“People am no longer ashamed of their trash,” crows Carl Youngberg, director of “epicure programs” at Neiman-Marcus. This year the store’s new plastic garbage bags are a light green (which N-M shoppers pay to be able to call “paradise jade”). If the 13-gallon size isn’t enough for you, send your servants out for the 33-gallon bag, which N-M says will suffice “for those massive cleanups, both inside and on the estate.”

“If [business] globalization is really so important, why is it that companies are not clamoring for graduates who have either language experience or in-depth knowledge of foreign cultures?” asks John Hogan, dean of the University of Illinois College of Commerce and Business Administration. “We do not find people in our placement office asking for those skills.” Nor are those skills all that available: Hogan acknowledges that business textbooks still bury the international stuff at the end, where it can be dropped if the class gets behind schedule.

The other 50 percent are generic people. The composition of our board, volunteers and staff closely approximates the ethnic mix of the city,” reports United Way of Chicago president Virgil H. Carr in the Bottom Line (Spring 1988). “The current status of the board of directors is 70 percent male, 30 percent female, and 50 percent ethnic.”

“A hundred years ago, parents weren’t as concerned about what kind of parents they would be. Kids just grew up,” says Dr. Robert Noone, executive director of Wilmette’s Family Service Center, in U.S. Catholic (May 1988). Nowadays, “parents are often looking for something outside of themselves to grade them on being a parent. If they’re relying on their kids to tell them if they’re doing a good job, they’re lost. Or if they rely on the neighbors, they’re lost. You hear so many people talk abut the peer pressure on today’s kids, but I think their parents are under tremendous peer pressure. And they’re just as vulnerable to it as their teenagers are. I remember that when I was a kid, parents generally didn’t come to kids’ sporting events. Today, it’s a mortal sin if you don’t show up for your kid’s basketball game. You get the label of not caring for your child. It’s nuts.”

The Chicago Public Library has a new twin–the Sydney (Australia) Public Library, under secretary of state Jim Edgar’s “twin library” program. Sooo–if the book I want has been stolen from Chicago Public, does this mean I can get it from Sydney?

That strange guy, Pat Quinn, thinks state officials’ ethical standards should go up every year, just like their salaries. He’s suggesting a board–like the current state Compensation Review Board–whose recommendations would become law unless vetoed by both houses of the General Assembly. Hmm–could we call it the George Dunne Memorial Ethics Review Board?

Dept. of indispensable professional advice, from psychologist Dr. Kate Wachs, in Chicago Life (May/June 1988): “Remember, if you continue to feel uncomfortable with a person, it is probably not a good match for you.”

Little-known Canadian public-health functionaries. We wish we’d made it to last month’s book club meeting at Chicago’s Third Unitarian Church. According to TUC’s newsletter, they were all set to discuss “the Canadian public health system and how it evolved with the economic reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping.”

That’ll be $262.56 a day, every day. According to Public Citizen, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has assessed an average of $95,833 in fines against Commonwealth Edison’s Byron 1 nuclear reactor each year for the past three years–the sixth worst showing in the country. The industry average is a mere $28,258.

“I’m very upfront about the gay element of our studio,” graphic designer Morris McKnight tells the newsletter of Chicago House (Spring 1988). “I give first preference to gay people when hiring but I don’t make it a requirement. Straight people who work for me must be comfortable working around gay people and working on gay-related projects.”

And we all know dozens of people who read those labels and promptly gave up smoking, right? That eternal optimist, Senator Paul Simon, is cosponsoring a bill in Congress to require booze containers to carry warning labels similar to ones required on cigarette packages.

Clear days on the theater scene. Larry Smith, founder of the Theatre of the Reconstruction, explains some of the group’s plans in a note to Anthony Adler (Chicago, May 1988): “Also, we’re looking @ the possible live relationship between music & acting in a form other than the musical, as well as the jazz spontaneous thought poetry of Ginsberg & Kerouac & how that is related to Williams & Shepard’s writing, as well as Method acting. & the whole Beat, blues, buddhistic road, passing through Whitman, Africa, opera & Greece.”

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