The answer Tom Danehy gives for his Pentagon puzzle ("Tally-Ho!" December 14) is incorrect.
Danehy's döppelgänger argument would be valid if the observer were standing at a distance that was very great compared to the size of the building. However, the Pentagon is 921 feet on a side; Danehy's "several hundred yards" isn't nearly far enough.
In order to see three sides at all, an observer would have to be at least 472 yards from the building. A person placed at a random site 1,000 yards from the nearest point on the outer wall would only have a 21.9-percent chance of being able to see three sides; at one mile, the probability would be 32.8 percent. Even at five miles, the observer would only have a 46.2-percent likelihood of finding three sides in his field of view.
I might add that a tendency to uncritically accept facile arguments and easy assumptions is one of the traits that make people faithful and unquestioning devotees of one political party or another. By contrast, those who spend some serious time and thought looking into the assumptions and working through the details are far more prone to declare themselves political independents, in spite of the contumely of Danehy's ilk.
I'm only a 15-year-old student, but unlike most children my age, I actually have opinions. Which is why it shocked me that a newspaper as liberal as the Weekly could suggest that the Arizona Daily Star was ridiculous "beyond parody" in the inclusion of Wiccan, Druid and Hare Krishna prayers among the Thanksgiving prayers of various religions ("Wretched Recall," December 28).
It seemed to me that you were suggesting that these were some sort of pseudo religion, which is absolutely false. Christianity and other western religions are not the only "valid" religions out there, you realize. The Wiccan religion in particular has been around longer than Christianity, and some elements of Christianity are obviously borrowed from earlier pagan religions (the goddess figure, i.e. Mary; the idea of God as a trinity, etc.).
Although I am an atheist, I believe in tolerance of other religions and those who practice them, which apparently the Weekly's writers don't. Next time, try to consider being more like the Star and not alienating many of your readers who may belong to these "non-religions" (although I admit it would really have been ridiculous to include my religion among the Thanksgiving prayers).
I must disagree with Tom Danehy's choice of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as "most important record of all time" ("Man of the Century," December 28).
By his own criteria it was an utter failure. Not long after Pepper was released, the Rolling Stones ignored its warnings about the destructive power of drugs and recorded one of the most uninteresting drug-induced Pepper imitations ever, the entirely execrable Their Satanic Majesties Request. Not only was that album less interesting than A Collection of Beatles Oldies, but the Stones included the faces of their drug-addled mop-top inspirations on the dopey 3D cover to boot.
No match, no set, and not that much of a game when you get down to the facts. Tom must now listen to 2,000 Light Years from Home 2,000 times for penance.
To the Editor,
Tom Danehy's decision to slam the Beatles' best known album was an inspired choice--if all he wanted to do was create an uproar among some parts of the masses.
I won't disagree that Sgt. Pepper's is way overrated. But Tom, ol' fool, your beloved Stones followed Pepper with Their Satanic Majesties Request, not the great songs you remember. The Stones' faux-Pepper is utterly forgettable, but your lapse dissolves your point into idiotic dust.
I sometimes read the New Yorker's movie reviews and I think that their too-cool-to-give-an-opinion method of reviewing is pretty sad. On the other hand, I bet most of James DiGiovanna's reviews are actually better than the movie. He gives me all the joy, and more, of seeing a film without the pain of actually having to see it.