Caution: may be armed with needle and thread. Robert Busse of River Forest, one of six craftspeople demonstrating their arts in the State of Illinois Center on December 8, makes tatted snowflake ornaments and bills himself as the “Mad Tatter.”

“Terminating the franchise doesn’t mean putting Edison out of business in Chicago,” write Scott Bernstein and Mary O’Connell in The Neighborhood Works (October-November 1989), urging Mayor Daley to keep his campaign promise to do so by the December 31 deadline. “Rather, it’s a signal of the City’s intention to create a new arrangement with Edison, and other potential suppliers, for providing the city’s electricity. The new franchise must, at a minimum, make it possible for Chicagoans to buy electricity from other sources than Commonwealth Edison– wherever they can get the best deal.”

Give us your tired, your poor, your two-handed… The Record (Fall 1989) describes how Dr. Orhan Kaymakcalan, Mount Sinai Hospital’s chief of hand and microvascular surgery, got one of his patients: “Another patient, a Polish immigrant working in a paint factory, had his hand stuck in a hot roller for fifteen minutes before co-workers could locate someone to read the directions on the machine, which were written in English.” (Kaymakcalan was able to save two fingers and the thumb.)

Quality time. In advance publicity for a recent production of Raggedy Ann and Andy at Skokie’s Centre East, the center promised “a TV will be available for parents who may want to keep up with the Bears game…while the kids watch the show.”

Reality check. “I took my son to the University of Hartford, straight from his racially-integrated high school in Chicago,” writes Reta Halteman Finger in Daughters of Sarah (November/December 1989). “Not knowing a soul, he spent the first day observing the campus flooded with new students and their parents. ‘I’ve never seen so many white people in one place before in my life,’ he said. ‘Where will I find my friends?’ I was taken aback. I hadn’t noticed. Though we live in a racially-mixed neighborhood, I am not usually in groups where Blacks are the majority. My son has never gone to a school where Blacks were not the majority, flanked by significant numbers of Hispanics and Asians. He notices when there are too many white people. I don’t.”

“No one would think of proposing to improve neighborhood drug stores or supermarkets or bookstores by electing local councils to supervise their affairs,” writes Northwestern University law professor Daniel Polsby, in a Heartland Institute opinion piece proposing that parent control of schools be economic in nature, not political. “We control retail stores the American way, by shopping the good ones and staying out of the bad ones. This system is tough on those who don’t deliver the goods, but it’s great for consumers. And no one calls Chicago’s stores the worst in the nation.”

“It’s hard to say how much cooking is stimulated by TV cooking shows,” muses James Krohe Jr. in Chicago Times (November/December 1989). “The fact that [Frugal Gourmet Jeff] Smith’s first cookbook has sold more than a million copies–an outstanding number for a hardcover book with no sex in it–no more signals a return to the kitchen than similar sales of the Bible signal a return to church. Cooking shows may be popular, indeed, to the extent that people no longer cook.”

“In 1988, 63 percent of whites in Illinois waiting for transplants got kidneys compared to 36 percent of blacks,” writes Laurie Abraham in the Chicago Reporter (October 1989). “The reason most often given for the disparity is that whites donate most organs, and the two races’ tissue types are not sufficiently well-matched to allow many white-to-black transplants…. [But] a host of nonmedical factors–which generally do not favor poor blacks–also can influence who gets on waiting lists, says John Kilner, a University of Kentucky ethicist who studied transplant and dialysis decision-making. He found that when allocating scarce resources such as organs, dialysis and transplant medical directors consider everything from patients’ psychological stability to how much society benefits if they live.”

Are you sure these aren’t hot dogs? From the publicity for “Ditka’s Style Pork Chops”: “Available at major food stores in the Chicago area, the 6 oz. prime chops are hand trimmed to a thickness of 1″ to 1 1/2″ and have become synonymous with Mike Ditka.” Yes, and as Coach Pork Chop was saying on the radio yesterday…

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