If you specifically look for writers who share the same hometown as you, and you happen to live in the Milwaukee area, this guide will help you find some writers from your region. Whether you're looking to watch a movie, read a novel, or take on an air of superiority as you recite poetry, these authors have been found to have some connection to your local Southeastern Wisconsin world.

The general biography is from Wikipedia, and Real Wisconsin News provides the links to remain compliant with Wiki-rules, RWN has also added some commentary.

Jim Abrahams — director and screenwriter

Abrahams was born in Shorewood, Wisconsin to Louise M. (née Ogens), an educational researcher, and Norman S. Abrahams, a lawyer.[1] His family was Jewish; he attended Shorewood High School.

He may be best known for the spoof movies that he co-wrote and produced with brothers Jerry Zucker and David Zucker, such as Airplane! (for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay) and The Naked Gun series. The team of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker (also referred to as "ZAZ") really began when the three men grew up together in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He produced movies on his own such as Big Business, and further honed his skills in parody with Hot Shots! and its 1993 sequel, Hot Shots! Part Deux.


While Real Wisconsin News is real, we appreciate the efforts of folks like Abrahams and the Zuckers to make spoofs and parodies of those who take themselves too seriously, like OJ Simpson.


Joseph Anthony — playwright, actor, and director

Joseph Anthony was born as Joseph Deuster in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 24, 1912. His parents were Leonard Deuster and Sophie Deuster (née Hertz). Anthony attended the University of Wisconsin. He married Perry Wilson. He prepared for the stage at the Pasadena Playhouse from 1931 through 1935 and at the Daykarhanova School from 1935 through 1937. Anthony served in the United States Army in World War II from 1942 through 1946. On January 20, 1993, Joseph Anthony died at the age of 80 in a nursing home in Hyannis, Massachusetts.


Only question: why would someone with the last name Deuster (like Deuster's Lanes) change his name to something as boring as Anthony?

William Bast — screenwriter

William Bast (April 3, 1931 – May 4, 2015) was an American screenwriter and author. In addition to writing scripts for motion pictures and television, he was the author of two biographies of the screen actor James Dean. He was partnered in work and life to Paul Huson.


Interesting to note that Bast was able to write two biographies about an actor who starred in three films. Wondering how many other biographies exist about Dean and how many more Scott Walker or Gene Wilder deserve.

John McGivern — actor and writer

John McGivern (born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an American actor and writer, best known for playing Bruce McIntosh in the Disney film The Princess Diaries. and many commercials for companies such as Kohl's department store, Sears, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. He is a graduate of St. Lawrence Seminary, in Mount Calvary, WI.

In 2010 he received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement for Individual Excellence On Camera: Programming - Performer in the Chicago/Midwest region.

As a playwright, his work includes Shear Madness, a comedic murder mystery with audience participation elements, and several one-man monologue shows. He performed at the inaugural We're Funny That Way! comedy festival in 1997, and appeared in the festival's documentary film in 1998.

He is also the host of Around the Corner with John McGivern, a Milwaukee Public Television series in which he visits and profiles various communities throughout Wisconsin.


If everyone for a decade gets excited about seeing the same local act over and over again at Summerfest, eventually it becomes an institution that will not go away, for better or worse. Arguably better than the BoDeans.


John Ridley — author, television and movie producer

John Ridley IV.(born October 1965) is an American screenwriter, film director, novelist, television showrunner and writer known for 12 Years a Slave, for which he won an Academy Award in 2013 for Best Adapted Screenplay.



Brian Jaeger — screenwriter, playwright

Brian Jaeger (born1975 in Milwaukee, WI) is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and satirist. His two collaboratively-written screenplays (Eighth Grade Ends and The Jeff Movie) and musical play (Philadelphia Store) represent his body of work in film or theatre so far. His writing also includes the Arizona and Utah adventure series and the Wild West Allis series. Brian is an author for several local websites, including his family blog (Satisfamily.com) and a satire news website (Real Wisconsin News). His entire portfolio of writing can be found at McNewsy.com.

Brian was born and raised on the West Side of Milwaukee, attending John Marshall High School and UW-Milwaukee. His subject matter is often local and personal, and he prides himself on being an everyday, normal guy who knows how to write about being an everyday, normal human being. Brian was a teacher for twelve years before being laid off as a result of budget cuts to education.

Planned projects include Mohican Falls High School--Going Falls Deep (the story of being a teacher in Wisconsin) and Arizona and Utah and The Search for the Gypsy Gold (a novel 10 years in the making). Because he spent many years trying to keep his writing separate from his teaching, Brian has only been promoting and publishing his work as himself since 2014.


This guy sounds awesome.


Richard Schickel — author, film critic, and filmmaker

Richard Warren Schickel (born February 10, 1933) is an American film historian, journalist, author, filmmaker, screenwriter, documentarian, and film and literary critic. He was a film critic for Time magazine from 1965-2010, and has also written for Life magazine and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. He currently reviews films for Truthdig.

