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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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What in East Town is this? And where?
What in East Town is this? And where?

A Downtown quiz

In honor of Downtown Employee Appreciation Week -- and the start of State Fair -- I offer up this little quiz. Be the first to post a talkback with correct answers to the questions accompanying all five images and you'll win a pair of State Fair tickets.

A hint: folks working in East Town have a leg up, because all of these images, taken in the heart of Downtown, are east of the Milwaukee River.

1. Cut limestone motif. Where is it?

2. Old street number system. What's the current address?

3. What and where is this?

4. Downtown coffee. Which cafe?

5. Chinese. What and where is it?

Should Tony LaRussa's Hall of Fame plaque be marked in the same way he feels steroid era players' should be if they get in?
Should Tony LaRussa's Hall of Fame plaque be marked in the same way he feels steroid era players' should be if they get in? (Photo: Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com )

Should managers get a Hall of Fame asterisk, too?

This morning, I heard retired baseball manager Tony LaRussa on NPR's "Morning Edition" talking about his induction this weekend in the the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

LaRussa managed the White Sox from 1979 to '86, the A's from '86 to '95 and the Cardinals from '96 until his retirement in 2011. He won three World Series, including one with Oakland in '89 and two with the St. Louis in 2006 and 2011.

Love him or hate him -- and folks seem to vehemently do one or the other -- there's no denying LaRussa boasts an impressive resume and obviously Hall of Fame-quality credentials.

But his comments this morning about the players who would clearly be in the Hall were it not for the steriod-era scandals -- Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were named by LaRussa -- especially caught my attention. LaRussa didn't hedge. McGwire, he said, should be inducted.

"The only thought I have is that you acknowledge that there's that one period, that there's a lot of questions — not just about the poster boys, but about other guys," he told Steve Inskeep. "And if you had Hall of Fame credentials, then if you get in, there's an asterisk on your plaque that says, 'Look, we have a question.'"

This got me wondering. As a guy whose World Series-winning A's team, for example, was fueled at least in part by McGwire (who hit 33 homers that year, though batted only .231), is LaRussa's record as a manager tainted in any way by players' steroid use?

If a player's success deserves an asterisk as being potentially inflated by drug use, does that suggest that the team and its manager also benefited from that drug use? On one hand, it seems obvious that if top players' performance is enhanced and their numbers have lifted a team to the World Series, that ring is at least a little tarnished.

Then, add in the fact that baseball numbers crunchers have suggested that a manager's own effect on a team across a 162-game season is small:

"Sabermetrics tells us that most dugout deci…

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Take a quick tour up through the Milwaukee Public Library dome.
Take a quick tour up through the Milwaukee Public Library dome.

9 pictures of the Central Library dome: inside and out

Today, I visited the Milwaukee Public Library's beautiful Central Library to do research for a couple upcoming stories. While I was there, I asked to see the dome.

The stately and ornate library building, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., was built between 1893 and 1897 and was designed by architects Ferry & Clas. It's made of Bedford (Indiana) limestone and the interior has incredible tile work, marble and many other eye-catching details. 

At the top of the Classical Revival gem is a low, wide dome flanked by eagles. Follow me...

This is what the dome looks like on the outside and from the roof to the east:

There's one of the eagles, with one of Downtown's ubiquitous gulls perched atop its head:

This is what the dome looks like if you're in the lobby:

Everything's more fun if you circle up to it:

First, they decorated the ceiling, then they bashed a hole through it for the staircase:

The inside of the dome:

It's quite spacious:

There appears to be another spiral staircase in pieces:

Watch your step on the way down:

Want to see it for yourself? The dome is open during Doors Open MKE, Sept. 20-21.

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The junkpile (lower left) was a popular feature in "The Urban Habitat," spearhaeded by Nancy Lurie (right).
The junkpile (lower left) was a popular feature in "The Urban Habitat," spearhaeded by Nancy Lurie (right).

Do you remember the museum's Urban Habitat and junkpile?

This one’s for reader Mark Zimmerman, who asks, "Do you remember the junk pile exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum? It was like a found objects art sculpture with old rusty shopping carts and TV antennas, etc., in it, and it even had water running through it with the floor painted orange to resemble rust. It was pretty cool, and I've missed it since they removed it many years ago."

I asked the museum’s Carrie Trousil Becker, who said, "This exhibit, called ‘Urban Habitat,’ is the exhibit that we get asked about most frequently via social media, and people particularly reminisce about the giant trash pile."

"The Urban Habitat: The City and Beyond" opened in October 1976 on the museum’s second floor in a 5,000-square foot area in the southwest corner (now the special exhibitions gallery, I believe) and was a hit. It was part of the museum’s program to celebrate the American bicentennial.

Upon the exhibit’s opening, the Sentinel talked to the museum’s curator of anthropology Nancy Oestreich Lurie, who was instrumental in creating "The Urban Habitat."

"Originally," the paper wrote, "the exhibit was to have been of Wisconsin resources, (Lurie) said. But since resources have already been explored in the museum’s Hall of Life and the biology exhibits, the decision was made to turn the new section into an environmental hall.

"Museums in other parts of the country have attempted to design urban and environmental exhibits, she said, and may of them have failed. So Mrs. Lurie and other members of a museum subcommittee decided that Milwaukee should offer something unique and innvoative."

What the museum built was a survey of urban development, from hunters and gatherers living in rock shelters to the (then-) present, represented by "Where Do I Plug It In?" -- a wall of electric appliances. In between were the Godspeed -- a reproduction of Capt. John Smith’s vessel, representing the European settlement of the New World -- machines and water wheels that…

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