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

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year Hog City!

The Staff of, The Wapella Barber and Hairdressers Guild, The Dole Pineapple Corporation, The Dollywood Foundation, Coach Ron Zook, The Zeigler Chamber of Commerce, and The Ol' Possum Himself, Mr George Jones, all wish you a Happy New Year.

Perhaps a dance a the Wapella Auction House, with a toast of '57 Chevy's at the Irish Circle, then some greasy eggs at the Dixie would make this the perfect evening. Any Wildcat memories of New Years Eve Past?

Friday, December 28, 2007 mourns the passing of Pat Rolofson

Priscilla P. "Pat" W. Rolofson, 80, Clinton, died at 10 a.m. Wednesday (Dec. 26, 2007) at Hawthorne Inn in Clinton.  Mrs. Rolofson, a fixture in Wapella at WHS for a generation was a well liked bus driver, serving Wilson Township, among other routes.

Pat Rolofson was married to one of DeWitt County's finest, Louis Rolofson, for 56 years, from 1943 to his passing in 1999. Mrs. Rolofson is remembered as a charitable and kind person. Our condolences go out to her Son, Louis Jr., daughter-in-law Joy Rolofson, and her grandchildren and great grandchildren. flies the Wapella flag at 1/2 mast for Mrs. Pat Rolofson.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Great Beauticians Honored

What better way to top off 2007 than with a tribute to the Hairdressers, Beauticians, and Coiffurists that have kept the main manes of Wapella so neat and fashionable throughout the years.

Here is the first Champagne glass of the New Year's Celebration in honor of the hair trade, the Great Lock Wranglers of Wapella.

The first toast...goes out to none other than Vee Bray Welch, of Vee's Beauty Nook. Vee is the one of the greats, a pleasant businesswoman, and a tremendous hair manager. Here's to you Vee!

Who else would you like toasted (preferable to being scorched in the Perm machine)? What hairdressers did the best work on men's hair? Who are some of the past greats? Who is currently working the trade in the highest Hog City style?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Nobody Does Christmas Better than Kenny and Dolly

This album from 1984, when Kenny & Dolly worked together to bring a very Merry Christmas to their many fans. Kenny and Dolly look very merry indeed in this album cover.

Here's a little story I found about Kenny

I remember the day I first met Kenny Rogers like it was yesterday. I arrived to take Kenny from a large meeting of corporate executives to his press interviews on behalf of Dole Pineapple. I slipped in the door, intending to stay in the back until Kenny was ready to go. Kenny saw me come in, stopped the meeting with the Dole CEO and approached to shake my hand, "I'm Kenny Rogers." This was just one example of the way Kenny Rogers treated everyone with respect and made them feel that they mattered. He sent a powerful message that he valued others, from CEOs to press assistants.

Here's a clip from Kenny & Dolly singing "I'll be Home with Bells On". Merry Christmas to All you good people from Wapella from Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and the entire staff of Dole Pineapple and

Saturday, December 22, 2007

More Useless Inventions

For some reason I can't get enough of Useless Inventions.

Is it a Blessing or a Curse to have such things a complete catalog of Porter Wagoner videos?

Or in this case, is it really a good thing to have one click access to the greatest song ever recorded by an Ex-Monkey?

Here's Mike Nesmith with Some of Shelly's Blues. Click and decide, is the internet the ultimate invention?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ernest Hemmingway vs. Kenny Rogers

Hemmingway wrote a pretty good story named "Islands in The Stream" later a pretty good movie with George C. Scott as the Papa character. Yet as good as it was, Hemmingway didn't have Dolly Parton as a Duet Partner. In response to overwhelming Wildcat demand, here's Dolly and the great Kenny Rogers doing "Islands in the Stream".

Hello Dolly, Hello Kenny

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Help Identify this Man

Larry David was on a pro-am ski tournament Saturday, in between football games, I switched over to see some amusing skiing featuring celebrities with varying degrees of talent. Larry was awful, skiing much like myself, and let wail a diatribe at the cameras after finishing that was totally inappropriate for a charity event, but in character for his curmudgeonly persona.

The list of celebrities included Buzz Aldrin, Carlos Bernard, Larry David, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Susie Essman, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Chris Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, Maxwell Kennedy, Rory Kennedy, Sheila Kennedy and Patrick Warburton...though I noticed the man pictured below, the Funkhouser character from the Larry David show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Funkhouser is played by Bob Einstein, who has been performing since being a comedy performer on the "Cher" variety show.

Yet, most people know Bob Einstein as his most famous character. Take a look at the picture, and tell me, what was Bob Einstein's most famous role...which was a very popular and inspiring show in Wapella, as many people dressed like Einstein's character.

Here is Super Dave Osborne with Fuji. Thanks to everyone who participated in the quiz.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"This would not have been possible without the Frymans"

The Pantagraph has a fine story on the generosity of the Ronnie Fryman family. What a great Christmas gift.

Here is the story.

