The deluxe model applies a spark to the gas tank. From Hammacher Schlemmer’s new catalog (Fall 1989): “EXECUTIVE’S PRIVATE PARKING SPACE GUARD.É Using ultrasonic waves, it detects cars entering your space and immediately sounds an adjustable 120 dB alarm which alternates with a synthesized voice message that says ‘Warning! Reserved parking. Please move your car or it will be towed.'”

Volunteers? Volunteers? Henry Fogel of the Illinois Arts Alliance, protesting the U.S. Senate’s recent prudish actions on arts appropriations: “Under the language of the proposed amendment to ban funding of ‘obscene or indecent art,’ it is easily possible to make a case for outlawing the funding of classics from Shakespeare to O’Neill, or Strauss’ opera ‘Salome.’ Perhaps every theatrical production will be checked to see if the costumes are too revealing.”

Convenient memory. “The Chicago Tribune has already taken to extolling Daley’s housing record, and proclaiming Daley to be better on housing than Sawyer or Washington,” writes Deborah Weiner in the Network Builder (July-August 1989). “The Trib failed to point out that the [low-income-housing] trust fund was defeated in City Council when Sawyer was mayor by Daley forces who wanted their man to take the credit for the legislation.”

Chances that an illegal-drug user is white, according to Harper’s “Index” (September 1989): 4 in 5.

Now, don’t you feel safer? Security advice from Chicago Apartments’ Tim Wiley, quoted in Real Estate Profile (August 11-24): “The difference between Uptown and Lincoln Park isn’t safety, it’s ‘prettiness.’ Truthfully–people look at how pretty a neighborhood is. My advice is, don’t be confused and lulled into a false sense of security because an area looks nice. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

“Alas, the problem with people who can be bribed, as any Illinois politician ought to know, is that they can be bribed,” writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (August 17-23). The state unwisely “extracted no guarantees from Sears about how long it will stay in Illinois or how many jobs will stay here.” But the votes were there for it, because of a Thompson-Daley deal in which the governor supported “money to expand McCormick Place, to fix up Navy Pier, and to plan for a much-needed Loop trolley system. Making downtown Chicago safe for conventioneers, tourists, and big property owners will stimulate the creation of thousands of jobs for Balanoff’s steel workers as busboys, doormen, and strolling violinists.”

Historic preservation goes berserk, as reported by Ruth Eckdish Knack in the Chicago-based monthly Planning (August 1989): “To create a town that seems to have a past” a New Jersey developer “invented a ‘fictional history’ and drew site plans of the village as it would have been in various historical epochs…. Some buildings will be designed to look like historic buildings converted to new uses–mansions converted to condos, for instance.” How long until one of them gets on the National Register–because it feels old?

Well, that’s a relief. Loyola philosophy professor Tom Wren tells Loyola World (August 17) that the students he spoke to in prerepression Beijing “didn’t perceive of changing the system: they simply wanted the existing system to work as it was supposed to work. For example, they did not want to pay bribes to get a marriage license. Many of them were, in essence, saying, ‘This is our country. We will be the leaders; we want a little voice in things now.’ They sound more like Northshore Republicans than revolutionaries, don’t they?”

You mean that white stuff isn’t athlete’s-foot powder? The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation reports that in July it indefinitely suspended a Hoffman Estates man’s podiatry license “after he purchased controlled substances which could not have been and were not used to treat ailments of the human foot.”

Some ship. From the Illinois Tax Foundation’s new Budget Watch Reporter (August 1989): “Changing spending patterns is like changing the course of an ocean liner; often the adjustments are measured by only minor degrees, and an eternity can pass before a correction is visible. Nevertheless, we believe in the public’s right to try.”

Caution: do not read this in or near O’Hare. A typical supervisor’s comment, quoted from the General Accounting Office’s survey of air-traffic-controller working conditions: “We continue to staff at a bare minimum. My greatest fear is that during a very busy period, one of my controllers will ask for help…and I won’t have anyone available to help him or her.”

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