And Another Damn Thing

I got nothing this morning. I’ve read the papers and, meh, I dunno. Nothing’s really lighting a fire under me. But I’m going to ramble on for, say, 500 words or so anyway.

This violates one of my main rules of life and writing: when you’ve got nothing to say, say nothing. This is not a rule of politics, where in fact, the idea is to do just the opposite. In that realm when there’s nothing to be said this is seen as a great opportunity to say a great deal about nothing and with great passion. But I am no longer a politician, so that justification isn’t available to me.

I write to you from our cabin overlooking beautiful Duck Lake just across the border in the U.P., which by all rights should be in Wisconsin, but if you open up that can of worms Michigan would get Akron as compensation and Ohio would get its nose all out of joint, not because there’s much going on in Akron, but it is the birthplace of LeBron James and anyway Akron has potential.

If you’re confused by this there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be. Here’s the quick story. When Michigan became a state it wanted a chunk of northwest Ohio, but Ohio already being a state, it snubbed the upstart Michigan. To calm its hurt feelings Congress gave Michigan the Upper Peninsula as a sort of consolation prize. Wisconsin objected, but we were just a territory at the time and nobody cared. It was pure pecking order. Ohio kicked Michigan so Michigan kicked Wisconsin. We wanted to kick Minnesota when it was our chance, but Congress refused to give us Duluth. Life is not fair. If you’ve always had a vague gnawing chip on your shoulder as a Badger this is the reason. And it didn’t help with what the Lions did to the Packers’ playoff hopes a few weeks ago. We were only partially soothed when the Vikings didn’t even finish their cup of coffee in their own playoff appearance, but it was still nice to watch.

This weekend I had a couple of friends up to cross country ski and eat and drink. We did all three with enthusiasm, though our enthusiasm for drinking has slackened in recent years. We had an old fashioned maybe and a glass of wine with dinner. You have much more than that and it messes up your sleep. But the trails were in excellent condition after a nice deep snowfall late last week. My friends are nine years younger and better athletes than I am (this is a low bar, everyone is a better athlete than I am) so I screwed up my courage and went down hills I would have avoided if I were on my own. And I did not fall, not once. In my world this is like winning an Olympic gold medal. I wanted to stand up tall in my living room and play the National Anthem and cry.

The Charcuterie board at Duck Lake ski camp. Venison stroganoff followed.

They had jobs to return to, so they left yesterday afternoon. I lit a fire and stretched out on the couch and watched some football and read a book and worked on Spelling Bee, where I achieved “Genius” status yet again. I ate leftover jambalaya with a nice Satin Solitude beer. I turned the heat down and went to bed early where I dreamt that I was in Wisconsin, not Michigan, along with Duluth, which was no longer in Minnesota and as a result of all that, LeBron James was a Michigander.

So, there ya go. Five hundred words about nothing. See you tomorrow.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

9 thoughts on “And Another Damn Thing

  1. Michigan and Ohio actually got into a very brief shooting war but it was over Toledo, not Akron. Blaska and the late Col. Tim Donovan of the WI National Guard devised a plan to cut the cable on the Merrimack Ferry, steam up the Wisconsin River, portage over to the Fox, churn up Green Bay to besiege Menominee MI across the river from Marinette. Simultaneously, 50 beer-fueled snowmobiles would schuss across the state line from Hurley to Ironwood in a lightning fast “Schlitzkrieg” to reclaim our patrimony. (Ironwood would be renamed “Scott Walkerwood.” Menominee would become “Walker Shores.”)

    Let me know if you’re up for a GoFundMe on this.


    1. Being born and bred in far northern WI (I can see the Yoop from my porch!, and am fluent in Yooper), I seriously doubt that 50 beer fueled ski-doos or ‘Cats could do much damage against a bar full of Yoopers in Negaunee or Felch armed with a few Stihls and a kant hook or two. Those snow machines would be stacked up side by each on the back of a Ponsse forwarder quicker than you can say Pabst. And by the time you dragged the Merrimack ferry around all the dams and locks on the Fox you will be seriously out of Schlitz, and the courage to proceed on your doomed mission would have to come from something local. Try the Silver Creme at the Railhouse in Marinette.


  2. Just a little help with your geography, Dave. The dispute that wrongfully gave Michigan the U.P. involved Toledo – not Akron. Otherwise, your point is absolutely correct.


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