How Not to Raise Chickens

Re: “Reporting From FamilyFarmed: Backyard Chickens,” posted by Martha Bayne, March 13

I went to the feed store in Jefferson Park to buy baby chicks. I brought home six dozen. I studied how to proceed and build a large cardboard box into a place to put them. Overhead I hung several light bulbs for heat.

The chicks grew up. Some didn’t make it. Those that did ended up under the back porch of our bungalow to which I attached a wire enclosed outdoor pen. Time passed.

One morning as I fed them, prior to going to school, I heard some rooster crowing. Wow! I had never heard that. Soon we’ll have eggs, I thought!

The crowing increased over time and never did I see one egg. I began to realize that every one of my chicks grew up to be a rooster.

I went back to the feed store on Milwaukee Avenue and complained that all I had was roosters!

The clerk said; “Of course! You paid the price for roosters, hens cost more.”

Some years later I came upon a sign on LaSalle Street just north of Chicago Avenue. “Chicago Chicken Sexing School.” I was stunned that there was such a place.

Lots of chickens and goats in the neighborhood back then. It was 1944. I was 11 years old and had a dad that let me do just about anything. The war was on and good food, at times, was hard to get.

Richard J. Donath

Educated Guessing

Re: “Taking the New Yorker for a Ride,” by Ben Joravsky, March 11

“Actually, he won only about 50 percent of the vote in predominantly black wards.” So is your assertion that blacks who don’t live in “predominantly black wards” are somehow not black?


Ben Joravsky replies:

The only measure we have of a candidate’s popularity with any particular group is how well he does in a ward that has that predominant makeup. There are no official returns broken down by race or ethnicity.

At least two-thirds of Chicago’s black residents live in wards that are 80 percent black. In those wards, Daley won about 50 percent of the vote.

If you look more closely at the results, you see that votes for Daley rise as the number of nonblacks in a precinct rises. Similarly, votes for candidates other than Daley rise as the number of blacks in a precinct rises.

My conservative estimate is that Daley got about 50 percent of the black vote in the last election.

Who Will Pay the Poets?

All of us here at Light Quarterly enjoyed Michael Miner’s thoughtful in-depth analysis of our magazine, and the realities that face us and other literary journals (“A Windfall for Light Verse,” March 18). In the dollar amounts that went flashing around (and which we are responsible for), we may have given the false impression that Light is flush with money. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our initial endowment of $500,000 was, according to our Articles of Incorporation and attachments, not to be used for operating expenses (the publication of Light Quarterly), but to generate interest payments, which would allow the magazine to become self-sustaining. The global recession and new costs of publicity made this an unrealistic goal, and our equity shrank by almost half.

The other figure that was bruited was six million. This was mentioned as an amount which would allow the Foundation for Light Verse to become wholly independent. It would enable us to hire additional salaried professionals, coordinate marketing and publicity efforts, and pay our writers and artists. This last goal is very important to us. It is, for us, the sign of a publication that takes its contributors seriously, and that intends to be around for the long run.

John Mella


Lisa Markwart

Managing Editor

Light Quarterly

Well-Dressed Idiots

Re: “Jersey Girls,” by Julia Thiel, March 18

Normally I love the Reader, but I have to take exception to the article on Crank the Earth. Isn’t it bad enough that we have to put up with idiots on bicycles infesting every street in the city without you providing free advertising for their eyesore “fashions”?

Name withheld

Glory Days

Re: “The Man Behind the Metal,” by Cosmo Lee, March 18

Great interview with Sanford Parker. I think I have either a demo disc, vinyl, or T-shirt of every band he’s done work for. I was at the Fireside for 7000 Dying Rats last show with the then early group Pelican, plus Yakuza, Ganon, and a couple other bands. They were spraying the crowd with a margarita pump-ball thing while in their tightie whities and leather masks & spikes. Truly memorable.

Yeah, my only problem with all these acts like Sweet Cobra, Raise the Red Lantern, and Lair of the Minotaur is that they’re getting so busy I don’t get to see ’em here in Chicago anymore haha. Thanks for the piece and thanks to Sanford Parker for all this work with such incredible Chicago bands!

Daniel J. Demchuk

Newhouse’s Legacy

Re: “Island in the Swamp,” March 4

Your political history of Hyde Park by Ben Joravsky was superb, rich in content, riveting—and when I read your reference to and recognition of my husband, Senator Dick Newhouse, I was thrilled.

The main thrust of his career was in support of every aspect of education. One facet of his legacy is the success of the Newhouse Architecture Competition, in its 28th year, and last year with 1,100 CPS high school participants and under the fine direction of the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Dick would have been most impressed with your courageous, relentless investigative reporting, and would have wasted no time in epxressing his appreciation.

Kathie Newhouse

S. Cornell