Some First-Rate Detective Work

January 21 2014 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

As part of a potential work project, I’ve been going through some old newspapers from 1916.  Of course, there are plenty of odd anachronisms that catch one’s eye while reading papers from a century ago.  But this story, which is absolutely true, really caught my eye.  It’s from the February 11, 1916 Milwaukee Sentinel.

According to the article, Milwaukee police detectives Jacob Laubenheimer and Harry Ridenour were paging through the newspaper one day when they saw the following advertisement:

“Wanted: Strong, husky young men as private detectives.  Opportunity to travel all over the world.  Apply at Asiatic Pacific Detective agency, Room 713, Majestic Building.”

Thinking the ad was a bit too good to be true, Laubenheimer and Ridenour headed down to the agency to pose as potential enrollees.  There they met Brightley Severinghaus, who claimed to be the head of the agency. “You look like a detective and where it usually takes us a month to train candidates for our private force, I think I can get you through in about three weeks,” Severinghaus told Laubenheimer.

“Fine,” said Laubenheimer.  ”When do I get my first lesson?”

“You will have to put up $5 and then the same amount every week,” said Severinghaus.

Laubenheimer fumbled around and found $2 in his pocket – Ridenour fronted him the remaining $3.  Laubenheimer then paid Severinghaus, and after receiving a receipt, put him under arrest.

“I thought you would make a good detective when I first saw you,” said Severinghaus.

Later, a court sent him to an emergency room to have his sanity tested.

For some reason, this made me laugh for a good couple of hours.  I’m sure Laubenheimer felt good about passing Severinghaus’ class so quickly.

Podcast: Our Favorite Albums of 2012

December 11 2012 by Christian | Category: Podcast | 0 Comments »

Naturally, our favorite podcast of every year is the one where we reveal our “Top 10″ albums of the year.  Here’s my list for this year:

1. The Men – Open Your Heart

2. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Alleluljah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

3. Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE

4. Best Coast – The Only Place

5. Mount Carmel – Real Women

6. Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse

7. Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory

8. Hospitality

9. Sonny & the Sunsets – Longtime Companion

10. Tennis – Young & Old

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Or download it directly here.

As you can see above, The Men’s “Open Your Heart” topped my list.  Here’s a live performance of theirs from Seattle earlier this year:

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A Letter from a Crab Trap Enthusiast

November 15 2012 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

I was looking at restaurant reviews on Google and ran across this one, in which a frequent diner at the “Crab Trap” in Amelia Island, Florida, calmly lays out his case for for the restaurant’s superiority:

OK YOU KNOW WHAT!!!!! ALL YOU RICH SNOBBY PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT ARE HATING ON THE CRAB TRAP NEED TO CHILL OUT BECAUSE THE CRAB TRAP HAS ALL FRESH STUFF AND FOR YOUR INFORMATION THE SHRIMP YOU EAT WHERE YOU LIVE ARE ALL FROZEN AND HOW I KNOW THAT IS BECAUSE FERNANDINA BEACH FL IS THE BIRTH PLACE OF THE MODERN SHRIMPING ENDISTRY AND PEOPLE IN TI LAND AND CHINI ARE BUILDING SALT WATER PONDS AND GROWING SHRIMP WITH STEROIDS AND SHIPPING THEM ALL OVER THE WORLD AND I GUARANTEE THAT THE CRAB TRAP GETS THERE SHRIMP FROM THE BACK OF A SHRIMP BOAT RIGHT AFTER THE SHRIMP ARE CAUGHT……… IM TIRED OF ALL YOU SNOBBY PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT CANT ENJOY ANYTHING MY NAME IS LOGAN VOORHEES AND I LIVE IN FERNANDINA BEACH FL AND GO TO THE CRAB TRAP EVERYNIGHT….. IT IS THE BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT AND IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT ALL YOU LOSERS SAY SO JUST CHILL OUT AND GIVE IT A TRY AND ATLEAST TRY TO ENJOY IT…….. OH!!! AND BY THE WAY THE HOLES IN THE FREAKIN TABLES ARE TRASH CANS IDIOT!!!!!! AND THE REASON SERVICE WAS SLOW IS BECAUSE PEOPLE LOVE THE CRAB TRAP AND THERE IS A LINE FROM THE PALACE ALL THE WAY TO IT SSO…. GET IT STRAIGHT!!!!!!!!! AND FOR THE THING THAT SAYS OVERPRICED ITS BECAUSE AGAIN!!! IT IS ALL FRESH UNLIKE THE SHRIMP IN DIFFERENT PLACES AND MAYPORT HASNT BEEN OPEN IN FREAKIN 4 YEARS!!!!!!!!!! AND THE ISLAND GIRL IS THE SHRIMP BOAT THAT THE CRAB TRAP GETS IT FROM AND IF YOU DONT BELIEVE ME ITS DOWN THE ROAD BY ALL THE SHRIMP BOATS GO ASK FOR YOUR FREAKIN SELF………………… AND IT IS SOPPOSED TO LOOK FREAKIN OLD THATS WHY IT GETS A FREAKIN AAAAAAAA ON ALL ITS INSPECTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IDIOTSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Case closed.

