Rear-guard action. The Dairy Council of Wisconsin, Inc., has been moooved to issue a three-page release denying that the Dairy State’s ranking first in obesity nationwide has anything to do with its being the Dairy State.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Great Lakes, and to the ecosystem, however tenuous, for which it stands… “All sorts of sub-national groups and regions use flags as rallying points,” argues Paul Botts in proposing two possible designs for a Great Lakes flag (the Great Lakes Reporter, March/April 1990). “Now, if we just had a regional anthem to sing at ballgames while the flag is raised…”

Who was Harold Washington? “Chicago’s first ‘media Mayor,'” according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, which is gathering tapes of all of Washington’s radio and TV appearances for public viewing at the museum.

We don’t care. We don’t have to care. David Fremon on the demographic changes in Chicago wards: “The newcomers to the [lakefront] 42nd and 43rd wards don’t feel obliged to be regular Democrats. If you can afford to live there, you can afford to be a Republican” (Chicago Reporter, May 1990).

Educating the in-laws. Yvonne Zipter in Outlines (May 1990): “Aside from any personal satisfaction I might take from being a participant observer at my lover’s family gatherings, I think my presence at those functions helps further the movement, albeit in a small way. When invited to these festivities, Kathy has frequently said to me, ‘You don’t have to go, you know,’ the implication being that I’m not expected to go, the way, for instance, her cousins’ husbands are. And that, precisely, is why I go: to get them to the point where they do expect me to be there, to the point where they recognize the nature and stubbornness of our relationship, on whatever level they are capable of perceiving it.”

“Dan Quayle may be just as dumb in 1992 as he is now; he can continue his course of chronic misstatement; he can even get embroiled in a minor scandal or two”–without harming his 1996 presidential chances, reflects Jim Motavalli in the Quayle Quarterly (Spring 1990). “But he had better not put on weight. Or lose his hair. Or stop grinning that self-effacing ‘just folks’ grin.”

Now, class, you’ll see that lower forms of life always respond the same way to the same stimulus, no matter how often it is applied… “The focus of media attention shifts rather quickly following a disaster,” writes Michael J. Allan in the Public Relations Journal (March 1990). “In a natural disaster, for example, media interest typically begins with ‘death and destruction’ coverage, then shifts in one or two days to stories about human tragedy and heroics. In another two to four days reporting focuses on the work of the various organizations responding to the disaster. Finally, the media dwells for an extended period of time on issues related to long-term recovery. The media interest shift for other types of disasters (product tampering, for example) will follow different patterns. But for each type–and here’s the good news–the pattern is, to a great extent, predictable.”

Getting a little touchy, aren’t we? From the Illinois EPA’s recent review of its 20-year history: “A growing Illinois population strains capabilities to provide adequate sewage and water treatment for the steadily more common two and three bathroom house and the backyard pool. Two-car-and-a-pickup-truck households demand cleaner air over the new miles of highway to the spots where they run the all-terrain vehicles” (Environmental Progress, March-April 1990).

Hmm–all-male neighborhoods, maybe? According to a recent survey by Friends of the Parks, “23% of neighborhood parks (in Novem-ber and October 1989) had either no girls/women’s programs offered, or no staff to run such programs.”

“I don’t think that respecting the dead obliges me to respect their skeletons too,” writes professional curmudgeon James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (May 17-23), apropos the debate over the closing of the Dickson Mounds. “Investing the remains of the dead with sacred or magical significance is a practice the West once dismissed as primitive; it is proof of our sentimentalization of Indians and other non-Western people that we now applaud, even envy their primitiveness.” Besides, “if it is sacrilegious for a tourist to gaze upon Indian remains, is it not also sacrilegious for a scientist to gaze upon them?…I am not too concerned if the religious want to perpetuate their own ignorance about their past, but I resent it when they try to perpetuate mine.”

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