Is GOP ready for a female standard-bearer? Is the GOP ready to put a woman on the presidential ticket? Yes, if the Republican Party wants to win back the female vote in major elections ("Would GOP nominate a woman?," Feb. 11).

Of course, the Democrats should also nominate a female candidate for either president or vice president if the party wants to hold the female vote.

With Elizabeth Dole and Hillary Rodham Clinton considering runs in 2000, for president and senator respectively, there's a lot of talk about another "Year of the Woman" next year. Neither Liddy Dole nor Hillary Clinton has ever run for political office, although each has plenty of political experience through their husbands' campaigns.

If the GOP selects Dole to run as president, or more likely vice president, the pressure will be enormous for Gore or Bradley to choose a female running mate such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

Because the GOP has fallen way behind the Democrats in nominating and electing women to Congress and state legislatures, they must do more to encourage female candidates. The top of the ticket would be a good place to start. Elizabeth Dole, Gov. Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, and Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine are certainly qualified to serve in the White House.

George A. Dean Southport, Conn.

Gould has never been sharper There are few things left that I enjoyed as a child. Ipana toothpaste has vanished. Ed Sullivan is a flickering memory; but every week since I first picked up a Monitor, John Gould has made me chuckle. For decades, his dispatch from the farm was the Home Forum page's weekly halo.

Other Monitor humorists like Silence Buck Bellows and John Allan May were brilliant, but Gould and Friday are still synonyms in the Monitor lexicon. And I found no glaring errors in his levity until "Why I know nothing about the Canary Islands" (Feb. 5), when he described his current home as "our residence for the antiquated senior has-beens." Is Gould antiquated (to make obsolete by relacing with something newer)? Not yet. Is he senior (of higher rank by virtue of longer service)? Definitely. But is he a has-been (one who is no longer popular or effective)? No way!

Mr. Gould, sir, your rapier wit has never been sharper; your happy memories clearer, or your rural wisdom deeper. Years have not faded, but crowned you. In the eyes of this armchair admirer, you've never been better.

David Horn Plymouth, Ind.

Tool collective I enjoyed "Taking stock of our stuff" (Feb. 11). Our neighborhood pools saleable recycles, saves the money, and buys tools that are useful to everyone. There's no need to have one for every household. This way, we've made a small collective of things like a Dremel, Sawz-All, a set of battery powered drills, and a chain saw - and at the same time, built stronger bonds of friendship in our little community.

Jeannie Smith Solana Beach, Calif.

What's up with "What's on TV"? Regarding your Friday "What's on TV" column: What is the purpose of this feature? It seems there are contradictory statements appearing right at the top of it. First, you say, "Shows worth noting ...," and then you state, "Listings are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor." Who, then, is telling us these shows are worth noting? The overall impression is definitely that the Monitor is recommending these programs as being the outstanding shows of the week.

Christine Linden Bellevue, Wash.

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