Three Cheers for the Frymans and Habitat for Humanity for their selflessness and service to others. The Wapella Flag flies high today.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dan Fogelberg, Rest in Peace

Peoria's own Folk Rock Legend, Dan Fogelberg has died of cancer at age 56. The Peoria Journal Star puts it best "Before he ever played the famed Carnegie Hall in New York, Dan Fogelberg played basements in central Illinois". Dan was not Ike Turner, but he could conjure up a memorable song, and was a pleasant tonic to the suicidal freaks playing at Champaign-Urbana coffeehouses in the 1980's that followed his 1970's career there.

Anyone out there see Dan Fogelberg in action? Red Lion in Bloomington perhaps? Fannie's Trolley?

Here is a good obit in the Peoria Journal Star

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Zeigler Man Identified

The man known only as BEP has correctly identified Ted Schanafelt as being the chain that links Zeigler, Illinois to Wapella.

Ted was a great sportsman and sporting columnist for the Daily Pantagraph, as well as being a very good coach and a decent athlete himself. Many Wildcats owe their sense of hardnosed fair-play to Ted Schan, and offer a grateful round of applause to him.

As I do not have a current photo of Ted, I substitute one of Robert Conrad and Ross Martin from Wild Wild West. Ted vaguely looks like Ross Martin/Artemis Gordon, but has more of the hardball attitude of Robert Conrad/James West.

Go Zeigler!

More Zeigler, this time in Fiction

In Ian Fleming's James Bond, CIA Agent Felix Leiter was a lanky Texan, always in the right place to assist Bond in his derring-doing. Leiter is based on Thomas Leiter, who you may have surmised by now, is not from Texas, rather from Zeigler, the brother of Baroness Leiter. Here's Jack Lord portraying Felix Leiter in Dr. No.

And a clue, the Wapella legend living in Zeigler is one of the greatest hunters and fishermen in the State of Illinois. Always had fishing gear ready to go at a moments notice, which is, by the way, one of the reasons the Leiters lived in Zeigler, for the fishing.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Going all Zeigler all the Time

At the risk of going all Zeigler all the time, the Franklin County city keeps getting more interesting. Mary Leiter, later Lady Curzon, the Baroness and Vicereine of India, who restored the Taj Mahal (and made the interior look something like Marshall Fields, which her family owned) lived in Zeigler. Lady Curzon's husband was the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, who was definitely not from Zeigler. Lady Curzon long held the highest political rank ever held by an American (and thus Zeigler resident) in the British Empire.

As noted below Professor Holonyak was born in Zeigler where his father was a coal miner perhaps working for Levi Leiter, Mary's father, who owned coal interests in Franklin County.

There you have three big name celebrities linked forever to Zeigler, yet there is a fourth, who is one of the defining members of the Wildcat Community. Though not born in Wapella, nor an athlete for the Wildcats, #4 is one of the greatest sportsmen in Hog City history. The contest is still open, can you identify the Wapella-Zeigler connection?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

RIP Father of Rock and Roll

Izear Luster Turner Jr, "Ike" Turner, the Father of Rock and Roll has died at age 76. Turner is best known in the Rock and Roll world for his primary "Rocket 88" in 1951, which is arguably the first Rock and Roll song ever put on record.

Turner's long and stormy marriage to Anna Mae "Tina" Turner is the stuff of bitter legend, resulting in Tina being hailed as a rock and roll survivor in her biography "What's Love Got to do With It?", which Ike claimed overstated his famous temper a bit. Turner is said to have been married 14 times but he has only been known to have married four times publicly

Still with hits like "Proud Mary" and the unheralded masterpiece "River Deep, Mountain High", Turner showed the vituosity of a R&B maestro with a fire that only Ike and Tina could deliver.

Ike Turner, Rest in Peace.

UPDATE: Here are Ike and Tina in action.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One of the Greatest Illini Scientists

To celebrate the Illini trip to the Rose Bowl, the Alumi Association published a special edition of the Illinois Alumni Magazine, sent to even those, like myself, who neglect to pay Alumni dues to the Orange and Blue financial juggernaut. With a bit of suprise, I noticed a former co-worker of mine at the Electrical Engineering Research Laboratory (lab long gone) profiled, still a working researcher, nearly 80 years old.

Nick Holonyak, biography here, is the inventor of the LED, the Light-Emitting Diode, and numerous primary developments in the laser and and semiconductor science and engineering. He has won every engineering award in the book, and still works a full day as a researcher, winning a patent only 2 years ago for a major development in lasers. Yet, the fine biographies of Dr. Holonyak skip one of the highlights of my spotty career at the EERL, which was certainly highlighted by working with Dr. Nick.

Dr. Holonyak was a hard nosed researcher, participating in every bit of science and technology from theorizing, to computer programming, to metal working in the University machine shops. Having been an Illinois Central Lineman (perhaps along with Johnny Roesch) Holonyak would gladly lend a hand to anyone needing assistance with some machine tooling or techy problem. (I can assure you, not very many people at the lab were much help on anything beyond breathing helium and talking in a squeaky voice).

