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

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Friday, April 30, 2010

A $4 Cup of Coffee? Not on your life

Got a welcome call from an WHS 82 Alum today, who was a bit shocked that Starbuck had been totally forgotten a smooth jazz rock group and totally overtaken by the absurd "Starbucks" a coffee chain, I am told, that has the audacity to charge $4 for a cup of joe.

Well it is high time that the 70's brand of Starbuck fought back, and let's call Wapella the front lines. Here's the take on the real Starbuck

Moonlight Feels Right is the definitive AM radio driving song of the 70s. Written by multi-talented vocalist / keyboardist / producer Bruce Blackman, Moonlight Feels Right represents 70s synth-pop at its finest. Impeccably crafted, winningly melodic and uniquely constructed (how many hits have ever featured a marimba solo?), it was a perfect springtime single. The lyrics were expressively vivid, and the lead vocals from Blackman were comfortable and friendly.

Currently featured in the movie Stuck On You, Moonlight Feels Right was the first single from the Atlanta group Starbuck with Bruce Blackman on vocals and keyboards and Bo Wagner on marimba. The song reached #3 in Billboard, #2 in Cashbox and #1 in Record World in 1976.

A true classic, Moonlight Feels Right has been recorded by dozens of artists and included on over 100 CD compilations. There’s no question that it will be remembered fondly, recorded frequently and played on oldies radio for decades to come.

They may call the song an Oldie, but to me, this baby never gets old. It has it all, a handsome duo, a mysterious melody, some latin shuffle, joyous lyrics, the hint of romance, and a little bit of soul and it really starts moving, yeah.

Dump that $4 coffee and dust off you IPad, this is the real thing, Starbuck doing the big hit Moonlight Feels Right

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Days for MP Killian and Dan Toohill!

Birthday wishes abound for Wapella's own Mary Pat Killian and Danny Toohill. I haven't done the research, and Dan is significantly older than MP, but are these two birth-day twins? If so, that would make these two double cousins double birthday celebrants, a pair of pears if you like.

So happy Birthday to two of the best. Please wish them well if you run into either or both of them at Toohill Seed and Beef or the First National today.

Here's a good shot of Clark Gable doing his best Dan Toohill.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Famous Recipe's from Wapella and Lesser Places

Got this announcement from the Irish Circle via Facebook


Which genned up the question...could this be one of Howard Abraham's legendary recipes which would definitely be worth the trip uptown for lunch. Didn't Howard also make Swedish Meatballs which was a great punchline for my parents in the years of jousting with Howard about food.

There have been several great dishes to come out of Wapella, some of which did not even feature cream of mushroom soup as a binding ingredient. Rozanne Karr's devilled eggs come to mind; Pat Powers pumpkin blossoms; Chris Ooms son-of-a-gun stew....all of these and more have a legendary effect on Wapella gourmands.

So tell us, dear reader, what recipes come to mind when Wapella is on the taste buds? Something featuring Bud Light Lime Chicken? An old time stuffed pepper? Some rich desert? Let us know.

And here's something from the Long Ryder's who spent too long Downtown and should have went Uptown for a while to avoid the bright lights. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Polish Memorial

I wrote this rather somber memorial to the Polish Air Crash victims.

Here is some Dave Dudley (son of Poland born David Pedruska in Wisconsin) to liven it up at bit.

The sudden death in a plane crash of President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria along with many other Polish government officials, military officers, and cultural and business leaders has been a very sad time for Chicago, the second city (in some regards) for people of Polish descent. For the last week throughout Chicago, the Polish flag has been decorated with black ribbons, respectfully mourning the tragedy while going on with daily life.

One only has to take a drive down the Edens (or better, Milwaukee Avenue) to see the vast sweep of Polish Culture in Chicago, with the grand and massive structures of St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Mary of the Angels, St. Hyacinth Basilica, Holy Innocents, St. Hedwig, Holy Trinity, St. John Cantius (among others) magnificently representing the dedication of Chicago's Polish Catholics to their Church. I had the great pleasure of visiting and researching many of the traditionally Polish language Catholic Churches in the course of producing the book Heavenly City, and became aware of the variety and the depth of the brilliant Polish art, culture, and history within Chicago.

The vital importance of Poland and the Polish in world politics cannot be overstated. Poland has been the link between the West and East, leading to both great triumph and great loss. From heading up the military for the Austrian Empire to breaking the Enigma code before WWII to leading the peaceful end of the Cold War (via the Polish Pope, John Paul II), the Polish people have been the front line of Western Civilization. Poland's role in WWII, even after it was overrun by German (and the Soviet Union) is well represented in the (bureaucratically titled) book Intelligence Co-Operation Between Poland and Great Britain During World War II, detailing the vast success of the the Poles in the defeat of the Axis. In fiction, Alan Furst paints a full picture of Polish dash and daring in historical novels such as The Polish Officer, set in occupied Poland in WWII, with a more-true-to-life-sort-of Polish James Bond as the hero.

