Friday, May. 22nd, 2009

Poisoned By Money
May 18, 1895

Poisoned By Money
C.E. Bradford of Augusta Contracts Blood Poison in a Peculiar Manner.
Eau Claire Weekly Leader | May 18, 1895

Augusta- The Augusta Eagle tells of C.E. Bradford the banker of that city contracted blood poisoning from the habit of wetting his fingers on his lip and then counting the bills. The poison-germ seems to have spread through his system and he has gone to Hudson for medical treatment. His recovery will be slow.

Chad’s Take:
Watch out swine flu!

With the country finally getting over the swine flu hysteria, we can now focus our attention to the real cause of illness in the Chippewa Valley- the dreaded poison germ. We have all heard that the money we touch on a daily basis is full of germs and of course cocaine, but now that we find out it also carries the poison germ, it makes the idea of touching money even more deadly. Unfortunately Mr. Bradford did not have such life saving information at his disposal and he became very sick due to catching the poison germ.  Luckily for the Chippewa Valley we have learned from Mr. Bradford’s mistake and the actual use of paper money is declining rapidly with more and more people deciding to use their debit and credit cards due to the overwhelming fear of contracting the poison germ. Of course being the death tempting risk taking person that I am, I only use money that I find in the Eau Claire sewers.

Keep an eye out.

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Thursday, May. 21st, 2009

Can a beer tax pay for universal healthcare? Nope.

Our nation’s lawmakers are proposing that beer-drinkers should pay $2 more for each case of beer they buy in an effort to fund universal healthcare. Obviously, that’s not all there is to it, and no one thinks that a beer tax, all by itself, can magically make enough money to provide every American with healthcare, a new house, a pony, and their own personal Starbucks. And yet, from the Chippewa Herald

  • Details of the proposed beer tax are described in a Senate Finance Committee document distributed to lawmakers before a closed-door meeting Wednesday. Senators are focusing on how to pay for expanding health insurance for an estimated 50 million uninsured Americans, a cost that could range to some $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
  • You can’t raise that from beer money alone. … Taxes on wine and hard liquor would also go up.
  • And there might be a new tax on soda and other sugary drinks blamed for contributing to obesity. A tax of 3 cents per 12-ounce drink would raise about $50 billion over 10 years, according to congressional estimates. Diet drinks, however, wouldn’t be taxed.

As I’ve said before, I’m willing to pay more for things like beer if it’ll help fund healthcare, but it seems like pop (aka soda) could be taxed a tad higher because a) it’s so freaking cheap to begin with, and b) it contains enough sugar to give a Clydesdale horse diabetes – that we all, as taxpayers, must pay for.

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Wednesday, May. 20th, 2009

Eau Claire Baseball about to EXPLODE!

Well, perhaps “EXPLODE!” is too strong of a term, but hey, the local baseball season is starting, so get ready for some … local baseball.

The first home game for the Eau Claire Cavaliers will be on Sunday, May 24 (noon) at Carson Park. They’ll be ball-battling* the Melrose Indians. Technically, the Cavaliers’ website says they’ll be playing the Melrose “Intians,” but either way, we’re betting on the Cavs.

Next Thursday, May 28 (6:35pm), the Eau Claire Express will be trading swings* with the Wisconsin Woodchucks at Carson Park. Now, we’re not certified baseball experts or anything, but based on mascots alone, the Express should easily be able to run over and eviscerate some little Woodchucks, right?

Seriously though, does anyone know if the teams are looking good this year? Not that it matters, as long as Carson Park is still selling beer and peanuts this summer – we’re there.

*Is that baseball phrase? I have no idea.

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Tuesday, May. 19th, 2009

Who wants chickens in their backyard? Not Eau Claire.

I’m not sure I’d call it “trendy,” but keeping chickens in your backyard definitely seems like a trend right now, especially among people who are truly serious about eating local. Beyond the egg production (and, um, occasional Sunday dinner), they seem like really cool pets. But in most places, “backyard chickens” are considered weird. Or they’re downright illegal.

Just this week, Shorewood, Wis. (a suburb of Milwaukee) grabbed a few headlines around the state for shooting down the proposal for a residential chicken pilot program – where a few people would be allowed to keep chickens, just to see how it went. But the city says most of their residential lots are too small to keep poultry. I think the story mostly got picked up because the entire proposal was sparked by a letter to the Shorewood city council from a 9 year old girl. More on all that here.

Backyard chickens are legal in cities like Madison and Green Bay, but what about here? After some quick phone calls, some digging through online ordinances, and a couple of chuckles from local city clerks, this is what I found out:

  • Eau Claire: Illegal!
    Altoona: Illegal!
    Chippewa Falls: Legal if they are quiet and stay in your yard!
    Menomonie: Legal only if your home is on land zoned for agriculture (which amounts to a few neighborhoods), or if you live on at least 5 acres and obtain special permission!

