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Ooh! Oh! Ouch!! The Northwest Indiana Symphony recently offered a program featuring Channel Seven's Mike Adamle narrating "Freddy the Football"--"a lighthearted look at football from the football's viewpoint."

Does money grow on planes? Yes, according to James Unger in Economic Development News (November 1987). "Large volume airports are generating peripheral mini-cities that pump billions of dollars in regional economies. Chicago's O'Hare International pumped an estimated $5.5 billion into that region's economy last year supporting some 160,000 jobs. . . . The Orlando Aviation Authority calculates that on average each plane landing at its new and expanded airport brings $7.5 million in business-related revenues to the area."

Which one is the "Empire"? In the Journal of Geography (November-December 1987), University of Illinois political geographer John O'Loughlin has mapped U.S. and Soviet military interventions since World War II. According to the U. of I. summary of his article, "More than three-quarters of post-war Soviet interventions have been in states bordering the U.S.S.R. or in Europe, while American interventions are more numerous and more widely scattered around the globe." Says O'Loughlin, "It appears, that the U.S.S.R. has determined that its area of vital strategic interest lies on its borders. For the U.S., in line with its self-proclaimed global protectorate, the area of vital interest encompasses most of the world."

"Your real fear--and that of most last-minute shoppers--is not so much lack of time or money as it is lack of inspiration," writes Dawn Bryan in The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving. "You can probably accomplish all with two stops--a general bookstore and a large drugstore. . . . there are few ages, types, or needs that cannot be well met with appropriate reading/picture material."

"Chicago always was an unusual political city," reflects In These Times (December 9-15, 1987). "If it weren't, a man like Harold Washington could not have been elected mayor. And now it appears to be a city in transition, one with a unique degree of citizen activity and an opportunity for a genuinely left popular politics. That is what Washington lived for."

"It's curious how rarely modern architects live in their own buildings," writes Colin Westerbeck in Chicago (December 1987), after observing that quintessential modernist Mies van der Rohe preferred to live in a vintage 1910 apartment rather than one of his own glass and steel high rises. "While urging everyone else to be ahead of the times, they themselves prefer to lag a generation behind." Continuing the tradition, "postmodernist Stanley Tigerman lives in one of Mies's apartments."

Public aid is now a smaller share of Illinois state spending than it was in 1983 (down from 33.5 percent to 28.2 percent), according to state comptroller Roland Burris. Apparently trying on his new conservative hat for size, Burris claims that "efforts by the department to break the poverty cycle [have] played a role in the percentage decrease in the department's share of state spending." But Burris's own figures belie his rhetoric. His office's Monthly Fiscal Report notes that there are more welfare recipients this year (907,000) than five years ago (851,000). The savings come elsewhere: In 1977, Illinois' average monthly AFDC payment was $270, $24 above the national average; by September 1986 it had risen only to $303, $57 below the national average. This sounds more like an attempt to break the poor than the poverty cycle.

Chicago's corporate leaders in minority hiring, according to a Chicago Reporter survey (December 1987): American National Bank and Zenith Electronics (43.4 percent minority employees), Illinois Bell (19.3 percent black managers), and Inland Steel (5.8 percent Hispanic managers).

It's not AIDS, but still . . . 351 cases of penicillin-resistant gonorrhea were reported in Chicago in the first nine months of 1987, compared with only 53 during all of 1986. The city health department reports that the epidemic is concentrated in large chunks of the south and west sides: east of State from 22nd to 103rd; between State, Western, 63rd, and 87th; and between Ashland, Austin, Chicago, and Cermak. Gonorrhea cases in these areas are to be prescribed a drug that costs eight to ten times more than the normal antibiotic. Cheer up, though: Detroit has been reporting 250 cases a month.

Let them eat plastic. Eleven Chicago restaurants are now cooperating with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to "make a charge against hunger" during the holiday season. If you pay for your meal with Visa, Mastercard, or American Express, explains GCFD, "your server will solicit a contribution for the hungry by offering to provide you with a separate charge form which will enable you to make a contribution. Participating credit card companies will deposit all contributions directly with the Greater Chicago Food Depository." No muss, no fuss. No hobos will call.

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

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