Quite familiar fun
Random, rhyming thoughts regarding the summer reunion of Britain's iconic comedy troupe, which recently sold out in an astonishing 43 seconds: They made us laugh until it hurt, and without fail, during their maniacal quest for the Holy Grail. If you didn't chuckle, then you must have been dyin' when they took us back to The Life of Brian. Just try to watch, without a laugh-induced tear, the skit titled "Upper Class Twit of the Year." As for lovely Spam and "Hell's Grannies," what more can I say? And if you wanted to be a lumberjack, it was OK. The difference between an argument and contradiction became a lively debate. And in the pet shop, Polly the parrot was either alive or late. So, welcome back, Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Vin Morabito, Scranton
Needs no disguise
In Sunday's Currents section, it was refreshing to read of a religious leader who pleads for social and economic justice for everyone, not just his own flock ("A pope for the bruised," Dec. 1). But the Monday cartoon from a Dutch newspaper depicted Pope Francis wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, a symbol of protest, with the pope saying, "Down with the tyranny of markets." Of course, Francis, in his papal exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, never uttered those words. Rather, he called for a return to the spirit of the Gospels to end the worship of money and the poverty, violence, and death that creates. He needs no protest mask to express those basic ethics.
Gloria C. Endres, Philadelphia
Pope Francis has spelled it out and, as history tells us, conservative economic policies weaken our country and make us vulnerable to speculators and international banks while impoverishing citizens ("Pope assails theories of rich," Nov. 27). Many will applaud the pope, but will working-class American Catholics take his message to heart and ask tough economic questions during the 2014 campaigns?
Joseph Creighton, Marlton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Take the Iran deal
The nuclear deal brokered with Iran is historic. I hope my senators and representative publicly support these efforts and oppose calls by some in Congress for more sanctions. Former national security advisers Zbigniew Brezezinski and Brent Scowcroft have noted that "additional sanctions now against Iran . . . will risk undermining or even shutting down the negotiations." Sabotaging diplomacy would jeopardize the unprecedented progress achieved to guard against another war and nuclear-armed nation.
Vinton Deming, Philadelphia
Send a message
With the hue and cry to deter teens and others from texting while driving, there's one powerful influence that needs to step up and be more active: parents. As the father of a bright, sensible, 15-year-old daughter who will begin her behind-the-wheel training in a few months, I have already spoken about the dangers of texting and driving. I was gratified to hear her say, "I know, Dad, I'm not stupid" - even if she sounded exasperated with me. Parents can't completely solve the problem - and oblivious adults are guilty of the practice, too - but, hopefully, we can make an impression on the current generation of young people, those most likely to believe it's no big deal, by hammering this message home even before they get their licenses.
Gary Frisch, Gloucester Township, email@example.com
Rhonda Fink-Whitman documented the appalling lack of knowledge of history among American college students ("They don't even know Hitler," Nov. 25). I suggest that she turn her cameras next on Congress, particularly its younger members. Their recent behavior suggests a similar educational deficiency.
Joan Farrell, Egg Harbor Township, firstname.lastname@example.org