“I didn’t really know the problems bicyclists have,” Joliet bicycle policeman Dwayne Killian tells Dave Glowacz in the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation News (July). Typically, a motorist is “getting ready to yell at me and get out of their car, until they see that I’m a policeman.” They “have an attitude about bicyclists that isn’t very nice.”

In darkest America. Amnesty International’s 1993 annual report’s best estimate of people awaiting the death penalty on the continent of Africa: 1,329. In the United States: 2,600.

“According to an official of the general contracting firm that renovated Wrigley Field, something similar, with all the amenities, could be built today from scratch, in Chicago, for under $70 million”–compared to about $120 million for the new Comiskey, argues local architect Philip Bess in Planning (July). A traditional urban ballpark of this kind would cost less, use less land, and provide spin-off economic benefits to its urban neighborhood, he adds. “Such an approach is far different from the typical modern stadium-with-a-parking-lot-around-it approach …[and would provide] ballparks that require half to two-thirds the land area of modern stadiums–as well as genuinely intimate settings in which to watch baseball, with upper deck seats 25 to 60 feet closer to the playing field than those in contemporary facilities.”

I myself was inspired to lead a life of promiscuity and random violence, but it takes all kinds. “It was reading a James Bond book called Thunderball that turned Kay [Stepkin of the Bread Shop] on to natural foods,” writes Susan Lapp in Conscious Choice (July/August). “In the book Bond was run down and exhausted. ‘M’ sent him to an English health spa where he drank herbal teas and ate no meat, sugar, or white flour. This was the catalyst that convinced Kay to start eating healthy foods.”

Parenting on the cheap. “It is not always children who bear the brunt of scant state funding for services,” writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Tax Facts (July). “Illinois’ low private day-care rates are possible only because wages for child-care workers– easily the operators’ biggest expense–have declined by fully a quarter in real terms over the last two decades. The state itself may be said to underpay for day care by capping the size of the subsidies it provides for certain kinds of day care…. In FY91 the maximum state payment to day-care homes in the Chicago area was $15.68 per day for full-time care of children under 2, or about $80 per week.”

“I used to tell students that whenever they submit someone else’s words or ideas as their own it is plagiarism,” writes IIT humanities professor Linda S. Bergmann in Perspectives on the Professions (July). “But that is exactly what I ask students to do when they take tests: to repeat, usually without attribution, the ideas learned from the textbook and class lectures. On a recent exam, for example, I asked students to define terms like ‘species,’ ‘uniformitarianism,’ and ‘natural theology’ without any suggestion of ‘according to whom.’ I do not think I am alone or, for that matter, that I am wrong. Because of all this undocumented passing back and forth of information that goes on in the college classroom, I can see where my troubled student’s confusion came from.” This student, a repeat plagiarist, had naively asked, “If …the books she was copying from were true, how could we object to her reiterating the truth to us; if they were not true, how could they have been published?”

New horizons in social science. The state Department of Conservation reports that a 1991 U. of I. survey of campground users found that 81.9 percent “rated as most important the availability of water and toilet facilities.”

“I believe in the right to free speech, and it means tolerating even ACLU fundamentalists who see the right to free speech as absolute, but see the right to bear arms as very complicated,” writes former downstater John Garvey in Commonweal (June 18). “Like all fundamentalists, they really don’t take the letter of the law all that seriously, but apply it to their favorite causes where it serves their purpose.”

Sign of the (driving) times. The rarest commute in the six-county Chicago region has multiplied sevenfold in the last 20 years, according to Transportation Facts (June). The 1970 census found just 7 people who lived in Will County and worked in McHenry County. By 1990 there were 50.

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