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Anachronistic question of the week, from the Chicago-based newsletter Generation (June): "Was Jesus ever put in 'time out' by Mary? As a real-life baby in the care of a real-life mother, it's hard to see how it could not have happened." Uh huh--we can be sure she never laid a hand on him or did anything else that enlightened American parents of the 90s wouldn't do.

"Currently, there are 38 Jewels, 18 Dominick's, 3 Omni Superstores and one Cub Foods in the city of Chicago, with the majority of them concentrated on the North, Northwest and Southwest sides," writes Maureen Ryan in Chicago Enterprise (July/August). The chains continue to build new 60,000-square-foot superstores, and "underserved urban communities continue to lose full-service, low-cost stores as the chains pursue easily obtainable land and more affluent customers in the suburbs. An 18-square-mile chunk of the West Side--bounded by North Avenue to the north, Ashland Avenue to the east, Cermak Road to the south and the city limits to the west--is without a major chain grocery store. The situation in some South Side neighborhoods is not much better: The closing of the Englewood Jewel means that there isn't a chain store in a 20-block radius."

Fine arts in Racine. From the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts: "This year the [museum's summer-long thematic exhibition] is based on athletics and games and the images they inspire. Art has long celebrated these themes: Greek amphoras show athletic activities, while Mayan friezes show a rather dark form of handball. Today, in America, QVC shopping network has special days to feature sports memorabilia, art and clothing. Only the forms have changed."

Presidential Towers, tax "reform"... U.S. Representative Dan Rostenkowski's "real crime isn't stealing stamp money," insists Eric Banfield in the Downers Grove Reporter (July 1). "His crime was doing his job of passing legislation."

"Our problems begin and end with the man who sits on the fifth floor of City Hall," Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner Joe Gardner told a June 25 community forum on the proposed theme park-casino complex (reported in a Publicity Works press release). "This is his futile attempt to try to compensate those big ticket, big time contributors who have given $25,000 during his re-election. And as you know he tried land-based casinos, struck out on that; he tried a third airport, struck out on that. So this is for him a kind of last train from boot hill to be able to justify the kind of support that his contributors have given him."

Carded. Mickey Mantle: .298 in 17 seasons with 536 home runs, MVP three times. Willie Mays: .302 in 22 seasons, 660 homers, MVP twice. But according to Kevin Spaise in Trading Cards (August), "Mays' cardboard issued between 1955 and 1960 can be easily bought, in nice condition, for between $100 and $300. Mantle's '50s stock, in near-mint condition, is increasingly hard to come by, and cards from 1955 to '60 bring between $500 and $950....It's a fact that middle-aged, white collectors identified more with white heroes when growing up. It's also a fact that black collectors make up a very small percentage of the hobby."

Did "soft money" contributions encourage the Clinton EPA to mandate 30 percent ethanol in urban gasoline? Not according to the data dug up by Common Cause: between July 1992 and March 1994, promandate Archer Daniels Midland chairman Dwayne Andreas and wife Dorothy gave the Democrats $270,000--while antimandate oil companies pumped in more than $414,000. Common Cause, which likes to imply that such contributions influence government decisions, mentioned but did not highlight this unexpected finding. The usually astute Sun-Times Washington bureau followed the Common Cause line and didn't even mention the oil companies' failure.

Things Republicans don't want to know. From the Progressive Review (May): "Birthrate of women on public assistance in Wisconsin: 45.8 per 1000. Birthrate of all women in Wisconsin: 75.3 per 1000."

"What did one month of capitalism accomplish that 75 years of communism failed to do?" a Moscow friend called to ask Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists contributing editor Leonid Zagalsky (July/August). "It made Russians love socialism."

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

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