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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Abrahams

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Anthony

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Bast

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McGivern

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ridley

Showrunner?



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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Jaeger

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Schickel

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."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_West

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.

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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.
  • Coronavirus Family Activity: Filing For Unemployment Like it's 1999
    If you want to see a time machine, head on over to Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity website, and the Connect pages you need to use to file for unemployment. I assume the website was developed back around the time Al Gore invented the internet, and that was the case well before the Covid-19 crisis.

    I've been building mobile-friendly websites that can be used in any browser since 2008 or so with my Joomla 1.5 sites. That's more than a decade ago. I suppose I didn't really design for mobile devices until maybe 2010, but I have been building websites capable of being used on a mobile device for at least ten years. 

    I was also unemployed for a few months back in 2014, and I had to work hard to look for five jobs a week as I also tried to set myself up to become a full-time web designer. It's ironic that people who are receiving unemployment benefits need to work hard in order to show that they deserve those benefits, but the entities that run the website that collects the unemployment information allow the website to become so outdated that it's practically unusable. 

    In an interview, a communications person for Florida DEO said that an app was on the way and that lots of assets were being moved to do something or other. She mentioned the cloud, probably assuming most of us are stupid enough to think that someone who has a ten-year-old asp.net website has a solution that involves the cloud. I am pretty sure an IT guy just told her to mention the cloud because that's what he does whenever anyone has a question for him he can't answer. 

    The news also reported that you need to use Internet Explorer rather than Chrome because the website, even on desktop, won't work on Chrome. You probably need to have your Flash player enabled and Windows Defender turned off on your Windows XP machine, too. No mention of Safari, so sorry Mac. I pretty much gave up filing for unemployment to concentrate on writing this article because nothing was happening when I clicked buttons on the site. Maybe the website and awesome new app will be working by fall sometime, after most of us are broke and some of us are dead.

    I assume that back in 2008, the last time the website was really used by a lot of people, it probably worked. Most people using it were likely thinking it kind of sucked, but it got the job done, and that's kind of the point of a website. Especially a website that's supposed to help people get reemployed. 

    If your company is looking to reinvent itself after this all ends, check out my web design sites below.



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    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
  • Did DeSantis Just Reopen Churches?
    Buried in all the Safer at Home orders today was a nugget that I almost couldn't believe. First, Jacksonville jumped the gun to issue a local order that apparently kept ammo shops open as an essential business, though I did not see the local Jax order on churches, most of which had already gone totally online.

    The article I found about the Jacksonville order was updated to follow the national list of essential businesses, since the state order was said to follow the national list. Sorry, gun shops (I think). But there was still the first DeSantis Safer at Home order I saw that appeared to keep open or reopen churches, as long as people practice social distancing.
    Churches are totally and completely non-essential, especially when we can get our services online. Yes, people are worried and scared, and maybe pastors could spend their free time calling members, but allowing church services to go on is the wrong decision. Plagues over the years never stopped at church doors, and this virus will not be kept out of services in Florida. 
    I'm hoping the opening of churches was a typo. If not, just don't go. It's probably one of the best places to spread disease, especially to older people. You can read the Bible and watch the services at home.

    Search New Jax Witty

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    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
  • Coronavirus Family Activity: Decorate for Easter / Puzzles
    This is a dual activity for your family during the Covid-19 outbreak. Since no one should be visiting your house, this is your chance to decorate it however you want. This might include the most ridiculous Easter decorations, but it might also include setting up a puzzle or activity table right there in the living room. No one cares. The Queen of England is not coming over to inspect your house, so take this chance to live like it.


    We had these crazy foam Easter decorations that might be a little too much if we had the family over for Easter. However, with no one to entertain, they are perfect decorations to brighten up the house and remind us of the importance of procreation. Bunnies, ducks, a lamb, more bunnies, and some baskets with a bunny and a duck. Pink, yellow, orange, powder blue, white, and green. Everywhere. 

