City File | City File | Chicago Reader

City File 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Yeah, but did Saint Jerome ever bat .400? "Shared memories hold us together as families, as baseball fans, as Catholics," writes Cathy O'Connell-Cahill in U.S. Catholic (November). "Our history of Catholic heroes and heroines--saints, I mean--is much more fascinating and a lot longer than the history of major-league baseball, but while baseball makes better and better use of its own history (witness last year's 50th anniversary commemoration of Jackie Robinson's entry into the major leagues), we seem to have let the power of our own Catholic stories slip away. As a parent, I can tell you that it's a lot easier to find an interesting kids' biography of a baseball player than an interesting kids' book on Catholic saints."

Excuse me, ma'am, but our comptroller says you need to bulk up. According to a press release on a recent study led by the corporate medical director of First Chicago NBD, "Health care costs were lowest for workers with a BMI [body mass index] of 25-27. This is equivalent to a body weight of approximately 155 lbs. for a woman 5 ft. 6 ins. tall, or 174 lbs. for a 5 ft. 10 in. man."

"I've had conversations with other Latinos about what the community needs to do to improve its prospects," writes Patricia Mendoza in One City (Spring/Summer), a publication of the Chicago Council on Urban Affairs. "Some say we have to 'become white' like other immigrant groups did before us. I'm not sure what they mean by 'becoming white,' and if I did, I'm not sure I'd want to."

Things we really didn't need to know. An October press release describing a new 75-minute color video featuring New England vegetable growers, Vegetable Farmers and Their Weed-Control Machines, offers us a glimpse of the farmers' tools: "In the discussion of flame-weeding equipment, farmers address the use of flamers in stale seedbed weed management and in killing weeds between crop rows. Both custom-built backpack flamers and tractor-drawn flamers are demonstrated."

"There is no longer much question, it seems, of mobilizing actual working people into the ranks of the nonexistent left," laments Chris Lehmann in In These Times (October 18). "Instead, there is endless, anxious self-examination over the staggeringly hypothetical question of who gets to speak on behalf of such unmobilized constituencies, and why."

A few more feeding frenzies and you could get your wish. "I'm astounded at how good my living is," the Tribune's Steve Franklin tells Robert Koppel in Koppel's new book Money Talks: Candid Conversations About Wealth in America. "I never knew journalists could be treated so decently. And I think if the word was spread widely, they'd take it away and keep us in chains."

Remember this the next time your umbrella blows inside out. According to calculations by D.L. Elliott and M.N. Schwartz of the National Wind Technology Center (www.nrel.gov/wind/potential. html), just 15 states are windy enough for wind power to supply one percent or more of their 1990 electricity consumption. Illinois isn't one of them; its potential is estimated at less than 0.1 percent of 1990 consumption--less than Arkansas, New Hampshire, or Arizona.

Not ready for prime time. "The path through Lockport runs behind most of the landmarks, through a parking lot behind a factory, and terminates on its northern end at some sort of industrial junk yard," writes Steve Buchtel in the "Chicagoland Bicycle Federation News" (October/November). "Sight lines suck, so you don't look around much. And the Joliet Iron Works' most amazing feature is that it's all gone, as in nothing there, except for a couple foundations. More identifiable is the Joliet State Correctional Facility, easily visible from the trail; wave if you know anybody. Downtown, Joliet's 'signed' bicycle route isn't yet."

Yeah, but it should repel burglars. The best repellent for pestiferous deer now defoliating suburban shrubbery and natural areas: a sachet of Irish Spring soap, according to the October Consumer Reports. Least effective: "a sachet of a sewage-based fertilizer."

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Harold Henderson

  • The Recyclable House

    The Recyclable House

    If Ken Ortiz has his way, no one in Chicago will ever simply "demolish" a building again.
    • Jul 24, 2008
  • Sympathy for the Devil?

    Sympathy for the Devil?

    Progressive scribe Rick Perlstein made his reputation finding the good in conservatives. Then they really started screwing up the country.
    • Jan 24, 2008
  • Dynamic Flash for Democrats

    Dynamic Flash for Democrats

    Wanna raise funds to run for office? Nag Schwarzenegger about health care? Or just make fun of Bush? Call Articulated Man.
    • Jan 10, 2008
  • More »

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories