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The city that really hums. According to the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers--which recently opened a midwest membership office--Chicago is "the jingles capitol of the world."

Everything you wanted to know about the November election, according to Illinois Issues (December 1990). From Charles N. Wheeler III: "In black wards...the loss of potential votes almost certainly cost Hartigan the election....Had black voters turned out this year in comparable numbers to 1982, even an 80-20 split would have improved Hartigan's showing there by more than 100,000 votes, enough for a solid victory." From Nick Panagakis: "Little of [Hartigan's deficit] is traceable to Washington party efforts or lower black turnout...If black wards had equaled their 1982 share of Chicago's voteÉ 45,000 more votes would have been cast. That number is less than half of Hartigan's losing margin..."

Party time. According to the Management Association of Illinois, 68 percent of firms responding to its survey will have Christmas parties, but only half of them will invite employees' spouses.

Comparative religion, Chicago style. Number of members of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago: 30. Number of Christian members: 29. Number of Jewish members: 1. Number of Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, and other members: 0.

"In general, if the wood came from a tropical rainforest country, don't buy it," Pam Wellner of the Rainforest Action Network advises Christmas shoppers. "However, there are some teak plantations that are operated on a sustained-yield basis. Two furniture makers, Smith & Hawken and Herman Miller, use only teak from sustained-yield plantations and identify their products as such. Similarly, Faber-Castell Corporation is now using only sustained-yield U.S. cedar for its pencils..."

Continuing-education courses available during December at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills: Great Appetizers I, Christmas Punch Needle Embroidery, Silk Poinsettias on a Sweatshirt, and--our fave--Antiqued Papier Mache Santa.

With friends like these...In a letter to the New York Times (November 12), David Horner tells how, as part of his job training the Saudi national guard, he submitted a footnoted report on the organization of a U.S. tank battalion to a Saudi general in 1982. The next day he was summoned to see "a visibly angry general. He pointed to the asterisks [in the report] and asked what they were. I explained that they referred to footnotes. He asked how many points were on the stars on the American flag and I answered five. He then said that the Saudi star has seven points, and the Israeli star has six points. He said that each asterisk in my study had six points, and it was therefore obvious I was trying to ruin his reputation by having him forward to his superiors a study filled with Israeli stars. He would accept no further explanation from me, trashed the study and never spoke to me again."

Probably trying to avoid congestion on the Edens. Peregrine falcons and merlins have been tracked following identical paths southward over Chicago during fall migration, according to the Illinois Natural History Survey's Annual Report 1989-1990. They leave "Wisconsin near the Lake Michigan shoreline, passing Lake Bluff offshore, coming inland at Lake Forest, flying along or a little east of Route 41 into Skokie, and turning due south between Western and Cicero avenues into the southern suburbs. The attraction of this corridor through the most congested part of the city may be the absence of trees and tall buildings."

Lech Walesa for president. "Chris Grygiel came to the U.S. from Poland in 1988 seeking freedom," writes Peter Downs in the Chicago-based weekly In These Times (December 5-11). "Grygiel, a member of Solidarity, was jailed three times in Poland for his activities with the dissident union. He left Poland immediately after his third release and ended up settling in St. Louis, Mo., where he drove a taxicab for a living. In July 1989, Grygiel led a short work stoppage of cab drivers seeking better pay. He and several other drivers were fired on the spot and blacklisted from the industry. He appealed to county, state and federal governments, but to no avail. That experience shocked Grygiel. 'In Poland,' he says, 'at least we kept our jobs. Every time I got out of jail, my job was there waiting for me. We didn't have freedom, but in some ways we were more free because we couldn't be fired for our political activities.'"

Oh. You sure about that? From 365 Health Hints by Don R. Powell: "Remember that the major purpose of the holidays is to enjoy family and friends. Food and alcohol are secondary factors."

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

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