When I was a newspaper reporter for the Binghamton Sunday & Evening Press and Tampa Tribune in the 1960’s and 1970’s people who wrote letters to the editor had to take time to type or handwrite their comments, address an envelope, buy a stamp and then mail us their opinions.
Prior to slipping their letters in the mail-drop the writers had time to rethink their remarks and decide if they really wanted to publicly express themselves following an impulsive moment of outrage. At the paper we called those that impetuously wrote to us without editing or reconsidering their rash comments, the “lunatic fringe.”
Those that plopped their missives in the mailbox without a second thought were great sources of entertainment for those of us at the paper as well as our readers. We refused to publish many of them because they were too embarrassing to the writer or incoherent. Some were so alarming they were forwarded to the police.
With the advent of the Internet it’s become exponentially worse. Letters are fired off to editors seconds after readers have been infuriated, placated, or otherwise inspired by something they just read or heard. The local News Leader doesn’t care, it’ll print anything resembling English whether it’s written in crayon or composed from clippings cut from magazines.
An example is a letter published in the July 24 News Leader headlined: “We are better than this” that could have been authored by the editors of the Onion, a national parody publication. Maybe it was, I have no way of knowing.
In it, its writer, identified as Carla Voisard of Yulee, told those who bothered to read her epistle, that she is unhappy, and made it clear that she is ….well, VERY, VERY unhappy with America.
In fact, Ms. Voisard said in her letter that she was so “depressed” with the results of the last presidential election that she “sold her home, traveled, and ended up France.” Following the November 2016 election I can picture Ms. Voisard’s cab screeching to a halt at the airport as she leaps out, boards a plane, frantically points to an Air France flight and demands of the pilot: “Follow that plane and step on it.”
She said she was surprised by her reception there saying in her letter: “France is not a country known for being friendly, especially to Americans” offering no examples or facts to support that ludicrous statement, one that’s used often by English-speaking-only-folks with spanking new passports who have never before traveled out of their own county, spend their first days abroad desperately searching for a Big Mac, and wiping their host restaurant’s silverware with dirty handkerchiefs.
Ms. Voisard’s remarks made it very clear she’s not well-traveled or the sharpest knife in the drawer. She’s fortunate she didn’t “end up” in Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Vietnam, Lebanon, El Salvador, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Venezuela, Haiti, Angola, Afghanistan, Baltimore, or any other place whose inhabitants would be ecstatic at being able to impulsively pack up and move anywhere else, especially to the United States. Terrorized and destitute people around the world would give anything to get out of their wretched countries and into ours, but Ms. Voisard couldn’t get out of America fast enough.
In addition to logic and rational thinking, planning is not one of Ms. Voisard’s strengths, as she wrote that she spent three months in France, the country where she said she somehow “ended up without anyone being mean or rude.” Apparently she thought the violent “Mouvement des gilets jaunes” protesters smashing storefronts, battling police, and setting cars and buildings ablaze along the Champs-Élysées and other Parisian and French city streets were part of a quaint French custom performed by local natives in their colorful costumes. It appears she was also ignorant of the violence-riddled “no-go” Islamic neighborhoods in Paris and other French cities that even the Gendarmerie Nationale won’t venture into, is unaware of the mass murder in a Paris music hall of 120 people by Islamic terrorists, the recent spate of murders of Jewish people, and France’s increasing anti-Semitism.
I was employed by global corporations in Brussels and Paris and lived in those cities for more than eight years, including three years in the heart of Paris’s 16th Arrondissement. Not once did I experience a French person being “mean or rude” to me because I was an American other than the typical grouchy person we all encounter here occasionally or a disgruntled restaurant “garçon” who is mean and rude to everybody given his mood that particular day. Like most sensible people I avoided the high crime areas. People in France are no different than people here. But Ms. Voisard’s three months in France apparently qualify her as an authority.… a “Francophone.” The French are fortunate this woman moved out of their lovely country. I’m assuming they don’t miss her, probably just the opposite.
