McNature. From a press release promoting the consumption of fresh produce: “Many fruits and vegetables can be eaten on the run. Sometimes we forget that nature has nicely packaged some of them for easy take-out.”

Is this what genocide looks like? Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (November 11-29): “Across America, homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American men between the ages of 15-33. At least 25 percent of young black men are incarcerated. Yet these alarming statistics have not incited much alarm in the halls of leadership. Mainstream America actually seems bored by the information. The problems of the inner cities invariably are framed in a criminal justice context. Thus, officials in Chicago–as in other cities suffering epidemic violence–have narrowed their response almost entirely to law-and-order tactics.”

Most common birds sighted during the Chicago Audubon Society’s nesting-season census, June 5-15 (Flyer, November): ring-billed gull (11,613), European starling (3,599), American robin (2,561), red-winged blackbird (2,466), house sparrow (2,355), and common grackle (2,271).

“In 1992 [state] Medicaid spending exceeded state spending for public schools,” report Robert Mandeville and Jim Nowlan in Tax Facts (October). “If Medicaid costs continue to grow at historical rates, Illinois state government will soon have little money for anything but health care….To control costs, Illinois must either put health-care providers at risk through competition, put patients at risk by requiring that even poor people pay something for services, or [set] a ceiling on how much will be spent and then limiting services to fit the money available.”

How about drug czar? Crain’s Chicago Business (November 9-15) reports that commodities trader Richard Dennis was the biggest contributor to the Democratic National Committee, but–according to a spokesman–“I don’t think there is any scenario out there that has Mr. Dennis going to Washington. He’s not looking for a zoning variance or something like that.”

What nine tour operators from eight countries had to say to Chicago’s tourism promoters: Don’t promote Chicago’s museums, its symphony, or “anything that Europeans think they have the ‘best’ of already.” Then what should Chicago push? “Its architecture, including the skyline as seen from the lake; its lakeshore parks; its cleanliness and relative lack of pollution, its jazz and blues and Sears Tower” (Robert M. Knight in Chicago Enterprise, November.

“How long can a pilot who has little or no instrument training expect to live after he flies into bad weather and loses visual contact?” asks Illinois Aviation (November/ December). U. of I. researchers had 20 students fly into simulated instrument weather, “and all went into graveyard spirals or rollercoasters. The outcome differed in only one respect–the time required till control was lost. The interval ranged from 480 seconds to 20 seconds. The average time was 178 seconds–two seconds short of three minutes.”

At last–a growth industry! Chicago membership in the Screen Actors Guild has risen from 1,850 in 1983 to 3,127 this fall, according to Nancy Sellers in the Chicago AFTRA/SAG Newsletter (Fall). But don’t get too starry-eyed. Members’ 1991 earnings in theater: $7.5 million. In TV: $7.9 million. In commercials: $24.8 million.

Wake me up for the anniversary of I-294. From a motel chain: “As you’re probably aware, this month marks the 66th anniversary of U.S. Route 66.”

“It hasn’t done anything to affirm my faith, I’ll tell you that.” –attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who specializes in representing children abused by priests, in Human Rights (Fall).

Chicago hospital CEOs earn significantly more than their colleagues in other cities, according to figures reported by the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (Update, September/October). But MCHC is not satisfied: the CEO of a Chicago-area nonprofit hospital grossing $200-500 million earns an average of “only” $168,000 a year, while his or her counterpart in a similar-size industrial firm averages $309,000.

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