Without the Persian Gulf, our relations with the Soviets now would be a crisis. As it is, they're not much more than a matter, though they may grow to be a situation.

- Americans have been buying up maps of the Middle East like crazy, reports say. And it's clear from them why there's trouble - some of the countries' colors clash.- It's probably too early to reach this conclusion, but it looks as if the Soviet openness policy is changing to pastnost.

- New evidence suggests rice bran oil can lower cholesterol levels. No wonder we've had problems. We're a quart low.

- Bill Tammeus, Kansas City Star