Essay: Phrase Book

Apr 7, 2016
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Foreign language phrase books have a tendency to keep things simple. Making connections in a foreign language, however, are rarely that straight forward. Lake Effect essayist Kirsten Wisniewski has learned that no matter how well you speak a language, sometimes the phrase book has more to teach you:

I’ve got a ton of books in Austria. One day I’ll either have to send a very expensive box back to the US or I’ll have to ditch them. Either way, heartbreak will ensue.

Essay: The One Constant

Mar 30, 2016
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When I was a boy, my father and grandfather fought for my soul, taking me either to Cubs games at Wrigley Field (Northsider Dad) or White Sox games at Comiskey Park (Southsider Papa). We went so often that I thought the national anthem’s last words were “Play ball!” Paternal love won out, I suppose — I became a benighted Cubs fan. Also, I loved Ernie Banks, the irrepressible Mr. Cub.

Since You Never Asked: 'All Day Breakfast'

Mar 29, 2016
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Lake Effect essayist Jonathan West is a big fan of chewing. But he says there is a time and a place for everything:

Since you never asked…

…it’s important for me to let you know that if you ever invite me to eat from the all-day-breakfast menu I will fling my plate of corned beef hash and poached eggs right at your freshly poured after work martini. Listen to my words, “Breakfast.  It’s what’s for BREAKFAST!”

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In 2013, 5 exabytes of data were created every day. That’s five billion gigabytes each day. To put that in context, 5 exabytes of content were created between the birth of the world and 2003.

In 2016 it’s safe to say there is even more information created daily and then stored in data clouds around the world, and there’s no end in sight. And as essayist Art Cyr reminds us, the battle over who has access to all that information is still being fought:

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Despite is relatively small size, downtown Milwaukee can sometimes have large city-style issues with on-street parking.  At the same time, there have been some parking innovations worth mentioning.

Resident Lake Effect curmudgeon Jonathan West has some thoughts about one of them:

Since you never asked…

Since You Never Asked: "OMG You Need to Stop the LOL"

Feb 29, 2016
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Facebook made news last week when it rolled out a group of emoticons to go along with its infamous “like” button.  Those new options, like “wow” and “angry,” have generated perhaps predictable controversy.

No one asked Lake Effect essayist Jonathan West, but he believes the downfall of communication goes a fair amount further back:

Since you never asked…

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Lake Effect presents “Since You Never Asked” - a new series from contributor and essayist Jonathan West. This week, Jonathan rehearses his Oscar acceptance speech:

Since you never asked…

…here is my Academy Award acceptance speech.  You’ll hear it again, of course, when I win all the Oscars.

(Clears throat.) Uh, hmm.

Mr. George Clooney, when you just tore open that envelope and said my name, I literally could not believe my ears. I’m thrilled that I can now call you, “the handsome man who read my name off of a card.”

Essay: Love Lost

Feb 12, 2016
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If you needed reminding, Sunday is Valentine’s Day. And Lake Effect essayist Joanne Nelson uses the occasion to think about her Milwaukee girlhood and loves gone by.

Chris Connelly, flickr

All the concern about immigration and border security has Lake Effect essayist Avi Lank thinking about a time when, at least along the US/Canadian border, things were a little different.

Between Montreal, Quebec, and Syracuse, N.Y., there is a large river, high mountains and an international border. In the 1940s, when my Canadian father was courting my American mother, the border was the least of those barriers.

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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
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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
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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: