News and Observations from Wapella, Illinois: Home of the Wildcats.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Till Tuesday

As I cannot bring anyone (including myself) to write a full obituary of the late WH Toohill, I'll pass along a few notes.

1) The Toohill family has requested that Tuesday be celebrated at Hughsday on (and in all of the Village, if you are up for it), honoring Huey and his legacy. The Board of Wapella Historians was unanimous on this one. Tuesday is Hughsday and all Huey all the time.

2) If you are harvesting, it will wait a few days. There is a Rosary and Wake for Huey in Granite City at 4:30 till ??. Come on down and pay your respects.

3) I have an old testimonial from about 1990, from playing basketball at Fell Park in Bloomington, in a (pretty good) game featuring 3 Sons of St. Patrick's from Wapella vs. 3 guys from Illinois Wesleyan. After the match, one of the IWU guys came over and asked Dennis Toohill, "Do you have a brother who lives in town?" Dennis replied "I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters in town", to which the IWU man said, "Does one of them flip pizza at Micheleo's"? DIT somewhat hesitantly stated "uh...yeah". Awestruck, the Titan got a gleam in his eye, extended his hand, and said "Your brother is Huey Toohill: The man is totally cool".

Which is a phrase I'm sure has been repeated over and over again by the thousands of people who knew WH Toohill.

Illini Smelling like Roses

In an uncanny series of events, the Fghting Illini are undefeated in the Big Ten after stinging Penn State today 27-20. Whatever the Illini are doing, it is working, and they should stay with it (much like the Bears should have stayed with 8-1 Kyle Orton, before Rex "Wobbly" Grossman took over; no one could tell how Orton won, except for the Bears having more points than the opponents)
Hail Orange! Hail Blue!

.525: Congrats to all those Cub Fans

As we noted 2 weeks ago sometimes good enough is good enough. The Chicago Cubs have clinched it, in Cincinnati of all places. To those .525 of our readers who are Cub fans, Congratulations, and hopes after 99 years, your patience can hold out for at least 20 more games before the Cubbies again take the World Series.

Still haven't got a legit answer to my trivia question. Where is this logo from? Very close to the Cubs.

Friday, September 28, 2007

William Hugh Toohill, 1957-2007

Hughie Toohill has died today from complications related to a brain tumor. More details to come. He will never be forgotten in Wapella. Our deepest condolences to his wife and his family.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

From the Archives

Found this in the old 2005 Archives, from the top 10 events list in Wapella history.

#11 The catchphrase "Eight Skate and Donate" is coined in Wapella in 1848 coincidentally on the same date that Abraham Lincoln makes the "fool some of the people all of the time" speech in Clinton. For 12 years, "Eight Skate and Donate" is the #1 catchphrase in the US, outpacing "Ship, Captain, Crew" and "Full Boat" as spirited gambler lingo, until Lincoln's election in 1860 brought "fool some of the people" into the top catch phrase spot. "Eight, Skate, and Donate" was virtually unheard for nearly 120 years, only to come roaring back in 1985 when the Irish Circle gained new management more accommodating to the sporting type, boosting it into the 22 year run of rhyming rage that it holds to this day.

Next time, drive 18 Miles South for a Dust Up

This is almost too easy (next), but Hilary Quinlan, the former Mayor of Waterford, Ireland (ancestral home of the Irish Row's own Donovan's (I think)) got into a balliwick at Jumer's Chateau in Bloomington, striking a woman at a wedding reception.
The possiblities are endless for comedy here, but I suggest:
1) Offering Quinlan the Keys to Hog City. This man represents the true spirit of the Wapella Irish, always welcoming a brawl at Jumers.
2) Kicking off a lecture tour in Hog City devoted to woman smacking. Current norms in the US make this in particularly bad taste, but in the Old Country, they still know how to dust it up.
3) Asking Quinlan to appear at the upcoming midget wrestling matches at the Irish Circle. Perhaps some type of ceremony, MCed by "Rock and Roll" Buck Zumofe where in Quinlan is offered an olive branch and shilleleagh and made a public spectacle of.
Quinlan, I can't agree with all your methods, but I certainly applaud your style. You lifted the reputation of the Irish back to about the 1854 level in Central Illinois, which as we all know was when we Paddies were on the bottom of the heap and the top of the world.
Applause? Jeers? Petition drives? What does Wapella make of Quinlan?

