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

Facebook Activity for Wapella

Monday, June 30, 2008

Banishing the Smoke Ban

The Chicago Tribune has a nice article on defiance of the smoking ban in taverns downstate, with the logical headline:

Smoke ban often defied Downstate

I am of mixed feelings towards the ban, being sympathetic to smoking, yet can't say I miss the short breathing after leaving the taverns. What say you Wapella? Can you chose which tavern to attend based on your smoking preference, or is Gov. Blagojevich in a better position to decide what is right for you?

HT American Cleaning and Restoration, who can remove smoky odors from your tavern.

Article Here

Friday, June 27, 2008

Three Versions: Love is All Around

To misphrase Zepplin, "The Song Does Not Remain the Same" on two 1980's cover's and 1 1967 original of "Love is All Around". For 0 points, what is the TV show original of Husker Du's version (the top video) and who wrote it, or more importantly what band was the songwriter in? For 1 point, who is singing on REM version of the Trogg's orginal? For 2 points, what is the very famous last name of the Trogg's lead singer?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance

Always an amusing photo. this sort of famous shot by, German photographer, August Sander is used for the title shot of the Central Illinois book "Three Farmers on their Way to a Dance".

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 Mourns the Passing of Joe Merna

Joseph P. Merna of Merna, Illinois has died at age 81. Mr. Merna has a great many friends and relatives in Wapella, and was an all around pleasant man. Here is the Pantagraph Obit:

Joseph P. Merna, 81, died at 4:30 a.m. Sunday (June 22, 2008) at ManorCare in Normal.

His memorial Mass will be at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Patrick Church of Merna, Bloomington, with the Rev. Gerald T. Ward officiating. Inurnment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Merna. Visitation will be from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Carmody-Flynn Williamsburg Funeral Home, Bloomington, where the rosary will be recited at 3 p.m.

Joe was born March 22, 1927, in Litchfield, a son of Joseph I. and Margaret A. Flynn Merna. He married Jane A. Hayes on Jan. 17, 1953, in El Paso. She survives.

Also surviving are four daughters, Theresa Merna, Dallas, Texas; Joan (John) Sullivan, Rushville; Patricia (Wade) Pestka, Lexington; and Rita (Michael) McCarthy, Morton; four sons, Michael (Pam) Merna of Merna; Daniel Merna of Merna; Peter (Patricia) Merna, Marshall, Minn.; and James (Teri) Merna, Bloomington; sixteen grandchildren, Katy Merna, Matthew (Karla), Emily, Luke and Mark Sullivan, Grant, Amanda and Connor Pestka, Anne, Kate and Daniel Merna, Margaret, William and Claire McCarthy, and Molly and John Merna; one great-granddaughter, Elaine Sullivan; two sisters, Rosella (Patrick) Kearney, Springfield, and Helen (William) Kearney, Rockford; and one brother, James (Marlys) Merna, West Liberty, Ohio.

He was preceded in death by one sister, Mary Catherine Mellon.

Joe graduated from Trinity High School and farmed at Merna. He was a member of St. Patrick Church of Merna, Bloomington, the Knights of Columbus. He was a Fourth-Degree Knight.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the National Alzheimer's Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave, Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601 or Clare House.

Knowing Joe Merna was something like knowing (a mythical) Pere Chicago or Juan Los Angeles, yet Joe was certainly for real. He extended the good nature of Irish Row in Wapella some 20 miles north to its physical terminus in Merna, where his family proudly added its name. Our condolences to his wife and family.

Sunday, June 15, 2008 Mourns the Passing of Dale Brewer

Dale Brewer, 56 of Clinton has died on June 7, 2008. Dale was the one time owner of Brewer Service Station and the Wapella Tap. Dale will be fondly remembered as happy, even charming, man who was pleasant to customers and visitors to the Village of Wapella. Dale Brewer improved and restored the Wapella Tap to a very comfortable establishment, at one time serving Prime Rib as a holiday present to his regular customers and the rest of the Village, among many other charitable and benevolent business practices.

Brewer was a keen businessman, owning several Central Illinois businesses in trucking, mechanics, and hospitality, all of which showed his enterprising abilities and dedication.

