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.
  • 5x110 16" wheels and tires in Jacksonville - $150 (from a Saab 9-3)
    I tried posting these tires and wheels on Craigslist, but I think everyone in Jacksonville is scared of the website, so I'll post it here instead. If this article is still online, then I have the wheels with tires in my garage, and I want them gone. The wheels came off a 2008 Saab 9-3. The tires are not matched, but they have a lot of tread. I'll share the original posting and reiterate that the wheels should work on the vehicles I list with the same bolt pattern and similar offset. 
  • Teens Send Eyes Rolling
    Have you ever heard teens or young kids talking in a way that made you roll your eyes? Obviously, you have. Anyone who is not a teen or braggadocios toddler laughs and cries on the inside any time one of these types speaks out loud. Here's an example from my Lyft travel chronicles. 

    I've picked up these teens a few times now. I'll assume they are cousins, and (based on cars in the driveway), I'd say that at least one cousin is from Missouri. Not that it really matters, except those of us who have lived in Kansas know that not a whole lot of good comes from Missouri. 

    The first time I picked up these girls, they were headed to a fairly interesting neighborhood, maybe because they lived in a very uninteresting area. I didn't think too much about it, at least until I pulled up and saw a dilapidated house with dozens of people hanging out in the parking lot that was once a residential street. And there was a bouncer. Some kind of house party. I wasn't sure it was a safe place, based on some of the partygoers who had spilled into the street and begun yelling at one another. But I am not the father of these youngins, so it wasn't really my place.

    The next time the girls got in the car, they were headed to the bars at the Beaches, which seemed odd, given that there was no way any of the three were 21. Based on the conversation on the way, I know at least one of them wasn't even 18, as she was telling her other companions that she always blocked guys on whatever social platform when they started to ask about her age. What's funny is that I did one other ride of maybe twenty minutes, and then I ended up picking these girls back up, which means for all their short skirts and attitude, they could not convince the pubs to allow them in. 

    On the ride to the bars, it was mostly about the under-18 friend telling the others about her desirability. Beyond the InstaSnap example, she also discussed several guys who were texting her, as well as the one or two she was actually dating. She said one guy said he'd kill himself (or her, or both) if she ever cheated on him, but she also implied that's exactly what had been happening. I'm not sure it was with the other guy she'd been chatting with, but one was, according to her, the top rated high school athlete in the country. That made me laugh, but her friends didn't question it one bit. It reminded me of when I took a bunch of German interns out to a bar in Madison, WI, and two guys there started telling the girls they were actors. My friend and I then started telling the interns that we too were actors. FYI guys, girls will believe you are the top rated athlete in the country or an actor, if you want to play it that way. My friend and I had a girl back in high school convinced we were nationally-ranked ultimate frisbee competitors.

    So these high schoolers were all excited about the bars and online boyfriend's. But, like I said, twenty minutes after the drop-off, I was taking them back home. No one said a single word until the vixen got a phone call from her mom, and she told her mom several times that they were now in the car and heading home. I am sure there is a story I don't know, like mom had the phone lojacked or mom got a call from a bouncer. Either way, it's probably for the best that mom got involved and that these high school girls looking for trouble didn't find it.

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    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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  • Why Are You Wearing a Mask? Teachable Moment Lost
    As an UberLyftGrubHub-type independent contractor, I am supposed to wear a mask when I work the side hustle. I am generally OK with it, but I have been mask-shamed enough in Jacksonville that it's time to write about my experiences so that (hopefully) others don't have to deal with the same bullying. 

    Yes, I (and other people) will be driving around with masks on, even all alone. These people might be driving other people around in a rideshare, they might be delivering food or supplies, or they might be just around the corner from picking up Grandma. The point is that people who are wearing masks all alone in a vehicle, probably have a reason to be wearing that mask, and no one is wearing a mask to ridicule you or your president. 

    I have had three people in less than a month decide to ask me why I was wearing a mask. The latest was potentially the best opportunity to turn the situation into a teachable moment, but I instead acted in anger (with a touch of worry), so I missed the chance. I'd like to take the opportunity to add a little to the initial interaction now. 

