Wag, wag, goes the dog. From painter Aaron Karp’s description of his work at Eva Cohon Gallery on West Superior: “I used to be able to finish a painting after the fifth or sixth layer [of paint], but as a result of being on this grant the duration has become ridiculously prolonged. I often wonder after about the sixteenth layer…”

“I have attended too many community meetings where everybody seems to know everything but nothing conclusive is ever derived from discussions,” laments Andrew Eperi in Afrique (October). “Africans, I have found, will argue all subjects, armed with all possible known theories. This is what Eurocentric education has taught us. So we accumuate lots of degrees, hang the certificates all over our walls, even store some in boxes and seek out forums through which we can expound our theories with no direction or focus, like misguided laser beams.” Boy, I’m sure glad I’ve never known a white person who did this.

For a serious case of wishful thinking, see the last sentence. Public Welfare Coalition executive director Doug Dobmeyer, speaking in support of a March 1994 referendum on casino gambling in the city: “Politicians have said casinos in Chicago will happen. But we do not think that is true. There is widespread support for increased ‘clean’ taxes to support legitimate government mandates such as schools.”

Etiquette tips rarely offered to patrons of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, from Michael C. Harris in the Illinois Entertainer (October): “If you’re at a show and find yourself on the verge of chucking the contents of your stomach, there are a couple of simple rules of etiquette to keep in mind….First, make every attempt to purge in the bathroom or at least in a garbage can. If you absolutely cannot do so (and this is based on an actual viewing experience), please keep it contained to your own shoes or under your own table. Do not, under any circumstance, try to fight the urge to purge by simply cupping your hand over your mouth. It’s gonna end up on the back of somebody in front of you, as well as firmly blasted up your nose and probably down your shirt.”

Report from foundationland: assets down, spending up. Total assets of the 173 member foundations of the Donors Forum of Chicago in 1991: $6.254 billion. In 1992: $6.248 billion. Total grants they all made in 1991: $404 million. In 1992: $433 million.

A grand schools compromise for the long run, according to former Sun-Times newsie Charles N. Wheeler III in Illinois Issues (October): “Those pushing for more school spending–probably bankrolled by an income tax increase–must make a strong case that additional funds would yield results….What’s needed is a plan that links additional funding to specific changes–in curriculum, class structure, school organization or other factors–that have been shown to enhance educational quality and student learning….Merely proposing to pump more dollars into the existing education structure isn’t likely to win many converts among skeptical citizens.”

“Illinois stands out from other states in its progressive and thoughtful spending of ISTEA [1991 federal transportation legislation] money” on things like pedestrian, bicycle, and trail improvements, according to Greenway (Summer), a newsletter of the Openlands Project. “Some states have spent ISTEA money less wisely: for example, in Kentucky, the entire allotment of enhancement money was spent to acquire a single Civil War battlefield.”

Where the big money is. According to the new Scholl First Chicago Corporate Guide, the ten biggest corporations in Illinois in terms of revenue are Sears ($52.3 billion in 1992), Amoco ($28.2), Allstate ($20.2), Motorola, Sara Lee, UAL, Ameritech, CNA, and downstaters Caterpillar and Archer-Daniels-Midland.

“A review of congressional records by Illinois Politics found that nearly one-third of Ms. Braun’s legislative agenda is commemorative in nature,” reports Illinois Politics (September). “At least 24 percent of the bills she cosponsored are Senate joint resolutions establishing special days, weeks, or months, in addition to other commemorative legislation, including memorial tributes and establishment of special museums, monuments and coins.” Illinois Politics seems to have been a tad hasty in its criticism. The article is headlined “Senator Carol Moseley-Braun’s Mid-term Review”–but that evaluation isn’t due until January of 1996.

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