TO THE EDITOR
A Toast To Taste
Regarding the Taste column on toasting ("Here's To Hoisting," Dec. 26), here's a wonderful toast that seemingly covers everything: "Health, wealth and happiness — and the time to enjoy them." I've used other generic toasts over the years and keep coming back to this one. I first came across it 30 years ago in a John MacDonald Travis McGee novel, where it was called an old Spanish toast.
I enjoy Paul Gregutt's columns, and his picks.
Get Real About Farming
As a seventh-generation Washingtonian (living on farmland that my great-grandfather purchased in the early 1880s), I see Whidbey ruined by these so-called "farmers" (Taste, "Nurturing Our Roots," Jan. 2) and the ever-present hangers-on from California or New York.
It is all quite entertaining to listen to these newcomers tell us — who have held land in our families for more than 100 years — we should not develop or sell off the cattle (that you lose money on raising). This island is crawling with these born-again "landowners" of 10, maybe 20, acres at most and fancy themselves "in touch with the land."
Thank God we still have enough brain power to elect Republicans as our county commissioners. You're not a real farmer until you hit 50 acres on up! We are, after all, a red county. Please all gentlemen and females (would-be know-it-all farmers) of same leanings, stay away!
The Organic Advantage
Thank you, Valerie Easton, for bringing up the subject of landscape value ("Growing Assets," Dec. 19), landscape price and return on investment.
The driving force that could change the market is the education and concern of buyers.
At last month's meeting of the Coalition of Organic Landscapers, Doug Rice from the King County Natural Yard program was talking about encouraging realtors to make the fact that a property has been organically maintained a selling point.
My partner had been lovingly maintaining the estate at a manse that is now being sold. Not only did the real-estate agent fail to mention that the property was free of pesticides for the past five years, the husband decided that chemical treatments would make it more presentable.
I would really like to see a growing number of buyers asking for soil analysis for chemical residues and quality of topsoil.
And for buyers to be able to tell the difference between a landscape that was installed a week before the house was put on the market, with no concern for what happens after the sale is final, and a landscape lovingly tended and functioning as a healthy ecosystem and a living work of art.
Michael J. Swassing
Exploitation Is Shameful
Appalling to witness the continued exploitation of our war dead on the front pages of both the Dec. 26 Seattle Times and the paper's Sunday magazine, Pacific Northwest ("2004 Pictures of the Year").
In both instances, The Seattle Times takes the opportunity to again tout the ill-gotten photos of our servicemen's caskets taken against Department of Defense rules. Is this how The Times seeks to expand circulation, at the ongoing expense of these fallen warriors?
The pitiful "A Life Altered" sympathy piece regarding the unemployment woes of Tami Silicio, who was appropriately fired for breaking the rules forbidding photographing our war dead and ultimately split over $20,000 in photo royalties with accomplice Amy Katz, coupled with The Times' incessant need to wring every last opportunistic penny out of this photo above all other news from 2004 leaves a shameful mark on our community paper.
Sad to know that Silicio, Katz and the editorial staff at The Times are content to sit in the cushy confines of their cubicles profiteering from the selfless sacrifices made upon the battlefield by my fallen peers.
Maj. Terry Thomas, USMCR
A Warm Blanket Policy
I'd like to thank Lynda Mapes and Alan Berner for that wonderful article about the Pendleton Woolen Mills company ("Wrapped Up In Tradition," Dec. 19). It brought back sweet memories of buying Pendleton blankets on Saturday mornings when the seconds store was open until noon.
Unfortunately, one time, I was in the restroom when they locked up the warehouse, and when I came out to leave, the lights were out and no one was around. I couldn't get out.
Fortunately, an alert employee caught a glimpse of my face in the narrow window and wheeled his truck around and let me out. I asked him what would have happened if he hadn't seen me, and he said, "You would have been here until Monday morning!"
At least I would have been warm!
Have A Heart
I always enjoy reading Portraits in order to learn new things about the people of our region.
In the feature on environmental lawyer/philanthropist Peter Goldman (Nov. 21), there was striking insight in the questions — and stark contrast in his responses, particularly with regard to the way Goldman dealt with loss of logging jobs, in which he cited a visit by the mayor of Pittsburgh.
I find that especially ironic — in light of the devastating effects of across-the-board shut-down of the timber industry suffered by many communities in Southwestern and Central Washington and on the Olympic Peninsula to this day. It would be comparable to a ban on coal mining in and around Pittsburgh.
If Goldman had proceeded with philanthropy from his vast fortune based on shared values between environmental protection and human suffering — he would not have worried about resentment. As it stands, Peter Goldman is the "poster boy" for environmentalism without a heart.
P. Scott Cummins
The "Too Connected" (Nov. 28) article was excellent. I also found it ironic that a piece entitled "Life Interrupted" about distractions was spread over nine pages and had 37 advertisements competing for my attention. And that is not counting the 13-page jump in the middle of the piece.
Maybe the editors of Pacific Northwest should take the advice of this article and make other articles easier to read from start to finish without getting distracted.
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