Recently the Belleville News-Democrat had an article about Gov. Quinn's income tax returns. It said he paid $3,229 in property taxes. What is the address of the property listed on which he paid this tax? I looked on the Internet but couldn't find an address so I am seeking your assistance. -- S.F., of Troy
Your question again underscores how frighteningly easy it is to dig up personal information on the Internet on just about anyone.
I found your query on Saturday night and, just for the heck of it, decided to spend a couple of minutes to see what I could find. Not figuring to have much luck, I had already written a note to call the governor's office and Cook County on Monday.
Yet within five minutes, I learned almost more than I wanted to about his relatively modest house on Chicago's West Side -- including a picture, courtesy of the Cook County assessor's office. Here was my plan of attack:
On the off chance that the address had already been published somewhere, I did a quick Google search. But the best I came up with were stories showing Quinn walking home after voting at the Galewood Community Church at 1776 N. Narragansett in the Galewood neighborhood.
Still, that gave me all I needed to know because I knew his full name was Patrick J. Quinn, he is 65 years old and he has an "association" with David Quinn, his 29-year-old son from his marriage that wound up in divorce. Putting all of this information together, it took me only a minute to find his house at 1852 N. Nashville Ave. on the Cook County assessor's website.
As I said, it's not the mansion you might envision some high-powered politico owning. This area contains long blocks of 1940s-era homes with hardly any elbow room between them. His particular dwelling is three doors down and across the street from the Cobra Electronics Corp., according to Google maps. (And it's four blocks northwest of his polling place.)
The sandstone-color brick house itself is unremarkable. It's a squarish structure with four concrete steps leading up to the front door on the left and a bay window on the right. Two second-story plain-Jane windows also look out onto Nashville.
According to the assessor's office, it has 1,623 square feet of living space with 11/2 baths, a full basement with rec room and a two-car attached garage but no fireplaces or central air conditioning. Built on a 3,660-square-foot lot, its estimated 2013 market value is $204,740 although Zillow.com currently puts it at $231,216.
If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty, the assessor's office says Quinn has appealed his assessment four times in the past decade but lost each one because of the "property's uniformity with comparable properties." And, yes, he did receive a homeowner's exemption of $448.07 in 2012.
What's up with all the men's shirts being made without a pocket? First they took away my slide-rule holster, then they stopped making pocket protectors and now this! -- W.N., of Belleville
Hey, if you pay $92 for a shirt, it could at least have a pocket, right? But even at Brooks Brothers, I found customers wondering why the clothier's French-cuff shirts don't have them.
As it turns out, the answer is part aesthetic, part economic. Many of the finest European shirt makers leave them off dress shirts because they figure if you're wearing pants, vest and a coat, you have more than enough storage space. A shirt pocket merely messes up the shirt's sleek lines, especially if you're wearing a thin tie and next to it is this monster of a pocket ruining the looks of your $500 shirt.
However, on the cheaper models made in China and Indonesia for department and discount stores, I suspect it's also a matter of saving manufacturing time and material by going with a plain front. Personally, I don't like them, but look on the bright side: As least you won't have to worry about one of Papermate fountain pens leaking in them. And if you're desperate you can always go to www.brooksbrothers.com and design your own -- with or without pocket.
What is the most populated city south of the equator?
Answer to Sunday's trivia: In its roughly 400-year history, the legendary Hope diamond has passed through many hands as it made its way west from India. In 1949, New York diamond merchant Harry Winston bought it to help the estate of Washington, D.C., socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean settle debts. But just nine years later, Smithsonian Institution mineralogist George Switzer convinced Winston to donate the $1 million gem to the Smithsonian -- which he reportedly did by sending it through the U.S. mail in a cardboard box (and $145.29 insurance). Since the Smithsonian is administered by the U.S. government, all citizens own a piece of the rock in a way.
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or email@example.com or call 618-239-2465.