Please fly your flags at half mast for Dale Brewer, US Marine Corp Veteran.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Making Milwaukee Famous

These two put Milwaukee on the Maps, and certainly are virtuosos in 1983. Here Keith Richards and Jerry Lee Lewis doing Chuck Berry's anthem Little Queenie. Two points if you can name the (famous in his own band) Goon on drums.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Please Post Song Lyrics Here

Hi Posters! Please post your song lyrics and analysis here, so we can keep on topic on the other posts.

The lyrics are great, and after staying up all night, I am sure quite relevant, but hard to keep the House of Hog City in order when they show up all over the Village.


Monday, June 9, 2008

102 Candles are No Hazard for Wapella Man

Update: Here is the Patriarch of Barnett Township, June Thomas in action getting ready to enjoy some cake for his 102nd birthday.

Congrats June and the Thomas Clan!

DeWitt County Stands Out

Nothing says visitors welcome like a shanty in a parking lot flying Old Glory next to an empty newspaper stand giving away the DeWitt County Constitution. DeWitt County has a proud history of not being quite in sync with the rest of the country on a variety of issues, so our alert readers are always up for finding out more of the nation's perceptions of our magnificent home.

One solid bit of analysis comes from yesterday's New York Times, in a interesting map show gas prices as a percent of income.

Take a look at the map

If you are like me, your eyes go straight to Wapella to see how Hog City fares in these measures. In this case is certainly not disappointed to find that aside from a few Indian Reservations and Ghost Towns, DeWitt County does not seem to have registered on the New York Times anaylsis. Alternatively, our gas prices might be 0% of income level (or income is actually 0) which made the mapping machine paint DeWitt county in an undeterminable all-white code.

Either way, DeWitt County has hit the Jackpot for the last 169 years and continues to be an outstanding 259,200 acres of action and adventure.

HT to HG.

Friday, June 6, 2008

When They Had Much More Hair

Late today, but here is Dublin's own U2 on YouTube (U2be?) with more hair, some more caffeine (perhaps it was just 10 cups of coffee that got them wound up) and the nerve to show up on the great Tom Snyder show, kicking off the Wildcat Weekend.

HT to the IRBW for the suggestion. Go Hog City!

Update: Happy Birthday to the Hoosier Gato, who owned this U2 album back in the day, while he does still have a lot of hair.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Welcome to Wapella: Lexi Mills

Chris and Brooke Mills are the newly proud parents of Miss Lexi Jillian Mills, born 06/03/08 at7:55am weighing in at 7lbs 15oz and 19 inches in length.

Congratulation to Chris, Brooke and Logan, as well as all the members of the Mills family.

Now for a trifecta, would you two consider having another child named Macon? Tazwell? Cheno? Towan? Pontia? Jo Davies?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Hub of the Wabash

Decatur is certainly a sight to behold on a spring day, with a rich history, thriving manufacturing enterprise, some surprisingly good restaurants, and above all a load of gumption that goes back 150 years.

One of the most gumptious of all the residents of the Soy City was the builder of the Old Union Depot, at the hub of the Wabash and Illinois Central rail lines. Was doing a bit of research on the the old depot, and came across the architects as "Prather, Martin and Gatling".

And yes, upon further reading Gatling is Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling, the inventor of the wheat drill, steam plow (a type of tractor which was made in Decatur at one time) and the Gatling Gun, the most effective weapon to come out of Decatur, till Bill Madlock made the big leagues.

With modified Gatling Guns still in use today by the US Air Force, Gatling is a great reminder of the ingenuity and enterprise of our good neighbors to the south.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Eulogy for Bo Diddley

For the last 10 years or so I have had two posters in my office, one obviously a full theater bill of John Astin as Edgar Allen Poe the other a pullout from a box set my wife bought me of Bo Diddley. Bo Diddley born as Ellas Otha Bates in McComb Missisippi, raised as Ellas McDaniel, in Chicago (attending Foster Vocational School), was a violinist who took up with a square guitar (a Gretsch named "the twang machine"), square glasses, no chord changes, a female bassist named the Duchess, and a formative rock beat borrowed from big bands, Gene Autry, and a freight train with an extra wheel.