Schickel was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Helen (née Hendricks) and Edward John Schickel.[1][2] He is featured in For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism. In this 2009 documentary film he discusses early film critics Frank E. Woods, Robert E. Sherwood, and Otis Ferguson, and tells of how, in the 1960s, he, Pauline Kael, and Andrew Sarris, all young critics, rejected the moralizing opposition of Bosley Crowther of The New York Times who had railed against violent movies such as Bonnie and Clyde. In addition to film, Schickel has also critiqued and documented cartoons, particularly Peanuts.[3]

Schickel was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1964. He has also lectured at Yale University and University of Southern California's School of Film and Television.


You kind of wonder why someone would leave a gig with Time Magazine to go work for Truthdig. Then again, Real Wisconsin News was once an unknown online magazine looking for the hearts of readers.

Mae West — actress, screenwriter, playwright, named 15th Greatest Female Film Star of All-Time by the American Film Institute

Mary Jane "Mae" West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980)[1] was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades.

Known for her bawdy double entendres, West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the stage in New York before moving to Hollywood to become a comedienne, actress, and writer in the motion picture industry. In consideration of her contributions to American cinema, the American Film Institute named West 15th among the greatest female stars of all time.

One of the more controversial movie stars of her day, West encountered many problems, including censorship. When her cinematic career ended, she continued to perform in Las Vegas, in the United Kingdom, and on radio and television, and to record rock and roll albums. Asked about the various efforts to impede her career, West replied: "I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it."


She seems legit.

Top Authors


David Backes — author; professor

David Backes (born May 14, 1957 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an American author and professor, best known for writing a biography of Sigurd F. Olson. The book, entitled A Wilderness Within: The Life of Sigurd F. Olson, won the Small Press Book Award for 1998,[1] and received a positive review in the New York Times.[2]

Backes is currently a professor in the Journalism and Mass Communication department of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

While it's true that you should write what you know, if you do choose to write only what you know (Sigurd Olson in this case), does it make you a legitimate celebrity author or just a fan who keeps writing about the same thing. Anyhow, I should have cashed in on The New Kids on the Block when they were big and written a few biographies about them.



William George Bruce – author, historian, publisher, civic leader for Milwaukee Auditorium and Port of Milwaukee

William George Bruce (March 17, 1856 – August 13, 1949) was a Milwaukee author, publisher of educational, historical and religious books, and founder of the American School Board Journal. He was a noted civic leader for the Milwaukee School Board, the Milwaukee harbor and the Milwaukee Auditorium, and active in Milwaukee and state politics.

Just reading the list "educational, historical, and religious books" is boring. I'm sure his stuff is great, though.


Jack Finney — science-fiction and thriller writer; his novel The Body Snatchers was basis for movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Jack Finney (October 2, 1911 – November 14, 1995) was an American author. His best-known works are science fiction and thrillers, including The Body Snatchers and Time and Again. The former was the basis for the 1956 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers and its remakes.

No complaints about Invasion of the Body Snatchers.Never read the book version, though.


Marguerite Henry — award-winning children's author, known for books about animals

Marguerite Henry née Breithaupt (April 13, 1902 – November 26, 1997)[1][2][3] was an American writer of children's books. Her fifty-nine books based on true stories of horses and other animals captivated entire generations. She won the annual Newbery Medal for one of her books about horses and she was a runner-up for two others.[4] One of the latter, Misty of Chincoteague (1947), was the basis for several sequels and for the 1961 movie Misty.

Let's be honest, if most of her books were about horses, most of the minds that were captivated were those of little girls. Unless there were cowboys shooting things off those horses.


Elizabeth Jordan – writer, journalist

Elizabeth Garver Jordan (May 9, 1865 – February 24, 1947)[1][2][3] was an American journalist, author, editor, and suffragist, now remembered primarily for having edited the first two novels of Sinclair Lewis, and for her relationship with Henry James, especially for recruiting him to participate in the round-robin novel The Whole Family. She was editor of Harper's Bazaar from 1900 to 1913.

Not sure how much she wrote of her own while editing and recruiting. However, she apparently shares a name with a porn star. My best porn star name using the pet/mom maiden name thing is Cody East. My wife is Sparky Quinn. Elizabeth Jordan, being a suffragist, would approve of my wife and my porn star names, and for that, we are eternally thankful to her and other like-minded women.


Brian Jaeger — author, satirist

Brian Jaeger (born1975 in Milwaukee, WI) is an author and satirist. He has published collections of short stories and satirical articles. He is also a best-selling author of educational lesson books and assignments. His writing includes the Arizona and Utah adventure series and the Wild West Allis series. Brian is an author for several local websites, including his family blog (Satisfamily.com) and a satire news website (Real Wisconsin News). His entire portfolio of writing can be found at McNewsy.com.

Brian was born and raised on the West Side of Milwaukee, attending John Marshall High School and UW-Milwaukee. His subject matter is often local and personal, and he prides himself on being an everyday, normal guy who knows how to write about being an everyday, normal human being. Brian was a teacher for twelve years before being laid off as a result of budget cuts to education.

