Letters: November 2007

That Smarts
Lauren Waterman’s piece “Ben Affleck Is a Genius” [October] has given us a brand-new interpretation of “genius.” Pardon my sarcasm, but the author sounds like a rather sheltered young woman who has just discovered the word, and affixed it to Affleck simply on the basis of his directorial debut (which, I admit, sounds like a very good film).

Einstein, Twain, the Coen brothers, and Ken Burns possess what could be considered genius in their respective fields. After seeing a few of the films that Affleck has “acted” in, I believe Ms. Waterman should take a deep breath before using such terminology in the future.

Dawn E. Grimes

Grass Rooting
Joe Keohane’s article “It’s Too Easy Being Green” [October] was an alarming portrayal of “progress” at work in Boston, without any regard for how residents really feel. What a ridiculous notion that green space doesn’t add anything to our daily meanderings. What would he prefer? Concrete and exhaust? The city is already far too car-centric, and I find the idea of coddling the less than 30 percent of Bostonians who demand a quick and painless drive to downtown in their SUVs not only selfish but nearsighted.

Kerri Spindler-Ranta

Technically Speaking
Thank you for calling attention to the medical technology profession in your article “It Pays to Be Wanted” [October]. The shortage of graduates in this field, though, reaches beyond Massachusetts: Since the 1970s, there has been a 71 percent national decline in the number of accredited education programs for medical technology. Plus, the average age of current professionals is 49—so as this generation retires, the situation will worsen. Given that 70 to 80 percent of the physician’s diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment monitoring depend on accurate medical laboratory test results, it’s important that the public as well as government officials be aware of this growing problem.

Kay Doyle, M.D.
Professor and chairwoman
Department of Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences, UMass Lowell

As a medical technologist, I was excited to see some publicity for a not-so-well-known career. However, your article stated that Northeastern University offers the only full-time medical technology program in eastern Massachusetts. As a 2006 graduate, I am very certain that UMass Lowell has one, too.

Jessie Beeley
Salem, NH

I would like to correct two things in “It Pays to Be Wanted.” First, UMass Dartmouth offers a full-time medical laboratory science program that’s recognized as one of the nation’s best, and has programs in biotechnology as well as cytotechnology. Second, we now prefer to be called clinical laboratory scientists, rather than medical technologists.

Lynne Brodeur
Department of Medical Laboratory Science
UMass Dartmouth

Bring It on Home
I cringed when I read Michele Orecklin’s description of selecting a preschool for her son: “Our plan was to apply to a range of places, then cross our fingers that we wouldn’t end up having to home-school” [“The Truth Hurts,” September]. She may have meant to be humorous, but she insulted the growing number of parents, including me, who choose to educate their children at home.

Home-schooled children have taken top prizes in the National Spelling Bee, the National Geographic Bee, and other scholastic competitions. They have gained admission to leading colleges, including Harvard. There is nothing wrong with going to preschool, but parents should know they do not have to shell out thousands of dollars for their child to learn, grow, and thrive. Yes, sometimes the truth hurts.

Evelyn Krieger

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Primary Contender
I realize it is impossible to apply the scientific method to something as inherently subjective as a list of the Hub’s best preschools [“Junior Achievers,” September], but I was very disappointed you did not include the program at the Boston University Children’s Center, directed by Nikki Sibley, a pioneer in early child development. In my many years in pediatrics, I have never seen such a progressive and amazing program.

As the BU Center’s website states: “Children at the Center are not separated into groups by age. They progress individually…as they do within family and neighborhood, where younger and older children learn much from one another. Together they learn compassion and responsibility in a warm, friendly atmosphere that builds trust.” This is the rare school that can effectively accommodate kids at all depths and breadths of ability.

Marsha Browning, M.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital

Party Crasher
Jason Zengerle’s article about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney [“There Are a Lot of Similarities Between John Kerry and Mitt Romney…,” September] was interesting, but overlooked something: If Romney is so smart, why did he leave the Massachusetts Republican Party in such a sorry state? Democrats hold all statewide offices, including the governorship. The Congressional delegation hasn’t seen one GOP member in years, and both houses of the state legislature are overwhelmingly Democratic. If Romney was unable to build up an effective Republican Party in Massachusetts, what makes anyone believe he could do the same for the 2008 election, where the GOP faces a major uphill battle?

Larry Penner
Great Neck, NY

Dahn Deal

I read with great interest your article on Ari Laquidara and Dahn Yoga [“The Other Side of Enlightenment,” September]. Since joining the Jamaica Plain Dahn center this past June, I have felt less stressed and more peaceful. The staff has been nothing but positive and supportive. Yes, on occasion the members are offered additional classes or healings—but how is that any different from gyms offering personal training or other classes for a fee?

I have taken classes with Ari, and he is enthusiastic, encouraging, and happy. As for myself, if I am in a cult, then more people ought to join me. I’ve never felt better.

Patty Lieber
Jamaica Plain

Take Down This Number: 800-333-2003
Walking past a magazine rack, I noticed a headline that read “They’re Baaack! How College Kids Ruin the City” [September]. That’s a sentiment I certainly can empathize with, and so I picked up the issue to investigate. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Joe Keohane, former editor of Weekly Dig, was the author of the article in question. True to form, he wrote a bang-up column full of sophisticated turns of phrase that outright punished all who opposed him. It is what he is good at, and I love him for it. Is he a regular contributor? If so, then I will be a regular subscriber.

Matthew Wilding
Jamaica Plain

Foul Pitch
I am writing in response to John Gonzalez’s article “El Guapo Rides Again” [August]. While we all can appreciate witty writing, the Nashua Pride organization strongly protests the aut
hor’s physical characterization of Rich Garces.

If Gonzalez had done his homework, he would have discovered Garces has been on the disabled list only twice in his 17-year-plus career (for minor hamstring strains). Gonzalez goes on to state that a right-handed pitcher who throws 88 miles an hour is the equivalent of throwing underhand, but some of the most successful pitchers in Major League Baseball (Greg Maddux and Trevor Hoffman, among others) barely touch 90 mph. The Nashua Pride extends an open invitation to Mr. Gonzalez to return to Holman Stadium to stand in the box and face El Guapo’s “underhand” pitching—we’ll even provide the helmet.

Jim Stabile
Chief operating officer
Nashua Pride Professional Baseball