Editors Historical Note:
If there were custom T-shirt shops in the early 19th century, it may have been possible for Irishmen to make a Muscle T stating "Famine? What Famine? I'm digging my way to Hog City" with a big logo of a shovel.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who Dat Talking About Magic Numbers?

Those old Cubs are at it again, breaking hearts in two, and looking for some love, Miami-Style. Perhaps David Caruso lured them down to Miami to solve some crimes, but the Fish are definitely asking for the Cubs to bring down an old fashioned '68 style police thumping to get them to give it up.

Can those Cubs solve the pennant mystery? And speaking of mysteries, the logo on the left is an original Chicago logo, used until recently for one of the greatest places in Downtown Chicago. What is this recently retired logo from?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thanks but No Thanks, Maroons!

While some of the more jaded citizens in surrounding towns insist Clinton has always been a toxic dump, it does house many Wapella expats, and many extended Wapella families. An alert reader wants made aware of a serious issue on the table in Hog City's neighbor to the South. Seems there is a proposal on the table to permit a Chemical Waste Landfill in the town, and to position said landfill above one of the city's main Aquifer. Sheesh. Only in Clinton does something that sounds like the plot to an episode of The Simpsons become reality. At least they've got their bartending school……….

For more information, a website has been established at:

To sum up the website, it is home-base to the organization: We're Against Toxic Chemicals
WATCH Clinton Landfill is a community-based grass roots coalition organized to oppose the permitting of a Chemical Waste Landfill in Clinton, Illinois. If approved, the existing solid waste landfill would begin accepting highly toxic and carcinogenic PCBs and other toxic wastes. Additionally the proposed site is located directly above the Mahomet Aquifer; a primary source of drinking water for many Central Illinois residents.

Please check out the above website, for all those you care about in Clinton. And think about this absurd proposal's proximity to God's County in Wapella.

Doesn't Clinton have enough waste heading north on a weekly basis for last call without making it official?

Response from a Hetzel Fan

Sometimes it takes a year or two, but this came in my inbox from a Richard Mullin last night with regard to a 2005 listing of the #10 event in Wapella History, Wilfred Hetzel appears in Wapella.

Wilfred Hetzel was a frail fellow in his 60s and 70s whotoured the country doing a basketball trick shot program forhigh school and Middle schools during a 47 year career. Hepromoted himself as the world's record holder for continuousfree throws - 110 baskets one after another! He would appearbefore the students wearing a sweat suit, but after beingintroduced, he always got a laugh when he'd move to the edgeof the gym and drop his pants. The sight of this 100 lb.wrinkled guy, with snow white hair, wearing shorts, neverfailed to amuse. He'd make baskets in any way one mightimagine! He'd lay on his back, balance the ball on the solesof his feet and kick the ball into the basket. He'd face theopposite way and throw the ball back over his head into thebasket. He'd stand on one foot while balancing the ball on theinstep of the other foot, then kick the ball into the basket.He'd switch feet and repeat it. He'd face the basket andbounce the ball on the floor in front of him -- right into thebasket. Shot after shot. Occasionally he'd miss one of theshots. In that case he'd try it over and over until hesucceeded. What a show. What a character. What an experience!Behind the scenes, and unknown to the children,Wilfred was an excellent planner as well as an excellent scammer. He had a country-wide mailing list and he'd schedule his appearances within a given area. He'd travel by bus from one stop to another. A school official would travel to a bus station or other school to get him. He'd use a copy machine or ditto machine to run off flyers in the school office -- begging postage from the secretaries -- sending advertisements to local schools stating the dates that he still had available. He'd be treated to a meal in the cafeteria. Sometimes the Student Council provided funds for an over-night motel stay. The ride to the motel, nearby school or bus station was the last you'd see of him until the next year's advertising flyer would arrive!

