Pamper Yourself!
Feeling harried? In this season of running around buying gifts for other people, we recommend taking a moment for yourself. Get an invigorating massage. Let someone clean your house for a change. Or splurge on a special bottle of wine. Our story captures the best indulgences Chicago has to offer.

by Bryan Smith
The brutal murder of dermatologist David Cornbleet remained a mystery until a former patient of his confessed. Now the suspect’s father argues that a controversial acne drug may have played a role in the 2006 killing. 

The Seven Habits of a Highly Effective Restaurateur
by Jonathan Black
Rich Melman, the founder of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, knows how to build an empire. Ideas, like pastry dough, should not be rushed, and success is not all about the money. 

Comparing Private High Schools
by Geoffrey Johnson, with additional research by Mark Byrne, Beth Marino, and Brooke Nevils
On the heels of our October survey of 233 public high schools in the metro area, Chicago presents a comprehensive statistical breakdown of 56 local private high schools, examining such things as tuition, teachers’ salaries, and test scores. 

Battle of the Ages
by Geoffrey Johnson
After a long reign as the city’s oldest residence, the Henry B. Clarke House, built in 1836, confronts the Noble-Seymour-Crippen House, built in 1833. But the final decision in this face-off isn’t up to the calendar alone. 




PAGE TWO The Chicago Spire’s $40-million penthouse: how does it compare to posh pads in other cities? Obama’s campaign controversy ARTS & CULTURE The Blip goes caroling; DJ Colette pushes toward pop; the wacky world of baby nameologists; paging Doctor Atomic; Francis Ford Coppola’s first film in a decade hits close to home; the Thrill Jockey box set; more! SERVICE DESK Stay warm by traveling the Loop in the underground Pedway; philanthropic megacampaigns STYLE Are there discriminating friends and family on your holiday list? Ours, too. Here are 45 ideas ready made to please. PLUS: Sales Check, the day-after-Christmas edition

Globetrotting chef hangs his toque at the Palmer House; the hottest restaurants right now; drink and be merry; Old Town gets romantic.

by Sarah Preston
Wading into The Boundary waters; Reggie’s rocks the South Side; top spots for holiday parties

by Marcia Froelke Coburn
As the priest of a tight-knit parish on the Far North Side, the Reverend Mark Sorvillo was known for his extravagant tastes. It took a sting to prove that he was stealing from the church.  

by Barbara Nellis
Military blogger Matthew Currier Burden is changing journalism on the 21st century battlefield. 

Deal Estate
by Dennis Rodkin
An itinerant Kenilworth homeowner and housing bargains for 2008. Plus: Condo news


The Closer
by Jeff Ruby
Can enlightenment come through pain? The Closer tries self-denial, fatigue, boredom, Ben Affleck movies, and a colonic.

Chicago Guide®
Your tested-and-approved handbook for what’s going on around town  This month: Shellac is back; a klezmer band for the 21st century

The definitive guide to Chicago’s top restaurants. Evanston’s on board with stylish French American; Café Absinthe climbs in the ratings.