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September/October Contents | Gazette
Advice for the Phils, wrong turn in the Crimea.
MONEY ISNT EVERYTHINGBUT
IT DOESNT HURT
As a Penn alumnus and
a long-time Phillies fan, I enjoyed reading the recent article on Dave
Montgomery ["Squeeze Play,"
July/Aug]. In general, I agree that Montgomerys strategy of building
a young nucleus of talent is far more likely to yield success than a few
free-agent signings. However, the model for franchise success seems to
be the likes of the Yankees, Indians and Atlanta Braves, who have combined
both approaches to become contenders year after year. Living in Baltimore,
I can readily attest to the fact that spending $80 million on player salaries
will not guarantee success. However, the converse is not true: not
spending money is not a realistic way to contend. The problem is,
consistently spending $30 million will assure a team of mediocre statusthey
may win one year by good fortune or chance, but, by and large, they will
have a lot of .500 seasons.
We can only hope that a new
stadium will generate enough revenue to make the Phils brass a little
more daring when it comes to adding additional players, as well as being
competitive when their own home-grown talent hits the free-agent market.
Otherwise, players like Rolen, Abreu and Mike Lieberthal will seek greener
pastures, and we will become the equivalent of Montreal and Pittsburghglorified
AAA teams who periodically send their talent off to the powerhouses of
STUDENTS ARE INVESTORS IN
THE FUTURE, NOT CONSUMERS
In "Ranking Cars and Colleges"
["Alumni Voices," July/Aug],
Mark J. Drozdowski makes the same mistake as many others, including university
administrators: viewing students as consumers. The mistake lies in thatat
least according to my observationsstudents are not consumers but
fall into two categories. In the first category, K-12, students represent
raw material, so to speak. During that period, basic skills useful, or
necessary, in contemporary society are inculcated. In the second category,
post-secondary education, students represent investors investing in their
futurean investment that goes beyond the basic skills, skills which
are nevertheless needed in order to benefit fully from the investment.
Leon W. Zelby
the article "Fathoming the Mysteries of the Black Sea" ["Gazetteer,"
July/Aug], the author misidentified the famous archaeological site Khersonesos
(in the Sevastopol city area) as "what is now Russia." Sorry,
wrong country. Currently called Khersones, it is situated in the Crimean
peninsula, which is part of Ukraine. Check your maps!
BLACK MARKS ON BLACK
someone who was born and grew up on the shores of the Black Sea, I was
excited when I saw the article about Professor Fredrik Hieberts
archaeological project in this area. After all, my first visits to the
ruins of the ancient Greek cities of Tira and Khersonesos produced some
of the most powerful memories of my childhood. All the greater was my
dismay when I found that the article contained virtually no factual information
about the project, but in the process supplied the reader with erroneous
(and, to some, offensive) statements concerning the present-day situation
of the Black Sea region.
refers to the Greek city of Khersonesos as being situated in "what
is now Russia," while it is located in Ukraine, and also refers to
the Russian-Ukrainian dispute over the fate of the former Soviet Black
Sea fleet as something that made it "look it was going to be World
War III in the Black Sea." Since gaining its independence in 1991,
Ukraine certainly has had more than a fair share of problems, but one
of its greatest achievements is that, in contrast to Russia and some other
states of the region, it managed to avoid violent clashes and tensions,
even though the Crimean peninsula, where Khersonesos is located, is unfortunately
a volatile region due to its tragic 20th-century history.
by definition deal with the distant past, but this does not excuse them
from making major errors in dealing with the present. No wonder Professor
Hieberts efforts to start excavations on the "Russian"
side failed: I would not be surprised if all this time he was contacting
Russian officials for permission to do research in Ukraine, which makes
about as much sense as asking the French government to allow a dig in
Senior editor Samuel Hughes, who wrote the article,
responds: The geographical error was mine, based on my misunderstanding
of a remark by Professor Hiebert. No affronts to the territorial sovereignty
of Ukraine were intended by either of us.
the Final Report of the Working Group
on Alcohol Abuse that accompanies
the "From College Hall"
column in the July/August issue of the Gazette, the section headed
minimizing risk leaves the following questions: What constitutes "registered
undergrad events"? Are fraternities included? What constitutes a
"third-party vendor event?" How will the age requirement for
beer purchase be enforced?
parents of candidates for admission to the University will want these
Robert C. Bechler
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
MORE HELP FOR PROBLEMS OF
My wife and I have been
very active in an organization (Community Action on Substance Abuse) concerned
with prevention of substance abuse of any kind, including alcohol, by
the students of Ann Arbor public schools. Our history, activities and
a directory (put together by one of our members) of organizations which
can provide help for problems of substance abuse can be found in our Web
Rodins article, "Culture Change
Needed on Alcohol" in the Gazette pertains equally at
the high-school level and perhaps also at the middle-school level. The
Final Report of the Working Group on Alcohol Abuse has many points
which could well be the basis for recommendations to the local school
Dr Melvyn I. Gluckman
Mrs. Muriel S. Gluckman
Ann Arbor, Mich.
