Friday, April 26, 2013

Good Read

Recently read "AFTER VISITING FRIENDS" by Michael Hainey.  I read a review of the book in the Tampa Bay Tribune describing the investigative reporting by Hainey, an editor for GQ.  The review interested me because the author was investigating the circumstances of his father's death in 1970 at the age of 35.

The book did not disappoint...I had a hard time putting it down. And I can assure anyone who gets the chance to read it, Michael Hainey invested a full measure of investigation and a whole lot more attention to detail than I could  (as evidenced by the fact that I cut off his last name while scanning the book cover pictured above)!  Don't rub your eyes to focus the photo on the's meant to be blurry. Unlike Michael Hainey's story which I found intriguing.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Letter To The Editor Unsent

The world is full of grumps, bellyachers, and whiners. I believe this to be true because I am one of these or any combination of these traits from time to time.   It's easy for my mind to rationalize my membership in this not so exclusive club as something I'm entitled to because of my age. After all, I'm sixty eight years of age and if I want to complain about something I'm gonna' do it and that's that! But while I quickly embrace that justification for sounding off on things that concern me, the few functioning brain cells in my head that might retain shreds of common sense will remind me that increasing age doesn't always ensure a pathway to increased wisdom.

Another reason for including myself with the world's curmudgeons is that I am hopelessly drawn each morning to my newspaper's editorials section. And that includes reviewing the letters to the editor. Reactionary by tradition and perhaps by definition, letter authors are quick to grumble about everything you can imagine, often responding to previously published letters from other readers. People just love to disagree with each other it seems. It's a vicious cycle but fascinating to read. I will admit, there are many I dismiss as meaningless and unworthy of full scrutiny after I read just a few lines. Any religious tones, like quoting gospel or denouncing other religions are of no interest to me. I say, keep that stuff in church and out of the newspapers. I'm all for prayer and praise of good works, but your religion may not be the same as my religion or the next guy's so I don't feel it should be used as a basis for reasoning in public forums like newspapers. Beyond that, letters to the editor can really be fun to read and especially so when the writer condemns one political party or the other, attacks politicians or public office holders for perceived ethics violations, and, last but not least, uses constitutional interpretations to build a case for whatever point they are trying to make.  Oh, and cites facts and figures and percentages to support their cause. I think a lot of facts are pulled out of a hat and other irrelevant places.

My conclusion from this is that most people, and especially people who write letters to the editor are, for the most part, full of crap. Perhaps no different from you and me, but nevertheless just full of it.  Apparently full of themselves as well, looking to see their creative writing efforts in print. Come to think of it, I guess that's what blogs are for so I'd better be careful not to pursue this line of reasoning any further or I might be cutting off my nose to spite my face.  But my innocence in this regard is beyond a reasonable doubt when comparing readership of my blog to that of letters to the editor in  newspapers.  No Nielson ratings required to measure who attracts the most readers.