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Meet me in the middle. According to the Census Bureau, in 1970 87 percent of married men and 41 percent of married women were in the labor force. In 1990 men were down to 78 percent and women up to 59.

What's an entrepreneur got that you don't? "The ability to live with sheer terror," says Mike Lyons, head of the Chicago Software Association's Entrepreneurs Roundtable, quoted in Chicago Computer Guide (October). "If you've ever had to sweat a payroll, or if you don't get this sale, the company's going under...and the problem is you don't have very many people you can talk to who know what terror's like....So what this roundtable is, is terror camaraderie."

Not my kind of town. "I can remember my son asking me, 'Where do white people go to school?'"--Alderman John Steele, quoted in the Chicago Defender (September 30).

Why you didn't finish that last long article. "Most people have figured out by now that print is the medium of intimidation, expropriation and threat," writes Barbara Ehrenreich in the Nation (October 11). "I myself have almost given up on reading. It was a communication from the I.R.S. that did me in, or possibly some incredible claim about unpaid parking tickets....When someone has something nice to say, they say it with pictures or flowers or strippers-by-wire. But when there's nastiness afoot, which is most of the time, the forewarning always comes in cold print. Thus TV, which is our friend, does not assault us with words; while the Welfare Department, which wishes us dead, does not communicate with jolly cartoons....Mass illiteracy must be seen for what it is--a quiet, but determined, postmodern rebellion."

The last word on new federally mandated nutrition labels coming next year, from Southern Illinois University marketing professor Siva K. Balasubramanian: "The new labels are easier to understand, but people have to read them to understand them and nobody seems to do this."

Chicago is "under-banked" relative to the rest of the country, according to C. Paul Johnson in the Roosevelt University publication The Renaissance (September). The Chicago area has only one banking facility for every 12,000 residents, compared to a national average of one for every 7,500. "That's why banks from Detroit, New York and other cities are so hot to get in here."

Evidently employers don't know enough to worry about traffic jams. Note the not-so-subtle differences between the two answers recommended in Insta-Type Word Processing's new booklet 101 Questions Employers Ask...And Great Responses! Question: What transportation do you use to get to and from work? Suggested responses: "(I drive my car/I'm driven) back and forth to work. I have reliable transportation," or "I use public transportation to get back and forth to work and still manage to be a punctual employee."

You don't have to be Bosnian to be balkanized. "Gated communities took root in Chicago's suburbs, but their seeds have spread to places such as posh condo towers, which are gated communities stood on end, and Dearborn Park, where the mayor is moving," writes James Krohe Jr. in Chicago Enterprise (September/October). "Most of the new housing built in the city since the mid '80s has been limited-access "communities" modeled on suburban superblocks, typically consisting of townhouses that surround a fenced courtyard or secured parking area on private 'streets' that have only single entry and exit points. Urban nostalgists often decry the loss of community that these enclaves represent, but to the people who live in them community is precisely what they offer."

"Minority officials [in the suburbs] say they serve the entire community, not a specific racial group," reports Sharon Sutker McGowan in the Chicago Reporter (July/August). "According to Richard Krieg, executive director of Roosevelt University's Institute for Metropolitan Affairs: 'It's incumbent on those elected officials to represent the community at large. It's also important for them to reflect the views of their community. The nice part about it is that we're seeing in some instances a truly color-blind approach to governance by these elected officials." As Scheketa Hart, 38, the first black alderman in Aurora, said, 'My color is black. I'm proud I'm black, but I'm here for everybody.'"

Amount the typical Illinois family spends each year on lottery tickets, according to Jim Nowlan in Tax Facts (September): more than $500.

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

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