A Festival of Anachronisms

February 2 2012 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, the Wisconsin State Historical Society is one of my favorite places to hang out.  If I had the time, I could spend full days just combing through microfilm, plucking oddities from hundred year old newspapers.  In fact, when I need to scroll through old papers to do work research, I have to discipline myself to only read the stuff I absolutely need – otherwise, I could be there for hours.

The glory of old newspapers is in the shocking anachronistic language they use; their pages are replete with terms that have long been shelved in the name of political correctness.  Take, for instance, this front page headline from the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1923:

Moron

Of course, in 1923, “moron” was an actual psychological term, used to describe someone who was slightly mentally retarded.  So the headline made perfect sense.

But it isn’t just words that are out of place in 2012 America; the subject matter is often fairly shocking, as well.  Take, for example, this 1923 editorial from the Milwaukee Journal, which contests a study that argues Native Americans have no “racial odor:”

Odor

1923 was also a year when divorce was a very public act; when everyday couples divorced, it often made the front page of the newspaper, with reasons given for the split.  Here’s a pair of divorce notices from 1923: in one, the husband alleges his wife “used abusive language,” and in the other, the wife alleges the husband married her before the legal one-year waiting period had passed.  (Presumably, if the marriage was going well, she wouldn’t be as quick to seek an annulment – maybe the old wife came back around and caused trouble.)

Divorce

1923 was also a time when the Klu Klux Klan was still very much a part of American life.  Apparently, many Klan members thought the KKK was missing something:  a feminine touch.

In March of 1923, a new women’s chapter of the KKK began meeting.  They called themselves “Kamelia:”

Kamelia

This editorial was placed on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal, and is funniest how apropos of nothing it really is:

woman

“Try to change a woman’s mind – YOU CAN’T DO IT!  Am I right, fellas?

Given all the hand-wringing about illegal aliens in 2012, I found this picture from 1926 to be entertaining:

Another example of how certain words have changed meaning over the past 100 years: Somehow, I think this characterization of George Washington would be a little more controversial these days:

Finally, I wrestled with whether to include this one – and I won’t post the picture here.  But while the other examples serve to show how long ago those words had different meanings, this example demonstrates how recently one specific word was still a part of acceptable American lexicon.  It appeared on the front page of the Milwaukee Sentinel on October 24 of 1926, and involves a talented dog with a curious name.

 

Fan Mail of the Day

January 26 2012 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

From today’s inbox, a comment by someone at Ohio State University:

Saw your article “It’s Working in Walker’s Wisconsin”. History does seem to repeat itself and go in cycles. I guess the public will just have to relearn why their grandparent’s generation fought the robber barons and those extremely exploitative jobs. I wish someone would do an analysis on the types of jobs Walker is bringing in. I can tell, Mr. Schneider would never want to work that type of job. Corporate sluts like Walker and yourself will never know what it’s like to work and be stuck in a labor intensive job, though karma would tell us it’s exactly what you deserve.

You, sir, are no friend of mine, you hate your common brother enough to send him to the sweatshops. All for selling out to money from Walker or the Koch bros. The suffering you contribute to will hopefully be put on your shoulders by St. Peter.

I’m only offended because I am more of a standard slut, not the corporate variety.

