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Monday, July 1, 2013

Oddball Wisconsin: A Guide to 400 Really Strange Places (Chicago Review Press), by Jerome Pohlen

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Some Badger natives think those damn Flatlanders are Wisconsin’s answer to the bloody tourists that infest Europe in the summer and the Caribbean in the cold season. At least one Flatlander, Chicago’s Jerome Pohlen, has spent enough time north of his state line to write a book. In the new edition of his Oddball Wisconsin, he travels to the Dells, the North Woods, Door County, Madison and Milwaukee. One can’t blame him for arching an eyebrow at the Bronze Fonze and wondering about the statue honoring Gertie the Duck at the Wisconsin Avenue Bridge. But why mention Golda Maier’s childhood home, demolished decades ago? What’s odd is why the author thought to include it. The mentions of Holler House and Koz’s Mini Bowl are merited, as are those giant Lady Bug effigies clinging to the side of a Water Street office building. Who knows: even a native might learn something by seeing out town through the eyes of an outsider?