    If you don't have a container full of crafty Easter items to set out, then go ahead and spend an afternoon creating some of your own. Even if you don't have little kids in the house. Just like facemask templates, you can find templates for bunnies and ducks online, and then add some color. Even if you don't really like Easter. Even if you're a Jehovah's Witness or a Budhist. The Pagan traditions of bright colors and fertile animals should resonate with all of us, especially at a time when we can't use Tinder to find a date. 

    You can also use some of that pent up energy on puzzles. I personally don't enjoy puzzling, but my wife and kids seem to enjoy it about as much as binge-watching the Golden Girls. A family member even created some kind of lesson plan to go along with the kids' current puzzles, which makes them annoying and educational. Or fun and educational, if you like that sort of thing. 

    Go ahead and set your puzzle table in the middle of any room. No one will come in and see it. Sure, you might decide to have it in the background of a Zoom conference meeting, but all of your co-workers houses look just as trashed by this point. I had put the puzzle table on lifts on one side, making it more of a drafting table, since my wife can sit there long enough to get neck pains. As a public service announcement, if you are working on puzzles enough to get neck pains, you need to go back onto Tinder.

    There you have it: two ways you can be entertained and make a mess of your house this Coronavirus/Easter Season.

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    Coronavirus Family Activity: Camping Out

    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)

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  • Coronavirus Family Activity: Camping Out
    I'll begin this with my usual diatribe about why I hate camping. The human race has spent ions perfecting our dominion over nature, so why would I want to be sweaty/dirty/freezing/smelly/buggy/sleepless? I wouldn't, but I camped out for several years because my son wanted to be in Cub Scouts. Covid-19 and staying at home has provided our family with the perfect opportunity to use our camping equipment, even if not all of us actually spend the night in the tent. 

    We started off with setting up the tent, which I'd only done zero times alone. I had the help of a scout leader in Kansas and then two other parents another time. When someone borrowed the tent, he accused me of having lost the instructions, which are attached to the carrying case (not that I knew that). Anyhow, it was nice to be able to take my time in the middle of the day to set up the tent, as anyone who has ever stumbled into a campground at sunset with a complicated tent will attest to. Also, it seems a similar Coleman tent might be better than the Wenzel I have, but mine was a Menard's special for about have the price elsewhere. If you are a pro at camping, you probably aren't doing it in the backyard. 

    We used the very nice Intex Mattress that we finally bought after years of trying to make thin airbeds work. Even for houseguests (unless you want them to leave), this mattress is worth owning. In about half an hour, the tent was ready for the kids and dog, as they moved in all the stuff they would need. 

    This being Jacksonville, I got a baseball bat ready, and my wife said something about having owned pepper spray at some point, but I used my imagination and decided the kids should not have access to pepper spray. However, next time I'll remember to give the kids each a personal alarm, especially since the worst they could do to each other is toss one in the tent and run out, hopefully without permanent hearing loss. I eventually forgot the bat, mace, personal alarm, and we even (seemingly for their own good) confiscated their phones. But they had a dog with a big bark, so whatevs. And I slept in the living room with the door open to the screen. OK, I know it sounds excessive, but even a big city like Milwaukee simply doesn't have the number of roving teenagers looking for open car or house windows, so you probably need to be prepared for the wildlife in town if you're going to camp out. 

    I made a fire in the backyard fire pit. Ours is similar to the one linked, only rustier. In Jax, it's always a good idea to know if there's a risk of fire. You wouldn't want you yard camping experience to burn down the neighborhood. We made Smores, which my son couldn't even do his last year of Cub Scouts because some kids were chucking hot marshmallows at each other, which does not even sound like fun to me. 

    If you really want to go nuts with the bug spray and sunscreen, go ahead and plan an outdoor meal with those plastic plates you never use, sitting on that patio picnic table you never use. We ate inside and then went out after dark, but it was still easier than setting up in the twilight. 

    Luckily, the dog was OK with sleeping in the tent, and the kids quieted down after about an hour. Because there was no chance of rain, I left the weather guard covering off the tent, so it was probably an amazing view while falling asleep. And 70 degrees overnight, so better than the 30 degrees I was forced to camp in with my son for Cub Scouts. 

