Re 211 Games (Aug. 6): Now we know exactly how much Major League Baseball cares about players using performance-enhancing drugs. The slap on the wrist handed to Alex Rodriguez must be very encouraging for aspiring young major leaguers, knowing that whatever performance-enhancing drugs they use, their maximum fine is one and one-third seasons.
I must call my stockbroker to find out how to invest in PEDs.
Malcolm Wall, Tottenham, Ont.
Ban exotic pets
Re Two Boys Dead In Snake Attack (Aug. 6): I cannot tell you how ill I feel thinking about the two boys at a sleepover who were killed by a python, or the sorrow I feel for their mother. Who cannot imagine the nightmares that will haunt her, that will haunt many of us who read this story?
What joy can there be in keeping a snake that can reach 200 pounds as a pet? The snake did what its nature told it to do. A python has a place in the ecosystem; it has no place in the hands of a private owner.
The sale and possession of exotic animals should be banned.
Marilyn James, Montreal
Four legs and two
Re Pets Before People (letters, Aug. 6): One needn’t look far out the window to see absurd sums spent on cars, landscaping, clothing, housing etc. to know that humans make bizarre financial decisions that impoverish themselves, as well as others. Such is life where we allow citizens to exercise free will. The results, at times, are unconscionable.
I concur with Bill Sundhu’s moral imperative to help others, but I bristle at the baseless implication that those who coddle Fluffy or Fido are the ones who are deficient in their care for other humans. Animals teach us about responsibility, compassion and caring: These qualities are not a zero-sum game. I’ll be stocking the shelves at the food bank with kibble, as well as mac and cheese.
David Hughes, Toronto
Re Still Waiting To Ban The Bomb (Aug. 6): Shirley Douglas writes that “Canada was once looked upon as a progressive country. No more.” Oh? Canada’s standing in the world is still pretty high, compared to many others.
Ms. Douglas says the Harper government has been “missing in action on the abolition of nuclear weapons.” That nuclear weapons will be abolished is wishful thinking. What is invented or created tends to stay invented or created, fortunately or unfortunately.
The Harper government has governed with moderation and equilibrium and is deserving of more plaudits than opprobrium.
James Marvin, Toronto
While the loss of life from the use of atomic weapons was horrendous, the loss of life if they hadn’t been used would have been far worse.
We have not had a world war since the A-bombs were dropped. Nuclear weapons have acted as a deterrent. The big fear is nuclear proliferation in some of the smaller rogue nations that have little or no regard for human life.
In the meantime, we have had 68 years where they weren’t used. We can only hope for the future.
Doug Horton, Lindsay, Ont.
Re The Grass Doesn’t Grow Under Justin’s Feet (Aug. 6): Justin Trudeau’s grasp of meatier issues – health care, security, the economy, energy – is meagre, so his handlers are urging him to reach for the low-hanging fruit, legalizing marijuana: Distract voters with a soft issue tarted up as a game changer, and they won’t notice he is not credible as prime minister.
If the outcome of the next election turns on the legal status of a stupefying substance, this country is in trouble.
Darcy Charles Lewis, Calgary
Peace and partners
According to The Globe’s editorial The Evolution of Netanyahu (Aug. 6), “there is some reason to hope and believe that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, now genuinely recognizes that sooner or later there need to be two states between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea – that he is not merely humouring the Americans and other Western powers.”
The Israeli Prime Minister has consistently called for negotiations without preconditions, and has advocated two states for two peoples.
Israel’s “partner for peace,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, on the other hand, still does not recognize the Jewish state and his Fatah Party logo bears a map erasing Israel. Where is the evolution of Mr. Abbas?
Michelle Whiteman, Honest Reporting Canada
I must disagree with the key premise of your editorial. With Israel, no ambiguous, incomplete agreement will be acceptable to most Palestinians and Arabs. The reasons are simple: History always favours the overwhelmingly stronger party; successive settler-supported Israeli majority governments have proved to be first and foremost expansionist in nature, so there is no trust in partial solutions, which soon become “facts on the ground.”
A majority on both sides agree that a binational solution would be disastrous, albeit for quite different reasons. However, a fair and sustainable two-state solution, which many desire, can only be achieved through considerable and continuous pressure on the stronger, controlling party.
Abbad Al Radi, Toronto
Art history, mystery
Re One Of These Is A Hopper. The Other Is A Mystery (Arts, Aug. 3): Before anyone spends another cent trying to authenticate the eBay oil painting resembling Edward Hopper’s 1949 painting High Noon, they should consider the Christ-like head painted underneath it. It’s copied from Graham Sutherland’s tapestry Christ in Glory, hanging in Coventry Cathedral, England. Sutherland was given the commission in 1951; the tapestry was installed in 1962.
As the eBay painting is painted on top of a head copied from Christ in Glory, it cannot be a preparatory study for a 1949 Hopper painting. Similarities between aspects of the eBay oil (clouds, bushes etc.) and Hopper’s High Noon might well be due to Hopper’s own experimentation with commonplace elements in the New England seaside landscape.
My guess is that the eBay painting originated in the British Isles, and was made by someone who saw an image of the tapestry (i.e. in 1962 or later). Whoever the artist was, he didn’t know how to spell Hopper’s name – or took care to differentiate his signature.
As for the reluctance of Gail Levin, the leading Hopper expert, to comment further upon the eBay oil, that is entirely understandable. Contemporary prices for big-name paintings are sky-high, so any art historian pronouncing on the authenticity (or otherwise) of major paintings risks being sued by an irate owner. (For the record, I’m unemployed and not worth suing.)
Anne Thackray, art historian (PhD, Courtauld Institute of Art); Toronto