause someone always does. But those obnoxious, cornball cheese hats are just too much!! Saw one last year in my local drug store here in Austin. I was so enraged I had to be removed by security. ;)

But Oregon have many more breweries than Wisconsin.

So - more cows than women? Sounds a bit like Northern Germany to me. Where people are called "Fischkopp" (="fishhead"), or, a bit more friendly, "Muschelschubser" (="shell pusher").

Mike, as far as the Bong Recreational Area is an amusing name, the two major bridges connecting Duluth, MN and Superior, WI definitely are in contention for best named. One is named after the same war hero as the recreational area, while the other is known as the Duluth-Superior High Bridge.

My daughter (a UMD alumni) says the college students at UMD and UW-Superior proudly claim both as theirs - when going between MN & WI for parties, you can take the "high bridge" or you can take the "bong bridge."

Oshkosh hosts the world's biggest airshow and for one week out of the year every year Wittman Field is by far the busiest airport in the world.

In the summer the state reminds me of Ireland. The grass really is greener than back home (Alabama).

Except your pool table would be covered in boxes of books from what I get from what you say about yourself. I used to have a pool table AND pinball machines! Where did they go? What happened? Now I have a Hyundai. At least I took a shot with the ole twinlens before they disappeared into time.

Culver's has thankfully been growing steadily outside of Wisconsin. Those burgers and cheese curds mark some of the very best that chain fast food has to offer.

[Which is like saying "the least unpleasant concentration camp." --Mike]

You covered beer and cheese, but not brats.
I forgot you were a Packer stockholder. So I work for you too.

[And a fine job you are doing, too, Jack. Give yourself a raise! [g] --Mike (Jack is on the Board of Directors of the Packers)]

On the highway between Hayward and Spooner Wisconsin, there is a train overpass on which there is a graffito which says either "Spooner Sucks" or "Spooner Blows" depending on when it was last obliterated and then renewed - and after obliteration, it is always quickly renewed. There was also a sign in a Hayward bar which asked, "Why do trees in Hayward lean to the south?" When you asked what the answer was, it turned out to be, "Spooner Sucks."

The town of Cumberland, Wi, on Highway 63, not far from Spooner, used to have a notorious nude bar. They had one of those large yellow plastic mobile signs parked out front which, most of the time, had one word on it: "NUDE." You couldn't get in the place on the night before deer season. Rumor has it that the dancers had way too much access to milk fat -- but the cheese heads seemed to like them that way. As they would say, "Gives you something to get ahold of."

Hayward, Wi., had an enormous muskie in the middle of town, and you can go up and stand in the mouth, which must be about three stories up. It's the home of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, although not the *only" freshwater fishing hall of fame. Look at Google images under Hayward Wi muskie museum and be prepared to be awed.

OK. I couldn't stand it. I spent two years in Milwaukee 1967 to '69 when things were a bit "unsettled." I loved the Hotel Pfister, Buddy's Steakout and the best bar in the world...The Safehouse.
I even remember margarine being illegal in Wisconsin (and should have been). Anyway, I have fond memories of Wisconsin so thanks Mike.

You have an 11' x 11' office and you want to own a pool table?

I lived in Port Washington, Wis.in the early 1950's, from the 4th thru the 8th grade. Wisconsin drinks more Brandy than any other State. Wisconsin produces more garbage truck bodies. Also my father said that the prettiest girls are in Wisconsin.

Muir spent some of his formative years in Wisconsin, but he was born and spent much of his youth in Scotland. Wisconsin and the people of the state deserve a lot of credit for fostering Muir's love of the outdoors. But Dunbar, Scotland claims his birthplace.

And what most perolpe don't know - that a photo blog from Wisonsin in beeing read even in gold old Germany - bach to the roots.

And you should visit Door County. My recommandation for an extended photo trip. Studying at UWM Milwaukee, I took a inspiring trip to Door County and that is what brought me into professional photography.

I spent many summers in McNaughton, WI at Fort Wilderness and even saw the waterskiing team the "Min-Aqua Bats" perform one year in Minocqua.

Supper Clubs.

Lots of actors, altho you may not see them as royalty...Spencer Tracey, Tony Shaloub (Monk), the mother from Malcom in the Middle, The blond in Third Rock, one of the guys from West Wing (who's married to the woman from Malcom In The Middle)...goes on and on...

...the very important thing to remember about all this, is that they didn't get famous IN Wisconsin, you gotta leave, it ain't happening here no way, no how....

"You might think you're being healthy by drinking milk with reduced fat..."

Milk is for babies and cheese for grown-ups. Milk has enzymes to kept babies from losing fat which they need at birth.

Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries in the US. It produces more than half of all cranberries grown in the Us. Cranberry Fest in Warren, WI attracts over 100,000 people every year. It is held on the last full weekend in September. I think I will make the trip this year.