    I hope this article reminds you of the camping equipment you have in the garage and that it could be a back yard adventure for your family this Coronavirus season. Oh, and if you have a dead tree in the yard, avoid sticking the tent close to it if you don't want to worry about wind all night. And make sure your fire is extinguished. And no throwing hot marshmallows. 

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  • Coronavirus Family Activity: Walk a New Neighborhood
    Even if you are being forced to shelter in place, you have to get outside. Eventually, you might not venture any further than your own yard, but if there aren't strict rules, you can at least take a walk through your neighborhood. The only problem with having a dog who loves long walks is that you might get bored not having parks or beaches available. Our family decided to venture out to a new neighborhood for a walk before (and in case) the shelter in place order comes to Jax. 

    For our first neighborhood walk, I found a small area with sidewalks in the Miramar part of Jacksonville. It was sort of wedge-shaped area along the river, just off of San Jose Blvd before that street becomes a major thoroughfare. Point La Vista Rd N, in case you're looking for it. We went about 4,000 ft or 3/4 of a mile in 90 degree weather, so plenty far. 

    The nice part about this neighborhood, besides the sidewalks, included interesting homes. Many sprawling ranches with unique characteristics. Of course, the $1 million+ homes along the river also were part of the community. One of these homes had a huge window to the road with another one through to the river, while another had at least four very large round windows. A few homes looked ultra-modern, while other hearkened back to classical styles. Some had more of a Mediterranean style, complete with tile roofs. Two houses looked to be out of Ferris Bueller's Chicago suburb. There was even a ranch that looked a bit like a church with a high, atrium-like roof. The neighborhood also had a lot of construction happening, which is usually a good sign, meaning people are fixing up homes they love rather than moving away. 

    As for whether or not I'd live here, I have to say it appears to be a great, if expensive, place to reside. Zillow values most homes at or above $500,000. Two of the houses along the river were Zestimated at over $2 million on the high end. The houses are roughly the same size of the ones where we live, which means Miramar gets nearly double the price. I am also not sure about the local public school situation in this neighborhood, and that would likely be a factor. If I was going to sell my house and go way into debt for a house, even in a cool little neighborhood, I'd have to be certain I could avoid sending the kids to Bolles. The other, and more important, problem is that it's a half hour away from my wife's job, which would be at least 45 minutes to an hour at rush hour. I'd rather be in urban sprawl and five minutes away than spending 1.5 hours a day in traffic. 300 days of work would mean 450 hours of driving, or 19 DAYS behind the wheel. However, if you work in San Marco, Southbank, or downtown, it's probably a nice little jaunt.

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  • Bulk Commercial Toilet Paper Solution
    Maybe we weren't totally out of toilet paper, and maybe the stores were going to catch up with all the hoarding. But we were running somewhat low, and I sure didn't want to have to use alternative solutions that might clog up the plumbing, so I got to searching online. Plus, if we could get TP delivered, then we would not have to worry about hanging out at the store with hundreds of people in order to find one item.


    Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Office Depot were sold out of all the kinds of toilet paper. Even the fast-dissolving RV paper. And the Extra-large gas station paper. And the single-ply business sandpaper. Finally, I found a website that had some large rolls of TP in bulk quantities still available. About a quarter mile of the two-ply stuff, delivered in two days as everyone else waited for four-packs of the name brand stuff.

    Ordering unconventionally does not always work, but when everyone else is showing up in large groups to empty grocery stores, I'll go underground to get my goods. The main problem in this particular case was the fact that these giant rolls (about 4 times the size of a megaroll) would need a commercial dispenser. Even though I run my own business, I do not have a commercial dispenser like you might find at a wayside. I have never even had a client ask to use the restroom. But now I had 1200' of toilet paper to mount somewhere in the bathroom.

    Running out to the store to get a TP holder would have defeated the purpose of buying online, and it also would have cost actual money. It's not like this virus and the shortages will last forever. I racked my brain for some time on this one, since I would need a TP holder that would not mess up the wall paint or fall over because of the giant rolls of toilet paper being dispensed.

