Due to Mick Dumke’s excellent cover story on alderman Walter Burnett Jr., we chose aldermen as our topic of discussion for this week’s “Variations on a Theme,” and people seemed to enjoy it. Along with Dumke’s superb contribution on alderman Ed Burke, there was a massive post on the ward mess by Ben Joravsky, a few wise posts by Steve Bogira, and a personal anecdote by Kate Schmidt. Speaking of local neighborhoods, Kevin Warwick contributed a captivating interview with the founder and operator of a blog on Logan Square.

The music section had a busy week. In addition to a great series of 12 O’Clock tracks, there was also Miles Raymer’s January roundup of local releases and the rising popularity of south-side rapper Chief Keef and his track, “Bang.” Elsewhere, Peter Margasak spotlighted a new series by NPR on ethnic 78s and flutist Claire Chase.

Finally, Mike Sula explored everything bad—and bad but good—for us, including pickled garlic, manhattans, and doughnuts.