Many times I worked in the University machine shop with a welder, who had a curious gold-bug, named Jim Robinson. Jim was supremely irritable, horded valuable metals, hated students, and spoke of his own great wealth he gained by removing precious metals from scrapped projects. He was also a pretty good welder, but by no means worth the effort of engaging in a welding project, due to his supremely unpleasant personality.

By default, I was left working on a piping project with Jim one afternoon, involving silver-soldering two dissimilar metal pipes together for use in low-temperature fluid flow. I was guiding the pipes while Jim was working the 850 Degree soldering torch. We were having no luck in joining the pipes, while Jim yelled obscenities at me to persuade me to line the pipes up in some unknowable position that would make them stick, when Dr. Holonyak came over to assist us.

As Jim was yelling like a major demon, I am pretty sure I made the mistake of calling him "Millionaire", the derisive name assigned to him by the students in the shop, tired of his goldbugging yarns, which prompted Jim to sort of an over-reaction, pointing his torch at my gloves in an attempt to burn my hands. I jumped away, Al let out a blood curdling laugh, and to my suprise the inventor of the LED, Dr. Holonyak, jumped on Robinson and began choking him and then pummeling him with his fists. Robinson was caught off-guard, giving Dr. Nick 30 seconds or so to throttle him till other guys in the shop broke it up.

It may be the only time in my life where I was directly involved in a fight with a National Medal of Technology winner, and I salute the Dr. for his quick work in dusting off Robinson, and for his assistance in finishing the soldering project we had set out to do earlier.

Dr. Nick Holonyak, one of the greatest Illini scientists, is from Zeigler, Illinois. For 2 points, name a Wapella great who currently hails from Zeigler.

note: I changed a couple things in the story to avoid prosecution. Robinson is actually worse than described.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 mourns the passing of Richard Reynolds

Richard Reynolds has died at age 74. Reynolds is survived by his wife, Audrey, two daughters Linda (WHS 76) and Cheryl (WHS 78), and three grandchildren, Jason Reynolds (CCHS 95, with 11 years at Wapella), Justin Whitaker, and Matt Whitlock.

Reynolds farmed in Rural Wapella for his entire career. His wife was the long time WHS Secretary to the Superintendent. Reynolds was a good neighbor and a great supporter of Wapella.

All flags half mast please for Korean War Veteran, Richard L. Reynolds.

apologies in advance for guessing graduation years, and not even going to try Audrey's.

Heyworth Keeps Rocking

Paraphrasing Mick Jagger
Mama says yes, Papa says no,
Make up you mind 'cause I gotta go.
I'm gonna have fun at the Legion Hall
Drive myself right over the wall.
From "Rip this Joint" (in which Jagger and Richards famously rip off Little Richard's "Rip it Up")
Here is a (rare) pleasant article from the Pantagraph celebrating the American Legion in Heyworth and the Silver Foxes (HT to Charlie Rich). Doing some quick arithmetic, someone who was 18 years old in 1955 would be...70 years old today, about the perfect age to enjoy the full canon of Rock and Roll from its inception.

Many locals, including Wapella's Darly Lane are quoted as generally enjoying themselves playing music, dancing, and conviving in Heyworth. The Silver Foxes play Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Carl Perkins. How much better does it get?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Gorgeous and Georgeous: Anyone Going to Milwaukee?

Getting back to the central theme of, here is the Old Possum with Tammy Wynette making the commute from Nashville to Milwaukee, most certainly through Wapella, in the classic "Milwaukee Here I Come".

Goonblock Enabled

In keeping with the now 4 year old rules of, the Goonblock provision has been invoked. Comments will now be evaluated by the Board of Wapella Historians before publication.

More robotic development, Illini Boosterism, Redbird Boosterism, Saluki Boosterism, and meandering histories will be encouraged. All insults and unpleasantries will be the exclusive domain of the administrators of

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Calculators Permitted: A Classic Quiz

Here is an old-timey arithmetic quiz.

How can four 9's make 100? You can subtract, multiply, divide, add to get the answer.

For example 9+9+9+9 = 36, and would be wrong. 9 x 9 + 9 + 9 is 99 and also wrong. Calculators are permitted, for those of you who did not know Mike Rabbe, Randy Vertichio, or Diane Benzek.

Here is another Niner, Forty Niner great Joe Montana, with his wife Jennifer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Small Wonder for Economic Development in Clinton

An alert reader sends this bit of harrowing news from the County Seat, Clinton, Illinois.

Leaf burning extinguished in Clinton after vote to ban

snuffing out one of the higher minded pursuits in our southern neighbor. Their is not a dry eye in the comments section of the Pantagraph, some holding out for the glory days of burning garbage in the city. We also have Clinton looking for business development, going from a bartending university to a burial site for toxics as drivers for the local economy.

