Switch Off Unwanted TV in Public Places

The opinion-page article ''Really 'Must-See' TV,'' Jan. 4, gets my enthusiastic applause for its stand against unwanted intrusion of television into waiting rooms in public places. While I was waiting in an Orlando hospital for my wife, I sat with growing irritation as I watched TV talk-show participants spew venom at one another over personal problems. I protested to the receptionist, and she told me that I could turn it off. The ensuing silence was golden. All the others in the room relaxed. And I proceeded to read the book I had brought. When will employees at hospitals and airports realize that the public they serve needs the privacy of thought, not enforced viewing and listening?

R. Warner Brown Mount Dora, Fla.

The author is lucky he only had to sit through unwanted television in the airport terminal. On a recent flight from Minneapolis to London, passengers were treated to a non-stop stream of chatty features about films and celebrities interspersed with commercials for Indian gambling casinos, etc. The show began shortly after takeoff, continued through the meal, and ended only when the feature film was projected.

John Westlie Liberty, Mo.

How to make a marriage work

The article ''How Successful Women Mix Work and Marriage,'' Jan. 8, was very interesting. However, the article could have been even better if the review of ''Einstein's Wife: Work and Marriage in the Lives of Five Great Twentieth-Century Women,'' by Andrea Gabor, had been complemented by a review of Pepper Schwartz's ''Love Between Equals: How Peer Marriage Really Works.''

Ms. Schwartz offers a sociological comparison of how egalitarian, semitraditional, and traditional couples approach such topics as careers, money, communication, sex, housework, and parenting. Schwartz's book begins where Ms. Gabor's leaves off. While Schwartz never underrates the challenges of egalitarian marriage, she gives a future ''Einstein's Wife'' much-needed hope that unlike her predecessor, she does not have to settle for an ''either/or'' trap.

Joanne Callahan Garland, Texas

1995's safer halibut-fishing season

Regarding the article ''In Wake of Fishing Decline, Tighter Safety Net is Stitched,'' Oct. 27: While the halibut season has been short, ranging from two to four days in the main fishing area, the resource is not being overfished.

The short season came as the number of fishermen increased from several hundred to several thousand, using ever more efficient techniques.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, which has managed the fishery since 1924, sets and adheres to strict, scientifically based catch limits for the fishery. After more than 100 years of fishing, the 1995 catch limits are above the long-term average catch.

In 1995, the halibut fishery lasted for eight months. The resource did not increase by 100 or more times to allow for this longer season. What was the difference?

In 1994 and earlier, all participants raced for fish, catching all they could in the short time allowed. Loss of boats and fishermen's lives were part of the cost.

But in 1995, each fisherman received an Individual Fishing Quota, and could fish at any time from March 15 to Nov. 15. No change in resource, just a change in management. And no lives lost.

Many fishery resources are in trouble. But the United States, especially in Alaskan waters, has many stocks in good shape.

Conservatively managed stocks providing continued harvest may not be an exciting story, but your writers would do a much better service to the public by reporting the whole story.

Robert J. Trumble Seattle

Senior Biologist

International Pacific Halibut Commission

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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