Reader Mail

Writers Write, Readers Read, and, Often, Readers Write

Writers write and readers read and, always to this writer’s pleasant surprise, readers often write. Most letters and emails are either complimentary or inquisitive. More than a few, however, come nowhere near complimentary and some, in fact, are quite, ah, declarative.

      For example, 2019 was just three days old when the editor of an Indiana […]

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Ag Has Bigger Problems Than Weather, Trade, Bailouts…

      When you’ve been in the ag journalism game for almost 40 years, few things surprise you. Floods, droughts, market crack-ups, political crockery, price fixing: none of it is shocking anymore.

      And, yet, on June 21, the Washington Post published a farm-based story that made even this graybeard marvel at how tone deaf and superior-sounding rural politics has […]

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“Fair and Balanced” Reader Mail Round-Up

Tweeter-in-Chief, President Donald J. Trump, has been quite clear in his opinion of CNN, the cable television news network. Indeed, Trump’s despise of the network—he thinks its initials stand for Certainly Not News—encourages supporters to use “CNN” as a slander.
For example, when a reader of this weekly effort sends an email that includes the sentence […]

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Readers Can Write, Too

There’s an art and elegance to letter writing that electronic communication—email, texting, direct messaging, Twitter, and other ethereal forms—simply can’t capture. The biggest difference is also its most ironic: paperless communication encourages brevity and emphasizes urgency.
Why, I wonder, is there a weight restriction on email? NNTR. (No need to reply.)
Still, most reader letters do, in […]

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Catcalls and House Calls

It’s entirely likely that I will anger people from Delaware to Montana any given week with nothing more than an idea, supporting facts, and a couple of barrels of ink. Spurring anger takes no special talent; it’s me, remember? Still, every week dissimilar people 2,000 miles apart send me amazingly similar emails.
For example, one emailer, […]

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“Done Reading Your Rubbish”

Six months may have passed since readers last got their say in this space but nothing during that time has mellowed their views of this effort, the words they use to explain those views, and some of their more colorful suggestions on where they think I should store my ink pens.
For example, a March column […]

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“Mooey Christmas”

As this thinly-priced farm year and deeply bitter election year glides toward its inevitable end, readers continue to pack my email inbox with sugar-coated compliments and napalm-encased invective.
Sometimes this polar divide is showcased by comments on the same column and, sometimes, these warmly complimentary/on-fire angry emails even arrive the same day. This past summer, however, […]

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“Your Arrogance is Unbelievable”

Recently, my pastor, a former U.S. Army chaplain, noted that the only thing with a higher rank than a chaplain on any Army helicopter is the mail. “I could bump a general off a flight—not that I ever did—but the mail flies before either of us,” he related.
That makes perfect sense; no amount of striped, […]

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The Summer of Honey

Faithful readers of this weekly effort may recall my darling, but dangerous Uncle Honey. He was my hometown’s quiet, easy-going milkman who retired to the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth to break, bend or beat up any plant, animal or machine unlucky enough to be nearby when Honey “helped” my father.
It wasn’t intentional; […]

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Hey, Mistakes Happen

Rare is the day any newspaper is printed without a mistake. All strive for perfection; few ever achieve it.
Newspapers, of course, don’t make mistakes; newspaper reporters and editors make mistakes. Last week, one of those reporters was me.
In a column outlining the newly reinstated lawsuit challenging how the National Pork Board paid the National Pork […]

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