MORE PRAISE FOR MAGID
to Andrew Bender for the article on Nora Magid ["Alumni
Voices," May/June]. Nora was also my mentor. In the fall of 1976,
in my senior year, Nora changed my life when she wrote on my first paper,
"Ms. Arond, where have you been all my life?" From that moment
on, classes with Nora, who not only appreciated good writing but thoroughly
enjoyed stimulating, provoking, encouraging and engaging her students,
became the high point of my Penn experience.
I kept in touch, until her untimely death in 1991. She was an enthusiastic
sounding board as I developed my career and she made sure to keep me updated
about the accomplishments of my peers. She often asked me to meet with
students of hers who were interested in entering the field of journalism,
and I was happy to do so. Over the years, Ive met many Nora-ites
and theres always a bond between us. After all, we all had good
professors at Penn but no one was like Nora. She truly cared what happened
to you once you were graduated and helped to make it happen. She gave
me the confidence to pursue my career in journalism and for that I will
always be grateful.
AND STILL MORE
loved Andrew Benders recent tribute to Nora Magid. Though I thoroughly
enjoyed classes in my major, American civilization, it is Nora Magids
expository-writing class that I recall most vividly from my days at Penn.
Through her class and the encouraging comments on my assignments, I was
imbued with a sense of self-discovery and self-worth. I was very easily
intimidated by professors and by the institution during my first years
at Penn, yet Nora was never intimidating. She became my friend.
a Nora groupie and frequently trudged up the stairs to her third-floor
Bennett Hall office for a quick chat, a critique of some recent Polaroid
snapshot, some gossipa Nora "fix." I was always amused
by her collection of tchocthkes, which included porcelain kitties and
hippos, tacky souvenirs and ashtrays full of Dunhill butts.
my graduation from Penn in 1980, my relationship with Nora was enhanced
through a lively correspondence. Some 40 of her letters and cards passed
through the U.S. and Canadian mails. Those missives took on a life of
their own. Noras "stream of consciousness" letters frequently
began mid-sentence and related stories about bureaucratic red-tape at
banks, institutions and Penn, crime in West Philadelphia, weddings and
funerals of former students, characters in her classes, former students
now journalistic luminaries, food and restaurants, cooking and baking
bread on the floor of her home, travels to New York, Tampa and her native
Montreal. Nora loved hippos and flowers and "Pussy Mewkins"
and children and big dogs and New York and ice-skating and Thai food and
photography and bakeries and cold weather. Most of all, she loved her
students and she was not afraid to reveal it.
Janie Weiner Libanoff
Cooper City, Fla.
BUT ITS NOT UNANIMOUS
am continually amazed at the postmortem outpouring of praise for Nora
Magid. Perhaps no one remembers the class I took: demoralized students
in tears in the hallway; narrow scholars encouraged to harp on subject
matter rather than style; and a frazzled, lipstick-impaired teacher, obsessed
with magazine scent-strips and subscription cards.
lucky. In the first assignment, I correctly used with hope in place
of the common hopefully and won her attention and affection for
the semester. The eccentricity inspired me; I still write. But I always
wonder about those who do not.
Meira F. Zucker
MODEL FOR A NEW ERA OF CHILD-WELFARE
you for your wonderful article on "The
Childrens Crusaders" [May/June]. The piece was the best
I have seen on the subject. It is refreshing to see that experts are finally
realizing that the best interests of children are not always served by
the immediate return to unstable and oftentimes dangerous homes. I hope
the country and the great minds at work on this matter will continue the
discussion so that we can have a new era of child-welfare reform that
works for our precious little ones.
Jersey City, N.J.
EXPLOITATION IS IN THE EYE
OF THE BEHOLDER
her response to "Travels with Tarzan,"
Elise Auerbach makes sweeping generalizations characteristic of animal
lovers who have no experience training, caring for, exhibiting or competing
with animals ["Letters,"
July/ Aug]. Although I have not worked with elephants or lions, I have
raised, trained and exhibited horses most of my life. Horses are a major
investment, whether they are used for competition or recreation, so humane
transportation, careful feeding, watering and housing, plus excellent
veterinary care are economic necessities. If circus animals were handled
as irresponsibly as Ms. Auerbach envisions, they would not be able to
perform at all, and most circuses would quickly be out of business.
who has ever tried to force a 1,000-pound horse to do something it does
not want to do knows that the end result is, at best, an impasse; in the
worst case, the outcome is a fight resulting in injury to horse, trainer
or both. Training requires patience, understanding of animal psychology
and mutual respect, not cruelty. Although there are trainers who use crude
(and sometimes, outright cruel) methods to achieve quick results, they
produce animals that perform without spirit or are so stressed that they
eventually refuse to perform at all.
it hard to imagine that any animal, let alone one as big and intelligent
as an elephant, could be trained to perform by "beatings and jabbing
with meathooks." Circuses and rodeos come under the close scrutiny
of humane organizations. Ms. Auerbach might be surprised at the extent
of the oversight to protect animal performers.
how Ms. Auerbach knows that the circus animals "lead sad, lonely
lives and die prematurely." Such statements need to be backed up
with data, not sentiment. Contrary to what she appears to believe, performing
animals can and do enjoy their work, just as my dog Bonnie enjoys retrieving
her Frisbee. In fact, Bonnie initiated the game, and it often seems as
if Im being exploited to provide her with cheap thrills.
Judith Miller Feller
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