Jim Bartlett's Blog

Happy Merry Holiday Greetings of the Christmas Season

There’s been a major brouhaha the last few years over the phrase “Happy Holidays.” Some people consider the phrase fightin’ words, claiming people should say “Merry Christmas.” On the other hand, you may have seen the meme that notes how the world’s seven major religions celebrate 29 different holidays between
Posted  on November 30, 2016
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Jim Bartlett's Blog

Thanksgiving By Request

On Thanksgiving Day 1981, I was a little baby disc jockey at KDTH in Dubuque, Iowa. My show was nearly over when a listener called to ask why I hadn’t played any Thanksgiving songs yet that morning. It was not a playful query. The tone of her voice indicated that
Posted  on November 17, 2016
Jim Bartlett's Blog

The Morning After

A few years ago, I went into the archives and looked at some of the morning-after Election Day editions of the Wisconsin State Journal. Here’s some of what I found: On Wednesday, November 8, 1972, the State Journal punned, “Nixon Makes It, Perfectly Clear: McG Yields in Landslide for President.” Inside, the
Posted  on November 3, 2016
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Jim Bartlett's Blog

40 Years of Boz

I have been fairly fortunate in that there’s not much left on my rock concert bucket list. A full Bruce Springsteen show is about the last of it—having seen him during John Kerry’s Madison presidential campaign rally in 2004, only a few feet from the stage, was merely an appetizer.
Posted  on October 20, 2016
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Jim Bartlett's Blog

Sheep on a Plane

As you read this, I am on a business trip for one of my other jobs, a trip that requires me to fly. I don’t particularly like to fly, but it has nothing to do with going 500 miles an hour while sealed in a tube six miles above the
Posted  on October 4, 2016
Jim Bartlett's Blog

More Wisconsin Place Names

In an earlier blog post, I wrote about Robert E. Gard’s book The Romance of Wisconsin Place Names, originally published in 1968 but now available in a new edition. Here are some more origin stories about the places where we live and work. William McFarland was a railroad man who
Posted  on September 2, 2016
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Jim Bartlett's Blog

How Our Towns Got Their Names

In 1968, author and historian Robert Gard published The Romance of Wisconsin Place Names, the result of several years of research. He went back to old records and old-timers to find the reasons why places in Wisconsin, large and small, famous and forgotten, have the names they do. The book
Posted  on September 2, 2016
Jim Bartlett's Blog

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

A while back a friend tagged me on Facebook to participate in one of those name-your-favorite-things memes. This one was mostly musical, and here are some of my answers. Favorite Beatles song: “In My Life”Favorite Rolling Stones song: “Brown Sugar”Favorite Doors song: “Riders on the Storm”Favorite Bob Dylan song: either
Posted  on August 25, 2016
Jim Bartlett's Blog

Old 45s

Vinyl is a big deal again, with vinyl sales at levels unseen since the compact disc swept vinyl records away nearly 30 years ago. I have a lot of friends who have gone back to buying vinyl (although I have not), but they’re buying albums. Singles haven’t made much of
Posted  on August 9, 2016
Jim Bartlett's Blog

The Song of the Summer in ’76

Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert (later husband and wife) had written John Denver’s 1971 hit “Take Me Home Country Roads.” After performing as Fat City, the Danoffs teamed with another couple, Jon Carroll and Margot Chapman, as the Starland Vocal Band, and released their first record in 1976, “Afternoon Delight.”
Posted  on July 28, 2016