C’mon, Jason, there should be some more intestines in there! Among the activities offered this month by the Shedd Aquarium: “Family Frog Dissection,” in which “family members [have] the opportunity to work together as amateur scientists in dissecting a frog. Participants gain a first-hand understanding of the anatomy and physiology of this small yet vitally important creature.”

“There are roughly twice as many people employed in book publishing in the Chicago area as in radio and television,” writes Connie Goddard in Chicago Enterprise (January), “yet broadcasting, not publishing, is the subject of a newspaper column; book and magazine publishing together employ as many people as the advertising business does; the latter also gets a column while the former virtually is ignored….Ligature’s trend-setting and successful social studies program [headquartered on Canal Street], for example, was the subject of a lengthy article in the New York Times but received no local press.”

You can still ride the CTA to the shrine of its archenemy, the 1992 Chicago Auto Show (the 127 bus from Washington and Canal to Michigan and south).

Let’s make that Representative Michael Madigan, D-lawyers, or D-financiers, instead of D-Chicago. Of the $2,453,000 raised by Madigan and the Illinois House Democratic committee for the 1990 election cycle, nearly half came from lawyers ($765,000) and financial institutions and insurance companies ($413,000). Labor unions ($237,000) were a distant third. By comparison, Madigan’s Republican counterpart, suburban representative Lee Daniels, raised $1,670,000 from all sources (Illinois Issues, December).

Where crime pays very well indeed. Amount Boeing and General Motors were fined in 1989-1990 for illegal possession of Pentagon documents: $8.6 million. Value of new contracts the two defense giants received in 1990: $6.4 billion (Mother Jones, January/February).

“Poetry video is not for everyone,” writes Dwight Okita in Video (January-February), a publication of the Center for New Television on North Dayton. “But for those who are drawn to the artistic possibilities and control of the form…[it offers] the chance for the work generated by Chicago’s thriving poetry scene to be exported throughout the country and impact the national consciousness. In an ideal world we could all do this through books, but anyone who’s tried to publish a book knows how hard it is.”

Another reason why there will never be a shoe called “Air Newhouse.” According to retired state senator Richard H. Newhouse, now a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Chicago State University, society has programmed the average minority student “to become a consumer without the resources to become a producer. We [minorities] are raised to become consumers while others are prepared to be producers.”

Only 66 percent of 1990-91 Northern Illinois University bachelor’s degree graduates now have full-time jobs, according to NIU placement counselor Vickie Oliver. The rest are about evenly divided among those attending graduate school, working part-time, and “still looking” for work.

Historic preservation in the forest preserves. “Technology, which is commonplace in most elementary schools, has yet to appear in the administration of the forest preserves,” says county board president Richard Phelan. Not only are 10,000 picnic permits issued by hand every year, but “we’re still holding purchasing orders for potato chips from 1965 at the same time that our most valuable papers–one-of-a-kind property deeds, for example–have never been microfilmed or copied.”

Advice for the fashion unconscious who like to sew, from Nancy Erickson in Vogue’s Important Person: “It’s great to keep using the same pattern if it works for you as a basic, like pants or straight skirts, but you shouldn’t be using patterns more than five years old for blouses or jackets if you want to look modern and fashionable.”

If it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll wait until the weather clears up. “The most likely bicycle commuters are those who live five miles or less from where they work, enjoy bicycling, and have roads that are accommodating to bicycles,” according to the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation News (November). Using these criteria, CBF’s Randy Neufeld identified several south-suburban townships with large numbers of potential bike commuters–Thornton (a possible 20,200), Bloom (13,445), Worth (25,932), Rich (8,000), and Bremen (13,000).

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