 

The 2011 Year in Review

December 29 2011 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

My Year in Review column for the Isthmus is up.  It discusses, naturally, the goings-on in Wisconsin politics over the past year.  Here’s a snippet:

It was a year that granted the definition of the word “democracy” a previously unimaginable elasticity. While bullhorns around the Capitol blared “this is what democracy looks like,” 14 Democratic state senators fled to Illinois to prevent democracy from occurring. Later, a single Dane County judge would overturn Walker’s law, which irony-deficient Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca called “a huge win for democracy in Wisconsin.” The law would later be reinstated by an incredulous state Supreme Court.

It was these same “democracy enthusiasts” who decided to use Wisconsin’s 85-year-old recall law to cast a number of democratically elected Republicans from office. Since the law was passed in 1926, only two state elected officials had been recalled from office; in 2011, nine state senators faced that fate, demonstrating that this is what democracy has never looked like. Despite over $40 million being spent on the senate recalls, Republicans won four of the six contested seats and retained control of the state senate by a one-vote margin.

In some districts, Republicans won by more comfortable margins than they ever had before. Of the two GOP senators who lost, one was in a district Barack Obama carried by 18 percentage points. The other was embroiled in a personal scandal involving a 25-year-old mistress. Thus, after the rancorous recall process, the enduring lesson was: It’s probably a bad idea to cheat on your wife.

It was a year where Madison teachers showed parents how much they valued their kids by walking out on them for a four-day sick-out. Some teachers even brought their pupils down to the Capitol to help them protest. When a group of Madison East high school students were asked why they were marching on the statehouse during a school day, one young man said he was “trying to stop whatever this dude is doing.”

Read the whole thing here.

A Compendium of Anti-Scott Walker Songs and Videos

December 1 2011 by Christian | Category: Protests | 3 Comments »

In the past few month, there have been dozens of videos cropping up offering Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker the opportunity to have intercourse with himself.  Here’s a choice selection:

It must have taken days for this guy to learn this song.  How did he even have time to go to work?  Oh, wait…

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And the only place to go for all your news on both Scott Walker and Motorhead:

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Manhood in a Bottle

September 21 2011 by Christian | Category: Miscellaneous | 0 Comments »

If you’re a sports fan, your weekends are likely wallpapered with television advertisements that purport to explain what being a “man” is all about.  One’s masculinity, according to ad writers, is currently derived from your choice of satellite television company, what kind of body wash you use, and most of all, what kind of beer you drink.  In fact, Miller Lite will actually declare you to be more of a man if you drink their beer from a “vortex” bottle, which is aerodynamically engineered to fire beer down your throat with the velocity of a Blunderbuss hand cannon.

Of course, nobody expects a beer commercial to be an Aesop-style morality tale.  Women have been insulted in beer ads for decades; men are simply catching up.  Miller just recently ended a slew of particularly obnoxious commercials that consistently featured men being jerks to pretty women – a puzzling situation to which no man can actually relate.

But the current “MAN UP!” meme is particularly grating, given the ubiquity of the ads.  They generally feature some doofus engaging in an effeminate act, while simultaneously enjoying a drink that is not Miller Lite.  They are then publicly ridiculed for both transgressions by their a-hole friends, who also happen to have a comely woman draped on each arm.  According to the Miller ad people, Winston Churchill would be considered a pansy because he chose to shower his liver with God’s gift of Johnnie Walker Black his entire life – and not a more “masculine” lite beer.

Of course, challenging one’s manhood by calling them a girl isn’t exactly a new phenomenon.  During the Civil War, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a poem excoriating the “sweet little men” who dodged military duty:

“Bring him the buttonless garment of a woman!

Cover his face lest it freckle and tan;

Muster the Apron-string Guards on the Common,-

That is the corps for the sweet little man!”

In other words: “MAN UP!”

But within the world of television advertising, the only deed that matters is what product you use.  Men are almost uniformly depicted as simplistic baboons, barely able to function in society.  Mom leaves town?  Dad can’t do anything in the kitchen, so he better call for a pizza!  Need to clean the house because your husband is a pig?  Get a Roomba!  Be careful letting dad play with the kids – he might injure himself!  Things have to be so simple, even cavemen can do them.

One only needs to watch 15 minutes of the TLC Network show “Say Yes to the Dress” to be disavowed of any notion that women are more evolved than men.  The show involves a full hour of nothing but women trying on wedding dresses while their bridesmaids roll their eyes and cluck at their gaudy fashion transgressions.  And if watching that show doesn’t improve your relative impression of males, take comedian Adam Corolla’s advice and “go down to the patent office… and see all the innovations women didn’t come up with.”

