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All About the Best Place on Earth


Blue Lake in Minocqua, Wisconsin.


My Northwoods Viewing Habits

Media I had never seen before (or don’t remember seeing) before I saw ’em these past few months in the Northwoods:

  • BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT – Classic Summertime with the kids movie experience.  A chock-full action-packed bonanza which could have done without the whole Malaysian connection for a tighter pull and more even action-drama balance.  As is, exhaustingly go, go, go.
  • ROBOCOP – Lived up to expectations.
  • ALONG CAME POLLY – Pointless.
  • PLANET OF THE APES – Hyper sexual Charleton Heston is creepy.
  • BEING THERE – Cute, though message-y.
  • CASTLES OF TRANSYLVANIA – More creepy the hyper sexual Charleton Heston.  In fact, one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen.  Watched it with my grandparents on All Hallow’s eve.
  • THE CANTERVILLE GHOST – Immensely enjoyable, nice twist on socio-economic relationship musings.
  • CHUCK NORRIS WALMART TRIOLOGY – Speaks for itself, though for some reason, these are the only films my mother can stay awake through their entirety when viewed at home.
  • SUPERBAD – I enjoyed the ending.
  • 21 – I suspect serious derivations from a book much beloved by a certain ex-coworker.
  • ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD – Snobby but darkly humorous in that Herzog way.
  • ALFRED HITCHCOCK ANTHOLOGY – Never ceases in its wonderment.
  • IRON MAN – One of the most highly entertaining superhero flicks I’ve seen.
  • BACK TO SCHOOL – Stupid but entertaining, worth the dumb gags for the Vietnam scene.
  • BAGDAD CAFE – Weird but I liked it.  Spawned a rash of late-night Mojave dreams.
  • GRAN TORINO – Bizarre but entertaining.
  • VEGAS VACATION – I didn’t laugh once.
  • ROBIN HOOD MEN IN TIGHTS – I laughed often.
  • LA DOLCE VITA – Strange and beautiful.  The costumes and scenery are truly awesome.
  • JOE DIRT – I laughed once or twice.  I expected more.
  • FREEDOM WRITERS – Pander-y.
  • PERSEPOLIS – Whoa.
  • THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD – I love westerns so I enjoyed the western-y of this but beyond that, it was sort of boring.
  • STARDUST – Very entertaining, despite Claire Danes’ appearance.
  • THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO – I was entertained but missed the hoopla.  Realistic ending.
  • CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD – Obviously the writing is a-one but all in all, I was sort of annoyed by the whole bit.
  • SYRIANA – I’d still mack on George Clooney, even if he was a killer, overweight and had a weird beard.
  • PERSUASION – Chick flick.  Me like.
  • SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2 – Bouncy and colorful.  Nice performances.
  • TUMBLEWEEDS – I got a strange feeling of deja vu because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the last part of this movie before.  All in all, a delightful gem with great acting and writing.
  • THE BOURNE IDENTITY – I never thought of myself as an overly Matt Damon kind of person but my god, the muscular proportions on that man.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
  • THE CRYING GAME – So much more than I thought, even though, surely, the spoiler wasn’t really a spoiler after so many years.  Tame by todays standards but I can see how it must have been totally shocking way back when.  That said, I was able to appreciate the mechanics of story telling in full and I must say, very well done.
  • MAN PUSH CART – Quite captivating but baffling extras.

Three of the above advance to my permanent Bibliothek.

Just as I Suspected!

Mystery German update!  Received confirmation today that, for the past year and a half, the Mystery German had been braving the elements, sleeping out in the woods in either a makeshift hogan, sleeping bag or both with the goal of “not being alone.”  Shortly after the holidays, he returned to Germany and thus has not frozen to death, at least not in the Northwoods.

Mystery Jesus?

Perhaps this is just one of those small town things but for the past three months, everywhere I go in this dang place I see the same Mystery German lurking in corners.  I don’t think he’s stalking me (despite my best townie friend’s concern that he’s an attractive hustler of women); rather, I believe it to be a case of bizarre coincidence.  Once, I heard him being grilled by a chatty patron of the Hippie Dome who asked him what brought him here and he grizzled, “an accident” and offered no more.  Then I easedropped some weeks later that he may be on his way to Cuba and / or rennovating local kitchens.

Evidence that he’s a drifter:

  • wears the same clothes
  • saw him sleeping in the library
  • appears to lack commitments

Evidence that he’s not a drifter:

  • drinks  expensive coffee
  • saw him in a bar with a cover charge; albeit it was only $2

In the chance that he is a stalker, I, unbeknownst to him, snapped a photograph of him in a crowd which turned out rather like something out of a dossier of international intrigue.  That doesn’t make me a stalker now, does it?

In any event, last evening the plot thickened.  I turned on the 1.5 station television set and one of the many infomercials that the locals broadcast flickered across the screen.  This one was for a free “Jesus Christ” film from the Church of Latter Day Saints.  In the dramatization footage of Jesus’s life, a medium shot revealed a character (either pre-preaching Jesus or an anguished leper) that looks exactly like the Mystery German. 

What does this all mean?

Another Prairie Diary

On the prairie husbands widow their women-folk by grabbing their guns and rampaging into the woods for the opening of hunting season.  So the women-folk shop at craft fairs during the day and at night wave dollar bills at fit young men parading around in Tarzan skivvies in Male burlesque shows.  News of their mischief spread far and wide (this is a small town, after all) and way before its onset and shortly thereafter its conclusion they receive envious and unsolicited inquiries about these devilries from big cities many, many hours away.

Havin’ a Punchy Thanksgiving

There Will Be Snow

On nice days on the prairie, one must:

  • chop firewood
  • stack firewood
  • collect kindling
  • harvest natural materials for art
  • gather food stuffs


P.S. I’m pretty Baraked.  How about you?