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Do you care if your guests can feel their toes?
Do you care if your guests can feel their toes?

Must you crank up your heat for guests?

We're all struggling to deal with the "dangerously low" temperatures that plunged Milwaukee into a penguin-friendly state of existence earlier this week.

These arctic temperatures force us to make a big decision: how high -- or low -- should we set the thermostat? Bank-busting gas bills and below-zero temps are, unfortunately, the best of friends, so it's crucial we identify the fine line between what we want to pay at the end of the month and how many layers we want to pile on our bodies.

People have different comfort levels and budgets for their monthly bills, so whereas some folks enjoy a toasty 70 or 72 degrees, others reluctantly live in a nippier environment

However, if you choose -- or are forced to choose -- to keep your heat on the low side,  is it your responsibility to turn up the heat when you entertain friends or family? Can you simply alert guests that your house is chilly, and they should bring an extra sweater?

Can you really invite a couple over for dinner and serve them in a 57-degree dining room?

S & M Food Mart, 2501 N. Holton St., might sell licorice whips, but probably not leather ones.
S & M Food Mart, 2501 N. Holton St., might sell licorice whips, but probably not leather ones.

A sadomasochist food mart?

I have lived in Riverwest for a long time, but whenever I drive down Holton Street and see this corner market called S&M Food Mart, I always snicker to myself. I can’t help it.

Who names their shop something like this? Were they aware of the sexual connotation such a name carries? Most likely, it's the initials of the two owners and English is not their first language, so they were not aware of the "other" S&M.

Or maybe they were completely familiar with the role-playing fetish and thought such a racy name might boost sales. Who knows.

In any case, finally I pulled the car over today and snapped this photo to immortalize S&M Foods, which doesn’t appear to be open anymore. Enjoy.

When do you toss the tree?
When do you toss the tree?

When are you supposed to take down Christmas decorations?

It's mid-January, and I still have my Christmas tree twinkling away in my living room. It's a fake tree, so I don't have to worry about it being a fire hazard, however, I'm starting to think it's time for the thing to come down. Not because I'm sick of looking at it -- it's silver and twinkly and pretty adorable -- but I don't want to overdo it, either. Nobody wants to see icicle lights on Memorial Day.

In general, I'm not the best follower of rules, and yet I am curious what the "rules" are for taking down holiday decorations.  I asked a few friends this week, and it turns out, people have pretty adamant opinions. One friend said Jan. 2 is ideal. Another said by Epiphany (Jan. 6) and another friend insisted anytime in the month of January is cool.

I think I'll take down the tree this weekend, but keep the blinking stars strung across my porch roof for another week or two. I just don't want to be like the house with the ice-filled plastic baby pool still in the front yard in February.

Oriental Pharmacy's iconic T.
Oriental Pharmacy's iconic T.
An original Fuel Cafe T-shirt, circa 1994.
An original Fuel Cafe T-shirt, circa 1994.
It's true: Koppa's feeds the planet. Maybe even a few aliens, too.
It's true: Koppa's feeds the planet. Maybe even a few aliens, too.
I'm biased, but I think this old-school OnMilwaukee.com T-shirt is fab.
I'm biased, but I think this old-school OnMilwaukee.com T-shirt is fab.

Classic East Side T-shirts

This week, I plan to buy a commemorative Atomic Records T-shirt because the indie music shop, which opened in 1985, announced last month that it’s closing. I’ll add this T-shirt to my small but adored stack of classic East Side T-shirts.

My all-time favorite local T is my forest green "I’m Hooked On Oriental Drugs" shirt that I bought the day before the iconic pharmacy went out of business. At the time, I also had a light blue shirt just like it, but bought the extra one to have as a keepsake. I’m glad I did because around 1997, a former roommate snagged the light blue version.

My Fuel Café shirt is at least 13 years old, and it shows. I might have to retire this classic black-with-white-lettering gem because I don’t want to completely trash it. After all, I plan to will it to my grandchildren.

My Koppa’s Farwell Foods shirt is eight or nine years old, and I still love it, even though the capped sleeves are dated now. Finally, I included the OnMilwaukee.com shirt because we’ve created a number of really cool shirts, but this was my first OMC T-shirt and remains my very favorite to this day.

Certainly, there are many other time-honored East Side T-shirts out there, so if you have one or know of one, fill us in via the Talkback feature.