A high minded reader of suggested the Maroons take a tip from the video archicve and developing

"a robot to pick up leaves - call it a robotic vacuum - sounds a little fishy to me, but it just might put Clinton on the map. Perhaps the robot could be modelled after Vicki, that robotic toddler who captured all of our hearts in Small Wonder, the ground breaking show about robot technology"

Here is a clip from Small Wonder, to refresh your memory. Could we enlist Dick Williams and Billy Toohill to come up with a Robotic Maroon Vacuum to pick up leaves?

Back on topic please

The topic is Robots. Can a Robot be trained to vacuum up leaves in Maroonville? It seems likely, and it could be dressed like Vicki in Small Wonder.

Please leave the politicking to the print newspapers, and more high minded blogs. We may open a separate goon room section so those that missed out on 1980's sitcoms can gnash their teeth in private when the county seat is mentioned.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Good Year for The Illini

9-3 is a not only a good year, but a great year for the Illini, resulting in the first Rose Bowl bid for the Illini in 24 years. Someone took all the George Jones version of GYFTR down from YouTube, so here is the next best thing, Costello doing Good Year for The Roses, which 2007 certainly has been. Is anyone going to Pasedena?

Don't know if it's a miracle or a curse

Not to get all technical on you, but this link is good for keeping up on all new comments on

Link for all new Comments on

I will find a better place to put it sometime.

And more technology, (albeit a terrible video), nifty song, "Useless Inventions" by Dayton Ohio schoolteacher Robert Pollard and his band Guided by Voices.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Evel Knievel, the inspiration to generations of Wapella cyclists, has died at age 69. Knievel made the Wide World of Sports a great Saturday entertainment piece witch his Daredevil Motorcycling.

Making it to age 69 is a minor miracle for Knievel. What an entertainer and sportsman.

Dupage County Reader Recommends Mobile Rock and Roll

This in from an alert reader in DuPage County. The song "Let it Rock", really does the trick. Here it is done by a Welshman, Dave Edmunds, with Nick Lowe and Rockpile.


Here is a version of same by Motorhead. Great rock, but keep in mind the firey guitar solo is by Dave Letterman's own Sid McGinnis, not Lemmy or Phil Campbell.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Take a left at Panola and Practice Practice Practice

The answer to age old joke, "how do you have the best Christmas Song in Roanoke" takes a modern twist with on-line voting at

Vote Here

There is nothing quite as soothing as the voice of Woodford County residents bellowing Christmas songs. Take a look at Roanoke and fill the ballot box with your choice.

Update: I didn't think this looked like Roanoke Illinios. That picture, and link is from Roanoke Virginia.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Reviving Don's World of Beef

From some of the same people that brought you Don's World of Beef, back in the 1970's, here comes the Hog City Holiday Special. Stock up on Beefy treats, right here in Wapella.

The Toohill's have been raising Beef in Wapella for over 15o years. As I can attest to, the warm welcome from the Toohill family may bring you in; the flavorful beef brings you back for more.

Get over there and get some Wapella beef. You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Halftime Report

Wapella is leading Bloomington 28-21 at RR1 Wapella field. All players, coincidentally are great great grandsons of Patrick Toohill. MP Toohill has just arrived from Fairbury for halftime relief.
UPDATE: Wapella wins big 72-21. The addition of MP Toohill at halftime was just what the Wildcats needed. Bloomington added up the ages, and noted that Wapella had a hundred year age advantage, however, if off road miles are included the ages are roughly equivalent according to the booth, the play stands.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mixed Up Joke

I had to read this twice, sort of funny, in a 1971 way.

Two hippies were waiting at the bus stop alongside a nun whose leg was in a cast. The first hippie asked "Sister, how did you break you leg?"

"I slipped in the bathtub."

The second hippie asked the first, "What's a bathtub?"

"How should I know? I'm not Catholic!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Does Jim Bell have Eligibility Left?

In a confusing story, Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber announced today the signing of Stan Simpson to a national letter of intent on the first day of the fall signing period. An alert reader in Jayhawk country brings up a good question:
Simpson was known to be a good ballplayer, and his kids were all fine Wildcat athletes, but Simpson has to be a 1949 vintage.

Why not go with a younger player? Doesn't Red still use the push shot rather than the jump shot?

Any thoughts?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

From Wakayama to Wapella

Yoshio Kinoshita WHS '79 (represented here by Mr. Fuji) has been getting back to his Wapella branches over the last week. After a lively visit with in his current home of Manhattan, Yoshio visited Chicago and some western suburban Wildcats last night for dinner and drafts.

Some highlights:

1) Kinoshita just picked Wapella randomly on a map of the United States when deciding where to stay. Who wouldn't?
2) After contacting Judy Stein, he (still) was set on coming to Wapella.
3) Yoshio enjoyed the country life of Wapella, and thought Glen and Mable Trimble to be very kind people.
4) With respect to which DeWitt Co resident Yoshio found to be the
most challenging to understand English/diction - none other than Jerry
Peroutka took the prize.
5) Yoshio enjoys the song "Brandy" when sung by Hog City types.

