Monday, Feb. 23rd, 2009

Presto! The Economic Downturn Disappears

Apparently Presto is the rich elderly uncle of the Chippewa Valley’s industrial family. Everyone’s all down in the dumps about the horrible economy … everyone, that is, except the Valley’s low-key electric kitchen appliance manufacturer. According to WQOW, Presto is boasting record sales of its Bacon Cookers, Pizzazz Pizza Ovens, Pressure Cookers, Waffle Makers, and the like. (And believe it or not, these.) In fact, Presto says its net earnings top $44 million. They also say their "appliance, diaper and defense businesses all contributed to the record numbers.” I hear they sold a bunch of their diaper division, which I’m sure helped.

Anyone know what they’re doing for the defense industry (besides supplying GIs with tasty, fresh-popped popcorn)?

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Carmike Actually Serious
about Independents?

To be honest, if someone told me that a local movie theatre was gonna leap into showing independent films, “Carmike” is not the name that would have sprung to mind. Nothing against Carmike – I’ve eaten enough popcorn and Butterfinger BBs in that place to choke a tiger shark – but of all the local theatres, they’ve always felt the most “mainstream.” Know what I mean?

Yet here I stand sit corrected. First there was all the indie goodness documented here. And now Carmike even has a little website set up to show you the upcoming independent films they’ll be screening.  Right now, you can see what’s showing into April, including Remarkable Power!, All Along, Bad for Business, and Altered Courses.

The website’s a little rough around the edges, but hey – the info is there. I’m assuming this whole initiative is to see how lucrative it can be for Carmike, but so what?

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Sunday, Feb. 22nd, 2009

The Big Week, Episode 19

In this FRIDAY episode: the ice-ridin’ cowboys speak, Gov. Doyle hates moviemakers (and Trevor breaks it down), and on the street with six possible jail locations.

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Saturday, Feb. 21st, 2009

Sunday: The Largest Garage Sale in Eau Claire

It’s pretty ballsy to call your event “The Largest Garage Sale in Eau Claire.” But we think the organizers can back it up. This is the third year the downtown convention center has hosted the event, and about 300-400 people have stopped down in years past. For the first time in the annual event’s short history, patronage is free, which is good since thrifters are obviously looking to save some coin. As of a few weeks ago, the Ramada had about 35 booths reserved for private persons, full-time marketers, and all manner of public vendors. It's Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 2pm. Thrift out, yo.

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Friday, Feb. 20th, 2009

Electric Starlight

Rainy nights, long exposures, and busy traffic makes for fun photography. I love the perfect stars the street lights form.

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Thursday, Feb. 19th, 2009

Over 3,000 White Balloons

So we recently got word that some students at Stout spent nine hours of their Friday the 13th 8 hours a day for 5 days straight filling up the Student Gallery with more than 3,000 white balloons (not these) for the aptly named exhibition Inhale Exhale Exhale Exhale. It’s like a kid's birthday party in a padded cell. (You had those too, right?). Anyway, check out the techno-licious video below:


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Rice Lake Man Cannot Sleep
(Feb 21, 1905)

Rice Lake Man Cannot Sleep

Troubled With Strange Ailment For the Past Two Months - Consults Eau Claire Doctors

– Eau Claire Leader, February 21, 1905

The case of Ed Johnson of Rice Lake, is puzzling the physicians of the city and a few of the Eau Claire physicians, who have been consulted in the case. The fellow with the strange ailment is a brother-in-law of J.S. Crisler, a well known citizen of Rice Lake. Mr. Johnson has not slept with the exception of a few hours, during the past two months. He is apparently in good health and has a good appetite but at night time he does not feel sleepy, in fact cannot sleep, and usually sits by the fire until a few days ago when he began to feel quite nervous and decided to consult a physician. The doctors at Rice Lake do not seem to find anything the matter with him and he came to Eau Claire recently to consult the physicians of this city. One of the citizens of Rice Lake suggests as a remedy that Johnson be placed on the police force. 


Chad's Take:

I found this odd article several years ago when I was doing research for the Hidden Headlines book. I really enjoyed the medical mystery it contained, and I started to wonder what could have possibly happened to this man that would prevent him from ever sleeping. Much like today, when doctors from smaller communities are baffled by a certain case, they consult doctors from a bigger city. In this case the bigger city happened to be Eau Claire.   It seems that this man’s bizarre ailment baffled the EC physicians as well. Unfortunately I was never able to discover what the outcome for this man was, but I hope he eventually got a good night’s rest.  

What I really love about this article is the last sentence, and I will tell you why.   I think the sentence is brilliantly set up so that the reader can interpret it in one of two ways. First, if you are a straight-edged, by the book type of person you would assume that the helpful citizen was simply suggesting a productive way for the man to make the best of his situation, and that the police force could always use another night time officer. However, if you are the more cynical off-beat person you would immediately take this sentence to mean that since the police do nothing but sleep on the job, so this man would fit right in.  So was the newspaper taking a jab at the police force?  I really believe that……. Well I’ll let you make up your own mind.

Keep an eye out...

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Why Does Jim Doyle Hate Johnny Depp?

Hey, remember how awesome it was last year when Wisconsin started its film incentives program, giving tax credits to filmmakers, enticing them to make their movies here? Remember how Hollywood said “Yes, please!” and decided to film Public Enemies here with a promising actor named Johnny Depp (previous projects)? Remember how much money the whole thing was going to make us through movie production costs and tourism?

Well, stop remembering all that shiz. Governor Doyle just proposed eliminating the program. And people are not happy. From ...

  • The move drew a quick negative reaction from Doyle's lieutenant governor, a fellow Democrat who has helped lead the state's fledgling film making industry.
  • "It makes no sense," Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton said.
  • The year-old tax credit program places no limits on how much money state gives qualifying filmmakers, and "Public Enemies" alone collected $4.6 million last year.
  • Doyle wants to replace the program with a $500,000 annual grant program for projects that create permanent jobs in the state. No films will come under that plan, Lawton said.
  • "It'll shut down the industry," she said. "They won't come. They can't."

When the Lieutenant Governor’s teed off, you know something’s up. Critics say the program is a disappointment, not snagging as much cash as hoped for. Supporters say it needs more time to grow.

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Wednesday, Feb. 18th, 2009

County Jail Strike Force
Attacks with Maps!

Heads up, county jail news junkies – the County Jail Strike Force Special Committee to Resolve (County Jail) Space and Site Needs will be meeting on Thursday night (2/17) at 6:30pm in (Eau Claire) County Courthouse Room 2550. The public is invited to share their thoughts on the matter.

In particular, the committee has selected over 20 potential alternate locations for the new jail, including Banbury Place, the Oxford Avenue area, near the CVTC campus, and Lowes Creek Park. If you have strong feelings one way or another, you best show up, Concerned Citizen. 

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Ultimate Fighters *DO NOT* Like Wet Willies

Wow. Last month, ultimate fighter/mixed martial arts enthusiast Jamison C. Klair was in a River Falls tavern. His friend was passed out at the bar (my guess: gallons of Michelob Light), when someone gave him a Wet Willy. So naturally, Klair promptly kicked the bejezzus out of three burly locals, knocking two of them out. Then he left and has not been seen since. The Leader-Telegram quotes court records:

  • Klair, who has a professional fighting history with mixed martial arts participation and promotion, hit Cudd in the jaw area after Cudd reportedly put a wet finger in the ear of a friend of Klair's, who was asleep at the bar.
  • Cudd, who was turning away from Klair at the time of the punch, briefly was knocked out. He received a cut lip and required several stitches for a head wound.
  • Berg was knocked unconscious for about four minutes and required six stitches for an upper lip cut after being punched in the face by Klair outside the tavern. Smith also was hit in the face before Klair took off his shirt and challenged anyone who wanted to confront him.

Klair is charged with two felony counts of “substantial battery” and a misdemeanor count of battery, and a warrant is out for his arrest. When found (probably shirtless and pissed), he could serve up to three years in jail … basically for taking his work home. Zing!

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