Gather round the trough little piggies. “If history repeats itself, Sears will be offered substantial incentives to remain in Illinois” after it leaves the Sears Tower, writes Elizabeth A. Lesly in Chicago Enterprise (March 1989). “In 1984 Chrysler Corp. threatened to close its Belvidere auto plant [near Rockford] and lay off 4,200 workers; in 1985 Chrysler and Mitsubishi Motor Corp. offered to plop their 2,900-worker Diamond-Star auto plant in Normal; in 1986 the Chicago White Sox publicly considered moving to Florida. In all cases, state and local governments offered assistance–$15 million to Chrysler, $86 million to Diamond-Star, $150 million to the Sox–and the corporations chose Illinois. A subsequent study by the Center for Government Studies at Northern Illinois University says that Chrysler, at least, would have stayed in Belvidere without any incentives.”

Maybe his mother is chief judge. How to cure writer’s block? Mark Mathewson in Student Lawyer (March 1989) suggests that you replace your “internal critic” with a friendlier audience. “In a recent writing workshop for the Illinois State Bar Association, federal district judge Charles Wolle of Iowa, a writing teacher at the Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, told participants that he often begins his first draft of judicial opinions with ‘Dear Mom.'”

You have been warned. “Pork barrelers in Congress are rallying in opposition to the proposed closure of 86 obsolete military bases,” including Fort Sheridan, according to Business Executives for National Security. “Starting March 1, they will have 45 working days to try to reject the list…. If they lose then, they’ll try to gut the measure [expected to save $700 million a year] during the appropriations process by withholding the money needed to implement it.”

“All of Chicago faces the Lake,” writes Stephen Luecking in Public Art Review (Winter/Spring 1989). “It laps at our front stoop. The spatial drama that is our city climaxes at the shore of Lake Michigan. From the west the city crowds toward the shore, its larger and more aggressive buildings elbowing their way to the front. To the east the space suddenly breaks, flattening into a zinc gray sheet of water that abuts the sky at a machine-perfect horizon. In between the lake and the city a narrow green intermission of parks winds along the shore. Despite the grand tableau of that clash of spaces…only three significant public sculptures have been sited there during the public sculpture boom of the past two decades.” Or should that be because…?

Caution: this plant is not thirsty. The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plant Information Service (835-0972, 10-3 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) notes that houseplants grow more slowly in winter–cooler temperatures and less daylight means that they need less water and less fertilizer than in warmer months.

Shakespeare was up the limit, calculus down two and a half points on broad trading, psychiatry up three in expectation of a hostile takeover… “I think there is some misunderstanding about why tuition increases take place,” says University of Chicago president Hanna Gray in the Chicago Maroon (February 24). “The basic driving force is that knowledge becomes increasingly expensive.”

“This sturdy dog house is hand-assembled from aromatic red cedar, the only wood” that repels fleas and ticks, according to Hammacher Schlemmer (Spring Supplement 1989), which would love to sell you one for up to $349.50. We’re holding out for a human house built that way.

“People forget what investing is all about,” complains the Patient Investor (December 19), the quarterly newsletter of Chicago’s Ariel Capital Management, Inc. “To us, investing is exciting because buying stock is in reality buying a part of a company. A real company with real assets, products and people. Many investors, however, are separating the stock from the basic company and treating both as separate entities. When a company’s stock becomes part of an elaborate financial instrument such as an index, its underlying fundamental business is no longer of any relevance. According to Peter Lynch, manager of the $9 billion Magellan Fund, ‘it’s pure gambling, a waste of economic assets.'”

The case of the fugitive farmer: According to the University of Illinois, the average Illinois farm family earns more than half its income from nonfarm sources.

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