New frontiers in international trade, as reported in the Greater North-Pulaski Business Times (February/ March 1989): “Royal Crest Designs, Inc., at 3123 N. Pulaski, makers of ‘Sittin’ Soft’ cushioned toilet seats, found a market in England for ‘soft seats’ that play ‘Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here’ when the lid is up.”

Catholic Charities ($5.98 million), the Jewish Federation ($4.24 million), and United Charities of Chicago ($4.12 million) were the three largest recipients of United Way of Chicago funds in 1988, according to the agency’s annual report. The smallest allocation went to the Rogers Park Children’s Learning Center ($16,000).

Huh? What’s that? Sorry, I can’t concentrate without the air-conditioning on. “We Americans are energy addicts,” writes David Kraft of the Evanston-based Nuclear Energy Information Service. “We consume–and waste–far more energy than any other people on Earth. And, like good pushers do, the utilities…remain ever-ready to give us our next energy fix, at a great profit for them and their investors, and with great damage to the environment in our behalf.”

The Power of Positive Thinking, Dept. of Economic Development, as told by Senator Paul Simon: “What is unusual about your community? Develop it into an asset. Oquawka, Illinois, is a small town of 1,500, small enough that the only circus to visit the community was a tiny operation with a small tent, one elephant, and a few odds and ends. While the circus people were preparing for an evening program in Oquawka one day, a thunderstorm hit. The huge elephant, tethered to a tree, was struck by lightning and killed instantly. The circus people escaped the community immediately. The people of Oquawka found themselves with a huge, very dead elephant. They buried the elephant in a massive grave, and then erected a tasteful monument, describing the elephant and how it died. Soon people started to come to Oquawka to see the gravesite, and the occasional visitor has changed into an occasional busload of tourists. I can’t tell you how many jobs that brings to this community, but a few–jobs that would not be there but for someone with a soft heart and a good business head.”

Give me a megaburger and fries to go. “Next time you go to a salad bar and you’re loading up on lettuce,” advises state representative Jesse White, “think for a moment about how long that lettuce has been sitting there. The lettuce may look great since it’s so green but that could be because the food has been sprayed…”

Hey kid, want a steady job? According to the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council’s 1988 annual report, nursing is not the only health profession experiencing a shortage. Chicago-area hospitals reported a 15.4 percent vacancy rate for physical therapists, 9.6 percent for registered nurses–up to 14.3 percent in Chicago alone in January (On the Move, March/April)–and 8.7 percent for ultrasound technicians as of last July.

Time-share condos are almost impossible to resell, according to a recent survey by the Resort Property Owners Association, possibly the only group of oppressed consumers to be headquartered on LaSalle Street. “A lot of people buy time shares as a hedge against inflation or as an investment,” says RPOA’s president Clinton Burr. “But the developers never tell them about the difficulties involved in reselling.”

So–maybe a horse is a camel put together by a committee. U. of I. psychologists report that group judgments tend to be more accurate than individual ones–and the wider the disagreement within the group beforehand, the more accurate their final guess is likely to be.

Is this man worth 300 times as much as a teacher? Total 1988 “compensation” of the highest-paid chief executive in the Chicago area, Dean L. Buntrock of Waste Management: $8,402,000. Average annual pay of a teacher: $28,008 (Business Week, May 1).

The last word on suburbanites, from interior designer Jill Popenhagen, quoted in Chicago Times (May/June 1989): “They all want to be the same person. I don’t know who that person is, but they all want to be that person.”

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