Professional Campaigners

Re: “The Hidden Hands: In every successful campaign—and every dud—pros are masterminding and organizing from offstage. Meet the people behind six mayoral candidates”, by Reader staff, January 13

(Emanuel) is just another hack for the politics of Chicago. He is in the same boat as Daley and cronies of this city. I just feel sorry for us little guys that work day in and day out. Our state taxes have gone up from 3 to 5% and parking in Chicago costs an arm and a leg. Rahm wants to increase the police force but where will the money come from? As for education, he is an advocate of charter schools, which use public tax dollars to privitize public education in Chicago. As the saying goes, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. —anncata

I volunteered for the Davis Campaign and I can tell you that Mr. Perkey was well-suited for the position. He was well-organized, full of energy, and introduced a series of strategies that would have carried Davis over the finish line. —WestSideOrgs

Full of Wit and Charm

Re: “Ric Hess, Rest in Peace,” by Jerome Ludwig, January 18

It was an honor to work for Ric, but above all, an even greater honor to call a friend. I know he’s upstairs right now having a beer. Here’s to Ric Hess. We’ll miss you dearly, buddy. —MJB

Ric Hess, always full of wit and charm, was a great friend to so many. His influence on Sheffield’s made it Chicago’s very first great craft beer bar. He was always loyal to Chicago and Michigan brewers, and was, in fact Goose Island’s oldest and perhaps dearest account. It’s my good fortune to call him a friend, and I, like so many, will miss him dearly. Cheers to you Ric! you’re one of the very best! —brewergreg

A Short Story Renaissance?

Re: “Christine Sneed’s collection never gets chick-litty about romance,” by Robert Duffer, January 13

I wonder if your opening line is an outmoded view.

You mention Jhumpa Lahiri’s Pulitzer-winning Interpreter of Maladies, yet you give no mention to Elizabeth Strout’s more recent 2009 collection win in Olive Kitteridge. You also don’t mention that two of the three finalists for the 2010 Pulitzer were also short story collections: Lydia Millet’s Love in Infant Monkeys and Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders.

Is a broader interest fueling this modern renaissance of the short story collection? I believe it is. Thank you for an insightful review of Sneed’s collection, but it was unfortunate that it contains such a stereotypical view of the role of short fiction in general, one that focuses solely on its monetization vis-a-vis the novel. —Robert Mayette

Japanese, by Way of Korea

Re: “What’s New: Gyu-Kaku: A hip chain serves up Korean barbecue with a Japanese veneer,” by Mike Sula, January 13

I would have been very surprised to learn that the noodles or anything else were made in house.

When I investigated this place a few weeks ago, what stuck with me most was the information about franchising on its website: “The Gyu-Kaku System has been designed for efficiency of operations and limits the amount of daily food preparation in the restaurant, as well as, the need for an extensive cooking staff. Because most of the menu items are delivered raw to the table, your kitchen staff’s primary role is to assemble the order for the server to deliver to the table. The Gyu-Kaku System eliminates your need to employ an executive chef, sous chef, or pastry chef.” —kennyz

I really appreciate your wide experience with food and trust your opinion on local Korean BBQ, but Gyu-Kaku is not Korean BBQ and doesn’t advertise itself that way. It’s Japanese BBQ—Korean-influenced (like many other things in Japan) but still its own animal.

As a fan of Japanese BBQ, I’d prefer to learn how Gyu-Kaku measures up against like creatures, just as I’d want to know how a Japanese ramen-ya fares against other ramen joints and not a noodle shop from China. The fact that a Japanese curry bears little resemblance to what’s served on Devon doesn’t make it any less legitimate—or potentially really good.

To be clear, I haven’t tried Gyu-Kaku, so I’m not defending its quality, and I recognize that “Japanese BBQ” (yakiniku) encompasses a broad variety of serving styles (some more Korean-influenced than others).

But statements like “Gyu-Kaku could set an awful standard for Korean food for unsuspecting millions” are way off-base and self-defeating. If Gyu-Kaku is a poor example of Korean BBQ (I think we’d both agree on that point), then why compare? —chibi

Relocation Blues

Re: “No Sleep Till Rogers Park: Smith Westerns eye a move. Plus: Eleventh Dream Day, the Eternals, and Indian prep new records, CHIRP turns one, and more,” by Jessica Hopper and J.R. Nelson, January 13

Hating on Smith Westerns is the new shooting yourself in the foot to spite your facebook.

p.s. They are just kids. —digdug

The Salami Maker

Re: “The Sodfather Abides: Chicago cop Frank Balestri keeps the old-world custom of making soppressata—’supersod’—alive,” by Mike Sula, January 6

I have known Frank for many years and if someone is to go by the name SodFather, Frank is the one. What he does is for tradition and it comes from his heart. Others may be good but there is only one SodFather and that is Frank. —jsoukal