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Thanks, I needed that. One workshop offered during the 72nd National Restaurant Association convention here last week: "Don't Lose Your Restaurant By Accident. Don't kill or maim your customers; it's bad for business..."

Quantity over quality. The International Society of Poets is accepting original poems (20 lines or less, please) for its "World's Largest Poem for Peace" and claims to have received responses from President Bush and "nearly every governor." The finished composite poem is expected to be "longer than several football fields."

"Under the current system, some districts in Illinois are the Grand Cayman Islands of public school finance," writes Merrill Goozner in Chicago Enterprise (May). "Because they harbor large concentrations of business property, they can levy extremely low tax rates and still end up with some of the highest per pupil expenditures in the nation. Take north suburban Niles, home of Golf Mill Shopping Center and numerous other commercial enterprises. The Niles tax rate for its schools is nearly 30 percent less than the statewide average. Its elementary school rate of 99 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation is a pittance compared to tract home-dominated Park Forest, which has a $6.51 per $100 rate. Yet, Niles raises $6,200 per elementary-school pupil from local taxes; Park Forest, a mere $2,200... In the next few years, a court is going to find the Illinois system... a constitutional travesty."

"It is making every woman in this company want to tear her hair out," Amy Morton of Remains Theatre tells Effie Mihopoulos in Strong Coffee (April). "It's really hard to find roles that are as three-dimensional as the male roles. . . . As women and as men you're only getting better as you're getting older; you're only becoming a better artist. Whereas, as the men get older, their opportunities seem to be getting more, it's the exact opposite for the women. I'm starting to feel that they either want them twenty-one and incredibly gorgeous, or they want them [to be] somebody's mother. It's incredibly difficult to find the in-between roles. . . . You keep thinking, in the art world, it's different. Hah! Not at all. It never used to bug me when I was the young, nubile thing. [But] now I'm not."

Pay and performance. Two area execs got noted when Business Week (May 6) asked, "Are CEOs Paid Too Much?" Dane A. Miller of northern Indiana's Biomet (a maker of orthopedic devices) ranked number one on the list of "executives whose companies did the best relative to their pay." James J. O'Connor of Commonwealth Edison ranked last on the list of executives whose companies did the worst relative to their pay.

First things first. "There is an interesting trans-denominational thing happening now," writes John Garvey in Books & Religion (Spring). "Charismatic Catholics and Protestants find they have something in common with each other, as do traditionalist Catholics, Orthodox, and Anglicans, as do evangelical Baptists and Lutherans. A great many leftish Catholics read Sojourners, which is published by leftish Evangelicals, and they read The Catholic Worker in their turn. At one level, this is encouraging but. . . . I think it indicates something more ominous. What really matters to us is politics; in practice we consider the issues that make religions unique much less important."

"The more people watched TV during the Gulf crisis, the less they knew about the underlying issues, and the more likely they were to support the war." Those are the results of a University of Massachusetts survey reported in Extra! (May). "Only 13 percent knew that the U.S. responded to Iraq's threat to use force against Kuwait last July by saying it would take no action; 65 percent falsely believed the U.S. responded by saying it would support Kuwait militarily. Less than a third were aware that either Israel or coalition partner Syria were occupying territory in the Mideast. Only 14 percent knew that the U.S. was part of a tiny minority in the UN that voted against a political settlement to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict...[On the other hand,] 81 percent of the sample could identify the missile used to shoot down the Iraqi Scuds as the Patriot. That media consumers know facts relating to successful U.S. weapons but not about inconsistencies in U.S. foreign policy, the researchers argued, 'suggests that the public are not generally ignorant-- rather, they are selectively misinformed.'"

"Many blacks and Hispanics feel horribly isolated in white law firms," writes David S. Machlowitz in the Chicago-based Student Lawyer (May). "Even if there is no overt hostility, often they feel an assumption that they only got this far because of affirmative action... Minorities also have to deal with painful dilemmas. Is working for a Wall Street firm selling out or showing it can be done? Is it nobler to represent black defendants or black crime victims? Is taking up tennis 'trying to pass,' a smart career move, or just fun?"

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

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