    A high school-aged girl rolled down her window as I sat at a red light. "Why are you wearing a mask when you're all alone?" 

    "I am driving for UberLyft and it's required, Babe,"was my first response. I don't normally call girls/women "babes," but I was feeling a little sassy. She smiled and was satisfied, but that's when anger took hold of me instead of reason. "And so I don't have to smell you," I added. 

    She was quick enough to bring back, "Yeah, people are pretty gross," as she rolled up her window. But that's not how it was supposed to end, with her making a Tik Tok video about the mean UberLyft guy who said she smelled bad. Actually, I tamed my response way down BECAUSE she was so young, since I've been preparing some real zingers, but I've also thought of some more important things I could have said. So here's what I really meant to say. 

    "None of us are all alone."No man is an island entire of itself. We are all in this together, and we need to be responsible for each other. This answer would not have addressed the specifics, but it might have gotten an important point across. All the young people, like this girl, deciding to head out for no real reason, may not realize that when the bell tolls, it tolls for them. 30, 40, 50 deaths PER DAY in Florida have mostly been preventable, at least a percentage of them. So what if I over-wear my mask to protect others (or myself) just a little bit more than the CDC even requires? 

    "Why aren't YOU wearing a mask?" This answer might not always work, but this white girl was sitting next to her Blasian/Whack/Blaxican friend. I only mention the other girl's race because it led me to assume they were not siblings (and combining race names is an interesting use of language, and two friends out for a drive during a pandemic should both be wearing masks. If Kaitlyn goes and infects her grandma with Type-2 Diabetes because she got a virus from an asymptomatic friend, then Kaitlyn will feel guilty. I met a guy who said he brought Covid-19 home to his dad and his dad died. While the guy I met did not seem to blame himself (and that's probably the best response), I couldn't help but feel like I would have blamed myself. Anyone who refuses to wear a simple mask and then carries a deadly virus to a loved one should feel guilty. I'd feel guilty even if the virus got through my mask. Yes, you should feel guilty if you show up to school or a nursing home with the flu, but Covid-19 is marginally worse than the flu, AND it's been covered by the media enough to remind you. 

    "I don't want to smell all the BS from people like you." This response is taking it more political. I hear a lot of people who say Covid-19 is overhyped or fake. I assume that people who are going to bother to call me out for wearing a mask (while not wearing a mask next to a non-family member) do not believe in pandemics, masks, or science. 

    "Jacksonville stinks!" I kind of like this open-ended version of the previous answer, since it's not putting her down overtly. But it still is. And it's not making it all political, but it still is, if you read into it. But I am pretty sure these two teens were fairly shallow, so she probably would have just assumed I was being completely literal. 

    "I don't want to have to hurt your grandma/mom if I give her a ride, so I strap on protection." This one is probably my favorite of the comebacks I have considered since the latest incident. I might have even thought of it at the time, but when I saw two teenage girls, I decided to tone it down a few notches. Still, the double entendre here is pretty funny. But it's also true. 

    "I'm a real American." Just reverse psychology here. Most people who think masks are wrong somehow see them as an afront to patriotism, but nothing is more patriotic than sacrificing for the good of your country.

    Don't read the following comeback unless you are over 17 or are being supervised by an adult:
    "Because your / your mom's ________ -_________ed __________ ________ of _________ _________'s __________  that has been used to __________ various _______ stars, _________, and models/wives (who are also basically ____________s) , and your boyfriend/dad has _________ from ______ing too much of _________'s _________, and the only reason your ________ist boyfriend/dad votes for the ____________ is because he wants the government to force __________ to not have __________ but then not force him to wear masks for basically the same reason, and he also probably would rather be ____________ing a super porn whore model star wife than you/your mom. And he wants to be rich, but he won't be through any ability of his own, just like his favorite president." If people want to make simple, proven science into another political debate and say that I am somehow weak for wearing a mask because a self-professed germaphobe and completely amoral president calls the pandemic names instead of encouraging the use of common sense, then I can be just as nasty as anyone, and I don't need a gun or red trucker hat to back me up. And those of you who support Trump don't need his permission to make a decision that might save a loved-one's life. You are the epitomy of stupid Americans and are embarrassing the rest of us, and while being a stupid American is usually just synonymous with being wasteful, this time you are saying your personal freedom to be a stupid American is more important than preserving the lives of millions of older fellow stupid Americans who mostly vote for the same stupid people as you. Play along, at least until we decide whether or not a vaccine is going to happen. If a vaccine doesn't seem like it's possible, feel free to abandon the masks and give your grandma and favorite hooker one last hug.



