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Sure makes me hungry--how aboutyou? From a restaurant press release: "As patrons enter Tommy Gun's Garage through the back door under the 'El' tracks, they encounter Frenchie, the mechanic and ask for an oil change. Frenchie knows the password, and the doors open on the Fabulous Roaring Twenties--when ladies hemlines were up, their necklines were down, and men always accessorized with a firearm. A 1928 Model A Ford sits near the entrance, silent movies are shown against the back of a stage, and there is a life-size replica of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre Wall, complete with bullet holes." Over Valentine's weekend the massacre was "reenacted" five times.

Our Barbies, ourselves. "A friend of a friend of ours--a staunch feminist of the heterosexual persuasion--has a seven- or eight-year-old daughter, Sarah, who had a birthday last fall," writes Yvonne Zipter in Outlines (February). For her birthday, Sarah asked for two new Ken dolls. "She had six Barbies and four Kens and, she said, she wanted Ken dolls for the two remaining Barbies. 'Oh, Sarah,' said [her mother], in a tone somewhere between disappointment and wisdom-to-come, 'I don't think you've really thought this through....Did you ever stop to think that those two Barbies might be together--a couple, like Laura and Martha? "I guess not--gee, Mom, you're right!' And at that moment, Sarah became the proud owner of two lesbian Barbies."

A vast wasteland with less than nothing going on. A new study published in Pediatrics (February) documents that when children watch television "their resting energy expenditures are lower than if they were doing nothing at all."

"Only the incredible rise of Democratic vote strength in Chicago keeps the city as a major counterbalancing force to suburban vote muscle," writes Paul M. Green in Illinois Issues (February). "In 1960 John F. Kennedy, backed by the full weight and power of Mayor Richard J. Daley's political machine, won 63.6 percent of the city's vote. In 1992, a far more culturally and politically diverse Chicago, led by Mayor Richard M. Daley, gave Bill Clinton 72 percent of its vote."

Q: What do you have when you have a money manager buried up to the neck in sand? A: Not enough sand. Active management of pension stock funds actually reduces their value, according to a study of 769 of them authored by University of Illinois finance professor Josef Lakonishok, U. of C.'s Robert Vishny, and Harvards Andrei Schleifer. According to a U. of I. synopsis, the managed funds underperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 Index by "an average of 1.3 percent a year between 1983 and 1989. With roughly $1 trillion invested in stocks by pension plans, Lakonishok estimated that the low rates of return cost pension funds about $1.3 billion a year. Fees charged by money managers--about $500 million a year--shrunk pension returns even further....Pension funds whose managers actively bought and sold stock typically achieved lower rates of return than a portfolio that was frozen for one year."

Smarter than the politicians. According to Leadership for Quality Education's third annual survey of local-school-council members, most of them "expect reform to lead to tangible results like a rise in test scores or other improvements in student performance. The majority of LSC members (53%) think it will take up to five years to accomplish this goal.

"If a doctor or a lawyer is guilty of consistent malpractice there is at least a chance, however remote, that his collectivity will sanction him. There is not a chance in the world that the same thing will happen to a priest," writes an angry Andrew Greeley in the Critic (Winter). "Pedophilia is but the tip of the iceberg, though it is a very ugly and evil tip. There are no standards which priests are willing to impose on one another for preaching, liturgy, education, fairness to employees, care for the feelings of their parishioners, respect for women, power sharing with the laity, public behavior, concern for young people, addiction, sexual relationships or anything else. None. Just complain to your local priests senate or your local bishop about abuses in any of these areas and see what happens. Nothing. (And pray you don't get sued by church-financed lawyers for libel.)"

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

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