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Obviously, the ladybug would be better off with a hand puppet of you. Among the gifts at One Touch of Nature, Ltd., on North Clark: "Ladybug hand puppet has five working legs (your fingers) and one that just goes along for the ride."

Dept. of cutting professional metaphors. The Chicago-based American College of Surgeons' Bulletin (August) quotes Texas surgery professor Linda Phillips: "Any chairman of the department of surgery who says 'There is no room for women in surgery' should be excised from the system or that attitude should be excised from him."

What toy caused more children's eye accidents in 1991 than BB guns, pellet guns, gas guns, air guns, and spring-operated guns combined? According to the Schaumburg-based National Society to Prevent Blindness, it was--the bicycle.

"When Tribune executives go on vacations, do they carry hammers and chisels with them?" asks William J. Leahy (Leahy's Comer, Fall), referring to what he calls the worst of the Tribune's permanent panoply of deeply intended insults to the great cultures of the world....When out-of-town visitors come to town, I take them down to the Michigan Avenue Tribune Tower and show them how ragged stones, outcroppings, and sculptured features of the world's greatest architectural wonders from Westminster Abbey to the Great Pyramids have been stolen from abroad and built into the walls. When the newspaper's building was expanded in relatively recent years, I thought to myself that surely the new walls would not have these shameful pieces of booty stuck into them. Forget it! The creeps must have a sordid basement somewhere filled with boxes of these fragments."

"A diatribe against capitalism in 1992 has the disadvantage of sounding like a diatribe against the weather," writes Ed Zotti Chicago Enterprise (December), panning a new academic book that praises central economic planning. "Having recently seen the collapse of a 150-year-long effort to invent a plausible alternative, we may as well recognize that the market economy, like winter in Chicago, is one of those ghastly impositions on human happiness that looks to be around for awhile."

"The emphasis on race in the postmortems on [Harold Washington's] public life is insulting," writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (December 3-9). "What impressed me was his genuine reluctance to resort to race. His anger at its exploitation by opponents was in the nature of self-defense, but it was hard to tell which part of him was more offended, the proud black man or the intelligent citizen....He didn't want to show white Chicagoans that black people could be as good as they are, but to show that those whites could be better than they themselves thought they could be, by learning to support or even love a black mayor."

Hey, man, we liked it better when things were worse. Of 457 Chicago public elementary and high school principals surveyed by the Consortium on Chicago School Research, an encouraging 83 percent agree that "Since reform, this school is getting better." Two-thirds find staff development more responsive to teachers' needs now. More than two-thirds disagree that conflict has increased in the school. But only 41 percent can say, "I feel better about working in this school."

Number of reports network TV devoted to the presidential candidates' resemblance to Harry Truman, August 21-October 1, according to Extra! (December): 4. Number of reports the networks devoted to AIDS, welfare, and the environment, combined, during the same period: 4.

"Because Clybourn Street was in the process of changing from industrial usage to residential and retail, the architects [of Market Square at Clybourn and Webster] used a building vocabulary of exposed, brightly colored steel sections, corrugated metal, metal and glass canopies, and neon that recalls the industrial past in a jaunty way and can hold its own in the heterogeneous environment. The result is an extremely handsome interior court and perhaps the most architecturally significant parking lot to be found in the Chicagoland area," writes Robert Bruegmann in Inland Architect (November/December).

Have a nice year anyway. The definition of life, quoted by U. of C.'s Martin Marty in Context (December 1): "A sexually transmitted disease with a terminal prognosis."

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

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