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"It is hard to imagine [Harold Washington] not being pleased with the boldness, audacity, and solidity of the [library's] design--all features having certain affinities with the late mayor himself," writes Philip Bess in Inland Architect (March/April). "Moreover, there is something fittingly 'Chicago' about this adaptive appropriation of the loft building for a major civic structure. It is not simply that the loft building as a type lends itself so well to so many different activities....It is also that Chicago's grandest urban visionaries, Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett, seemed to regard the loft building as their basic standard urban building block."

This must explain all those people who go into crowded restaurants and open fire. UIC English instructor Deborah Covino: "Movies may be the most potent form of self-help available. They offer us simple, but powerful, on-screen behaviors that demonstrate solutions to the problems people often face in their careers or relationships."

Reality check. "Last spring my husband Steve and I took the intermediate children (4th, 5th, and 6th grades) at a local Episcopal church. We had two classes: a boys' class and a girls' class," writes Christine Dubois in the Chicago-based Daughters of Sarah (Winter). "The girls obeyed either of us equally well. The boys would listen to Steve or our male helper, but treated me as if I were invisible. It was a new, uncomfortable feeling. I'm used to being taken seriously, used to being respected. The men I work with may not think that having women in the workforce is a great idea, but they know better than to show it. These boys had learned early that women don't count, but hadn't yet learned the social value of pretending that they do."

Welcome to the one-party state. "Amount the U.S. will spend on the military between 1992 and the year 2000 under President Bush's plan: $2.45 trillion. Amount the U.S. will spend on the military by the year 2000 under Senator Kennedy's plan: $2.3 trillion" (War Watch, January-February).

Letters we didn't quite believe. "We have received many inquiries about National Welding Month..."

"The word best is used differently by the nonengineer and the engineer," writes Billy V. Koen in the IIT-based newsletter Perspectives on the Professions (January). "The average nonengineer defines best in terms of an absolute. Plato held, and unconsciously the nonengineer accepts, the assumption that there is an absolute ideal form for every concept....For example, when asked whether a Mercedes or a Mustang is a better automobile, the nonengineer typically answers, 'The Mercedes.' The implication is that there exists some absolutely best automobile and that the Mercedes is more like it. If an engineer is asked [the same question], the likely answer is that the two cannot be compared--that each is the solution to a completely different design problem."

Environmentally unsound child-raising tips, from Moments (February): "I took our two-year-old on a boat trip and packed all of her bottles. We had a little ceremony and dumped them in the lake. She never asked for them again."

In words of one syllable. State budget director Joan Walters tells Illinois Times (March 5-11) that Governor Edgar's bias is not to build more prisons: "His bias is not to build anything, frankly."

"And to all of those who have to produce and report on [the 10 o'clock news programs] and try to fit reality and complexity within their unforgiving confines, my heart goes out to you," writes John Callaway in Chicago Journalist (March). "I did it once and am overjoyed to be relieved of doing it now. May you all be liberated soon." Hmm--sounds like another case where abstinence could provide a sure cure.

They don't call this the "Sucker State" for nothing. From an Energy Foundation report on energy efficiency in the midwest: "Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania have opportunities ...to encourage regulatory reform and increased utility investments in energy-efficiency, or demand-side management (DSM). Illinois, because of a non-receptive utility commission, an extremely powerful utility, and a poor regulatory framework, does not currently have good reform potential."

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

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