I had listened to Bo Diddley since discovering the Oldies Station KXOK in St. Louis in 1978 or so (when Bo Diddley was touring with The Clash), and noticed that most songs kind of sounded alike. Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Beach Boys all derived a good portion (in the Rolling Stones case, the best portion) of their music from Bo Diddley. Never getting as much airplay as his Chess labelmate Chuck Berry, or a following among the hipsters as Howling Wolf or Muddy Waters, Bo settled on showmanship and touring, giving the audience some song and footwork unexpected from a man built more like a linebacker than a ballet dancer.

I purchased Bo Diddley's Greatest Hits on Chess in 1983 which was short, to the point, and full of rock-and-roll. It was after hearing the punk anthem "Pills" on the B-Side of the album that I put it all together. The New York Dolls and David Johannsen had been singing "Pills" in concert for years, and it sounded about like the rest of the anti-Journey repertoire, except that it was good natured rather than snarling. Figuring out that this was a Bo Diddley composition, and not some punk, I was sold. Bo Diddley was timeless.

Bo played the hambone guitar 55 different ways on the Chess Box set, which my wife purchased for me as a Christmas gift in 1999 or so. It is a really good album, fairly close to comprehensive, and I challenge you to not to dance while listening to You Can't Judge a Book by Looking at the Cover. The album also explains the mysterious name Jerome, which has been assigned to many comedy bits over the years by Bo Diddley (and myself).

Stil working till he was nearly 80 years old, doing a famous Nike commercial with Bo Jackson from pro-sports, and touring with Ronnie Wood, Eric Clapton, covered by everyone from Paul McCartney to Tom Petty to the Jesus and Mary Chain, Bo was also one of the most tributed (i.e. ripped off) artists in rock history, with a brief summary here

Including Elvis Presley ("His Latest Flame"); Bruce Springsteen ("She's The One"); U2 ("Desire"); The Smiths ("How Soon Is Now?"); Roxette ("Harleys And Indians (Riders In The Sky)"); Dee Clark, a former member of the Hambone Kids (see above) ("Hey Little Girl"); Johnny Otis ("Willie and the Hand Jive"); George Michael ("Faith"); Normaal ("Kearl van stoahl"); The Strangeloves ("I Want Candy"); Ace Frehley ("New York Groove"); Primal Scream ("Movin' on up"); David Bowie ("Panic in Detroit"); The Pretenders ("Cuban Slide"); The Police ("Deathwish"); Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders ("The Game of Love"); The Supremes ("When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes"); Jefferson Airplane ("She Has Funny Cars"); The White Stripes ("Screwdriver"); The Byrds ("Don't Doubt Yourself, Babe"); Tiny Letters ("Song For Jerome Green") and The Stooges ("1969"). The early Rolling Stones sound was strongly associated with their versions of "Not Fade Away" and "I Need You Baby (Mona)". Especially, The Who's "Magic Bus"

all based upon the distinctive "Bo Diddley Beat".

Bo Diddley has died at age 79 after a short illness. Here's a 1972 bust up with Bo Diddley doing the greatest hit "RoadRunner"

Go Bo Diddley!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Congratulation on 50 Years for the Mandrells

Gene "Hook" Mandrell and his wife Deanna are celebrating 50 years of marriage this year. Hook and Deanna were married at the Ellsworth Methodist June 8, 1958. They are the parents of Karen Alexander of Hallsville (WHS '82) and Debra Shull of Wapella (WHS '77), with 3 grandsons and 5 great grand children.

Buried in the Pantagraph story is the real clincher to the anniversary...Hook's best man was none other than Dick Burk. You put Dick Burk in a story, and you could get published in the Washington Post.

Congrats to the Mandrells!

And while we're on the subject of major anniversaries, June Thomas a patriarch of Wapella is celebrating his 102nd (yes, One Hundred and Second!) birthday. June is the father of Bob Thomas (who I saw at a fish fry last night, enjoying the cuisine in Waynesville), Ron "Whitey" Thomas, a Wapella sportsman and legend in his own right, Rachel Woolridge of Clinton, and Reva Stillman of Frankfort, Illinois, whose family is tapped in to the blog.

Congratulations Mr. Thomas on each of your 102 years and heading up one of Illinois' great families.

Blog Archive