Fowl Headline

The story about the National Zoo's animal collection [Metro, Aug. 2] was headlined: "Youth and Diversity, 1 Cockatoo at a Time." Is this a joke? There is no mention of cockatoos -- not even one -- in the story.

Did I miss something or overlook a pun?

-- David Krohne

Washington

Shocking Silence

Your article about the Jamaican reggae singer Beenie Man ["Detour Behind," Arts, Aug. 1] fails to discuss the singer's notoriously anti-gay lyrics, in which he calls for the execution of gays and urges listeners to kill gay deejays. That such a praiseworthy article could gloss over such hate-filled remarks is almost as shocking as Beenie Man's lyrics.

-- Christopher Koppel

Washington

Sports, Not Style

In the July 31 Sports article about the Mystics' game against the Connecticut Sun the previous night, reporter Amalie Benjamin wrote 11 paragraphs before mentioning any details of the game, focusing instead on the status of Chamique Holdsclaw's health. Holdsclaw has repeatedly asked for respect for her privacy, yet Benjamin wrote at length about the statements made by the Mystics coach and players, each of whom said they would not speculate on Holdsclaw's personal matters.

Only after all that did Benjamin report on the game, but at less length than she spent on Holdsclaw. Maybe this reporter should write for Style. In Sports, I want to read about statistics, wins, losses and the like.

-- Leslie Watts

College Park

Basic Wording

I would like to expand on Staff Sgt. Steve Sekula's valuable remarks [Free for All, July 24] about consistent mistakes in your reporting. I occasionally see references to Army basic training as "boot camp." This is incorrect; it is Army basic training. The Navy refers to its recruit training as boot camp, or boots; this is because recruits wear leggings during their training. The Marines, as the Navy's combat corps, also refer to boots for their recruit training (although Marine grunts call it hell).

-- Frank Cunningham

Arlington

Too Much Review

Please tell Stephen Hunter to refrain from giving away salient plot details about suspense movies he reviews, as he did in his July 30 review of "The Village." He wrote that "one surprise is that [Joaquin] Phoenix isn't the hero of the film . . . he is taken out of the movie early."

Well, I'm glad that was a surprise for Mr. Hunter -- too bad it won't be for anyone who read his review! I'll try to remember not to read him before I see movies in the future.

-- Bob Gillespie

San Francisco

The Squeeze Is Real

I'm so tired of hearing Robert J. Samuelson justify the situation that many of us in the middle class find ourselves in today ["Pressure of the American Dream," op-ed, July 26] as just part of an essentially robust economic scenario marred only by our materialistic attitudes.

I invite him to get in touch with me to discuss the burgeoning health insurance premiums that are swamping my personal finances and how that affects my security as I try to look forward to "retirement." I'm 57 and self-employed. He seems to have no understanding that more than 50 percent of all personal bankruptcies are a result of health care bills.

-- Kathy Guest

South Bloomingville, Ohio