Down under Navy Pier. Chicago Maritime Society divers pulled more than 100 artifacts off the bottom of the lake at Navy Pier during this summer’s Maritime Folk Festival, reports Chicago Maritime News (Summer 1988). Most were old soda-pop bottles. “A third of the recovered bottles were close to forty years old, reported diver Dave Milligan. ‘There were bottles from the Jackson Beverage Company, Wanzer and Bowman Dairy Companies, Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottles, and an original Orange Crush bottle, all in excellent condition,” said Milligan. Other evidence of Navy Pier’s past lives included excursion boat china plates and cups, cast iron legs from old Park District benches, discarded plumbing fittings, kitchen implements of all sorts, and unbelievably, even a live three inch caliber artillery shell, which was very gently returned to its watery grave.”

The state legislature may have done nothing for affordable housing, reflects the Network Builder (August/September 1988), but they did try: “Auto insurance was made mandatory since many people who could no longer afford housing would soon be living in their cars. Also . . . the White Sox got $30 million for a new stadium so the homeless would have another place to stay during the summer.”

And while you pretend to use it, you can pretend to cause a collision. Success (October 1988) trumpets the entrepreneurial success of Faux Systems of California, which sells the Cellular Phoney for as little as $15.95. “You get a telephone, phony antenna for the roof, and”–our favorite–a “warning sticker advising potential car thieves that the device is bogus.”

Land whom our fathers bribed. Until August 30, when Governor Thompson signed a bill sponsored by state senator Dawn Clark Netsch, there was no law in Illinois explicitly making it a crime to rig bids, pay kickbacks, or bribe inspectors in connection with state and local public contracts.

Thoughts from a deep thinker you can be darn sure is nowhere near age 75. Pilot, the magazine of the Evanston Hospital Corporation, offers this straight-faced summary of a lecture delivered at the hospital early this summer by one Daniel Callahan, PhD: “To shift the focus of medical research and technology and reduce the federal health care deficit, Callahan proposes that the field of medicine should be used only for the ‘full achievement of a natural and fitting life span and thereafter for the relief of suffering [emphasis added].’ Also, he suggests setting an age limit beyond which the elderly would no longer be eligible for federally-funded entitlement health care programs. . . . The choice of an appropriate cut-off age would inevitably be arbitrary, according to Callahan. However, if he were to select an age, he said that it would probably fall in between one’s late 70s or early 80s.”

“If there were more jobs in Chicago, particularly for those with limited education, clearly there would be decreased levels of extreme poverty and thus homelessness,” write Michael Sosin, Paul Colson, and Susan Grossman in Homelessness in Chicago. “That is, large proportions of the very poor can work, are willing to work, and have worked.” Their massive study found that alcoholism and mental illness are not major causes of homelessness–more usual is a combination of extreme poverty and personal problems. Most of the very poor “at one time had what might be typical working class jobs for relatively young, minority individuals. However, many had their best job about ten years ago and have worked sporadically since that time. . . . It thus appears that [they] generally ‘fell’ from blue collar jobs as the economy changed, and that many could not easily shift occupations due to a limited education as well as the dearth of such jobs in Chicago.”

“Although blacks comprise nearly sixty percent of the health maintenance organization (HMO) patient population in Chicago, black physicians account for only five percent of the doctors hired by the plans,” reports Family Health Network, Inc., of East 75th Street. “Of an estimated $4.5 billion generated annually by HMOs in Chicago, black physicians receive less than $5 million.”

“Some guys are what they call ‘double-breasted’, which means they’re dealing heroin and cocaine,” says Chicago police sergeant John Molloy, quoted in the crime-prevention newsletter Neighborhoods (July/August 1988). “Some deal only heroin, others deal cocaine. You can generally tell which is which. Usually the cleaner looking group will be buying cocaine. The sicker looking group will usually be the junkies.”

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