The ever-expanding marketplace. A Wheeling insurer now sells coverage for owners of exotic birds, noting that “proposed bans on imported birds have further motivated many breeders to seek protection for an investment that is continuously increasing in value.”

Hey, we didn’t want to go to Grandmother’s house anyway. Prairie restorationist William Jordan III in Natural Area Notes (Winter): “My vision is that 20-30 years from now when Thanksgiving comes, we’ll be closing the interstates in Wisconsin and Illinois, and everybody’ll be out burning the prairies on the roadsides. It will be a time for restoration in its fullest sense, as science, as discipline, as technology, and as performing art, and an occasion for poetry, music, dancing, reflections on our relationship with the rest of the world.”

“The common complaint I hear from pedestrians is that bikers break the law, and this shouldn’t be allowed,” writes John Hennelly, a bike messenger, in a letter published in the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation News (Winter). “This is like Hitler accusing Stalin of genocide; he’s right, but it’s hard to accept the sincerity of the statement. All day in the Loop I swerve to miss daydreaming jaywalkers, double parked cars, cab doors opening into traffic and buses running red lights. I have had to spill my bike and hit the pavement twice to avoid pedestrians who charged out into the road against the light without looking. Bikers break the law all right, which puts us in a class with nearly every other denizen of the Loop. But bikers are generally alert—they don’t last long if they’re not–and this is more than most pedestrians are.”

Hmm–how about, “On Rush Street, that lush street”–aw, the heck with it. The owner of the Lodge, on Division near Dearborn, asserts that “when Frank Sinatra sang ‘State Street that great street,’ he really meant Rush Street. It has been that type of place for years.”

Of course, they’ll be seriously out of luck if it turns out that God really is an angry judge. Father Leo Booth, an Episcopalian and a Californian, writes in Treatment Centers magazine (January) on dealing with “religious addiction”: “I believe that people who were taught that God is an angry judge will be angry and judging. Those who were taught that God only loves people who share identical beliefs cannot tolerate anyone who is different… I think it is essential that religious addicts and survivors of religious abuse let go of their old concept of God, and create a new God of their understanding who nurtures self-acceptance, appreciation of diversity, and creativity.”

“The poor, in particular, have been hardest hit by the region’s changing housing market,” according to the Chicago Assembly report Affordable Housing in Metropolitan Chicago (February 1992). “In 1987, 87 percent of poor renter households in the eight-county Chicago metropolitan area spent 30 percent or more of their income for housing (including rent and utilities), while more than two-thirds of poor renter households had a housing cost burden of at least 50 percent.”

Bigger than cancer, bigger than the Y. According to the quarterly newsletter of the Second Harvest National Food Bank Network (116 S. Michigan), the Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked it as the fourth largest U.S. charity last year. With total private support of almost $395 million, Second Harvest placed behind the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, and United Jewish Appeal–but ahead of the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Catholic Charities USA, and YMCA of the USA.

“Progress in Washington is made in very small steps,” sighs the MTA Monitor (February), house organ of the Metropolitan Transportation Association on East Elm. Last year MTA joined other business groups in urging that efficiency incentives be included in the new Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act signed by the president late in December. “There are no efficiency incentives in the act that passed Congress. But, they did include the word efficiency in the title.”

The spirit of Go-thee Street lives on. The North Center-Irving Park Booster (February 12) quotes a business owner in the Lincoln-Belmont-Ashland area on what should be done with a collection of decrepit commercial buildings: “Maybe we should get JMB or the bank to do the whole place in Trumpoid. If you can hide the elephant, the elephant no longer exists to most people.” No offense to the Donald, but what she probably said was “trompe l’oeil.”

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