Tuesday, Dec. 1st, 2009

Local zine prods you to go a-caroling

Local zine Chippewa Valley’s Hidden Treasures has invited you all to go caroling, basically saying, “Show up here at this time and, you know, go caroling.” Officially, they say “The joy of community Christmas Caroling has somehow slipped into the shadows.” So, much like the plot to a young adult novel about wizards, you’ve been challenged to liberate an ancient Christmas tradition from the evil depths of a shadowy dungeon. They’ve got locations designated for both Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls:

Monday, Dec. 21 • 6-8pm • meet at Boyd Park in Eau Claire on the East Side Hill (1100 block of Main St.) OR Micon Cinemas in Chippewa Falls (Chippewa Mall Dr.).

They encourage you to bundle up in festive clothing and bring lanterns, candles, and flashlights. So if you’ve got a holiday song in your heart (and some new long johns you’re dying to break in), grab some friends and do some goldarn caroling.

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Monday, Nov. 30th, 2009

Local Salvation Army could use a few good wrists

So, according to this, the Leader-Telegram had a reporter spend an hour and a half driving around to six local stores looking for Salvation Arm bell ringers. I’m assuming they were also doing something else because that seems like a long time to hit six stores in a town where it takes less than 20 minutes to drive from one end to the other. I’ll also assume that the Eau Claire Salvation Army’s phone (834-1224) was disconnected or something, so the L-T couldn’t call and talk about a shortage of local bell ringers.

But why don’t we talk about something important? The L-T article points out a genuine need for bell ringers around these parts. They’re actually using paid ringers during peak donatin’ times so they don’t miss out. They’ve even got some volunteers just not showing up. So maybe you and your friends would like spend some time people-watching while ringing a little bell for a good cause. Just a thought.

I was a bell ringer one Christmas my senior year of high school – at Ron’s Castle Foods. It was a pretty cool experience overall, apart from one old dude who made it a point to stop and tell me that “I was here yesterday and you didn’t say ‘Merry Christmas’ to me! I’ve been bell ringing for 30 years, and you’re supposed to say ‘Merry Christmas!’” And then he stormed off, leaving a wide swath of BAH HUMBUG in his wake.

I’ll never forget that old jerk and the lesson he tried to teach me that day: Don’t worry about the people at home watching NASCAR on their huge televisions – spend time yelling at high school kids spending a whole weekend freezing their ass off for charity, with absolutely no training on bell ringing etiquette.

Merry Christmas, you old dink.

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Big Wild Cat Shot Near Here
Dec. 4, 1902

Big Wild Cat Shot Near Here
Eau Claire Weekly Telegram | Dec. 4 1902

Finest specimen ever brought to Eau Claire Weighed thirteen pounds. Captured by Edward Anderson about two miles north of the city.

Yesterday afternoon while Edward Anderson of 736 Franklin street was out hunting he ran up against a specimen of game he was not looking for in the person of a genuine wild cat. Mr. Anderson was fortunate enough to shoot the animal, which is a fine specimen of this almost extinct species, at least in the vicinity. The wild cat is the largest ever brought to Eau Claire, it weighed 13 pounds, and the hide was 14 inches wide and 27 inches long. The animal was killed about two miles north of the city, along a bank of the Chippewa.


Chad’s Take - Revenge of the Hunter!

Last year, during hunting season, I brought to you the bizarre story of a man being viciously attacked by a ferocious caged deer. But when it comes to the weird, I always strive to be fair, which is why this year I have decided to include the animal revenge story of Mr. Edward Anderson. Although it is not truly a revenge story, it does have Mr. Anderson coming out victorious over a vicious wild animal. Okay, so maybe a wild cat isn’t really a vicious wild animal in the way a bear is, but Mr. Anderson still bested it all the same.

But what did Mr. Anderson really kill? Although the newspaper called it a “wild cat,” no accompanying picture was included. The wild cat name was often given to the panther, cougar, lynx, mountain lion, puma, and bobcat. The wild cat family actually includes 36 species of animals throughout the world. The article never specifies which creature was actually taken. Weighing in at only 13 pounds, the animal would have been an extremely diminutive panther or mountain lion, yet adult bobcats only generally weigh between 16 and 30 pounds, making it a possibility that the creature was a young bobcat. Whatever it was, Mr. Anderson shot and killed it, and then dragged his trophy wild cat back to Eau Claire where he proudly showed off the fine specimen for all to see. Mr. Anderson also gained a much needed point for man, which tied up the Bizarre History of the Chippewa Valley score at animal 1 - man 1.

