Lessons about health at the supermarketI have hope for the...

LETTERS

December 27, 1996

Lessons about health at the supermarket

I have hope for the future of the children of America. I found it between the aisles of a supermarket in Severna Park.

As I filled my own basket with last-minute shopping before Christmas, I could not help but overhear a lively discussion among a mother with two children, somewhere between the ages of 5 and 6.

Instead of dragging two bored children behind her munching on the unmentionable, this mother was conducting a food-shopping lesson that was as much fun for the kids as it was for me.

''Now, let's see what the label says about the fat. Do we want that much saturated fat?'' ''No ma'am'' both children chimed in.

Pulling off the shelves a bag of rice, she asked, ''Where do they grow rice?'' ''In America."

On we moved to the peanut butter jars. ''Monosodium glutamate, is that good for us?'' ''No ma'am,'' the chorus of two answered loud and clear down the aisle. ''Now, here is some plain peanut butter, nothing added, that's what we like."

I had to stop and congratulate this mother of two on her practical and immensely valuable gift to her children. Maybe if all parents, grandparents, aunts and friends would follow that example, the issue of health insurance, the health care and provider dilemma, would be just a little bit rosier for the future of our children.

Trixi Nordberg

Pasadena

Apprehension about Mount Vernon plan

I read with a mixture of apprehension and horror that the leading cultural institutions in and around Mount Vernon Place have hired design consultants to spruce up the area and give it a "unified look."

Among the institutions wishing to raise the area's standards is the Peabody Conservatory, which for several years has continued to mar its own Charles Street facade with unsightly, protruding window air-conditioners. Then there is the Walters Art Gallery, which not so many years ago wished to demolish the entire southwest quadrant of Mount Vernon Place to make room for its own expansion and giving that portion of the square a "unified look"

This is the same citadel of unified aesthetics which more recently transformed the Hackerman House into a caricature of neo-classical architecture by installing a typical device of post-modern anti-architecture -- dark, smoke-glass windows.

I beg our cultural leaders and their design experts: Please, no more "lily-gilding" in the name of a spacious, artistically inferior, historically inaccurate "unified look" in an area whose great strength is its historically authentic and uniquely attractive architectural and urbanistic variety.

Arthur Kutcher

Baltimore

Uncle Yankel knew about survival

Gerald Kamber's Dec. 20 Opinion Commentary article lightheartedly recounts singing Christmas carols and having a Christmas tree during his childhood. He likens the tree to humanity's capacity to survive and suggests that no reasonable person sees any harm in it.

I would suggest Mr. Kamber take stock of the descendants of his 10 aunts and uncles who were described as ''tepid'' Jews.

If many are marginally affiliated or have left the Jewish faith completely, then maybe the tree was not as harmless as suggested. It may have contributed to the end of many generations of a proud Jewish heritage.

Perhaps his Uncle Yankel, ''der Fanatik,'' represents Jewish capacity to survive, something no reasonable person should find harmful.

Todd D. Heller

Baltimore

Gingrich headlines make reader ill

I am ill after having read the Dec. 22 headlines, "Gingrich says he gave false statements"' and "GOP leadership calls for his re-election as speaker in January."

What kind of message is this to our young? Who among the honest and trustworthy, with any aspirations to positions of leadership, would want to become a member of a gang supporting this kind of morals?

Where are all the ethics our leadership mouth off about during an election year? Our representatives refuse to put their ethics where their mouths are, and our country is paying dearly for this.

An admission from the third most powerful person in the country that he is simply only guilty of "not seeking advice" is a ruse, a disgrace, a cop-out and a farce. It is hoped only the simple will fall for it. If Newt Gingrich is truly innocent of wrongdoing, do we want someone who is so careless and ignorant in such a powerful position?

This is a moral and ethical issue. It is incumbent upon every sincere, honest, loyal American, regardless of political affiliation, carefully scrutinize the House and observe and remember who votes in January to retain this manipulator of the gullible and foolish.

!Sonia Looban Greenspon

Baltimore

Carl Sagan will be missed

Carl Sagan was a master at grabbing our attention and keeping it.

He made me feel big. He put the entire universe inside of my head and then turned on my brain to galaxies, pulsars and black holes.

He also made me feel small when he talked about the enormity of space and the infinity of time. Although he was an atheist, he made me see God.

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