Kinoshita-san is planning a visit to Wapella in 2008. Roll out the blue and white carpet!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wapella Animal Rescue Unit in Action

Details are a bit sketchy, but at this time, it appears that the feral cat stalking the South East part of the Village has been humanely captured. Linda Jackson has retrieved the kitty after a particularly troubling hunt, and harmlessly put him into safe keeping.

Wapella's own Kenneth Jackson (WHS '86) is now caring for the cat, tenderly nursing the feline back to top fitness and health.

Kudos to the Wapella Animal Rescue Squad for a job well done!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Most Popular Spectator Sport in Hog City

The most popular participant sport in Wapella has been Bear Wrestling for the last 153 years. The most popular spectator sport, however is Illini Football, with a horde of Illini fans, alumni and general observers of the Orange and Blue. salutes Ron Zook, Juice Williams and the Fighting Illini for their comeback season and the great game they played against #1 Ohio State, taking down the Buckeyes in their first defeat of the season. Illini 28-Buckeyes 21.

And for those that doubt the Illini on the road, remember this game was played in Columbus with a minimal number of Illini fans in person, but an army of them watching on the tube.

Go Illini!

editor's note: The Fighting Irish may think about applying for Division 3 status after losing to Air Force.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

No Jive Turkey

We know Wapella is still reeling from the decision not to have the St.
Pat's Turkey Dinner, but in an attempt to ease the pain, in steps Anne
Roesch Leischner with some good news:

This just in from the Altar and Rosary Society: in lue of the turkey
dinner (may she rest in peace until resurrected) there are plans to host
a summer fish fry the same weekend as Wapalooza. So, readers, all is NOT
lost, and kudos to the A and R Society and Anne L. for this bit of
uplifting news. Get your summer schedules planned, and make the sojourn
back to Wapella Summer of 2008 for a fish fry/Wapalooza weekend.

P.S: efforts are still going to be made to revive the turkey dinner and
the Cornbread and Bean festival.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Navy Torpedoes Irish; Illini March On

Sad day for the Fighting Irish, sunk by a weak Navy team yesterday 46-44. Notre Dame's 43-game winning streak against Navy, the longest in NCAA history against one opponent, was gone. Charlie Weiss could use a few execuses, predicts some sort of rehab program for him where he has to leave ND for medical reasons.

The Illini are hard to stop on their march to a bowl game, stomping the Golden Gophers 44-17. May not be a major bowl, but the Illini are back in shape at 7-3 for a game after Christmas.

The word on the streets of Hog City is that at least two Wapella Gentlemen witnessed the Kansas Cats whomp the Cornhuskers 76-39; the most points ever allowed by the Huskers. Was Wapella's own Kansas Cat in attendance? Or only the the adopted Husker Fans from the Farmer City Blacktop via Amtrak?

Photo of Ian Thorpe, the Thorpedo.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Wapella, What Happened to the 19th Century?

A concerned citizen of Wapella writes

I heard yesterday that there will not be a Turkey Dinner at St. Pat's this year. What's going on with Wapella??…...No Corn & Bean Festival, no purple house and now no turkey dinner at St. Pat's. Is Wapella caught up with all the modern day conveniences and new construction through out the town to remember the classic/historical events? Bring it back! Start petition drives, call your neighbor's, get these event's back on schedule"

I must agree, these trademark events are what make Village of Wapella the Hog City. And beleive it or not, the food is generally very good, and comedy excellent. I am all in favor of 19th Century type of fun (dog-fighting, arm-wrestling, beard growing contests etc), but alone cannot get these events back on the calendar. Anyone out there joining with our Concerned Citizen to revive some of our civic feasts?

I start by nominating BEP as the Most Exalted Chair of a Beard Growing Contest as he always looked like a mini-Rick Sutcliffe. Any more hands on deck?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Robert Goulet RIP

Robert Goulet was a great one because

1) He had a booming dramatic singing voice like no other.
2) He looked good with a mustache. Here he is without one, hardly recognize him.
3) He could take a joke and make fun of himself, as witnessed in Hee Haw, the Naked Gun, Police Squad and the Simpsons.

Goulet died in Los Angeles at age 73 after a long and successful career. May he Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Going All Olson Again

Congrats to Larry WHS '92 and Maria Olson, on the birth of his second child, daughter Hayden Leslie Olson coming in at 5:13pm (Indy time) 9lbs. 12oz. 21 3/4".

Keep 'em coming Larry, and surely you find a reason to have a Nels Olson in your lineup.

Monday, October 29, 2007

But the Nudie Suit Lives On

Legendary Country Gentleman Porter Wagoner has died at age 80. The video below tells you quite a bit about PW. Partners with Dolly Parton, good natured, greatest dresser in the history of Country Music, hair up there with the greats, nearly Charlie Rich in its legendary pomp, huge smile reflecting a lack of orthodontics common in its day-yet never backing down from flashing it, bouncey sort of menacing song of stealing money to go drinking but still happy about it. Porter Wagoner was one of the greats, and will be surely mourned by For now dry your eyes and enjoy PW at his best in this clip from the Porter Wagoner show.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rainmaker in Action

An old friend of via Montpellier and Minnesota sends this action shot of Wapella original Chris Mills WHS '91 making hay at CTIA, the mobile phone industry leading trade show in San Francisco. Closing deals, taking names, and passing out free stuff, even showing on his handheld computer, Mr. Mills makes it happen.

Sell something you old Saluki.

No Deception in the Pro's

There hasn't been a balk in the World Series in 11 years, and the streak would probably still be going if Ed Montague had ever umpired a game in the Kickapoo conference.
In perhaps one of the worst calls in World Series history, since Don Dekinger snatched the crown from Joaquin Andujar and the Cardinals, Franklin Morales was called for a balk for as Joe Buck described "Deceptive Motion".
Note that first base umpire Laz Diaz did not make the call, rather Montague, in a pantomime of Clinton's Kenny Gent began waving his arms then tried to figure out what call to make.
Lefty Morales uses a time tested delivery/pick-off motion of raising his right foot, watching a base-runner then determining whether to deliver to home or over to first.
The key to this move, as perfected by WHS '81 Lefty Don Earl Nelson, is to pause in stride, avoiding crossing the pitching rubber with the right foot, so as to have complete freedom to choses home or first base delivery. (It works much the same way for a right handed pitcher with a runner on third.)
Three cheers for Wapella's Nelson for magnifying this move to major league levels, and a big thumb of the nose to Ed Montague for blowing a call in a championship game. Maybe a trip back to Khoury League's (and an $8 paycheck) is need for Ed to pick up on some 30 year old pick-off techniques.
Tough question, but what other great Lefty's have hurled for the Wildcats?

Thursday, October 25, 2007 mourns the Passing of Mary Jackson

Longtime Wapella resident Mary Jackson has died at the age of 78. She was born Aug. 7, 1929, at Knoxboro, N.Y., daughter of Richard and Kathleen Marchand Simmons. She married Donald A. Jackson on Oct. 22, 1949, at Rome, N.Y. He survives.

Also surviving are children, Richard (Deborah) Jackson, Culver City, Calif.; Larry (Isabel) Jackson, Hillsborough, N.C.; David (Nancy) Jackson and Francis (Kathy) Jackson, both of Clinton; two sisters, Eileen Seymour, Remsen, N.Y., and Beverly J. Fitzsimmons, Forrest City, Pa.; and 10 grandchildren.

Mary is remembered as a great supporter of St. Patrick's Church in Wapella even after her move to Clinton. Our condolences to her husband Don; Francis, David (two Wildcats) and all the Jackson family.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sneaking, Lying, Arrogance, Dirtiness and Evil now on DVD

There is perhaps no more profound movie in the history of Wapella than the 1972 classic Evil Roy Slade. John Astin roars in the lead as Evil Roy, with Slade being an acronym for the the orphaned cowboy standing for Sneaking, Lying, Arrogance, Dirtiness and Evil, top qualities for the meanest villain in the West.

You can take your Monty Python, your Airplane's, and your Blazing Saddles shows only so far without the primal influence of Evil Roy Slade. As a reviewer put it "If Evil Roy Slade had been released theatrically in the last ten years, it would have had the same effect on moviemaking as Nirvana's Nevermind had on music. In other words, there would have been no Armageddon, no Batman Forever, well you get the picture."

At long last, this one is now on DVD. I suggest buying two copies, so that you have one with you when you travel. This one is coming out on January 8, 2008, so order now to prevent disappointment.

Buy Evil Roy Slade here.

Monday, October 22, 2007 Mourns the Passing of Lorraine Dixon

Laura Lorraine Dixon of Plano, Texas died October 20, 2007 in Richardson, Texas. She was born August 29, 1910 in Fairfield, Illinois to Clarence and Nettie Tromly. Her parents, husband of 43 years Donald L. Dixon, and one brother Fred Tromly preceded her in death.

She attended Southern Illinois University, received a teacher’s certificate, and was a third grade school teacher. She was a lifetime member of the Delta Theta Tau Sorority and a strong church and community volunteer. She was a member of the United Methodist Church. She grew beautiful roses, and was an avid reader and bridge player.

Her son Robert (Ann Toohill WHS '62) Dixon of Plano, Texas, three grandchildren, Laura Dixon of Plano, Texas, Daniel (Ann) Dixon (who spent an extraordinary amount of time in Wapella during his youth, while he theoretically lived in Milwaukee) of Eagan, Minnesota, and Matthew (Janet) Dixon of Waukesha, Wisconsin, seven great-grandchildren, and one sister-in-law Ruth Tromly of Englewood, Colorado survive her.

