Dept. of seeing ourselves as others see us. From the Urban Land Institute’s new book Carrots & Sticks: New Zoning Downtown: “When asked which cities are most conducive to building great buildings, architect Eugene Kohn responded, ‘Chicago and Philadelphia.’ …In cities like Chicago…design excellence is already part of the city’s collective unconscious…. Chicago cabbies are just as likely to point out the local architectural landmarks as they are to boast about their baseball teams.” Provided that they speak English.

Note: one of these energy sources is hopelessly impractical. According to the Safe Energy Communication Council, “Renewable sources provided 17 percent of the world’s energy in 1988, compared to a contribution of 5 percent by nuclear power.”

“If bimbos didn’t exist, we might have to invent them,” reflects Marcia Froelke Coburn (Chicago, February 1990). “Maybe we already have. Maybe when a guy goes out with a bimbo, all he sees is the surface, a giggly, Champagne-fizzed dopette. But maybe the alleged bimbo is sitting there, laughing uncertainly at his jokes, knocking back the bubbly, and thinking, Why doesn’t he ever talk about differential equations with me?”

Pearls of wisdom dept., courtesy of Grant Thornton’s Tax & Business Adviser (January 1990): “Difficult as it may be for the entrepreneur to accept, ideas mean nothing when dealing with investment capital.”

Two signs that Chicago school bureaucrats aren’t ready for reform, courtesy of the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools:

(1) “According to a directive from the Interim Board, Local School Councils may hold only two meetings per year in [their own] school, unless they pay an outrageous fee for the building engineer to be present. Chicago alone among Illinois school districts has such rules about the presence of building engineers.”

(2) “Children and teachers still lack basic books and learning materials, even though schools now have the flexibility to buy them…. Procedures are intolerably slow, often worse than they were before reform. For example, books and other materials are unnecessarily shipped from suppliers to the central administration, when they could go directly to schools.”

Honest, J.B., I’m not on drugs. I’m just incompetent. “According to Ms. Chris Johnson, Program Consultant at Employee Resource Center (ERC), the following behaviors may be signs of substance abuse: increased absenteeism and tardiness, long lunches and early departures, increased fatigue and numerous excuses for poor on the job performance” (Norbic Network, January 1990).

We’ll discuss ethics from 11 to 12, but let’s get done promptly so we can give the congressman his payoff. “I received a call from Ms. Roe last week, the secretary to Mr. J. Doe of the XYZ Corporation,” writes Jack Snapper of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Perspectives on the Professions, newsletter of IIT’s Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. “Ms. Roe said that her boss wanted a course in some area of professional ethics.” But IIT’s semester-long offerings didn’t satisfy. “She finally explained that Mr. Doe had agreed to attend a course in professional ethics as part of the settlement of a criminal case. He had to complete the course before regaining his license to practice. He really wanted something he could get out of the way in one day. A half-day seminar would be ideal.”

First, the good news… “Chicago enters the 1990s with more than 50 high-rise projects underway or planned,” writes Michael J.P. Smith in the Inland Architect (January/February 1990). “Bursting the traditional bounds of the Loop in all directions, for better or worse [they] represent the greatest change in the city’s skyline since the glory days of the 1920s…. If only equivalent efforts were being made in the public realm. Try tarrying to admire the lobbies of these semi-private high-rise palazzi without attracting official attention. Romantic? Ask a bag person getting the bum’s rush by building security. Castles in the clouds, it needs to be remembered, begin at the street.”

Two delegations of Chicago attorneys will be helping to monitor the Nicaraguan elections, says former deputy corporation counsel Matt Piers: “As lawyers, experienced in the real world of Chicago politics, we believe that we can make a unique contribution to the monitoring process. If anyone knows election fraud when they see it, we do.”

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