    Mainly, I knew I had a few dowels that might work, but I was not sure how to mount them with any stability, with enough room for the paper, and without having to repaint after I was done. I initially thought of a chair or table turned upside-down. Then I looked in the closet and saw some TV trays. These small, foldable tables were perfect for my TP stand, when turned upside-down. The tabletop created a stable base, and the criss-cross legs made a perfect X for the dowel.

    I could have made two of these TP holders by using a second table and cutting the dowel in half, but the result was a bit large for the kids' bathroom. The facts that we never use the tub in the downstairs bathroom and that we're not having any guests over right now make that most-used toilet the one that gets the commercial TP refurb.

    This type of TP is not as wide across as residential TP. I never realized that while trying to hurry through my business at a stadium or truck stop. This toilet paper also does not come in individual sheets: it's one continuous sheet, which means parents of young children or really old people might end up with a clogged toilet or weirdly-ripped TP all over the WC. However, I think I've done enough to get this huge commercial TP roll installed, and I don't plan on creating some kind of sheet-ripper.

    I hope you are able to find toilet paper. If you find the industrial-sized rolls, maybe my experience will help you. Another tip is to call the stores in order to find out when the truck comes in, which is an awesome idea if all of your neighbors aren't doing the same thing.

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  • Online Church ... Now What?
    Your church has transitioned to being online. Maybe you drove people away in the first week with a shrill-sounding Facebook Live service. Maybe you don't even have a Facebook or (better) YouTube account for video. Maybe you'd prepared by delving into online technology and presented yourself in a professional manner. But the money problem still exists. Even if SOME of your church members have been paying online for several years, not everyone pays online. And those who do pay online might like another option. Let's take a look at some of your online church options for keeping the money coming in.


    E-donation Sites
    Websites exist that you sign up to use and take a monthly fee (generally) as well as a per-transaction fee in order to process money for your church. If you look for these in Google Search, you'll find them. Online giving does not seem to have taken off as much as most people thought it might, and that's more than likely because churches still pass the basket around, and it's not very showy for my family when we never put a donation in the basket. Sure, it's not supposed to be about us, and God knows we're giving money, but that Janelle lady always looks at you funny and then puts her check in the basket with lots of fanfare, so you know it matters. Covid-19 might give us a reset in churches. Maybe stop passing the basket when people come back if enough peopel sign up online. 

    Paypal
    Paypal lets people donate for a percentage and a flat fee. $.50 and 2% or thereabouts. I think it might be better if you only have a few church members or are hoping for people from all around the country to donate, like for a mission. That said, it's easy enough to set up. 

    Zelle
    When I was asked about online giving websites, I thought a little outside the box and checked out Zelle. While there are warnings to make sure you only use this with close friends, family, and others you can trust, there's also no fee, and some banks seem to allow recurring payments. The big issue here is that not every bank has Zelle, and it seems like a church would have to create some kind of business account. I would say that it's worth looking into, since you'd save the percentages, transaction fees, and monthly charges. Or an extra $20,000 on your church's yearly $1,000,000 donations. 

    Gift Cards
    Some churches have signed up with Amazon Smile for a little extra, but why not also ask for donations as gift cards? In all honesty, very few people donate enough to church for them to bother with itemizing their taxes because the standard deduction is so high, so take advantage of that with asking for non-monetary donations. Just be sure to specify that your church doesn't need an LL Bean gift card, favoring ones that might help with a current need, like Best Buy for some electronic equipment or Office Depot for office supplies. People can order gift cards online, so it's Covid-19-safe. 

    Your Synod
    I told someone affiliated with a church that he should go right to the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod in order to ask why the synod never made the system it uses for online donations (appears to be in-house) available to all churches in the synod. I might not be understanding something with taxes or timing of the funds, but the technology is probably available to all the major synods or affiliations. Or maybe a bank that has tie-ins with your church, like LCEF with LCMS. Or just a member who runs a website that accepts payments and is willing to work with your church. 

