Lost, somewhere east of Lake Calumet, in the summer of 1914: a one-quarter-inch-tall bluish-green plant, Thismia americana, member of a mostly tropical family of plants. According to Linda Wetstein of the Morton Arboretum, writing in Conscious Choice (Summer), “Local botanists are organizing to conduct a disciplined search for Thismia americana on August 10, 1991.” No one has seen a live specimen in 77 years.

Some dead white guy who kept shooting off his mouth, I guess. From WGN’s program notes for Milt Rosenberg’s June 11 talk show: “THE GREAT CANNON OF AMERICAN LITERATURE.”

“Where do Catholics get their principle that workers are entitled to form unions?” asks Initiatives (March), newsletter of the National Center for the Laity, headquartered on East Superior. “The right to a union is not, as some might think, derived directly from Jesus’ teaching: ‘Laborers are worth their hire.’ Instead it comes from a natural right. Workers have the right to associate for collective bargaining because the human person, social by nature, arrives at a proper end in solidarity with others. The right to organize a union protects a person’s claim to normal physical and moral growth….[But] many Catholic leaders preach the right to unions, but don’t practice it…. Initiatives once quoted a Catholic hospital memo which called a union an ‘outside third party.’ The hospital administrators seemed oblivious that the same label applied to their out-of-town, union-busting consulting firm.”

Reality check. Amy Morton of Remains Theatre, interviewed by Effie Mihopoulos in Strong Coffee (April): “For a brief period–I think my freshman year in high school–I was going to be a veterinarian, but that ended when a veterinarian where I grew up [Oak Park] was taking kids who were interested in being vets around. One of them was [to] a convention in a huge place like McCormick Place, and they had animals in there. They actually showed a horse getting castrated, so I just went ‘forget it.’ I went back to the old acting thing.”

“Nationalism–black, Jewish, ‘queer,’ or whatever–is a highly corrosive ideology that results in yet more nationalism, causing groups to break up into subgroups and sub-subgroups in an endless process of conflict, disintegration, and decay,” laments Daniel Lazare in the Village Voice (May 7). “We see it in the gathering antagonism between blacks and Koreans; in the split between blacks and Jews (which is really a rift between black nationalists concerned about community control and Third World struggles, and Zionists whose first concern is Israel); in the tensions over race and gender in the gay community….Anti-racism has given way to a pseudo-leftist chauvinism of the oppressed that teaches that racism is not racism when directed at the dominant group. Amazingly, Marxism has come to be identified with every silly form of nationalism to come down the pike, when in fact Marxism’s record is clearly the opposite. Marx and Engels taught that the workers have no country, while Rosa Luxemburg renounced nationalism so thoroughly that she refused even to support Polish independence.”

When a user fee isn’t. According to a recent report by the Illinois Tax Foundation, three-quarters of the snowmobile registration-fee money is deposited in the state Boating Act Fund to pay for patrolling state waterways.

A park or a fairground? Between June 8 and September 8, writes Luis Corral in Chicago Enterprise (June), Grant Park “will have been host to six events and an estimated seven million soil-squashing feet.”

“The Chicago Cubs spent almost as much money on three new players this year as the entire Chicago Symphony Orchestra needs to operate for a year. Ryne Sandberg’s annual salary would’ve built Soldier Field in the 1920s,” writes Mike Conklin in Today’s Chicago Woman (June). “So I ask you readers: Do you really want a sports world like the one created by men? Unless you can guarantee me you’ll do a better job, please don’t try….If you simply wait long enough you’ll pass us by on our way down.”

Sure, be a good citizen–on your own time. According to the Management Association of Illinois, fewer than 11 percent of Illinois firms grant paid time off to employees who serve as election officials.

Vacation American style. Illinois Aviation (May/June) records this as one of 1990’s “Ten Most Memorable Record Flights”: “Under the call sign ‘Hello America!’ Dr. Hypolite Landry and copilot Clifford Rice visited all the ‘lower 48’ state capitals and the District of Columbia. The two departed in a Cessna 172 from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on August 6 and completed this ‘fastest time’ record of 13 days, 7 hours, and 42 minutes in Jackson, Mississippi.”

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