Category Archives: Miscellaneous & Odd-ball

Why Wisconsin is the Badger State

Do you know why Wisconsin is referred to as the Badger State? Mental Floss explains this and other “Curious, Bizarre & Storied State Symbols.”

… The Badger State title originally refers not to Bucky, nor to the savage beast itself, but to lead miners in the 1820s and 30s. These miners moved from prospect to prospect in southwestern Wisconsin, traveling light and often, with little money for luxury. When winter came and conditions worsened, those miners too far from home to migrate would dig themselves sheltering caves in the hills — like badgers. These temporary dwellings could be abandoned if a prospect proved fruitless, without much regret; and if the lead pickings were good, the lucky miner could fluff up his badger hole or upgrade to a more traditional Euro-American residence. For this practice Wisconsin miners were dubbed “badgers” — a jibe that was soon appropriated as a proud, statewide nickname. Bucky didn’t come along until 1949; the furry, quadruped badger, notoriously vicious when cornered, wasn’t declared Wisconsin’s state animal until 1957.

Being a history buff, I knew this already, but thought that some WisBlawg readers might not.
The above photo from the UWDCC’s University of Wisconsin Collection is of Bill Sagal, the first human Bucky Badger mascot in 1949.

Print Your Resume Free Today at FedEx Office

Today, March 10, 2009, FedEx Office (formerly Kinkos) is hosting “Free Resume Printing Day.” The company is offering to print up to 25 copies of each customer’s resume for free.
This offer is good for 25 black-and-white resume copies per customer and is only valid for orders placed and picked up in-store. Customers may place orders by submitting their resume in printed format or as a digital file, and the copies will be printed single-sided on resume-quality paper.
Source: LexScripta

Get Real-Time WI Travel Info with New 511 Service

From a WI Department of Transportation press release:

Motorists can now get up-to-the-minute travel information by either dialing 511 or going to a new Web site offered by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The Web site,, provides travelers with traffic and road information on Wisconsin’s main highways, including the Interstate system.
The new Web site features a map that graphically displays winter road conditions, traffic speeds, travel times, incidents, traffic camera images, road closures due to maintenance or construction, and potential future road closures.

Here’s a screen shot of what the map looks like. If you check any of the features on the right, you can view them as you mouse over the map. Note the traffic camera shown below.511.jpg
Source: The Wheeler Report

Where is My Bus? Find out in Real Time with Madison Metro’s WebWatch

One of my biggest problems with riding the bus (when I used to ride it) is having to wait around for a late bus – irritating in good weather but downright miserable in below freezing temps. Yeah, I know that for various reasons delays are unavoidable, but for some reason I’m just not all that sympathetic after I’ve lost feeling in my extremities.
That’s why I think that a new project from the Madison Metro is so cool. According to a press release as published in The Isthmus, Madison Metro is testing a new service called WebWatch which provides real time transit information on the Internet. That means bus riders can wait in inside somewhere warm until right before the next bus is due to arrive. Here’s what it looks like:
Apparently the service is still in testing phase and its url will change when it’s ready for final release. At that time, the site will be available as a link from and
From Madison Metro via The Isthmus:

You should be able to access the site from any computer with an Internet connection. This is not the website address that we will publicize after the testing phase. You may have different experiences depending on the Internet browser that you use; for example the Virtual Earth Map does not work with Firefox and the Google Maps interface seems to work faster with the Firefox browser.
Please note this disclaimer: This site is in testing mode. Please check the Metro Transit Website for information regarding detours and stop closures. This site may not show accurate information where route and stop deviations occur. During special events or severe weather, buses running severely late may be rescheduled or replaced with extra vehicles.

Source: Steenbock Memorial Library blog

Odd Wisconsin Exhibit Opens at WI Historical Museum Next Week

First it was a website, then a book, and now it’s a full-blown exhibit. “Odd Wisconsin” opens at the Wisconsin Historical Museum on October 3rd.
From the website:

WARNING! Objects Are More Intriguing Than They First Appear!
How did a rock, a plastic pink flamingo, and a few strips of aluminum make history? Why did a family collect skunk oil in a jar? How did a Wisconsin Congressman come to possess a 7-foot-long bowie knife? From s

WI Dept of Children & Families Offers Search of Licensed Child Care Facilities

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families’ licensed child care search seems to be a hit, according to Gov. Doyle. Since its debut in July, it has logged over 200,000 visits.
The licensed child care search website contains information and regulatory history on nearly 6,000 child care centers licensed by the Department of Children and Families. Individuals can search for licensed child care by county, city, zip code or facility name. Once a child care center is located, individuals can review the center’s licensing history for the past two years, including compliance history and enforcement actions.
Source: The Wheeler Report

Madison Magazine’s Restaurant Week

July 27-August 1is Madison Magazine’s Summer Restaurant Week. During these six days, Madison’s finest restaurants will offer three special, fixed-price, three course menus for just $25 per person.
A list of participating restaurants is available at the Madison Magazine Web site. Thanks to my colleague, Cindy May for the tip.
Many of these restaurants have been recommended and reviewed by the UW Law School Faculty & Staff. See the interactive map compiled by the Law Library staff.

Historic Milwaukee Photos

The Milwaukee Public Library has recently made available a collection of historic Milwaukee photographs.
The library’s collection consists of over 50,000 photographs of Milwaukee dating from the late 19th century to the present, although only a fraction of these are yet available online.
For more historic images, see the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Library of Congress.
Source: Now @ MPL