    Write Content
    The best way to drive people to your church website with the time you have right now is to write content. On the website, not on Facebook. And not controversial statements like how we need to get back to work. Just encouragement. Then record videos AHEAD OF TIME and add them to YouTube, embedding them on your website, as well. Of course, you'll also want to add the donation link. 

    And if you need a church website so that your church doesn't lose even more members, then I'm your guy. Just contact me. And check out my website.



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  • So All These Folks Who Can't Cook or Bake Need to Hoard Flour?
    I understand the toilet paper. Everyone wants two weeks worth of TP to make sure that they can survive a quarantine or shelter-in-place order. Or an apocalyptic zombie attack. Even guns I get, since you obviously need to protect your toilet paper and canned food stash with an assault rifle. Other Covid-19 hoarding I don't get. Like water and flour.

    First, water. There is nothing wrong with the water supply, at least not until hurricane season. You don't need bottled water during a Coronavirus outbreak. There's a much better chance to spread the virus via packaged items from the grocery store than via a public utility. In fact, I believe there is a 0% chance of your house water or electricity giving you this virus. Bacteria infections can sometimes survive in public water, which is why you might want a fridge water filter. I guess these filter companies could say you have a 0% chance of catching Covid-19 from filtered water. Or from unfiltered water, probably. Like I said, there's no reason to fill your garage with bottled water. 

    Flour is the most odd hoarded item, assuming people are hoarding rather than just buying something they don't normally buy. And they don't normally buy it. Or use those bread makers that are still in the box since the wedding, five years ago. Or ten. or twenty. I wonder if there's a shortage of yeast, too. More than likely, people who have never made bread or baked much of anything, rushed out to get the one ingredient they know probably is needed in baking and cooking. Only to find out they might need yeast and baking powder and spices and all kinds of other items no one needs when you eat at Chick-fil-A or Panera four times a week. 

    For those of you who do eat out or buy frozen all of the time when the world is normal, flour is one of many ingredients in what you eat. For example, the breading on KFC's fried chicken would include flour along with 11 herbs and spices. Flour doesn't magically turn into bread or breading or cookies, my Millennial friends. And since it's not magical and does take effort and the use of a real oven rather than an air fryer, why did you bother to buy the last three pounds of flour from Family Dollar when you couldn't find it at Publix. Next year, you'll just have to throw it all away when you discover mealworms or flour beetles. 

    Based on social functions we've been to in Jacksonville, it seems that the only place around here where people actually bake is at the Publix bakery. I am optimistic that some old family recipes will be resurrected as more people are at home right now. Here are some pointers for you from a family that does a lot of cooking and baking. 
    1. Flour might look like sugar, but it's not. 
    2. Dark pans are terrible for baking cookies. 
    3. Bread in bread makers will often not rise. It's a problem a lot of men (and women) have, and you should not be embarrassed by it. You might need to change things up to get the rise to happen naturally, but don't give up and don't blame yourself. 
    4. Cooking and baking create a lot of dishes. You might need to learn how to use the dishwasher as more than just a drying rack
    5. Teach your kids to cook and bake so that they are not as helpless as you when they grow up.

    Happy Homemaking!

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  • Online School Day One
    It's not even noon in my house, and it's nearly complete insanity. Day 1 of online school. Both kids are currently in school-sponsored group discussions, so I am hearing them and all of their friends all at once. My wife, who teaches at the school, is trying to troubleshoot problems in communication with her own students. And either it will all work out eventually or else devolve into something of a scheduled daily chaos session as the world deteriorates around us. 

    Let's just start with the obvious: schools built to be buildings filled with students and teachers accustomed to being in the building are not meant to be entirely online and remote. The teachers, in this particular case, were not trained. The mandated apps to be used were not tested over a summer. Assignments were not created to be easily done online. The school felt the need, understandably so, to get back to work. 

    It started fairly early here, with students not being able to get the email with the link to the video that would take attendance. So the link had to be sent via email. And the video app didn't take actual attendance, only saying how many views happened. Google's own solutions, which are mostly abandoned, aren't any better. There's a will, but the way is complicated. My wife ended up with dozens of emails before noon, just to get a version of attendance taken. 