Yet even if “manhood” is considered a desirable thing, your masculinity is now apparently dependent on your choice of booze.  You’ll never see an ad praising a man for doing truly manly things, like reading to his kids, or taking care of his elderly parents, or working tirelessly on a cure for Alzheimer’s.  If Einstein had been in college in 2011, his theory of relativity would instead read “Beer Before Liquor = Never Sicker.”

All I really want is to be able to watch inhuman amounts of sports on the weekend without being subjected to a commercial threatening to revoke my “man card” every seven minutes.  (Apparently you need one as identification to get into any d-bag convention held around the country.)  It’s gotten so bad, I actually brought it up at my Twilight discussion group last week.

The Fight Against Google

August 23 2011 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

A few days ago at Politico, Ben Smith posted an interesting look at a group battling Google, including this video:

Podcast: Thurston Moore, The Midwest Beat, and More

July 22 2011 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

On this week’s podcast, there’s a lot of random talk about online music programs, iPhones, and collapsing stages, while I cackle in the background.  We also discuss some concerts Will went to and review the new album by Wisconsin’s own Midwest Beat.

Listen here:

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Or download directly here.

Wisconsin Flexes Its Star Power

July 21 2011 by Christian | Category: WPRI Blog | 0 Comments »

Tuesday night’s utterly predictable recall election win by Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay followed the usual protocol: At about 9 p.m., Hansen strode to the podium at his victory party and predicted Democrats would take back the state senate when other recall elections are conducted in August.

But Hansen’s speech was followed with a bizarre appearance by – and this is not a joke – Jon “Bowzer” Bauman of the ‘70s faux-greaser doo wop group Sha Na Na, who congratulated the Democrat on his win and predicted more big wins by Democrats in future recall elections. Cashing in on Sha Na Na’s biggest hit, Bowzer eschewed any attempt at dip-dip-diplomacy, predicting Republican state senators would soon have to “get a job.” (If there was any question that everyone in America was on drugs in 1972, that last clip will put that doubt to rest.)

Under normal circumstances, such an appearance by a D-minus list celebrity would have been scary and a bit confusing. But since the Wisconsin collective bargaining fight broke out in February, Wisconsin has been flooded with once-notable celebrities whose name you thought would never pass your lips again.

On February 26th, a rally was held outside the state capitol featuring guest speaker Gabrielle Carteris, best known for her role in the early 1990s as high school virgin Andrea Zuckerman on Beverly Hills, 90210. (And best known to everyone under the age of 35 as “who?”) Carteris, who portrayed Zuckerman at the age of 30, has primarily been employed as a video game voice-over artist for the past decade. Apparently Luke Perry’s sideburns were booked and couldn’t make it. (Or, worse yet, they support Scott Walker.)

Following Carteris was Guiding Light actor Robert Newman, who is best known by people who mistakenly think he is Paul Newman. The event was emceed by former Billy Madison foil (and West Wing alumnus) Bradley Whitford, who actually is kind of a star, but hails from Wisconsin, so he shows up for every lefty rally in Madison. (Whitford would later disavow his role in Billy Madison, which is a considered a criminal offense by anyone who owns the first four Pearl Jam albums.)

A March rally featured Green Bay native and “Monk” star Tony Shalhoub, whose sister works as a public school teacher in Wisconsin. Shalhoub was joined by Susan Sarandon and the ubiquitous Jesse Jackson, who became as much a part of the protest scene as “Scott Walker is Hitler” signs. Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello showed up to rally the crowd, apparently undeterred by the crushing defeat I handed him in a Guitar Hero battle on Playstation two years ago.

In fact, Wisconsin is probably best known for its fictional celebrities. Large chunks of this summer’s Bridesmaids and Terminator 3 were filmed in Milwaukee. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Titanic supposedly hailed from Chippewa Falls. Fond du Lac was the fictional childhood home of There Will be Blood’s Daniel Plainview, who is best known for drinking other people’s milkshakes and clubbing them to death with bowling pins. And let’s not even get started on the Fonz, who is memorialized in downtown Milwaukee with his own bronze statue.