Thank you to Dr. Williams and the Nursing Staff at The Gardens of Richardson for enabling her long good-bye to be with dignity. Memorials may be made to the national Alzheimer’s Association.

Our condolences to the Dixon and Toohill Families.

Wapella Building Boom Continues

You read the Wall Street Journal? The high-finance types seem to think that the the property market has been stymied. But just when Wall Street thought the commercial Real Estate Boom has gone bust, along comes Wapella Self Storage with another A+ in Hog City's economic report card.

Would have looked better in Blue and White, but who is complaining when the Village has never looked better.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

1830's Wapella

Had an excellent lunch Thursday with a farmer named Whalen from Hanover Illinois, who inquired as to the status of Wapella. Thriving, I replied, picking up steam since 1854. His interest was due to his family being old settlers in Wapello Illinois, later to be renamed Hanover. From 1838 to 1849 the village of Hanover was named Wapello. We speculated that this Wapello could not keep up with the rail traffic in Hog City, ceding the name of the Village to its rightful heirs.

Two points if you can name the most famous resident of Hanover.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

One of the All Time Great Straightmen

One of the trump cards in great comedy is to have a straightman. He doesn't laugh or contribute very much to telling of a joke, until his time comes. Then like a laugh bomb, he lets it fly, able to crack up the rest of the . In Wapella lore, Jim Hart and Lawrence Toohill are perhaps the best known straight men.
So it is a sad day when we lose one of the last 100% true Rat Packers. Joey Bishop has passed away at age 89. Movies, music, talk shows, even an occasional dance step kept Joey in the game for many years of taking schtick from greats like Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra, and playing it straight with Peter Lawford.
Rat Pack B-Teamers Jerry Lewis and Angie Dickinson are still with us, but Joey was the last of the 1st Team. RIP Joey Bishop.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 Mourns the Passing of Albert Coulter

Albert A. Coulter, age 50, of Bushnell, Ill., passed away at 9:15 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007, at his residence. Albert is the father of Brooke Mills of Heyworth, and father in law of Chris Mills, WHS '91. Our condolences go out to the Coulter and Mills families.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who is Duck Soup and Could This Person Be ID'ed If Standing By The Circle?

You never know what will turn up on the wild world of the online auctions on ebay, but the following item description should be of interest to all Wildcats:


Here is the link to the item:

A few questions: Just who is this seller, ducksoup42? Just whose charm bracelet was this? Why a football charm, since Wapella never offered football (but would no doubt have dismantled all opposition if it was) Will this item go for over $1,000?

These questions and more could prove a bigger mystery than "could you ID Steve Morris if he was standing in a ditch next to a two lane 51?"

Could we have worse guesses here than were thrown about on that challenge?

Let's start the bidding at $100…………………...

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's 85 And Holding for the Chairman of the Board

Bill Morris, the Chairman of the Board of all things Wapella, celebrated his 85th birthday yesterday at the Wapella Grade School Hall. Morris and his wife Carol, both long-time Wapella Civic and Community leaders were roasted by a series of friends and relatives who gathered to greet him. 85 Cheers for Bill Morris, Wapella Flag Commision Chairman Bill Morris.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Get R Done

With a Hat Tip to Larry the Cable Guy and Ricky Bobby, here is a Harvest Shot of Wapella producing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vote Bohemian

In the Spring of 1979, WHS pulled off one of the greatest coups in Hog City History by winning a contest sponsored by WDBR (WDBR-FM Springfield's #1 Hit Music Station!) which provided a tickets for the entire school to attend a baseball game at Busch Stadium. Nothing was better than having our Student Council Presdient MP Toohill on the field to accept an award for raising money for a charity sponsored by the radio station.

Except there was no alturistc intentions in mind at all from our crafty Wildcats, other than a desire to get out of town. The contest was gamed incorrectly, rewarding prizes based on per student signature gathering. So, if Wapella 100 students could gain 100 signatures each they would get 10,000 signatures. If I recall the signatures required a nickel a piece, so 10,000 signatures cost $500. If BHS 1500 students did the same, they would need to gather 150,000 signatures or $7500, quite a sum. So behind our valiant president, the student body invested their own funds to get enough signatures to win, and we did win big. Great investment, a bit of a carnival game, and a freewheeling trip to StL. Huge tip of the hat to Matthew Toohill, a man ahead of his time.

In that spirit, I was contacted by a friend Kathy Mallin, who teaches nursing U of I-Chicago about a contest American Express is running. Kathy's grandfather was John Mallin, a very good, but not very well known mural painter in Chicago. Her grandfather was not very well liked by the art establishment (probably because his paintings actually looked like the people he was painting), but his work has held up pretty well. One of the subjects of the Amex Contest is the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago, of which John Mallin did the decorative painting.

Take a look here

The painting is awesome. The cemetery is the setting for the chase scene in "The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford, and for Halloween, what can beat a gothic old cemetery?

