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Saturday, April 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 36.0° F  Fair
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This week's issue comprises the emotional contradictions of love and loss. On the one hand we have the outpouring of affection and desire that is our annual Valentine's Day supplement, The Book of Love. Then there is the cover story, "Bleak House," by staff writer Joe Tarr, investigating the demeaning, demoralizing aspects of homelessness and why they call them "mean streets."

To get a more authentic exposure to the plight of those escaping the cold consequences of no place to live, Tarr experiences a night in the homeless shelter of Grace Episcopal Church, trying to answer questions about the experience and taking us just a bit deeper into the reality of dealing with the problems of dealing with the problem. There are harsh charges and practical explanations. But as far as homelessness is concerned, there are no solutions in sight.

The Book of Love is composed by readers, for readers, graphics included. Yes, many graphics, though nowhere near the 150 or so that the readers submitted. But what didn't fit in the 16 pages, allowing space for the approximately 500 actual valentines submitted, can be found online at We've put together a slide show of the images, just in case yours didn't get printed, or if you just didn't get enough sugar in your bowl via the hard copy.

The Book of Love is one of my favorite supplements because it gives me the clearest image of the range of readership. Reading the assembled love notes creates a distinct impression. I must say you are a congenial lot, with plenty of affection to spread around and a seemingly positive view of life. I would also surmise that you are significantly horny. What do you think after reading the evidence?

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