Read it and, yes, weep | Feb. 10, Bill Maxwell column
Books give immense satisfaction
How glad I am that you published Bill Maxwell's eloquent article about his love of books and bookstores.
We live in an incredible age of efficient sending and receiving messages (often with attendant new and changing word forms). We may be "closer" to others; let us hope we become more and more understanding of them.
I cannot remember learning to read. I only know that reading was all I ever really wanted to do, and I could not envision a world without books. They form, quite literally, the framework of my world. They have taught me to laugh and to weep. The very sight of shelves and shelves of them gives me an inestimable feeling of satisfaction.
The world turns. Time keeps flowing relentlessly. Technology surges on and on, and I still cling to bookstores and libraries. Oh, I understand how Bill Maxwell feels!
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon
Read it and, yes, weep Feb. 10, Bill Maxwell column
Happy hours of exploring
Once again, Bill Maxwell has spoken my mind. In his column he spoke eloquently about his love affair with bookstores, and the sadness he feels due to the fact that so many of them are shutting their doors.
I too adore spending time in bookstores, and always try to check them out when I'm traveling. I remember years ago visiting the Tattered Cover in Denver — an absolute delight for a bibliophile like me. And I just returned from a trip to London, where I wandered around the five-story heaven that is Waterstone's Book Store. Locally, I am grateful Haslam's is still open, and my local Barnes & Noble is still hanging on.
Like Maxwell, I dread the thought of a world without bookstores. Don't tell me about how you can get books cheaper online, or how you can download everything on an e-reader. I don't want to hear it. Nothing can replace the joy of meandering up and down the aisles in a real bookstore, picking up (and smelling!) the books, and perhaps leafing through them while enjoying a beverage.
I also live in fear that libraries as we know them will someday vanish, but that's another story. Thank you, Bill Maxwell, for speaking on behalf of bookstore lovers everywhere.
Jennie Renfrow Ibarguen, St. Petersburg
Turn left for mass transit Feb. 10, Robyn Blumner column
Matter of convenience
I have to ask Robyn Blumner, and anyone else who is promoting mass transit, to picture the following scenario: It is August. You have to be at work by 8:30. You get in your air-conditioned car at 7:45. Now, who among you is going to drive to a train station, wait for a train, and once you get to your final stop hail a cab or (God forbid) walk to your destination from the train station?
Or are you going to simply drive there in your air-conditioned vehicle listening to the radio/iPod and/or talking on your Bluetooth phone? And what will be the value of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on mass transit when we have cars that drive themselves in 5-10 years?
Ken Keller, Temple Terrace
American allure | Feb. 10
Not to be overlooked in the Phillips Collection at the Tampa Museum of Art is Moonlight, Tarpon Springs (1892) by George Inness. This painting is part of the tonalist school and has great local significance, as Innis had a studio and home in Tarpon Springs.
Inness (1825-94) was one of the most talented and accomplished artists to ever work on Florida's west coast. His legacy resonates with Florida landscapes painters even today.
Joseph Weinzettle, Tarpon Springs
Don't make energy; save it Feb. 10, commentary
Get utilities to buy in
Susan Glickman's column in Perspective hit the nail on the head in espousing energy conservation and efficiency as the best, cheapest and most immediate solution available to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and help avoid the costs of new, expensive power plants.
However, utilities are in the business of selling power produced by these new plants for a profit. Enforcing conservation and efficiency alone will not necessarily get their buy-in as it tends to reduce their profits. Involving the utilities by helping them create "virtual utilities" — which provide an incentive for power saved, allowing the utilities to make a profit by not selling power — is a viable alternative. This concept can utilize the power company's organization and access to capital to introduce energy efficiency opportunities to their clients — residential, commercial and industrial alike.
Richard Corrigan, Palm Harbor
We're finding the cures for fraud Feb. 11, commentary
Fighting the fraud
It is good to know Kathleen Sebelius and Eric Holder have strengthened relations among the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, Justice Department and our Florida departments of law enforcement. They go on to describe the millions of dollars saved.
I have been an insurance adjuster for over 25 years. I have watched helplessly when I saw fraud. I have requested help from various Medicare agencies, which apparently had their hands tied.
We are now on the right path to stop the flow of cash or least slow the shady characters who find Florida such a ripe market for insurance theft.
Mary MacKenzie, Pinellas Park
Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, when many Christians abstain from meat and dairy products in remembrance of Jesus' 40 days of fasting before launching his ministry.
Devout Christians who observe meatless Lent help reduce their risk of chronic disease, as well as environmental degradation and animal abuse. Dozens of medical reports have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases. A 2007 U.N. report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Investigations have documented farm animals being beaten, mutilated and shocked.
Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Jesus' powerful message of compassion and love by adopting a meat-free diet for Lent and beyond.
Thomas Carter, Tampa