Gay $. "Gays in fact pioneered the redevelopment of several North Side neighborhoods long before the real estate industry officially pronounced them 'hot,'" in particular Lakeview, Wrigleyville, and parts of the DePaul area, writes Valerie Denney in Chicago Enterprise (December 1989). "So strong and predictable is the influence of gays that some realtors regard them as the grain of sand around which the pearl grows." Next? Buena Park, Andersonville, Roscoe Village, and parts of Rogers Park and Edgewater.
What the yups are thinking as they walk along LaSalle Street on a weekday morning, listening to the heavy-duty Walkmans: "You're swinging across a gorge when the vine breaks. Ninety feet down you snag a tree to break your fall, and the arc of the twisting branch slams you into the cliff face. But you don't miss a note of Mozart" (The Sharper Image, January 1990).
The end (?) of Christian phallus worship. "The arrival of the first Anglican woman bishop [Barbara Harris of Massachusetts] (and of those women bishops who will follow) provides outstanding opportunity for the phallocentric theologians to speak their piece on behalf of a god who gives men and boys a special, sacred thing that women and girls don't have," writes Reverend Carter Heyward in the Witness. "Happily, the debate about whether this 'special thing' is necessary to salvation has been over for more than a decade now in the Episcopal Church." Amen.
"It has always been the case that the very worst people in Chicago go into public life," writes William J. Leahy in Leahy's Corner (November 1989), "a reality that made more sense when the city had a huge productive base and a large number of well paying jobs. It was just accepted as a sort of tax that failures, such as those in the Daley family, went into politics." Nowadays, "things are so bad in the Cook County Jail that sources inside have told Leahy's Corner that inmates sometimes recognize their guards from previous days in penitentiaries, where these guards had been inmates."
"Each year a number of names are removed from the 'Noted Personalities' section if they are no longer visible or if they have died," according to the publishers of the World Almanac and Book of Facts, who are not burdened by false modesty. Nondead individuals who were visible last January but are so no longer: Christopher Atkins, Irene Dailey, James Donald, Gil Gerard, Mort Lindsey, John Loder, Pricilla Lopez, Al Martino, the Mills Brothers, Donald Mills, Ken Murray, David Nelson, Barry Newman, Mills Watson, Emlyn Williams, and Jacklyn Zeman.
You won't be able to call it the rust belt after they've sold the rust. From the ship watchers' newsletter Lake Log Chips (August 21), published in Boyne City, Michigan: "The Port of Erie is doing a brisk business in dismantled steel mills. Codan Corp., operator of the International Marine Terminal at the port, recently handled its second mill-on-the-move when it loaded for export to India [!] equipment from a dismantled foundry at the former Mesta Machine Plant in West Homestead, Pennsylvania. Earlier this season, Codan handled the piecemeal export of the Roblin Steel Co. mill in Dunkirk, NY to Shanghai, China. The company expects to be handling more such cargoes in the future."
"If shelters are not the answer--and they are not--maybe homelessness is not the problem," write Kip Tiernan and Fran Froehlich in Probe (November/December 1989), the newspaper of the National Assembly of Religious Women, headquartered on South Wabash. "The problem is the poverty which we have institutionalized and compartmentalized to death. By our accommodation to...a shelter industry (one of the fastest growing industries since designer cookies)...we are creating a permanent U.S. underclass for whom we will be the custodians. Brutal new regulations are coming down the line to 'manage' the poor people in shelters. Is this ethical? Is it moral? No, but it is politically feasible. And poverty is manageable and cheaper than providing housing, jobs, education, medical and legal services."
The end of art as we know it. Nan Levinson reports in In These Times (December 13-19) on Massachusetts performance artist Jay Critchley, who came up with an ongoing performance piece called Old Glory Condom Corp. and held a press conference to unveil his marketing campaign ("worn with pride country-wide"). Critchley is now looking for investors and says, "The piece is already complete. You can't introduce a product more than once. But I've set up a challenge for myself as an artist: to become what I'm satirizing."
You can have the rest. According to Harper's "Index" (December 1989), the percentage of the insecticide used in the United States each year that actually reaches a targeted insect is 0.003.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.