The highest-paid chief executives in Chicagoland, according to Business Week (October 21), run Comdisco (Kenneth N. Pontikes, $2 million salary per year), Bally Manufacturing (Robert E. Mullane, $1.8 million), Sears (Edward A. Brennan, $1.5 million), Abbott Laboratories (Robert A. Shoellhorn, $1.33 million), Sara Lee (John H. Bryan Jr., $1.301 million), and Waste Management (Dean Buntrock, $1.3 million). Farther down the list, but since you asked: the Tribune’s Stanton Cook gets $922,000; Michael R. Quinlan of McDonald’s, $800,000; and Commonwealth Edison’s James J. O’Connor, a mere $442,000.

“One foot bigger than the other?” asks Executive Fitness (October 1988). You can enlist–for a fee–in the National Odd Shoe Exchange, whose 151,000 members obtain relief by exchanging the “wrong” halves of their pairs of shoes.

Chicago? Chicago? Do I live there? “One morning last July I attended a group interview with Jesse Jackson,” writes Jonathan Alter in the Washington Monthly (November 1988). “Toward the end, I asked him why he hadn’t condemned the antisemitism of acting mayor Eugene Sawyer’s aide Steve Cokely . . . who claimed Jewish doctors were injecting the AIDS virus into blacks. . . . Jackson bristled at the question: ‘What am I, the designated Negro? I’m not the mayor of Chicago, and it’s not my job to intervene in every local problem.’ I reminded him that Chicago was his home town, and that he in fact intervenes frequently in local problems there and elsewhere. Then someone changed the subject.”

Press releases we wished we could stop reading: “Of the many LEGO creations,” report the Toy Manufacturers of America, “perhaps nothing could beat for pure whimsy the LEGO brick robot that eats spaghetti. The two-foot-tall creature, built by a thirteen-year-old Danish boy, ‘chews’ spaghetti, ‘digests’ it and ejects the bits of ‘pasta’ onto a trolley that rolls out on rails from his back.”

Tales of the multiversity, from U. of C. rhetorician Wayne C. Booth (University of Chicago Record, October 13): “Each year a committee is appointed in the Social Sciences Division to decide on the award of the annual Galler prize for the best dissertation done during that year. A couple of years ago an economist on the committee, after reading the submissions from other fields, announced that a dissertation from economics that he would now submit was superior to all the others and should get the prize. The other committee members insisted that before granting his case they should have a chance to read it and compare it with the others. ‘No,’ he said, ‘that’s impossible. You could not possibly understand it.”But how can we judge,’ they insisted, ‘if we are not even allowed to see the work?’ He remained adamant, and when they refused to award the prize to a dissertation that they were not even allowed to see, he withdrew himself, and the dissertation, from the competition. He tells me now that the Department of Economics no longer even considers submitting dissertations for the prize, because they are sure that the nonquantitative ‘literary’ types–the historians and anthropologists–simply could not recognize high quality in economics if they saw it.”

Yuppolitics. “In 1972, I purchased about 10,000 McGovern presidential buttons for $10 from his campaign headquarters,” writes Walter Perschke in his column, “On Getting Rich,” in Chicago Life (Holiday 1988). ‘Each election since I have sold about 100 for $1 or so each. While that dollar amount isn’t large, the percentage return is phenomenal and I can still have a respectable dinner for $100 every four years from the initial $10 investment. Quite an annuity.” Somehow we don’t think this is what George originally had in mind.

Coming: bigger beaches. Veteran Illinois climatologist Stan Changon comments on uncertainties about the greenhouse effect in The Nature of Illinois Tall 1988): “The output of one GCM [Global Climate Model] indicates that in 50 to 60 years, the level of Lake Michigan will be two feet lower than today’s average, whereas another GCM output leads to a nine foot decrease!”

Not tonight, dear, I’ve got a protective mechanism. Stressed-out women get tension headaches; stressed-out men commonly suffer from less debilitating neck pain, according to Northwestern Memorial Hospital neurologist Anne Remmes. The result? Men often worry less about stress and do less to relieve it. “Headache may be a protective mechanism,” says Remmes, “that prevents women from pushing beyond a certain limit.”

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