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Readers share their thoughts on Dave Barry’s year in review and more

An essay on easing the political divide, Miss Conduct’s advice for the new year, and a story about a poker pro also generate interest from readers.

End Notes

The entire December 31 Globe Magazine was a lift. Having grown up outside Philadelphia, I never watched WBZ News, but after reading Matthew Reed Baker’s “The Home Team,” I miss them too. Justin Barnard’s encouragement in Perspective to “be genuinely interested in people who think differently — not just in hunting for converts” seemed directed at me . . . in a good way. Robin Abrahams’s column was a reassuring hug, and Dave Barry’s always-anticipated Year in Review provided the grace of grim laughter. . . . If we can just figure out some way to deal with Dottie Weisenflanker, all would be well.


Lea Sylvestro

Easton, Connecticut

Scientific Analysis

Justin Barnard’s Perspective, “How Thermodynamics — Yes, Thermodynamics — Can Ease Our Political Divide” (December 31), was outstanding! As a physics and mathematics student coming from a big family, I saw that interaction and transfer of opinions take place all the time at the dinner table. A liberal brother who would go on to become a priest, a conservative brother who was a state trooper, strong independent sisters...I never realized a thermodynamic transfer was taking place, but it was.

Dan Moe


A thoughtful and educational piece! I appreciate the sentiment, and learned a little science, to boot. Happy to know that Justin Barnard is serving our country, and will bring his insights and compassion to the many complex events he will be experiencing.

Pam Shorr


Spot on. The bigotry on both sides is not constructive. Conversation and persuasion, not invective. (Side note: got to know active/retired submariners during a few years in New London. As a group, the sharpest people I’ve ever met. And I’ve spent 30 years in research as a PhD in chemical engineering.)

John Van Alsten


It is easy to caricature rather than characterize people, especially groups of people, that you have never met; harder to do so when you know them as individuals who are greater than their political views.



posted on bostonglobe.com

Another physicist chiming in. Another aspect from thermodynamics, I can see some of the polarization is from a political version of Maxwell’s demon. Maxwell’s demon operates a theoretical gate, blocking cold atoms from entering one chamber from another, but letting the hot ones through. The result: one chamber grows hotter, the other colder. It undoes a natural mixing.... We have a large population of people who have created a real Maxwell’s demon, choosing news sources that reflect mostly what they want to hear or believe. The result is an unnatural distribution of views, with the normally highly populated middle vacated, and folks lumped to the edges.

Klaatu 2.0

posted on bostonglobe.com

Chemist here. When I saw the equation, I thought the point that [the author was] leading to was that work was required to maintain a temperature differential between two bodies. If we stop applying “work” to the system, a “moderate” temperature will result: If we can learn to ignore all the shouting, the middle way will be found.


posted on bostonglobe.com

Gone are the days of decorum and civil debates. I remember Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan: they could not have been more polar opposites, however they remained friends and respected one another. I was raised a Democrat; we attended church regularly. My parents, who met in graduate school, marched in the civil rights protest, and believed in busing and, above all, the Social Contract. Thanks to them our home was filled with boisterous debates during Sunday dinners so, as children, we were exposed to different points of view. A mutual respect for one another is a must!


Ellen B. Weinhold


Commendable Commentary

I LOVED Dave Barry’s 2023 Year in Review (December 31). His satire is the BEST ever! I have been enjoying his writings for many decades. It will be a sad day when he retires....

Joanne MacFawn Trombley

Glenmoore, Pennsylvania

Reading Dave Barry, I was laughing out loud — so loud that I’m sure my neighbors heard me! That man is pure genius! He is so funny to come up with his descriptions of the things going on in the world; oh to have such a snide sense of humor!

Doris Allen


Another wonderful column full of insight, which provided many laughs — as always!

Judy Marks


This enlightened observer/humorist needs to occupy the front page of the Globe. He is wonderful.

Peter Larkowich

Manchester, New Hampshire

Very funny, witty, and perceptive. I was happy to be able to laugh at the stupidity of politics.

Maria Sagris


Add Dave Barry’s humor wherever possible in 2024.

Bob Minardi


Dave Barry has pinpointed the source of our troubles: none other than Dorothy “Dottie” Weisenflanker. Apparently she is a millennial who outgrew the internet — losing her day planner, Quicken file, and her strategy notes. It begs the question: Is SHE the leader we are looking for to solve the country’s problems? Apparently we couldn’t do worse.


Rosemary Shields


This 10 minutes of reading pleasure was a long time coming. Dave brings laughter and joy in these turbulent times.

Asif Husain


Changing Times

This Miss Conduct column (“The ‘New Normal,’” December 31) was a light approach to let everyone know not all situations are solvable. It certainly is a confusing world and it was refreshing to read a master at problem-solving [addressing it] so effortlessly and poignantly.

Chuck Furgason

West Roxbury

Having worked in mental health and suicide prevention for the past 20 years, I deeply appreciate the column on all things related to good mental health and well-being. Thank you to Miss Conduct for helping others to improve their circumstances and for serving as a sounding board and trusted counsel in greater kindness for all.

Ann Duckless

Derry, New Hampshire

Close to Home

Cynthia Georgian Peloquin’s Connections (“1,386 Dance Parties Later,” December 31) reminds me of my neighborhood. In my neighborhood I like to share news through a group email. I’m very excited to welcome newcomers with muffins and see if I can get their email addresses to keep in touch.

Laura Wallace


Having great neighbors is a wonderful thing!


posted on bostonglobe.com

Odds Are

Of course, I harbor no ill will toward Bart Hanson or his vocation as a poker expert (“Bart Hanson Just Can’t Stop Winning,” January 14). But, I feel it reflected disappointing editorial judgment to choose him for a feature story when there are so many other subjects of wider interest, importance, and inspiration than someone who has found success as a gambler, particularly during an epidemic of gambling addiction.


Paul Horn

West Roxbury

Hanson’s all-time [money list] rank is 2,400th. Mid-level pros have won $8-10M, ranking in the top 100. Top level pros (top 5) have won over $50M. He was wise to develop a teaching side hustle.


posted on bostonglobe.com

Unlike chess, which is the essence of slow thinking, in poker, there’s no time for slow thinking and you’re constantly making decisions based on incomplete information. Amateurs can and do win big events....Poker books by Doyle Brunson, David Sklansky, and Dan Harrington are classics.


posted on bostonglobe.com

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