Re: Administrophic

Dear Editor:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Thanks for the link [to a log of the Bush administration’s environment-related activities], and I really mean that, even though I am a registered Republican. The only thing I did not like about this column was that a hated Democrat was using your forum to dig up dirt on Republicans. Instead, I would challenge her to find the positive in her party before attacking another party. And for the record, I despise that same tactic when employed by Republicans. I am much more interested in what a political group has done for me than what the opposition has done that I am against. And yes, I do see a great deal of opportunity for the Republican Party to improve its environmental stance.

Seriously, I have enjoyed Umbra’s work immensely, and one of the reasons is the lack of political rhetoric. She focuses on what we can and are doing, not on political stances and party propaganda.

James Geller

Jacksonville, Fla.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.


Re: Urine Luck!

Dear Editor:

Just wanted to add a comment about peeing outside. Here in the Northwest, for example in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, deer and goats are attracted to urine. They will do anything to get at the salt in it, including ripping up sensitive native vegetation. I have seen areas that have been so mutilated by goats, it looks like someone came through with a rototiller. And the damage affects not just wilderness, but anywhere deer reside, including urban areas. Rangers suggest urinating on or between rocks; the goats and deer then have a salt lick. It sounds gross, but as far as environmental damage is concerned, it seems like the way to go.

Tana Beus

Bellingham, Wash.


Re: High and Dry

Dear Editor:

Once again, overpopulation is relegated to being the elephant in the living room that no one wants to talk about. Overpopulation is the root cause of the problems discussed in this article.

The article fails to even mention the fact that none of the areas discussed can live on its own ground or surface water. Water issues like these are the most objective indicators of overpopulation. A simple way to look at it is this: If the people in an area are unable to live on the ground or surface water in that area and must steal water from rivers tens or hundreds of miles away, that area is grossly overpopulated.

This article could easily have been a great argument for the need for a very strong one-child-per-family policy until the human population is drastically reduced, but instead the author totally ignored the real cause of the problem, as do most people.

Jeff Hoffman

San Francisco, Calif.


Re: Smokestack Heart Attack

Dear Editor:

Concerning the story about a study showing that even small increases in the amount of air pollution can cause heart attacks: Why aren’t health insurance companies demanding cleaner air? You would think that if a major health insurer wanted to save money, cleaning the air would reduce the number of heart attacks, which in turn would reduce the cost of providing health insurance. I believe everyone concerned about the rising cost of health care should send a copy of this article to his or her insurance company.

Daniel Barker

Lakeland, Fla.


Re: Pee Ditty

Dear Editor:

Regarding the question of whether to use hand towels or air dryers in public restrooms: A friend came back from Japan to report that people there carried cloths called tenugui with which they dried their hands (also useful for sweatbands, etc.). That seems like a great idea, but how to start such a tradition here? Then I realized we already have one. So I wrote a song about it. If anyone wants the music, they can email me.


Back in the heyday of cowgirls and cowboys When fellows had handles like Pecos or Tex, They all wore boots and they all wore bandannas To keep the sun and the flies off their necks.

Bandanna, bandanna, You won’t find an item more useful than that, When you make cowboy coffee it’s a cowboy potholder, It’s also the band on your big Stetson hat.

Whenever a cowboy got snagged on barbed wire He used a bandanna to bind up his cut, If the door to the outhouse kept swinging open A cowgirl could use one to tie the thing shut.

In Japan they don’t have our kind of bandannas, Everyone carries tenugui instead, They use ’em for towels and the guy who makes sushi Wears a tenugui tied round his head.

What if we all started wearing bandannas? We could dry our hands on ’em at work or at school, We’d use less paper and not fill the trashcan, And cowgirl and cowboy gear has to be cool.


Nancy Schimmel

Berkeley, Calif.