“Chances that a first-time cigarette smoker will become addicted,” according to Harper’s “Index” (Nov-ember 1989): “9 in 10. Chances that a first-time user of cocaine will become addicted: 1 in 6.”

A woman in a thousand. In its annual genuflection to “the corporate elite,” Business Week (October 20) barely mentions that 999 of the 1,000 CEOs pictured and profiled are men. The lone exception: the Washington Post’s Katharine Graham. You’ve got a long way to go, baby.

“Increasing education and income [will not] bring about black integration in society,” writes Douglas S. Massey of the U. of C.’s Population Research Center, in a paper presented to the Chicago Community Trust Human Relations Task Force. “At all levels of education, income, and occupation status, blacks are very highly segregated from whites. Blacks who make under $2,500 per year, the poorest of the poor by any standard, have a segregation score of 91.1, whereas those who make more than $50,000 per year have a score of 86.3…. Indeed, the most affluent black families display a level of segregation (86.3) that is higher than the poorest Hispanic families (79.3)…. The extreme level of black segregation [in Chicago] more likely stems from the persistence of white prejudice against blacks as neighbors.”

“At the top of the list of words to avoid were the terms AIDS ‘victim,’ ‘sufferer,’ and ‘patient’…. The ‘preferred’ term was ‘person with AIDS,'” reports Randy Shilts on the politically correct style sheet handed out at the Fifth International Conference on AIDS in Montreal (Mother Jones, November 1989). “‘AIDS-related dementia’ was also passe. The severe neurological problems wrought by AIDS were to be called HIV-related organic brain disease, or just OBD. Intravenous drug abusers were not to be called such. ‘Abuser’ is so judgmental. Instead, the acceptable term was ‘injection drug user.’ And, the style sheet concluded, avoid the word ‘prostitute.’ Instead, use ‘sex industry worker.'” And what of the projected one million dead from AIDS worldwide by the mid-1990s? “One journalist later commented that a politically correct phrasemaker… might soon suggest that these corpses henceforth be called ‘bodies resting from AIDS.'”

“While the demand for organs is rising, the supply is dropping. No one is sure why, but the number of organ donors in Illinois decreased by 21 percent between May 1988 and May 1989” (Laurie Abraham in the Chicago Reporter, October 1989).

We need the death penalty, writes Steve Brouwer in the Chicago-based weekly In These Times (October 25-31)–just apply it where it will do the most good. “Unlike poor criminals, the rich are not indifferent to death and discomfort; in fact, much of their effort is spent on surrounding themselves with luxuries to balm their sensitive souls and bodies. In deference to these delicate lawbreakers, we now send a few of them to special comfort-laden prisons for brief vacations from their activities so they can return to their offices refreshed and ready to rob us blind again. We ought to kill them instead.

“Nothing will deter an unemployed youth on a Washington street corner from trying to pull some minor deal in drugs, but the banker who lives in suburban Virginia and launders money for the big-time cocaine merchants is another story…. One or two public executions of bankers by guillotine in Lafayette Square, across from the White House, would provide excellent public entertainment. Better yet, it would actually deter crime, which is what most Americans seem to be seeking.”

The seven deadly sins of poorly conducted meetings, according to business communications consultant John Whalen, offering free advice to the new local school councils: “1) resenting questions, 2) letting someone monopolize the meeting, 3) playing comic, 4) allowing public chastisement, 5) permitting non-productive, unscheduled interruptions, 6) losing control and, most important of all, 7) coming unprepared.”

Trivia answers we don’t want to know. According to its advance publicity, a typical question in the “‘Tis the Season” trivia game is, “What did General Washington do on Dec. 25, 1976?”

Celebrity figures. From Susan Nelson’s Chicago Times (November/December 1989) profile of born-again environmentalist and Channel Two anchor Bill Kurtis, discussing his campaign for garbage containers in Lincoln Park: “Kurtis pledged $1,000–which would buy five sturdy, locked containers at $226 each, he notes with the precision of a person who didn’t grow up rich.” And who didn’t major in math.

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