Victims of old-time English teachers. From a recent press release: “We all yen for the taste of Grandmother’s cooking but fear the calories, fat, sodium and all the other No-No’s about which we’re finding.”

Moving out and missing the point. From ESDC Community Developments (April/May), published by the Eighteenth Street Development Corporation: “It’s not just the gang members who damage the neighborhood’s reputation. [Computer programmer and Pilsen native Mary] Calderon recalls the neighbors who refused to join in a block clean-up and would even litter, but come back from their new home in the suburbs speaking in awe of how clean their new community is.”

“It was frustrating for our hearing president when all the deaf would get real excited and start signing and the hearing president would be looking and looking and he couldn’t understand what was going on,” says Bob Radtke of Ridge Lutheran Church’s ministry with the deaf and hearing impaired (Church and Community Forum, August). “Then there would be times when the hearing would get all excited and they would start talking, and we would be frustrated too….It was like two different discussions, the hearing discussion and the deaf discussion. …My life for many, many years was with the hearing people until I met my wife. She’s profoundly deaf. When I started to date with her, I told her, you know, ‘Let’s double date,’ and I’d bring my hearing friends and it was terrible. I would be talking with my hearing friends and she would be there with nothing to do. Finally, I had to make my own decision to drop my hearing friends. It’s very difficult to get the two worlds together.”

Military religion is to religion as military music is to music. From CCCO News Notes (Fall): “When he filed for a [conscientious-objector] discharge, Jonathan told a chaplain that he could not kill another member of the Body of Christ. The chaplain told him not to worry. Iraqis aren’t Christians anyway, he said.”

“Aspects of the [new Harold Washington] public library are not conducive to families with young children,” according to the newsletter Moments (November). “The escalators are narrow, so forget trying to negotiate a stroller up the moving stairs. At the same time, you can’t take a single elevator from the first floor to the top. You must transfer on the third level–a minor inconvenience. And if a stroller is necessary, be sure to bring your own–the Library does not have any to borrow or rent.”

Radio formats of the future: after all-news and all-sports, can all-real estate be far behind? “The talking house is the latest gimmick in real estate marketing,” according to one Highland Park firm, which sold a suburban split-level using radio. “A sign instructs passersby to tune into 1180 on their car radios for a 90-second description of the house, which ends with a pitch for the Realtors.”

We look forward to seeing General Motors lobby for a much higher gasoline tax. “The primary determinant of fuel economy is the price of gasoline,” according to promotional materials being distributed by GM, the largest U.S. automaker, that argue against legislation setting higher fuel-economy standards. “Experience has shown that’s what determines the mix of vehicles sold….When gasoline prices were high, GM exceeded its own projections and CAFE [Corporate Average Fuel Economy] requirements, because customers demanded more of our fuel-efficient products. When gasoline prices fell in real terms, customers chose larger vehicles. A rational approach to energy conservation would use market forces–like price–to change consumer behavior toward reduced energy usage.”

Well, gee, the theaters aren’t open on Sunday morning. Paul Q. Beeching in the Chicago-based the Critic (Fall): “A friend of mine, the chairman of the English department of a midwest university who also happens to be a devout Episcopalian, tells me that when he hires new faculty they often ask, ‘Which is the best church in town?’ Frequently he then finds the same men [sic] and their wives and children sitting next to him in the pew on Sunday. Sometimes, he says, the whole church seems filled with these mobile, good-natured, completely secular types. He suspects that only he and the priests (and he’s not sure of the new one) actually believe the doctrines of Anglicanism–or are even familiar with them.”

First things last. The eight questions, in order, that the Early Learning Centre toy chain recommends you ask in order to buy the “right” toy: “Is the Toy: Age appropriate? Non-gender specific? Durable and safe? Multi-purpose? Does it promote interactive, imaginative play? Does it encourage curiosity and developmental play? Is there really an ‘economical’ toy that will last? Is it fun to play with?”

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