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West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

Winter Wondering

Community, Fun, Weather

As I stepped outside this morning to let Millie the wonder dog (who could take on Marley or Bolt any day) do her biz-ness, it occurred to me that life in Wisconsin is somewhat like the directions on a shampoo bottle. You know how Head and Shoulders tells you to “lather, rinse, repeat”? Well, here in the land of cheese, we “sleep, shovel, repeat.”

This line of thinking made me think about the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and what slogan they’ve conjured up to describe and promote life in our fair state. A quick internet search uncovered the answer. Are you ready? Drumroll please…..

Wisconsin Originals.

Yeah, that was my reaction too. The campaign features noted Wisconsin natives Bonnie Blair and Ko-Thi Dance founder Ferne Caulker talking about how our state inspires them. OK, I get it, but, in my opinion, it doesn’t come close to the infamous “Escape to Wisconsin,” (not to be confused with “Escape from Wisconsin.”)

Still, it’s better than the former “Stay Just a Little Bit Longer,” “Wisconsin - You’re Among Friends” or the 2005 slogan “Life’s Good.” (Um, could you possibly be more vague?)

I think the best-conceived travel slogans should do two things - give a nod to something unique about the state and say something positive that can’t be said about any other state. One of the best and most well-known tourism slogans is “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Of course it’s a reference to the naughty side of that city, but it’s memorable and targeted. Not sure that “Wisconsin Originals” will really have the same effect.

So all of this slogan-izing made me wonder if we couldn’t come up with something a little more reality-based - maybe even a tiny bit gritty? I’m going to take a crack at it, but then I invite you, my ever-clever readers to join in on the fun.

Here goes:

“Come for the Snow, Stay for the Shoveling”
“Please Pass the Salt!”
“It’s Not for Sissies Anymore”
“Nothing Beats the Smell of Snowblowers in the Morning.”
“Nine Months of Hell for Three Months of Gorgeous.”
“Wisconsinites - The Fat, The Proud, The Frozen.”
“No Toll Booths and No Senate Seats for Sale.”

Alright, that’s enough from me. Chime in and share your wit and wisdom. (That is, in between trips outside to shovel and plow.)

High Hopes

Hope, Politics

As the nation awaits the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, there is great anticipation and excitement. Like many, I am very curious to see how the Obama administration will lead our nation through these turbulent times.


President-Elect Obama famously wrote of the “Audacity of Hope.”  Although I try never to write about politics, I thought I'd share my own personal list of “hopes” for our new president and his team:


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