So, there you go. I know I’ve seen a few underground (not literally) backyard chicken coops around Eau Claire, and the nice man I talked with from the Chippewa Falls police department says there are a number of people over there keeping live poultry. So there is some desire out there.

What do you think, Eau Clairians (and Altoonians)? Is it time to start a petition and storm City Hall? More backyard chicken info right here.

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Monday, May. 18th, 2009

The Milwaukee Burger TV Ad (now with video)

Eau Claire has spit out a few pretty epic local commercials – does anyone remember Ship Shape’s? “Your-car-isn’t-clean-until-it’s…Ship-Shape!” played while 80’s-haired sailors washed someone’s car. I remember the commercial sneaking onto the air a few years ago, I assume because of a case of unlabeled VHS tapes. Sadly though, really outstanding or outstandingly awful local commercials are relatively rare – the vast majority of businesses opt for panoramic shots of the building, a few long-shots of staged customers, and a voice over by one of the local radio personalities.

But then we have the recent gem from Milwaukee Burger Company. A good ol’ fashioned “bro” banters with a coy waitress over whether or not he can finish the big Milwaukee, and a bet is offered. Cut to an over-the-shoulder shot of the bro and his bro friends leaving, and the gentleman in question looks over his shoulder to see the mark of the bet he lost – a tattoo of the Milwaukee Burger Company logo on his lower back. Behold:

Don’t get me wrong – the commercial looks local, with VHS-camcorder camera quality, slightly awkward timing, and a premise that could only come from the “unique” advertising sensibilities of local ad outfits. But at least they are trying, and this is why I salute you, Milwaukee Burger Company, with your amateur actors and your iffy tattoo special effects. Our local ad shops need to remember an ancient truism of television advertising – what local outfits lack in production value can be more than made up for in annoying jingles, bizarre premises, and monumentally weird commercials. MBC is not alone – EC Realty’s sweeping shots of people in their homes, United Way’s gathering of quarters, and many others have brought artistry to local advertising. Let’s keep it up.

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Wisconsin Comic Nerd Achieves $500,000 Last Laugh

Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, Wisconsin will be auctioning off Ralph Chicorel’s 110-issue comic book collection. The entire collection is expected to net $500,000. So, to anyone who might tease a 78-year-old man for hording comic books his entire life … he wins.

Some of the collection’s more notable items include ''Batman'' No. 1 and ''Marvel Comics'' No. 1. But the big boy – a comic book expected to fetch around $100,000 – is ''Marvel Mystery Comics'' No. 9. This one is apparently very scarce and is sought after for its cover battle between the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner.

Who the hell is the Sub Mariner? He’s kind of the original AquaMan – a guy in Speedos with super-strength and “aquatic abilities.” He was one of the very first superheroes and in the Golden Age of comics, he fought super villains and the Nazis in as phallic a manner as possible.

What’s crazy is that this isn’t the first time Chicorel has auctioned off a collection. says ...

  • Needing money for [a move to Wisconsin from Detroit in 1968], Chicorel ended up parting with the first half of his comic collection for $3,500, he said. When he sold those 900 or so comics, he thought that was his entire collection.
  • ''The comic book craze was just beginning that year and I didn't know it would skyrocket,'' said Chicorel, who said two guys ended up bidding on the comics.

Is there anything like that nowadays? Should we be collecting Hannah Montana DVDs? Probably not. Besides age, one thing that makes these comics so rare is that many of the really old comic books got lost to WWII-era paper drives.

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Sunday, May. 17th, 2009

Weekly Shakedown: What You Might Have Missed

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

Enjoy your Sunday, people of the Chippewa Valley.

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Saturday, May. 16th, 2009

Saturday: Get Hot with Heatbox

By now, unless you've been living under a rock or been busy riding ice chunks down the Chippewa River, you've caught wind of Heatbox. The Minneapolis beatbox extraordinaire will be CD-releasing at the Stones Throw tonight at 9:45pm. Prepare to hear a lot of new songs as well as the amazing one-man instrumental tunes that have sent him storming over the scene as of late. Support by Denver, Colorado-based folk/jammers HOME. Details.

Also on Saturday: Huge Home Consignment Sale, Big Plant Sale, Fido & Friends Fun Run, Our City Spring Spruce Up, Five Dollar Freakout, He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, Mors Mortis Machinatio, Stealin Strings, and The Excellent Adventure.

And on Sunday: Huge Home Consignment Sale, St. Olaf Parish Annual Fun Fest, A Tale of Tyrone, and a twangin’ hot Classic Country Jam Session.

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Friday, May. 15th, 2009

Sandwich Shop

The tasty idea is to make sandwiches for customers as quickly as possible … or deal with their crabbiness. Make sure you hit your target money amount within the time limit. It’s a great introduction to the service industry. PLAY!

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