You can be forgiven for believing that we don’t want to hear from you. A few weeks ago, the email addresses that once appeared at the end of every article in the Post’s newsprint version disappeared. If you’re a regular reader of Free for All – our lively Saturday reader’s feast on what we got wrong that week – you’ll have seen a letter from the reader from Reston David Ballard ask why these email addresses have been removed.
I’m here to tell you that there is no conspiracy or desire to stifle reader interaction. If you’ve worked in an office at some point since, oh, 1990, you won’t be surprised by the real reason: we have a new computer system.
With every technological advance comes a concomitant setback:
Hey! I have a new iPhone! But I can’t use my old headphones with it.
Neato! My car windows roll down at the push of a button! But when the battery is dead, there is no way to raise or lower them by hand.
Costs! I replaced my sextant with a GPS! But now that a massive solar flare has fried all the satellites, I’m lost in the middle of the ocean.
In our case, the new publishing system – the interface we use to write and edit our stories – can do a lot of nifty things, but it can’t automatically add the author’s email address at the end. of an item so that the address appears on paper. The address could be entered manually, but I’m told that’s laborious, especially since it would have to be re-entered each time the story is updated.
That’s not a problem when you read a story on washingtonpost.com. There you can click on the author’s signature and be redirected to their author page. Click on the little envelope icon under their bio and your email program will spring into action.
Let’s pause for a moment to note the irony of a website using the icon of a paper envelope to flag an email missive.
There is a box on the A2 page with the general contact details for the service. And the style of our email addresses is usually firstname.lastname@example.org. So, I’m email@example.com. Do not hesitate to write. Don’t be a fool.
Can you haiku? Of Classes you can. Should you? Sure!
It’s time for my annual Springtime in DC Haiku contest. I want you to evoke the very essence of the season in three short lines of five, seven and five syllables.
In the past, I’ve wanted really spring-inspired haiku. After all, the Japanese poem style lends itself to spare reflections on nature, crystalline daydreams about flowers, songbirds, or frost. But a few years ago, reality began to set in. My 2020 competition featured many entries that referenced what was then a brand new coronavirus. (Five syllables, as it turned out.) Last year, some readers chose to note the betrayal violence at the US Capitol on January 6.
And now here we are today, as violence of a different kind erupts in Europe. What I’m saying is, I’m still hoping to see some classic – albeit offbeat – haiku from springtime in Washington, but I’ll understand if you broaden your horizons. Basically, I want poems that encapsulate the here and now.
I repeat: they must be 5-7-5 in syllabic style.
Send me your entries – with “Haiku” in the subject line – at firstname.lastname@example.org. (But you knew that.) Include your name and the city you live in. I’ll choose some of my favorites to print in a future column and select a grand prize winner. The price? Lunch with me, on me. I assume you are vaccinated?
The deadline is March 22.