Posted on January 19, 2020
When readers of this weekly effort take the time to write me a letter or email, it’s a safe bet they want to have the final word on whatever riled them to write. I’m fine with that.
In fact, because of their remarkable diligence, I turn this space over to reading writers every June […]
Posted on July 17, 2019
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 […]
Posted on July 10, 2019
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 […]
Posted on January 17, 2019
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 […]
Posted on July 19, 2018
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 […]
Posted on January 31, 2018
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, […]
Posted on July 31, 2017
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 […]
Posted on January 4, 2017
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, […]
Posted on August 3, 2016
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, […]
Posted on September 30, 2015
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; […]