Saturday, January 01, 2005

humble beginnings

i'm jumping on the blog bandwagon rather late in the day, but i've been debating about what motivates me enough to contemplate it, let alone write about it, each and every day. i could write about my love life, but even i have trouble keeping track of it. and i want my blog to be useful, but i don't know enough about any one thing to think that i should be writing a somewhat definitive dialogue on the subject.

then it hit me. what happens on a fairly frequent basis, an activity that's both personal and public, *and* often educational? someone sends me news of wisconsin. as mind-boggling as it is, it appears in many people's minds

i am synonymous with cheese and beer.

thus begins a blog cataloging the daily (or at least weekly) instances of national news focusing my homeland.

before we begin, let's get all our facts in order. i did not grow up on a farm. i was born in appleton, wisconsin--a city of over 70,000 people and the site of the first hydro-electric plant in the country. appleton is a thriving metropolis, and
was the childhood home of harry houdini and the birthplace of actor willem dafoe. senator joseph mccarthy was born nearby and is buried in appleton. appleton also had the first telephone in all wisconsin and the first incandescent light in any city beyond the east coast.

we moved to oshkosh when i was three and i spent my golden years there. many people think of overalls when they think of oshkosh, this is wrong because those b'gosh bastards moved operations out of oshkosh and overseas when i was in high school.

instead, when you think of oshkosh you should think of me, and the experimental aircraft association's annual fly-in. one year, also in high school, i sold fried chicken at EAA. during EAA, oshkosh's podunk airport becomes the busiest airfield in the world, woohoo! wikipedia has a nifty entry on EAA, they say that regular attendees affectionately call the fly-in "Oshkosh" much to the chagrin of AirVenture, who i guess runs it now and who brilliantly renamed it in 1998 to "AirVenture Oshkosh". that's all bullshit, we locals call it EAA and it will always be EAA and it will always piss anyone living in oshkosh off, because you can only see the concorde and stealth bombers so many times and those sonic booms and throngs of outsiders get mighty annoying. but let's focus on the good things, like the truly tasty fried chicken and the joys of friendship --
"For many attendees, an equally important aspect of the Fly-in is the opportunity to socialize with other aviation enthusiasts. Lots of people meet up each year with Oshkosh friends who they only see at the Fly-in. For many years these Oshkosh friends had no contact during the rest of the year, but recently many of them have begun to stay in touch throughout the year via email."
by gosh, let's be oshkosh friends!

other highlights of my hometown and my memories thereof would be: it's not diverse; the grand opera house is rumored to be haunted and stands as an equally terrifying reminder of my middle-school stint in community musicals and that one time i slept outside waiting for NKOTB tickets; the lincoln douglas debates of 1858 did not take place in oshkosh (although one did occur in galesburg, home of my alma mater knox college) but i am sure that the election of 1860 was on the tip of everyone's tongue in the osh' that year; and in 1985 ronald reagan stopped by to say hi. i remember feeling deeply ashamed at the time that we were giving the president of the united states a bandana but you'll remember i was only 8 and that's before the age of reason. nowadays, i say hell yeah make 'em pay for their custard. for the record, i served custard at leon's when i was fifteen, and i wore a poodle skirt. the oshkosh leon's is only two years younger than the milwaukee leon's which inspired the drive-in featured in happy days.

yes, wisconsin might be the birthplace of the republican party and the ice cream sundae, but we're not just sitting here with custard on our face, folks. wisconsin is cutting edge, and it is anyone's guess as to on which side of any given issue her people will end up. such is the drama and excitement of sprouting, like athena from the head of zeus, from a true swing state and the 5th smartest state in the damn union. and that's what this little blog will set out to remind you of.
"In its simplest form, Occam's Razor states that one should make no more assumptions than needed."
when it comes to my dear birth state, make no assumptions.

wisconsin, "the occam's razor state"!

she doesn't really produce more dairy than california any more, just cheese and nice leftie cows like me...