A Dog's After Life?

I write in response to the baffling story about pet psychic Diane Forestell ["Kibbles and Karma," Metro, Jan. 19]. The writing was so subtle that I was unable to determine just what was being parodied. Was it the region's spiritual vacuum? Or our obsession with our pets? A critique of how recklessly some of us spend our money? And why is your paper placing satire in the Metro section, anyway? The Northern Virginia SPCA is sponsoring "parapsychology" psychic seminars? Certainly, this is satire . . . isn't it?

--Andrew Horowitz

Rare Honor

David A. Harris is incorrect in stating that when Congress granted Raoul Wallenberg honorary U.S. citizenship in 1981 "it was only the second time in history that Congress had taken such action" [op-ed, Jan. 18].

Previous recipients were Lafayette and Winston Churchill.

--Daniel H. Borinsky

No Site, No Blight

The Jan. 24 Metro article "Wire Wary" focused on gripes about a proposed telecommunications building on a farm near Burkittsville. It didn't give the particulars of the matter, such as the obvious acceptability of the arrangement to the property owner and the communications firm's apparent intent to comply with the law. Much voice, however, was given to the parties who oppose the facility.

The story treated as legitimate concerns that the building would spoil a famous Civil War battle site. Well, not exactly a battle site, but a staging area for the Battle of Antietam. Yet Antietam is west of Burkittsville, while the farm in question lies to the east.

The real story is that we are becoming a nation of whiners looking for reasons to be offended. The media should not feed into these neuroses by reporting them as news.

--Richard Cowden

Chronological Clumsiness

In "America and England: An Enduring Bond" [Weekend, Jan. 21], Michael O'Sullivan wrote:

"Tempers also flared during the Civil War after attacks were made on the Union by Confederate ships that had been equipped in British ports. And then again, just a few decades later, during the War of 1812, the British themselves stormed Washington, burning the Capitol and the White House in 1814."

A few decades later? Was this an error not caught in proofreading, or does O'Sullivan not know the dates of the Civil War (1861 to 1865) or the War of 1812?

--Anson Groves

An Old Soldier

Leonard Shapiro's article on Jacksonville Jaguars Coach Tom Coughlin ["Leave It to 'Beaver' to Get Jaguars Ready," Sports, Jan. 21] contained an error with regard to the military background of Coughlin's coach at Syracuse, the legendary Ben Schwartzwalder. Shapiro referred to Schwartzwalder as "the old Marine." Actually, Schwartzwalder was a U.S. Army paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II. He was a company commander in the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment on D-Day.

--Gregory G. Paspatis

Jeeves on the Job

At the risk of sounding like a nit-picking grump, I must respond to Nancy Lorince's essay, "Staying at Home in the Lap of Luxury" [Style, Jan. 21] by pointing out that P. G. Wodehouse's character Jeeves--despite the delusion of a certain dot-com--is not a butler.

Jeeves is a gentleman's gentleman. The difference is important. A butler serves a household, a gentleman's gentleman serves, well, a gentleman. Although Jeeves can buttle with the best of them, that is not his job. His job is to soften the jagged edges of life when they threaten to tear open the gossamer bubble that Bertie Wooster has created around himself--whether those edges consist of angry aunts, simpering fiancees or a policeman who objects to having his helmet stolen on Boat Race Night.

If only we all had a Jeeves in our lives. As long as we remembered to give him his proper title.

--David Brooks