Besides being the world headquarters of T O P, Wisconsin holds two other fave things in my life.

It's home to Peter Egan, my favorite automotive and motorcycle writer, why else would I subscribe to CYCLE WORLD?

And Mike, if you love car shows, you probably like aircraft, so GET THEE to the next EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. It's the Lambeau Field of airshows !

The lack of celebrities is disinformation, or maybe some kind of native anti-mythmaking quirk. In addition to many celebrities already mentioned, there are, for example: The Ringling bros, Spencer Tracy, William Rehnquist, Woody Herman, Walter Annenberg, Messrs Miller, Pabst and Schlitz, Gene Wilder, The Zucker bros, Al Jarreau, Beth and Eric Heiden, Danica Patrick, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the usual smattering of astronauts, Nobel prize winners, etc.

I'm sorry, Mike, but in this regard, Wisconsin is not as special as you think.

Thomas Osborne has a point. I'm in the UK and pretty much all I knew about Wisconsin before this post was connected with musky fishing and Hayward.

Pete Maina (among others) is famous (in musky and pike angling circles worldwide) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Maina

And there's

How about Road America at Elkhart Lake? Inarguably it is the premier road circuit in the US. Also, in Neenah, Wisconsin resides a firm by the name of Motion Products that is the leading global restorer of vintage V-12 Ferraris as well as pre-war Alfas and similar unobtainable exotic vintage cars. Since you are a car guy I thought you should be mindful of these Wisconsin assets---Not to mention Peter Egan, long time columnist for Road and Track who lives near Madison.

Door County is actually down towards the middle of the pack in terms of shoreline length... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Door_County,_Wisconsin

It only has forty more miles than Kitsap County (where I live).

And of course, no one has mention Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin East in Spring Green.

I'll double down on the dairy store, and put in a plug for the University of Nebraska Dairy Store also. ;-)

My father was born in Menominee (in Michigan), but we are descended from Queen Marinette for whom the town across the Menominee River was named.

Now I live a little bit due south of Wisconsin (Louisiana, not so progressive).

Great Salt Lake is entirely within the borders of the US - tho it is in Utah which thinks it is its own nation.

As for great Indian words for land and such in a State - try to top "Wasatch", for the Wasatch mountains in Utah. It is a Ute word for "Frozen Penis". So named after an Indian brave found frozen to death in those mountains long ago.

Add in another,The Green Bay Packers have only won TWO Super Bowls.
The first two now referred to by that name were not Super Bowls as that name was not used until the third NFL/AFL Championship game.

[Wrong. Well, right, but still wrong. Super Bowls per se have been counted since the game after the '66 season. The name "Super Bowl" was not formally used at the TIME of the first two games but has been officially retroactively applied to the Jan. '67 NFC-AFC championship (officially Super Bowl I) and the Jan. '68 NFC-AFC championship (officially Super Bowl II). The Packers have won 9 NFL Championships and 4 Super Bowls (I, II, XXXI, and XLV), for a total of 13 National Football League Championships, more than any other team. --Mike]

"You did not mention Senator Joseph "Joe" McCarthy. He was a celbrity, albeit a nitwit."

William Proxmire more than made up for drunk Joe.

About Door County....Wikipedia gives the "most miles of shoreline" title to Suffolk County, NY. Even nearby Keweenaw County, MI has more (including Isle Royale).

Ahhhh, the venerable McDermott cuestick. I've had many, many, MANY, cuesticks in my earlier, pre-photography career as a bona fide pool hustler and the trusty McDermott was my very first "Professional" one.

Brings back many a fond memory of smoky pool halls and marathon nineball sessions on East Lake Street in Minneapolis (Gentleman Jim's, BJ's anyone?) where I growed me up. I still have a nice, nondescript classic Schön which alas, will be the last cuestick I'll ever own.

I bet the German influence and the prosperous milk industry are strongly correlated.

re: celebrities. Did you forget Orson Welles? He was born in Kenosha May 6, 1915. When you have one of the great creative geniuses of the 20th century you don't need a gaggle of others.

Mike -- you missed the world's biggest airshow in Oskosh every year.

Jeepers, ya know dat dem dere Cheezeheads are kinda like Yoopers, eh?

This East Coaster and his daughter just got back yesterday from our first trip to Wisconsin, having toured UW/Madison where she'll be enrolled this Fall. So you'll be seeing more of us. We already bought our Badger t-shirts and sweats, and will happily vouch for the quality of the ice cream.

One evening at a dinner somewhere while traveling in Wisconsin, I had some local cheddar that was, quite frankly, not very good. I remarked to the waitress that Ontario cheddar was far better. I don't think she liked that. Still, it was true.

Speaking as a proud former midwesterner (IA now in AK), might I recommend this shirt if you need to show off any regional pride when travelling elsewhere - http://raygunsite.com/shop/guys/t-shirts-34/big-usmw-logo.

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