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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Issue #362 July 11, 2018

Going the Distance

my idea of competition doesn’t involve a whole lot of running

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

Competition is not my strong suit. Sure, I like to win things. Board games. Scavenger hunts. Million-dollar lotteries, things like that. But contests involving the phrase “high stakes” do not fire me up. They never have. And here’s an example ...

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Issue #361 June 27, 2018

Cart to Cart

how to win friends and influence pretzel nuggets

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

You know what I just love? Being all friendly like. I love running into friends and neighbors and chatting it up. I love catching up and reconnecting and staying in touch and sharing precious ...

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Issue #359 May 30, 2018

List Connections

putting the stress in summertime fun

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Erik Christenson

Each summer, my kids make a list of all the Super Summertime Fun Stuff they’d like to do after school lets out. I’m sure you’ve seen, heard of, or perhaps made a list like this at some point in your life ...

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Issue #358 May 16, 2018

A Sporty Retorty

I’ve never gotten along with sports, and perhaps I never will

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

This is a story I love to tell. I end up telling it all the time. At the bar. At parties and get-togethers. In the car and at family gatherings. In awkward conversations with people I hardly know while waiting ...

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Issue #356 April 18, 2018

6 Horrible Ways to Park Your Car

honking a metaphorical horn at all you awful parkers

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

It will surprise you to learn there are things at which I am slightly below average. For instance? Frisbee golf. I am not so good at that. Waterskiing? Just awful. C++ computer programming? Laughable. Freestyle rap battling? Don’t get me started ...

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Issue #355 April 4, 2018

It’s a Yard Knock Life

as spring arrives, frozen shame begins to thaw

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Huzzah. Spring is all but here. The snow will soon be gone. And like most of you, I long for warmer weather. I can’t wait to slip on my very masculine sandals, and the prospect of busting ...

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Issue #353 Mar. 7, 2018

Surface Tension

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

As soon as he drilled the holes something felt wrong. When we shuffled between them, water would blurble up through the openings and spread out over the ice, forming deep puddles ...

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