Correction: An article on Feb. 24 about the History channel's new drama Vikings misstated the level of literacy in Viking culture. Though not a broadly literate culture, it was not illiterate. – The New York Times, March 10.
In Back To The Garden: Readying For Great Spring Blooms (March 4), you identified the plant in the photo as a Bog Labrador Tea Rhododendron (Rhododendron groenlandicum). It was in fact an Alpenrose Rhododendron (Rhododendron ferrugineum). Please print a correction or I will burn your village.
Mrs. Halfdan the Red, Pickering
I take issue with your columnist's suggestion that Vikings are inclined to populist leaders, people one would "like to have a mead with." We care deeply about policy. What use is foreign treasure without the fiscal policy to deploy it wisely? One doesn't follow a leader into plunder simply because he has nice hair. And a huge, curly, blond beard.
Sigfast Offalstrum, Narvik
While I applaud your attempt at humour, your speculation that the Viking decline was the result of "waterlogged particleboard galleys" is sadly off-base. IKEA is Swedish, but not Viking. Were anyone to complain of discovering wholesome horse meat in a Viking meatball dish, we'd crush their bones into dust and use it to spice our fish kills, not issue an apology and withdraw said item from our menus.
Matilda Flurndsjossen, Oslo
I'd have sympathy for today's youth (Youth Unemployment rises, March 12) if kids were less reluctant to get out of their parents' basements, take to the sea and land on foreign shores to enslave local populations. The answer isn't loans – it's long boats.
Oddløg the Defender of Lawns, Portland, Me.
I was disappointed to discover that your article of March 12, Golfer Survives Mid-round Illinois Sinkhole, attributed the sinkhole to "subsurface limestone that dissolves from acidic rainwater, snowmelt and carbon dioxide." The mainstream media consistently refuses to acknowledge the credible scientific research proving that geological disturbances are caused by the reckless tunnelling of greedy dwarves.
Rognvald the Forum Dweller
As a Canadian Viking and a subscriber, I'm frequently disappointed to find American spellings in your crossword-puzzle answers. This weekend's clue for 7 Across, "tinge," allowed only five letters when the answer was clearly "colour." Should this occur again I will cancel my subscription and drink mead from your skull.
(Please note, there is no documented evidence that my people, Vikings, ever actually drank from the skulls of our enemies. It's the result of a mistranslation of the phrase "branches of the skull," which in fact refers to the horns of an animal and not to the decapitated, inverted, human calvaria of your editor-in-chief. However, we have discussed the matter, and should your paper continue to use American spellings in the crossword, we are willing to adopt the skull-vessel practice.)
Kalf, Burnaby, B.C.
My thoughts and animal sacrifices were with the world's Catholics this week as they chose a new leader for their church. Yet I'm confused. I like the smoke, which I assume came from the pyres of the vanquished. But surely the position of head of the church should simply be given to the contestant prepared to hang himself from a tree for nine days, pierced with his own spear, in order to gain wisdom?
Also: Have they considered axes? I find most problems can be solved with axes.
Osvald the Axe Man, Oxford, England
Kudos on your excellent reporting on the upcoming World Figure Skating Championships. I look forward to your paper's coverage of the competition itself, and to pillaging all of your pitifully unprotected monasteries.
Beorthtric, Watcher of Figure Skaters