Thanks for the nice note Mr. Mullin. Also noted, the only word that rhymes with Hetzel is Pretzel.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

So Long Esmerelda

Alice Ghostley, the great comic and character actress who potrayed shy Aunt Esmerelda on Bewitched has died at age 81. Often thought of as a female Paul Lynde, Ghostley had many guest roles on Designing Women, Hogan's Heroes (an alternate Frau Linkmeyer) and other TV sitcoms.

"I knew I didn't look like an ingenue. My nose was too long. I had crooked teeth. I wasn't blond. I knew I looked like a character actress."But I also knew I'd find a way", said Ghostley in a gutsy interview.
Ghostely was a much loved character in Wapella lore, intregral to the development of the Hog City brand of comedy and schtick, and will be greatly missed by all who enjoyed her work.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

NIU to Evaluate Clinton

Per the Pantagraph, the City of Clinton will be evaluated by Northern Illinois University to determine the highlights and lowlights of the community. Clinton will spend $30K for this assessment.

I will take this one further. Can the loyal readers of assess Clinton for 1/2 that price? For $15K, oh hallowed county seat, we will offer you a Hog City assessment of your city.

What say the readers of How do you assess Clinton? What happened to bartender certification as an economic engine in Clinton by the way?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 Mourns the Passing

of Wayne "Mike" Miller, WHS '49, who died at age 75 in Decatur. He is survived by his wife Roberta Brian Miller. Mike was a tool grinder at Caterpillar Inc., retiring after 30 years of service. He was a member of the Clinton American Legion. He was the first person in Clinton to bowl over 700. He was an avid Cubs fan and bowler. He was a member of Lane Christian Church and was an Army veteran of the Korean conflict from 1949 to 1953.

All flags half mast please for Army Veteran Wayne Miller.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Brett Somers R.I.P.

Actress and comedian Brett Somers, who amused game show fans with her quips on the "Match Game" in the 1970s, has died, her son said. She was 83.
Best known for her stint on Match Game, the sassy actress matched wits with regulars like Richard Dawson and Charles Nelson Reilly, and much of the humor came from her racy quips and putdowns.
Somers married actor Jack Klugman, the future star of the television shows "Quincy" and "The Odd Couple," in 1953. The two separated in 1974, but never divorced. Klugman's numerous romantic plotlines in "Quincy" were seen as a possible cause for separation; Klugman's rugged good looks were seen as the reason the never divorced.

"She maintained her independence till the end, and her irreverence," her son Adam Klugman said. "She died very much at peace." mourns a woman who would have no doubt held her own in Hog City. Fittingly, it's not hard to imagine a serious round of Match Game going down at the Green Ring. Who would you like to see emcee the event? Heavy-hitters like Steve's Morris or Schmid might be good bets. Who would you go to for that final match for all the marbles? Where do Billy's beer-goggles fit in with all this ? wants to know.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Illini Come out Swinging

When 2-1 is a suprisingly good start, you know that you have a long way to go. Yet the Illini looked strong today in smacking Syracuse 41-20 at the Carrierdome. Some say this Illini team may be as good as the Jason Verduzco Illini in the 1990's, others compare them to the later Kurt Kitner teams.
Regardless of comparison , the battle of the Orange and Blue vs. the Orangemen was taken by the Illini setting the tone for an interesting season.

Go Illi-Ini!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ernest Thorp vs. The Third Reich: Wildcats 1 - Nazi's 0

In a pleasant article in the Pantagraph, Wapella Wildcat Ace Ernest Thorp (WHS '39) recounts his WW2 experiences in a Nazi Prison camp, and details his donation to the Simpkins' War Museum in Heyworth. Gary Simpkin's, also a former Wapella resident hosts a great colleciton of military related memorabilia, trophies and souvenirs.

It is a bit amazing that the Pantagraph can make it through this entire article without mentioning Wapella, but the point is well taken. Ernest made it through the prison camp with his Wildcat Moxie and came back to Wapella to take a life long interest in his community and business. As always, salutes the dedication of Ernest Thorp and all veterans in defending our country and liberating our allies.

