The April "Mailblog"

Modern Mailbag graphic for Lloyd Garver's Modern Times column, roundup of reader e-mail, 6-21-02
Always looking to improve things, last summer, the people behind this Opinion page decided to give you two choices when it comes to commenting on columns. As usual, you can send me an e-mail — which I'm happy to receive and I always try to answer — or now you can post your comments right below my column in a sort of blog.

I wasn't all that familiar with "blogs" when this thing started. In case you're also not a blogger, they are postings that are displayed in reverse chronological order — so the most recent one is on top. In some ways, they are like dinner party conversations or the old "telephone game." They might start out dealing with one topic, and then end up talking about something entirely different.

Unless you read all the entries from beginning to end, it's pretty hard to understand how the most recent poster arrived at where he or she is. For example, I wrote a column about radar detectors in cars, and I read the first posting by a reader soon after the column appeared on our site. It said, in part, "Why is it that the very people who are called upon to enforce the speeding laws do not abide or have to abide by them?" OK, we were still on the topic of driving and speeding. But when I checked the entries a little while later, the top one said, "First of all, I said nothing about you lying about your wife." My reaction was, "Huh? What does his wife have to do with radar detectors?"

So, it's taken me a while to get used to blogs and postings, but now I enjoy hearing from readers this way in addition to receiving e-mails. With e-mails, people want to convey their feelings to me about what I wrote. On the other hand, those who post their comments are interested in having an "Internet discussion" about the topic. So, below you'll see some comments from both the e-mailers and the "blog posters."

Some of the responses to "Borat: Offensive, Funny, Or Both?" include:

Ed: We laughed hard at the movie — then felt like we should be apologizing to someone, but didn't know who."

Hermit: "I've only seen that man on TV and he is the most repulsive creature I've ever seen on TV and you know TV has a lot of competition for 'repulsive.'"

Gary: "Enough Borat already!!... in reality, Mr. Cohen is not funny. Anyone who would do what he is doing for profit, needs some form of psychiatric intervention."

In response to "Will New Citizens Meet The Test?" in which I discussed the new test for citizenship, readers wrote:

Consciousness: "... if we as a common people, use our head and not be afraid of what we don't know but embrace the unknown to learn ... we could really show the rest of the world what America was founded on."

Rudy...: (Defending me to one of the other "posters") "You have little grasp of satire or basic reading comprehension if you think that questions like, 'Why have former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush been hanging out with each other so much lately?' actually appear on the citizenship test, you may in fact actually be as stupid as your post makes you sound."

Tiger: "The number of people in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ha! I don't even know that one!!"

I received, among others, the following response to "In Praise Of Wishy-Washiness:"

Ralph: "Jimmy Buffett must be quoted in this regard: 'Indecision may or may not be my problem.'"

The responses to "New Year's Resolutions For Other People" included:

Maria: "It really hurts me to admit that I agree with your writing 100%. You are on target."

Phil: "All public figures should resolve that if they get into trouble to not enter rehab immediately and refuse to take responsibility for anything except alcoholism."

In "I'll Have A Clone-Burger With Hybrid Fries" I talked about the probability of food from cloned animals being on our grocery shelves in the not-too-distant future:

Carmen: "Everything will taste like chicken!!!"

In "Today's Polling Place: The TV Set," I talked about the recent practice of presidential hopefuls announcing their candidacy on television entertainment shows. One person took exception to my opinion, threw in a little insult, and demonstrated that he's not the most careful reader in the world:

Huan: "Obviously you're really old and are stuck in another era.... P.S. Jay Leno is not funny at all... you really are old."

Well, Huan, I never mentioned Jay Leno in my column. I did talk about David Letterman. Don't feel bad, Huan. It's probably easy for someone who's getting old to confuse the two of them.

In "Credit Card Blues," I talked about the experiment in which my wife and I gave up credit cards for a few months.

R919: "In 1987, I made the decision to live debt-free for the rest of my life ... I refuse to sell myself into indentured servitude to the credit card industry ever again. It isn't worth it. I am a free man."

In "Giving Forgetfulness A Bad Name," I talked about all of the politicians who don't seem to have a good memory when it comes to crimes they may or may not have committed.

David: "Must be something in the water in Washington that is creating all these hazy memories. That would explain all those campaign promises that they just can't seem to recall."

Call: "If only Clinton had said he couldn't recall Monica."

In "Fly With A Smile — And Nothing Else," I talked about the new screening devices at airports that are capable of seeing what we look like under our clothes. One reader couldn't resist taking what I choose to believe was a playful swipe at me:

Jim: "Lloyd, unless you are some alien being, they already know what you look like naked, and they aren't looking forward to seeing it in person."

Now we've come full circle, and you have the opportunity to either e-mail me or post your opinion of these opinions about my opinions.

Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.

By Lloyd Garver