Those point-counterpoint sessions between comedians Jane Curtin and Chevy Chase (and sometimes Dan Aykroyd) onSaturday Night Livewere just hilarious. Curtin would usually introduce a certain, serious topic and proceed to provide sophisticated commentary — only to have Chase counterattack with a derog-atory remark (“Jane, you ignorant….”) and then proceed to fire more uncomplimentary salvos her way. Before long, each was attacking the other, the main topic never to surface again.

It’s funny watching this comedy routine on television. However, in real life, it’s a different story.

Being editor-in-chief means you are bombarded, on a daily basis, with telephone calls, e-mails, faxes, and letters. It’s the nature of this beast. While sometimes it’s tempting not to answer the phone or an e-mail, such impulses must only be a temptation. For me to supply a Chevy Chase response, well, I’d be the ignorant one.

The point here is simple: Listen to all that customers send your way — be it good, bad, or indifferent. Be polite about it, too. Yes, it can be difficult to bite one’s tongue at times, but one must do so. It comes with the territory.

Three ways to correspond

InThe News’case, we are definitely not discouraging you, our contractor-subscribers, from providing us feedback — be it good, bad, or indifferent. In fact, we’re doing just the opposite. We are encouraging you to do so — and we have made it easier, providing three new ways for you to tell us what’s on your mind.

Option 1: You can go to our website (www. and click on the new “Submit Feedback” area. Simply fill out the brief form and submit your message electronically. Your message may be placed in the Feedback section of The News.

Option 2: Send your correspondence directly to our new e-mail address: LetterstoTheNews@bnp .com. Again, what you send may be included in our Feedback section.

Option 3: Participate in our hvacr forum. Again, go to our website and click on “HVACR Forum.” On this new, completely searchable, and easy-to-use online bulletin board, you will see questions posted by your colleagues, The News’ editors, and others. We are all looking for your valuable input.

Help us decide

Regarding Option 3, information and questions were posted on our online bulletin board concerningThe News’second annual “Best Contractor to Work For” contest.The News’editorial team is currently mulling over some fresh ideas. Before calling for entries, though, we first seek your feedback, suggestions, and comments. Please view this area and, by all means, please respond.

For instance, The News may just “classify” the entries for its 2001 contest. In other words, we are considering awarding the best residential contractor to work for, the best light commercial contractor to work for, the best commercial contractor to work for, and the best industrial contractor to work for. What are your thoughts?

Then again, why not take separate nominations for the best union and non-union contractor to work? How about best independent and best consolidated contractor? Why not just award the best heating, best air conditioning, and best refrigeration contractor, respectively, to work for? Another thought is to accept entries only from employees and discard any self-nominations.

Options are wide open at this point. However, we must nail down our decision soon, as we plan on calling for entries in early October. Before we decide what’s what, let’s hear from you.

By the way, what should the winner (or winners) of this prestigious contest receive as an award? Should someone suggest “$1 million,” well, we’ll take it under advisement.

One thing is for certain: You will not receive a sharp-tongued reply, à la Chevy Chase. Remember, such responses are acceptable only for a late-night television comedy sketch.