Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:
Jacob B. Davis, Law Offices of Lechowicz & Davis, Glen Burnie: Respecting your observation that Clinton gets no credit for the recovery in the American economy, the answer is quite simple. He had nothing to do with it!
In fact, if the legislation he proposed shortly after his election had been enacted, the economy would have been worse not better.
There is something in our economy called a "business cycle." President Bush had the misfortune of running for president when the cycle was in a downturn.
So far, Clinton has been the beneficiary of the business cycle. As one economist noted after the election, the economy would get better if Bugs Bunny had been elected.
COMMENT: In that case, we can elect Phil Gramm in 1996 and test your theory.
Walton W. Windsor, Baltimore: I favor the suggested $1 coin to replace paper -- dirty -- money.
I also favor getting rid of nuisance coinage: Pennies which accumulate rapidly and take up too much room in pants pockets.
For that matter, why not eliminate nickels and dimes? Let all prices be rounded off to a quarter.
Anyone who differs with this idea is mindless, brainwashed, stick-in-the mud, and should be taken out and beaten with sticks.
And whatever happened to the 13-month year that I remember being discussed as a child? Nice, round, easy 28 day moon-months.
Birthdays you say? Forget birthdays! Too much is made of these anniversaries.
COMMENT: Easy for you to say, but my birthday falls on the 29th day of its month, a day that you would eliminate.
So under your plan, I would never have birthdays and never get presents. On the other hand, I would never get any older.
Hey, I think I'm beginning to like this.
Stewart Baker, Severn: I am an electrical engineer who flies as a hobby. I have a private pilot rating, an instrument rating, and a little over two hundred hours of flying time. Currently I fly about 100 hours per year.
According to an article I read not long after the last USAir crash, 80 percent of aircraft crashes are non-fatal. So even if an engine fails, according to the statistics, the pilot still has a good chance of setting it down under control somewhere, and you will probably live through the experience.
COMMENT: A small plane can sometimes set down if it loses power. I have known small planes to land on interstates with no problem.
But how is the pilot of a 737 or DC-10 going to go about "setting it down under control somewhere"?
Somewhere like where?
When in 1979 that DC-10 crashed in Chicago shortly after take-off from O'Hare, I was on the scene within minutes. There was a gigantic hole in the ground, the stink of burning jet fuel, and nothing else.
Maybe the pilot was looking for a place to set down "somewhere" in those seconds after the engine dropped from the wing.
And I am sure those 273 passengers on that jet would have been comforted by their 80 percent chance of survival.
Unfortunately, none of them lived to learn of their good fortune.
Monique Breuil Harriton, Los Angeles: It is usually with great anticipation that I turn to your column, but your head injury spoof was a big disappointment.
By implying that whiplash victims are guilty of malingering for monetary gain, you are also perpetuating an old canard. They would rather work overtime than suffer a whiplash injury, if given a choice.
Enclosed is a brochure describing "The Whiplash Handbook." It will help dispel your misconceptions about the injury.
COMMENT: Thank you for offering to sell me your book for $28 in hardcover or $15.95 in paperback. But I wasn't spoofing anybody. I really did get rear-ended in a traffic accident and really did become one of the few people in America not to sue anybody.
But now that you mention it, I do keep seeing black dots dancing before my eyes and I have been falling down a lot more often than usual.
So rush your book to me! Maybe I, too, can become a zillionaire!