Posted inNews & Politics

Electric Irony

To the editors: Hank De Zutter modestly omitted the Reader from the ranks of the media in which Commonwealth Edison advertises [“The Electric Connection,” December 1]. Our records show that over the past three years, Edison has placed 19 ads at a total cost of $17,475.54. (1987–5 ads–$4,278.05; 1988–8 ads–$7,264.92; 1989–6 ads–$5,932.57) We thought your […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Elizabeth’s Story

Anne weeps in the morning. She stands in her blue bathrobe, holding a valentine from Elizabeth, saying, “Look . . . look what she wrote me.” On the back of a photocopied unicorn, printed within a crooked heart, I read, I love you I will you I will love you always My first feeling is […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Skids Row

To the editors: Ann R. Markusen offers an expose-style new version of the often-told tale of Chicago’s economic decline [“City on the Skids,” November 24]. Much of what she has to say about the city’s economic ills is cogent and trenchant. But Markusen’s objectivity is tempered by exaggerations and devil-theory explanations, culminating in a prescription […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Everybody knows 0 degrees on the Celsius scale is the freezing point of water and 100 degrees is the boiling point. On the Fahrenheit scale, however, freezing is 32 degrees and boiling 212. How on earth were these numbers arrived at? Do 0 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit mean anything? –Leslie, Montreal, Quebec Researchers have gone […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Our Com Ed Connection

To the editors: I read Hank De Zutter’s story on Commonwealth Edison with interest [“The Electric Connection,” December 1]. But I have to question his impartiality when, while listing all other publications Commonwealth Edison advertises in, he left out the Reader. I know I’ve seen Commonwealth Edison ads in the Reader regularly for several years. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Just put fans everywhere and you’ll be fine. According to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cockroaches avoid areas where there is “abundant air flow.” Raise your hand if you’re (not) sure. Wheelchair ramps and signing for the deaf are no longer a guarantee of political correctness. Writing in Outlines (November 1989), Rex […]

Posted inMusic

Blues in debasement

Blues musicians aren’t born old. The 60s-era “rediscovery” of aging blues greats gave birth to an enduring image of elderly gentlemen picking guitars on rural front porches or blowing harmonica in forsaken urban gin mills, wizened by years of anonymous hard living. But the wistful melancholy of Skip James or the haunted introspection of Lightnin’ […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Daugherty & Field

The cliched title of Daugherty & Field’s cabaret revue, From Bach to Rock, is pure tongue-in-cheek; Bill Daugherty and Robin Field, both gifted singers and impressionists, are less than interested in either Bach or rock. Their specialty is the American song, circa 1920 to 1950. But this lively and literate team avoids mucky nostalgia with […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

When John Terborgh was a child his family lived in the country near Washington, D.C. Their house stood on two acres of abandoned farmland fronting a dirt road that dead-ended two doors down. Behind the house, a path meandered through almost a mile of woodland, crossing a quiet stream along the way. The woods shaped […]

Posted inArts & Culture

84, Charing Cross Road/Arden

84, CHARING CROSS ROAD Northlight Theatre Can a story about a book buyer and a bookseller who become pen pals but never meet send much of an emotional charge? Yes. In its quiet, inferential way, Northlight Theatre’s production of 84, Charing Cross Road strikes resonant chords of loss, regret, and happiness remembered. Though only occasionally […]