Issue #316 September 21, 2016


still feeling the rhythm of my old band classes

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

Deep in Northwestern Wisconsin, you will find the tiny town of Webster. Just outside of Webster, out in the woods, there is a house. In the basement of this house ...

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Issue #315 September 7, 2016

Trailing Off

chasing shadows along an old Wisconsin railway

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

They say the crews of men who built the railroad tracks running through Northwestern Wisconsin would dance. As the legend goes, their hand tools were manufactured down in Chicago ...

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Issue #313 August 10, 2016


August is a time for tangled branches and rebellion

by Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

Maybe it’s because we never had sidewalks. Or a curb or a gutter. Everyone’s lawns just rolled right up the blacktop, no fancy concrete to separate the two ...

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Issue #312 July 27, 2016

Swat in Hell

something really bugs me about summer in Wisconsin

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I have hairy forearms. You wouldn’t stare at them if you were seated next to me at a restaurant or anything, but close inspection, you’d discover I maintain a robust, masculine forest or arm follicles. The same is true for my legs. So if I’m sporting a T-shirt-n-shorts combo ...

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Issue #311 July 13, 2016

Anting and Raving

when ants get organized, retreat is the only option

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I was super-freaked by the sheer variety of these ants. The diversity. Small ones. Big ones. Really big ones. Fat ones. Cute ones. Black ones. Brown ones. Reddish ones. And a certain kind of ant I only saw once or twice but will never forget because they were black like the absolute absence of joy ...

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Issue #310 June 29, 2016

Strawberry Moon

when rare events build common ground

by Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

In the days leading up to the last full moon, children were seen meandering through the downtown farmers market holding cardboard flats piled high with strawberries ...

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Issue #307 June 1, 2016

Second-Hand War Stories

how I sold a chunk of my childhood for seventy bucks

by Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

Like many men my age, as a boy, I was required by federal law to love Star Wars. For those of you who are too young to remember these laws, it’s time for a history lesson ...

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Issue #306 May 18, 2016

Bygone Derby Days

my racing days are long over, but their lessons linger

by Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

I achieved one of the few truly great victories in my life back when I was but a foolish youngster, mesmerized by the high speed, high risk, highly splinter-ridden world of Pinewood Derby Car Racing ...

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Issue #305 May 4, 2016

Public Private

finding a secluded space in the middle of the city

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I thought I was all by myself. Just me and the dark springtime water rushing along the banks. But a man came rambling from the trees ...

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Issue #304 April 20, 2016

Snowflakes and Cereal

cold mornings are still bright mornings

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Sunlight filled the backyard. We were going to have a good day. Probably. The sky swelled with electricity, a wall of screaming blue yanked up behind a mess of tree branches towering ...

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Issue #303 April 6, 2016

The Spurn Lane

lessons learned on the cold, harsh highway of life

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Like most people who have just narrowly avoided a car accident with one or more idiot drivers, I got huffy. Very huffy. The people I wanted to yell at were well on their way down the road, happily clueless to the rage they’d induced. I felt so helpless ...

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Issue #302 March 23, 2016

Why the River

local waterways show us strange things in the spring

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I’m pretty sure we saw a full size bed floating down the Chippewa River last week. My wife and I had just driven onto the Madison Street bridge when she immediately saw it. And since I have the eagle-eyed eyesight of a very old, very handsome, very blind eagle who can no longer fend for itself ...

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Issue #301 March 9, 2016

Worth Its Weight in Cold

this winter still has a lesson or two to teach

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I took my kids to a playground near our house on a Saturday towards the end of February. In most seasons, the playground is a little dead on Saturday afternoons, and we’ve usually got everything ...

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Issue #300 February 24, 2016

Sinking to New Levels

some men have greatness thrust upon them in the bathroom

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

My bathroom tried to kill me last week. And by “kill me” I mean “bludgeon me right in the face.” And by “bathroom” I mean “an old cast iron sink basin.” And by “tried” I mean “I narrowly escaped a trip to the ER.” And by “to” I mean “to.” Basically ...

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Issue #299 February 10, 2016

We Use Shovels Here

snowblowers are for people with no sense of place

by Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

Well, it took a while, but the Chippewa Valley has finally gotten what I consider to be real shovelin’ snow. That is to say, we’ve finally gotten snow that probably won’t melt on its own within a day or two, excusing me from having to physically remove it from my driveway. The most recent “snow event,” as the city is fond of saying ...

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Issue #297 January 13, 2016

Dark Winter Light

the cold curiosities we find hiding in the night

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

It’s so bright outside. In the middle of the night. I clicked off the little lamp on my nightstand, and now the bedroom windows are blooming with light. The shades are shut, but still it comes through. I think of movies where alien ships land in the backyard. But this is different.

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Issue #296 December 23, 2015

Monroe, Wisconsin

in the very beginning, I got there first

by Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Somewhere in my parent’s house, deep in a box in the basement, there’s a newspaper clipping. A grey and white photo and its caption. It shows a young woman on the very first day of 1976. She looks tired. She looks like she wasn’t really ready for a newspaper photographer to show up at the door, ask her to smile ...

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