Monday, July 10, 2017

What do we know about Wisconsin?

Full disclosure. I am prejudiced about Wisconsin. Here are my reasons:

A. There were many people from Wisconsin where I used to work. Among them were my Nemesis who worked in marketing and my boss who didn't seem to work at all. As it turned out my Nemesis got fired about 3 weeks before I did.  Neither of them will be invited to my next event whatever it may be.

B. When I worked on commission, I often made sales calls to Wisconsin companies and they would never buy from me. They would give me the appointment and I would drive up there and they would be very nice but never buy anything.

C: The Packers or more specifically their fans.

D. Acrophobia: Fear of farmers.

And yet Peggy and I went to Wisconsin over the 4th of July to visit a friend. A friend, I hasten to add who moved from Illinois to Wisconsin voluntarily.

Leaving Illinois is definitely a thing....The state lost 114,144 residents in the last year.

Don's Basement (db™) would like to report on Wisconsin.

This is from the official government Wisconsin State Government Website

This video is the longest 1:35 of your life. It explains the newly redesigned site. If you are like Dunbar in Catch 22 and want to fill your life with unpleasant and boring activities so that life will seem longer, this video is for you.

“Well, maybe it is true,” Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it’s to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?”

“I do,” Dunbar told him.

“Why?” Clevinger asked.

“What else is there?”

What else does Wisconsin have to offer?

1. Sausages: (No video, they just stood there for hours.)

2. Bagpipes:

3. Mascots (With Security)

4. Drummers Drumming

5. Fireworks

As it turns out, whilst in Wisconsin I was reading So It Goes, a biography of Kurt Vonnegut by Charles L. Shields.  And a not particularly flattering one at that. I read about Vonnegut's struggles to write "Slaughterhouse- 5 or the Children's Crusade."  

In what was his first best-selling novel, Vonnegut inserts himself into the narration of the is a portion of his introduction.

I would hate to tell you what this lousy little book cost me in money and anxiety and time. When I got home from the Second World War twenty-three years ago, I thought it would be easy for me to write about the destruction of Dresden, since all I would have to do would be to report what I had seen. And I thought, too, that it would be a masterpiece or at least make me a lot of money, since the subject was so big.

But not many words about Dresden came from my mind then - not enough of them to make a book, anyway. And not many words come now, either, when I have become an old fart with his memories and his Pall Malls, with his sons full grown.

I think of how useless the Dresden part of my memory has been, and yet how tempting Dresden has been to write about, and I am reminded of the famous limerick:

"There was a young man from Stamboul,

Who soliloquized thus to his tool:

"You took all my wealth

and you ruined my health,

and now you won't pee, you old fool."

And I'm reminded, too, of the song that goes:

My name is Yon Yonson,

I work in Wisconsin,

I work in a lumbermill there.

The people I meet when I walk down the street,

They say, "What's your name?"

And I say,
"My name is Yon Yonson,
I work in Wisconsin..."

And so on to infinity.


  1. I like how you ease us into the Vonnegut, as a travel companion. Doesn't make sense of everything but you don't feel alone.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. That Yon Yonson thing just stayed in my head. Vonnegut is (was) such a hero to me. And my blog, my writing, and my thoughts sort of bounce around. As the late Myron Cohen said, "there's nothing there to stop them."

  3. Well, whatever difficulty Vonnegut had getting going on Slaughterhouse 5, we can now be grateful for his effort. After I read that one, I read all his other books; he was one of my heroes, too. When David was about 6 or 7 years old, I took him to hear Vonnegut speak in a tent at the Printer's Row book fair just so he could be in the same space with him; he hadn't read any of the books yet.

    Scott Walker, on the other hand, is definitely on the list of people I loathe. Funny how he didn't talk about busting unions and making Wisconsin a "right to work" for less state, but that's what some people mean by "good for business." It's not so good for people.

  4. So, 'unknown' you watched the Scott Walker video. He is not my favorite. I would have preferred him to the current president.

    As to Kurt.... the biography is a dark portrait. It paints him as depressed, lonely and in need of constant reassurance. Maybe being in a German POW camp and having his mother kill herself might have unnerved him.
    Maybe a movie Sunday?