The incinerators are coming, and the first city incinerator built in Illinois since 1970 will soon be going up in southwest suburban Crestwood. It will burn 450 tons of trash per day and will generate electricity, according to Solid Waste Management Newsletter (December 1987). SWMN’s January issue adds the story of how Philadelphia recently tried to send dioxin-contaminated incinerator ash to Panama for building a roadbed. No dice, said the Central Americans, even before our EPA revealed that the ash contained 5 to 25 times the “acceptable” levels of dioxin. So “Philadelphia then contracted to send some of it to landfills in Ohio and West Virginia.” How sweet–our very own third world.

Ask Jerome Stermer how things am going and you’re likely to get two answers. The organization of which he’s president–Voices for Illinois Children–is doing fine; the children it seeks to help are not. For instance, he writes in VIC’s newsletter Voices (Fall 1987), everyone agrees that good preschool education has “a long-term positive effect on increasing graduation and employment rates for high school seniors, and on reducing crime, delinquency, and welfare assistance.” State support for preschool was a key part of the 1985 educational reforms. “However, the current level of funding is barely enough to reach seven percent of children identified at risk of educational failure.”

“There is a new species of endangered buildings: those less than 50 years old,” argues Susan Benjamin in Inland Architect (January/February 1988). She worries that we could lose historic buildings that some people think are too young to be historic. For instance, “The University of Illinois, Chicago Circle Campus . . . a fine example of 1960s brutalist architecture, has buildings sorely in need of repair. Brutalism [!] is a style that has not received much scholarly attention and is currently not popular. Will the stylistic integrity of the campus be respected, or will it be remodelled quickly and cheaply to suit current tastes, or, worse yet, without any taste?”

Live like a nomad and you probably won’t get heart disease, reports a Minnesota researcher who has studied 23,000 nomads of widely separated African tribes over 15 years. With the exception of the cattle-raising Masai people who drink large amounts of milk, the tribes subsist on grains and vegetables,” reports the American Heart Association–and not much of them. Most consume a little more than half the daily calories of an American male. Result: low cholesterol, no fat, and no heart disease. “At such low-calorie levels the proportion of fat or protein or carbohydrates in the diet makes little difference,” possibly because they burn them all up in their daily rounds.

What good is a tiger of a First Amendment if those using it are all pussycats? “Think of it,” Miami Herald foreign editor Mark Seibel tells Mother Jones (February/March 1988). “The U.S. government is conducting a war of questionable legality in Central America. It’s the major foreign policy initiative of this entire administration, and editors are somehow not interested. I think they . . . have allowed themselves to be cowed into believing that they are somehow doing something wrong when they expose government wrongdoing.”

Dept of destroying your own market: The Mark Richards Company, a Bridgeview-based mail-order distributor of Caution Condoms, has announced that it will donate 10 percent of the sales price to research on a cure for AIDS.

“The most popular toy in the dolphinarium is the Frisbee,” writes Brookfield Zoo dolphin trainer Marty Sevenich in the current issue of Bison. “Angie [the oldest female dolphin there] has been observed maneuvering five Frisbees at once, balancing them on her pectoral fins and head. The Frisbee’s appeal may be its shape–the lip of the Frisbee fits perfectly over a fin. . . . Not all the toys are things we introduce. The smallest object in the pool will be noticed by the dolphins. Once, as Angie was preparing for a high jump during a dolphin show in front of hundreds of visitors, she noticed a small yellow butterfly on the water’s surface. You could almost see her put on the brakes. After coming up under the helpless insect and balancing the butterfly on her snout, she carefully paraded the butterfly about the tank and brought it to the trainer. After the rescue, Angie completed her high jump.”

And now, the game that’s more interesting than your natural bodily functions, from Bloomingdale-based TDC Games, Inc. “Plant yourself in front of the TV set and give the Couch Potato Game a try,” says an introductory letter. “You will find it a fun alternative to the normal station break functions of eating, drinking or going to the bathroom.”

One out of five people surveyed say they can’t go a day without thinking of chocolate, claims Fanny Farmer. To satisfy such cravings, the company will–for $1,988–“deliver a different selection of one pound chocolates or candy each month to the person of your choice for the rest of his or her life.” We won’t ask just how long that might be.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.