Odious Observation I am not going to argue the convoluted logic of William F. Buckley Jr. {op-ed, Sept. 11} regarding Sen. Sam Nunn's (D-Ga.) "new stand on abortion," because it is well-known that Buckley is adamantly anti-choice.

However, I do take vigorous exception to his odious observation that "houses of prostitution are relatively discreet, certainly by comparison with abortion centers." If abortion centers seem to have high profiles, it's not because of their illegal or nefarious nature but because of the highly visible harassment and intimidation practices of anti-choice zealots.

As soon as it is legal to dispense the nonsurgical, anti-progestational drug RU486 in the United States, Buckley's sensitivity to the presence of abortion centers should be assuaged, as the procedure can be performed in the privacy of a physician's office.

-- Jeanne McLaughlin Meltdown

It was, like, totally uncool to write that clothes-shopping story {Style, Sept. 1} in such a, you know, airhead style. I mean, would you ever write a story about impoverished blacks in bad ghetto dialect, or about Chinese in, like, pidgin English? What makes you think that teenagers or preteens can be stereotyped and laughed at in the same way?

Get with the program, dudes. -- Jonathan Blum Once Over Lightly

In his "Singles" column {Style Plus, Sept. 10}, Tom Curtis reported on middle-aged divorced men roaming around The Yacht Club and other watering holes. These men have left their 20-year-plus wives and families to seek what appears to be an opportunity to recapture youth and romance, often with women not much older than their own children.

The wife, comparably middle-aged and generally with far fewer financial resources and opportunities, finds little sympathy or equitable treatment from the legal system, which consists largely of self-aggradizing males who are also going through mid-life crises.

The kids question whether marriage is worth any sacrifice at all. They learn to opt for more selfish choices than mom made. They feel abandoned as pop starts to behave like a teenager while complaining to his kids that he's short of money for their needs.

It's a familiar scene -- almost half the middle-aged men who used to live in the family homes on my suburban cul-de-sac street can be found on some evening of the week in The Yacht Club, Studebakers, Clydes, Chadwicks, etc. Curtis's light reference to this phenomenon deserves a serious, in-depth examination.

-- Joanne Dinicola Not Arabs Only

Frank G. Zarb was right to emphasize the necessity of an American energy policy {op-ed, Sept. 4}. But I am surprised that Zarb made the common mistake of referring to an OPEC embargo. There was never an OPEC embargo, although Arab members of OPEC did put one into effect to protest the massive American military and political support of Israel against Egypt. I am sure Zarb must know that OPEC is not an Arab organization. -- Nameer Ali Jawdat Fact Check

Contrary to Philip Trezise's contention that there can be no false fact {Free for All, Sept. 8}, the fact is that "false fact" is a perfectly good term and is defined as "an alleged fact that in fact is not a fact." Now that's a true fact.

-- W. D. Stout Throwback

I found offensive the depiction of a Japanese-American soldier in "Beetle Bailey" {comics, Sept. 6, Sept. 7}. The stereotypical racial features, exaggerated accent and attribution of Japanese corporate policies to this American soldier of Japanese descent were a throwback to World War II depictions of the Japanese.

Who is Mort Walker's model for Cpl. Joe Kashikoi? Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who lost an arm fighting for the United States? The 33,000 Nisei soldiers who fought in the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team while their relatives were interned? Or maybe the Asian-American reservists and regular military now in the Saudi Desert? Your paper, which supported redress for Japanese Americans, should know better. -- John D. Trasvina Another Candidate for HA

As I wrote in "U.S. Students: The Myth of Massive Failure" {op-ed, Aug. 28}, standardized tests show that students know the basics. But Scott Garbo was right that tests don't measure wisdom {Free for All, Sept. 8}. There's more to learning than 7 1/2-minute essays or 20-second math questions.

May I too join Ruth Kastner's HA (Hairsplitters Anonymous) {Free for All, Sept. 8}? Here are my credentials: 1) The frontier did have greasy and sugary junk food (yum!), and 2) 17 has two square roots according to Merriam-Webster, Random House, Oxford, World Book, Columbia and Americana. Paul Slepian {Free for All, Sept. 1} may differ, but students in such distinguished company should get the benefit of the doubt; tests should accept these ambiguities. -- Paul Burke