If our local politicians were to play on a soccer team, here is what the lineup might look like:
The coach: The people of Monroe County.
At forward: David Gantt, who will play only if we use his ball.
At midfield: Jack Doyle, who passes only to his friends or to those who have contributed huge amounts to his campaign.
On defense: Bill Johnson, who is playing well but is frustrated by the lack of teamwork from his teammates.
As subs: The Sports Authority, who not only won't enter the game, but will not talk to the coach.
Needless to say, the team is winless. The coach has tried to arrange a practice with the Rhinos to learn teamwork but can't get them to stop bickering long enough to get to practice.
Roy Maratta, North Winton Road, Rochester
Observations on two items in the July 3 City:
• Allow me to weigh in on the letter taking City to task for putting a photograph of an obese man in a bathing suit on the cover of Summer Guide.
The letter-writer accused City of poking fun at a way-overweight man. I've been a journalist for more than 30 years, and I've always considered myself sensitive to how I and the media in general, portray people. But I think the letter writer doth protest a bit too much. By putting an obese man, instead of some chiseled boy model, on the cover, City demonstrated a sensitivity for reality.
Look around. Wake up and count the calories. Americans, by and large, are too fat. A recent study of obese youngsters shows that one out of every seven children ages 6 to 19 is severely overweight, an increase of nearly 300 percent since the '60s.
Just today I read a newspaper article online about a coroner outside of Chicago who is being forced to buy hydraulic lifts and larger storage facilities because of the huge bodies his office increasingly is handling. In the last 18 months, the coroner has had to cope with seven corpses each weighing more than 500 pounds, including one that weighed 700 pounds.
• Props to writer Tim Goodwin for a marvelous profile of the Full Circle hip hop events at Java's coffeehouse in downtown Rochester. Kudos to Goodwin, and City, for providing a glimpse into another important piece of this community's rich cultural mosaic.
Richard Zitrin, Rochester
Jon Popick has taken a great deal of heat lately, both warranted and unwarranted. Let me add a bit of praise to this maelstrom. The synopsis of Spider Man running in the "Film Clips" sections has been the highlight of my week. The insane scenarios such as Peter Parker as heir to the Parker Brothers game empire or "picking pickled peppers" have left me in stitches.
My only disappointment is that the latest issues ran the real synopsis.
Kendall Phillips, Kendrick Road, Rochester
I found "Living Without, Living Within" (July 3) an interesting account of some contemporary efforts to achieve a proper balance between the material and spiritual aspects of daily life. This is the primary theme of "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau, referred to in the article. In fact, the quote ascribed therein to Ralph Waldo Emerson is actually from Thoreau, an often-quoted line from "Walden": "... a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone."
Thoreau echoes and amplifies his own pithy phrase in his concluding chapter when he says, "In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness."
Thoreau's account of his "experiment" is still relevant today whether one calls it "living deliberately" or "voluntary simplicity."
Dennis Ford, North Main Street, Manchester
Jack Bradigan Spula responds: Thanks for the correction. The mistake was mine entirely. My source, Duane Elgin's Voluntary Simplicity, credits the saying to Thoreau while discussing Emerson and Transcendentalist thought. I went with the wrong sage.
I appreciated Jack Spula's recent coverage of the Voluntary Simplicity movement. It's a topic that warrants attention as rampant consumerism continues to shape social, economic, and political structures. Little encouragement is given for people to examine their lives to see if their lifestyle is really congruent with their deepest values.
However, I would like to clarify some points:
First, as far as I know, the University of Rochester does not offer a course in Voluntary Simplicity. The course referred to (called "Community, Earth, and Body") deals in part with issues of sustainability and voluntary simplicity and is offered to U of R students through the Dance Department. However, eight-week discussion courses in Voluntary Simplicity are available to any interested folks through the Earth Native Network.
Please contact me at email@example.com for more information.
Mary Gleason, Audley Way, Rochester
Please don't call them corporate crooks, / because it is not as it looks. / After working each deal, / it's hunger they'd feel, / and that is why they cooked the books.
Lee Strong, Gates