I read your article about Governor Blagojevich [Mr. Un-Popularity, by David Bernstein, February] and wonder, Where’s the beef? Every scandalous accusation leveled by his critics could be applied to almost every Illinois politician, especially his father-in-law. I met the [future] governor when he was running for Congress, and I can tell you why he is so “antisocial.” He is repulsed by all of the greed, laziness, and corruption surrounding him and he has grown tired of running around trying to please every self-centered ingrate in Springfield. That is his only fault: In order to lead, you have to run around and deal with odorous politicians while holding your nose. You can’t live above it all.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
I was appalled by Mr. Bernstein’s article on Governor Blagojevich. Specifically, on page 126 of the issue you print a Democratic lawmaker’s use of the words “f—” and “f——” but using all the letters. I fail to understand how journalism is advanced, especially when your magazine is read by my children and grandchildren.
I have enjoyed Chicago magazine for a number of years, but if the lack of decency is repeated, be assured I will cancel my subscription.
Marco Island, Florida
GREEN ENERGY, GREENBACKS
Kirsten Jerch’s article in the March 2008 issue on energy ["Positive Energy,” Money] is quite a hot topic. Too bad she didn’t get into any depth on the subject. Sure, it is nice to save money every year on your utility bills, but what about the break-even point needed to enjoy the savings? What moron in his right mind would pay $20,000 to $30,000 on a solar electrical system that would save only $350 per year? Based on those figures, it would take 71.4 years to break even. Who stays in a house that long anymore?
DON’T TELL MOM
I thought I was safe out here in Pittsburgh not knowing when my adult children were doing crazy things . . . until my son Sean sent me the URL for the Jeff Ruby story in [the March] magazine ["A Winter’s Tale,” The Closer].
From one writer to another, it’s a great story, but I wish it was about someone else. Thank you, Mr. Zivkovic. You are a blessing!
Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
While I liked your article “It’s Elementary” [Service Desk, by Jennifer Tanaka, March], I was a little upset that there was no mention of Philip Murray Language Academy in Hyde Park, which was ranked 15th on the list of the best elementary schools in the city in the October 2006 issue.
We are a magnet school and have higher test scores than the majority of the schools mentioned. [The article] seemed very biased towards North Side schools, and I live on the North Side.
Brian Graves, third-grade teacher
Philip Murray Language Academy
UPDATE: NOTHING BUT NET
Chicago’s February cover story, Nothing but Net: 171 Great Chicago Web Sites (available online at Chicagomag.com), invited readers to suggest useful local-interest sites we had missed. Scores of suggestions filled our inboxes and the online comments section. Here are some of the sites that look particularly good:
* TheatreInChicago.com lists what’s playing now and what’s opening soon, offers half-price tickets, posts theatre news, and makes links to reviews.
* Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones keeps a blog at LeisureBlogs.ChicagoTribune.com/the_theater_loop that he updates frequently with local stage news.
* Kris Vire, who writes on theatre for Time Out Chicago, also writes about “Chicago, theatre, and Chicago theatre” at StorefrontRebellion.Typepad.com.
* Tremendous amounts of school information are housed at IllinoisLoop.org. Choosing a school, teaching theories and methods, and testing questions are dissected, explained, and occasionally eviscerated on this site.
* In the February article, we listed ISBE.State.il.us as a source for public school report cards. Another excellent one that also creates graphs is IIRC.NIU.edu.
* Chicago.BBB.org is the local site for the Better Business Bureau. Checking to see whether a business has collected a pile of customer beefs takes only a quick keyword search.
In Nothing but Net, our rule of thumb was to list sites that had attained at least one year of success. Some of the sites that readers mentioned to us are fledglings, but show promise.
* ChicagoHistory-SharonWilliams.Blogspot.com has loads of interesting historical material, and many of the posts have connections to current news topics. It will reach the one-year mark in November.
* Fans of out-of-town teams and microbrew lovers should love BeerBin.com—once it has accumulated a critical mass of content. The site houses a searchable database of bars, their beers, and their sports affiliations, but as of late March, it was heavily focused on the Near North Side, Lincoln Park, and Lake View, and even in those neighborhoods a lot of watering holes were missing.
* Entertaining and informative videos with local interest have been posted frequently at GetFreshCut.com since it was launched around New Year’s. There is also a blog about Internet videos, which isn’t Chicago-centric but analyzes videos in the news with perspicacity.
* It’s only a few months old, but WeirdChicagoBlog.com has frequent, fascinating posts on Chicago history, especially when it’s ghost-related.