June 25, 2008

Nothing Gets Past Observant News Readers

By JIM BELSHAW Of the Journal

Let's see, where were we ... ah, yes -- swastikas, air travel, headlines that grate on the nerves, complaining too much, the Obama anti-Christ conspiracy and the chicken conspiracy.

I wasn't aware of that last one, but I have found very little gets past those of you out there in readerland.

Today, the readers write. As usual, I do not have room for all the letters. You'll be able to find them in their entirety on my blog at www.abqjournal.com/ belshaw.

Also, as usual, I want to thank everyone who wrote, especially those of you who took the time to point out the numerous areas available to me for selfimprovement.

We begin with air travel.

RW, Albuquerque --Either you have bad luck or you look for ways to complain. I have found the computerized check-in stations easy to use and clear and attendants to them have always been helpful ... No ticket agent has ever complained to me about them ... I think airlines do well by their passengers. I have learned to take a few precautions. I get to the airport an hour ahead of my flight. I am well prepared at the security check ... Airline personnel are, with rare exceptions, pleasant, courteous and helpful, but I see a lot of rude passengers who complain about everything from having to take their shoes off to a delayed flight.

PK, Los Alamos -- As an octogenarian (fancy word for old) lady who must travel by walker or wheelchair, I would like to add my (air travel story). In Dallas, do not put too much faith in announced gates and terminals. Ours were changed three or four times, not only the gate but also the terminal. Even with the "train" (Skylink), doing this is frustrating and time consuming when using a walker or wheelchair.

Found the gate eventually, boarded plane, left the gate, parked in line for several hours, returned to gate for refueling, everyone told to get off plane ... Later told flight had been canceled. So back on plane to collect personal belongings, then another gate for rescheduling ... Most flights already full ... given "distressed passenger" discount on motel room ... Lengthy search in airport for luggage ...

Orville and Wilbur had no idea what they were starting, did they?

WD -- Gee, golly, gosh. It's only a swastika. (Unknown people painted a swastika on the house of Mikey Weinstein, at odds for years with what he sees as the imposition of evangelical Christianity on military personnel.) Treat it as any other graffiti. I think he (Weinstein) should find something better to do with his time and stop worrying about what other people think. We already have too many people like him now. There is always someone out there trying to tell someone else how to think.

MG, Albuquerque -- The headline in today's Journal reads "Help for Stroke Victims." It is the use of that word, victim, that locks many stroke patients into a mind-set that they are helpless ... Certainly the content of that article was valuable ... Just hate the use of that word.

When my husband had his massive stroke ... he was the favorite of the therapists because he chose not to see himself as a victim ... So you can see I was incensed when I read the headline. It is attitudes like that which lock many patients to the mind-set that they have no choice but to cower as a victim when they could instead make the choices necessary to live a rewarding life ...

BF -- I never thought you'd be involved in a conspiracy, but apparently you are based on your column ... It was obvious. The page on which your column began had one story about raising chickens in the city. Below that was a story about a bust of a cockfighting ring. For relief, I turned to your column, which I normally enjoy, and what do I find? Airline passengers "pecking" at computers. Was this a subliminal message or what?

Dear BF: I can't get anything past you people, can I?

Write to Jim Belshaw at the Albuquerque Journal, P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103; telephone -- 823-3930; e-mail -- [email protected]

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