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Tuesday, July 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 64.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Paper


Isthmus gives thanks for what we have

With the introduction of animated e-cards, emails and text messaging, the traditional demands of etiquette have given way to something a lot more casual -- and that's if you get a "thank-you" at all. But we like the opportunity a written thank-you provides for a thoughtful outpouring of appreciation, artfully enshrined. >More


To Kill a Turkey

Ken Wulf told me exactly what to expect. I'd hold my bird's head and body down to the ground. I'd put a paring knife in its mouth and cut the back of its throat. Then I'd hang on -- "a turkey is a very strong animal," he warned -- while its lifeblood spurted out. "You'll be able to feel it," Wulf said. "When the last heartbeat goes, you'll know it's dead." >More
 Dane County 911 Center faces the future

Kathleen Falk thinks she knows what's wrong with Dane County's 911 Center and how to fix it. What's needed, says the county executive, is new, uniform police dispatch software. >More
 Fighting fraud, or getting even?

Joe Kuemmel, a longtime Madison attorney, gives one take on the alleged conduct of a Dane County family court counselor. "We have never run across a situation like that before," says Kuemmel, referring to himself and co-counsel Sharon Segall, who together have more than 70 years of experience in family law. >More
 Recycle this: Another market crashes

The city of Madison last week boasted that its automated refuse and recycling collection saves $1.4 million a year. But these savings could be largely wiped out by a crashing market for recycled materials. >More


Conniff: Good jobs shouldn't become an unaffordable frill

This is the first time I can remember the national economic news hitting so close to home. Neighbors and friends fret about their jobs, worry about their mortgages, talk about scaling back on their spending. It's more than a downturn; there's a major psychological shift you can feel everywhere. >More
 Time for peace sign wreaths

Fresh evergreen boughs curved in a classic holiday wreath are a simple way to bring cheer. Add just three lines in the center and you have a statement of peace as well. >More
 Sticker shock

I was driving to the grocery story the other day, and what should appear in front of me but a battered Volvo covered in bumper stickers. Or perhaps I should call them rear-of-vehicle stickers since they were plastered over every square inch of the back end that would accept adhesive. >More


UW's Laura Schwendinger strikes a chord

Her hands are demonstrative. When Laura Elise Schwendinger talks about getting down to work, her hands mime the rolling up of sleeves. As she describes a violin composition, they play an imaginary violin in a manner that almost conjures it visible. >More
 Natty Nation plays reggae for soldiers overseas

With the year in music just a few weeks away from ending, I'm already prepared to issue an award in a category I just invented -- most unique tour by a Madison band. >More
 Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings rule a musical revival

Belting out such lyrics as "I can't have my cake and eat it too, so I gonna get up and walk out on you," funk-soul luminary Sharon Jones sounds like anything but a goody two-shoes. But like many divas before her, she was an angel when she discovered her pipes. >More



Fine singing, problems elsewhere in Madison Opera production of Madama Butterfly

I feared Madison Opera's presentation of Puccini's Madama Butterfly would prove two incompatible productions running simultaneously, one musical and one visual. >More
 Bartell is the heart of community theater

After six months on the job, the Bartell Community Theatre's new managing director says she's already seen big changes at the shared venue. If Sarah Hoover gets her way, even bolder changes may be coming. >More
 Successes and some snags in Autumn Heart by Kanopy Dance Company

Kanopy Dance Company's Autumn Heart, which played last weekend at Overture's Promenade Hall, was a setback for the company after its plucky goth opera, After the Fall, just last month. Some works on the Autumn Heart bill were just about right, but others fell flat. >More
 Psych: Santa's big score

Psych is my choice for TV's most underrated show. James Roday and Dulé Hill have chemistry to burn as con men who run a psychic detective agency. Every hour delivers laughs, thrills and drama as the partners bumble their way toward solving a crime. The dialogue kills, the characters jump off the screen, and the plots even squeeze a bit of poignancy in between the irony. Where oh where are the Emmy awards? >More
 SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals Confrontation

"SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals Confrontation" is basic. You choose your weapons: shotguns, rifles, machine guns, etc. Then you go online (it's an online-only game). You join an existing team of soldiers (among thousands already online), or start a team. >More


Australia: Marvelous Oz

Who says they don't make 'em like they used to? Australia, which stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman as the Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler of the Land Down Under, is a throwback to the glorious epics of yesteryear, when movies were as big as the whole outdoors. >More
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Plaka Taverna marshals comfort food with style

I never visit Chicago without a dinner at one of the Greek restaurants on South Halsted Street. Athena. Greek Islands. Pegasus. You can count on any of them for great comfort food at very modest prices. A flaming saganaki cheese served with a hearty "Oompah!" Avgolemono, that beautiful egg-lemon chicken cream soup. And my absolute favorite - succulent braised lamb with roast potatoes and green beans simmered in tomato sauce. Memories of these meals still haunt me at odd moments. >More


Drop the puck!

The official start of winter 2008 in Madison occurred Saturday morning, Nov. 22, when the irrepressible Madison Pond Hockey group dropped the puck on the big pond at the west end of Odana Golf Course. Coming a full month before the winter solstice, this marks the earliest start ever for the group's outdoor season, according to MPH's Bill Provencher. >More
 Tryptophan and adrenaline

Escaping dishwashing duty on Turkey Day has for generations meant flipping on the TV. But this year, football fans might be better off elbow-deep in suds. The Detroit Lions, the worst team in the NFL at 0-11, host the Tennessee Titans, one of the best at 10-1, in the 11:30 a.m. game on CBS. >More
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