Dept. of essential governmental warnings, from the Illinois Department of Public Health: “We hear a lot, and justifiably so, about the importance of protecting ourselves against mosquitoes and tick bites. We should not, however, lose sight of the fact that it’s equally important to protect ourselves from the stings of bees, wasps and hornets.”

No time off for good behavior? “The Emerson Steele Youth Project is a new summer program aimed at five year olds who will be attending kindergarten in the fall,” reports the Commons Newsletter (July 1987) from the Chicago Commons Association on North Wolcott. “The program is intended to bridge the gap between Headstart and kindergarten.”

The Evanston Public Library now loans out compact discs–but nonbook items are nothing new. The library’s 114th annual report reminds us that it first circulated recorded music in 1908 “in the form of pianola rolls.”

I don’t want to discriminate, but I can’t afford to hire you. “If the number of AIDS cases grows as projected, group insurance costs will climb steeply–especially for those employers who lose many employees to AIDS,” writes Hank De Zutter in Illinois Legal Times (August 1987), paraphrasing part of a report by Wheaton attorney Nancy Zellner. “Group policy premiums are adjusted each year to reflect costs. . . . The result, Zellner concludes, could be wholesale but covert hiring discrimination against homosexual men.”

Now they too can rely on Dr. Ruth, the CIA, and Dan Rather . . . The newsletter of the Chicago-based Spencer Foundation (July 1987) reports that Robert and Sarah LeVine of Harvard University have found “a shift” among young mothers in Cuernavaca, Mexico. “Young mothers who have been to school are more likely than their unschooled sisters and mothers to accept the value of information they receive from outside agencies. Schools teach more than lessons. They introduce students to new sources of knowledge and prepare young women to accept information distributed by government agencies and through the mass media.”

And if it got broken, who would you be then? “Crystals are used in quartz watches, radios and computer chips. In the ancient folklore of Atlantis, however, crystals were the main source of energy,” according to Chicago Musicale (July/August 1987). So too for some contemporary musicians: “‘This crystal is my energy,’ says [vocalist/guitarist] Sue Barwan. ‘It’s what makes me, me.'”

“Atom smashers work on a simple theory,” writes Pat Colander in the preliminary edition of the Naperville City Star (July 16, 1987). “As Dr. [Roy] Schwitters explains [at a recent Fermilab conference], it’s as though you crash two watches together at high speed, sweep up the remains and analyze the pieces to try to develop an idea about how watches work. While this is not a very good method when it comes to analyzing watchworks, it is the only method there is for analyzing atomic particles. And it has not changed since the first accelerators.”

Watch that uniform, soldier. You can “trash your image,” warns Marilyn Moats Kennedy in Today’s Chicago Woman (August 1987), by “wearing casual clothes to the office and excusing yourself by saying that you’re not seeing anyone important that day. Whose opinions are more important to you than your boss’s and co-workers’, those busy little networkers? Clothing is costuming for the role you play, not self-expression and therefore not subject to whim.”

Reverse discrimination in City Hall? Not likely, writes Ben Joravsky in the Chicago Reporter (August 1987): “The number of cabinet-level blacks hired by former mayors Richard J. Daley, Michael Bilandic and [Jane] Byrne fall far below the number of high-ranking whites employed by Washington.”

Governor Thompson takes the heat for cutting over $13 million from programs “serving the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and alcohol and substance abusers,” according to a recent press release from the Illinois Association of Community Mental Health Agencies. (For instance, funding for teen suicide programs was eliminated.) Strangely absent from IACMHA’s litany of complaints, though, are the state legislators who refused to pass the modest tax increase that would have made such cuts unnecessary.

“Who is the largest producer of toxic waste in the U.S.?” ask Stephanie Pollack and Seth Shulman in Science for the People (May/June 1987). “If you guessed Union Carbide, Monsanto, or Exxon you are not even close. The United States military, which generated some 700,000 tons of toxics last year, actually produces more wastes than the top five corporate polluters put together.”

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