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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
  • The Right Way to Update Your Old Website
    I updated a website several years ago for a church in Milwaukee. Basically, it had a website that was broken (and potentially hacker-dangerous) because it was built on Joomla 1.0 technology. The church assumed I would be building a whole new website, but when I saw that several articles were approaching 10,000 hits, I figured it was better to migrate the website. 
  • Shell Fuel Rewards Simple Enough Until it Gets Complicated, But You Should Have It
    When I decided I needed Top Tier gas and then AAA switched rewards from Gate to Shell, it seemed like a perfect match. My 5¢ per gallon discount would make the slightly more expensive Shell gasoline about the same price as the non-Top Tier options. And it's really pretty easy to
    Save Money at Shell.
  • Classic Chevys in Jacksonville
    In the past year, I have seen several classic Chevrolet vehicles in Jacksonville, and as I continue to see them, I will add photos and descriptions. While most older Chevys you see around here are stranded on the side of the road, some still look the way they did on the showroom floor. 
  • Why I Chose a Single-Stage 16 SEER Heat Pump
    I needed two new heat pumps for the house, so I went and got my obligatory quotes. I won't get too much into the process right now (or even the company I chose), since what I wanted to do was concentrate on why a single-stage heat pump is just fine, even in Jacksonville, and even as dual-stage and multi-stage (variable speed) units are much sexier. 

    Cost
    You can expect to pay a few thousand dollars more for a dual stage system, and then a few thousand more than that for a multi-stage. Having two systems (upstairs and downstairs), I could have easily doubled my bill. My lowest quote for a 14 SEER single-stage system was around $7500, while I had two salesmen try to push me into the multi-stage systems for nearly $15,000. These are different companies and different brands, but there is almost no way to recoup the cost. One technician doubling as a salesman (and NOT pushing multi-stage) said you can expect maybe $5 to $10 a month per higher SEER in savings. So an extreme example would be from 14 to 21 SEER. A difference of 7 for each unit or 14 for the set, and a savings of $140 per month (which isn't even possible based on what I pay right now, but whatever). Maybe $1500 a year if you are a total energy hog. So, that $15,000 unit is finally going to start saving you money after its fifth year in service. Theoretically. 

    There is a way to take a lower-SEER heat pump and boost it a bit with a variable speed air handler, but the cost of turning a 14 SEER into a 14.5 SEER for my house would have cost only $400 less than just buying the 16 SEER unit, partially because the 16 SEER qualified for the $150 JEA rebates ($300 on two units). However, you might find that a special air handler can help your budget system operate more efficiently. 

    I should also mention the option of fixing the current system. Since it's the old refrigerant, it would have cost a lot, and I know that both units were leaking. So you figure $1,000 for maybe a year or two of operation (if we were lucky). If the refrigerant wasn't outdated (or if the realtor guy from next door was offering to come fill mine up like he did that one at midnight), then I might have rolled the dice, but my wife would have been very upset had I blown $1,000 now and then still had to replace one or both units in six months. 

    It's also worth mentioning that most AC places will offer revolving credit loans at 0% interest. The one I am getting is for one year at 0%, but some go as high as five years, though that will sometimes disqualify you for other offers. One HVAC owner/salesman said that he would give me a better cash price and that the 0% offers all had fees built in, but he also sold me hard on the variable speed option. And his cash price was still higher than another installer with the same product offering 60 months of 0%, so go figure. Some warnings: 0% credit card loans (through Wells Fargo) are going to lower your credit score until paid off, since they are considered revolving credit rather than a loan. And you'll owe all kinds of interest if you miss a payment, so be careful with them. 

