A Milwaukee Woman Reflects On Our City’s Over-50 Online Dating Scene

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Illustration by leillo.

Searching for the fish in a modern dating sea. I am well past 25 years old, yet I am single. OK, so I am at least two-times-25, and I am single. If you are not in my age group, let me educate you. People treat this combined condition — advanced age plus the lack of a spousal unit — as if it were some manner of grievous social sin for which penance ought to be assigned. As though there are scores of erudite fellows outside my door, standing there with orchids and copies of the Rockwell Kent-illustrated edition of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare under their arms, yet I stride past them every morning, my nose in the air. As though all … Read More

5 Reasons I Love Milwaukee: Pamela Nettleton

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Photo by Getty Images

Born and raised a Minnesota girl, Nettleton came to Milwaukee only 8 years ago. The differences between Milwaukee and, say, Minneapolis, where she’s lived all her life, are marked. Here’s why she loves Milwaukee. We asked writer and July 2017 issue contributor Pamela Nettleton to share with us the reasons she loves Milwaukee. Here are her picks: East coast influence The architecture, city planning, dining and aesthetics have a palpable East Coast influence that isn’t found on the west side of the Mississippi. Or maybe even the west side of I-41. Outdoor dining, retained architecture, use of stone and brick, pleasing landscaping make a city more than livable—it’s enjoyable! Cute small towns and tidy farms Y’all call ’em “small towns” and “villages,” but in other parts … Read More

Saying Farewell to Chris Kegel of Wheel & Sprocket

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Bike photo by Getty Images; Chris Kegel photos courtesy of the Kegel family

For Wheel & Sprocket CEO Chris Kegel, bikes were a vehicle to touch lives and make a difference in the community. Biking wasn’t only Chris Kegel’s business; it was also his life. When his four kids were young, the family biked together weekly, and when it was time for Noel, the eldest, to heat off to college, the entire brood biked the freshman to school. They did a version of that tradition with each Kegel kid. “My mom drove the van, my dad biked with us, and we all did it,” laughs daughter Amelia. No short jaunts to Mount Mary College, either; the student deliveries were to Montreal, Texas, British Columbia, and Montana. “When we arrived at school, other kids … Read More

Love one another?

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If I love all the selves housed within me, including the flawed, human, insecure ones, then why would I need to hate you? This love one another stuff always confused me. When the priest would call the congregation to love one another during Mass, I was one baffled kid. Although the Bible, Sutras, Quran, Vedas, and Talmud all say the same thing—love is good—every friend of mine was taught that sex was bad. Confusing for a child still 10 years away from studying logic with Jesuits. As near as I could piece together, loving one another didn’t mean, you know, actually loving anyone—that was a sin. Some other kind of loving was the religious kind, but at 8, I could not imagine … Read More

Journalism as an Act of Grace

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First Published in U.S. Catholic, June 2017 In fourth grade, to Sister Clarita at St. Raphael’s Elementary School, I announced I would be a writer. Had I known about jobs with more status and better pay, I might have announced my intention to become a chief financial officer of a reality television network, but, c’est la vie.  I attended journalism school in the immediate post-Watergate age, at a historic moment when young journalists not only thought their jobs were to save the world, but believed that task could actually be accomplished. There was a passion and fire about breaking important public policy stories, and a real conviction that journalism was a tool for justice and social accord. It was a … Read More

The Media And #MeToo

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First Published in U.S. Catholic, March 2018 The #MeToo movement, launched by activist Tarana Burke 10 years ago, went viral in October after actress Alyssa Milano and other prominent women publicized it, and after countless women (and a few men) published the hashtag on their social media pages to indicate that they had been sexually harassed or violated at some point in their lives.  This is such a common occurrence in the lives of women that few were startled at the sheer numbers of #MeToo postings. Live long enough while being female, and it will happen to you. #NotMe is a movement that will never catch on. What is different this time is that more men are listening, that accused … Read More

Lost In Space – Again

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First Published in U.S. Catholic, September 2018 This Time, The Far-Flung Family Is A Lot More Modern Toss a family onto a deserted tropical island—or, say, an uncharted planet in outer space—and see what happens when all social and cultural conventions and pressures are swept away and parents and children are forced to work together to survive.  That was the story arc of Johann David Wyss’s Swiss Family Robinson novel in 1812, which was made into a film twice—Disney in 1960 and New Line Cinema in 1998. Then the Robinsons were reimagined as being shipwrecked not in the East Indies, but in outer space on an uncharted planet in the Lost in Space CBS television series in the 1960s.  A … Read More

Black Panther and Heroism

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First Published in U.S. Catholic, June 2018 Who gets to be a hero? In ancient Greece, heroes were half god, half human. Comic superheroes followed that classic mold—unlikely, nerdy people with exceptional abilities to leap tall buildings or fly invisible planes, celebrating the potential greatness hidden in mere mortals and making common folk feel as if they, too, might someday rise.  Heroes are products of specific moments in time. Captain America, a WWII U.S. soldier with superpowers, hit print the year of Pearl Harbor. Director Patty Jenkins’ inspiring Wonder Woman shared the same feminist zeitgeist that spawned the #MeToo movement. And, in an era of gun violence killing students in their classrooms and African Americans in their neighborhoods, the Black … Read More

Sally Field, Doris, and Older Women with Younger Men

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First Published in U.S. Catholic, June 2016 Audiences like Sally Field. They really, really like her. And in her new film, Hello, My Name is Doris (Roadside Attractions, 2016), she ispoignantly human, wonderfully funny, and enormously touching. While she is on the screen, which is nearly constantly, there is nowhere else to look. Field is delightful to watch, but what is not delightful to witness is the cultural assumption, central to the premise of the film, that a young man’s attraction to an older woman is ludicrous. A May-December romance in which the woman is December is so socially incomprehensible that a mere hint of sexual energy between a woman of a certain age and a man who isn’t marks … Read More

Madame Secretary Breaks New Ground

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First Published in U.S. Catholic, June 2017 Madam Secretary (CBS, in its third season) breaks bold new ground in media portrayals of women leaders: Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord’s friends, family, colleagues, and even the President of the United States treat her as if, in fact, she can lead.  On television and in film, when women are running corporations or countries, they are often portrayed in ways that reinforce tired stereotypes (and fears) about female leadership. Women in power are cast as unnatural, devious villains (Glenn Close’s Patty Hewes in Damages) or unnatural, icy machines (Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood in House of Cards) or unnatural, brittle witches (Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada). “Unnatural” is the key … Read More