Issue #382 April 17, 2019

The Clog of War

stick with it until your worries drain away

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

When it was over, relief washed over me like a gush of clear water rinsing the dirty suds from a dinner plate. When it was over, a knot of muscles between my shoulder blades magically untied itself ...

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Issue #380 March 20, 2019

4 Ways to Complain About Winter 2019

‘tis the season of weather-related problems – remember to mix it up

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

This winter, as you may have heard, has been bat-crap crazy. Soul-crushing cold gave way to roof-crushing snowfall which gave way to basement-destroying flood water. Any day now, we can expect ice demons to rise up ...

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Issue #379 March 6, 2019

Snow and Behold

this winter has been ... um ... who cares anymore?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

I believe the weather outside has transcended the physical reality we all share and experience here in northwestern Wisconsin. The weather has escaped its normal confines, and it has clearly invaded ...

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Issue #378 February 20, 2019

In the Sick of It

coping with winter sickness, one complaint at a time

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

I don’t get sick very often. At least, not in the classical sense. I might have a day or two here and there when my throat is scratchy or my nose is running, and I randomly utter things like, “Ugh. I think I’m getting sick.”

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Issue #377 February 6, 2019

My Best of the Worst

Do you think your struggles are the worst?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

In the grand scheme of one’s life, is this a noteworthy accomplishment? Is this one of the few remarkable tidbits I’d like people to remember about me? Is this a deed I hold dear to my heart? Am I proud of this?

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Issue #376 January 23, 2019

Chain of Reasoning

Why do we take things that don’t belong to us?

Mike Paulus, design by Taylor McCumber

Back in third or maybe fourth grade, I had a chain. It was about 30 feet long. Small links, maybe one inch each. I went outside and played with it when I got bored ...

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Issue #375 January 9, 2019

Twenty-Eighteen Things

a quick look back at some stuff that happened in the last 365 days

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Taylor McCumber

Well, what do you know, it’s 2019. To celebrate, let’s look back at a small selection of 2018’s more notable happenings. And by “notable happenings” I mean “the stuff only I care about” because I’m the one writing this ...

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Issue #374 December 26, 2018

On the Paper Trail

a stranger's lost to-do list sparks many, many questions

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

Winter is an important time for me. Because wintertime is the time in which I found a handwritten shopping list on the floor of a grocery store. It was late at night, Dec. 13 (a Wednesday), and the store was almost empty ...

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Issue #373 December 12, 2018

Unleash the Extension Cords

’tis the season for judging your neighbor’s holiday decor

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

The holiday yard over-decorator has gotten a pretty bad rap over the years. Their plastic-packed yards, while revered by some, are largely considered gaudy and gratuitous. “Why turn your yard into a spectacle?” people ask ...

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Issue #372 November 28, 2018

What’s Pine Is Pine

keeping it real during the jolliest time of year

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

There used to be a place on the north side of Eau Claire where you could go out into the woods and cut your own Christmas tree. I don’t remember much about the place except you bought the tree from ...

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Issue #371 November 14, 2018


exploring the tools we use to get by

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

My dad showed me how. He said look at your compass. Look at the direction you need to go. Pick out a tree in that direction. Walk to it. Then do that again and again until you’re out of the woods. And in general, if you’re trying to walk in a straight line through a rectangular patch of trees, this is good advice ...

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Issue #370 October 31, 2018

The Horror

without VHS tapes and HBO, my childhood would have been a lot less traumatic

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

For a moment, allow yourself to consider the noble VHS tape – the bygone ruler of home entertainment. The black plastic exterior of this rectangular icon has housed a collective eon of visual delight ...

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Issue #369 October 17, 2018

Halloween Dreams

if you’re gonna scare, you might as well scare big

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

Let’s hear it for the good people of the Chippewa Valley going all out on Halloween decorations. I raise my cauldron of foggy potion to you, good sirs and madams, for you are out there frighting the good fright ...

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Issue #368 October 3, 2018

Autumn’s Up

It’s a pumpkin spice world. We’re just living in it.

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Yes, I agree with you. There are far too many pumpkin spice-flavored novelty food items in our grocery stores, many of which barely make sense. Pumpkin spice coffee? That’s expected. Pumpkin spice breakfast cereal? Fine. Pumpkin spice Triscuit crackers?

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Issue #367 September 19, 2018

The Stars Grow Brighter

you’ll see things changing if you bother to look up

Mike Paulus

The stars grow brighter. Standing here in Wisconsin on this half of the planet, the part we (for no good reason) call the top, the stars are getting easier to see. But it’s just beginning ...

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Issue #366 September 5, 2018

Playing La Cucaracha

piano keys and grade school are hard to navigate

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

One time in grade school I was on the playground attempting to play basketball with my buddies when a younger kid named Benny walked up to me and said, “So, Mr. Paulus. I hear you play the piano.”

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Issue #363 July 25, 2018

Hair Naked

revealing tales of fantastic follicles

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Mackenzie Kavanagh

y earliest hair-related memories (besides seeing my Dad with his shirt off) involve my mom shuffling me off to her salon in Eau Claire. She’d have one of the ladies cut my hair as I entertained the entire shop with my unbearably ...

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