To The Editor:
In a letter to your paper (Off With His Head, January 19) the correspondent used the phrase “fall on your sword.”
It was no idle expression but based on a biblical incident in the Old Testament, in the First Book of Samuel, Chapter 31, Saul, the first king of Israel, led his army into combat against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. Unfortunately, in the conflict the tide of battle turned against Saul, and he and his host were forced to retreat in a panic, his three sons already having been killed in the field by the Philistine horde.
Saul himself being badly wounded and disabled could no longer fall back. Realizing the futility of the moment he chose to kill himself rather than to be captured, fully aware that he would be tortured to death by his captors.Saul commanded his [armor bearer] to draw his sword and run him through. His order was refused, thereupon Saul drew his own sword and “threw himself on it.” However, his agony did not end with his death. Go to Chapter 31and witness what the victorious Philistines did to his corpse.
The More Things Change…
Editor’s note: A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette on Jan. 7, 1998. We feel it is as relevant today as it was then.
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor Giuliani:
Are we killing ourselves with “words”? It would appear so in light of information coming from the newspaper media concerning the possible radiation health hazard from thousands of cellular phone antennas and transmission units which may soon be sending digital radio messages from neighborhood lampposts along Queens’ vast street and highway system.
Claims are that they’re safe if “properly” installed. What is “proper” installation and who will ensure this “proper” installation is accomplished in each and every case? Word has it no one will be out there monitoring the job.
Mobile phone service is skyrocketing. Soon every man, woman and child in this country will carry at least one cellular phone. What will that do to the need for more lamppost antennas?
Queens County residents are alarmed and deeply concerned. They cannot tolerate yet another assault on their rapidly disintegrating environment. Air, noise and traffic pollution already are a constant invasion on their fragile quality of life and any additional exposure, such as radioactive emissions, is unconscionable.
[We ask] you for assurance that the rights and welfare of “we the people” will be protected. Is there sufficient evidence to prove that there is no health hazard involved with these installations?
An early reply from you will go far in alleviating our fears.
Rose Marie Poveromo
Don’t Close Schools
To The Editor:
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, say it isn’t so, the closing of 26 elementary schools in Brooklyn and Queens diocese. The reasons given is not enough money, not enough enrollment plus donations are behind. Added to the fact enrollment in the Brooklyn schools declined by six percent last year, and that followed a loss of 4,000 students a year before. Of the 26 schools that will close or merge, 17 are in Brooklyn, nine are in Queens. I can understand the financial problems the schools are having, yet let’s remember this, the children in our elementary schools are the Catholic leaders of tomorrow.
The church is involved in many worthy causes and charitable programs but why can’t the diocese cut a little from these programs to help our Catholic schools, for are not the children our number one concern and the most important charity that the church should sponsor for they are our church’s future. For remember this also, future Catholic priests, nuns and brothers will be coming from these schools, yet if there is not enough Catholic schools where will they come from?
So let’s fight to keep these schools open.
I for one had a parochial school education and had a learning disability, asthma, and a severe stuttering problem yet because of a good doctor and great teachers I was helped tremendously. I went on to high school and the military, then to a business college. Today I’m a lector in church and Past Grand Knight, Knight of St. Anastasia, Knights of Columbus and a manager for Northeast Plumbing. This would not have happened if I hadn’t had good parents and teachers.
In closing, I was watching the news last night and there was a segment on the closing of the Catholic schools and there was this little girl who looked very sad that her school was closing and could not understand, well neither can I. I will remember the sad look on this little child’s face for a long time to come.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, please reconsider not closing these schools for children such as these.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Bad Service And A Smile
To The Editor:
Every morning, for many years, countless commuters and myself waiting on the downtown 4, 5, 6 platform at Grand Central Station, are greeted by a very friendly and smiling MTA employee wishing us all a “good morning,” and reminding us to “have a nice day.”
I smile every time, but then think, I was having a nice day until I swiped my MetroCard, and went through the turnstile. Cynical? Perhaps. But, no less true.
Sadly, there is no Have-A-Nice-Day-Guy at Queensboro Plaza, Grand Concourse, Franklin Avenue, Coney Island, or at any other station in the system. But it got me to thinking, that if the MTA really wished for its customers to have a nice day, there are tangible ways, in addition to their daily greeter, to accomplish that for all subway riders. Including those for whom Grand Central is not a part of the journey.
Give us our money’s worth. Getting passengers to their destination in a safe and efficient way is [their] business. There are signal, switching, and track problems virtually every morning. Trains should run more frequently, and maintain an actual schedule. Being packed into a crowded subway train every day doesn’t really do much for my mood.
When inevitable train delays do occur, make accurate and audible announcements. We’ve all heard how announcements coming from the station speakers (when you’re not trapped between stations), and the ones on the train itself differ, and are even contradictory. Strangely, they’re often both wrong, and I think that’s very special! Are they referring to delays in the Tokyo subway?
This is a pet peeve, but on the 7 train specifically, it would be nice if the conductor could inform the passengers if they’re on a local or express, before having to wave hello to your station as you pass by it because you’re on the wrong train. The train signs are no help either, with half saying local, about half saying express, and one saying that you’re on the 9 train. Oh yeah, and about the 7, why no new trains? Nice treatment for the line that serves the NY Mets, and the US Open.
Stop fare increases! Even with them, there is talk of laying off token booth clerks, conductors, and even replacing engineers with automated trains.
Why no talk of laying off vice-presidents, or other managers at the MTA? They clearly do not know how to run a railroad. For every three imbeciles you fire at headquarters, replaced with one efficient person, you could leave the people who actually run the system alone.
The subway is 100 years old. Stay with me on this one folks—100 years old! In all that time couldn’t anyone in management come up with an efficient way to run it?
Cheers to the workers who keep the subway running, and especially to the Have-A-Nice-Day-Guy at Grand Central Station. Despite the gross inefficiencies of the system as a whole, and the annoying ride that we all must endure day after day at two bucks a pop, thank you for being the one thing the MTA did right. You always put a smile on my face. And, I truly hope they’re not talking about laying you off too, so Peter Kalikow the MTA Chairman can get his office redone, or something.
Frank L. Parker