The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 8, 2001 · Page 7
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 7

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Sunday, April 8, 2001
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THE SALINA JOURNAL SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2001 A? Tom Bell Editor & Publisher Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (785) 827-6363 E-mail: SJLetters® saljournal.com Quote of the day "Somebody got caught with their hand in the hamburger." Sen. Richard Durbin D-lll., on the Bush administration's decision to end a federal program to check school lunch hamburger for salmonella. The administration reversed its decision after word of the change got out Hee(l the voice of experience 1HEI88K PatLindquist THEARGUMBVT We should all listen to this lady P at Lindquist has some advice for all the youngsters out there. And, seeing how Lindquist is 91, that makes nearly everyone else a little kid. So listen up. The Brookville resident says the secret to long life, vitality and mental acuity is children. Playing with them, listening to them, being near them. But, most of all, teaching them. She should know. Lindquist began teaching 70 years ago in a one-room schoolhouse, in an area now under Kanopolis Lake. Though retired, or "retreaded" as she puts it, Lindquist still volunteers in local schools and is in her fifth decade with the Cardinal 4-H Club. She spent nearly 45 years teaching in schools located in Saline, Rice and Ellsworth counties, plus schools in Gainseville, Fla. We came to know Lindquist from a front-page Journal story reporting her upcoming induction into the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame on June 1 and 2. She was nominated to the Hall of Fame by residents of the Ell-Saline School District. And no wonder. After putting in nearly one lifetime getting paid to teach children, Lindquist is now doing it for free as she continues to volunteer in local schools. That's dedication. Besides the raw time involved, Lindquist also puts lots of heart into her work. Those who know her say Lindquist has the innate ability to connect with children, a trait backed by authentic and deep caring for them. In essence, they are describing the kind of teachers we wish for all children. And that is likely one reason why Lindquist was selected for The Kansas Teacher Hall of Fame Class of 2001. Our congratulations go out to Lindquist for this recognition. And besides that, we also want to thank her for her valuable advice. — Tom Bell Editor & Publisher IW^ 0\\N£^B RELEASED VIO^O TDDAV OF niE PfLDT ANiD Ca-PiloT OF m US, Spy PUN/£ 'n4AT COLLIDED toiTM fC=3£t T BELLWETHER The story of the one that got away Letters to the Journal are welcome but, like everything else in the newspaper, are subject to being edited for space, clarity and taste. All letters must include a daytime telephone number for confirmation. No anonymous letters will be published. Whenever I go fishing, Lucl< doesn't always want to come along L uck hides when I throw fishing poles and tackle box in the car. A fickle guest at best, she must hate the sport. She isn't there when I hook a carp at Tuttle Creek. It is gigantic and lays on the line like a log. I reel it to the shallows and stand gasping * at its size. Then the hook falls out of its mouth. We both stare. The carp recovers first, kicks once and returns to the deep. I am left with a story. Nothing else. Luck skips the trip when I go crappie fishing in college. A friend and I row a small boat out among some trees and drop wriggling minnows to the bottom. Hours later, sunburned, # stringers empty, and tiny flashes erupt around us. Hundreds of minnows leap in the air as if escaping a terror. The tip of my pole bends towards the water in a steady pull. The pole is braced in the floor of the boat. Good thing. Just before it bends double the line breaks. Minnows stop flickering across the surface. Quiet returns, the only motion a gentle rocking of the boat. We look at each other wondering what great beast scares minnows from the water and breaks fishing line like thread. TJie Salina Journal T EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK Keep those letters coming T SUNDAY FUNNIES A charter boat takes four of us venturing for sailfish — beautiful blue animals with huge fan-like dorsals. They fight like demons and make a nice trophy, if one has a place to hang it. I don't still in college, I pursue catfish at Milford Lake. Buddies tell about mud banks after a rain. Fish cruise the shore munching worms washed into the drink. Easy pickings. By this time I have two fishing poles. I bait the first, toss it in and reach for the second. Halfway through a knot and the first pole starts twitching. Then it shoots into the lake as if from a bow. For an hour I drag a hook and weight around the cove, trying to recover gear and fish. Luck doesn't help in my efforts. As usual. Luck also stays home, pouting I suppose, when I go deep-sea fishing in the Florida Keys. A charter boat takes four of us venturing for sailfish — beautiful blue animals with huge fan-like dorsals. They fight like demons and make a nice trophy, if one has a place to hang it. I don't. The skipper takes the spotting tower, the first mate rigs poles and bait. How much to mount one of these sail­ fish, I ask, thinking Luck may have snuck on board. About $100 a foot for sails, the first mate says, not counting spear and tail. Just pay at the dock and they'll ship it later That number sticks in my head as the first mate hands me the fighting harness. My turn. Straps go over the shoulders and a band around the waist. The butt of the pole in a socket above the belt. One hand on the pole, other on the crank. The big fish feels like an anvil as I work it towards the boat. Skipper in the tower shouts warnings as the sail fights back.. "She's going to jump!" I lean back, keep pressure on the line as the blue fish rises and tail-dances across the water Cheers and slaps on the back. Ten minutes and arms are lead straps. The sail, close in now, feels strong as ever The fun is done. Now the money part: Get the prize near enough to gaff or club. "She's about 70 pounds," the first mate shouts as he leans over the side, reaching. How long is it, I ask. "About four feet in the body" About $400 I don't