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Dept. of taking all the fun out of life. "Couch potatoes especially should avoid sitting in the same position for long periods," advises Dr. Craig Tokowitz of the Illinois Masonic Medical Center. "They should by all means not sit in overstuffed furniture because it doesn't offer the back any support."

Accountability for architects. Preservation architect Wilbert Hasbrouck, according to Real Estate Profile (December 417), "thinks that architects should be forced to sign their buildings, to make them accountable, in order to ensure good architecture. He points to the fact that early Greek and Roman architects, after setting the keystone in their arches, were forced to stand under them while the supports were removed."

Glasnost anyone? "Imagine: You are the manager of a large and complex public enterprise that is important, indeed crucial, to the future of the state," writes Jay Amberg in Chicago Times (January/February 1988). "You are held accountable for the success of the enterprise, but you have little authority to make the decisions. . . . You have little control over who enters the site to work for you. The central office hires all workers, and part of your staff answers, to the bureaucrats in the central office rather than to you. . . . You are, of course, given plenty of raw materials to shape into the products the state demands. But the finest materials, like the best workers, are kept, from you. These are given to managers at special sites favored by the central office. These managers may even recruit your superior workers, while you are left with whomever the central office sends you as replacements. If this were not daunting enough, the special site managers receive extra workers who aren't considered part of the quota allocated to every site. . . . the product of your enterprise . . . often fails to meet the standards set by the state.

"Is this some totalitarian nightmare? Are you the manager of a tractor factory in Gorki? Or the commandant of a forced labor camp on the Siberian tundra?" Not exactly "You are in fact the principal of a Chicago public high school."

More than three-quarters of dentists use gloves when treating all their patients, so as to keep from getting AIDS, reports the Chicago-based Academy of General Dentistry. Nearly 20 percent more use gloves in treating "some patients." We'd love to know how they make up their minds.

"Too much of our present day wisdom is simply exhaustion, complicity, and a taste for comfort," says Peter Marin in Harper's (December 1987). "The tactics the Weathermen adopted were nothing at all compared to the brutality to which they were reacting. . . . the young in the Sixties looked at power, evil, and greed and tried, as best they could, through violence, to topple or simply nudge the weight, the rock, of what it was they had discovered, and the fact that it moved not an inch is not necessarily what proves their tactics false. It may, indeed, be precisely what proves them necessary."

Where was she when Ollie North needed her? "When there is the least chance that your intentions or methods could be misinterpreted, don't put it in writing," writes Marilyn Moats Kennedy in Today's Chicago Woman (November 1987). "We regularly hear from clients about memos they wrote five years ago that are still kicking back on them as disgruntled coworkers attempt to restore the balance of power."

The McCulture. "Slang flourishes at corporations with rich histories and cultures," writes Michael W. Miller in the Wall Street Journal (December 29). "At McDonald's Corp., where employees take corporate training classes at Hamburger University, loyal workers 'have ketchup in their veins.'"

Is Wall Street irrelevant? The first year-end poll of Illinois certified public accountants shows that after the October 19 stock-market crash, more CPAs than before the crash believed that sales would increase in Illinois health care, real estate, manufacturing, oil and gas, and agriculture.

Tales from Iowa, as told by Osha Davidson in the Progressive (January 1988): "Can-hunting is more usually a solitary activity, done by farmers and laid-off factory workers while the kids are at school. One woman told me she and her husband had walked the road in front of their farm collecting recyclable cans to get gas money so they could drive to their foreclosure hearing over in the county seat. When they got there, they found that the judge had gone to a meeting but had left behind a recorded message informing them they had lost their farm."

The most eagerly daily activity for 25 percent of all Americans, according to a Roper poll reported in AFTRA magazine (Fall 1987): watching television.

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

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