Planned projects include Mohican Falls High School--Going Falls Deep (the story of being a teacher in Wisconsin) and Arizona and Utah and The Search for the Gypsy Gold (a novel 10 years in the making). Because he spent many years trying to keep his writing separate from his teaching, Brian has only been promoting and publishing his work as himself since 2014. However, his writing dates back to the mid 1990s, and some of his work had been published for nearly a decade under a nom de plume.

Here's an author with a little variety. Like when you go to the club, and you all dancin with only short girls, and then some volleyball-playin real-sauce woman comes in like she owns the place, and you know it's time to spike that; dig?

Ellen Raskin — author, illustrator, and fashion designer; recipient of Newbery Medal

Ellen Ermingard Raskin (March 13, 1928 – August 8, 1984) was an American writer and illustrator. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up during the Great Depression. She was educated at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[1] Primarily a children's author, she received the 1979 Newbery Medal for her 1978 book The Westing Game and a 1975 Newbery Honor for her 1974 book Figgs & Phantoms.

Raskin was also an accomplished graphic artist. She designed dozens of dust jackets for books for 15 years including the first edition of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.[2]

Raskin's first marriage ended in divorce. In 1965, she married Dennis Flanagan, editor of Scientific American.[3]

Raskin died at the age of 56 on August 8, 1984 in New York City due to complications from a connective-tissue disease.

 Doesn't it seem like it should be the Newberry Award rather than Newbery? Not to belittle her talents; it's just that her award seems to be spelled wrong.


Peter Straub — fiction writer and poet; best known as a horror-genre author

Peter Francis Straub (born March 2, 1943) is an American author and poet. His horror fiction has received numerous literary honors such as the Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award.

 What we're all wondering is which is most prestigious as an award: the Brammies, the WFAs , the IHGAs, or the IGMTAs (I Gave Myself This Award). 

Neale Donald Walsch — best-selling author of Conversations With God

Neale Donald Walsch (born September 10, 1943) is an American author of the series Conversations with God. The nine books in the complete series are Conversations With God (books 1–3), Friendship with God, Communion with God, The New Revelations, Conversations with God for Teens, Tomorrow's God, and Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends. He is also an actor, screenwriter, and speaker.

This guy is awesome because he took something that he would have been executed for 500 years ago and made it something people wanted to buy. That's pretty cool, like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young cool.


Shauna Singh Baldwin — Canadian-born author currently living in Milwaukee

Shauna Singh Baldwin (born 1962 in Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian-American novelist of Indian descent. Her 2000 novel What the Body Remembers won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Canadian/Caribbean Region), and her 2004 novel The Tiger Claw was nominated for the Giller Prize. She currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her second short-story collection, We Are Not in Pakistan, was released in Canada in 2007.

Canadian - Quebecois - American - Indian (from India, not American Indian or from Indiana), and she wrote a book called We Are Not In Pakistan in Canada? If you don't find any of that funny, you're probably French or from French Lick. There probably aren't enough lines on the census to officially count her as a Milwaukee author.


Walter Wangerin, Jr. — author

Walter Wangerin, Jr. (born February 13, 1944) is an American author and educator best known for his religious novels and children's books.

 Not to accuse Walt in any way, but it makes you wonder if Christian Erotic Novels exist, besides The Scarlet Letter.


Stanley G. Weinbaum — science fiction writer

Stanley Grauman Weinbaum (April 4, 1902 – December 14, 1935) was an American science fiction writer. His career in science fiction was short but influential. His first story, "A Martian Odyssey", was published to great (and enduring) acclaim in July 1934, but he would be dead from lung cancer within eighteen months.

Some believe Stan is still alive, writing stellar online reviews of his one (and only?) story.


Richard Nelson Bolles — author

Richard Nelson Bolles (born March 19, 1927 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is a former Episcopal clergyman, and the author of the best-selling job-hunting book, What Color is Your Parachute?

I guess we all hope he is a former minister because he retired, and not because he got rich from writing a book about job hunting and turned his back on God. It does make you wonder, though, if God was looking for a new job, how would that go? I'd smite the crap out of anyone who wouldn't hire me, but that's just me.


Antler — poet

Antler (born Brad Burdick; 1946 in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA) is an American poet who lives in Wisconsin.[1]

Among other honors, Antler received the Whitman Prize from the Walt Whitman Association, given to the poet "whose contribution best reveals the continuing presence of Walt Whitman in American poetry," in 1985. Antler also was awarded the Witter Bynner prize in 1987. Antler was the poet laureate of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for 2002 and 2003.[2] He is also an advocate for wilderness protection.

Part poet, part wilderness protection mascot. I feel sad that I've lived within a couple of miles of one of Milwaukee's most famous animal appendages without ever meeting him, unless he tans himself at the lakefront or drives around in black station-wagon with writing all over it. Maybe he spends his free time frolicking in the woods, daily reconsidering renaming himself as a singular part of a deer's head.


Todd Temkin — contemporary poet and cultural activist

Todd Temkin (born 1964) is an American poet.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Temkin has carved a niche as poet turned social entrepreneur and cultural activist. His poems are rich in humor, intimacy, and self-deprecating irony.

