Take it easy–but not too easy. This tip from a Tufts University expert on aging: “21 days of bed rest equals 50 to 60 years of aging in functional capacity.”

“In some ways, Chicago is the most European of all American cities,” writes novelist Sara Paretsky in Savvy (September 1988). “Not a sanitized re-creation of a Paris cafe, but a place where the mass of eastern and southern European peasants still cling fiercely to their ancient values of frugality and family. When I first moved here, I was startled by how strongly people identified both with their neighborhoods and with whatever foreign country their ancestors came from. I’m still taken aback when Chicagoans ask my nationality. ‘American’ is never a satisfactory answer.”

“The Missouri missile silos are scattered in farmers’ fields like razors in a loaf of bread.” That’s from the statement issued by 14 midwesterners (including 8 Chicagoans) who entered western-Missouri Minuteman silo enclosures in nonviolent protest August 15 and waited, meditating, for arrest. “We have grown accustomed to a deadly paradox: the world’s greatest megatonnage of TNT is buried in the heart of the earth’s most productive agricultural area. . . . It is as though we have climbed aboard a train bound for Auschwitz. We pay for first class tickets. As we travel in comfort toward mass extermination, the poor, their hunger and suffering exacerbated by the weapons buildup, travel wretchedly to the same destiny. If we do not change our direction, we’re likely to end up where we’re headed.”

Proof that the average intelligence of Americans is declining. More people than ever have been diving into too-shallow water and fracturing their necks this summer, prompting Northwestern Memorial Hospital to issue this tip (among others): “Check the depth of the water. A good gauge for judging safe diving depth is 1 foot of water per foot of a person’s height. For example, someone 6 feet tall should not dive into water less than 6 feet deep.”

“My final and perhaps my best reason for not owning a computer is that I do not wish to fool myself,” writes Wendell Berry in NER/BLQ (Autumn 1987), reprinted in Harper’s (September 1988). “I disbelieve, and therefore strongly resent, the assertion that I or anybody else could write better or more easily with a computer than with a pencil. I do not see why I should not be as scientific about this as the next fellow: When somebody has used a computer to write work that is demonstrably better than Dante’s, and when this better is demonstrably attributable to the use of a computer, then I will speak of computers with a more respectful tone of voice, though I still will not buy one.”

“We have indicted and convicted half of the electrical inspectors in the City of Chicago; half of the consumer service inspectors in the City of Chicago; and almost three quarters of the sewer inspectors in the City of Chicago,” U.S. attorney Anton Valukas told the Chicago Council of Lawyers on June 30 (Council News, August 1988). “Indeed, last year after almost 16 years of aggressive prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago we returned more public corruption indictments than any other district in the nation, including New York.”

“Increasingly in recent years the media is putting forward as its only authorities on the 1960’s and early ’70’s Mike James and Abe Peck” complains William Leahy in his local newsletter Leahy’s Corner (August 1988). “James was active in organizing Rising Up Angry, as a group and a publication, but he seems to have been chosen because he now owns a cafe. Abe Peck, formerly the editor of Seed, has no credentials on the left that I know of. . . . Seed was a wonderful publication otherwise, but it failed to cover the historic April, 1968, demonstration, and its editor told out-of-town demonstrators to stay away in August. To give them credit, neither man seems to have chosen the mantle of great leaders. It seems more that capitalists in Chicago want to choose their own revolutionaries. There must be several hundred people in Chicago who know very much more about what went on in those days.”

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