There has been no shortage of Polish-American stars in sports and entertainment. Greg Luzkinski, from Niles Notre Dame had a great career with the Phillies and the White Sox. Stan Musial is known as perhaps the best hitter in National League history. Wayne Gretzky is definitely the greatest hockey player of all time. Mike Ditka, Notre Dame Quarterback Johnny Lujack, NFL Hall of Famer Bronco Nagurski, and Tony Romo are some of the big names in Polish Football. Stefanie Powers (no relation, Stefania Zofia Federkiewicz) has been a popular actress for 4 decades. Jack Benny, from Waukegan, was also of Polish-Jewish heritage.

One of the highlights of the 2010 Republican Gubernatorial Primary was the emergence of successful Polish-American businessman Adam Andrzejewski as a grassroots candidate for Governor. Andrzejewski found a new source of support in the Tea Party movement, and became a favorite of national talk radio media pundits. In a historical first, Polish President an Cold War hero Lech Walesa came to Chicago to endorse Andrzejewski and the Tea Party movement during the late part of the campaign.

Tonight Sunday April 18th at 7PM at Holy Name Cathedral Francis Cardinal George will preside at a liturgy honoring those who died in the tragic plane crash. The Most Rev. Thomas J. Paprocki, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, will be the principal celebrant of this bilingual memorial Mass being said for those who died in this tragedy and also for the healing of the Polish nation. One of the great strengths of Chicago is the heritage, history and future of its Polish Community. We should all take some time to salute the fallen leaders of this great county.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wapella Gear Now Available

The style is high, but never out of fashion for Wapella gear.

Leave it to Junior Monkman to come up with slick order form for the Wapella sportswear that is sweeping the nation.

Simply print this sucker out and fax or mail it Junior at Minerva, or even Wapella's own Pam Olson Elliot and you will get some cool duds.

Click on the image to get a larger version for printing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

RIP Malcom McLaren 1946-2010

British rock and roll producer Malcom McLaren has died at age 64 at a hospital in Switzerland. From the Sun MALCOLM McLaren was the outrageous icon who boasted that he invented punk rock - and unleashed the Sex Pistols on the world.

The legendary impresario, who died yesterday, achieved notoriety when the band's anti-establishment single God Save The Queen hit No1 during Her Majesty's 1977 silver jubilee.

Last night Pistols frontman John Lydon, dubbed Johnny Rotten, said: "For me Malc was always entertaining, and I hope you remember that.

"Above all else he was an entertainer. I'll miss him and so should you."

McLaren was the manager of the New York Dolls, a hard rocking New York City act that failed to catch on nationally, when he moved back to London to open a fashion botique with his wife Vivienne Westwood. He took a group of louts who lurked around his shop and made them into the band the Sex Pistols, who transformed garage rock into the Punk Rock industry. The Pistols only studio album was held off the charts, but is reportedly the best selling album of all time in the UK.

McLaren wrote the book on promotion and marketing, his slogan being "Do not give the game away" aptly applied to his stunts such as signing a contract at Buckingham Palace and getting the band raided on a River Thames cruise near Parliament. This from an oldies band of 19 year olds playing Johnny B. Goode and Roadrunner, labelled as Punks, for having the attitude of soccer hooligans towards Rock and Roll.

I'll challenge you to listen to the screeching lyrics (over the metal guitar) on Bodies (written by Cook, Rotten, Vicious, and Jones) and you'll find one of the most tradition minded and life affirming songs in the rock and roll canon, but recorded as Punk. That McLaren was able to pull this off, and make a boatload of money in the meantime was no mean feat.

For you critics...the Wapella connection. #1 Roger Ebert, nephew of longtime Wapella greats Martha and Bill Stumm produced and wrote the script to The Great Rock and Roll Swindle with Malcom McLaren, but was bounced from the movie due to various well founded disagreements. #2 My wife and I went on a buying mission to Vivienne Westwood's (Mrs. McLaren's)design shop in NYC to get samples for a mainstream department store, thus completing the circle from "punk" to products that do not seem at all out of place at Eastland Mall. #3 McLaren knew a lot about Rock and Roll, brought back the classic rock and roll sound that was disappearing in the mid-1970s and that is always greatly appreciated in Hog City. #4 Jones and Cook could show up at the Irish Circle claiming to be old pals from Beason High who went to VoTech in Lincoln in the 70's with some Wildcats and no one would bat an eye.

Here's a good song (minus Sid plus Glen Matlock), The Pistols covering the Who's Substitute. Click and enjoy on the YouTube site.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Rock and Roll with Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians

This song always cheers things up and that would be a good thing this Good Friday.

Robyn Hitchcock said it was his goal in life to write a Beatles song before lunch every day, and he may have written one here, though I am not sure it was before lunch.

Better question is what to do after lunch in this case, if you wrote a Beatles song in the morning, you would pretty much top out for the day. Maybe Dance Like the Dickens to the West Texas Waltz or something in celebration. But till that time, Here Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians with "So You Think You're in Love", well yes, you probably are, if you think that.

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