Temkin's poems startle the reader with "bursts of lucidity stripped bare of false poses and exaggerated gestures."[1] In a recent documentary on Chilean television, Temkin stated: "We live our lives weighed down by the burden of names and labels that society bestows upon us. For me, a poem doesn't come alive until it sets us free from such burdens."[2] Temkin's poems surprise us with their complex simplicity, breaking through the barriers that separate verse from oral speech."

The fact that Todd's poetry startles and surprises means that reading his work is kind of like going to a haunted house in October. You'd better be prepared, because around every verb, BOO, a guy with a chainsaw and a prepositional phrase! But he's not waving the chainsaw with exaggerated gestures because that would be false, apparently, after the initial startle and surprise. We're probably all lucky this poetry is not weighed down by the burden of extreme pretentiousness bestowed upon or by an obviously inferior-minded society.


Matthea Harvey — poet

Matthea Harvey (born September 3, 1973) is a contemporary American poet, writer and professor. She has published three collections, most recently, Modern Life (Graywolf Press, 2007), which earned her the 2009 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award, and a New York Times Notable Book.

Is Graywolf Press related to the lodge in the Dells?


Alter Esselin Yiddish poet, carpenter, 1889-1974

Alter Esselin, (originally Orkeh Serebrenik) was a Russian-born American poet who wrote in the Yiddish language. He was born in Tchernigov, Russia on April 23, 1889 and died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 22, 1974.[1] In fifty years of his life, he wrote and had published several hundred poems in such publications as Di goldene keyt,[2] Di veg, Kundus, The Zukunft or Di Tsukunft (The Future)[3] and many others.

One Wisconsin poet became Antler, while the other was called Alter. Unfortunately, most of us don't understand Yiddish any better than we understand deer language.


Carlotta Perry — poet

Carlotta Perry (1839 in Michigan - 1914 in Chicago) was among a group of premier women poets of the late 19th century. Her poems, children's stories, and short stories were published in many of the most read publications of the time including Harper's Magazine, Godey's Lady's Book and Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. Some of her verse can still be found today in Christian newsletters and even in an ad for a paint company describing their shades of white. Known mostly for her poetry, she was also a journalist and was active in many of the journalism and women's organizations during her working life.

She grew up in Watertown, Wisconsin where she worked for the Watertown Democrat. She moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and wrote for the Milwaukee Sentinel. She then moved to Chicago where she was associated with the Starret School for Girls. She worked on the women's building at the World's Columbian Exposition (1893) in Chicago.

Anyone who grows up in Watertown knows what it's like to want to escape for a better place. Luckily, Milwaukee is just down the road, but first you need to get through Ixonia, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Brookfield, and Tosa.


Brian Jaeger — poet

Brian Jaeger (born1975 in Milwaukee, WI) is a poet who writes accessible and meaningful poetry. He has published collections of poetry about humanity, education, love, and sports. He is also a best-selling author of educational lesson books and assignments, including creative writing assignments. Some of his poetry appears in his Arizona and Utah adventure series and Wild West Allis series. His entire portfolio of writing can be found at McNewsy.com.

Brian was born and raised on the West Side of Milwaukee, attending John Marshall High School and UW-Milwaukee. His subject matter is often local and personal, and he prides himself on being an everyday, normal guy who knows how to write about being an everyday, normal human being. Brian was a teacher for twelve years before being laid off as a result of budget cuts to education.

Because he spent many years trying to keep his writing separate from his teaching, Brian has only been promoting and publishing his work as himself since 2014. However, his writing dates back to the mid 1990s, and some of his work had been published for nearly a decade under a nom de plume. He has also participated and organized poetry showcases in front of large audiences. One of Brian’s main goals is to create poetry that revives the genre as something ordinary people will read on purpose.

I can't imagine wanting to read any other poetry on this list more than this. Maybe Carl Sandburg.


Carl Sandburg author, reporter, poet; worked as organizer for Wisconsin Social Democratic Party at headquarters in Milwaukee; met wife Lilian Steichen (Menomonee Falls) in 1907

Carl August Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American poet, writer, and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln.[2] During his lifetime, Sandburg was widely regarded as "a major figure in contemporary literature", especially for volumes of his collected verse, including Chicago Poems (1916), Cornhuskers (1918), and Smoke and Steel (1920).[3] He enjoyed "unrivaled appeal as a poet in his day, perhaps because the breadth of his experiences connected him with so many strands of American life",[4] and at his death in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson observed that "Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America."

While Carlos might have been a social democrat in Wisconsin and have had the misfortune of choosing a wife from The Falls, he is not really a Wisconsinite any more than Ryne Sandberg or Jim Sundberg (except in 1984).


Susan Firer — Poet

Susan Firer ... (born October 14, 1948) is an American poet who grew up along the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI. She was poet laureate of the city from 2008-2010,[1] and from 2008-2014, she edited the Shepherd Express online poetry column.

Due to the overlap in editing of the powerful poetry column of the Shepherd while holding the title of Milwaukee's supreme master poet, some people called for her to step down amid the controversy.


Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • People Can Still Hear You, Even if You're Wearing a Mask
    I realize that masks make talking and hearing others more difficult, and it also provides an odd sense of security that may or may not actually exist. While it's true people can't see all of your facial expressions, they can still hear you. However, if you're like me, your mask might entice you into forgetting that others can actually understand the words coming out of your mouth. 
  • Arlington Mural an Enigma and Kind of Silly

    I've driven past the Arlington mural along the Arlington Expressway plenty of times by this point, and I'm still trying to figure it out. I know, it's art and individual and abstract, etc. But it's still supposed to mean something. To the artist, to residents, and to visitors. I'd like to make an attempt to decipher what the Arlington mural means in all or any of those contexts so that I can better explain it those who look to me for answers.

    From an artist's perspective, I don't really know. Murals are huge, and they often resemble something painted by high schoolers with deeper meaning infused by 2nd graders. Always uplifting; bright future; justice; peace; hope. Often painted steps from a given city's worst "projects" housing. Those big smiles looking down on weekly violence.

    Technically, I enjoy the Murray Hill mural because it kind of says, "Screw murals." A giant painting of Bill Murray, who isn't even the neighborhood namesake, is a poignant reminder of absolutely nothing. And if your part of town doesn't need affirmation from bold,smiling,god-sized children, then it's cool to have fun with the whole thing. Arlington is different, and someone seems to believe that the stereotypical mural (peppered with a few oddities) was the way to go.

    I actually don't know who makes the decisions about murals in Jacksonville. I was never asked for my input on Arlington's mural. Maybe the city just arranges for an artist to get his or her hands on a building and leaves it at that. Maybe each community has a committee. I have to believe there are sketches and then some kind of discussion before the mural goes up. Then again, I believed that sort of thing would happen for major local developments, but it only really happens if neighbors get wind of a project. If nothing else, the artist probably drew something out and had someone critique the idea. Even if it's a mom who generally thinks everything the artist does is wonderful. Anyhow, the point is that there's probably a plan before the mural gets underway, as it's not just some graffiti hastily sprayed on an overpass. I only mention it because certain elements of the Arlington mural seem somewhat haphazard. Or they are intentional and artistic to a point I don't understand them.

    Since the Arlington mural is a bit of an acrostic, we'll begin the analysis with the A and then move on to each letter in order to better understand the true meaning of the mural.


    The A is written on a helmet that is Jaguar teal and also reads "Duuuval" and "904" (apparently in case it ever gets lost). However, it's not clear that the helmet is actually for football, as its adorning the head of a small Asian girl. Or boy. But we're talking kindergarten, so I assume it's more of a bike or scooter helmet. Maybe a street-crossing helmet. The white A is created with three strips of athletic tape being used, I would imagine, to repair a major crack in said helmet. Clever, yes, but also an opportunity to remind parents that cracked helmets need to be replaced immediately due to lack of efficacy. The A rectangle also has an animal pattern faintly added to the background. It may be Jaguar print, further implying a football franchise connection. The black smiley face sticker is an enigma, since it's not a sticker that tends to be used in reality, and the emoji version is old unicode and has no current meaning beyond being old-school.

    The meaning of the A itself is a bit of a mystery to me. Based on other letters, it appears there is a meaning, but I'm not entirely sure here. Since we do see some kind of a helmet, A might represent Athletics, though I'm not sure Arlington is home to more athletes than any other part of Jacksonville. Any A, especially one that seems slightly jagged, could represent Anarchy, but the rest of the imagery does not support this interpretation. The most obvious association is that the A means Asian, being that this is the only Asian person depicted, but that would be kind of racially insensitive. It could stand for America, where throngs of Asians/girls have become pro football players. Achieve? Action? Angry? Animal? Aggressive? I don't know. My personal theory is that the artist was told to incorporate the Jaguars, Duuuval, 904, and an Asian somewhere in the mural, and the first tile was used to check all the boxes.


    The R-rectangle is fairly straightforward, though surreal, with a young man in a barbershop chair getting his hair done...in the shape of the R. I believe the structural integrity of an afro is such that a shape such as an R cannot be sculpted. Maybe a pyramid or another solid shape could work. However, when I searched for hair sculptures, I was able to find elaborate creations using long hair, which is not what's implied in the mural. So the R isn't really possible, but what does it mean?

    It could be that the R stands for Reality, an ironic word given the image. My daughter and I both surmised Razor because of the lines in the kid's hair, as well as the fact that he's seemingly wearing a covering to protect himself from the haircut he's receiving. I'm not sure how a razor is meaningful to the whole community. Arlington is known as a place to buy or fix a car, but I'm not sure barber shops are more prevalent than in other locales. Risque could be the word, since the haircut could be considered as such, along with part of Arlington's reputation as "Sin City." Respect would be a go-to mural concept, though it's not an obvious connection to the image. I guess it could be Race or Racism, but that seems to be creating an unnecessary discussion based on what we see. Same goes for Rap. Based on having taught some Duval middle school children, Reading could have been a better choice than whatever this represents: he could be holding a book as he gets his haircut.


