From time to time, when there is a lull in the excitement around here, we gather your comments to show you our favorites.  

In response to Marion Winik’s recent essay, The Things They Googled, about how searching the obsequious search engine has become a cultural pastime, Shari writes:

“I almost googled ‘pleonasm’ midway through the article, but didn’t, preferring to enjoy the flow of the article uninterrupted. Thank you, Marion, for rewarding my patience. Delayed gratification is the sweetest kind!” 

The lyrical piece also earned a familial response. Jeff Winik added:

“After reading this, I decided to send it to both my sons. It’s dated to day, so at least they’ll text me and not say “Seen that. Thanks anyway.” I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of this article only because it’s true…and because Dad finally found something they haven’t.” 

Weighing in on Slutwalk, Rachel Monroe’s story about the new feminist march, Jan Jamm wrote: 

“I have traveled throughout Southeast Asia for a year. There is a modesty in dress that is maintained in all these countries by both men and women. When I returned to the US after traveling in Asia, I was unexpectedly, shocked by the contrast in how immodestly people were dressed. As Americans, we expect that we can do whatever we wish and everyone should deal with it. That’s the downside of individualism. In truth women are never assaulted or raped because of what they are wearing. They are assaulted and raped because of a culture of violence against women. However, encouraging women to taunt that reality seems to me to be irresponsible. I think sexuality in its deepest pleasures is more about process of slowly revealing oneself, physically and emotionally to another, rather than being sexual by revealing it all. The commodification and commercialism of sexuality/celebrity is a means of encouraging a look that helps sell clothes. I think the Sluts need to think more about the corporate control over what being a woman means, rather then fashion options. And I think we should all work to change the culture of violence, in anyway we can.” 

The heart-wrenching story, Undercurrent, Holly Morse-Ellington’s story about the effects of a sex scandal on a family, earned praise from many commenters.  PV wrote:

“Very moving story, very well written. I appreciated the candor and honesty. Must be a very difficult time for you and your family.”

And, on a happier note, in response to our new series Baltimore Unearthed by Michael Yockel, commenter Hal remembers the film Adventures in Baltimore

“I hate to reveal my age, but I saw this movie when it was first run in theaters. It was probably a Friday night and I took my date to the 7:00 o’clock showing at the Ritz, before the weekly dance at the American Legion Hut. Unfortunately, I remember the movie better than the date. The movie was a dud, can’t say about the date. Michael Yockel’s story is interesting, informative, and fun. I’m subscribing now.”

In response to a commenter who was less than enthused by Krista Smith’s enthusiasm the Four Seasons, Big Man Tate wrote:

“This is exactly the mindset too many Baltimoreans are stuck in! OF COURSE we are all happy that it will bring more jobs. But don’t people need to go there and spend money in order for those jobs to last? Doesn’t it make for a more stable economy ? A more robust downtown? The quality of a city is not measured by the number of five star hotels, you are right, but it is measured by the strength of its economy and if this will get people from the county or D.C. to come and spend their money, then great. A rising tide lifts all boats.”

The managing director of US Lacrosse, Susannah Chase, had a lot on her mind about our story on the exclusivity of lacrosse, Bringing Lacrosse to Baltimore’s Toughest Neighborhoods, by our summer intern and college lacrosse player Marta Randall and another by Shannon Dunn on sports leagues for kids in the inner city:

“At US Lacrosse, we were delighted to see the recent articles (8.23.11 and 8.10.11) that focused not only the positive impact of youth sport’s, but also the individuals and organizations that work hard every day to make sure that youth who might not have the opportunity to participate in a sport like lacrosse, get the chance to play. 

 As your articles aptly recognized, as prevalent as lacrosse may seem, not all Baltimore children are born with lacrosse sticks in their hands.  The mission of US Lacrosse, as the sport’s national governing body, is to “provide programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the game.” Initiatives such as Parks and People Foundation’s Middle School Lacrosse League, Baltimore Youth Lacrosse League, and Charm City Lacrosse have all received equipment grants and funding from US Lacrosse to help grow their programs.  We are extremely proud of our investment in programs that serve and inspire Baltimore’s youth, and the individuals who offer their time, talent and treasure to ensure that all of our children have a positive experience with a sport we love.  The confidence, lessons of sportsmanship, friendship and mentoring that comes from a best practice youth program can offer a child a strong and lasting foundation.  We care deeply about the youth experience and hope it builds a passion for the sport to last a lifetime.

US Lacrosse is more than Lacrosse Magazine and a membership organization that provides insurance, and our wish is that these articles allowed for the role of US Lacrosse in the Baltimore community and the country at large.  We are literally in your backyard and in 2010 we provided 74 equipment grants for 102 boys and girls under-19 teams across the United States, including programs right here in Baltimore-a number and an impact we will well surpass in 2011.  We work hard every day to protect the integrity of the game, and have been a quiet and understated force in these programs and in this community.  We welcome the opportunity for Baltimore to learn more about US Lacrosse and invite any and all to visit us and the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame Museum, 113 West University Parkway, Baltimore, MD.

With the fastest growing sport in the country, there is always much work to do and ways in which we can learn more about the game.  We are grateful for the passion and love of lacrosse that so many of us share in this community, and look forward to continuing to work together to build a positive and safe experience for all of our players.”

And we would be remiss to exclude a sample from one of our favorite commenters, RolandJim, who had this to add about Rachel Monroe’s post Education Reform Theories Get Tested in East Baltimore about Johns Hopkins University’s attempt to take over an elementary school in East Baltimore:

“I wish them all the best and hope for success for both the school and the students.  It will be interesting to see how JHU intends to manage the difficulties faced by so many urban children.  How will they get parents to monitor homework, attend school meetings, teach the children simple manners, and give those young minds something to work with beyond TV sets; all while struggling to maintain a household with one parent, earning $300/wk or less? Gee, I can barely feed us and the cats on that much, much less buy books, clothes and bus fare. 

The new admin plans to “use best practices” in the new school setting.  Will this be another re-design of the sort we see every 15 or 20  years?  Shuffle the chairs, and call it new?  Or will they start from where the kids really are, and lead – not push but lead – them into a learning habit that will stay with them after the bell rings?  And after they leave that school, will they have the support to continue?  This is tough stuff – – if it were easy, it would have been done already!”

Thanks for weighing in and please keep the comments coming!