Would that be frozen, canned, or on the cob? From a recent theatrical press release: “The production has all the ingredients, including a breathtaking juggling act, fan-dancing, tap-dancing and ample corn…”

Buttermilk, flavored milk, candy bars, home permanents, denture cleaners, and disposable diapers are “products least likely to be bought by the upscale,” according to Food Marketing Institute research reported in American Demographics (August 1989). Stop cringing–we know who you are.

Lake Calumet’s “degraded landscape,” as viewed by consulting engineer Donald Hey in the Chicago Community Trust’s Trust Quarterly (Summer 1989): “Derelict industrial facilities cut off access to the waterways, and a number of solid-waste landfills mar the landscape. Toxic-waste disposal poses a threat to public health and safety. Adjacent to Lake Calumet, trash and litter are strewn along unpaved roads. The lake itself lies dormant, with underlying contaminated sediments. These conditions, remnants of the region’s industrial past, are the chief impediment to its future.” But there is hope: “At one point in Chicago’s history a very similar description could have been given of the lakefront adjacent to downtown: this area is now Grant Park.”

Live fast, die young. “Women in the 35 to 55 age bracket–even those who are highly educated–are financially illiterate,” says Mara Adelman of Northwestern University. And since most of them will be on their own by age 65, they may pay for it. “For millions of aging baby boomers, those ‘golden years’ after retirement will be tarnished by poor financial planning.”

This news doesn’t fit anymore. “Percentage change, from 1987 to 1988, in the number of new AIDS cases: +8. Percentage change, from 1987 to 1988, in the number of newspaper and magazine articles about AIDS: -36” (Harper’s, August 1989).

700,000 reasons to move to Delaware. “Odds of winning a ‘pick six’ lottery on a $1 bet,” according to the oddly titled newsletter Executive Fitness (March 1989): “1 in 14 million in California and Florida; 1 in 13 million in Illinois and New York; 1 in 9.4 million in Massachusetts; and 1 in 7.1 million in Michigan and Ohio. Odds are best in Kansas (1 in 600,000) and Delaware (1 in 700,000).”

Religion is OK if taken in moderation, or at least that’s the idea you might get from the answers to a Loyola University mail survey of 2,000 business managers. The managers’ answers to questions on social responsibility were reported by Thomas McMahon in a recent issue of Chicago Studies. Three out of four said that religious values influenced their business decisions, and almost half claim that “religion has a significant impact.” But it’s another story when the rubber hits the road: “When asked what strategies they would employ in moving a northern urban non-union plant to the Sun Belt, only 16% claim that they would give any concern to norms proposed by religion. Specifically, they rejected the conditions proposed in the 1986 Roman Catholic Bishops’ pastoral on the economy. These are: a right to be informed, a right to negotiate about alternatives and a right to fair compensation and assistance…. only 4% want the church or synagogue to present religious answers to social questions or even to point out inequalities and abuses in society (5%).”

Which state agency has the most employees who haven’t filed their required 1989 Statements of Economic Interest with the Illinois Board of Ethics? Yep, it’s the Department of Revenue.

The power of negative thinking. Dr. John P. McMahon, an Evanston Hospital neurologist, debunks New Age medicine in a recent issue of the hospital’s magazine Pilot. “Doctors react more positively to positive-minded patients. But I have great doubts that a disease is fundamentally influenced by positive thinking. Sometimes it is only one manifestation of a patient’s strong desire to deny the reality of dire illness and ride roughshod over reality. Such a patient may succeed in convincing himself and his doctors that he is feeling better when he is, in fact, worse, thus delaying the institution of measures that could actually improve his well-being…. I’ve seen some patients fight hard all the way to the grave. And I’ve also seen some real good fighters die quickly.”

Repels fleas, ticks, and babies. “Pregnant women should avoid using insect repellents that contain DEET,” according to Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s Teratogen Information Service (1-800-252-4847). This chemical, diethyltoluamide to its friends, causes toxic reactions in some people and therefore possibly in their unborn babies. Maybe this problem will still be around when Joe Scheidler starts looking for useful work.

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