“It’s easy to be cynical about these periodic effusions of concern about crime,” writes Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (March 3), recalling the deaths of Dantrell Davis (in 1992) and Robert “Yummy” Sandifer (1994). “But there is something decidedly different about these Girl X protesters. The community-building message of the Million Man March seems to have penetrated deeply into the community. Already, members of two church congregations, the Fernwood United Methodist Church and the Miracle Temple, have formed a security force of volunteers who will patrol varied high-crime areas. [Wallace ‘Gator’] Bradley’s group, United in Peace, has joined forces with WordSong, an organization created to combat sexual abuse. The two groups plan to sponsor a series of workshops for ‘street organizations’ to raise their awareness of sexual abuse and educate them about its damaging consequences.”

From the suburban remodeler’s file. Ann Wilson in Decorating Ideas (April), a glossy magazine based in suburban Western Springs: “Regardless of leaking ceilings (there’s nothing quite as terrifying as watching a lit ceiling fixture fill with water at 10 o’clock at night) and workmen showing up at the crack of dawn (I suggest sleeping in a sweat suit for the duration of construction), the building process was an exhilarating adventure.”

“How does managed care change how I practice?” asks psychiatrist Michael Frampton in “Perspectives” (Fall), newsletter of the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. “I might prescribe a specific antidepressant, say, Prozac. The corporate ‘gate-keeper’ can replace what I prescribe with an alternative but not exactly equivalent antidepressant, such as Zoloft, because it costs less. Sometimes this replacement takes place without my approval–or even my knowledge or that of my patient! Here’s another example: Generally, the company will deny inpatient detoxification even to a heavily addicted user of crack cocaine. The company prefers less expensive outpatient treatment–unless there is a clear-cut, medically threatening physical sign of withdrawal (such as elevated blood pressure)–even though the probability that such an addict will stop cocaine use during those first, critically important few days without twenty-four hour supervision is practically zero.”

Book promos we didn’t need to finish: “Bright, ambitious Andi Sherman is driven to open a biblical theme amusement park…”

Everybody out of Illinois–no pushing, no shoving. Mark Monmonier, whose new book, Cartographies of Danger, will soon be published by the University of Chicago Press, lists “ten typical risky places–areas to which I would be reluctant to move.” Place number ten is “the neighborhoods of nuclear plants,” where he finds terrorism a more worrisome danger than mere poor design and mismanagement. “Over four million people live within the ten-mile emergency planning zones (EPZs) around America’s atomic power plants, and Chernobyl indicated clearly that radiological accidents can have a lethal reach much longer than ten miles.” (More at www.press.uchicago.edu /Misc/Chicago/534189.html.)

Revenge. “I routinely ask our telephone operator, receptionist and recruiting secretary what they think of our applicants,” writes David James, who hires lawyers for the San Diego city attorney, in the Chicago-based Student Lawyer (March). “Often they refrain from commenting. Other times they have extremely positive things to say. ‘He was so pleasant to deal with,’ or ‘She really went out of her way to thank me for helping arrange her visit.’ These comments matter, as do comments such as, ‘She seemed a little demanding on the phone,’ or ‘I never could warm up to him.’ Your fate may be determined by what support staff members think of you.”

First City. Jobs in Chicago in 1995 (latest year available): 3,908,200. In New York: 3,815,600. In Los Angeles: 3,762,700 (urbanologist Pierre de Vise, of Roosevelt University).

Don’t try this on a 36 bus at rush hour. Celia Schwartz on her three-month sojourn in Puerto Rico (“Business Times,” Fall/Winter): “When leaving or entering a carro publico–a form of public transportation–it is customary not only to say hello to everyone present, but to say goodbye and wish everyone a good day, prosperity, or some other kind sentiment. Can you imagine saying either hello or goodbye to fellow CTA riders, much less wishing them prosperity?”

If not toward language. “Tryon Farm is under the sole supervision of the architects and planners who planted the seeds in response to the need for alternative development,” reports Tom Forman in UIC Architecture Reviews (Fall), describing a nascent development outside Michigan City, Indiana. “Thus, the roots of Tryon Farm have spread into the beautiful native flora and fauna and, finally, blossomed into a product of higher consciousness, constantly aware of ethical treatment toward the land and its inhabitants.”