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"To your knowledge has fraud ever been committed by management in an organization you have worked for?" Forty-seven percent of the 223 responding members of the Illinois CPA Society checked "yes" in response to this question on the group's recent annual opinion poll. And who would be in a better position to know?

"We will have new generations of youth rebellion as certainly as we will have new generations of mufflers or toothpaste or footwear," concludes Tom Frank in his new book, The Conquest of Cool. "The countercultural style has become a permanent fixture on the American scene, impervious to the angriest assaults of cultural and political conservatives, because it so conveniently and efficiently transforms the myriad petty tyrannies of economic life--all the complaints about conformity, oppression, bureaucracy, meaninglessness, and the disappearance of individualism that became virtually a national obsession during the 1950s--into rationales for consuming. No longer would Americans buy to fit in or impress the Joneses, but to demonstrate that they were wise to the game, to express their revulsion with the artifice and conformity of consumerism"--creating "a cultural perpetual motion machine in which disgust with the falseness, shoddiness, and everyday oppressions of consumer society could be enlisted to drive the ever-accelerating wheels of consumption."

Amazing 100 percent success rate. The October issue of "ICBook Letter," newsletter of the Illinois Center for the Book, reports that northwestern Illinois cookbook writer Lucy Miele founded her own Hill House Publishers because she got tired of rejection slips. "After leaving her job at a radio station, she wrote and published her first cookbook. She's happy to report that she's met with great success in having her work accepted by Hill House. 'I never send me a rejection slip!'"

"The Christian marketplace thus follows the lead of the world's pop culture," writes a conservative editor quoted in Martin Marty's Chicago-based newsletter "Context" (November 15). "A common saying in the industry is, 'Whenever a trend emerges in the secular arena, wait six months and a Christianized version will appear in the religious bookstores.'" Atheists have nothing to worry about; quite the contrary: "Despite phenomenal sales and a dramatic growth of market share, Christianity is not exerting an increasing influence on the culture. It is the other way around."

The last word on the Dearborn Park saga, from Robert Giloth in The Neighborhood Works (November/December): In her book At Home in the Loop: How Clout and Community Built Chicago's Dearborn Park, Lois Wille "makes the promoters of Dearborn Park into civic heroes, but all neighborhood development projects in Chicago must overcome multiple barriers, without the Dearborn Park boys' easy access to banks, cash, and mayors."

"The high demand for labor has not led to significant changes in pay increases for Illinois employees," reports a surprised Illinois Chamber of Commerce in a November press release. Raises have averaged consistently just under 4 percent a year for the last three years. "Employers have implemented new strategies to attract and retain employees by offering employment options" instead of more money--options such as job sharing (available from 22 percent of Illinois employers), telecommuting (30 percent), and flexible scheduling (58 percent).

One order of poached eggs, please. "People who are somewhat familiar with Jesus say they respect him as a wise moral teacher, but don't buy into that stuff about him being the Son of God," writes Phillip Berg in the Chicago Maroon (October 28). He doesn't think they were paying attention. "Neither Socrates nor Confucius said anything about being able to forgive sins, about always existing, about being the Son of God, or about coming to judge the world at the end of time. My [University of Chicago] humanities professor and I did not agree about whether or not Jesus' statements about himself were true . . . but we agreed that the text left little room for the comfortable, popular notion. . . . A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the devil."

"In Illinois, the two concentrations of endangered species are in the [far southern] Shawnee Hills and in the Chicago metropolitan area," reports the new magazine Chicago Wilderness (fall). "Most of the rest of the state is corn and soybeans."

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