Just put fans everywhere and you’ll be fine. According to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cockroaches avoid areas where there is “abundant air flow.”

Raise your hand if you’re (not) sure. Wheelchair ramps and signing for the deaf are no longer a guarantee of political correctness. Writing in Outlines (November 1989), Rex Wockner quotes a working draft on “accessibility” at lesbian, gay, feminist, and leftie events. For one thing, there are the allergic: “Beginning immediately, events should be advertised as scent-free and ‘sniffers’ posted at the entrance to ensure that all who enter are in compliance. Anyone who is wearing scents should be turned away.” Other proposed requirements: couches and armless chairs for fat people, and morning-only decision making to accommodate those who get tired easily. (Apparently night owls have not yet been promoted to the ranks of the disabled.)

Great places to crawl. A recent press release tells us that “Cole Taylor Bank awarded a $100 savings bond to Sophia Lugo, Chicago, after she crawled across the finish line in first place at a recent ‘Baby Derby’ race”–where?–“held in the parking lot of Cub Foods, 2627 N. Elston Avenue.”

The Hypocritical Majority. “Funda-mentalists are uniquely modern,” says R. Scott Appleby, former religious-studies chairman at Saint Xavier College and now associate director of the Fundamentalism Project, in U.S. Catholic (Decem-ber 1989). “They are not throwbacks to a previous era; they are shrewd, selective, and adaptive. They are as adaptive as modernists,” picking and choosing from their own tradition. “The core doctrine of Protestant Christian Fundamentalism is probably the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. But it’s not a traditional doctrine. It was created and developed in the late nineteenth century at the Princeton Theological Seminary…. Neither John Calvin nor Martin Luther, for example, held the Bible to be grammatically, scientifically, or historically without error…. [They] would have looked at that kind of reading of the Bible as a terrible impoverishment of the richness of the text.”

Do false teeth cause cancer? Well, they do seem to accumulate mutagenic substances, according to a study of 67 used dentures conducted at Loyola University’s School of Dentistry in Maywood. Older dentures, and those from smokers, were more likely to have attracted the mutation-causing chemicals.

Uh, do you have that on video? According to the United Way’s Needs Assessment Technical Committee, “only 14 percent of Chicago high school seniors attend schools where the average senior reading score is at or above the national average.”

“There really is no such thing as ‘Hispanic art,'” Oscar Martinez of the Illinois Arts Council tells Luis J. Rodriguez of the Chicago Reporter (November 1989). “There are artists who are Puerto Rican, Mexican, or what have you. You can’t just lump them together…. The term ‘Hispanic’ seems to be one of convenience.”

Did Martin Luther King Jr. fail in his 1966 Chicago campaign? JCUA News (Autumn 1989), published by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, quotes Reverend Archie Hargraves: “We should not judge whether or not Dr. King accomplished what he came here to accomplish. These days we are too much in a management mode with all these goals and objectives. Somehow or another something happens when you are in the presence of a great spirit. A chord strikes. Your heart leaps. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took civilization a step further.”

“Three great mysteries about which parents must teach their children are death, sex and Santa Claus,” according to Chicago religious educator Mary LaMont, quoted in the newsletter Bringing Religion Home (December 1989). Is that in ascending order of importance?

Language police break the law. A Wilmette correspondent scolds the Chicago Tribune magazine (October 15) and apparently overidentifies with her subject: “As the most influential paper in a very important city, I can’t imagine why Norma Libman didn’t correct such glaring errors.”

Chicago has more four-year colleges and universities (18) than any other U.S. city except New York (26), but it’s only fourth in the number of students who attend (50,096)– behind New York (104,634), Los Angeles (55,224), and Boston (52,172) (Illinois Economic Report, October 1989).

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity–well, two out of three isn’t bad. “U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that last year the poorest fifth of Amer-icans received 4.6 percent of the total national family income while the richest fifth received 44 percent of total national family income” (In These Times, November 15-21).

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