Sergey Nivens / Fotolia

As Lake Effect essayist Christianna Fritz learned at a young age, sometimes adults have a strange reaction to an otherwise perfectly innocent word:

Essay: Groundhog Day

Feb 2, 2016
Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

By this point today, the famous groundhogs among us should have made their weather predictions for the winter.  But when you’re done reading the accounts of Punxatawney Phil and his colleagues, Lake Effect essayist Joanne Weintraub essayist Joanne Weintraub urges you to revisit a seasonally appropriate movie:

Essay: I'm Ready

Jan 28, 2016 / Fotolia

Saving lives is part and parcel of being a doctor. But as essayist Dr. Bruce Campbell well knows, it’s not the only part:

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One of the longstanding issues that advocates for both private and public schools agree on is the need for more and better role models for disadvantaged kids in Milwaukee.  It’s an issue about which Lake Effect essayist Mark Siegrist has some optimism:

Civic discourse by nature is often contentious.

Passionate debate doesn’t necessarily inspire profound expression.

We are an opinionated society.

From talk radio.

To the political arena.

Or amid public discussion on the merits of building a new arena.

Essay: A Tribute to Angelo

Jan 23, 2016
Angelo's Piano Lounge /

We lost Angelo Mortellaro last week. He was one of Milwaukee’s great characters and his former bar on Van Buren was the kind of place that is rapidly disappearing from the American landscape. Lake Effect essayist Marge Eiseman has this remembrance:

Essay: My Two Milestones

Jan 22, 2016
Hugh O'Neill / Fotolia

Lake Effect essayist Jerry Huffman recently turned 60 years old – and he already has already surpassed two big milestones for 2016. He reflects on how growing older has given him challenges not only professionally, but also physically after recovering from a stroke. Huffman explains how those events have changed his very definition of living:

jordi.martorell / Flickr

Does it feel to you like all the international news comes with a side order of doom and gloom?  Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr says there are reasons to keep our collective chin up:

“Nattering nabobs of negativism,” is probably the most enduring of the many alliterative pronouncements of Spiro Agnew, Vice President in the Nixon administration until forced to resign because of corruption. This particular phrase, penned by Nixon speechwriter William Safire, derogatively denigrated diligent reporters for placing bad news above good.

oliverhuitson / Fotolia

Some might look wistfully at a picture of urban decay in their hometown like the images photographer Eric Holubow has captured in Milwaukee.  However Lake Effect essayist Christianna Frtiz has given quite a lot of thought to her personal idea of home:

Essay: What Is it Worth?

Jan 13, 2016
NWFblogs / Flickr

Have you filled up your car at the gas station recently?  Really, if you’ve filled up any time in the last few months, the trip feels like a walk down memory lane, at least when you pay the bill.  But Lake Effect essayist Avi Lank says gas prices need to be viewed in a larger context:

Antti T. Nissinen / Flickr

Lake Effect essayist Elaine Maly's birthday is tomorrow.  But as she looks ahead to the next one, she also looks back at a notorious one from her past:

Essay: Christmas Gifts

Dec 23, 2015
mac9416 / Flickr

Tomorrrow is Christmas Eve – or maybe more accurately, tomorrow night is Christmas Eve.  Some among us will open their presents at that juncture, while others will wait until Christmas itself.

For Lake Effect essayist Elaine Maly, the timing of the gifts isn’t really the issue:

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Playwright and Lake Effect essayist Alvaro Saar Rios has told many powerful stories through his work over the years. But it was a play he didn’t write that guides his work today:

Ten years ago, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, I was living in Texas working on commission for a new play. My first draft deadline was weeks away and I still had no idea what the play was going to be about.

No. That’s not true. I did have a title.

Cari Taylor-Carlson

Today is the day before Thanksgiving. Friday is the day after, known in the retail world as Black Friday. Where will you be on that day? Just as significantly, Lake Effect essayist Cari Taylor Carlson knows where she won’t be:

In my opinion, REI, a purveyor of outdoor equipment and clothing, got it right when they announced they would close all one-hundred-forty-three stores and pay twelve thousand employees to take Black Friday off. They call it #OPTOUTSIDE. I say, instead of shopping, go find a micro adventure.

Lynn Friedman, flickr

For almost a hundred years, the descendants of a German immigrant owned the meat company he founded in Chicago in 1904. But the Oscar Mayer company was eventually sold – several times – and is now owned by Kraft Heinz. Its headquarters are currently in Madison. But as Lake Effect essayist Avi Lank notes, that, too, will soon change.

Essay: I Just Think About Not Thinking About Baseball

Nov 13, 2015
jypsygen / Flickr

Lake Effect essayist Jonathan West is not our regular sports contributor, and here’s why:

Truth be told, I can't every imagine being interested in uttering the words, "I think about baseball," to explain a clever tactic to tamp down some lusty passion. And with another World Series tidily wrapped up and put away for the season, you could say that I hit for the cycle once again.