The Post's Jan. 3 front-page headline "Where the S&Ls Met Their Alamo" suggested a Texas-sized ignorance of geography and history. First, the Alamo is not in Austin, the city whose shattered real estate market the article described. It is in San Antonio.

Second, although all the defenders of the Alamo perished, their defeat did not mark the end of a struggle. Rather, their resistance allowed the rest of the Texan army time to regroup, helping Texas to win its independence from Mexico a few months later at the Battle of San Jacinto. No such turning point is in sight in the S&L debacle. Further, the ultimate victory of Texas redeemed the valor of the defenders of the Alamo; little promise of redemption lies in the morass of the S&L crisis.

But last, the headline had the gall to mention in the same breath the S&Ls, those glittering glass monuments to avarice, and the Alamo, whose sturdy rock walls are known as the cradle of Texas liberty. To compare the ignominious end of the S&Ls to the glorious fate of the Alamo's fallen heros probably constitutes sedition in Texas. -- John H. Williamson


I was disappointed to see your headline "The Disciplined Drunk" on Jack Purdy's excellent Free for All article about F. Scott Fitzgerald {Dec. 29}. Purdy pointed out that Fitzgerald was an enormously disciplined writer who continued to write despite his alcoholism and his wife's illness.

The word "drunk," particularly in this case, was inappropriate -- most people believe that alcoholism is an illness and should be treated as such. Fitzgerald's life and work are testimony to the author's literary and spiritual strength.

-- Anne Mahoney Robbins

Flagging Attention?

Perhaps your layout people should know that they showed the Maryland flag upside down on Jan. 3 {Metro}. It does make a difference. -- Richard C. Schlenker

Carp Diem

Thomas Boswell recently outlined a bold Mark Rypien strategy and suggested it could be Rypien's "forte'" {Sports, Jan. 5}. Where did the accent come from? Certainly, it is to be hoped, not from Boswell. Its appearance will only encourage people who are going around pronouncing the word in two syllables when they could get it right with one. Generally, the two-syllable forte is more safely used by composers, conductors and Italians. End of carping. -- Kay H. Sessions

Should Be Unlisted

As it has on New Year's past, your Style section included "The List," a whimsical look at what's hot and what's not. Sadly, your reporter included RU 486, the abortion pill, among those things that are "in" for the new year. Abortion, by whatever means, is neither humorous nor hip. I find such light treatment of this subject to be in poor taste. -- Robert Foster

Turning Point

Emilio B. Labrada {Free for All, Dec. 29} claimed that right-turn-on-red promotes the safety of pedestrians. But a 1984 study for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that since 1980 right-turn crashes at intersections increased 23 percent, accidents involving pedestrians rose 60 percent and those with bicycles doubled. The institute thought the blame belonged to laws allowing turns on red lights.

Right-turn-on-red laws turned supposedly safe pedestrian crosswalks into areas of hazard, which a walk up Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda demonstrates. Drivers coast into the crossings and look to the left to see whether they can make a right turn on red, often oblivious to pedestrians on their right.

I've gotten into the habit of tapping cars' right front fenders to make sure drivers are aware I'm trying to cross the street. Even when they acknowledge my presence, they rarely back up, and I'm required to proceed outside the crosswalks close to oncoming traffic. -- Joseph N. Sweeney


While I recognize that denigrating hunting has become a popular pastime, the Dec. 29 "Tank McNamara" comic strip was ludicrous. Insinuating that a hunter would use an antitank weapon to shoot a deer went beyond satire into the realm of insulting innuendo about an activity and ethic the cartoonist obviously knows nothing about. -- Jeff Adams