    Efficiency
    I was reading an article from SFGate that said that two-stage units don't tend to get close to listed SEER ratings. It's probably like the old MPG ratings, or some of the electric car MPG ratings. Perfect world ratings. Back in 2006, two-stage units were only getting 60 to 85% of advertised efficiency. I am not sure if a newer study has looked at real-world performance in multi-staging, but the article said that single stage unit SEERs were pretty accurate. Salesmen seem to make you think the multi-stage units are so efficient that JEA will be owing YOU money every month, but the reality is that I spend less than $200 a month on electric, and even if my AC accounts for $150 of that total, there is no way two 21 SEER units are going to save me $10 a month per SEER over my 10 SEER system, since that would be like $220 in savings each month, and I only spend $150. If we instead just say a 15 SEER is 1.5 times as efficient and a 20 SEER is twice as efficient as my 10 SEER setup, then my 20 SEER bill for electric would be $75 per month, and maybe $70 for a 21 SEER. And a 15 seer might be $100 a month instead of $150. A 14 SEER might be closer to $110 a month, or $40 more than the 21, meaning the real efficiency savings of investing in unit double the price would take around 15 years to realize the savings in initial cost through efficiency, right about at the time you'll need to replace the unit. 

    The first salesman also tried to convince me that my 10 SEER units were so old (16 years) that they were no longer operating at 10 SEER. He even had some kind of pseudo-mathematical equation of how much efficiency is lost every year, and he claimed that the 20+ SEER unit he was selling me was going to stop that yearly loss of efficiency. However, he failed to take into account the new unit's own yearly loss of efficiency. It's not like you're installing a NEW 21 SEER unit every year, so it will presumably also be affected by the same loss. And I don't really buy it, anyhow. I have a 1986 Bertone X 1/9 that has consistently averaged 30 mpg highway for me since I bought it in 1996, and that's above the 26 mpg EPA estimate. It doesn't like to start consistently, but the efficiency of the engine has remained pretty constant over time. So I just don't think I buy that there's a loss of SEER efficiency just by a unit running, as long as it's operating properly. Maybe I am all wrong here, but the fact remains that I'm not paying $500 a month for AC right now, and I don't expect that a new unit will slash the prices to nothing.

    Maintenance
    Theoretically, a two-stage or multi-stage heat pump could cost more in maintenance. More parts. More technology running those parts. Fewer techs who can handle the system. Shorter track record. I guess I'd assume it's basically a wash, since most techs probably know what to do, and the warranty periods are the same. No, your great-uncle who can fix anything probably won't be able to fix your multi-stage heat pump, just like you shouldn't let him touch your Tesla for repairs. 

    I read one article that implied that the jury is out on whether or not multi-stage units will hold up over the long haul, since machines are generally created to be on or off rather than operate at all different percentages. I remember people making similar arguments against cruise control for cars, but in reverse, saying that car engines weren't meant to run at the exact same rpm all the time. Mainly, we just don't know if the repair rate will somehow be higher in multi-stage units because they spin slowly for a good portion of the day. It will probably prove to be about the same as single-stage for repairs, but I wasn't sure I wanted to be in the test group for a new way of running AC units. The next decade will tell if variable speed compressors are as reliable (or more reliable) than single speed ones, but I wasn't terribly interested in being part of the experiment. 

    Resale
    I live in a middle-of-the-road neighborhood in Jacksonville. Houses go for $200,000 up to around $400,000. We have to be careful that we don't over-update our house. The house I own in Milwaukee has quartz counters and is probably the highest-valued house on the block, but we'll never recover the investment on the counters because of the area. People shopping for a house in my neighborhood will mostly see single speed heat pumps in the other homes. And looking around, I see plenty of Goodman units, so it's not like the neighbors are all purchasing multi-stage Carriers. If we sell in the next five years, a newish 16 SEER unit will still be about average. If our house was in Ponte Vedra or Avondale, buyers would expect variable speeds and UV filters, but not really in East Arlington. Besides, most people moving to my part of Jacksonville are moving from outside of Florida, often from cooler climates. I didn't even know what a heat pump was until I got here, and I had no clue that central air units could operate at different speeds. Since realtors aren't HVAC salesmen, it would be hard for them to explain why one house is worth $5,000 more than another one just because of some fancy AC. 

