Letters to the Editor

An Open Letter From People in Their Twenties

By Lexi Langill

Dear 40-Something:

I am twenty-two years old, and I like your kind.  Your couples dinner parties, your pleated pants, your cell phone holsters, your haircuts, your Tivo-ed sitcoms, your credenzas, your organized weekends, your Pearl Jam CD collections, your baby showers, your divorce rates––and most of all, your confidence.

While you watch me from behind stainless steel bars blithely splashing in the twenty-something pool, in reality I’m mourning the loss of something myself: my teen years.

Remember them?  When the desperate desire to drink led to handing a 20 to a homeless guy for a 6-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Begging your older sibling to buy a handle in front of their hot friends. Stealing Cointreau from your parents’ liquor cabinet for you and 7 friends, then wondering what the hell Cointreau actually is.

Now, of course, we sip it casually at Citizen for $13 a pop and still don’t know what it is.  The legality of it all makes “don’t threaten me with a good time” a serious statement.  And you know what 40-something?  It makes me sad.

But from what you’ve told me, life isn’t all about partying, and I guess I’ll take your word for it.

Life’s also about responsibility and commitment; to a home, to a pet, to a spouse whose family makes you quiver in your boots, and eventually to our own children –– who will scream, laugh, and seethe while you talk excitedly to the grocery clerk about the new suede couch in the den.

I can take the heat of your criticism, politely veiled as it is.  And there is one absolute have you have on us: experience.  Sure, we 20-somethings are hot to trot and loving every minute of it, but there are many signposts on the highway of life we have yet to see.

Mistakes need to be made and lessons need to be learned.  And once that’s done, we’ll step out of the pool, dry off the arrogance, and join you behind the bars…only to find you already lounging in the 60-something jacuzzi next door having the time of your life.

Save us a mai-tai.

Smart Cars, Dumb Potholes

By Letters

To The Editor:

I’ve been driving the European version of the smart car in and around Chicago for more than a year and I agree that it is a terrific second car.

One problem not mentioned in the article is the bad shape of streets.
For most of the year, it’s just a very rough ride. But now, with the worst potholes in recent history, it becomes a real challenge to dodge the holes that would swallow up the small wheels–and maybe the entire car.

Howard S. Dubin
Evanston IL

What I Read

By Letters

To The Editor:

Your account of Must Reads during the campaign left off two I check every day: The Drudge Report and Chicago’s own RealPolitics.com.
Whether he’s right or not, Drudge still drives the news cycle. And RealPolitics has come a long way in the last few months as a link to the best political stories of the day.

Best Regards,

Ed Marshall
CBS2 News Producer

To The Editor:

Please add to your list The Wall Street Journal and three conservative columnists: Thomas Sowell and Charles Krauthammer (a black and a Jew) and Lawrence Kudlow, an economist and host of CNBC’s Kudlow & Company.



Ethanol Law

By Letters

In response to your story on curbing foreign oil, I would like to suggest a new law to allow American ethanol producers to import the same amount of ethanol from foreign markets –– without taxes –– as they produce domestically.

This would increase the amount of renewable fuel to twice as much as now. The profit of this operation would also enable the producer to enlarge the farmed area, since the other part of the investment would be covered by the profits of the imported ethanol.

Besides creating new employment positions, lowering petroleum prices and reducing the need to expand oil refining capacity, this would havc favorable worldwide consequences like:

– Reducing the greenhouse effect
– Helping developing countries
– Lowering petroleum prices worldwide
– Reducing acts of terrorism since there would be less financial resources to sponsor them.

Giving renewable fuel the same treatment in terms of taxes as for the oil will show to the world the USA is concerned about the environment.

Gilberto Jamardo
Consultor de Gestão
Gestão de Capex
Sao Paulo/Brazil

The Neighborhood News

By Letters

Good stuff about the Winnebago kids’ paper “Neighborhood News.”

I’ve always been thankful that my son was a huge daily devourer of
newspapers — at least the Sports sections and their acres of agate type
grist for the spiel mill — but, yes, now it’s hard to look at the business
and tell a kid like that that there’s much of that ahead for him to get
involved with, look forward to in the way of a career…

In not-too-distant memory, I recall that when the Reader would play softball
against the WBEZ team in recent years, Ira Glass would stand on the
sidelines — acting as the radio team’s “cheerleader” or shaman, I guess —
slowly and methodically chanting, “You are working in a dying medium…. You are working in a dying medium….”

If I remember correctly, the last time out, his method worked: WBEZ chipped away at our huge early lead and eventually marched past us in the final inning, run after bloop-hit run trudging over home plate, until they finally led the victory march away to the local Dugan’s Pub.

Anyway, it was great to read a paper with true vitality once again. I’d
never known that “John picks his nose” before. Thanks.

Dave Jones

The Poetry of Trucks

By Letters

Sometimes we get tired of reading the same old stuff. But Scott Jacobs’ piece about looking out the window at the signs on the passing trucks is a breakthrough, if I might say, in the art of literature. This is the raw transcription of unfiltered moment-to-moment life.

You have nailed true-life truck signs in their natural traffic setting, unlimited by a narrow-minded editor who might ask something spurious, like, “Hey, what is the point?”

Your trucks are not artificially organized in the yellow pages. Through you we see the trucks of Western Avenue as Adam, sitting on the rock in Eden, once saw God parade all the animals before him as he named them aloud. What you have done for Western Avenue trucks is Biblical or bibliographic or bibulous.

I once wrote a poem about passing trucks myself based on observing them pass in front of my father’s fruit stand on Taylor Street. I wrote it as a dialogue between me and my little brother Herman.

Hey, Herman, here comes a truck.
Yup, yup.
Hey, Herman, here comes anudder truck.
Yup, yup.
Hey, Herman, here comes anudder truck.
Yup, yup.
Hey, Herman, here comes anudder truck.
Yup, yup.
Hey, Herman, that was a lotta trucks.
Yup, yup.

Peter McLennon