By Harold Henderson

“If today’s local housing market were a ladder, the bottom rungs would be missing,” UIC urban planner Charles Hoch says in a recent university press release urging the construction of more single-room-occupancy (SRO) housing. He says the best way to make SROs pay is “to house tenants with varying incomes. Long-term residents, who provide a predictable source of income for landlords, should pay lower rent while short-term and transitional tenants should pay higher rents.”

Either good news for cows, or a blatant violation of termite rights. The Animals’ Agenda reports that a biology project at Georgia Southern University had students concoct recipes involving wild plants and insects (extra credit for insects) and finish by eating their projects. The professor noted that “a pound of termites has more nutrients than a pound of beef or pork.”

The zeal for learning is where you find it. From Dan Weissmann’s always absorbing Gage Park Chronicles in Catalyst (April): “In the professionally-staffed Sylvan tutoring center, a handful of students show up after school for extra work. Mostly, they’re freshmen who receive Sylvan services during the day, but the center gets a few older students too, and they’re very directed, says Sylvan teacher Kelly Jirous. ‘Some sophomores and juniors have come in and said, “I can’t read, and I’m going to graduate in a year or two. I want to learn to read by then.”‘”

Q. During the past 25 years, did violent crime in the U.S. (a) increase by 15 percent, (b) increase by almost half, (c) more than double, or (d) remain approximately the same? (Answer at the end of the column.)

Who says the drug culture is dead? A recent episode in the work of Chicago “art attorney” Scott Hodes, recounted by Clifford Terry in Student Lawyer (April): Last summer “Chicago police confiscated a piece of sculpture on display at a client’s gallery, on the suspicion that the artwork contained LSD. The manager of the gallery was arrested and jailed for a day. Hodes managed to convince the police department that the sculpture did not contain a controlled substance, and it was returned. ‘Those were three or four very exciting days down at my firm,’ he says. ‘All the young lawyers would ask me if they could work on this matter. I never have that kind of volunteerism in the corporate field!'”

Dark passions stage a comeback. “From the stylized tendrils on a Teco vase or the inlay on a Harvey Ellis chair to the shape of a Jarvie candlestick or the color scheme of a Frank Lloyd Wright interior, Nature was quoted, adapted and celebrated,” according to the MFDA Newsletter (Winter) from Michael FitzSimmons Decorative Arts on West Superior. “Why did the natural world hold such a powerful grip on the conscious and unconscious Arts & Crafts imagination? In the preceding Victorian era, Nature was something to be feared, or at the very least avoided. To the typical Victorian mind of the 1870’s, Nature represented dark passions and the absence of control and reason.”

“How close are you to a spider…RIGHT NOW?” asks a recent Field Museum press release promoting its exhibit on the tickly arachnids, opening May 24. “Wherever you are, you’re never more than 3 feet from a spider!”

“Don’t stay away from church because it’s not perfect,” advises Tim Unsworth in the Chicago-based newsletter U.S. Parish (April)–“think how lonely you would feel in a perfect church.”

If welfare caused poverty, everyone in the World War II generation would be broke. David Chappell, reviewing the new book America Unequal by Sheldon Danziger and Peter Gottschalk in In These Times (April 1): “The most striking refutation of the [Charles] Murray thesis [that government payments promote dependency and ultimately poverty] comes from the experience of the only demographic group whose poverty rates have actually decreased since the ’60s: the elderly. This is also the only demographic group whose handouts from government have increased.”

“The use of sexual violence has been widespread in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia,” write DePaul law professor M. Cherif Bassiouni and Illinois assistant attorney general Marcia McCormick in Sexual Violence: An Invisible Weapon of War in the Former Yugoslavia, published by the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul. “While it has been used by all the warring factions, the majority of victims have been Bosnian Muslim, and the majority of perpetrators have been Bosnian Serb. It was this group that used rape as part of a policy of terror and violence designed to achieve ethnic cleansing….If we are going to respond, we must do it now. All of us have the capacity to exert some influence on public officials to ensure that justice shall not be compromised by politics; that the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia receives political and financial support; that governments cooperate with the Tribunal, and particularly those governments who have been at war. Lastly, we must all use our efforts and influence to convey to our public officials that a Permanent International Criminal Court must be established.”

A. (d)–according to the Prison Action Committee on North Milwaukee.

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