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KUDELKA’S car­toon Su­per­shouty Handy­man (Fe­bru­ary 4-5), is the best il­lus­tra­tion I’ve seen of Mark Twain’s ad­vice: ‘‘Un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances, pro­fan­ity pro­vides a re­lief de­nied even to prayer.’’ Tim Sa­clier Leopold, Vic­to­ria GREG Sheri­dan’s claim about Pow­erpoint pre­sen­ta­tions — that he had never seen one that was ‘‘re­motely worth pay­ing at­ten­tion to’’ (The Forum, Fe­bru­ary 4-5) — re­calls the ‘‘are we there yet?’’ te­dium of hav­ing to en­dure far too many of them in staff meet­ings and in­ser­vices, where the stan­dard modus operandi was to im­press with brightly coloured, jazz­ily for­mated dot points which the Pow­er­pointer would then voice-over, while half-turn­ing to keep an eye on them as if the dots might do what we ur­gently wanted to: nick off. Such pre­sen­ta­tions re­verse the nor­mal re­la­tion­ship be­tween homo

sapi­ens and our tools: they be­come the mas­ter, and we homo serviens. One won­ders how De­mos­thenes, Cicero, Dis­raeli, Churchill, Men­zies and Whit­lam got on with­out them. Leonard Colquhoun In­ver­may, Tas­ma­nia I BEG to dif­fer with Miriam Mar­golyes (Char­ac­ter ac­tress, Fe­bru­ary 4-5): ‘‘I’m very clear-eyed about the fact I’m not a beau­ti­ful woman.’’ The fact is, my dear, you are a beau­ti­ful woman, as the won­der­ful pho­to­graph ac­com­pa­ny­ing the re­port so clearly sug­gests. Your clear, hazel eyes sparkle with en­ergy and those rich, in­deli­ble char­ac­ter lines across your face re­flect a life full of love, laugh­ter and gen­eros­ity of spirit. Not beau­ti­ful? Phooey! Neil Mcdon­ald Fair­field, Vic­to­ria HAV­ING trav­elled to Syd­ney for the New Year’s Eve fire­works, a word jumped out at me from Plainly Jane (Jan­uary 28-29): so, Jane ‘‘hated’’ the fire­works and de­plored the waste of money. We spent that day en­joy­ing the com­pany of friends and chat­ting to strangers from other coun­tries and Aus­tralians of sev­eral eth­nic back­grounds. We watched boats full of happy peo­ple gath­er­ing on the har­bour on a glo­ri­ous Syd­ney af­ter­noon, and af­ter en­joy­ing the spec­tac­u­lar 9pm and mid­night dis­plays, wended our way home sur­rounded by fam­i­lies, teenagers, 20-some­things and old folks like us, all of whom had ob­vi­ously ex­pe­ri­enced one of the most beau­ti­ful evenings of their lives and who were burst­ing with good will. As to the waste of money, per­haps Opera Australia should do­nate its La travi­ata costs, and we our there­fore un­nec­es­sary at­ten­dance money? And what about the Pi­casso ex­hi­bi­tion (yes, we ‘‘did’’ that, too), or per­haps Matisse in Bris­bane? Should we con­sider the costs of in­dulging in these cul­tural ex­trav­a­gan­zas? Of course not. Some­times we just need to party! Ali­son Wat­son Tweed Heads, NSW

Cor­rec­tion: A pho­to­graph in the Fe­bru­ary 4-5 edi­tion was wrongly cap­tioned. The scene on Page 5 was from Ro­man Polan­ski’s Oliver Twist. To be con­sid­ered for pub­li­ca­tion, let­ters must con­tain an ad­dress and tele­phone num­ber for ver­i­fi­ca­tion. Let­ters may be edited for length and clar­ity.

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