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Archive for Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Unrelated irritations aired

February 22, 2006

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Today I want to discuss a few, unrelated issues, unrelated except to the extent that I find them irritating.

First, why does the press around the world think the story of Dick Cheney accidentally shooting a hunting companion to be newsworthy? I am no great fan of the vice president, but the fact of the matter is that hunting can be dangerous and accidents happen.

I have no idea precisely what went on at the Armstrong ranch but I am fairly certain that the vice president was not deliberately gunning for a staunch Republican and major donor to the party, even if he was a lawyer. Having done some bird hunting myself I can say from personal experience that nobody in his or her right mind goes off to retrieve a kill in the line of fire. But it doesn't really matter. In a world that seems to be rushing toward chaos, why would any responsible news organization devote substantial time to reporting this story?

Even if we accept that for some stupid reason the vice presidential staff delayed giving the report to the media, this was still absolutely not worth reporting more than one brief mention. Shame on the media.

Second, I believe that the time has come for someone to devise a code of etiquette for e-mail. It is desperately needed. I'm not speaking of spam; there is no justification other than base mercenary impulses combined with an incredible lack of civility for spam.

What I'm talking about are the e-mails one finds in one's mailbox from colleagues, friends, long lost friends, people one barely knew in high school, etc. These often take the form either of an announcement about something in which I have no interest or, worse, a statement of a desire to renew an old relationship.

How does one handle such things in a polite manner? The truth is that I've stayed in touch with most of the people I knew with whom I wished to be in touch. If I let contacts lapse, there was a reason for it. I don't really want to reply that I'm not interested in renewing an old friendship; that would be rude. Simply deleting the message and not replying would be equally rude. So what to do?

And as far as going to some event or reading some book someone I hardly know has recommended, no thanks. I have enough to read and do. The trouble is, I simply don't know how to deal with these unsolicited and unwanted messages from people I know or knew. I welcome constructive suggestions.

Finally, I must protest the decision of KDOT to keep the speed of the now widened section of Sixth Street west of Wakarusa Drive at 40 mph. I thought that the whole point of the project was to make traffic flow better. How does reducing the speed accomplish this?

What it does seem to do is create a speed trap for the unwary or forgetful. I also think that it is rather dangerous. I drive that stretch of road every morning. And on a fair number of those mornings, someone in front of me forgets the reduced speed limit until the last minute and then slams on his or her brakes, which often endangers those driving behind. Please, KDOT, rethink this decision!

Well, I don't know whether these comments will have any positive effect, but I feel better writing them. Have a good, unfrustrating week.

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