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Sorry, dear, you've been replaced. For $120, Hammacher Schlemmer's fall catalog offers Safe-T-Man, "a life-size companion designed as a visual deterrent to criminals...lead[ing] them to believe you have the protection of a male companion whether he's seated in the passenger's seat of your car or near a window in your home." Other good points: "he" weighs only eight pounds, has a carry bag ($39.95), and discusses relationships just as well as your current model.

What's worse than being on welfare? Being on it and not knowing it. The Midwest Journal (Summer) quotes Nino Noriega, identified as a Republican candidate for Chicago mayor: "Today very few, if any, of the [suburban] families or corporate migrants realize that a vast system of subsidies artificially suppresses their costs for transportation and land-use below market rates. Today, user taxes cover only about 60 per cent of U.S. road costs. In fact, the so-called 'free' parking around suburban office parks and shopping centers costs the federal government some $85 billion per year in tax deductions to property owners. The total federal subsidy to motorists per year is about $300 billion, or about $2,400 per car, making our road system the nation's biggest welfare queen. Yet, most suburbanites believe that they're 'paying their way.' The subsidies that underlie their lifestyle have dropped below the threshold of awareness."

"Having moved my office several times before over the years, I have learned that almost everything of any consequence falls into one of two categories," writes Richard Frisbie in the Uncommentator (July): "1. Documents that might enable me at some future date to say to someone, 'I told you so.' 2. Documents that might encourage someone to say that to me. Documents in Category 1 continue to be carefully preserved, plasticized if necessary, with backup copies at another location. Documents in Category 2 become paper shrapnel..."

The war against what? According to the Progressive Review (August), 13 percent of regular drug users in 1992 were black, but blacks made up 56 percent of those convicted of state felony drug charges in 1990.

Memo to participants in the underground economy: The IRS mole is tunneling in your direction. The income tax "gap" between what people owe and what they pay is up to $127 billion, according to IRS estimates in a May General Accounting Office report. "IRS estimated that $94 billion was caused by individuals and $33 billion by corporations. Across all individual taxpayers the largest part of the tax gap arose from unreported [legal] income--$63 billion. Overall, IRS estimated that taxpayers voluntarily paid 82 percent of their income tax liabilities. IRS' goal is for voluntary compliance to reach 90 percent by 2000."

Things Democrats don't want to know. According to Harper's "Index" (September), a child living with both parents has only a one in nine chance of having to repeat a grade in school. A child living with an unwed mother and no father has a one in three chance.

Your job: care for the most important and vulnerable person in my life. Your pay: wellllll... Results of a nonrandom survey conducted by Moments (August) of nearly 200 of its members in 89 zip codes: More than half the in-home nannies work more than 40 hours per week and are paid $250 per week or less. Most day-care centers get $150 per week or less, and most kids spend more than 31 hours there.

"Hizzoner [Richard M. Daley] was, without a doubt, the [state legislative] session's biggest loser," writes Rich Miller of the daily Capital FAX in Illinois Politics (July). "As in the past, Daley failed to achieve his major goals this year--riverboats and a crime bill. Much attention and blame was placed on Senate President Pate Philip for his insistence on business law reforms as trade for his votes for boats. But, Daley's problems are much worse than his seeming inability to work with Philip. Daley refuses to make up with Speaker Madigan, and until he does so his Springfield agenda is doomed."

How much for Lee Harvey Oswald's left sock? From publicity for this weekend's Chicago Antique & Collectibles Festival: "A Buffalo Bills helmet worn by O.J. recently sold for $6000 and 'if he's found guilty the sky is the limit,' reports George Sanders, author of The 1994 Sanders Price Guide to Sports Autographs."

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

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