Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In May, Elk River, Minnesota, landlord Todd Plaisted reported that his tenant Kenneth Lane had fled the area, abandoning his rented farmhouse and leaving behind at least 400 tons of used carpeting, more than 10,000 plastic windows from Northwest Airlines planes, and rooms full of sofas, mattresses, and washing machines, among other things. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Strange Doings

FRACTURED TALES FROM THE HEARTLAND: PAINTINGS BY MARK FORTH AND DAVID HODGES at the Illinois Art Gallery, through August 20 David Hodges’s You May Be Forced to Pick Cotton is 16 by 30 inches, but most of that area is taken up by a large black frame: the oil-on-panel painting at the center is only […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Many years ago my grandmother told me that her grandfather’s ethnicity was “black Irish.” Recently I’ve heard three different explanations concerning the origin of the term: (1) It refers to a mixture of Irish and Spanish blood dating from the time of the Spanish Armada, when many shipwrecked Spanish sailors were washed up on the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Health Costs: The BMW Factor

To the editors: David Moberg’s recent article, “Irrational Health: The View From Two Hospitals” (July 9), on the sorry state of the American health care system emphasizes the role of the explosive growth in the number of administrative personnel in driving up this nation’s health care costs. While the link between growing administrative staffs and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Reinventing Love

THE WHITE PAPER City Lit Theater Company at the Chicago Cultural Center “My visibility, made up of ridiculous legends, protects my invisibility,” wrote Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) in Journal d’un inconnu; elsewhere he noted, “I am a lie that always tells the truth.” The poet-playwright-novelist-designer-filmmaker, who usually revealed his emotions only through heavily coded symbolism in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Roland Burris, master of understatement. When the manufacturer of the cough syrup Triaminic cut its active ingredient in half and labeled the result “new and improved,” 31 state attorneys general, including Illinois’ Roland Burris, fought and won a settlement against Sandoz Pharmaceuticals. Burris’s comment: “This change stretches the definition of ‘improved’ to the very limits.” […]