There was a casual and hapless reference here once about a critical memo that is regularly distributed to editors and reporters for internal use only. Ever since, readers have been demanding a peek at what the ombudsman is spoon-feeding the folks who determine what they read seven days a week, instead of the pap -- that's their word -- that confronts them every Sunday in this space.

Now these internal critiques are a kind of medicine designed to cure the biased editing and distorted reporting that these very readers claim is standard fare in The Post. Well, fair dinkum, as the Australians say. Against my better judgment, I'll review the last few memos. They're about four or five times as long as this column, so I'll have to condense and be selective. I have my doubts as to whether you'll stay with me to the end.

Here's the way the most recent memo began: "There seems to be a pattern of behavior on The Post that ebbs and flows not with the news but with the hunt. When the editors and reporters are in hot pursuit of a developing story, it dominates the newspaper; the front page becomes an exciting battlefield, breathing fire. When The Post is reduced merely to relaying the previous day's events, there's a dullness that sets in; the editors are bored. Never mind that the events of the previous 24 hours, though not spectacular, are bringing the world at a snail's pace closer and closer to the edge. There's an invisible yawn behind the headline that screams: 'France Bans Iranian Oil Imports.' But it is screaming for attention on page 25, not on the front lawn of the White House. Panama is a powder keg, and today's startling new development there was covered well in the report by Post correspondent Julia Preston, but if you read the paper in sequence, page by page, you wouldn't reach it until lunch time. But occupying the lion's share of the front page that day was the story about a pianist who was allowed to leave the Soviet Union, a great plus for {Mikhail} Gorbachev, but it doesn't have much bearing on whether my son will have to don a uniform later this year."

The memo then raised the question of taste in regard to putting on the front page the photo of the Mexican policeman, his pistol aimed at a horse that survived the terrible plane crash that killed more than 30 people on the ground. There are two schools of thought on this: those who feel it is incumbent upon The Post to confront readers with the realities of life, and those who feel the editors should not impinge on the readers' enjoyment of breakfast. Nobody is neutral.

Then there was the photo of Abraham Lincoln having his eyebrows dusted off by a worker wielding a long-poled scrub brush that ran in the Metro section. It was a masterpiece and should have been splashed on the front page. Oh, yes, readers would have cried "sacrilege," but it would have been worth it.

The memo chided the editors for almost keeping secret from the readers an excellent report about the pope's agreeing to meet at the Vatican with representatives of American Jews who are upset over the audience he granted Kurt Waldheim, who is accused of having been a Nazi. It, too, should have been on the front page.

In another case, Judge Bork was not treated justly. A story that said "Grass-Roots Activists Mobilize Against Bork" made things look grim for his Senate approval to the Supreme Court. Two days later, the same Post reporter described these same "grass roots" people as "leftist activists who make a living as field organizers and financial canvassers for the network of 'citizen-action' organizations that have come into being in almost half the states." That's a horse of a different color, and suddenly Judge Bork's chances take on a sunnier hue.

Well, there you have it, a few scraps from the memos. I call the shots, mince no words, tell staff members what they're doing wrong, what the readers are saying in their phone calls and letters, do autopsies on all important stories and hope these post mortems will have some salutory impact on stories in the future. No holds barred. Pretty heavy stuff. But the Sunday column is different. I try to be gentle and amusing and informative; the brass knuckles are padded for the day.

In other words, for six days a week, from dawn to dusk, I do the Lord's work; on the seventh day, I write as I please.