Tuesday, Nov. 11th, 2008

Garrison Keillor Totally Hearts Local Poet!

Hey, this just in sort of! Last week on NPR’s nationally syndicated The Writer’s Almanac literature-on-the-radio show, Garrison Keillor’s lackadaisically golden voice dripped its trademark maple syrup tones all over a poem by local writer Bruce Taylor. Listen and/or read here.

The poem in question, “Middle-Aged Men, Leaning,” comes from Taylor’s Pity the World. If I may summarize: middle-aged men do different kinds of yard work throughout the seasons. Um, anchored within a profound suburban landscape. Um, and in a kind of twist, it ends with summer, and not winter, as one might expect. Bam!

Taylor used to teach at UWEC is a Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing and American Literature. I actually went through UWEC’s Creative Writing program, and that dripping syrup metaphor is all I really have to show for it.* And I’m probably just hungry. Money well spent, folks.

At any rate, a big “That’s awesome!” goes out to Mr. Bruce Taylor.

*By no fault of my excellent professors.

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Monday, Nov. 10th, 2008

The Big Week, November 10

In this episode: Clairemont Ave. construction, the Saw Blades in trouble, gas price break down, and we give away a $50 gift certificate to Draganetti's.

Note: Now on every episode of the Big Week, we'll be announcing a winner for one of our V1 Insider $50 Giveaways. So enter them and try to win. If you hear your name announced in the Big Week, you have 7 days to email mike@volumeone.org and claim your prize.

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Friday, Nov. 7th, 2008

This Weekend: To the Moon!

Every day this weekend, you’ve got a chance to check out the big stage production over at UWEC: Lunacy. It’s a fictionalized account of what happened to the women who were denied opportunities in NASA’s space program. The show offers previously unknown information about the history of women who have been involved with NASA.

BUT! While it portrays the real history of women, it is also a surreal journey for a modern female astronaut as she discovers her own place in history after encountering Galileo’s daughter, Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, astronomer Caroline Herschel, the dancing Pleiades, a trio of cosmic courtesans, and the women pilots who participated in astronaut testing in the 1960s. Wacky. Stuff. Characters roll onto stage on rollerblades, others are disco dancing, and popular music from the 70s and 80s has been integrated into the show.

Also this weekend: The Get-Rites + Tom Feldmann, The Shouting Matches, Pool Tournament, Brian Bethke, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Sue Orfield Band, and ... drum roll ... Out of Sight Magic by Amazing Jeffo.

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Thursday, Nov. 6th, 2008

99 Bricks

99 Bricks: this nutty Tetris-inspired brick stacker is sweet. If you can't tell at first why its unique, try dropping a brick just slightly off center ...

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Victorian Volume One

Over the summer, “Drusilla Pickelsby” emailed in to say, “This is my BVDF (Best Victorian Dressed Friend) Missy reading Volume One at the new bed & breakfast inn “The Victorian Rose” in Augusta, Wisconsin. The Victorian Rose Float won 3rd place in the Augusta Parade! Missy is the new Innkeeper!”

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Up the Trunk

I didn't realize quite how much I loved fall until I took this shot. Gazing up the trunk of a of a massive tree that is absolutely on fire with glowing orange leaves is a revelatory experience. I'd recommend doing it sooner rather than later, as most of the leaves are starting their exodus towards your lawn.

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A Deadly Dose

A Deadly Dose
Fred Strickland Swallows a Quantity of Morphine in a Glass of Beer.
– Eau Claire Weekly Telegram | November 3, 1898

About noon to-day Fred Strickland generally known as “Silver,” was found unconscious in a room in the Sterling Wine House.  He was seated in a chair, with his feet on a table.  On his person was found a package of morphine.  It seems evident he had taken a heavy dose.  The proprietor tried to wake him but failed.  Dr. Selbach was summoned and endeavored to relieve the patient’s stomach of the drug, and Dr. Montgomery, arrived later, assisted, but the labors of the two doctors were in vain, and Strickland died at 1 o’clock.   The body was laid on the table, and Undertaker Fleming was sent for. A crowd gathered.

