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The City File 

Keep on going straight ahead--it looks like it's somewhere southwest of the breastbone. "When I tell people I'm a cartographer, they think I'm a heart surgeon," says UIC department of geography staff mapmaker Raymond Brod, quoted in UIC News (February 24).

Moral debate at the grass roots, as recorded by an anonymous teacher diarist at an unnamed city public school in Catalyst (April): "One [Local School Council] member wanted only the clinics and drug stores to handle the condoms. She called for teaching abstinence and insisted that moral values be taught as part of any comprehensive health education program. Two other committee members took issue at once, saying that moral values were relative and should not be forced on others." Later on, "a staff member asked if parents would be asked for permission to give away the condoms. 'Of course not,' said another. 'That would defeat the purpose. The whole point is to get the condoms to the students no matter what.' The majority agreed with the latter view." Evidently moral values are more "relative" at some times than others.

Why we resigned from the new age. A March 24 message from a "clairvoyant" who predicts a terrorist attack on the Sears Tower: "The Mayor of the city of Chicago, His Excellency, The Honourable Mr. George Daley, Jnr. have been alerted."

"Lots of publishers know a good thing once it's too late," purrs Alan Thomas of the University of Chicago Press in Op.Cit. (Winter). "One of the distinguished New York houses that had turned down A River Runs Through It invited [Norman] Maclean to send them his next book. Maclean's reply: 'If the situation ever arose where Alfred A. Knopf was the only publishing house remaining in the world and I was the sole surviving author, that would mark the end of the world of books.'"

Your tax dollars at play. Students applying for financial aid to the downstate Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois should watch their bureaucratic geography. For 1993-'94 the U.S. Department of Education has determined that the U. of I. officially exists only in Champaign--so information from students who designate it as being located in Urbana may not be forwarded to the school.

If the suburbanites won't come downtown, we'll take it to them. The Museum Shop of the Art Institute of Chicago now has two suburban branches--in Oakbrook Center and Woodfield Shopping Center (Schaumburg)--open 68 and 70 hours a week. The main shop is open 46.75 hours.

Dept. of Non-Rocket Science. In 1990 90 northwest Indiana property owners along Salt Creek and the Little Calumet River sought to thwart the expansion of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore--by giving easements on the riverfront portions of their property to Porter County instead. Unfortunately, according to the county attorney, as reported in the Chesterton Tribune (March 16), the property-rights ideologues weren't too careful with their own: they inadvertently signed over easements on all their property, not just part. (The county has declined to accept; the lakeshore was never interested in the first place.)

A remedial English course comes to mind. Headline on a recent press release from a social group for single professionals: "WHAT'S THE ANECDOTE TO BEING HOME ALONE ON SATURDAY NIGHT?"

Return on investment, government-style. Percentage of federal energy research-and-development funds devoted to nuclear power since 1948: 65. Percentage of U.S. energy derived from nuclear power today: less than 10 (Safe Energy Communication Council).

Pacifism is where you find it. Governor Edgar has announced that this summer the Illinois National Guard will teach "non-violent resolution of conflicts" to "disadvantaged youths" at the Northwest Armory, on North Kedzie, and the Jones Armory, on South Cottage Grove.

Free to choose when there's no good choice. "Abortion makes women sacrifice their children instead of changing society," argues Frederica Mathewes-Green in the National Catholic Reporter (February 5). "And it perpetuates a status quo that insures that other women will 'have to have' an abortion. This is most obvious in those cases where the woman felt compelled to abort because she would have lost a job, or missed school, or because the child's father had abandoned her."

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

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