updated 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Best & Worst Dressed
In reading the article on the fashions worn by some of Hollywood's worst dressed personalities (PEOPLE, Nov. 16), especially the women, I cannot imagine people being able to afford "a fashion consciousness" as well as they can, yet repeatedly showing up in public looking like a fashion disaster. My wife has much better taste than those "celebs" do, and she does it on a fraction of their incomes. Then again, nobody equates actors and actresses, especially today's crop of "legends in their own minds," with intelligence, class or sophistication.
Robert Waller
Hawthorne, N.J.

I would understand—if the Best & Worst Dressed women of 1987 were going to a Halloween party.
Phyllis J. Jones
Dubuque, Iowa

With the precarious state of the world economy, deeper U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf, an obvious lack of leadership in Washington and the AIDS epidemic, do you really believe the average American cares about who's on your Best & Worst Dressed List?
David Adams
Riverside, Calif,


Picks & Pans
I usually disagree with the opinions of Jeff Jarvis, but he gets an A+ for his evaluation of the Cosby Show. I no longer watch Cosby on a regular basis for many of the reasons cited by Mr. Jarvis. I am from the old school. I believe a comedy show should make me laugh. The Cosby Show doesn't even bring a smile anymore. I disagree with the idea of making sitcoms mini-lessons. When information is an integral part of a show, it's more acceptable, but to build entire episodes as lectures minimizes the entertainment quality of the show. I thank Mr. Jarvis for finally "saying it."
Sharlene Cooper

You are so right, Jeff Jarvis. Bill Cosby has pulled our collective legs long enough.
Doris Lechler
Columbus, Ohio

Enough is enough. Getting Ralph Novak to review an Alabama album is like asking the Nazis to be nice to the Jews. Mr. Novak has admitted publicly that he does not like them. No matter how well they perform, he pans their albums. Come on, PEOPLE, in the name of objective journalism, let someone else review Alabama's albums from now on.
Joyce Wright
Sarasota, Fla.

Ralph Novak replies: "I keep hoping that either they or I will see the light. So far it doesn't seem to have shone in either direction."—ED.

I'm not a George Wallace fan either, Ralph Novak, but since when do you judge music by the opinions—political or otherwise—of the performers? Alabama has produced fine music in the past and no doubt will continue to do so. Whether or not you agree with their taste in heroes, they do have a right to their opinion, the same as you.
Penny Bales
Fairview Heights, Ill.

Madlyn Rhue
My heartfelt admiration and love go out to beautiful, veteran actress Madlyn Rhue. I have always enjoyed her performances in movies and will continue to do so by viewing Houston Knights. Having friends as strong as Suzanne Pleshette and lovely Loretta Swit is very encouraging. Keep up your valiant battle with multiple sclerosis, Madlyn. Your fans are rooting for you.
Marylan Karsh
Leominster, Mass.

While she appeared on Days of Our Lives I was a fan of Madlyn Rhue, and with great sadness I read of her long struggle with multiple sclerosis. I'm sure it was not easy for her to announce her illness to the world. She has shown much courage and determination, and I hope she will be an inspiration to others who are handicapped. Madlyn, in or out of a wheelchair, may you continue to perform your craft for many years to come.
Francine Berger
West Newton, Mass.

The "vintage whatchamacallits" that Edward Lee Spence found in the wreck of the freighter Regina are zinc electrodes for the "crow's foot" battery invented by John Frederick Daniell in 1836. Their shape resulted from a need to provide a high surface area in a large, easy-to-cast shape. The hook was used to hang the electrode from the top edge of a battery jar. The zinc dissolves as the battery is used, hence the need for a shipment of replacement electrodes on the Regina. These batteries were used in isolated areas to provide low-power electricity for communications equipment.
Arleigh Hartkopf
East Brunswick, N.J.

Many PEOPLE readers correctly identified the "whatchamacallits" as part of the "gravity" or "Daniell" battery. Other guesses ranged from glove warmers to trivets. "I knew they were not petrified chicken feet," Spence laughs. "We do appreciate the response and now know for certain what they are."—ED.

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