Who will walk my iguana? According to recent publicity, Near North pet-sitter Bonnie Marty “offers pet-sitting services for all animals with the exception of reptiles.”

The most fun you can have in Niles. From the Niles Park District’s announcement of the new clubhouse at the historic Tam Golf Course. “If a hearty meal is desired, O’Shanter’s offer the Tam O’Challenge. To anyone who can finish this meal, a two-pound burger and a pound of french fries, the next Tam O’Challenge is on the Park District….The restaurant offers oversized bar.”

The Illinois Arts Council budget has shrunk over the last five years from $10.7 to $5.5 million, reports Jennifer Halperin in Illinois Issues (July). “It’s horrible,” Illinois Arts Alliance executive director Alene Valkanas says. “What makes it all the more loathsome is that 39 other states have either increased arts funding or held it the same. Only 11 states have been cut.” Gee–would our cuts really be less loathsome if the other 39 states start slashing too?

We regret to inform you that this position has already been filled. From a recent publicity letter by Blue Dolphin Publishing: “Master of Love and Mercy is the life story of Dharma Master Cheng Yen, a Buddhist nun who has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and has been awarded the Eisenhower Medallion for her contributions to world peace. Called the ‘Mother Teresa of Asia,’ she presides over a small Buddhist temple in Taiwan.”

Increased costs = increased benefits. UIC economist Frank Chaloupka and Harvard’s Henry Wechsler have found that a 10 percent hike in the price of cigarettes would reduce the number of college-student smokers by 6 to 7 percent. “According to our estimates,” says Chaloupka in a university press release, “a 75-cent hike in taxes per pack in 1993 would have reduced the number of smokers between the ages of 18 and 24 by more than 1.8 million. That, in turn, would have reduced the number of premature deaths in that age cohort by at least 450,000 individuals over time.”

Workplace diversity training programs often “tacitly identify an individual with a particular race, religion or sexual orientation,” warns DePaul philosophy professor Daryl Koehn in the newsletter of DePaul’s Institute for Business & Professional Ethics (Spring). “However, insofar as individuals often choose not to define themselves in these terms, diversity programs run the risk of disrespecting and pigeonholing people they claim to be aiding. Care should be taken to ensure that diversity training does not paradoxically reinforce stereotyping of the sort it is meant to overcome.”

“If the metaphor of the war against AIDS is valid, then when that war is won there should be a war crimes tribunal,” writes Gordon Nary, editor of the Journal of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (May) on West Grand. “Those government and religious leaders whose policies and teachings are directly responsible for the unnecessary transmission of HIV should be brought to trial for crimes against humanity. And [Zairean dictator] Mobuto Sese Seko should be one of the first officials indicted.”

Vacationland. Number of leisure trips to the Chicago area in 1991, according to Illinois Tourism News (Summer): 16 million; in 1994, 26 million.

Mortal Kombat, anyone? A recent retreat in Glenview featured the theme “Christian Pilgrims on the Information Highway.”

“Liberalism’s authority in foreign policy has never recovered” from the Vietnam disaster, writes Deborah Shapley in the Hyde Park-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (July/August). “Had McNamara expressed his regrets between 1968 and 1971, when the liberal international tradition of Kennedy and Johnson still had some standing, his tally of errors over Vietnam might have delinked the debacle from the liberal foreign policy agenda.” She doubts that he could have stopped the war itself, but “he could have salvaged more of his own credibility and some of liberalism’s authority.” Maybe–or maybe cold war liberals then would rather have died than acknowledge lethal error.

A local casualty of Bolshevism. Believe it or not, after World War I, the Chicago Federation of Labor founded its own Labor Party, which got involved in international issues, in contrast to the heads-down posture of its national parent body, the AFL. David Roediger reviews historian Elizabeth McKillen’s book Chicago Labor and the Quest for a Democratic Diplomacy 1914-1924 in In These Times (July 10): “By 1924, however, these efforts had largely ended in defeat. Developing a class-conscious democratic diplomacy in a city that was itself often torn by ethnic tensions proved a daunting task. The CFL’s long-standing support of Polish self-determination, for example, could be quickly forgotten when the federation also announced its support for noninterference with the Soviet Union, campaigned for relief and trade relations with Lenin’s government and appeared to favor the Soviets in conflicts with Poland.”

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