This week’s “Free for All” letters.

The funnies, the saddies, the baddies

I cannot recall any occasion when I have been as moved by anything in the Sunday funnies as I was by “Pearls Before Swine” creator Stephan Pastis’s loving remembrance of his dog Edee in the Dec. 9 Comics section. My deepest condolences to him and his family.

Marbury Wethered, Greenbelt

Thanks so much for what I hope will be an ongoing comic strip — “Tariff Man” by Ellis Rosen [Outlook, Dec. 9]. I’ve been hoping some cartoonist would pick up on this nutty phrase, adding it to the pantheon of super-anti-heroes, which includes Wiley Miller’s wonderful Obviousman in “Non Sequitur.” Please encourage Rosen to keep it up — and please keep providing it to us in Outlook. All sorts of destinations await after the European Union. Where’s Tariff Man headed next? China? Canada? Mexico? The Earth is the limit.  

Actually, how about ditching the utterly stupid “Amazing Spider-Man” and using this instead?

Abby Thomas, Silver Spring

I know it’s up to me to just ignore cartoons with an adult child still mooching at home, or “Lio,” which I’ve never understood, or “Beetle Bailey,” which must be annoying to those who serve, but there has never been a cartoon that stooped as low at the Dec. 8 “Non Sequitur”: a murder scene with the outline of a body and one person’s idea of adding Christmas lights to brighten the mood. Is that funny?

Aren’t we all saddened or angry at the high number of unnecessary deaths in this country? Is there really a person who is laughing at this comic strip? I can’t imagine how it must feel to have lost someone in this now-too-common way, but I still feel very upset. Didn’t it bother anyone who approves what gets printed?

Susie Van Pool, Washington

Feldman, Hartig hired

The Post was seriously tone-deaf in two recent headlines: “National Gallery gets first female director” [Style, Dec. 12] and “Museum hires first female director” [Style, Dec. 14].

Kaywin Feldman and Anthea M. Hartig are experienced professionals with extensive and impressive résumés, which is why they were hired by the National Gallery and the National Museum of American History, respectively. The headlines should have stated their names, not their gender. The article could have pointed out that they are the first women in these roles.

We will never attain equality if we keep using this patronizing language.

Phylis Geller, Washington

Women run

I’ve stopped looking in the Sports section for stories about female athletes because the coverage is abysmal. I allowed myself a fist-shake and a table-pound, however, when I found the Dec. 11 Health & Science article “How I keep fit and on the run at 50-something” accompanied by not one but two drawings of a man. Ignoring us women who keep on running — and playing soccer, in my case — is aggravating, and particularly so since the article’s author is a woman.

Women and girls play sports and work out at all ages. Show us, talk about us, tell our stories.

Susan Burket, Potomac

Also missing in Sports

I was very disappointed to see no mention in The Post of the death of former cyclist and bike race commentator Paul Sherwen. Sherwen was a professional cyclist who appeared in seven Tour de France races. After he finished his racing career, he became a television commentator of the Tour, the Vuelta a España, the Giro d’Italia and other cycling races.

Bike racing fans such as myself spent many hours listening to Sherwen and Phil Liggett during the major bike tours, discussing the race and racers, Sherwen’s experiences as a cyclist and the countryside through which the tours passed. Watching those races will not be the same without Sherwen’s colorful commentary. He deserved to be recognized by The Post.

Bruce Wright, Reston

It's a shot clock

ESPN may be “the worldwide leader in sports,” but it’s way down the list in terms of keeping track of time around the globe. In a photograph accompanying the Dec. 6 Sports article “This is ‘SportsCenter’ again,” we can see clocks with the time in Bristol, Conn. (home of the network), Buenos Aires, London and Los Angeles. Three clocks are set to 16 minutes after the hour; the LA clock is set to 11 minutes before the hour — 27 minutes behind the time of the others. The article concerns ESPN’s trying to recapture “SportsCenter’s” past glory by focusing on what it used to do. However, at least when it comes to time, the network may want to get Los Angeles back to the future.

Chuck Hadden, Arlington

Forget Paris

The Dec. 5 front-page article “Amid violence, France cools heels on climate-change tax” cited President Trump’s Twitter message — “The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters in the world. . . . American workers shouldn’t pay to clean up other countries’ pollution.” The article then noted, “Fuel taxes, however, generate revenue that stays inside home countries.”

