“The number of murders in [Chicago] ebbs and flows with little respect for gun control laws,” argue Daniel Polsby and Dennis Brennen in the Palatine-based Heartland Institute’s policy study number 69 (October 30). “For example, the number of murders in the city started falling before passage of the city’s 1982 gun control ordinance. Five years later, the number of murders in the city began to climb steadily. By gun control’s tenth anniversary in 1992, the number of murders in the city was back where it had been a decade before gun control.”

“Before I joined the board, I imagined 2 distinct groups: activists and donors,” says Susan Lloyd in the fall newsletter of the Crossroads Fund on West Diversey. “Over time, I came to see that all of us had the opportunity–and the challenge–to express ourselves and to act politically through fundraising.”

“Your bicycle never needs its windows scraped in the morning,” Marcia Miquelon reminds hesitant winter bike commuters in Conscious Choice (November/

December). “There’s nothing I relish less in the morning than wet gloves, frozen fingers, and time wasted on the frosty, icy or snow-caked surfaces of a car. I remember the morning after the first heavy frost of this fall when, body still in shock from the sudden shift of seasons, I decided to afford myself the ‘luxury’ of driving. In the time it took me to search for a scraper and not find one, then use my fingernails, a credit card, and finally a kitchen spatula to clear the windows, shivering all the while, I could have been halfway to my destination and toasty warm on my bike.”

Yeah, great, but can I find my way around? According to a recent UIC press release, “The layout of each floor [of the university’s new Molecular Biology Research Building at Polk and Ashland], with labs and offices lining the 500-foot-long outside walls and supply rooms and support facilities in the interior, suggests the repeating, ladder-like structure of an untwisted DNA molecule.”

Or somewhere. New York actors “think that we have some great secret here” in Chicago theater, actress Kate Buddeke tells Chris Jones in PerformInk (November 9). “People think there’s a Chicago acting gene, a microchip that’s planted in our butts.”

One-track minds. According to Fiscal Focus (October), published by state comptroller Loleta Didrickson, many local governments have experienced windfalls from riverboats. But “the expected influx of customers has not materialized for the majority of merchants. To date, the reason seems to be that gamblers come to town to do just that–gamble. For the most part, they do not shop; they do not dine.”

How to avoid CTDs (Commercially Transmitted Diseases). Advice to artists from Steven Dubin, a New York sociologist whose essay on Barbie was pulled from a Mattel-funded exhibit, in the Chicago-based New Art Examiner (November): “Whenever creative types enter into commercial arrangements with sponsors, they should exercise the same caution they would with a new sexual partner: a little prophylaxis eases the mind, but does not necessarily dull the sensation for either party.”

“There hasn’t been any serious thought about urban transportation since about my grandfather’s time,” architect Jack Hartray told a Loop audience at an American Institute of Architects discussion called “Does the City Need a New Burnham Plan?” November 15. “We’re living on our inheritance. It’s not that I’m opposed to planning [in Chicago]. I’ve just never seen any. It’s like western civilization. I think it would be a good idea.”

“Chicago is already suburban in density if not in form,” James Krohe Jr. reminds us in Illinois Issues (November). “It ranks 70th in population density (measured in people per square mile) among the world’s 75 most populous cities….In fact, when it comes to paying for expensive services like the CTA, Chicago isn’t nearly crowded enough. Alas, a City Hall that can’t figure out how to recycle newspapers is not likely to get it right when it tries to recycle neighborhoods.”

I know he was a great artist, but…Recent announcement by California-based Lasco Productions: “Lasco Productions in conjunction with the estate of Miles Davis will be unveiling an exclusive exhibit of the Artwork of Miles Davis done in the years following his death.”

“The black community feels a sense of urgency to which mainstream America seems impervious,” writes Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (October 30). “While research data detail a black world on the verge of cataclysm, Republican leaders are gleefully shredding the social safety net. Even the most myopic legislator can read the litany of negative statistics that outline black men’s peril; in every index, from cradle to grave, they are ranked lowest. African-American men are the only U.S. demographic group that can expect to live shorter lives in 1994 than they did in 1980.” Nevertheless, “many white Americans apparently are convinced that we now live in a color-blind society…[and are] less concerned with finding root causes for the crisis than with evading all responsibility for the legacy of the country’s racist past.”

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