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Saturday, December 27, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 37.0° F  Overcast
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Madison's Favorite words

Among the many definitions of the word "shank" in the dictionary are these two, which seem contradictory: "The latter or remaining part of anything, especially of a period of time," and "The early or best part of a period of time." I come upon this conflict of connotations when consulting the dictionary to see if it's appropriate to call August the "shank" of summer. I think either allows me to characterize this season-ending month as such. It's late, but it's grand.

August features cool nights and escalating talk of football - both good things, in my view. (Though enough with the Brett Favre fever, thank you.) It also is a time of grand events, such as Madison's Favorite Block Party. "Madison's Favorites" is, of course, the name given to our readers' poll of favorite things Madisonian, such as restaurants and bands. We ask folks for their opinions in June, and then reveal the results in the Annual Manual in the fourth week of August.

But we preview the results at the Block Party, taking place this year, as in recent years, on the 100 block of East Main Street. The date is Saturday, Aug. 16, and the time is 7 p.m.-midnight. That's not much over a week away as of this writing, but there is still time to get your costume together. Make sure to save the date.

On the bill will be a couple of Madison's favorite bands, Reptile Palace Orchestra (let's call them a world music band) and Houses in Motion (a Talking Heads tribute ensemble). Also part of the festivities is a Taste of Main Street, featuring food from The Local Tavern, Maduro, Casbah and Argus. Available too will be Madison's Favorite Brew, as decided by Madison's favorite readers.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs should they desire to sit. Then again, one could simply dance the night away, with the occasional breather sitting on the curb. Now, it has happened in the past that the partying is severely hampered by rain. Should that occur, the following day, Aug. 17, has been designated the rain date, same time, same place.

Oh, about those costumes - that was just a jape. There is no costume requirement, and people don't dress up for the party. I just wanted to use the word "jape", which means joke. As an adolescent I came across that word in the title of a sci-fi story I was reading. I thought it might be an illicit sexual act. I couldn't find it then in any dictionary I consulted, but it is in there now, with no alternate definitions. Damn!

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