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

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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

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Danvers smacks Wildcats

From today's Pantagraph

50 years ago (1957): Glen Zook limited Wapella to just five hits as he pitched Danvers High School to its fourth straight Kickapoo Conference victory, 11-1. Zook struck out 13 and walked none. Wapella’s only run came on Jim Bland’s homer.

Who needs to petitionn the FCC for an equal time ruling on this one when gets more readers than the Pantagraph? I am sure the Wildcats gave Danvers a good stomping or three, as we used to demolish them regularly in the mid 70's. This is not a dead issue. The Wildcats are still planning a comeback.

HT to Jim Bland for the Home Run to save the Wildcat Pride.

Make Mine a Double

The Wildcats used to double-team the Maroons for many years, at least back to the days of Leslie "Sas" Spencer, Clinton basketball great, who was double-teamed by none other than the Fryman Twins, Kim and Kelly in a 1979 matchup. About 10 years later Clinton's greatest basketball player, Martina Underwood experienced an unusual double up when she was guarded on the court by a Lady Wildcat (Name Please?) and off the court by her future spouse, Raymond "Cherokee" Toohill (in something of a full court press, if I recall).

So to continue the double up, we would like to not only lay a goonsmack on the usual suspects proposing to turn Clinton's water Maroon colored, but also give a boost to a local organization asking some good questions about adding another source to the sludge in the water supply of Central Illinois. Take a look at this site. Sure, it could use more information about Wapella, but who couldn't these days, and a funeral notice would bring in more visitors. But here is some public scrutiny for a rather curious plan to bury waste in Clinton, and it is well worth scrutinizing the worth of souring our wells.

Any of you Zappa fans out there up for some Central (Illinois) Scrutinzer?

Monday, October 1, 2007

10AM Hughsday October 2 at St. Patrick's Cemetery, Wapella

Come one, come all to visit with the "Hall of Famer's" (in the words of WHT) at St. Patrick's cemetery in Wapella on RT 51 about 2 miles north of the Village, or 4 miles West of Irish Row, depending on your starting point.

At 10AM, there will be a ceremony held at the cemetery for WH "Huey" Toohill. Though, Huey was not a veteran, he knew a lot of them (and could tell a good war story), and I suggest in his honor of his leading role in Wapella, general good nature, and kindness to others the flag be dipped to half-mast.

Wapella salutes you Huey.

Rover to Clintucky and Beyond: Weekend Recap..Riddle Engagement..Apple..Pork had a largely busy weekend this past one. Things kicked off Friday, and after beverages and food at Wings Etc, a stop at Annie's for some Nintendo WII bowling action called. Retiring semi-early, the 'Cats had some work ahead of them. Illinois' upset of Penn State on Saturday got us all in the mood, and we headed out to tackle the rest of the weekend:
- Saturday kicked off with a party for one of the Blue and White. Noted earlier on, Jim Byrne (a great guy, we feel for his Mets) and Colleen Riddle are engaged, and Saturday was the engagement fete at Vic Riddle's farm. A delicious spread of food and cold refreshments welcomed the numerous Wildcats on hand.
- Sgt. John Earl Wheat was back from Mad City, as was brother Jake Riddle. Interesting sidenote: the two brothers had recently patched up after a nasty little squabble over a disagreement regarding Wheat's questionable generosity in regards to letting his brother crash at his apartment in Madison, WI late one night. Happily, we can report that the brothers were spotted in a near uncomfortably long embrace before Jake packed up and headed back home.
- The crowd at the party included residents from Long Island, Brooklyn, Chicago, Michigan, Champaign and beyond. The evening was brought to a head when a tour of The Irish Circle became order of the night, and "Kodiak" Reid Marten impressed with various bartending skills, as always. Again, congrats to the couple, and once again, Hog City impresses the big city boys. And here's to John and Jake hugging this one out.
- Sunday, the Rover and crew were on hand for Clinton's Annual Apple and Pork Festival this weekend. Remembering not to drink or get near the water, a group of Wildcats perused the food, the crowd, and searched intently for new switchblades combs.
- Village fund-raising committee, Wapella Says YES, was on hand making breakfast all day for all to enjoy. The Schmid twins sampled the delicacies and gave the breakfast a hearty four thumbs up.
- New father (congrats from are overdue. Apologies all around for the miss) go to Jason Reynolds. Jason is the son of Cheryl Reynolds and grandson of Richard and Audrey Reynolds. He and wife Kristen (Riegel) Reynolds welcomed a boy, Jaxon Reynolds, into the world a few months back. A hearty congrats to the new family! would like to point out Kristen is the sister of Anthony Riegel, friend to all Wildcats and general man about town.
- The Thomas clan was out in full force. Brad, Janelle, Bruce and Susan were hard at it, alongside Tim Potts and Jessica Shaw. Always good to see the bunch of them. No news to report, other than harvest is keeping the Thomas boys busy, and I think I saw Potts looking at Cubs hats to buy.
- Speaking of hats, while the Rover was looking for a new spray-painted, mesh cowboy hat, complete with RATT headband, the group spotted Anne (Roesch) Leischner and child hastily exiting the premises. The group talked with Anne for a minute, noted her new (and good looking) hair-do and headed back into the fray.
- Spotted Lynn Karr and Chad Schmid out and about as well. After catching up a bit, the group found those Chinese throwing stars we were after, we bid them adieu.
- Daily reader Monica Shipp was out and about with her children and sister Mona and husband and Wildcat, Randy Rich. Monica and Mona are themselves honorary Wildcats as they spent many the summer day at Aunt and Uncle Patti and Ronnie Mills'. Monica has requested that we correct a past editorial error: there are definitely TWO P's in SHIPP.
And so it goes; another Apple and Pork Festival in the books, and another weekend in Hog City has passed. Make it your goal to get recognized on Come to God's country and say 'hello.'
*** The Wapella Rover would like to also note that many of the people we spoke to at the party and at the Apple and Pork Festival wished to pass along condolences for the passing of Wildcat great William Hugh Toohill ***

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