Not keeping up I. “One main eye problem that is not treated in pets is refractive error (near- and farsightedness and astigmatism),” according to Eye Facts (November/ December), published by the UIC College of Medicine. “Most dogs are farsighted and astigmatic; however, since they don’t read the newspaper, they seldom complain.”

Not keeping up II. “Despite heavy news media coverage in July when the [collar-county property-tax] cap legislation was passed, and much talk about the ensuing ‘bond rush’ in late summer in the collar counties around Chicago, most Illinois citizensÉstill hadn’t heard of the tax cap even by the time it took effect this fall,” according to a Northern Illinois University release. Only 24 percent of those polled statewide this fall, and only 40 percent of those in the affected counties, had heard of the measure. No word on how many of those polled were dogs.

“If you were going to go to a new world would you pack a picture of a moose?” asks Kerstin B. Lane in a fund-raising letter for the Swedish American Museum Center on North Clark, describing its collection of moose paintings. “Apparently, many immigrants brought with them, in their trunks, paintings to remind them…of the moose in their homeland.”

The man the Republicans love. Writing in the IVI-IPO Action Bulletin (November), Jerry Meites recalls a September 4 meeting of the local anti-Clarence Thomas coalition: “The meeting concluded with [Senator Alan Dixon’s Chicago staffer] Emmet O’Neill denying that Dixon had already decided to support Thomas and promising that Dixon would make no decision on the nomination until he had ‘read every word’ of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s report. That promise was later broken by Dixon on October 1, when he publicly announced his support of Thomas two days before the Judiciary Committee report was even printed.”

“These days bankers look at me as if I’m an almost-normal human being,” says Marilu Meyer, president of Castle Construction Corporation, in Urban Affairs Update (November). But it was not always so: “The first banker I talked to wanted me to buy a different kind of company from the one I wound up running. He suggested, you know, t-shirt imprinting, travel agency, the more traditional female-type things. . . . [Another] banker, a man, suggested that I ought to go back into community work and throw the ‘marvelous’ parties he remembered my organizing. Well, we switched banks that very day and another bank gave us the line of credit [$50,000] we needed. But when I bought my partner out several years ago, that banker called me in to say, ‘Now that you don’t have your partner’s husband to co-sign your notes, we’re going to drop your line of credit to $25,000.’ So I moved to yet another bank, and there I got into difficulty when I had the audacity to be quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that banks did not treat women and minorities in an equitable fashion. The banker confronted me with the newspaper, declaring, ‘How dare you talk about bankers that way.’ That was the day I looked for yet another bank…”

Nonconformists. According to Transportation Facts (November), 1 Du Page County household in 50 owns no motor vehicles.

Oppressed by the capitalist bill collector. The New World Resource Center (“anti-imperialist books, programs, etc.”) tells readers of its October newsletter that it is “willing at all times to entertain requests for books. Of course, in some cases, we may find it difficult to accommodate your request owing to substantial debts with publishers…”

Least inspiring civic proposal of the year, from the Friends of Downtown–part of their statement on the proposed “Central Area Circulator” trolley: “Finally we ask that the name be changed from ‘Circulator’ to something personable and friendly. In Portland it’s Max; in Austin, the downtown bus is called the Armadillo–or ‘dillo. San Francisco has BART. ‘Circulator’ sounds unpleasantly clinical or mechanical.” Sort of like CTA, eh?

Resurrecting the Left? “I suggest that socialists study the Bible,” writes Oak Parker Robert A. Butterfield in In These Times (November 20-26), “especially the Torah (Pentateuch) and the 8th-century prophets in the Old Testament and the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles in the New, including critical studies. Then we should begin presenting modern socialist thought as a logical outgrowth of the Bible. At the same time, we should pressure and encourage the churches and synagogues to be faithful to their own sacred literature and to their own God, who I know is a socialist.”

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