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

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Along Came Twitty

Somewhere in my (and most Hog City Loyalists) long standing devotion to the Ol' Possum, George Jones, I have overlooked another great Country and Rock star who overlapped with No-Show's genre. Yes, Conway Twitty could cover Rockabilly, Rock and Roll, Country, and a Ballad or two in his 4 decade career. Here's Conway doing a song I heard for the first time this morning, "I Vibrate". Keep an eye on your feet, and see if Conway is right.

Listen to "I Vibrate"

No points quiz: What was Conway Twitty's birth name? (too easy, next)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

NCAA Requests that Bow Out

The NCAA has submitted a formal proposal to requesting that Hog City's independent source of sports information refrain from endorsing NCAA Basketball Tournament participants. The request comes after the our failed support of the Illinois, Illinois State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin programs, prompting the proposal to step aside from our endorsements. It is not clear if the remaining 12 teams asked the NCAA for the proposal, but the imminent endorsement of Davidson is said to have prompted the intrevention.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 Mourns the Passing of Geri Harpenau

Betty "Geri" Harpenau, has died at age 73 in Lincoln, Illinois. Geri Harpenau, born in Xenia, Illinois was a fixture in Wapella events for over 50 years. She was married to Lloyd Harpenau in 1954 and survived by her son Edward and daughter Diane Harpenau Stephenson. The Harpenaus have successfully farmed west of Wapella for many generations, and are long time members of the Wapella community.

Geri will be remembered as a relentless supporter of St. Patrick's Parish in Wapella, the leader of many Church activities, and a great volunteer for charitable and religious causes.

A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Wapella, with Father James Henning officiating. Interment will be at St. Patrick's Cemetery, Wapella. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton. Memorials may be made to the Humane Society.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lighting up with Rockpile

This one is like tossing a time-bomb of good will in the fray, exploding in 2:52 with maximum rock and roll shrapnel. Here's Rockpile doing Girl's Talk in 1979 or so.

What Wapella celebrity does Nick Lowe (the Jean-Jacket-wearing prematurely-Grey-Haired Bass Player) resemble most?

Update: Picture the Bass Player with a mustache driving around Wapella in a 77 Royal Blue Cobra Mustang, and you will have the ultimate answer.

Winner! Yes it is Wapella's own Rick Johnson. One of the greatest guys ever to grace Hog City, and becoming one of the grand old men of DeWitt County, Rick Johnson looks most like Nick Lowe with a Mustache in 1978. Congratulations to HG for his insightful observation.

Sunday, March 23, 2008 Drops Irish, Picks up the Badgers

Much like one of our esteemed investment brokerages downgrading a stock after it has already dropped, The Board of Wapella Historians has demoted the Fighting Irish following their Saturday loss to Washington State. Not to be left out, we have taken on the Wisconsin Badgers as an appropriate team to back for the rest of the tourney.

In honor of soon to be Madison resident (and recent Middle Easter), Sgt. John Earl Wheat, who I had the pleasure joining for Easter Mass this morning, has officially shifted loyalties to the Wisconsin Badgers, ignoring any bold statements made in the past (again like a stock picker). Go Big Red!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Big Claw Connection to Wapella

Two "gentlemen" from Glen Elyn created a disturbance in McLean County this weekend, with their unauthorized use of "the claw".

In town to visit Grandmother Sharon Bray Ryan for Easter, tag team duo the Shadowmasters...Baron Von Ryan Curi and Yukon Casey Curi.

Be sure to duck if you see them, and swing for the fences if you don't.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mighty Irish on their Way to Final Four

You should have laid your money down yesterday if you were pulling for the Irish, because they odds just got a lot shorter after the Irish smacked the George Mason Patriots yesterday 68-50.

The stars are aligned with the shamrocks, here come the Irish.

Gratuitous photo of St. Pats day in Chicago with two Leprechauns, two points if you can name the one on the Left and his famous father.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ivan Dixon 1931-2008

Ivan Dixon, the beloved Sgt. James "Kinch" Kinchloe from Hogan's Heroes has died at age 76. Per his daughter, Dixon was always "pleased to be recognized as Sergeant Kinchloe, the American radio technician in a World War II German P.O.W. camp who could adeptly mimic his captors."

Mr. Dixon directed scores of television shows, including episodes of “The Waltons,” “The Rockford Files,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Quincy” and “In the Heat of the Night.” Ivan Dixon will be sadly missed by generations of Wildcats whose introduction to history (and comedy) was the light-hearted , but occasionally accurate masterpiece of Hogan's Heroes.

Some more about Sgt. Kinchloe

Kinch was born in Detroit, Michigan and worked for the phone company before the war.

• Kinch was a plumber's helper one summer when he went to school in Detroit. (from episode #70, "Nights in Shining Armor" 1967)

• In episode #5, "The Flight of the Valkyrie" (1965), it was stated that "Sgt. Kinch was in charge of operations."

• Kinch fought in the Golden Gloves boxing tournament. (episode #136, "The Softer They Fall" 1970)

• In episode #136, "The Softer They Fall" (1970), it was stated that Sgt. Kinchloe weighed 195 pounds.

• Kinch stated in episode #92, "Drums Along the Dusseldorf" (1968), that he once threw a football 60 yards.

• Kinch played the upright-bass in episode #51, "Praise the F├╝hrer and Pass the Ammunition" (1967).

