Is the Senate race a snooze? Can one be both polite and green? Readers weighed in. Plus, an update on embryo donation.

December 20, 2009

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The White Stuff I was thrilled to see the note in Lisa Zwirn’s “Holiday Cookie Extravaganza” (November 29) directing readers to use a scale because measurements can vary from baker to baker. Unfortunately, the most commonly mis-measured ingredient (flour) was listed with only a volumetric measurement. A single cup of flour can vary from 3.5 ounces to 5 ounces, depending on who is doing the measuring, and how densely packed the cup is. I’ll be sticking with my tried-and-true recipes, which have measurements in grams, this holiday season.

Kevin Falcone / Waltham

Senate Battle I disagree with Charles P. Pierce’s November 29 Perspective, “The Race That Snores,” where he writes that “by next July nobody will even remember” this senatorial campaign. If Martha Coakley is elected as the first female US senator from Massachusetts, young girls in the Commonwealth will remember this race for many years to come. Hopefully, others will find this race historical and inspiring.

Stacy Malone / Boston

I couldn’t agree with Pierce more about the Senate race. With so much at stake, you would think someone would show some leadership and courage. I have challenged a few of them, and they’re afraid to answer controversial questions. These people need a kick in the pants!

John P. Cavoores / Hingham

Manners Matters I have no quarrel with Robin Abrahams’s reply to P.B. regarding his or her desire to use “real” plates and utensils, rather than paper and plastic, at gatherings at his/her mother’s home (Miss Conduct, November 29), but she missed a possible solution. No doubt the mother is simply trying to minimize cleanup. If P.B. would offer to do all the washing, drying, and putting away (using, of course, a minimum of hot water), perhaps P.B.’s mother would be willing to forgo the disposable plates and utensils.

Joan Schoellner / Lexington

There are circumstances when paper plates, used judiciously, may be the greener choice. My mother lived in central California during severe drought conditions, when using paper plates instead of precious water to wash dishes was the better choice for the environment.

Barbara Estabrook / Acton

I’m still laughing over the tense brother-sister relationship described by M.A. from Newburyport in Miss Conduct on November 29. The day after a hectic dinner with our 40-something children and their kids, I received calls from all three of our daughters. Each had critiques about the way the others were raising their children. I listened, but the key was my repeated and only statement: “America is a wonderful place, you can raise your kids any way you want!” Now when one sibling calls to comment on another’s behavior, it lasts just a sentence or two followed by “I know, Mom, America is a wonderful place.”

Ginny Mullane / Plainville

The Wrong Tone As a reader separated by only one degree from the “otherwise healthy college freshman from Hingham” who died from the swine flu, glibly referred to in Coupling (November 29), I was greatly offended that Phil McKenna chose to make light of such a tragedy. A cutesy piece about whether a couple should break their “cuddle pact” is not the appropriate place for such a reference. I hope this couple face no challenge more agonizing than whether they should share a bed for a few days; may they never know the unbearable anguish of losing a child.

Jane Gregory / Cohasset

Path to Awareness Andrew C. Feinberg’s comments on my “lack of perspective” (Letters, November 22) come as a result of my decision to include more popular films in our online X-Factor Filmmakers contest (First Person, November 1). Our target audience consists of mainstream viewers unaware of the lack of female directors. Yes, there are recognizable films directed by females. The Secret Garden by Agnieszka Holland is a personal favorite. However, many may not have heard of Holland or of Leni Riefenstahl. Our contest included films made in the 1980s and later, some of which were created before my generation. X-Factor Filmmakers raises money for young female filmmakers trying to break into this male-dominated role. Our goal for the contest is to increase awareness and, in time, to open eyes to the talented women of yesterday and today.

Lauren M. Tracy

Cofounder, X-Factor Filmmakers, Acton

Embryo Donation As a follow-up to Alison Lobron’s November 22 article, “The Maybe-Baby Dilemma,” I want to bring to your readers’ attention the news that the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has just issued a report regarding how embryo donation should be defined. The report states that use of the term “adoption” regarding embryos is “inaccurate and misleading.” It recognizes that both donation of embryos and adoption of existing children are important options to help people challenged by infertility, but the two are not equivalent. Adoption is a legal process to change or establish parentage of an existing child. Embryo donation is a medical, not legal, procedure. As the committee explains, “Embryo donation is performed and regulated in the same manner as other medical procedures using donated cells, tissues, or organs and should not be treated as a legal adoption.”

Dr. Samuel Pang

Medical Director, Reproductive

Science Center of New England,


Comments? Write to or The Boston Globe Magazine/Letters, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.

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