June 7, 1987
Thanks to Mary S. Rauch for her delightful tribute to Henry Ford's incomparable Model T ("The Model That Suited America's Auto Tastes to a T," Other Views, May 31). I have always regretted my failure to buy an excellent T roadster for $35 back in 1946, fearing that I would be unable to master its unorthodox "planetary" transmission. In addition to being the subject of endless levity, the tin lizzie spawned a plethora of lore and legend. When the planetary forward bands began to wear out, knowledgeable owners would brake with the reverse band until the entire transmission gave up the ghost and could be replaced as a unit.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 12, 1997
Media reports of El Nino lack the one, most critical component--its cause, global warming. Treated as a weather story, we are deprived of the awareness that those who insist on selling us every last drop of oil on the planet are culpable in the various disasters global warming is expected to produce. Our president has responded by helping to move more manufacturing jobs to the Third World, where his proposals would allow greater production of greenhouse gases. Local leaders tell us to prepare, but nowhere do I hear politicians address the real problem; our planetary life-support system is being destroyed in the quest for profits.
January 26, 1991
I have yet to hear an intellectually persuasive argument supporting the United States' militaristic, non-negotiating posture. Why couldn't we accept the fact that Saddam Hussein got Kuwait (in the same way that we "got" much of our land) and that he will not give it up for nothing? Some of our best friends are murderous megalomaniacs, and our adoption of a posture of moral superiority reflects a capacity for hypocrisy that sends chills down my spine. May no more die, and may our planetary nervous system, the mass media, carry the message of those who have come out with unprecedented numbers and speed and who feel the need to scream to make themselves heard over the quiet aggression of the "suits."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 22, 1990
Speaking of the 2,500 American "detainees," President Bush said, "Anything that compels individuals to do something against their will would, of course, concern me." I have to laugh and then cry. It never seems to bother Bush when he wants to compel several million women to be "detained" by a fetus. If we had a sane planetary population policy, we would not need to be in the Persian Gulf. What we are watching is the start of the real wars, not for politics or ideology, but for real things--food and energy, natural resources and living space.
June 23, 1989 |
The scientific discovery that the universe is continuing to "bang" outward gives artists the fits just like every other mortal who senses his own demise as more than just an abstraction. "Unstable Universe," a current group show, addresses that abstraction and gives it a vivid pictorial grounding. The exhibit uses paintings by several artists to create a kind of cosmic womb-to-tomb experience. To walk around the gallery is to snatch a series of ideas that leap time and space in carefully choreographed rapid bounds.
November 14, 2009 |
When Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface and announced, "We came in peace for all mankind," it marked a fundamental break with the long history of human exploration. From the great Age of Discovery forward, men had claimed territories previously unknown for their guilds, companies and nations. The race to the moon was born of the brutal competition between the United States and the Soviet Union for preeminence in every field of endeavor, but the moment of victory transformed America's vision of its heroic triumph.