Bernardin is missed beyond his churchThe death of Cardinal...

LETTERS

November 20, 1996

Bernardin is missed beyond his church

The death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin is being rightly emphasized as a great loss to the Roman Catholic church.

He will be remembered for his calm and fair (yet sometimes inherently controversial) advocacy of a ''consistent ethic of life'' as the hallmark of a contemporary Roman Catholic vision of the moral life.

What many may not realize, however, is that Cardinal Bernardin's consistent ethic of life has been welcomed and echoed by a sizable number of non-Catholics, including the present writer, in their thinking, writing and living.

Thus, not only Catholics, but all who see human life as a gift to be cherished, protected and nurtured, have lost an advocate and a friend.

Our churches and our culture will be greatly impoverished unless others rise to the challenge of continuing his voice.

Michael J. Gorman

Baltimore

The writer is dean of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary & University.

Computers aren't all good for us

I agree with Stephen Manes (Nov. 18, "In the computer world, users put up with intolerable standards") and his observations about personal computers becoming more difficult to manage.

Industry surveys have shown that in a business it takes about $12,000 of staff time per year to manage a $3,000 computer. That is similar to saying that you would have to spend $80,000 per year on the maintenance and operation of a $20,000 automobile.

This absurd situation is readily accepted when the technology is digital and the machine is a computer. To compound the issue, users can expect to spend that kind of time at home to support web surfing, personal finance, games and virtual relationships.

Mr. Manes is retelling the old story of the emperor and his new clothes, saying that the wonderful new world of computing is difficult, confusing, arbitrary and unproductive is the truth for many users. This is the opposite of the TV ads and market hype about computing that we are fed by the big software and hardware manufacturers.

Like the automobile analogy, computers will improve when people can purchase a better computer. Maybe the Japanese will start to sell computers and software that work. Whoever does is going to really get rich.

Bob Kambic

Baltimore

Skip the steak for bean burrito

Colleen Pierre's Oct. 29 feature article with tips on plant-based foods that boost iron absorption was helpful, but touting red meat as a healthful iron source is like suggesting cigarettes to calm your nerves.

As a physician, I advise patients to skip the steak and reach for a bean burrito.

Beans, peas and lentils, as well as vegetables and grains, provide plenty of iron without the fat, cholesterol, antibiotics, pesticides and excessive iron found in meat products.

Iron from plant sources allows the body to regulate its iron absorption as needed, thereby avoiding iron overload and the numerous illnesses it encourages, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables aids iron absorption and eating well-balanced meals of these fruits, vegetables and other plant foods is easy to do.

Research studies have found that populations that consume little or no animal products actually have equal or greater iron intake than meat-eaters.

Unlike iron from plant foods, the readily-absorbed iron from meat defies the body's attempts to regulate its absorption, leading to a dangerous excess of iron.

One contributor to iron deficiency, surprisingly enough, is milk. Dairy products contain virtually no iron and actually impair iron absorption. Happily, beans and greens provide both calcium and iron.

Andrew Nicholson, M.D.

Washington.

The writer is director of preventive medicine at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Museum director loved his work

I attended grand opening events for Baltimore City Life Museums' new building in April and can't remember when I've learned more or been better entertained at a special event in or out of Baltimore.

I got to interview Elite Giants from the 1940s and write my own definition of Baltimore on a pink index card which was posted in the exhibit hall when I returned a few weeks later.

Subsequent visits reinforced my appreciation for the exhibits' freshness and the welcoming attitudes of everyone on the staff, and I became a member. All this happened on John Durel's watch.

I'm not well acquainted with Mr. Durel, but surely he deserves much credit for the museums' user-friendly feel and surprising ability to teach me something new about topics I thought I understood. During my few glimpses of him, he was a relentless marketer of the best kind: he really loved the place and wanted everyone to love it. And it was the director, not a board member, who welcomed me to the museums on my first visit.

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