Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

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: Ochsner Park Zoo

August 11, 2012

“Ochsner Park Zoo” is the second chapter in The Gaytheist Gospel Hour‘s seven part series “On Wisconsin.”  It is dedicated to Amy Winehouse, that guy from “Jackass”, and Laura Norman (RIP just in case).

A little after the mid-way point of our visit, a severe thunderstorm rolled into Devil’s Lake.  Following the storm, the skies took on the look and joie de vivre of a Brillo Pad that’s seen better days.  The wind smacked of sweater weather, sending our plans to spend the day on the beach tumbling down the Ice Age campsite black top like so many bottle rocket duds.  What better way to kick off this day of dashed hopes and depressing weather than a visit to Baraboo’s Ochsner Park Zoo?   “Someone told me it’s all happening in the zoo“, Paul Simon sang long ago.  If by “it” he meant “obesity, malaise, violence, dreams deferred, and a bonus existential sucker punch”, then I, too, do believe it.  I do believe it’s true.  Let us now roll the highlight reel: (more…)

On Wisconsin: Happy Campers

August 6, 2012

Cockeyed group photo featuring our very special guest stars Amy and Jacci!

“Happy Campers” is the first chapter of The Gaytheist Gospel Hour‘s seven part series “On Wisconsin.”

When I was a kid, I used to sit under the oak tree in our back yard and pore over the camping equipment in the sporting goods section of the Sears catalogue.  I coveted the lanterns with their adjustable kerosene tongues of flickering light, the foldable army-green camp stoves and their fire-engine red fuel tanks, the canteens with the rugged saddle blanket stripes.  Most of all, I loved the tents– all the tents:  from the bargain-priced canvas pups to the plushest of polyester family compounds.  I loved the idea of being unmoored from foundation, unencumbered by roof, of being both inside and outside at the same time.   With a tent as your portable bedroom, the entire planet is your house.  (more…)

Summer Scrapbook 2011

August 29, 2011

Click to magnify the majestic mightiness that is this self aggrandizing landscape photo.

The Summer of 2011 has been a most majestic and mighty season, rife with victory, spiced with bravado.  It is a rump roast sliced from the hind quarters of a noble beast (perhaps a liger), turning on a spit over the fires of glory.  As we savor it, our hearts swell with secondhand triumph made bittersweet by the piquance of sorrow, for despite its lush and verdant beauty, its free-floating firefly constellations at night, the dancing gold of its lakes, ponds, and oceans by day, each succulent bite consumed brings us ever closer to the simultaneous bitch slap/nut punch/horrifying full nelson of winter.

For me, the Summer of 2011 was a barely-averted altercation with a stranger at a camp store.  It was hiking the rocky bluffs at Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin.  It was almost getting my ass kicked at the Am Vet’s Lodge in Higgin’s Lake Michigan. Yet it was so much more. This summer brought the Resurrection of Santa’s Village kiddie amusement park, a jaunt to the Circus World Museum, an encounter with John Muir‘s clock, as well as the Ghost of Peter Falk.

Without a doubt, my particular cut of this delicious creature was rich and rewarding.   I pay tribute to it today in the only way a middle-aged midwestern woman such as myself knows how: in scrapbook format. (more…)