City File 

Can we build a few around the edges of Bridgeport? Sam Smith writes in the September 8 "Progressive Review" that "to bring an end to ethnic conflict one need only place a Wal-Mart between the combatants. The reason...is that [Wal-Mart] destroys whatever culture it is near. Thus centuries of cultural enmity can be wiped out as though it were just one more main street dress shop falling victim to Sam Walton's megalomania."

In case you were wondering about the age bracket of casino gamblers, the American Gaming Association, according to an August press release, has inducted Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme into the Gaming Hall of Fame because they are "synonymous with gaming entertainment."

News you won't read on the business pages. Tireless Maxwell Street preservationist Steve Balkin points out in a September press release that the Viacom-CBS merger brings together two companies saved or founded by two Maxwell Street alumni, Barney Balaban (born in 1887 and raised in an apartment behind his parents' grocery store in the Maxwell Street area) and William Paley (born in 1901 a mile west of Halsted and Maxwell; his father's cigar shop and home had been within a block of the intersection).

Corporationspeak from a summer news release on next year's Chicago Auto Show: "Action on multiple fronts is already in play."

From another city's file--I'm not making this up. At the International Symposium on Wearable Computers later this month in San Francisco, sessions will include "Indoor Navigation Using a Diverse Set of Cheap Wearable Sensors," "Situated Documentaries: Embedding Multimedia Presentations in the Real World," and "Electric Suspenders: A Fabric Power Bus and Data Network for Wearable Digital Devices" (http://iswc.gatech.edu).

The good news is that we have a certificate--the bad news is that we have a certificate. "On July 8, a Norwegian auditing firm certified that a Mexican electric utility had cut GHG [greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, thought to contribute to global warming] emissions by 171,000 tons over three years," writes attorney Mark Perlis in the "Emissions Trader" (August), newsletter of the Milwaukee-based Emissions Marketing Association. In theory the utility might be able to sell a certificate for the amount of pollution prevented to some other carbon-dioxide-emitting factory on a yet-to-open greenhouse-gas exchange. But in practice, warns Perlis, "there are no legal rules assigning the credits to the utility. There are no rules for counting the amount of energy saved, which depends critically upon estimating how many hours in a day the light bulbs are used. There are no legal rules governing verification of the energy savings over time, since the use of light bulbs is out of the hands of the utility and not easily susceptible to accurate measurement by the certifying company....In the end, the Mexican utility's certificate may be suitable only for framing."

One good reason to stay married. From Chicago's Divorce Magazine (Fall): "You and your lawyer will become partners, for better or for worse, during and perhaps for years after the divorce process."

"These guys came down to the picnic and sat down in chairs and expected to be fed," writes an indignant Joel Alfassa in StreetWise (September 14) of the homeless people who don't sell the newspaper but who showed up at its Lincoln Park anniversary picnic earlier this year anyway. "I was proud of our vendors who blew them off. There was no sympathy to be had. Our vendors work very hard for their money....After seven years of existence they [the park dwellers] know what we represent. To try and con us for food because they are too lazy to go down to the shelters for food and clothing is a long shot at best. Our vendors were homeless and know what these guys are doing. The trouble is the never-been-homeless guests at the picnic couldn't figure this all out." (In the end the park dwellers were allowed to go through the food line last.)

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