Interested in going green around town, a new (or old) way of listening to your tunes or even some foul-mouthed fun on the Internet? Look no further than this week's OnMilwaukee.com Recommends.
Sidetracked in the Midwest: A Green Guide for Travelers (Itchy Cat Press, $23) – Madison travel author Mary Bergin expands on her "Sidetracked in Wisconsin" to share fun, unusual and eccentric locales in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and America's Dairyland – with some quick takes on Indy, St. Louis, K.C. and Nebraska city, too. Bergin focuses on dining, lodging, nature and the old and new on tap in the ecotourism world of the upper Midwest. To get a sense of what she covers, in Milwaukee she features Braise, Lakefront Brewery, Iron Horse Hotel, Growing Power, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, among others. Bergin's breezy prose brings these fun and sometimes quirky destinations and events to life, making this the perfect guide to toss on the dashboard as you set out to explore the upper Midwest. Bergin will also be in town Sept. 28 for a presentation at Boswell Books. – Bobby Tanzilo
Records – If you are a huge music fan, consider owning a record player because it adds another dimension to enjoying music. Plus, record players are relatively cheap, and records are even cheaper, especially if you're willing to hunt, which is a fun hobby in and of itself. Although I drool over the $20 vinyl at Urban Outfitters and dream about owning The Strokes' first album, I am more prone to spend less than half that at neighborhood record shops and antique shops (my current fave is Antiques on Second in Walkers Point) or even less at Goodwill and rummage sales. I'll skip over yammering about the warm, crackly sound of vinyl because we've all heard that, but I will say this: what I love most about records is that they need to be flipped so often, which makes listening to records an activity, an event. It's not about letting your MP3s drone endlessly in the background, rather it's an interactive experience allowing you to gently handle the vinyl, to clean it with soft circular motions, to gingerly lower the needle atop its shiny black surface. I learned from parenting that true love is often not instant, instead, it comes from caring for someone or something over a period of time. I have only been back into records for 18 months, but I am already completely, deeply, grooving on them. – Molly Snyder
Beautiful Swear Words – Of the long list of things I'm fond of, art and cursing are pretty close to the top. There's not much to explain about this amusing and very NSFW website – it's just a bunch of profanities drawn up in aesthetically pleasing fonts and colors – but it's entertaining, often funny and updated with a new word daily. They've also recently started offering printed shirts for select designs, too, for those with their hearts set on wearing the taboo words in t-shirt form. The guy behind the site also takes suggestions via its Twitter handle, @BeautifulSwear. – Renee Lorenz
Dirt Devil Easy Lite Hand Vac – I didn't even know they still made "dustbusters" anymore. I'd long wanted one for various tasks like cleaning my car, underneath my furniture and whatever minor clean-ups I encountered throughout the day. Wandering the aisles at Target one day, I saw this Dirt Devil offering for $15 and figured it might do the trick. It's not as powerful as I thought (7.2 volts) and the charge time (24 hours) is awfully long but still, the Easy Lite gets the job done and the price can't be beat. – Andrew Wagner