Now to the real question, was Steve McQueen potraying Ernest Thorp in the 1963 Classic "The Great Escape"? Who could play Gary Simpkins in a sequel?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Fond Memories

This story sure brings back some memories

NORTH KINGSTOWN, Rhode Island (AP) -- A man has been charged with extorting more than $20,000 from his elderly mother by repeatedly threatening to kidnap her beloved cat and demanding ransom, police said.
Garry Lamar, 47, was arrested Friday and released on $200 bail. He has been ordered to stay away from his 78-year-old mother, Mary Lamar Grancher.
He started threatening to kidnap the cat just over a year ago, after his mother kicked him out of her home, accusing him of abuse, North Kingstown Police Sgt. Daniel Ormond said.
"This isn't just a family cat," Ormond said. "She actually called this cat her companion since she lived alone."
During the past year, Lamar allegedly kidnapped the cat once and made kidnapping threats on an almost weekly basis, Ormond said. Police don't believe the cat was harmed but are continuing to investigate.
Grancher made at least two dozen payments totaling more than $20,000 in cash and checks to her son. Authorities are still sorting through her financial records to determine the precise amount.
A phone listing for Lamar couldn't be located. Court officials said Tuesday it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

It seems like just yesterday during the L&M Toohill's Hog Farm closeout sale that our own local Lamar, Sir Frank Lamar (represented here by a photo of Rollie Fingers), was charged with kidnapping L&M's loyal dog Butch, only to return Butch a short time later, in what appeared to be a misunderstanding over just what was and what not for sale at the closeout auction. Said Lamar, "I honestly thought I paid a fair price for the mutt, who would have known how much L&M valued him". No charges were filed, and Butch appeared to be much happier upon his return than he was on the way out.

An eanest reader asks..How many of Wapella's citizens have considered pet kidnapping? How many have successfully performed the act? Have any extorted money from the pet's owner? Does the name Lamar have anything to do with this new, and obviously rampant pathology? If you could kidnap a pet, who would it be? Why?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I'll Have the Southern Fried Wildcat with the Maroon Dressing

You certainly wouldn't want to be Marooned in Dixie all alone, away from all Hog City civilization and gracefullness. Well the Rambling Wrecks waltzed all over the Fighting Irish Saturday led by a Marooned Quarterback from the county seat of DeWitt County. Taylor Bennett, son of Wendi Jones, grandson of Dee-ann Jones passed for 121 yards and orchestrated a rushing attack that clocked in at 265 yards . The game was for real, as it was witnessed first hand by at least 2 '79 Wapella Wildcats, and 1 Maroon who is currently a resdient of Wapella, ending up in a 33-3 shaking down of the thunderous Irish.

While on the subject of 1979 WHS, wishes warm birthday greeting to 'Bama Ex Pat", BEP on these boards, one of our greatest contributors and a proud citizen of Dixie. BEP, always one to pull for the home team, may have had mixed emotions as the Irish took their shellacking, but QB Bennet should be glad to know that at least one Wildcat is rooting for him this year.
Way to go QB Bennet and BEP!
The photo is from a Maroon Village in Surinam in 1950 or so

Monday, September 3, 2007

Maybe the Midwest's Finest

Oh well, the Cardinals, Cubs, and Brewers lost by a combined 31-10 today. Thoroughly drubbed, possibly the weakest division in history is spuuttering on the home stretch. Makes you think, if the pitctured team was playing pro now, they would all be around 32 years old, and at the peak of their careers. Makes you think these Wapella Blues would have a better than 50-50 shot at any of the NL Midwestern Miserables. Take special notice of Paul "Skip" Armstrong showing off his Popeye arms, and Damon Stevens looking like a young Adrian Zmed. Go Blue!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Second Easiest Question on

Where was I born? Who is my father? Where was my father born?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

When Good Enough is Good Enough

69-65, 67-67, 65-66 do these numbers mean anything to you? Waistlines? Lucky Numbers? Marital instructions? How about the NL Central Penant race....? The Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals are bobbing their heads above water to take a gasp at the championship. Come to think of it, the Redbirds won it all last year on not a real spectacular record, but one heck-uv-a October.

Who will take it all? Who is going to stop the mighty Midwest from World Series domination?

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