To the point...this contest is not getting a lot votes, but pays out a lot of money ($1 Million). I am suggesting, with your help, we can get that money moving Hog City Style. That is right, stuff the ballot box. Wapella's fastest growing Blog can be used to channel questionable loot to a cemetery. It is a perfect match given

1) has a great respect for our fallen Comrades and Cemeteries. Here is a chance to take care of a cemetery from the comfort of an easy chair.
2) It seems improbable how few people are voting. A Hog City boost is just what the Bohemians need to put them over the top.
3) This is purely derivative of the craft shown by Matt Toohill in 1979. We are approaching the 30 year anniversary of Matthew's coup. What an honor to bestow on a great Wildcat, by copying one of his finest moments.

Come on, get over here and vote for the Bohemian National Cemetery

Then when you are done with that ask your wife or husband or your kids to

Vote again here


Update: The American Express Site has room for comments. I heartily recommend commenting as if you are the one-armed-man still haunting Dr. Richard Kimble, or better yet David Janssen with some kind of grudge against Harrison Ford.

Monday, October 8, 2007 Mourns the Passing of Eugene Thayer

Frank Eugene “Wimpy” Thayer, 82, of Wapella died at 1:50 a.m. Sunday (Oct. 7, 2007) at Dr. John Warner Hospital, Clinton.His graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Woodlawn Cemetery, Clinton, with Rick Andreae officiating. Military rites will also be given.Friends may call after 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton.

Wimpy Thayer, WHS '43, was long associated with Wapella High School as a school bus driver and delivery man. Mr. Thayer had a side business in musical instrument sales, keeping him in tune with Wapella Bands. Mr. Thayer also delivered uniforms and towels at the University of Illinois, where he would seek out WHS Alumni to catch up on village news. A pleasant and comic man, Gene "Wimpy" Thayer was also a veteran of the US Army.

All flags half-mast please for Eugene Thayer.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

So Long Chief: The Illini Have a Winner

Not that Emil Jones will be doing any recruiting for the Illini anytime soon, but he did say something like it is hard to recruit with the Chief as a Athletic Symbol (Emil is symbolized by Kool Menthols, the odor of which signifies his upcoming entrance to a room). So the Illini drop the Chief, and now they are 5-1, 3-0 in the Big Ten, and have nicked two ranked teams, including #5 Wisconsin 31-26 this past Saturday at Zupke.

Move over, the Illini just hit the Top 25, coming in at #18 on the AP Poll. Get me a perfect Big 10 season, and I am willing to take up Emil Jones as the Illini Symbol. Roll on Illini!

Speaking of retired symbols, the Cherry Circle is the logo of the Chicago Athletic Association, the former owners of the Chicago Cubs. The CAA closed this past month after a 117 year run (roughly the same time period of the Cubs running drought). Here is a photo of the interior, and the now retired Cherry Circle.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Rock and Roll Wrestling Back in Wapella

You remember this guy from 1970's Vern Gagne Pro Wrestling don't you? Yup that is "Rock and Roll" Buck Zumhofe, one the greats of the squared circle, appearing at the ultimate circle, the Green Ring, the Irish O, the Northside, the one and only Irish Circle.

Tonight, for one night only, R&R Wrestling comes to Hog City in the parking lot of the Irish Circle with a full range of wrestling and novelty entertainment. The fun begins about 1854 in Wapella, and continues tonight with a 9PM starting time.

Enjoy some great wrestling entertainment! Which locals would you like to see in the ring tonight?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Roger Says: Identify Local Celebrities

Tip of the Hat to Wapella Great Tim Mollet, WHS '87 who provided this archival shot of Wapella style marketing circa 1980 or so. But Tim asks a great question...who are these two Irish Circle Spokesmodels? I really can't tell, but will add what clues I have

1) RT 51 is 2 lane and dangerously close to the Green Ring in this photo. There is no drainage ditch between the bar and the road, so this must be pre-1985

2) The guy on the Left looks quite a bit like Keith "Mex" Hernandez, which was a popular look in those days. He is wearing a what looks to be a Suzuki hat, indicating his cycling preference.

3) The guy on the right is wearing the official ceremonial uniform of Wapella. There is no greater garb than the matching PBR Shirt and Hat, with shorts that would be considered obscene in most family settings. If the man is standing in a hole, it could be "Uncle" Steve Morris, though it is a rare picture where Steve is not the largest man in the tavern parking lot.

The "come-on" text is a classic. Who would pass something like this up? Who are these guys...and Who is Roger?

Update! A Mysterious Caller just called chanting the following phrase "How Dry it Was. You must never forget, Waynesville, never forget" Eerie, but perhaps a clue to the identity of the tavern models.

Another Update! In response to JMK observation that "The more I look at that picture, the more I see Bishop and Ladew"...keep this old image of Abe Lincoln in mind. The more you look at any picture, the more you see Bill Ladew

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