Unnecessary Mention

The front-page story on the family of a Sept. 11 victim was uncalled for ["9/11 Aftershocks Rupture Virginia Family; Money Meant to Help Those Who Lost Loved Ones Creates Rift, Aug. 17]. I ask these questions:

What purpose did it serve to mention the life of the victim, my sister Cheryle, before she met Craig Sincock?

What did Sincock accomplish by bringing up all the bills he and the victim accrued together? I was the original executor of my sister's estate, and his statements are not true.

Sincock was quick to point out the flaws in his former spouse's life, but he failed to mention the two families and children he abandoned.

My sister was one of the most caring, loving people I have ever been around, and for her to be portrayed in this manner was uncalled for.

-- Kevin J. Thedans

Lafayette, Ind.

Unfortunate Slur

Far be it from me to question the public's endless fascination with all things Britney Spears, but I do question The Post's decision to print the word "gypped" as part of the Names and Faces column ["The Mother of All Baby Showers," Aug. 18].

Maybe a $545 gift bag given to Spears's shower guests is a bit garish, but hey, some might argue the same of her last video. But The Post should have better judgment than to perpetuate ethnic and cultural stereotypes by sarcastically noting that shower guests were "gypped" by their hostess. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the etymological root of "gypped" is probably "gypsy" and implies cheating, swindling and fraud.

I'm all for a good-natured dig at the woman responsible for some of the more questionable bubble-gum pop of the past decade, but surely your columnists could have found another way besides an ugly slur to express their mock horror at the extravagance of Spears's shower.

-- Barbara Weinstein

Washington

You Call This 'Tanked'?

Ann Hornaday [Sunday Arts, Aug. 21] stated that the movie "Hustle & Flow" "tanked" at the box office. That movie was made for $2.8 million and has made $21.4 to date. That is not a movie that tanked!

-- Eloise Rosas

Washington

An Imperfect Picture

Inconsistencies in human behavior are part of how we function in an imperfect world. But the juxtaposition of the two pictures on the Aug. 17 front page illustrated this for many Americans. One showed a starving child awaiting aid in Niger, and the other showed a pair of several-hundred-dollar jeans that can't be worn until the owner feels "entitled to be beautiful." I'm all for healthy body image and self-esteem, but after reading these two articles, I'm not sure which one made me feel more sad.

-- Lora Baum

Charlottesville

Get a Grip

I played marbles in Ridgway, Colo., about 70 years ago. The grip shown with your Aug. 8 Metro article "All Thumbs and Index Fingers" was looked on with the utmost contempt in my circles. The proper grip was with the very tip of the index finger holding the marble.

-- Alan J. Talbert

Silver Spring

Vexing Strategy

Again, your newspaper refuses to identify "U.S. officials" or "senior officials" throughout the story "U.S. Lowers Sights on What Can Be Achieved in Iraq" [front page, Aug. 14]. It is unclear why you are willing to play along with the politics of this administration by continuing not to name these anonymous senior officials. The Bush administration needs your paper more to get out its message than you needed this story. Can you say "exit strategy"?

-- Danielle Gurkin

Washington