Sunday, October 13, 2013

On Wisconsin, A Meditation..revised

Until  May 24, 1967, Wisconsin forbade the sale of "oleomargarine," or margarine. I remember this from my childhood. The prohibition of selling margarine in Wisconsin. I had a cousin in Milwaukee and on Sundays we went to visit. We brought margarine. This had to be my first inkling of state's rights.

You can read an interesting account of the "Butter versus Margarine," contretemps in the link.

Here is what I remember about those trips in the late 50s.

A & W Root Beer Stand on the highway, across the border which is now  I-94.

I am the guy standing next to James Dean

Current Route of  I-94

There was and is the Mars Cheese Castle.

Wisconsin is home to varying types of political opinions.

Robert Marion "Fighting Bob"[1] La Follette, Sr. (June 14, 1855 – June 18, 1925). "vocal opponent of railroad trusts, bossism, World War I, and the League of Nations.

Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy (November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957) He beat La Follette's son in the GOP primary by under 3 percent (or 5,000 votes) in 1946. McCarthy ironically paired with Roy Cohn, during the infamous Army/McCarthy hearings. Ironic because McCarthy hated homosexuals as much as he hated communists. And Cohn was a closeted gay man.

Russell Dana "Russ" Feingold ( born March 2, 1953) . Remember McCain/Feingold.

Wisconsin is also home to the Green Bay Packers. They are the bĂȘte noire of the Chicago Bears.
The Packers began life on 1919. The Chicago Bears also began life in 1919.

1919 Packers


 1919 Chicago Black Sox with the alleged game fixers circled.

How else to conclude but the Sermon on the Mount as seen through the eyes of Monty Python.

Oh wait, there is one thing more...

No, there is never enough of Wisconsin. All 50 states of being can be encapsulated in Wisconsin. It's got the city, the suburbs, the farms, the paper mills, the dairy, the whole deal with Oshkosh and experimental aircraft, Harley, the hippies in Madison, the hippies in Appleton, The Brat Stop, Pleasant Prairie Outlet malls, Tommy Bartlett, Hank Aaron, Jim Taylor. (great fullback for the Packers), Paul Hornung (great man of the world) etc.

Sure, I could go on and list another 35 facts or opinions I have about Wisconsin to get to 50. But I have too much respect for you, the reader.

And I know who you are!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Let the healing begin: The 50 states of Don.

As most of you know, Don's Basement, does not as rule take political stands. But the current budget stalemate and political warfare are not good for business. At least my business which is selling products to retail customers who then sell them to consumers (or as I like to call them, ' the people') would be thrown off by a default on the nation's credit limit. Frankly, it sets a bad precedent for those retailers if the government decides it's ok that they don't pay their bills. Everyone should pay their bills.

Sorry for the outburst. Now for the healing. The United States is made up of 50 states. And as a friend of mine likes to remind me, "it's the United States of America and not the United People of America." Many of us are unfamiliar with the other states or have stereotypical, shallow views of them.

I am of the latter category. The main reason I think about other states is the college football season. In the fall, Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, and Kansas State are top of mind. The rest of the year, not as much.

So, I am embarking (or should I say we?) on a tour of the United States from Don's Basement.


There is an Evanston, Wyoming. I stopped there on bus sometime in the early 70s.

It was a very cold day. How cold was it? (insert joke here because I've got nothing).
Trust me, very cold. I live in Chicago and have for over 50 years. That is 50 winters. I still remember how cold it was in Evanston, Wyoming just outside the bus terminal. And frankly, I haven't been back since.

As a kid, we went to Jackson Hole. Now it is a big deal. For skiing and hiking.

It looks pretty nice but here is how I remember it.

Dick Cheney is from Wyoming.

Dick Ellsworth, a pitcher for the Cubs, is also from Wyoming. (Which I just learned from Wikipedia, I knew he was a lefty and that he lost 20 games in one season and then turned around and won 20.. Okay, I only remembered that he lost the 20 games. Who am I kidding here?)

Won 115
Lost 137
ERA 3.72

Liz Cheney is Dick Cheney's daughter.

There are 576,412 people living in Wyoming.
There are over 2.5 million people who live in Brooklyn.