Keep an eye out,
Chad Lewis

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Sunday, Nov. 29th, 2009

Weekly Shakedown:
The Stuff You Maybe Missed

Here’s a fantabulous assortment of Volume One website goods that you may have missed last week.

Enjoy your Sunday, one and all.

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Saturday, Nov. 28th, 2009

Saturday: Getting Intimate
with Lorie Line

Well, Thanksgiving is over, and if you're ready to have CHRISTMASTIME shoved all up in your face, then it's time for Lorie Line. The piano playing space alien prolific and accomplished pianist/songstress is returning to Eau Claire for another installment of her annual Christmas show. It's called An Intimate Christmas with Lorie Line, and it promises to be her "most intimate Christmas show ever." I believe "intimate" here means "less band than normal." She'll be joined by five other musicians as opposed to her normal orchestra. At any rate, this is the 20th anniversary of Line's touring show and locals have grown to love her flare for Christmas. Expect lots of holiday hoopla. There're two shows on Saturday, one at 3pm and one at 7:30pm.

And then on Sunday, there's a great art show by Andy Schansberg opening at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library with a reception a 2pm. And if you loves you some a cappella singin' then check out Tonic Sol-Fa at the State Theatre at 7:30pm.

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Thursday, Nov. 26th, 2009

We Give Thanks

Listen up. Here’s a bunch of stuff for which Volume One is thankful:

And golly gee, we’re thankful for you, Chippewa Valley, just because you’re you. Keep it up.

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Wednesday, Nov. 25th, 2009

Stubborn WI general store says “Screw you, Big Box Stores!” and stays open for 137 years

Here’s the story of a little general store in Utica, Wisconsin (I’m too lazy to Google the location, so you do it), that’s been open since 1872. It’s located out on a county road intersection with a few other buildings, and it has somehow stayed open for 137 despite, you know, all them nasty evil big box stores and whatnot. From JSOnline

  • The siding is wood, the roof is tin and the beer sign stuck in the window is illuminated at midday.
  • Outside, there is a single gas pump and a modest front porch that once accommodated shoppers loading up horse-drawn carriages.
  • Step inside through double doors that swing open and you step back in time, to a world of handwritten prices on cereal boxes and Norwegian flatbread on shelves.
  • The Utica Country Store is a threadbare throwback. It's nothing fancy, just a one-stop shop in this one-shop town in Dane County, at the corner of County Road B and County Highway W.

From the article, it sounds like the store's just barely hanging on, but hang it does. Are there any business around here with that kind of age? Seems like Eau Claire’s East Side Hill’s Timm’s Dairy (so many apostrophe s’s!) was the last true general in the area (politely correct me if I’m wrong) but that’s gone.

Photo by MadTownGuy2009

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Tuesday, Nov. 24th, 2009

Show Review: "Chad's Birthday"

If there is a date a patron of the Snout Saloon keeps track of better than Christmas, it is in the third week of November. Not for the big meal on Thursday, but because of the birthday of Chad Kruger. Chad is bartender, manager and director of music for the bar. If you are a music fan, you pay attention. Because when the guy who books the bands throws himself a party, life is good.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying its a guaranteed mind blowing musical experience, because it has an element of risk. You see, it is never just a bigger named band. Booked for the night. The band shows up. The band plays. Everyone is happy. No, no, it tends to be more of a cherry picked, throw together band. Amazing musicians all; But also a bunch of guys with no real commitment to the night, other than some after-show, "Hell yeah, I'll come play your birthday party!"

Sometimes it works out. And this is amazing. One birthday I saw Howard Luedtke play in a set with the Lacrosse based Smokin' Bandits. An event, perhaps in my lifetime high five. On the other hand, one year after waiting around an hour or so, one of the bar regulars drove home and got his guitar. This was not a good night. So, there is the spectrum. You understand the risk ...

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Can we be a “winter city?”

Last February, we ran a feature story on “Winter Cities,” talking about what cities around the world do to keep things a-rockin’ all year long. It seems like, once the holiday parades and sleigh rides are over, most of the Chippewa Valley goes into hibernation. Sure, we’ve got a few bright spots like the Silver Mine Invitational ski jump, our local curling club, and lots of nice trails. Last year, we even had a freestyle ski and snowboard competition.

But those things are islands in a frozen see of inactivity. Heck, our outdoor skating rinks are on thebrink of extinction (view helpful infographic). With winter rushing towards us at the speed of a really fast bullet made of ice shot from a cannon also made of ice, it’s got us thinking about what kinds of winter events might work around this neck of the frigid woods. A snow sculpting contest? An icy skating trail? An igloo town? A hot chocolate brew-off? Not sure. Is there anything you guys would like to see? Does anyone care?

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