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That's why you're embarrassed to buy a lottery ticket. Zephyr, published in downstate Galesburg, reminds us (August 10) that we have one chance in 607,000 of being killed by lightning; one in 1,300,000 of being injured while taking a bubble bath; and one in 26 million of winning the Illinois Lotto grand prize.

Sorry, I read at the office. "The American Newspaper Publishers Association tells us that 64% of American adults read a daily newspaper on the average weekday," writes Joe Zekas in Real Estate Profile (August 25-September 7). "One would expect this percentage to be higher among the affluent, educated riders of the Ravenswood." No such luck: "About 5% of my fellow passengers were reading or carrying a daily paper. Ten percent had paperbacks. The rest were lost in portable stereos, doing their makeup, or staring out and up and down."

Honk if you like to kill birds: On September 23 Springfield will host the "Winchester Masters North American Goose Calling Championship."

Hello. My name is America. I'm an oilaholic. "We have hardly begun to realize the gravity of the [environmental] mess we are in," Wendell Berry argues in Harper's (September 1989). "The ability to transport food for hundreds or thousands of miles does not necessarily mean that we are well off. It means that the food supply is more vulnerable and more costly than a local food supply would be. . . . It means that, in eating, people are using large quantities of petroleum that other people in another time are almost certain to need. . . . We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and each other. . . . The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependent upon what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."

The problem with public schools in a nutshell, according to Herbert Walberg and Joseph Bast in a Heartland Institute opinion column: "Imagine a law requiring that we pay a public cafeteria for all our meals even if we choose to eat at a superior private restaurant. Would we quietly acquiesce to such a law?"

Why not enough preschoolers are getting their desperately needed measles shots, according to the Chicago Board of Health: "Bottlenecks on the information lines because of too many telephone calls from adults of all ages worried about their own measles status; frequent calls from suburban residents asking where they can get free shots in the city; and long lines of many adults at our special measles shot sites resulting in mothers taking their young children home unprotected because they could no longer wait." Says acting health commissioner Richard Krieg, "We are instructing our staff at all immunization sites to move preschool children ahead of all other persons in line so that we do not risk losing them."

Turn off the gov's wheel of fortune--or at least slow it down, Washington University economist Charles Leven tells Don Sevener in Illinois Times (August 31-September 6). The state Department of Commerce and Community Affairs has gone way overboard in giving incentives to particular businesses, without adequate planning or criteria. "Quantitatively, for what DCCA spends on incentives, you could abolish the corporate income tax. That would have a very stimulating effect on business"--and also a fairer one.

A great city deserves a recycled newspaper. Writing in CBE Environmental Review (Summer 1989), Joanna Hoelscher and Anne Aitchison remind us, "The Chicago Sun-Times . . . uses recycled news sheet from FSC [FSC Paper Co., in south-suburban Alsip]. . . . About 40 percent of the newsprint used at the Chicago Tribune's Freedom Center has a 40 percent recycled content, but it comes from Canada. So the Tribune is doing nothing to help solve Chicago's garbage problems."

Walked across Lake Michigan, maybe? Alderman David Orr, quoted in the Network Builder (July-August 1989): "If Harold Washington had had the support in the City Council that Daley has, he could have done miraculous things."

"An unusual fermented drink is being made in the Cook County Jail," according to Leahy's Corner (July 1989): "'Take three plastic bags and put them inside one another. Add the crushed pulp of oranges, honey, sugar, and bread. Knead the contents vigorously. Seal the triple bag. Place it under a prisoner's mattress. Sleep on it for several days. Drink the results.' The effect is said to be intoxicating. The prisoners joke that after the unemptied bags are confiscated the guards look particularly mellow."

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

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