That is the kind of broken, disjointed commentary on the climate change issue that is at the root of why the Paris accord is doomed.

First, the United States, France and the rest of the “responsible countries” to which the president refers have largely caused the environmental problem. And if new environmental revenue “stays inside home countries,” that leaves poor developing countries to fund any mitigation efforts themselves. Good luck with that.

Irfan Ali, Herndon

Bon Voyager

I read with great interest the Dec. 13 Politics & the Nation article “Interstellar II: Another spacecraft leaves the heliosphere,” marking the departure of Voyager 2 from the direct influence of the sun after 41 years and 11 billion miles of space travel. Although we tend to focus on the short time spans and distances of our day-to-day life, this story broadened my horizon in a big way.

The article even had me tearing up when I read the concluding paragraphs about the gold-plated disks with sounds and images of Earth that the Voyager spacecrafts will carry to our neighbors in another star system. To infinity and beyond!

Ivor Knight, Erie, Pa.

Don't deny what deniers really are

It is unfortunate that The Post has adopted the framing of the science deniers by giving them the undeserved title of “skeptic,” as in the Dec. 3 front-page article “GOP falling in line with skeptics on climate.”

Skeptics value evidence and scientific method and use them to debunk unscientific claims. The science deniers in the GOP do nothing of the sort. An appropriate name for them would be “nihilists” (literally, nothing-ists), because they start with the conclusion that we should do nothing to mitigate climate change, and they then cherry-pick sound bites to support that position. This is pseudoscience at its worst and is thus the polar opposite of skepticism.

William McLeese, Falls Church


As a secular humanist, I very much appreciated Michael Gerson’s Dec. 14 op-ed, “Secularism without humanism” — except for one thing: He falsely equated secularism with consumerism. “Secular” simply means outside of the religious realm and implies a rejection of the supernatural beliefs that are a part of most religions, including Christianity. Through the centuries, both religious and nonreligious people have gotten caught up in consumerism. Secular humanists don’t believe in god and instead look to each other to live our lives in a way that benefits other people and Earth. 

Linda LaScola, Washington

Proposal, not proposition

Gene Weingarten’s Dec. 9 Washington Post Magazine column, “Lessons in the deal of the art,” perpetuated a misconception about the last line of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses.” Although the soliloquy does contain some salacious language, the “Yes” at the very end represents Molly’s memory of the moment when she accepted Leopold Bloom’s marriage proposal among the rhododendrons on Howth Head. It has nothing to do with consenting to have sex with Blazes Boylan in Dublin (which she did, as we know if we have read the novel) or Lieutenant Mulvey in Gibraltar (which she probably didn’t).

Ed Rorie, Washington

Across a bridge from 'bridge

The caption for the photograph of the 1968 Harvard-Yale football game that accompanied Jonathan Yardley’s book review of “The Game” by George Howe Colt, “How a miraculous game lifted spirits in tragic 1968” [Book World, Nov. 25], and the Dec. 8 Free For All letter “When Yale was fit to be tied” stated that the game was played in Cambridge, Mass. The game was played at Harvard Stadium, which is in the Allston neighborhood of Boston. The stadium is just across the Charles River from Cambridge and Harvard’s main campus.

Scott Shoreman, Silver Spring

The wrong term

Regarding the Dec. 9 front-page article “Political storm ahead, GOP anxiety heightens”:

Please, please, never again refer to this as President Trump’s first term. It’s improper. This cannot be his first term until there is a second term. He cannot have a second term until he is reelected; voting is not until 2020. Does The Post write this in relation to all elected officials? No.

One has to earn a second term, including surviving legal charges and potential impeachment, by getting enough voters to vote one in.

Please, please, never use this language again.

Christopher Sovereign, Palm Desert, Calif.

Coolidge to wheat: I love you, a bushel and a peck

Michael S. Rosenwald’s Dec. 9 Retropolis column, “For the nation’s fattest president, steak was a breakfast staple,” said President Calvin Coolidge’s “breakfast consisted of four pecks of wheat.” Four pecks is a bushel and weighs 60 pounds. One pound of wheat contains about 1,542 calories, so 60 pounds of wheat is about 92,520 calories. Your article doesn’t say how frequently Coolidge went through the four pecks. On a side note, who measures food consumption by the peck? I doubt a large majority of readers even know what a peck is or could identify the amount.

Pete Waldorf, Great Falls

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