    Remember when I questioned whether the mural artist had planned the whole project out or not? When every letter gets its own canvas except for two that are squeezed together, viewers might assume someone counted or divided wrong on the building. Or ran out of ideas. Regardless, Li ends up being one of the tiles. I figured perhaps the combined letters created an important word, but Li is just a Chinese unit of measurement. The image itself depicts the back of someone's head, presumably looking up at the partly cloudy skies before an afternoon rain storm. The hair is cut short and dyed (pink, green, and blue) to once again show an animal pattern, Jaguar or otherwise. Interestingly, the Li is not shaved into the head this time, but superimposed over the image. I imagine the word we are supposed to see is Lift or Light. Something beginning with Li. It could be a reference to "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which has a Jacksonville connection. Liberal? Listen? Life? I guess I expect my murals to have many right answers rather than no right answers/all wrong answers. Anything seems like a stretch and unrelated to both the previous tiles and the area of Arlington, or at least that's how I'm starting to feel as I move through the mural.


    Just when it's not certain the letters in the mural mean anything at all, the N seems to represent a Night scene. Albeit an imaginary night scene, complete with a woman looking up at butterflies. Sure, there are some butterflies that fly around at night, and they're called moths. It's possible the enchanted-faced Black lady is mesmerized by Arlington's night-flying butterflies, or she may be enthralled by the stars. It is true that you can sort of see some stars in Arlington, sometimes, so I can buy stars and gigantic moths as a standard Night experience. Since there are 5,000 types of Nymphalidea butterflies, that could be the answer. Maybe dreaming during a Nap. Or this tile might be all about Nature, and maybe the stars are fireflies or mosquitoes getting electrocuted by one of those zapper lights.


    In case anyone had any thoughts that this acrostic wasn’t really an acrostic, the G seems to most definitely stand for Giraffe. Because it depicts a giraffe. In Arlington. 100%, without a doubt, G is for Giraffe. Within Africa, there may be some Giraffes in Nigeria or Namibia, though I am not sure how those African countries relate to Jacksonville any more than does a random image of a Giraffe. In the painting, the G itself seems to represent the sun nearing sunset on the savannah. We can see an Acadia tree in the background, further indicating the scene is in Africa and not Arlington. Perhaps the meaning is more interpretive than literal, and we’re being encouraged to be more like the Giraffe. Long necks to watch out for our neighbors or something of that nature. If you see a Giraffe in your dreams, it might signify welfare and happiness, or that you currently can’t make your dreams come true. Personally, I’ve never seen a Giraffe in my dreams, but maybe people who drive by one every day on the Arlington Expressway do see them. Giraffes can also signify leadership, since tall people are often seen as leaders, and short people who are leaders will often pretend to be taller.


    The T itself seems to be part of some industrial structure, maybe a bridge or the Arlington Expressway. And then there’s some abstract art in the background and foreground. Technology is kind of a blanket word for advancements in society, but we often don’t associate bridges with the word. I’m thinking Tacky could work, as there are parts of Arlington that fit this description, and the tile itself is kind of Tacky. Maybe Threshold, implying Arlington is on the cusp of greatness (or turning into the worst section of Jax). It could be Turbulent, since the art conflicts with the industrial scene, and people keep shooting at each other in Arlington.


    Again, this tile seems to obviously imply Ocean (according to my daughter). I first saw it as Oprah, but then I looked closer to see all the waves surrounding the Ocean lady. The O itself could be a full moon behind Oprah the Ocean lady, maybe saying something about tides. I don’t know. The Ocean isn’t really part of Arlington, as it’s more of a river and rivulet part of town, but I guess the water is brackish. I suppose the word might really be Ominous, as Oprah the Ocean lady could flood Arlington during a hurricane.


    The artist could be going for Nothing on Red Background for this tile. We can see some sort of plant life spreading, but it’s unclear if it’s in the water or on some red ground. Maybe it’s pond water in a jar. The closest plant I could find with an N is Nepeta, though I don’t know if it spreads in this way. I suppose it’s Nebulous, if nothing else.


    The Arlington mural is a good example of the danger of an acrostic, whether meanings were forced or non-existent. A viewer is looking for all of the letters to mean something if some of the letters do. Even if we toss out the letter meanings individually, the mural as a whole seems to have no real message. Random people and scenes, which don’t fully (or even partially) represent a diverse area with an interesting history. For example, we have a movie studio in Arlington, and a university, some nature preserves, an outdated mall, a Fortune 500 company, lots of river access, and tons of slummy apartment complexes in between a sea of ranch-style.smallish homes. Kids play in culverts and swamps. People flock to various dollar-type stores. And there are all kinds of nonsensical diagonal streets that get you lost in sketchy neighborhoods with people fixing cars in their front lawns. That’s Arlington to most of us. Not Giraffes, weird hair choices, and Oprah. The best I can say about the Arlington mural is that it is not cliche, but that's not the same as saying it makes sense or inspires viewers. Also, if an elementary school put this whole mural together, I apologize for critiquing your ideas, but your teacher should have helped a little more.

