Theory and practice. “The rector of two Episcopal churches, one Hispanic, one White, perceived ethnic differences in the way homosexuals are treated,” reports Paul Numrich of the University of Illinois at Chicago in Second Opinion (January). “Although Hispanics are doctrinally more conservative than Whites, the strong family bonds of Hispanic culture make them more tolerant in practice. He characterized the response of his Hispanic members as, ‘Okay, you’re gay, we don’t like it, but you’re family.'”

“I am still running into science teachers who are saying, ‘Why do I have to teach reading?’ ” consultant Karen Boran, who has worked with six city high schools that are on probation, tells Maureen Kelleher in Catalyst (May). “I tell them, ‘Your students cannot process the texts you give them. That’s why you have to teach reading.'”

Twenty-seven separate research projects, and nothing on. Illinois Research Teaching Outreach (vol. 3, no. 2) reports that the Illinois Council for Food and Agricultural Research is funding 27 research projects as part of its “Swine Odor and Waste Management Strategic Research Initiative.” Researchers at various universities will work on “quantifying odor as well as investigating mechanical means of reducing or eliminating it. Dietary modifications are also being explored,” as are catalytic-converter-type units that could be added to swine-facility ventilation outlets. Not on the research agenda: the fact that hogs raised in small numbers outdoors by family farmers didn’t pose environmental odor hazards comparable to those raised indoors by the tens of thousands.

Remembering President Bill. “No administration in history has had so many individuals and firms associated with it convicted of, or plead guilty to, felonies,” writes Sam Smith in “Progressive Review” (March 29). “No administration in history has had so many cabinet officials come under criminal investigation. No administration in history has had so many individuals take the Fifth or flee the country on its behalf. No administration has had so many individuals associated with it die under suspicious circumstances. No administration has received so much in illegal campaign contributions nor has so much of these contributions come from foreign sources.”

Time to unload that nursing-home stock. University of Chicago researchers Tomas Philipson and Darius Lakdawalla find that “increased longevity has resulted in more Americans being able to care for themselves and their spouses at home. This has subsequently reduced the need for long-term health care facilities and services, such as nursing homes and assisted living communities….In 1981, the incidence of disability among the population over age 75 was 32%. In 1991, this rate fell to 28%” (

How we commence these days. Michael Ginsburg, associate vice chancellor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, describes preparations for commencement (“UIC News,” April 26): “We try to discourage anything that will distract from the speeches. This year we have an entire team whose one and only mission is to confiscate beach balls.”

The horrors of church growth, as described by Father George Dyer, formerly of Saint Pat’s in north-suburban Wadsworth: “The challenge was to maintain the sense of a closely knit community when the numbers are seven times what they once were. We had greeters at every Mass, of course, and a welcoming committee that arranged coffee and doughnuts after Sunday Mass so new parishioners could get acquainted….Still, the older parishioners’ lament remained valid. A community of 2,400 families cannot be as close as one of 350” (U.S. Catholic, May).

Meaning the land goes up and down? According to “DNR Update” (Spring), participants in state Geological Survey field trips to western Illinois’ Siloam Springs State Park “will discover an area of Illinois that is unusually rich in geologic features.”