Quaint Is as Quaint Does

In her snippy review of Runaway Bride ["A Piece of Cake," Style, July 30], Rita Kempley refers to the "overly precious setting" and says Hale looks more like "Main Street in Disneyland, quaint but without the patina that reality brings."

Hale is really Berlin, Md., where the movie was filmed. If Kempley would take the three-hour drive from Washington, she would find that the quaintness is very real.

-- Mary Page

Cliche Police

Congratulations, but no kudos, to the editor who put distancing quotes around that infamous cliche, to "level the playing field" ["In Our Front Yard," editorial, July 28]. Are you thinking of banning the phrase as you unsuccessfully attempted to do with Attila the Hun similes ["Time to Retire," editorial, Jan. 26, 1984]?

As for kudos, for 10 years The Washington Post Deskbook on Style has sought to stamp out that grammatically treacherous noun as `"trite and best avoided." You might look it up, along with the equally loved but misunderstood "parameters."

-- Al Toner

A Nation Mourns

I was appalled by the pictures accompanying "A Grieving Nation" -- the lead story in the Style section on July 22.

To include a picture of Elvis Presley, an entertainer who killed himself with drugs, next to those of Martin Luther King Jr., John Kennedy and John Jr. and George Washington, and to omit Abraham Lincoln and Bobby Kennedy, is an insult to the Kennedy and Bessette families and to your readers' intelligence and sensitivity.

-- Richard M. Saul

For Love, Not Money

I found "The New Gilded Age: Rise of the Slacker Millionaires" [Style, Aug. 1] to be not only unfair and embarrassing to me and my colleagues at America Online but an affront to the millions of hard-working cyber revolutionaries of my generation as well.

I've been at AOL for almost five years. The people I know and work with every day neither came here nor stay here for the money. They arrive early in the morning, leave late every night, and often work weekends because they, like me, genuinely believe we are changing the world as we create this new medium. Such a responsibility cannot be taken lightly.

So while the medium may produce the occasional "slacker millionaire," the culture at AOL, as well as the cyber culture at large, is much more accurately distinguished by legions of passionate, hard-working revolutionaries than by the feckless exception who tags along for the ride and the riches.

-- Miguel E. Monteverde Jr.

Don't Blame the Day Trading

Given that Mark Barton's $50,000 check to pay a margin call cleared, it appears that money was the least of his troubles.

Instead of focusing on day trading as the cause of his rage and rampage, why not focus on his troubled past? Your July 31 front-page articles state that he was suspected in the murder of his first wife and her mother; fired for theft; and in possession of an unregistered gun. Barton's own letter seems to focus on his troubled relationships with his father and his current wife, who wrote that she was afraid of him. Reportedly, she recently decided to divorce Barton.

Barton was unstable and dangerous long before he became a day trader. And stressful or not, since he was still in the black, day trading is not likely to have caused him to murder his family and others.

The Post's conclusion that this is a "horrific window to the volatility of day trading" is dead wrong. This is the life of a murderer who killed because he was unstable for years, not because he was a full-time day trader for a few months.

-- Gail Martin

Counting ZZZZ's

I was amused to read Francie Bremer's unique suggestion for beating insomnia by blessing people in alphabetical order by their names [letters, July 27]. She said she never makes it to Z, but in fact she does -- all the way to the ZZZZ's.

-- Harise Poland