March 13-20, 2006

Obituary Addicts
Like James Atlas, I, too, hit the obits fairly quickly in my New York Times reading [“Books: Keeping Up With the Dead,” March 6]. (And yes, I am of the AARP generation, just a year younger than Atlas.) I like the Times best because they almost always list the cause of death, unlike some smaller papers. For some reason, I find it strangely unsatisfying, even unsettling, not to know what got them in the end.
—Harriet Fallon, Manhattan

Change Your Life
Thank you very much for your article “12 Ways to Remake Your Boring Old Self” [by Amy Spencer, February 27], especially the part about becoming a nun. I applaud New York Magazine for seeing the spiritual side of life and perhaps helping someone toward that goal. May I suggest that, in the future, you might consider writing an article for single men on how to become priests. As you know, there is a great need for Catholic priests today, and perhaps some of your readers would be just right for this calling.
—Frances Burk, Jackson Heights

Thank you a million times over for the array of choices you presented in “Your New Life Begins Here” [February 27]. As a life coach who found this profession post-9/11, I’m happy to see you demonstrating to your readers that they don’t have to settle for drudgery in their lives, especially in their work. I now make my living helping clients ponder the possibilities they might not have thought of on their own or, in many cases, validating ideas they had previously believed were out of the realm of reality. You don’t have to win the lottery to change your life. All it takes is will and imagination.
—Nancy Colasurdo, Hoboken, N.J.

I was astounded by the second item in the roundup of “12 Ways to Remake Your Boring Old Self.” It suggests to “run for office.” Please don’t. We have enough people in office for the wrong reasons. I was particularly annoyed that you also suggested a “trick” to getting elected is to knock an opponent off the ballot by “catching them on petition technicalities … and sending them to court.” This practice does go on, but it does not make it right, and the anti-ballot-access ritual shouldn’t be promoted.
—Tony Avella, Council Member, Nineteenth District

As one of the so-called posh New Yorkers cited in “Go Directly to Jail,” by Greg Sargent [“Intelligencer,” February 27], about people arrested near Central Park for suspended licenses, I was distressed about having to spend a night in jail, especially when my crack-smoking cellmates were not generous enough to share their bounty. But I was even more distressed to observe that the vast majority of my jailmates were African-American and Latino regular guys arrested for the pettiest of crimes. One man had been charged with vandalism for posting a rap-concert flyer on the side of a building. As the only white person in my cell for much of the night, I became keenly aware of the racial undertones: Most of my cellmates took it as a given that racism was a factor in their arrest. One nicely dressed African-American college student kept saying to no one in particular, “I wasn’t a menace to society before, but now I think I’m going to be.”
—Pierre Hauser, Manhattan

‘Pajama Game’
Your numbered history of The Pajama Game misses a key point [“Long Story Short: How The Pajama Game Went From Broadway to Drama Club—and Back,” by Boris Kachka, February 27]. It jumps from No. 6 in 1995 to No. 7 with the present-day revival on Broadway, skipping right over City Center’s terrific 2002 “Encores!” series production starring the indispensable Broadway vets Karen Ziemba and Brent Barrett. On your timeline, you could have put it at No. 61/2 in the history of 71/2 Cents.
—Bill Curtis, Bound Brook, N.J.

Cuddle Puddle
More impressive than the overblown pansexuality of a few slackers was how articulate the follow-up letters were from the cuddle puddle’s fellow students [“Letters: Cuddle Puddle,” February 13]. Most twentysomethings can’t express such thoughts with wit and modern perspective. Must be a great school.
—Carl Keane, Mill Valley, Calif.

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March 13-20, 2006