Every week, The Post runs a collection of letters of readers’ grievances — pointing out grammatical mistakes, missing coverage and inconsistencies. These letters tell us what we did wrong and, occasionally, offer praise. Here, we present this week’s Free for All letters.

The intention of those who wear the nation's military uniforms

The May 3 Metro article “Military jets salute covid-19 first responders,” about the joint U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds-U.S. Navy Blue Angels salute to the novel coronavirus first responders, failed to capture the spirit of those who created this unique signal of respect. Members of both jet demonstration teams, officer and enlisted, organized this salute, as the article correctly stated, “in tribute to those on the front lines of the pandemic.” Unfortunately, the narrative quickly turned to the bitter “Reopen Maryland” political confrontation.

Lost was the intention of those who wear the nation’s military uniforms — and are bound by oath to defend the nation in time of crisis — to acknowledge the efforts of those who are not so bound but just as selflessly respond to duty’s call. Similar flyover salutes took place in New York, New Jersey and the Philadelphia area. News coverage in those places, and from other news sources in the Washington area, included interviews with the flight team members and reaction from hospital and other front-line workers being saluted.

Let us continue to pay tribute to those — in and out of uniform — who place themselves in harm’s way to save and protect the rest of us.   

John P. Jumper, Fredericksburg

The writer, a retired general, is a former U.S. Air Force chief of staff.

More online sales may not mean more drinking

The May 7 Local Living Wellness article “How to tell if you’re too reliant on alcohol during this pandemic” contained good information on how to evaluate whether you’re drinking too much. However, while acknowledging that we don’t know how much people are actually drinking, the article included a figure from Nielsen market research — online alcohol sales increased 26.2 percent for a week in April compared with a year ago — to imply that people are drinking more than before the pandemic.

Of course online sales are going to increase while people are staying at home. People ordering groceries online will also order the alcohol they want to drink. Because spirits aren’t sold at some grocery stores, online ordering is the only choice if you don’t want to walk into a liquor store.

What I’d like to know and haven’t seen yet are any data on total alcohol consumption. Are some of the online and grocery store wine sales replacing bottles people would have had in restaurants? Would the spirits people order for delivery be equivalent to what they were drinking at after-work happy hours? We may learn more from sales tax data, but please don’t throw out a questionable number and allow people to believe there could be more of a problem than there actually might be.

Tom Natan, Washington

The writer is the owner of First Vine Wine Imports and Sales.

Economics and despair

My thanks go to Carlos Lozada for his May 3 Outlook review, “How our unbalanced economy produces ‘deaths of despair,’ ” of Anne Case and Angus Deaton’s book, “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism,” and for his measured and appropriate caveats about the authors’ lack of corrective proposals. Perhaps in the future, we will also get a detailed review of the abject complicity of the economics profession (not all economists but very many rent-seekers) in producing the outcomes we see today. 

David Thomas, Rockville

At home with his wit

Although I enjoyed Hank Stuever’s May 4 Critic’s Notebook, “Connected, but not clicking,” on how beloved television programs and hosts are trying to adapt amid the novel coronavirus pandemic with mixed results, I was surprised by the omission of Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show.” 

I think Colbert adroitly changed to the “at home” format with consistent humor and authenticity. Jimmy Fallon has shown a surprising “softer side,” but Colbert deserves due credit for a relatively smooth transition to his home and for still lifting our spirits by delivering his comic, razor-sharp political wit and his compassion during these very difficult times.

Veronica ClarkeEllicott City

Nothing to see here

Why does The Post persist in printing such bad photographs with its news articles? Pictures of feet or hands, people seen through windows or between curtains, heads rising up out of the frame like balloons or popping up out of bushes, blurry reflections in tabletops or floors, people seen from behind. 

The purpose of news photography is to show what the people discussed in the article look like, preferably at the moment the events under discussion took place. If there is no need to show this, then there is no need to use a photograph at all. I’m sure reporters have enough to fill up the space. We gain nothing by seeing a picture of the president’s feet.

David Vandenbroucke, Alexandria

I don’t know who slept through science class, but a person cannot see through an opaque window, as stated in a caption with a photograph that accompanied the May 7 Metro article “Md. takes first steps to ease restrictions.” One might be able to discern a little through a translucent one, and more still through a transparent one. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Trying to use a fancy word doesn’t make it correct.

Donna B. Smith, Annapolis

Voices that make you feel

Thanks for Eli Saslow’s “Voices of the Pandemic” features. These articles bring the impact of this national crisis to life. They allow me to feel such empathy for the variety of struggles individual Americans are experiencing. They are so well-written that I immerse myself in each story. I want to reach out to each of these individuals to see if there is anything I can do to lessen their pain.

Anita Shepherd, Solomons

It was actually about Lincoln

After reading Dana Milbank’s May 6 Wednesday Opinion column, “Trump’s self-pity is as silly as it sounds,” I have to ask: Why does Milbank feel the need to insult and disparage orangutans and gorillas? Both of those species are gentle, noble creatures that bear no resemblance to the lump of coal that currently occupies the White House. Milbank clearly owes them an apology.

