Update (9/22/2013): Izzy the Intern (and his long-suffering boss) still post to Facebook. Follow the Madison on the Cheap Facebook page.

Things change

After almost four years and 4,300+ posts, it’s time for a hiatus. My career is moving in a different direction: I need to re-focus my time, energy , and attention on other projects, including creating websites for clients, writing feature stories, and tackling a book proposal that has languished too long on the sidelines.

Although I will not be posting new items to Madison on the Cheap, it will, for now, continue to have a presence on the Internet so that people can still access some of the “evergreen” material that includes some of our most popular pages – including lists of Madison-area cooking classes and thrift shops; and our annual list of lutefisk dinners in Wisconsin. I also want people to have access to the excellent and very popular “Change from a Twenty” restaurant reviews written by Deb Nies, whose energy and enthusiasm – and contributions to organizing a wide variety of events for good causes in our community – are inspirational.

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Amazon is currently offering a FREE MP3 album for bluegrass fans: “Bluegrass Mastery Vol. 1″ contains 10 tracks and features such artists as The Grascals, Crowe, Flatt Lonesome, and The Boxcars.

There’s no indication of how long this album will be available free, so we suggest you download it sooner rather than later.

Here’s an unusual way to spend an afternoon: Don full beekeeper garb and gain hands-on experience in beekeeping with this Groupon deal: Pay $45 for a three-hour introductory beekeeping class for one (a $125 value) from Round Rock Honey.

If you purchase this deal, you can select a Madison-area class from a schedule that runs from April through November. Although Round Rock Honey will provide beekeeper suits for the classes, students are advised to protect themselves by wearing blue jeans, long-sleeved shirts, and boots or other ankle-covering shoes.

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St. Patrick’s Day is less than a month away. Why not download some Celtic music to start getting in the mood for this festive occasion?

Amazon is currently offering a free download of Green Hill Music- Celtic Music 2013 that features 15 tunes, ranging from toe-tapping music to slow and haunting music.

There’s no indication of how long this album will be available for free. Prices at Amazon can fluctuate faster than you can shake a shillelagh, so download soon if you don’t want to spend any green stuff for this music.

For a limited time, you can download three songs by Blondie in MP3 format from Amazon. The songs are:

Rock On

Dead Air

Bride of Infinity

Please note that each song must be downloaded separately.

You may have a wallet full of loyalty cards from grocery stores, coffee shops, beauty salons, and other local businesses, but here’s one you probably don’t have: a loyalty card for the six Dane County St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores.

The Vinny’s Insider Program (VIP) allows you to earn points every time you shop at St. Vinny’s and then redeem your points for merchandise. According to the St. Vinny’s website, “VIP membership also provides easier store returns and other special perks.”

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The National Archives will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation (on January 1, 1863) with a special display of the original document at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, from Sunday, December 30, 2012 to Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

If you can’t attend, you can still download a FREE eBook “The Meaning and Making of Emancipation” by The National Archives and Records Administration. This book is available for download on iPads with iBooks or on your computer with iTunes.

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If you’re planning to do a lot of online shopping, you should consider joining Ebates — it’s free and members receive cash back on their purchases. Right now, for instance, you’ll receive 10% back on purchases from Old Navy, The Body Shop, and Gap; 6% back on purchases from J. Crew and Lands’ End; and up to 20% at other online stores.

Plus, after you make your first $25 purchase (within the first 90 days after you sign up) Ebates will give you a free $10 gift certificate for Target, Home Depot, or your choice of several other stores.

Sign up now for Ebates and start earning cash back on your online purchases.

Enjoy music by Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Brahms, and Gluck performed by artists such as Maria Callas and Yehudi Menuhin when you download the eight FREE MP3 tracks included in the Allegro Classical Winter 2012 Sampler available on Amazon.com

Prices fluctuate often on Amazon, so don’t risk missing your opportunity to download this music while it’s still free.

If you’re 55 or older, join the Uno Chicago Grill Double Nickel Club and you’ll receive 30% off your meal every Wednesday. Ask your server for a membership card.

Offer not valid towards alcohol, Two for You specials, Take Out Deals, Snack Hours or other special offers.

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If you’re in the UW-Madison campus area at noon on Wednesdays, Luther Memorial Church invites you to enjoy a free half-hour “Wednesday Organ Recital” by Bruce Bengston.

The recitals take place every Wednesday during the academic year. Feel free to bring your lunch with you.

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Bicycle Benefits logo
Spend $5 Bicycle Benefits sticker for your bike helmet and you’ll be eligible for a range of discounts and rewards at more than 100 Madison-area businesses, including Wingra Boats (Free ice cream or drink with every boat rental); Whole Foods Market ($5 Off purchases $30+); Alchemy Cafe & Bar ($1 off drafts); and Olbrich Botanical Gardens (free admission to the conservatory).

Computers contain a number of toxic and hazardous materials, including lead, cadmium, mercury, and flame retardants. Businesses and households are prohibited from discarding these materials into landfills.

If you live in the City of Madison, you can’t just leave that old computer at the curb if you want to discard it. You’ll have to pay a $10 fee for each CPU, monitor, or laptop you want to dispose of and deliver it to one of two recycling centers. Similar restrictions apply in many other municipalities.

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Here’s another FREE album download from Amazon: Bloodshot Records Spring Cleaning Sampler.

This 13-track album features country and alternative rock music from such artists as Robbie Fulks, Jay Farrar, Trailer Bride, The Meat Purveyors, The Riptones, and The Waco Brothers. Whether or not it will inspire you as you do your spring cleaning remains to be seen.

Prices fluctuate often on Amazon and it’s difficult to know how long this deal will be available. We advise you not to wait if you want it because the price could change at any time.

Madison on the Cheap is an affiliate partner with Amazon.com. We rely on commissions from affiliate links like these to bring you great deals each day. Thank you!

Tom Wopat fans, here’s an opportunity to download two FREE songs by this Tony Award-nominated Wisconsin native:

Visit his website and sign up for his mailing list and you’ll receive an e-mail with a link for a free MP3 download of his original song, “Thailand Sea.”

Next, visit Amazon.com to download a free MP3 of Tom’s rendition of “50 Checks” from the Allegro Summer 2011 Sampler (or download all 10 tunes from this album free while you’re at it).

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Download a free audiobook edition of one of hundreds of public domain books such as “Pride and Prejudice,” at Books Should Be Free.

If a book is in the public domain, this generally means the copyright has expired. You’ll find lots of classic novels, mystery stories, and children’s books at Books Should Be Free, but not current bestsellers.

Please note that there are ads for Audible.com on most pages of Books Should Be Free. The “free” books offered in the ad are part of a subscription offer that is not free.

Add a regular workout to your schedule and you may be able to prevent those extra pounds from creeping on during the upcoming holiday season.

To help you get motivated, WorkoutMusic.com is offering a free download of “The Biggest Loser and SUBWAY© Workout Mix – Wake Up and Workout.” You’ll need to provide your e-mail address in order to start the download.

There’s no indication of when this offer may end, so download now if you don’t want to miss this opportunity.

The Pumpkin Masters® website offers a variety of free pumpkin carving patterns (downloadable as PDF files), as well as a wealth of information, including carving tips and recipes.

The company’s mission “is to make products that make celebrating Halloween easier, safer and more fun for all ages.”

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