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“The gray bat is being done in by cave visitors,” reports the Nature Conservancy in its annual “Fortunate 500” briefing on rare and endangered species and ecosystems protected, at least in part, during the past year. Since the bats huddle together to conserve warmth over the winter, “a single human disturbance during winter hibernation can cost a bat up to 30 days’ worth of energy and threaten it with starvation.” The conservancy has acquired 185 acres along the Lower Cache River in far southern Illinois to help protect the species from dropping below the necessary numbers to survive.

Can you stuff it in your tank if you run out? Press release from up north: “As important as gasoline when traveling in the State is the Wisconsin County Map Atlas.”

Waste Management doesn’t make money on its recycling business–the largest in the country–reports Brian Bremner in Business Week (March 5). But it is “working as a sort of loss leader to pull in business for [the Oak Brook firm’s] landfill operations, which boast a pretax profit margin of 20%.” Some of those landfill profits now find their way as grants to environmental groups such as the National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society (In These Times, February 14-20) despite the fact that Waste Management was the firm most often charged with toxic-waste violations during the 1980s.

“The nineties promise to be an exciting decade for dance in Chicago,” writes Tim Noworyta in the biannual magazine of the Chicago Dance Coalition. This despite the fact that “most dance-goers limit themselves to a small part of the dance spectrum…. In general, the audience for modern dance is younger and less affluent than ballet audiences, with the jazz audience somewhere in the middle. Most audience members are college educated and 60-65% are women. Audiences for ethnic dance consist primarily of the ethnic group involved…. From all accounts, the dance audience in Chicago has grown considerably in the last 25 years. Some estimate the total local audience to be roughly 25,000.”

“By the time I see them, most of my patients have smoked too much, drunk too much, taken too many drugs, eaten a terrible diet and neglected their hypertension and diabetes,” says Mount Sinai Hospital chief cardiologist Dr. David Lubell, in the hospital’s 1989 annual report. “Our technology is still useful to these people– often even dramatically–but…. there is no quick fix, particularly in our environment, where poor people are neglected and abused healthwise.”

Sentences we couldn’t help but agree with–from an anonymous antitax chain letter published in Taxnews (Winter ’90): “Politicians think of you and I as idiots.”

Too good to throw out. Richard Frisbie writes in the Uncommentator (February 1990) that he has “a daisy-wheel printer whose ribbon won’t print although it still makes perfectly good carbon copies. You just have to throw away the original, which comes out blank. Years ago, when I worked for big advertising agencies, I would have liked a machine like this. In a big agency, you can make a lot of trouble by writing memos and delivering only the copies, never the original.”

And what do Oscar Mayer employees call themselves? From Midweek (February 7), a weekly internal news bulletin of the Quaker Oats Company: “All Quakers interested in displaying their work in the up-coming employee art exhibition…”

“The average household income of home computer owners is 23 percent higher than the market,” according to MarkeTrend (January 1990). This elite group is also “more adventuresome than the general market. They participate more in virtually every leisure time activity. Compared with their neighbors, for example, they are more likely to prefer live theater, skiing, or boating; less likely to watch TV.” So when do they have time to play with their computers?

Selling out. According to Investing for a Better World (January 15): “Carme, a personal care company whose Mill Creek, Sleepy Hollow, and Jojoba Farms brands are known as ‘cruelty free’ products not tested on animals, has agreed to be sold to International Research and Development Corporation, a firm that conducts tests on animals for drug, agricultural, medical and chemical companies.” Have a nice day.

“Every habit, sin and personal problem is now seen as an ‘addiction,'” writes Murray L. Bob in In These Times (January 31-February 6). “Thus we have sexual addiction, drug addiction, compulsive gambling, alcoholism, overeating, smoking, sleeping too much, undereating, dependency, co-dependency, shopping, overuse of credit cards, hand-washing, house-cleaning and cyclothymia…. Fifty years ago a publishing joke was that if you wanted to produce a bestseller you had to cover three burning interests of the public: Lincoln, doctors and dogs. Thus a surefire winner would be titled Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog. Today a bestseller is more likely to be called Creatively Imaging Power Sex with a Goddess While Recovering from an Addiction to Visionary Healing.”

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