Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:
Richard L. Manner, Towson: Years ago, I worked at a fast-food restaurant. One day, a customer asked me for "an order of large fries." I asked him if he would also like "a cup of large coffee" to go with it. He was confused. My manager was angry. What did I do wrong?
COMMENT: You attempted to remind someone that the English language has rules. As we all know, only newspaper columnists should be allowed to slaughter the language. But some schools now teach that any language is acceptable as long as it "communicates." Which is why I heard a sportscaster say recently that the Oakland Athletics were "a great bunch of looking guys."
*Theresa Bennett, Baltimore: I'm eighty and I remember when I was in my fifties and working in Lawyer Row and waiting for the bus and had dropped my handkerchief, and a handsome young man picked it up, and all I could think of was: "Oh, to be 25 again."
I also remember being in New York waiting for a "Walk" light to change on Fifth Avenue, and a young man wearing a black eye patch crossed the street and kissed me and said, "I love you" and kept walking.
COMMENT: I'm not laughing. Haven't I ever mentioned that I used to walk the streets of New York wearing an eye patch?
*Michael Byers, Woodlawn: I usually am on the other side of you when it comes to Vietnam, but this time I have to agree that there were truly heroes and villains on both sides. (Among those who went and those who didn't, that is, not us and the Cong.)
What you didn't mention was that both sides had a big pile of victims right in the middle of the heroes and villains. The kid who got killed, or who killed someone, without really knowing what he was doing there, he's a victim.
You were also a victim. Your high draft number prevented you from facing and making a monumental decision.
Make no mistake about it, however, neither Dan Quayle nor Roy Dyson is a victim. They made sure they would never be. They made their decision, and it wasn't heroic. That only leaves door number three, doesn't it? Or, in the case of the politicians, maybe that should be "rock" number three.
COMMENT: What I can't figure out is why hawks like Quayle and Dyson are always going on about Jane Fonda. How Jane Fonda is a traitor and Jane Fonda is a Commie, and how her movies should be boycotted, blah, blah, blah.
At least Jane Fonda had the guts to go to Vietnam. That's more than either Quayle or Dyson can say.
*James R. Bowerman, Phoenix: Have you ever considered doing a column on the current motto that the state of Pennsylvania has on its state line signs? The motto, "America Starts Here," is intended to highlight the state as the birthplace of the United States. However, it misses that target for several reasons:
1. It is in the present tense. Therefore it appears that those of us who don't live in Pennsylvania are not residents of America.
2. It confuses a geographical term, America, with a political term, the United States of America. America, after all, includes everything from the tip of South America to the far reaches of Alaska or Canada.
3. To be historically accurate it would, of course, be necessary to say "America (the United States) started here."
Pennsylvania is a great state with a rich history. It is unfortunate that this motto has been selected as it represents an inaccuracy and is a put-down on the rest of the citizens of our wonderful country.
COMMENT: Fortunately, I do not have to worry about Pennsylvania's state line signs because I do not recognize the current borders of Pennsylvania.
As I'm sure you know since you seem to have an awful lot of time on your hands, the famed Mason-Dixon line fixed the southern boundary of Maryland and Pennsylvania in 1767. But it was the result of a legal decision in which Maryland lost 2.5 million acres of land to Pennsylvania, including the entire city of Philadelphia.
If we had retained Philadelphia, we would not only have a football team in the state (as well as a National League baseball team), but we would have all the cheese steak sandwiches we wanted!
This terrible loss was a result of the foolish actions of Charles Calvert, the fifth Lord Baltimore, who, near as I can tell, was a complete goof except for having a street named after him.
It is hard to believe that had Governor Schaefer been in charge of the state at the time, that we would have given up even an inch of ground, let alone 2.5 million acres.
This is why there is a move afoot in Annapolis to have Schaefer elevated to the peerage and made Governor-for-Life so he can lead our troops against those pretzel-benders to the north and redeem our state's honor.
So far, the move is limited to Schaefer himself. But you never know.