Reader Mail

Howie Who?

Political resuscitation falls short. Kids4Dean: no laughing matter. Plus: Keys to manhood. Jacket photo-ops. And much more.

2.22.04

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SECOND OPINIONS
Re: Enemy Central's A Bad Case of the Deanies:

I'm a native Midwesterner who took a job transfer to Vermont in 1985; I lived there until 1997 when I sold my house in Colchester, Vermont, and moved back to America. I'd like to comment on "A Bad Case of the Deanies."

I am not in the least surprised by any of the comments made by the "Deanies" in the article. They all run true to form in every way. As is typical of Vermont, these people grossly overestimate everything to do with that state. One "Deanie" refers to Dean's five terms as governor. Yes, five two-year terms as governor of a tiny state with virtually no industry, no large cities, no significant infrastructure. There are counties -- counties! -- with ten or fifteen times the population of the whole state of Vermont. For that matter there are cities with many times that many people. Governorship of such a state is akin to being President ... of the neighborhood beautification society.

The Deanies -- and Dean himself -- grossly overestimate the effect Dean's candidacy had on the rest of the candidates and the election. With Dean out of the running, the other Dem candidates will quickly return to the issues they feel important -- they no longer have to argue with Dean over his issues and charges.

Vermont has long struck me as "the hood ornament that thinks it's pulling the car around" and the Deanies make it clear that they too are similarly afflicted. With people of such starry-eyed misapprehension powering his campaign, it is no surprise that Dean's candidacy died like the power output of a windmill in a calm.
-- Russell Spreeman
La Porte, Indiana

LOVE EOW! You guys are my heroes. This is what I want to see ...

I would love to see a wrestling cage match, with the cage the size of The Superdome in New Orleans. On one side, 500 or so Deaniacs. On the other side, 500 or so real people (not Republicans, but what I call anti-Democrats) from Oklahoma, Wyoming and other flyover country. Despite the hate and venom of Deaniacs, it would be such a short wrestling match with the metrosexuals crying at the first spilled latte.

Have you ever asked a Deaniac if they studied the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s?? That is what these people are: the "Republicans" of Spain that would empower an evil ENEMY OF THE MILLENNIUM ( and I am not talking about Howard Dean either).

Peace, Keep up the good fight!!

Surrounded by morons in Iowa,
-- unsigned

Boy, do you have it right when you describe the Deaniacs. Such a moniker is very apt for these sons and daughters of lala land. I'm waiting for the crosses to appear at the sacred site where he announced his campaigns demise to the faithful. Burlington will have another historic site akin to other momentous events in American political history. I can see the plaque and statue now. It will be of the good doctor in his pose of the "scream" moment and read, "On this spot (date insert) was lost the hope and inspirations of a generation of ( group insert)." These Deaniacs can gather up here every year on the anniversary of his demise and chat about what might have been if we had just listened to them and gave whatever a chance.
-- Pete Chagnon

REVENGE OF THE HOWIES
Re: Shawn Macomber's Deaniacs.com:

My name is Rian Watt.

You mentioned my site, kids4dean, in your disgusting article "Deaniacs.com" by Shawn Macomber, published on 1/12/2004. I worked hard to set up this site with a retired schoolteacher in Iowa, Linda Theiman. We both worked hard on it. I wrote that essay in a notebook at my kitchen table. I see no reason to make fun of my work. I would appreciate knowing why you have attacked me in this way.

Thank you.
-- Rian Watt

Good evening, Editor.

With respect to: "New Hampshire Under Siege," By Shawn Macomber, Published 1/12/2004 12:08:26 AM:

Presumably you felt that the snide tone of this article was suitable for your newspaper.

However, you owe a sincere and immediate apology to my son, Rian, who is the writer referenced on the Kids4Dean website. He is 11 years old and has written several reports for Kids4Dean with no input, icky or otherwise, from me or any other adult. He has decided of his own accord that he supports what Howard Dean is trying to achieve, and that he will work to support it.

It might be worth suggesting to your writer, Mr. Shawn Macomber, that he get a life -- or at least a less self-absorbed and contemptuous attitude.

I am sending this from Rian's email address since he has just mentioned this "article" to me and has, he tells me, sent a separate response to you.