• Sergeant Kinchloe attended High School in Detroit. (episode #73, "Is General Hammerschlag Burning?" (1967)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke, RIP

Sir Arthur Clarke, science fiction writer, and technical innovator has died at the age of 90. Clarke, whose book 2001: A Space Odyssey was turned into a ground breaking movie by Stanley Kubrick, was also a decent scientific thinker, coming up with the plan for the geo-stationary satellite...which is why you don't have to move your Satellite Dish as the earth revolves.

Clarke is also forever connected with the Univeristy of Illinois by his fiction, which leaned towards factual names and places. Can you attach Sir Arthur to the U of I, and thus (always the Wapella connection) to a place visited by most every Wildcat from 1970-1995 or so? is one step away from basketball, but not connected to the Assembly Hall.

Note: U of I Engineering Graduates are disqualified from this quiz.

Ding!Ding!Ding! RJT a WHS '84 and UI '88 has connected the dots from Wapella to Arthur C. Clarke with a bit of help from the Saluki. The HAL 9000 was created at the Digital Computer Laboratory at the University of Illinois, fictionally in 1992, though the pictured computer looks of earlier vintage. DCL, as those of us priveledged (sentenced?) to coursework there, is conveniently next door-even connected, if I recall-to Kenny Gym, the home of the Uni High Illinecks, one of Wapella's great rivals in the Kickapoo Conference.

Here is a shot of the 1981 Illineck Basketball Squad, which was one outrageous team.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More Salutes to Wapella Business

Wildcats are well known for their ferocity on the playing field as well as in the business world, yet somehow the Cats can always deliver the speed and defense necessary to compete in the big leagues, as well as on the home court of DeWitt County.

Take for example the following enterprises

Click on through and you will notice Blue Skies Tax Professionals headed up by Martin A. Morris, WHS '84, and a well known civic minded gentleman. For your next barbeque, why not Toohill Seed and Beef championed by Wapella's premier Cattleman, James Toohill WHS '93? The Toohill's have been raising cattle in Wapella for over 150 years now, so they really have the hang of it.

And while your at it, be sure to patronize WHOW-FM 95.9, fast becoming one of the top voices for local news and business.

Monday, March 17, 2008

St Patricks Day: Go Fighting Irish!

In a departure from our uneven-handed pro-Illini editorial policy, has come out to back the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in the tournament season.

In an likely series of events, the Fighting Illini were drubbed by the Badgers, ending their remarkable Big Ten tournament. Then our fallback the ISU Redbirds were snubbed by the tyranny of 64. So, with no one else to back (except for maybe the Drake Bulldogs), one only had to look at the calendar to find our endorsement.

In a unanimous decision of the Board of Wapella Historians, celebrates St. Patricks Day of 2008 by cheering on the The Fighting Irish in the NCAA Tourney. It was a tough, but fair decision, and it will probably change once the board sobers up a bit. But the decision is final (or temporary, or just plain wrong, and those Bulldogs are tough and more interesting than the Irish), we are staking the flag for the Fighting Irish today.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Here come the Illini

Illini 54- Gophers 50

Here is a shot of Sergio McClain, who led the Illini a few years back when the Illini nearly won the Big 10 tourney, despite being a low seed.

Big Ten Champs this time anyone?

Update: Drats, Illini snuffed out. Go Badgers? Redbirds? Bulldogs?

Living in Illinois History

If your'e anything like most Wildcats there's nothing better to do on a long winter's weekend than catch up on your Wapella history. Topping off my own weekend, was trip to Hanover, Illinois, the former Wapella (or Wapello, depending on who you ask) Illinois. The village is high in the hills of Northwest, Illinois in Jo Davies County, a contemporary neighbor to the 1840's metropolis of Galena.

There is actually a resort hotel in Hanover, with bike trails, ski-ing and a few restaurants and watering holes. The town itself resembles Hog City in its might and architectural zeal, though Senator Stevenson (who possesses the keys to the city, per the Village Website) mayhave forgot to lock up a time or two, nothing much is missing.

Though Hanover was not able to keep up with the rail center in Wapella, and gave up on the duplicate names, it is still a great village. I heartily reommend a trip up there for high action winter sports.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hat Tip to Wildcats in Service

One of the great features of the Google Interface for the site is a trace on where people are reading the Wapella info. Many are in Wapella, more are in Bloomington, at least one really busy man is in Alabama...and a recent uptake from the Middle East.

So for anyone from Hog City or the vicinity trying to catch-up on the Wapella news, have at putting a blue and white shade on the internet. For hi-action historical fiction and music trivia, we have you covered.

A big tip of the hat for our men and women in military service, wherever they may be. May your blue-and-white shine through your desert camo when needed.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Wapella Native Wins National Book Award

In a belated notice, Wapella native Richard Powers (WHS 1986) has won the National Book Award for his novel, The Echo Maker, an engrossing tale of Sandhill Cranes and human memory.

Certainly, leaving Chicago at 11 to live in Bangkok had an enormous impact on me. [His family lived abroad for five years when his father, a high school principal, took a job at the International School of Bangkok.] Being dropped in an extremely different culture on the other side of the globe turned me into an observer. As I grew up, my love of music intersected with my love of science to become an interest in form—pattern making and pattern finding

Powers' story of his youth (he lived across the road from me) does not match my own memory, but writers are known for their creativity, so putting a bit of ginger in the sauce certainly doesn't ruin the gravy. Who knows, maybe a healthy interest in Sandhill Cranes would push into the big leagues as well?

Congrat RA Powers.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mysterious Shorts for Sale

These look like Wildcat Originals. But there are some missing pieces of this short puzzle. Who would auction such a thing? Who would buy them?

You can buy these here

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