Pieces of column too short to use:
This just in. . . . A handsome and colorful 1992 calendar, featuring Vanderlyn's "The Landing of Christopher Columbus on the Island of Guanahani" from the walls of the Rotunda in the U.S. Capitol, and autographed by Rep. Kweisi Mfume. A nice gesture, I suppose, but something in these austere times, we could do without. Besides, I already got a calendar from Operators Heat. . . . Also in the mail: A piece of brick from the foundation of the old Our Daily Bread, floating in clear Lucite block for desk display. All I can say is, gee, thanks, and I hope the person who made that bauble donated his services.
In the wake of dead whales. . . . There's been a lot of response to a recent column on the death of another beluga at the National Aquarium. From Marge Kane: "It's just business: Bring in the whales and dolphins, make big bucks, and when they die everyone can be sorry. Roll them out and bring in some more!" Another reader, Linda Sherman, said the column was too hard on the aquarium staff: "I know, and even love, a number of people who work at the aquarium, some animal trainers among them. . . . It's captivity that is wrong, captivity that I hate. I realize, however, that it would be both simple-minded and unreasonable to write off anyone who takes part in that operation. . . . I know that there is genuine grief over the death of Anore. I've seen my friends hurting, and my heart goes out to them. I know how much they loved her. And when I read your essay, my heart hurt for my friends even more, knowing how your words would likely sting on top of the pain or mourning their loss. These are good people. They do care. They genuinely love the animals and do their best by them." The Sherman letter was one of the most thoughtful and heartfelt I received. While I appreciate the sentiments, I stand by my original premise: If the people at the aquarium loved the dolphins and whales so much, they would not take part in their captivity for human entertainment. The grief they feel for Anore might be better called guilt.