In her letter she said she has resettled here but made it very clear she’s still not happy with America, never explaining why she returned. Maybe she couldn’t find a Big Mac. In her disjointed missive she says that “back here in the U.S. her neighbors watch out for her.” (Or maybe they are just whispering to each other: “WATCH OUT for HER!”). But, she adds, “this country is not behaving like France or the folks on her block,” and condemns America because she says, “we are locking children in cages and not providing beds or even toothpaste or soap.” She claims that she and her friends collected these items, but says the government rejected them because it “wants them to suffer as a deterrent.”
In her confused and muddled claptrap she attempts to denounce the Trump administration by falsely claiming it abuses illegal immigrant children on the southern border. Of course, it doesn’t and never has. I wonder if she complained as voraciously when President Obama initiated the detention centers that she calls “cages” and oversaw more deportations than President Trump? I doubt it. This irate, disgruntled, ill-informed member of the “lunatic fringe” went on and on in her childish, rambling, American grievance-mongering screed spouting clueless and irrational loathing for America and supplying no facts or sources to support her sophomoric nonsense.
It’s obvious this woman has no idea what she’s talking about and is incapable of composing a cohesive thought. The News Leader shares the blame for her public humiliation as it printed her blather, thus holding her up for public ridicule. And I’m happy to oblige. However, nothing I write here will change this befuddled woman’s mind, but it might save her from further embarrassment by making her think twice before impetuously firing off another letter to the editor. And it might put French authorities at “la frontière” on alert to “WATCH OUT for HER.”
Speaking Of The News Leader: I rarely if ever agree with anything in News Leader opinion columns written by Editor Peg Davis, but this past Wednesday, July 31, I couldn’t find a single disagreeable word, just the opposite. Ms. Davis argued that paid beach parking is a not only a bad idea, but an idea that may not even be legal because it discriminates between Fernandina Beach residents and Nassau County residents. She went on to add that funds from such a scheme would probably be misused by a bloated city government that should instead be looking for ways to ease the community’s tax burden, not stupid ways to raise more money. Count me in as a Peg Davis fan on this one.
Speaking Of The City: Apparently the city recently sent out a questionnaire to residents requesting feedback on a variety of subjects including the above mentioned beach parking issue. I didn’t get one and only know two folks who did. Most of my city-resident pals at our local watering hole, tell me they didn’t get one either. So where can we pick one up and add our two cents worth? Or is that allowed? Or do we have to be randomly selected to respond?
A Wall That Works: Folks who think a border wall won’t stop illegals from entering the United States may want to take a look at what’s happening in Hungary. According to news reports I’ve read the day its border fence was completed, the number of illegals entering Hungary went down from 6,353 per day to 870 the next. For the remainder of that month, illegal border crossings were steadily below 40 per day, officials said. “They don’t even try,” a local border guard told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We haven’t had a single Muslim migrant in six months.” Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s pledge to stop illegals from flowing into the country appears to be a spectacular success. Hungary’s 96-mile long, 14-foot tall double-line fence includes several layers of razor-wire. Illegals who are caught are arrested and dropped off on the Serbian side of the fence. They don’t get a chance to apply for asylum unless they do so at a “transit zone” where they are held in housing containers while their cases get processed. Sounds like a plan to me.
Robert Mueller? Who’s He? The 20 Democrat Party presidential candidates that appeared in the TV “debates” this past Tuesday and Wednesday didn’t once mention Robert Mueller or his $30 million dead-end investigation. Not even the CNN debate moderators, whose network incessantly ballyhooed that sad affair for two solid years as the end of Donald Trump, said a word about Mueller or his failed “witch hunt.” So now this crowd has switched from calling Trump a “Russian operative” to calling him a “racist.” The booming Trump economy wasn’t mentioned either. I wonder why? This was the saddest, dimmest, nuttiest, and most dishonest group of out-of-touch politicians and pundits I’ve ever seen gathered in one place in my lifetime.
Things I Wish I’d Said: “If you can’t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.” – Kingsley Amis.
