PLANES VS. CARS

I have been with Flying magazine since Nov. 4, 1968, and never heard of the challenge referred to by Brock Yates {Dream Machines, Jan. 3}. He says the staff of Car & Driver challenged the staff of Flying to a timed, intra-city race, car versus light aircraft. If there was such an invitation, it was apparently not in a serious vein. Light airplanes an "unbelievable inconvenience"? I have been using them for travel for 35 years and have never encountered the inconvenience suffered by airline passengers and motorists every time it snows. I can plan to avoid affected areas. It's that simple.

We work hard on safety in aviation and recognize that there are a few bad apples out there. They are apparently strong in the author's circle of friends. And we wish they didn't fly airplanes. It would be better for all concerned if people like the author of this column and his friends stick to thump-thumping mindlessly along the freeway at 65 or 55 as the case may be.RICHARD L. COLLINS Editor in chief, Flying magazine, New York, N.Y.

BROCK YATES REPLIES: I am sure Richard Collins will concede that our respective vocations disqualify us as impartial judges regarding the relative merits of transportation by automobile or light aircraft. However, with reference to the disputed race, I was there as editor of Car & Driver, I laid down the challenge, and I was personally refused by the Flying staff, Collins' recollections notwithstanding. P.S.: I regard crashing into a hillside at 200 miles an hour to be an unbelievable inconvenience.

COLLEGE STUDENTS, 1968 AND 1988

Gerri Hirshey {"Desperately Seeking Employment," Jan. 3} contrasts the reception of large corporations on college campuses today with 20 years ago, concluding that today's college seniors "are lining up at 6 a.m. in the snow for job interviews." This article perpetuates the myth that today's seniors are more concerned with the almighty dollar than with personal growth. In reality, over the past four years there has been a growing, vocal student movement. Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell and Brown have all experienced pressure from well-organized student groups pushing for divestment.

Today's press seems absorbed by making comparisons between today's students and those of 20 years ago and concluding that the former are much more conservative. I doubt that Dow had a hard time recruiting at Virginia Tech in 1968. I also doubt that there was no one like Clyde, the overzealous job searcher, waiting at dawn to get one of the few coveted slots. CHARLES MORTON Baltimore

PEOPLE WHO NEED PEOPLE

I've long wondered why I give to street beggars when I give and don't when I don't {"To Give or Not to Give," by Walt Harrington, Jan. 10}. I know that when I had less "disposable income" and lived closer to the bone, I gave more freely. Even now, I find it a barometer of my spiritual well-being. When I'm feeling full of fear, I find myself inwardly snarling at these bums.

I used to be shy when I gave the money, looking furtively away. Now I realize it's just one more nice opportunity to meet and greet a fellow human being. Some of them are jerks, some of them are funny, some are gracious, some simply hurting. I always look 'em in the eye now and tell them clearly I wish them well. As you can see, your piece got me thinking. TOM MCGRATH Chicago

TAKE AN ORDINARY COCONUT FROM THE NEAREST PALM TREE

"Schussing across the linoleum" to wax your floor {J Street, Jan. 17} is not a new idea. As all military and civil service families who ever spent time in the Philippine Islands can tell you, the Filipino homemakers and maids have done just that all their lives. Take an ordinary coconut from the nearest palm tree, whack it in half with a bolo knife, then, after removing the "meat" and using one half of the coconut shell at a time, put your foot on top of the shell and schuss around the floor while singing. It takes a particular sashaying motion of the hips, as I learned when I got my own coconut. My floors never looked better. MARY LYONS Silver Spring

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