Making Light of Lying

Few things are more important than honesty. Your editorial page used to wage word wars on its behalf. So why then did one of your Nov. 17 editorials make light of the vocal deception of Milli Vanilli? Lying is lying and is morally unethical whether done by Oliver North, Marion Barry or Milli Vanilli. Honesty is not selectively worthy of reward or mockery. Those who advocate such selective value in truth will take comfort in your editorial lightness. -- Morton E. Toole

Crash Course

The Nov. 19 Personalities column related that rock musician David Crosby crashed his motorcycle recently, "breaking his leg, ankle and shoulder and suffering internal injuries. ... The 49-year-old singer ... was not wearing a helmet at the time."

The report was almost a duplicate of the lurid account of unhelmeted Billy Idol's injuries in a bike crash. That neither musician sustained a head injury or that the use of a helmet is not generally believed to reduce the incidence of broken limbs are facts to which your reporter seems singularly indifferent.

The next time such an incident happens, may I suggest the following form: "Rock star Ivan the Human Tattoo, 23, lost control of his motorcycle yesterday on Skull Mountain and plunged 13,900 feet to his death. He was wearing a helmet at the time."

It makes as much sense.

-- Robert E. Higdon

Incomplete

Glenn Frankel's analysis of Margaret Thatcher's resignation {front page, Nov. 25} contained the following lines: "All of which made the timing of her resignation cruelly ironic. For Thatcher's political career was being snuffed out this week just as she was celebrating the triumphant vindication of her most cherished values at the European security summit in Paris."

Please enlighten me: Are complete sentences no longer the norm? Has your paper cut out even the most rudimentary editing in order to ride out the recession? Never mind -- the answer is obvious.

-- David Esau

Spuddering

All lovers of potatoes, especially Maine potatoes, should be grateful to Colman McCarthy for his "Thanks for Potatoes" column {op-ed, Nov. 22} and to the donors of imperfect foods of every type. However, no one whose ancestors had settled in Maine in the 17th century as did mine could let the misspelling of that great potato-producing county, Aroostook, go uncorrected.

Additionally, the comment, attributed to Ray Harris, that restaurants and stores want "perfectly shaped wonders," leaving "tons of nicked or misshapen potatoes," which were once thrown away, necessitates a response. The 10-pound bag of Aroostook County potatoes I bought at a local supermarket on Nov. 21 contained an enormous variety of shapes and sizes (46.4 grams to 379.4 grams).

I have not had a bag containing 90 percent Grade A potatoes for 10 years. Obviously, the stores are not getting all Grade A specimens. Nevertheless, an Aroostook County potato, even misshapen, is still a gourmet's delight whether it be baked (preferably), boiled, fried, mashed or roasted. -- George Bunker Chapman

Neigh, I Say

Vinnie Perrone's article in the Nov. 16 Sports section did not elaborate on Alydar's apparent sex-change in 1979. The article reported that Alydar "had been a stallion since 1979." What had he been before? Perhaps Perrone meant "stud" instead of "stallion." -- Dan Morrisey

Atlas Shrugged?

Your article "With Fax and Phone in Tow, More Move to Work Where They Play" {Business, Nov. 25} cited a study by John Rooney, a professor of geography at the University of Oklahoma at Stillwater. Either the article was incorrect or Rooney's geography department has serious problems. The last time I checked the University of Oklahoma was in Norman while Oklahoma State University was in Stillwater.

-- Bill Carlile

Spoilers

I am certain that reviewer Darcey Steinke is only the latest to give the conclusion of a novel as part of the critique {"The Choices of Being Female," Style, Nov. 15}, but this time it was a book I would have purchased and enjoyed if not for her detailed description of the plot.

Why do reviewers assume readers wish only to appreciate style and subject and not the unfolding of the tale? Mystery reviewers at least honor the secrecy of the outcome. Would that all showed such respect. -- Harise L. Poland

More on Gobbledygook

In the Nov. 24 "Free for All," J. Michael P. Wood pointed out that the Spanish word for turkey is "pavo" not "peru" as stated in a Nov. 18 Food story. Perhaps the reporter had been thinking in Portuguese, for the word for turkey in that language is "peru." I have often wondered whether Portuguese explorers named the bird for the country or the country for the bird.

-- William P. Jones Jr.