As for the recall elections, it’s not as if Senator Hansen needed the much-sought-after “1970s fake greaser doo wop band” voting bloc to come through for him. When Republican Assemblyman John Nygren failed to garner enough signatures to make it to the ballot, it left the GOP without a serious candidate to challenge him. The only Republican left running owed $25,000 in back property taxes and had been arrested four times on domestic violence charges. (His campaign slogan of “my wife is a crazy alcoholic” didn’t quite match “Yes We Can!” for inspirational value.)

Yet while spending weeks pointing out what a terrible candidate the GOP was running, now Democrats are crowing about Hansen’s re-election, as if it was some monumental triumph that signals momentum for the anti-Walker cause. It does not. It merely signals that voters prefer their state senators to dabble a little less in domestic violence.

The state now moves on to the remaining eight recall elections, in which six Republicans and two Democrats are in danger of losing their jobs. And as for celebrity sightings, voters will certainly be moved when Weezie shows up at the capitol arguing that fish don’t fry in the kitchen, but concedes that beans may, in fact, burn on the grill.

Who Wants Chinese Cucumbers?

July 21 2011 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

People always have the impression of Wisconsin farms as being family-owned, where mom and pop toil away for decades to make ends meet.  It’s not very often that you hear farms thrown into the illegal immigrant debate – yet without migrant labor, Wisconsin farms could be facing tough times.

Thus, agriculture groups are lining up to oppose a mandate for an “E-Verify” system at the federal level. Under the legislation, which has already gotten a hearing in the U.S. House, all employers would be mandated to check immigration status of their workers using a system that has a questionable track record, and face consequences if it doesn’t work.

Farmers are questioning the ramifications of this type of legislation because without broader immigration reform, a federal mandate to implement E-Verify would push some laborers to work for cash outside the tax system or ship agriculture jobs overseas.  If that were the case, the U.S. would almost certainly have to import more of its food supply, and food costs would rise.

Everyone already knows China owns most of our debt – do they need to supply all of our cucumbers now, too?

Oh Yeah, I Totally Have a Blog

May 16 2011 by Christian | Category: National Review | 0 Comments »

You know, I almost forgot I actually had my own blog.  Given everything that’s been happening in Wisconsin over the past few months, I’ve been writing for just about everyone else but my own website.  If “Giraffe Harmonica Aficionado Magazine” asked me to write a Wisconsin article for them, I would have.

Mostly, I’ve been writing stuff over at National Review Online, and harassing everyone I know to go read all of it.  So just to make it complete, GO OVER AND READ IT.  You can find a link to all 40-ish columns here.  (And yes, the headshot they use makes me look like Mayor McCheese – I need a new one badly.  Preferably of someone else.)

Oh, and late last week, Isthmus published my column on the Wisconsin recalls – I spent a good deal of time amongst dusty books and microfilm at the State Historical Society to write it, so I expect extra credit.  Yet apparently, I didn’t get the benefit of the doubt from this commenter, whose comment was quickly deleted:

“Chris Schneider is a liar who propagandizes for multinational corporations in Wisconsin. His front group provides cover for billionaire industry lobbyists and hard right wingers to push their corporate distopia on the citizens of this state.

We should treat Christian Schneider and his anti-Wisconsin ilk like the criminals they are.”

It seems likely he’s talking about my dance moves, which are so lethal, they’ve been deemed criminal by lawmakers.

Move Over, Lincoln and Douglas

March 14 2011 by Christian | Category: WPRI Blog | 0 Comments »

At the height of tensions in Madison last week, I debated Scott Walker’s budget repair bill with Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now. The event, sponsored by the The Madison Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, was held at Brocach Pub on the Capitol square on Thursday night, and I was in Day 3 of of a week-long illness. The people there seemed to enjoy it, despite the Grim Reaper hovering over my shoulder.

Video here.

The Partisan Origins of Collective Bargaining

February 23 2011 by Christian | Category: WPRI Blog | 0 Comments »

My latest column is up at the National Review Online. Since everyone claims that public sector collective bargaining is an inviolable “right,” I went back and looked at the circumstances of how the law passed in 1959 in the first place.

Nelson was always a supporter of public-employee unions — in 1946, his first job as a young attorney in Madison was working for a nascent labor organization known as AFSCME. Yet in today’s political world, such a nakedly obvious gift to a political constituency would crash Twitter. Nelson’s record of clean governing is the stuff of legend in Wisconsin — but public-sector collective bargaining clearly helped the fortunes of his Democratic party. To think he didn’t understand that is to insult the intelligence of a political legend.

Read the rest here.