    Wealthier school districts might have something more robust than Google Suite and a bunch of free tools 75% of the nation is trying to use for free. Microsoft Teams, maybe, which is still trash, but fancier trash. And textbook student access pages. And online test prep tools. I tried Teams when I was teaching with it, and it's really more of a business tool that no one really uses in business. So now it's just another business tool not made for education that gets adopted by schools to do things it can't do all that well. But it's as good or better than Google Classroom, anyhow. 

    By 11:40, my wife had made the decree that our kids needed to head into their rooms rather than disturb the general peace of the house with their online chat. I figure the group meetings will calm down, especially as the teachers get used to using the mute button on the kids. And my daughter will eventually also get sick of trying to work on assignments with other kids who seem to have more technical difficulties than actual answers to questions. 

    Then again, these are kids. They might figure out that it's fun to annoy each other and the teacher at all times during group discussion time, holding up props if muted to get others to laugh. I am not sure where it might go from here, especially if the kids are in need of social interaction and attention, cooped up in houses with scared and tired parents. 

    I am sorry to say that I don't have any perfect suggestions to teachers or parents with students about to go completely online. I suggested to my wife that the attendance be taken in a single shared Google Document each day. Write your name and an answer to an open-ended question. I also helped her with some resources, and she's adept at using Google Drive to collect assignments, so that should be fine. In fact, she created a Google Doc with links to assignments that works a lot like Google Classroom. 

    Probably the worst thing any teacher to do in a suddenly-online situation is to think he or she knows everything. You're going to have to adjust. Students will adjust with you. Some tools will fail you, while others might emerge as useful. It might be individual to the class you are teaching. The main point is that you need to keep on trying to teach, since you are one of the few segments of life that is mostly immune to layoffs at this second. If parents and schools realize online tools can replace you, then that might change for next school year, but for now, embrace your opportunity to be employed, even if the job is full of new stresses.

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  • Covidifiers Could Cure Florida
    The worst part about Florida is the hot, humid summers. I always tell people from the Midwest who are also considering moving down here that the summers are like winters up there: just stay inside. However, Floridians have a real opportunity to live Covid-19-free this summer, and it's a natural solution, maybe with a little help from my new covidifier invention (patent probably pending).


    Like Sars, Covid-19 can be killed in hot, humid conditions. The problem is that you need really hot and really humid conditions. The good news is that even in Jax, we get enough heat (86 degrees). The bad news is that we need to harness the heat and possibly add some humidity so that it's consistently 86 degrees with 80% humidity in all places at all times. That's a dew point of over 70.

    Since the biggest crisis right now in Florida is in Miami, which might get hot and humid enough to kill the virus naturally, it would be a good place to test the natural effects of heat and humidity on the Coronavirus, assuming humans can survive at this temperature and humidity. This might seem like a hoax, but I've read two reports that confirm it, one from a Southeast Asian country and another from an HVAC association in Europe. Since the country in Europe doesn't get Florida weather, the recommendation was to continue using AC units (while being careful of air recirculation and heat exchangers). The Southeast Asian official report suggested people open windows and avoid using the AC.

    I have not heard one news outlet report about the natural way of killing Covid-19. It seems that we've accepted that it's just going to spread at-will until we figure out a vaccine, and that might be the case in some states. Florida is in a unique position to be hot enough. If we need to run covidifiers (humidifiers) to help make our indoor living conditions inhospitable to Covid-19, then that might be what we have to do. Ironic, maybe, since Florida is where people died from not having air conditioning at senior living facilities, and now the best way to save those same people might be to turn off the AC.

    Keep in mind that high temps and humidity and even sunlight might kill the virus quicker, but if you're making out with someone who is infected, you're still going to come down with the virus. Or getting coughed on by someone. The argument is more that if you happen to be in the same office with someone who is a spreader, then if that office is kept at 90 degrees and maximum humidity, you might be able to work without catching Covid-19. It's probably not a trade-off we'd be willing to make in Florida unless proven in other tropical climates first.



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