The body of Strickland was removed to Fleming’s undertaking parlor, on the North side.  Justice E.C. Weston instituted an inquest, John Sather, Ed Ure, M. Keefe, Geo Thomas, Theo Olson, and F.T. Gilbert composing the jury.  The inquest was adjourned at 4 p.m. A young man who claimed to have been an eye witness of the affair was reported as saying that he saw Strickland place a quantity of white powder which he said was “morphine, to steady his nerves,” in a glass of beer, and drink the beer.  It was also said that Strickland had visited three drug stores this morning in quest of morphine, securing it on the third place visited.

The deceased was about 25 years of age.  The other members of his immediate family are his parents, two brothers, and a sister.

Chad's Take: Steady Does It

I wrestled with this story for quite some time to figure out why I found it so interesting.  Sure it features Mr. Strickland, a man with a cool nickname (Silver), but it also has a sad ending for Mr. Strickland.   I finally settled on the bizarre fact that in 1898 you could simply wander into an Eau Claire drug store and grab some morphine right off the shelf.  Today it would not be so easy for you, because if you wanted to find some morphine or any controlled  pain pills you would have to go through a huge process of finding a high school kid who would sell you some. 

I also found it hilarious that Mr. Strickland was forced to add morphine to his beer to “steady his nerves.” Call me old fashioned, but I thought that was what the beer was for.   

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Results All Up In Your Faces

Well, the results are in, and we’re not talking about presidential-style results. We’re talking about something way more important. You can finally see the winners of our Best of the Chippewa Valley 2008 reader poll! These are the people, places, things, and ideas that you voted as best/worst/favorite in all things Chippewa Valley-ish.

It’s interesting to see what the Chippewa Valley likes and dislikes. But remember, the whole concept of “winning” anything in this poll is beside the point. The 2008 Best Of results should serve as a kind of doorway to countless places, people, and ideas you may have never heard of before – this is your chance to try something new.

If you participated in the voting last September and read the many comments, you probably picked up on criticism of voters’ ability to not only vote “Yay” for something but also “Boo” for something – which affected the rankings in real time and caused a lot of back-and-forth polling wars.

The vast majority of the voting in this year’s poll simply consisted of people clicking “Yay” for the items they liked the best. But there was enough “Boo” voting to cause problems. So for the final tabulations, we removed all the negative “Boo” votes and only counted your positive “Yay” votes.

Go ahead and leave comments on the final rankings. Don’t hold back.

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Tuesday, Nov. 4th, 2008

Some Local Election Numbers

Man, I was all ready to settle in for a night on the couch, channel surfing betwixt local and national election coverage, expecting final results to come in after midnight. But out of nowhere – BAM – John McCain was on the TV saying it was all his fault. I knew the polling didn’t look good, but still, I expected a bit more drama.

Wisconsin gave its electoral votes to Obama and 56% of its popular vote. Chippewa County hosted a somewhat close race, but Eau Claire and Dunn counties show pretty solid defeats for McCain:

  • Chippewa County
  •    Obama - 16236
  •    McCain - 13489
  • Eau Claire County
  •    Obama - 33143
  •    McCain - 20944
  • Dunn County
  •    Obama - 13055
  •    McCain - 9616

Assembly wise, Wisconsin is feeling pretty blue. The big story there is how Democrats now control both the Legislature and the governor’s mansion for the first time in 20 years.

On a side note, thank god we can now get rid of all those RAGING YELLOW Darcy Fields signs found on every damn street corner in the 93rd Assembly District. My eyes are still stinging. I guess now thay can melt down all the signs and make crossing guard vests or school crossing signs or hazmat suits.

No word yet on final percentages for voter turnout ...

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Monday, Nov. 3rd, 2008

Where You Gonna Vote?

Any idea were you’re supposed to vote today (in that big presidential election thing)? If not, don’t be ashamed. It happens to lots of people.

If you live in Eau Claire, you can call 839-4913 or click here. In Chippewa Falls you can call 726-2701, and in Menomonie you can call 232-2180. If you're a UWEC student, go here.

Once you figure out what ward or precinct or sector or zone of quadrant or whatever you belong to ... then you can make the magic happen.

Happy voting.

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