Rash Field folly shows Schmoke is out of touch
How nice for Mayor Kurt Schmoke that Baltimore City is able to commit $8 million to enhance the Inner Harbor by revamping the already pleasant Rash Field area.
Forgive me if I sound incredulous, but as a city resident whose taxes are outrageous and who has seen such crucial services as police, fire and education cut, this latest bulletin strikes me as profoundly absurd.
Certainly I don't mean to imply that the need for forward-thinking projects that attract tourism and boost the economy are not important.
But do we need to wait until Baltimore becomes another Miami to understand that no matter how nice a city's tourist attractions are, a highly publicized murder rate is a major deterrent?
I urge the mayor and the Baltimore Development Corp. to consider shelving the plan to renovate Rash Field and put that $8 million into services that will enable Baltimore City to help regain some of the important ground that it has lost under Schmoke's regime.
That the mayor still doesn't seem to understand the urgency of investments in education, safety and quality of life for city taxpayers is continuing proof that Baltimore is sorely in need of leadership in the 1990s.
During the second act of the Morris Mechanic Theater's Oct. 16 matinee performance of "The Madness of George III," the audience was the victim of a tumultuous disturbance created by a large group of students who were attending the play for free.
Both the audience and the performers were very shaken by the students' uncalled for behavior. The so-called punishment was the prompt ejection of the whole student group, which left a noisy exit in its wake.
The big question is whether the Morris Mechanic management and school authorities will allow a repetition of this type of behavior at free performances in the future.
In his "On the Other Hand" of Oct. 5, Dan Berger states, "How come the longer this recovery goes on, the more Americans get poor?"
What recovery? I must put him in the class with all those other "economists" and "experts" who say the recession is over.
Apparently to them a recession ends when things stop getting worse. But to me a recession ends when things have returned to the status they were before the recession started.
To anyone who has lost anything in the recession (which I choose to call a depression, and we are still very much in it), recovery may not come for many years, if ever.
Take, for instance, someone who has 10 years equity in their home. They lose their job, then their home. At some point, perhaps years from now, they will have become employed again, and start to purchase another home.
They have not recovered from this recession until they have made 10 years of payments on that new home, in other words returning to the point they were before being affected by this recession.
And since this all can make them work longer in life to finish paying for the home, and therefore have less life left in their retirement years, in actuality, they never recover from this recession.
So don't speak of recovery and the recession having ended in 1991. Ask anyone who has been affected by it. And it is this lingering recession that is making more Americans get poor.
Harry E. Bennett, Jr.
Speak proper American
Complaints about our English language have a permanent, though cyclic, place on the pages of The Evening Sun. The latest series (letters, Edward Rondthaler, Sept. 30; Linda Baker, Oct. 8; Karen Davis, Oct. 14) brings forth lots of words, both good and bad.
But the gist of the problem was not mentioned. Let me mention it now.
The problem is that we change the way we say the words. Way back, when only the better-off folks could afford education, the literate ones wrote English fairly phonetically.
The rest, the majority of English speakers, mangled the spoken language as they pleased. The spoken language won, but the educated ones stayed with their history-laden but now obsolete "phonetic" spelling. After all, since when does the lowlife dictate to the upper crust?
The simplest solution to our problem is to revert to the old way of saying the words. The old phonetic way, as the words are properly written.
For example: A member of King Arthur's Round Table is a "knight" in English, or a "knecht" in German. The writing is fairly close, as are the languages, but the saying differs a lot. Germans continue saying "knecht", English-speakers say "nite" ("nait," to be more phonetic).
Go ahead, say knight the old way. Doesn't the sound carry a bit of old-world charm and chivalry with it? But is this a good solution? Yes, it is. Should we take it? No. There is a better solution.
English is no longer like our English. Or Australian English, or take-your-pick English. English is fragmenting into a family of new languages. Let's say "thank you" to English and go on to the next one.
Let's call it, tentatively, "American." Let's base it on our English, but with lots of changes. Let's change the way we write it and speak it. Some changes to grammar, some redefining the words' meanings.
Do we need all the 40-plus phonemes? Could we use a word that means "he" or "she" but carries no sexual designation? Yes, yes, and yes to lots of other beneficial changes.
The "the" is a good word to show how to lose a phoneme and write a word as it sounds even now. Let's replace "the" with "de," like in "Denise" or "Denephew" (it is politically incorrect to favor one or the other gender). Shortening the word by 33 percent saves us tons of printing ink; ecologically correct act.
There are other benefits to be had, lots of them. Students would learn to read and write in only two school years. No more spelling bees! Many of the 40 million illiterate Americans would surely become literate. Teaching "American" to Americans and foreigners will become big business.
Most of the world is interested in the difficult-to-learn English. With "American," they will rush to us for the language and everything else that we have to offer. Printing and publishing will grow enormously.
The "American" will create an unprecedented demand for the printed medium. There are big bucks in translating English literature into "American." If we extend the language changes to computers, monster benefits are ours.
Since we have to accommodate the "American" anyway, let's take the extra step and accommodate other languages, too.
Begin by enlarging the character sets to include all possible diacritical marks. Make all other characters easily available. Revise the keyboard to fit humans, and add a row of keys to accommodate the additions.
Computers and software would be changed, but so what. This year's stuff would be obsolete by the middle of next year, anyway. If we offered a complete "American" and "all other" ready package, everybody would want it. Government would deal itself in.
A department of "American," full of bureaucrats, would be created. Have your resume ready.
Lastly. Say, "We want American." Repeat many times. Say it to all you know and all the strangers. Send letters and faxes. Bumper-stickers. Begin and close your speeches with it.
Led as ool "Amerikanais."
Recycling campaign fails to produce
If only our actions toward recycling were as good as our words.
We produced laws that force companies to do back flips to make the correct plastic, then do not make a real effort to use the divided plastics to advantage.
I tried to recycle glass and was told that I had to meet the center's hours, which are similar to my bank's. I dumped the glass on their steps and left.
I tried to recycle engine oil and was told that I would have to pay them to get rid of it. In our society of initiatives that means that it is easier to pour it down the sewer, and all the recycling rhetoric is for naught.
Recycled material must be seen as a resource. Surely it is easier to mine aluminum from a local dump than from within a hill in the middle of nowhere; the same for plastic from oil or paper. Let us truly "get real."