    If you really need to be super-comfortable or have breathing or other health issues, then a multi-stage, variable-speed, perfect-all-the-time system might make sense, even in a middle-class house. You might find a buyer with a kid who has asthma or a couple with their first child on the way. I understand that we might have to adjust the temperature once in a while to force the new heat pump to kick in or turn off, but I'd rather save the thousands on the heat pump to invest in windows that will help resale value and to control the temperature fluctuations in the house. 

    Conclusion
    Highly-efficient heat pumps still do not make cooling or heating your house free, so you need to weigh the benefits of two-stage or variable speed compressors against the initial cost. You are not going to make up the difference in energy savings or resale value very quickly (if at all), so it really has to be about the desire to have an extra-comfortable environment inside your home. If you work from home or plan on extended time at home with various pandemics over the next decade, then it's probably worth the money. About half of the sales people coming to your house will push the higher-end models, and the real sleazy ones will try to make sure your wife is part of the conversation so that he can use one of you against the other. You need to make the right choice for you, however. Right now and in a middle class neighborhood, that  best overall choice is probably still single-stage

    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
  • Get a Job in JAX During the Pandemic

    Lyft is looking for drivers in Jacksonville. If, for some reason, you are sick of collecting you Florida UI AND your federal bonus cheese, then apply for Lyft here. You'll get to get out of the house, take possibly-infected people around for rides, put lots of miles on your car, see Jacksonville, and get a tip from about 10% of your riders.
  • Florida Unemployment Officially Denied Me Anything, I Guess
    I assume this is it. After hours of trying to get my unemployment application submitted (online and through the mail), I have officially been deemed ineligible. I was expecting this, kind of. I understood that I should have received an email or link of some sort in order to at least claim my self-employed federal unemployment. However, I never received an email, link, letter, phone call, or anything. Just a note on my application that says "ineligible." 
  • Profiles in Courage: The "Be as Cool as You Can be" Guy
    I hadn't heard a good catch phrase in a while. Sure, plenty of guys like to greet me with, "Hey, Boss!" or similar. But that's not really a catch phrase. My brother-in-law likes to use, "Living the dream," when people ask how he's doing, but he was thwarted during my past visit when he asked someone else how she was doing and she said, "Living the dream." I am sure he has since worked on an alternative in case this happens again, but he had nothing at that particular moment. A co-worker of my wife, when presented with a similar inquiry, always says, "Mighty fine; mighty fine," so I am offering that as Plan B for my bro.

    I like to use the Airplane line with my wife when she complains about work or schedules or cooking or dust on baseboards: "Remember, we're all counting on you." She probably thinks it's trite of me to say it, but I mean it, and sometimes I blast her with the old standby of, "You can do it, Duffy Moon!" But that's for special occasions.

    With little social interaction as of late, hearing an honest-to-goodness catch phrase was a big deal for me, which I heard from a dude (visiting one of my neighbors) as he mounted his scooter: "Be as cool as you can be."

    I like that. It's not telling someone to go out there and be cooler than he can, and it's not implying that there's some level of coolness Nirvana that is unobtainable. It's like something The Dude might say, not just some dude in a Jacksonville driveway. What I also liked was that this guy was riding a tiny scooter and being safe with a helmet, which means he was deciding for himself what was as cool as he could be rather than social norms or peer pressure. 

    Conventional wisdom might suggest that the capacity for coolness is much smaller for someone riding a scooter or who might not look like The Fonz, but I think this random dude in a neighbor's driveway was channeling The Dude in a pretty cool way. Whether you're out bowling with your buds, scootering with your homeslices, protesting with fellow believers, yachting with the yacht club, or getting Jagd up at a Jags game, you should always remember to be as cool as you can be. I think that if we all remember that, most of us won't yell obscenities at the scooter guy as we pass him on Atlantic when he's doing 35mph.

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