Please respond to Rian and to me. (isiw@mac.com).

Thank you.
-- Ian Watt
Wilmette, Illinois

RAISING NEWS QUESTIONS
Re: W. James Antle III's Boston Tea Party:

Questions for Massachusetts' Supremes:

If a 50 year-old man gets engaged to a 16 year-old boy, will they need his parents' permission to marry?

If 2 male prison inmates get married, will they be able to share a cell?

If 2 male soldiers get married, will they need base housing?

If 2 men get divorced, who will get the kids? Just wondering.
-- George Ferguson
Forth Worth, Texas

KEYS TO SUCCESS
Re: Lawrence Henry's Secrets of Manhood:

The keys thing struck home. Right on. Here's one Lawrence Henry might enjoy:

I thoroughly wore out my wanderlust in my early twenties wandering in a VW bug across country (from Ipswich, MA). My second set of keys were firmly taped to the old style upright on the double bumper of my bug.

Finding myself at a country store somewhere in the San Joaquin Valley, I exited and found to my horror my keys were locked in the car. A manly smile came across my face as I told myself: "But you are prepared for this!" Unwrapping the oodles of tape and extricating my spare key, I inserted the key in the door, slid in behind the wheel with great sense of self-satisfaction, started the car, and then looked right. The window on the passenger side was open.
-- Paul J. Heffernan
Boston, Massachusetts

Lawrence Henry's essay on manhood is a true gem in this world of terrorism, politics and perverted sex. I'm darn near 70-years old and the wisdom of his article has been deeply ingrained into my conscience all my life. And, it is so true of my dear wife of almost 50 years that she can leave the house sans keys, money or even a shopping list. Since she is without pockets she has "lost" her keys more times than I care to count. It is not just the keys. Various other items of hers have vanished temporarily, and, unlike many single socks of mine which disappear into some laundry black hole, her items always turn up "right where I left them." Somewhere in space there is a place where billions of men's socks rest for eternity.

I do not subscribe to Mr. Henry's placement of pocket items. I keep my cash in the left front pocket and my keys, lighter, and handkerchief in the right front one. Nothing goes into either back pocket. My wallet, credit cards, and check books are carried in a "fanny pack" which I sling over my shoulder when shopping. If I had to pocket my plastic cards, they would create a lump of more than an inch thick. Lessee, credit card, bank card (ATM), various discount cards, telephone card, AAA card, medical cards and on and on. I sometimes worry that perhaps the many magnetic strips will cancel each other out.

The issue of the coffee table and other flat surfaces is spot on. There must be space for personal grooming during television viewing -- dental picks, nail clippers, and the like. TV time can be productive. A space for a drink -- coffee, tea, cola, and whatnot -- is essential. Where do I put that magazine that just arrived and is yet to be read or that novel I am slowly working my way through? Got to have that important space close at hand. Mr. Henry's thoughts must be put into a required elementary school text for the education of our young boys on their way to manhood. Sure makes more sense than fretting over cultural diversity.
-- Al Martin
Depoe Bay, Oregon

When I read your opening paragraph in "Secrets of Manhood," for some reason, I laughed out loud. I guess it tickled my funny bone. No amount of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" will cure these ticks.

Thanks for making me laugh.
-- John Rae Norcross

Brilliant observations but self-centered. What of us from the British tradition? I wear a jacket, always. Keys -- right outside. Wallet -- left breast. Change and "stuff" -- right pants. Recent innovation/problem -- cell phone. Present solution -- right breast. All others -- empty. Quite right. Need capacity for urgent matters. Never know.

