Archive for the ‘Wisconsin’ Category

“Ma! Where My Cheetos?”: A Photo Essay For The Ages

July 9, 2013
Harken unto the soul's voice and seek out thine Cheetos! (And check out these sweet, sweet shades! I found them under a picnic bench!)

Harken unto the soul’s voice and seek out thine Cheetos! (And check out these scandalous shades! I found them under a picnic bench!)

I was picnicking on the beach of Devil’s Lake, crowded among hundreds of other bologna al fresco enthusiasts, when I was suddenly reminded of these words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “The human voice is the organ of the soul.”  I heard so many souls that balmy July afternoon:  souls laughing, souls commenting on the weather, souls engaging in vicious gossip.  But one soul rang out above the din, the soul of a husky young man in his late teens clad in an improbably thuggish-looking Mickey Mouse tank top and trunks ensemble.  The soul of this young man boomed with a compelling urgency that spoke for all souls.  “Ma!” cried the soul, “Where my Cheetos?”  And in that moment, I was thunderstruck by the realization that I had NO IDEA “where my Cheetos”, either.  (more…)

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On Wisconsin: This Ain’t Over

August 21, 2012

Devil’s Lake, Little Devil

“This Ain’t Over” is the seventh and final chapter in The Gaytheist Gospel Hour’s series “On Wisconsin”.

Our Wisconsin visit, was, in the vernacular of the intellectually lazy and chronically slang-prone (guilty on both counts, Your Honor): AWESOME.  Kate, Mabel, and I communed with nature and crass commercialism alike, enjoyed the company of brilliant friends, confronted the forces of conformity and oppression, stared down death, and Helped The World.  We tripped through time. We made pahster tracks.  But as AWESOME as our visit was,  it wasn’t perfect.  When we packed up our tent and drove back over the Illinois state line, we suffered a couple casualties and left behind some unfinished business.

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On Wisconsin: Fight Songs

August 19, 2012

There are two kinds of battle anthems: those in the Sousa idiom and the good kind.

“Fight Songs” is the sixth chapter in The Gaytheist Gospel Hour‘s seven part series “On Wisconsin.”

Here in the good ol’ USA, we love our college football fight songs. We like the boastful smack-talk of the lyrics, the militaristic marching band music, the purposeful feeling of “us vs. them” that pumps in our veins when we all sing along.  It could be argued that no other state in the union loves their college football fight song more than Wisconsin, which actually adapted theirs into the official state song.* “On, Wisconsin” is such an epitome of the fight song genre, it was once praised by none other than John Phillip Sousa himself, king of the marching band battle anthem.   It is a pretty rousing tune, if only for the fact it mentions the word “fight” four times in a single line.

But for my money, there’s no better fight song than the one recorded by Pat Benatar in 1979.  “Heartbreaker” dispenses with the jingoistic clap trap of the classic fight song and its attendant arms-forces hoo-hah and focuses directly on the “fuck you” core element of the fight at hand.  (more…)

On Wisconsin: A Smartass Guide To Its Natural And Unnatural Wonders

August 17, 2012

Wisconsin Dells Duck Pilot Dave and Mabes

“A Smartass Guide To Its Natural And Unnatural Wonders” is the fifth chapter of The Gaytheist Gospel Hour‘s seven part series “On Wisconsin.”

What drew us to Wisconsin, you ask?  Why, the quasi-untamed beauty of its wilderness!  The bathwater lake!  The quartzite bluffs!  The bugspray-tinged fresh air!  What kind of question is that, anyway? Have the last three years’ worth of camping vacation posts failed to convince you that we’re quasi-rugged and outdoorsy?  Go back to start and learn who you’re dealing with.  The rest of you (love you both!) know exactly what you’re dealing with: a quasi-rugged outdoorsy type who also happens to be a smartass.   Any smartass can tell you: smartassery is the psychic armor that protects one’s rich, creamy center from emotional annihilation at the hands of this terrifying world.  It’s true!  As a smartass, I must protect myself from those I love most because in giving them my sensitive little heart, I’ve also given them the power to destroy me, you see.   So I make fun of almost everything and everyone I love and care about, pretty much in self defense.   I just can’t help myself.  This probably makes me an asshole for all I know, but I’d like to think I made the right choice. (more…)

On Wisconsin: Pahster Tracks

August 14, 2012
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One small step for the Grey Fox, one giant leap for camping vernacular.

“Pahster Tracks” is the fourth chapter in The Gaytheist Gospel Hour‘s seven part series “On Wisconsin.”

A picnic table is set up behind the Nature Center, and it is outfitted for some serious crafting: buckets of water, plastic cups and spoons, a bag of plaster of paris, dozens of pre-cut sheets of wax paper—all of it in regimented clusters atop a plastic table cloth.  The business of the day here is the manufacture of plaster cast animal tracks, but what is really being created here is a brand new word for the Midwestern camping lexicon.

The Nature Center employee who presides over the activity is a woman in her late-middle age.  She wears an official-looking green polo with the Nature Center logo embroidered like a badge over her heart.  The polo makes it easy to see her as a productive retiree or a go-getter grandma, but the effect is ruined by her photosensitive glasses, which have malfunctioned to complete darkness in the shade of the overhanging canopy. The glasses lend her an odd, subversive anonymity, like an incognito hipster or possibly a criminal. (more…)