College Degree Winners & Losers: If you want junior to get a really good paying job after four years of college so he can start earning enough to begin paying off those student loans, then petroleum engineering is the field he might want to consider. The average starting salary of this area is $102,300, and the average mid-career salary is $176,300 according to Brilliant Future, a company that helps companies develop customer and employee relations programs to improve business results. On the other hand, imagine racking up $100,000 or more in student loans and then walking out the door with a degree in psychology whose holders earn a median salary of $29,000 per year. According to the Brilliant Future study, majors in psychology earn less than other majors and even worse is that this field has an unemployment rate of about 16%. The only folks making any money in this field are those at universities that sell this degree to suckers dim enough to buy one. A field left off the list was entrepreneur, such as opening a university and charging outrageous sums for worthless products and services while getting government subsidies to do it.
Bankruptcy For All: Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled the latest version of his scheme for single-payer healthcare for all last week and estimated it could cost up to $40 trillion over 10 years, which blows past the $32 trillion initial estimate by outsiders. The entire U.S. federal budget for 2018 was $4.094 trillion, The Patriot Post reports. It cites Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw: “So Sanders is casually talking about expending the equivalent of our entire budget on his health care plan. (While simultaneously outlawing private health insurance and wiping out an entire industry.)” – Source: Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
What The Heck Is Going On Here? “In a legal system based on the presumption of innocence, when did it become a prosecutor’s job to ‘exonerate’ someone after failing to conclude they committed a crime?” – Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal.
A Fish Story: I don’t know much about fishing. I’ve owned a house here since 2002 and not once have I caught a fish. There’s a reason for that as I haven’t gone fishing once since I’ve been a resident. However, there are lots of folks that enjoy fishing and are very good at it. And there are many hereabouts that do it for a living. I ran into a group of them recently at a neighborhood bar and restaurant as they were planning the 5th Annual Amelia Island Redfish Spot Tournament scheduled for Saturday September 6-7. They’re a fun and enthusiastic crowd and told me that their event is enjoyable, worthwhile, and can be financially rewarding with first place worth $2,000.
Their tournament, which will be hosted by the Amelia Island Marina, is being organized by the Amelia Island Guides Association with a percentage of the net proceeds benefiting the Folds of Honor Foundation. Entry forms can be picked up at local bait and tackle stores, by calling Capt. Brian Soucy at 904/505-3481 or visiting www.AmeliaIslandGuidesAssociation.com. The Amelia Island Guides Association is a group of licensed guides and charter boat operators who joined together to promote the charter fishing industry and outdoor activities on Amelia Island. The group is also seeking additional sponsors to help defray costs.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Tonight, Friday, August 2, the Historic Fernandina Business Association’s Sounds on Centre will feature one of the island’s most popular groups, the Honey Badgers from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The band will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock featuring music from that era so breakout your old hippie garb and come prepared to reminisce. Unlike the original Woodstock, clothing is not optional and there will be no mud pits to wallow in. This evening’s performance is sponsored appropriately enough by the Green Turtle Tavern, the Happy Tomato Café & BBQ, PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden, Mac Graphics Printing, and the Salty Pelican Bar & Grill. And if you miss them downtown tonight due to rain or another reason the Honey Badgers will perform at Main Beach’s Sandbar Sunday, August 4 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. If you want to hear an area music legend, then next Friday, August 9, head to American Legion Post 54, 626 South 3rd Street, for a performance by one of the best rhythm and blues groups to perform hereabouts — Guitar Redd and the Red Hots. Redd has some impressive credentials having performed with Percy Sledge, Freddie “Boom Boom” Cannon, The Tams, The Coasters, and The Shirelles, and has been featured at New York’s famous Apollo Theater. Call the Legion at 904/261-7900. If you want to go bar hopping downtown, don’t want to walk or risk driving, then Lisa Inglis will haul you around the downtown historic district in her three-passenger Flip Flops Pedicab, a 24-speed comfy tricycle. She charges five bucks for a short ride and will conduct a 20-30 minute tour indicating points of interest in the district for $20. She’s permitted by the city and carries a medallion, just like a cab. Contact her at 904/726-2743 or email@example.com.