Most fish records are eaten, notes the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin (Box 33, 54843), sadly. “Hardly a week passes that a frantic phone call from someplace in the U.S. or Canada from an angler reveals that he just ate a record fish.” The hall offers free rules, guidelines, and application forms to those fisherpersons who would rather be immortal than well fed.

Defused Nuclear Atoms? Doubtful New Androids? Desperately Narfing Asparagus? “Genetic engineering, which has the potential of becoming an important topic on the national political agenda, is a topic that we could not have a normal democratic debate about,” says Northern Illinois University political scientist Jon Miller. According to his surveys, U.S. adults don’t know enough science to understand arguments about recombinant DNA, “or even have any idea what DNA is in the first place.” (OK. OK. It’s deoxyribonucleic acid, the complex organic chemical containing an organism’s genetic code. Now get out there and have a normal democratic debate, you sluggard.)

“Simply as home to the White Sox, Comiskey Park has a history rich enough to demand landmark status,” write Douglas Bukowski, Mary O’Connell, and John Aranza in Save Our Sox’s proposal to preserve the venerable ballpark; “but its roots in Chicago history go far deeper. The park has been an urban anomaly: it has attracted Chicagoans of both races for years. . . . If the owners have evidence that proves that the park has indeed deteriorated beyond repair, they should release it. When they are asking for $120 million in tax dollars and public help to tear down a historic structure, the burden of proof should rest with them.”

“Remember, you can’t judge comfort by poking a mattress with your hands. You and your partner must lie down and check out several sets in a range of prices,” advises the bed industry’s Snooze News (May 1988). “Wear clothes that will allow you to roll around without feeling embarrassed. When you roll around, the mattress shouldn’t creak, crunch or wobble.”

We’re so rotten, we don’t deserve anything better. “Salle’s work is crudely painted, conceptually trivial, and incapable of sustaining prolonged attention,” writes Naomi Vine in the Chicago-based New Art Examiner (April 1988) after viewing the David Salle exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. “But in what field of endeavor are excellence, profundity, and substance criteria for success in the 1980s? It is their very absence that makes a great deal of contemporary art truly representative of our time and place. . . . Unless and until we apply universal, rigorous standards of competence, we can’t honestly denigrate the artists who are successful at creating work that doesn’t live up to our ideals and expectations.”

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Irv Kupcinet, as quoted by Neil Tesser in Chicago Times (May/June 1988): “Somebody once asked me, ‘How many of these people would talk to you if you weren’t a columnist?’ And my reply still is, ‘How many of these people would I bother talking to if I weren’t a columnist?'”

“Sungnam Lee . . . came to Chicago in 1974,” writes Joanna Brown in Chicago Enterprise (April 1988), “holding little more than $200 and a degree in government administration. He lived with relatives in Albany Park and soon found a $180-a-week job in a carbon paper factory. Within three months, Lee says, he saved $1,500 and quit the factory job to open a karate school with his wife. In 1977 they followed the example of their friends and bought a dry-cleaning store. ‘It’s lots of work–long hours–Americans don’t like to do that,’ Lee says. ‘It’s a question of personality. Korean people are in a hurry. We think: three years, business; five years, house.'”

Time to change channels. A midwestern “new age” publisher has issued a book of supposed sayings of Shakespeare as “channeled” through a medium. “We should be willing to play,” he “says.” “And of course, the whole aspect of play, particularly in adults, is the faculty through which creative thinking comes.” So nice that the bard has learned 20th-century psychobabble.

Wanna bet? A Von Steuben High School junior on the Chicago Police Department’s expanded truancy program (New Expression, February 1988): “I feel it’s really harsh, because you can’t make a young person go to school if they don’t want to.”

Reasons of state. From Harper’s “Index” (May 1988): “Number of the 30 Palestinians killed by tear gas since December 12 who were infants: 14.”

We hope that clears things up. From the monthly disciplinary report for January of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation: “The cosmetologist license of Maureen Buell . . . was issued with a one-month suspension followed by three years’ probation after she practiced as a cosmetologist without a license.”

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