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Wednesday, November 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 20.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Paper


Our city, our lakes

Madison is and always has been viewed by its residents as a special city. Why? The three most common answers are: It's the capital of the state. It's the home of the university. It's the lakes. Remove any of these key ingredients and you profoundly change the equation. All are needed. However, it is my conclusion that the lakes have played the largest role in making Madison special. How, when and why did the lakes come to exert such a commanding influence on this city? The answers are fascinating and replete with lessons for tomorrow. Let's begin with the most important ways that the lakes shaped Madison. I count nine. >More


In the line of duty?

The decision to posthumously honor Calumet County Sheriff's Deputy Charles Hansen is set in stone -- literally. His name was recently added to the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial on the Capitol Square. But for Patricia McNaughton and other members of her family, the honor is like an open wound. >More
 Looking beyond the corn subsidies

Doug Olson is a survivor. The Stoughton-area farmer credits his continued success to two factors: competitive expansion and government subsidies. >More
 Power snooping

Doug Moe blew it. So did Melanie Conklin. Two weeks back, Watchdog revealed that a relatively new service offered by Madison Gas and Electric allows anyone with access to the Internet to learn the monthly high, low and average energy use of any residence in the utility's service area. (Just go to under "Average Energy Use and Cost.") >More



The drunken girls dancing in the rain manage to keep their cigarettes lit and most of the beer in their cups. This is a unique Milwaukee talent. But even the pros falter after six hours on the Summerfest jobsite. >More
 Indifferent stewards

Early in the morning, I'm at Lake Monona playing fetch with the dog. It's a great way to greet the day and experience the lake. Through the seasons I see it all: the spring melt, the clear water, the weeds, the algae, the putrification. And, oh boy, the foul smell of decay. >More
 Four's company

So I now turn to you, oh great one. Is it in fact a ménage á quatre every time we try to be alone with someone? >More


#1 Fan

On Jan. 29, 1996, Ben Folds Five played a show at Madison's Club de Wash - three weeks before the esteemed venue was destroyed in the Hotel Washington fire. Kiki Schueler thought about going to that show, but she couldn't convince any of her friends to come along. So she stayed home. It's a decision that has shaped her life ever since. >More
 Underground Man

Five years ago, Matt Fanale organized a musical going-away party for a member of the Madison industrial/ electronic hybrid Stromkern. He called the event Reverence, and it lasted just one night.This week the fifth annual Reverence (July 25-28) runs a full four nights, with shows at the Inferno and the High Noon Saloon. >More
 Getting political

Don't throw Third Eye Blind in with all those other post-grunge bands that most of us haven't thought about since 1998. Unlike Silverchair, Candlebox and Seven Mary Three, Third Eye Blind set themselves apart from Nirvana. They invoked elements of grunge, but turned out hits that were happy and danceable, not dark and cathartic. >More



A tragedy in the making

Madison's oldest theater company is in crisis. Next week Madison Theatre Guild may be kicked out of the shared venue it helped found, the Bartell Community Theatre. The company faces crippling debt; its nonprofit status is at risk; it's in organizational disarray; it's operating in violation of state and federal law and its own bylaws. It is extremely late in announcing its fall season or even contracting for stage space. >More
 Rest in peace

Madison Repertory Theatre makes a foray into the realm of musical theater this summer, and in signature style, the company refuses to aim low. The Rep takes on Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, often called the greatest American musical of all. >More
 Touched by an angel

Saving Grace (Monday, 9 p.m., TNT) starts great, with Holly Hunter leaping off the screen as an unapologetically randy detective. She's introduced buck naked, having gleeful sex with an otherwise worthless stud. She smokes, drinks, drives too fast, punches out sexual harassers and wears bad-girl sunglasses, all with panache. The first 15 minutes of Saving Grace are as enjoyable as any TV I've see this year. >More
 Male-Female Bonding



Big is beautiful

If ever there were a happy summer movie, it's Hairspray. But for all its bubbly musical numbers and effervescent good humor, this film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical feels oddly lacquered - it's John Waters by way of Disney. >More
 Oddballs in love

Eagle vs Shark is a dork-chic romance à la Napoleon Dynamite about two Kiwi oddballs. But it's gentler and more lyrical, with angular cinematography interwoven with surreal stop-motion sequences about the lives of discarded apple cores who find love together. >More
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Jar expert

A few weeks ago I bought a jar of rhubarb-passion fruit preserves from Lee Davenport's new stand, Pamplemousse Preserves, at the Northside Farmers' Market. A deep burgundy color and filled with neatly cut chunks of rhubarb, it was stunningly good, which led me to consume most of it straight from the jar. >More
 Drink your fruit

There's nothing like stirring the third pot of mac and cheese of the day, while listening to your son and his friends cackle maniacally "yo' mama's so old she farts out dust!" to make you feel that motherhood is grossly undercompensated. Two things saved my life that summer. My friends and a pitcher of sangría. >More


Shoe fetish

Okay, so I've got a footwear fetish. There. I said it. Go ahead, laugh and call me Imelda. But don't expect me to reform anytime soon. This is not a plea for intervention. It's a warning to others. >More
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