Gary Pape, Chesapeake Beach

Weasel word

I enjoyed reading the May 4 article reporting that Alaska might shut down its salmon fishing season [“Calls for Alaska to shut down its salmon fishing season,” news]. I worked on a salmon boat 32 years ago, and the memories are still clear in my mind. 

As I read on, I saw references to “fishers,” which baffled me. I then realized that this term referred to fishermen and fisherwomen. Unfortunately for the word police, a “fisher” is also a large weasel-like animal that lives in the northern forests of North America. Ironically, it rarely eats fish. So if we must come up with a new “woke” word for fishermen, we should refer to them as otters.

William LavarcoFairfax

Artists who inspired and instructed

Boy, do I miss Tim Page’s regular presence in The Post. His May 1 obituary for cellist Lynn Harrell, “Cellist was renowned for his technical mastery,” was perfectly pitched for a wide readership. An exemplary blend of biography, anecdote and acquaintances’ comments, it lacked only what Page, a Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic, is so well-equipped to give us: a couple of paragraphs about Harrell’s technique.

And there, just below the fold on the same page, was the obituary for Eavan Boland, “Acclaimed poet redefined Irish verse from a female perspective.” This, too, was an admirable blend of life story, with apt excerpts from Boland’s poetry and a compact account of an artist’s life amid other artists and her audiences.

As these obituaries made clear, it should not be forgotten that Harrell and Boland were wonderful, beloved teachers.

Ted Leinwand, Washington

Savoy swing — and miss

It was sad to read about the passing of Maj Sjöwall, co-author of the wonderful series of Martin Beck detective novels. The series did indeed open the genre to a different, more realistic and relatable kind of detective hero than readers usually encounter. But the May 4 obituary “Godmother of ‘Nordic noir’ penned series about dour homicide detective” said, “the Beck series was built around the eponymous detective and his (all-male) mixed-up cops in the Swedish National Homicide Bureau.”

Right. That’s if you don’t include Asa Torell, introduced in 1970’s “Murder at the Savoy.”

Bruce Harmon, Arlington

Brushed past by greatness

Regarding the April 28 obituary “ ‘Mad Dog’ linebacker helped Colts win Super Bowl”:

The news of the death of former Baltimore Colts, Duke University and Richard Montgomery High School great Mike Curtis had me recalling the only time he and I met on the football field. I have a feeling that anyone who had the same experience still remembers it. I know I do.

It was a late-summer Saturday morning in 1960. Joe Cardaci, my coach at Good Counsel High School, and his Falcons were about to face off in a preseason scrimmage against the always-tough — especially at that time — Rockets of Richard Montgomery and their coach, Roy Lester.

My teammates and I knew all about Curtis, that he was big, fast and all business on the field. He weighed in at more than 200 pounds, then regarded as large for a high school fullback, where he played at the time. By contrast, as a lineman, I weighed about 175 pounds dripping wet.

As the scrimmage started, I found myself in the middle of our defensive line. In a play that even today remains burned into my memory, the Richard Montgomery quarterback handed off to Curtis. He came straight for me — head down, massive thighs pumping — cradling the ball in his signature style. I was probably flailing at that charging bull.

What I remember most about that singular instant is the feeling of Curtis’s cleats raking across my sternum. From my prone position, I managed to turn, and there was Curtis’s rear end, staring back at me as he neared our goal line. Unlike many of today’s players, Curtis did not celebrate or show any other emotion. Such was my only brush with Curtis. 

Joseph O’Connell, Gaithersburg

Wind-swept Candlestick memories

Manuel Roig-Franzia’s May 6 Food article, “Mom made baseball a game of chicken,” and accompanying recipe for baseball chicken brought back fond memories for this fellow long-suffering San Francisco Giants fan. 

Long before the Giants’ World Series victories of the past decade, I, too, was a young boy sitting in the wind-swept bleacher seats of Candlestick Park on a cold summer afternoon eating the pale pink rubber known as the Candlestick hot dog. I recall, as well, the chicken my mother made from the oven and packed for me in a paper bag, known back then as Shake ‘n Bake, although Roig-Franzia’s mother’s recipe sounds a lot better. Even though the Giants never came close to a World Series from the late 1960s to early 1980s when I religiously followed their daily box scores, I do at least recall I could afford seats on a paperboy’s salary: $4.50 for box seats, $3.50 for reserved and $1 for bleacher seats. Giants, are you listening?

Clifton E. Yu, Alexandria

A lasting love's lasting impact

The April 30 Metro article “Horace and Vi: A 75-year love story,” only briefly mentions the Saunderses’ founding of the Metro Maryland Ostomy Association, where I have volunteered for 25 years. It did not capture the amazing impact Horace and Violet Saunders had on individuals, including me, who so appreciated their guidance and strength as we learned how to live a renewed — but very different — life because of our ostomy. The Saunderses were amazing leaders and cheerleaders for all of us in this area who live with an ostomy for the rest of our lives.

Their work was particularly important to patients immediately following surgery who, despite getting a new lease on life, had very difficult adjustments. Horace and Vi Saunders will always have a special place in my heart.  

Sherry Ettleson, Washington

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