The true horror of women -- cooking pots, bowls, plates, purses, all completely full. Boil over, burn, spill, stuff falls out. Cooking 1 quart of soup? Always use a 2 quart pot. Any fool knows this.
-- Fred Z

It's nice to know that men lose their keys now and then. I not only lose my keys but I can never remember where I put my wallet. My wife never loses her keys or her wallet, but she is never on time for anything and I am always early. Such are the differences between women and men. The biggest difference between the sexes lies in how they handle a roll of toilet paper: the women have the tissue coming over the top while the men have it hanging behind the roll against the wall. I would feel less of a man if I had the paper coming over the top of the roll...it would be devastating to my manhood.
-- Pete Brittain
Sandpoint, Idaho

Pat, pat. Yep. It's all there.....
-- unsigned

PICTURE PERFECT
Re: Bill Croke's Picture of an Exhibitionist:

Leave it up to a writer from Cody, Wyoming, to make a clean, one-shot kill with this line: "More books than ever are being published in a country that has fewer and fewer readers, and those readers read books by writers who don't write." Time to get it dressed and hung.
-- Doc Watson

Bill Croke mentioned "Jimmy Carter's thought-provoking poetry, I think I'll take on his new novel (The Hornet's Nest: A Novel of the Revolutionary War)." With the disdain in which I hold the mountebank ex-president, Jimmy Carter could endorse the Bible, and I would be tempted to stop reading it.
-- David Shoup
Dublin, Georgia

Good stuff, Bill Croke. You've spotted the publicity game in book publishing, slapping lipstick, mascara and botox over bad texts.

The other game is blurbs. Authors routinely round up fawning blurbs from other authors and these get posted on the jackets.

I have never solicited blurbs, though my publishers have, on occasion, and one or two repeatedly show up on my jackets. But almost all of my 51 published novels rely on my excellent reviews, which are quoted liberally.

Be wary of books loaded with blurbs and author photos. Trust the quality of books that quote reviews from diverse sources and don't market the author as a commodity.
-- Richard S. Wheeler

My favorite author photo from the genteel days (somewhere in my fuzzy '60s) was on the back cover of a science fiction book by Theodore Sturgeon (or was it Lester Del Rey?). The distinguished and respected author knelt on the floor beside his desk, requisite bookshelves in background. On Sturgeon's chair sat his dog, wearing a coat and smoking a pipe.
-- Happy Feder

NO WAY, JOSE
Re: The Washington Prowler's An Offer Kerry Can't Refuse:

The Prowler is way off.

The idea the Kerry would pick another Northeastern liberal with high negatives on his ticket because Clinton and his allies want him to is fever-swamp delirium and not cold-eyed analysis of this campaign. The money groups the Prowler says are "beholden" to Clinton will be with any Democratic nominee, whatever Clinton has to say. Also, a politician as smart as William would not even suggest this move to Kerry. He wants him to lose under his own power while Bill and Hil look like they struggled mightily for him. Kerry will go South, West and Right for his ticket-mate. That is the conventional move, and this guy doesn't have a creative bone in his body....
-- John Vecchione
Washington, D.C.

FREE ZONES
Re: William Tucker's Outsourcing Is Out of Sight and Reader Mail's Outsorcerers:

There is another argument for free trade with free nations that is often overlooked: What business does the state, or even the majority of voters that elects the leaders of the state, have telling a corporation or individuals running a business that they cannot make an arrangement with Indians to provide tech support or program computers? They have none. Unless there is a compelling national security reason to restrict trade (as there is with China), restricting trade, or forbidding outsourcing, is entirely inappropriate. But nobody even thinks about that. Busybody politicians and self-interested voters have no problem placing arbitrary restrictions on other people, so that they can get reelected or keep their jobs.

I understand that the Constitution gives the federal government the power to restrict imports. But that doesn't make exercising that power liberally the right thing to do.
-- Daniel Morgret
Blacksburg, Virginia

Well if you want to see a good example of what free trade does for a country, just look at the U.S. The U.S was set up as a free trade zone, with Congress as the WTO.
-- Robert Shotzberger

MAKING UP IS HARD TO DO
Re: The Washington Prowler's Hairy Kerry:

Kerry can put a dress on and look like a transvestite but he will still be a phony John "Fonda" Traitor. Like the old saying, you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Thanks,
-- Howard Lee
Reserve, Louisiana

SIGNING OFF
Re: George Neumayr's Mel's Maligners:

Absolutely brilliant piece on Sawyer and Gibson. Neumayr hit it right on the head. The only one who could have been more uninformed and ignorant would have been Sawyer's obnoxious twin, Barbara Walters. Thanks for a candid swipe at Sawyer, it's been a long time coming.
-- unsigned

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