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Illinois is third among states in pesticide use, applying 54 million pounds per year of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, defoliants, growth regulators, and soil fumigants (after California with 152 million and Florida with 55 million), reports the National Center for Food and Agriculture Policy (Pesticides and You, Spring).

Marriage enrichment is where you find it. The feminist magazine On the Issues (Summer) reports on a 60-year-old anthropologist who says that she and her husband of 20 years find renewal in taking long road trips with "Mom and Pop" motorcycle clubs: "Unlike the general culture, the clubs are supportive of relationships....The people we ride with don't put down family life."

Identities R Us. "Race and class intersect in different ways for young people than they do for their parents," says Mike Perez of Oakland, California, quoted in the Chicago-based The Neighborhood Works (June/July). "You have white kids coming in saying they are just as much a 'nigga' as any black kid since they come from the same 'hood.' You have Asian kids dressing hip-hop and talking [African-American dialect]. Other black kids talk and act 'white' in the eyes of their friends. Identities are very fluid, but it's what being young is about now."

Who will drive a stake through the Circulator's heart? "Given the vitality of the downtown area, particularly during rush hours, it is hard to see that superimposing yet another traffic grid on the existing mix will do anything but increase total traffic," writes Richard Kunz in the New Electric Railway Journal (Spring), "particularly considering the anarchic nature of Chicago's motorists and truck drivers. No amount of street supervision by trolley staff can ensure regular service, since the complex system has a number of on-street junctions. Just one errant delivery vehicle could tie up a good portion of the network." None of this would have been news to trolley riders in 1925.

"Part of the point of using the word queer in the first place was the wrenching sense of recontextualization it gave," write Lauren Berlant of the U. of C. and Michael Warner of Rutgers in Publications of the Modern Language Association of America (Volume 110, Number 3).

"It is no accident that queer commentary--on mass media, on texts of all kinds, on discourse environments from science to camp--has emerged at a time when United States culture increasingly fetishizes the normal. A fantasized mainstream has been invested with normative force by leaders of both major political parties. The national lesbian and gay organizations have decided to float with the current, arguing that lesbians and gays should be seen just as people next door, well within a mainstream whose highest aspirations are marriage, military patriotism, and protected domesticity."

Don't bet on seeing more of this rhetoric. Reverend Tom Grey, speaking for the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, on the just-concluded session of the Illinois General Assembly: "While there has been gambling expansion in other parts of the U.S., we've held the line in Illinois. For us it was a lucky seven and a major victory."

The continuing noncrisis. Chances that a U.S. urban public-school student in 1909 was born to immigrants: 1 in 2. Chances today: 1 in 18 (Harper's Index, July).

Will they have one that explains why employment must go down so that stock prices can go up? According to a recent press release by the Chicago American Marketing Association, members and friends of the association have collected more than 4,000 marketing and business books for what the AMA calls "the first business library in Poland" at the University of Warsaw.

Baaa! Lena Woltering on the biblical image of Jesus as a shepherd, in Call to Action News, quoted in Salt of the Earth (July/August): "A shepherd is needed only when there are no fences. He is someone who stays with his sheep at all cost, guiding, protecting, and walking with them through the fields. He's not just a person who raises sheep. Though our bishops consider themselves 'tenders of the flock,' most are nothing more than mutton farmers. They build fence after fence after fence, keeping the flock within sight so they don't have to dirty their feet plodding through the open fields."

But you don't understand, Paul--talk is cheap! U.S. senator Paul Simon in the Congressional Record: "In no other nation do political leaders talk as much about family values as in our country, and in no other Western industrialized nation is there anywhere close to the 23 percent of children living in poverty that we have."

What would commuters most like to see near their train stations? According to Local Economic Impacts in Rail Station Areas, a recent survey conducted for Metra, the top three desired services were dry cleaners, restaurants, and ATMs. The least desired were day-care centers, florists, and bookstores. Currently the most patronized: grocery stores (65 percent). Least patronized: day-care centers (5.5 percent).

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


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