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    Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
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    McNewsy - Creative Writing
    Educabana - Educational Resources
    Brave New Church - Church Website Design
    Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
    Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
    Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
    Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
    Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
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    Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
    Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
    Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
    Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

    Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

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  • I'm From Milwaukee, And, Yes, The 2020 Election Results Are Normal

    I was forced to write this article because of the number of people I've encountered who, upon learning I'm from Milwaukee, make such statements as, "Your city really blew the election." I can't speak for Philadelphia, Detroit, or Atlanta, but I can tell you that election results coming in late and favoring Democrats is fairly typical in Wisconsin because of Milwaukee. If you take a look at the Wisconsin results, you'll see that Dane County (Madison) and Menominee County (87% Native American) had higher percentages in favor of Biden. Democrats will often win Milwaukee with over 60% of the vote, but not always. Clinton won 66% without ever visiting the state. Obama got 67% in 2012 and more total votes than Biden in 2020. Biden got 69%. That IS the highest percentage I could find for Milwaukee County, but it's still in the ballpark, so I wouldn't claim anything odd about the election there. 
  • Profiles in Courage: Judge Shore

    According to USA Today, a local judge named Brad Shore might have broken some laws when he donated to President Trump's campaign, displayed political signs at his home, and cut off the press from watching how his team manages issues with ballots. Either it's a fake news nothing burger, or it's the exact reason we have rules for judges in these situations.
  • Another Case Against Pitbulls

    I'm sure some people in Jacksonville have already written me off as that guy who hates pitbulls for no reason. Even my own kids weren't really believers because "So-and-so has a nice Pitbull" or "Their dog is only part pit bull." But when one of these monsters comes charging out of a house in your own neighborhood and attacks your leashed dog on the sidewalk, that's when even the kids believe what I've been telling them.

  • Is Jacksonville a bad place to live?

    I was busy learning about Google Search and people finding my websites when I came across this question on Google, answered by a Quora forum post. That's kind of sad, right? People must ask if Jacksonville is a bad place to live a lot, which is why it ranks high on Google, but the answer comes from some random person's assessment. Since I am also some random person answering, it might as well be me. 

    No, Jacksonville is not a bad place to live, relatively speaking.
  • Jacksonville High School Search - An Annotated List of Options for East Arlington Families

    Let's say you've got kids, and like most parents, you want the best for them. Choosing the right high school for your kids can be complicated, especially if you haven't had to make similar choices in the past. I've decided to detail my search for the right high school in this article in the hopes that I can reference it as the time nears for enrolling my eldest child in high school, but my research might be able to help you, too. 
  • Yes, It's STILL Selfish of You When You Don't Mask Up
    I don't want to harp on this much more, but after Day 1 of my kids being back in school, I figured I'd give it one last go. Here's why it's selfish of you to not wear a mask.

    I am sure you are clean and healthy and all that, but someone out there is sick. You might believe yourself to be strong-like-bull, too smart, or immune. Or you're ancient and think it's your time when it's your time. Please, feel free to play roulette with your 2nd Amendment souvenir, away from the rest of us. You are not too smart, healthy, or clean to catch a virus. You might well survive it, or you might never even know you had it because you're such a freakin Adonis. While you are asymptomatic, possibly for weeks, you could infect dozens of people because of your odd belief that viruses respect your freedom and patriotism and religion.

    Soldiers give up many of their freedoms in order to serve our country, and you like soldiers. The best leaders also submit themselves to others. What did Jesus do, again? Good people give of themselves to protect others. You have the freedom to post idiotic rants on Twitter and drive around with a flag of a college/breakaway country you never attended/fought for, mainly because your stupidity in those cases cannot kill someone else. If you are a carrier of covid, and you infect three people who infect three people and so on, until it ends up in a retirement facility, then you just killed 20 senior citizens because you wanted to cry about wearing a face covering, which makes you a total snowflake.

    It's not hard to do. Asians can do it, so we can, too. But we can do it better, like all the other stuff we do better than others. Even in Florida, most people actually wear shirts and shoes into stores. Remember when every store had a sign for that? People kind of know it's expected now that you cover your plantar warts and your back tattoos while shopping. And covid is much more serious than people getting grossed out by your yellow toenails. 

    I once read an article about why men in one African nation with a huge AIDS outbreak refused to wear condoms. A man being interviewed said it's like eating candy with the wrapper still on. I thought he was so ridiculously stupid, refusing to wear a simple (freely-distributed) item that could save his life. Stupid and selfish. Even the dumbest antimaskers would agree that a man in Zimbabwe in the 90s and admittedly sleeping with hookers should have been wrapped up or even double-bagged. So wrap yourself up.  

    At my kids' school, like in many places here, wearing a mask was deemed optional. For most kids, that meant no mask, ever. My kids tried to wear their masks, but they also felt they had to explain why, probably because other kids asked them why. The school had a few kids in masks because they had babies or old folks or compromised immune relatives at home. But I let my kids off the hook, telling them that if no one else was going to wear a mask, it really wasn't a big deal. Masks work when everyone wears them, limiting breathing projection to a couple of inches rather than 6-8 feet. We can handle being two inches apart from most people. Even my close-talking uncle stays roughly 6 inches from my face. 

    But here's the deal, and this is really THE deal. Even if you don't believe. Even if you don't have that baby or sick relative. Even if you think God will protect you from anything. IT'S ALL ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE, NOT YOU! So the fact that my kids said they were wearing masks because of a father with a compromised immune system should have led every single jelly-faced kid at that school to put on a mask. Or the fact that one kid has a baby brother. Or a grandparent. If one kid is concerned, then all kids should have the compassion to just wear a freakin mask. I've seen entire schools jump rope for heart conditions or dye their hair pink, and if you want to think of it as charity to those who aren't as fortunate, then go right ahead. Love your neighbor as yourself, especially during a pandemic.

    Maybe the numbers are off a bit, and maybe 100% mask usage wouldn't really eradicate the coronavirus. This article is even being finished as the numbers keep dropping in Florida, so I'll look like the extremist, especially since I don't even have a relative in a retirement home in Florida. Forgive me if I think the government has only a few basic functions, one of them being to protect its people. If the government disbanded all the military, police, and fire forces, you'd be worried. If it told us to do whatever you want during a hurricane or didn't post any speed limits, that would be irresponsible. But it's OK for our government to avoid mask mandates (the ONLY tool it really has) during an honest-to-goodness epidemic? That's not the American way of fixing problems. At least it wasn't back in 1918, when it was seen as UNpatriotic to avoid wearing masks. 

    I am sure that America is probably eventually heading towards herd immunity, and that's maybe what a lot of government officials and millennials want us to be. If you want to sacrifice a few hundred thousand old folks to become the first country to reach herd immunity, I guess that's where we're headed. My thought (and I'm just spitballin here) is that we mask up until there's a viable vaccine, and then allow the vaccine to create the herd immunity we all crave, as long as the antimasker/antivaxer crowd participates in allowing the government to inject them with a vaccine/tracking device. 

    If you want to be selfless and Christ-like, please consider wearing a mask whenever you are near other people. 

  • Jogger, The New Jacksonville Video Game
    I can remember heading over to the Radio Shack on North Avenue in Milwaukee back in the 80s and seeing the new Tandy home computer, which was so much cooler than the Commodore VIC-20 we had at home. The display model even had a video game for me to play: Frogger. Forty years later, I read an article about the guy who created Prince of Persia, and the article must have mentioned Frogger, which I had on my mind as I drove down Beach Boulevard. After I nearly hit a homeless guy who had jumped out of the way of a bicycle (going the wrong direction) and into my lane, I thought that a version of Frogger called Jogger would be pretty awesome with Jacksonville as the setting.
  • Cheapest Propane Exchange in Jax
    I haven't done the math on refilling my propane tanks, since that's more of a hassle than it's probably worth. I have to assume it's a little cheaper than a propane exchange, but I'll focus on good deals for the exchange in Jacksonville.

    Walmart - $15
    Yes, it's the cheapest around. During Covid Times (or on a Saturday afternoon), it's also a lot of work to get your propane this way. I told my family that Walmart probably has some kind of contract to undercut every other seller of propane, which is either good business or bad business, depending on how you look at business. Since my time is worth a couple of dollars and I don't tend to shop at Walmart much, I am willing to pay a little more elsewhere.

    Family Dollar - $15-$20
    I wrote an article about propane on Satisfamily about the good deal here when the $5 off $25 coupons exist, but then Family Dollar went and added an exception to the coupon because of my article. However, I have seen a $5 off just for propane, so keep an eye out for that one. At least it's fairly easy to get your propane here, more like the gas stations.

    On the Fly BP on Monument - $17
    I ended up here because Wawa didn't seem to have propane, so I couldn't use my Wawa gift card, and since I couldn't make a u-turn on McCormick to get to Gate, I decided to take a gander at the BP station. I was surprised by the $17 price, since $20 seems to be standard at gas stations. The attendant told me he had the cheapest prices in town, which might be the case when you compare to other gas stations. Fast and easy, like it should be. The store even has two cases of propane, probably because so much of it is sold here. I told the guy I'd be back.

    Most other gas stations - $20
    I have seen propane as high as $22 at local gas stations, but I think the $19.99 is normally the standard price in Jacksonville for propane exchange. There's no shame in paying the standard price, especially if you don't want to deal with Walmart or don't live near Monument and McCormick.

    Walgreens - $22
    The Walgreens on Monument and McCormick advertises $20 propane exchange, but when I bought my one and only tank there, I ended up paying $22 plus tax, not $20. For $2, I didn't end up going back up there, and the sign has claimed a lower price for two years, so I'm not the only one who has not complained to management.

    For the amount of cooking you'll get out of your propane, it's probably worth the $15-$22 you'll spend on fuel. It might not be a good deal to heat your house in the winter or to run your dual-fuel generator after a hurricane, but it's not bad for outdoor cooking. If you live in East Arlington, try the BP station on Monument. If you know of a low price in another area of town, let me know, and I'll add it to the list.

    Search New Jax Witty
    Related Stories
    Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

    Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
    Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
    McNewsy - Creative Writing
    Educabana - Educational Resources
    Brave New Church - Church Website Design
    Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
    Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
    Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
    Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
    Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
    Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
    Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
    Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
    Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
    Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

    Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

    Contact Me

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