have for a mounted fish I don't want. What can I do, give it to the crew? The mate stands up quiet. The pole suddenly light, loose line brushes my face. "The knot let go," he says. The captain curses from his perch. The mate drops chin to chest. I act disappointed. But I know Luck is along after all. • Journal Editor & Publisher Tom Bell can be reached at 823-6464, Ext. 753, or by email at tbell@saljournal.com. I f Congress allowed the U.S. Postal Service to end Saturday delivery, it would probably be the end of some congressional careers. Even if the service now distributes far more bills and junk mail than anything else, ours is a land where the jockey's whip incessantly slaps the horse's flank, and it's unthinkable many in this hustle-bustle population would happily live with one less day of mail each week. Of course, the postmaster's floating of the idea as a way of helping to avoid multibillion- dollar losses this coming year was probably not serious. One critic has been quoted as thinking the postmaster's real goal was to scare an independent rate commission into granting another 1-cent hike on postage stamps, following the 1-cent hike to 34 cents in January Other critics in and out of government have fiercer things to say, such as: • While it has not received taxpayer funds since the 1980s, the service does have a monopoly on first-class mail, it gets all kinds of breaks (it pays no taxes, for instance) and, according to its own inspector general, wastes hundreds of millions of dollars yearly • Even though its 800,000 employees constitute the largest civUian work force in America, account for three- fourths of total costs and add up to far more hands than necessary for the job, the Postal Service has done little to reduce the numbers. As it happens, there is another side to all of this. The Postal Service was in the black for five years until last year, when a number of developments and long-term problems started making its life more difficult. The rapid spread of e-mail had vastly reduced the mailing of personal letters, and was beginning to make inroads on business communications, including bills. The service was hit by the same energy price hikes affecting everyone else. And while it is obliged to serve every community in a growing America, the service is not entirely free to seek out the most efficient ways of achieving that end. For instance, some rural post offices are simultaneously costly and unneeded, but if you suggest closing one you had better run quickly before the congressional representative from that district finds you, grabs your throat and squeezes. While the Postal Service plans other cost-cutting measures, the ones so far mentioned will not be enough to avoid barrels of red ink. Reducing employees through attrition is one nonprofit group's proposal, and it makes sense. Some suggest providing more flexibility for the service through revisions of the governing statute. That should not be ruled out. Privatization has been proposed. Would it work? Perhaps, given adequate safeguards that small communities will never be neglected. But eliminating Saturday delivery is no more desirable than it is likely to happen. Not only would people refuse to stand for it, but in fact there would be a negative impact on businesses, the conduct of personal affairs and the gusto of American life. — Jay Ambrose Scripps Howard News Service I changed my name to bilk you better It might help if the telephone company had the word 'telephone' in its name S everal months ago, out of the blue, a company named "Cingular" started sending me bills. I had never heard of Cingular, and I honestly did not know what these bills were for, so I put them in the pile where I keep documents that I intend to scrutinize more carefully later on, after my death. Then I started seeing TV commercials for Cingular, but of course they did not make it clear what Cingu- ^ lar is, because the First Rule of Modern Advertising is: "Never reveal what you are advertising." In the Cingular commercials — maybe you've seen them — these little characters, which look like mutant starfish from space, walk around and make gestures. It is not at all clear why they are doing this. It crossed my mind that maybe they are mutant # starfish from space, and Cingular is the name of their home planet, and they've sent bills to all of humanity, and they are gesturing to indicate that if we don't pay them, they'll vaporize the earth. Eventually, I found out that Cingular is the new name of my cellular telephone company It used to be named BellSouth Mobility Before that I think it was just BellSouth, and before that, it was Southern Bell, and before that, I'm sure it was several other things. If you go far enough back, you'd probably find out that at one time, the name actually included the words "telephone company," so you could tell, from the name, what it did, which today would be a serious DAVE BARRY The Miami Herald Swell! I am all for the future! But what does Accenture do? What if it sends me a bill? Should I pay it? What if I don't, and it turns out that "Accenture" is the new name for the organization formerly known as "La Cosa Nostra?" violation of business ethics. So I paid my Cingular bills, because I need my cellular phone to communicate vital information ("Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? I can't hear you. Hello?"). I apparently have a special cellular plan wherein all my calls are routed through a Burger King drive-thru intercom in Bolivia. I envy the people whose cell phones always seem to work — the people you see in airports, with their phones attached to earphone/microphone devices, so they can stride around, gesturing and talking really loud into the air, looking kind of like Hamlet delivering his soliloquy ("To be, or not to be, that is the ... Hello?"). But my question is: Why do companies keep changing their names? And why do they always change them to names that don't mean anything? We consumers like names that reflect what the company does. We know, for example, that International Business Machines makes business machines; and Ford Motor makes Fords; and Sara Lee makes us fat. But we don't know, from the name "Verizon," what Verizon does. As far as I can tell, Verizon consists of some big telephone companies that joined together So why couldn't they call themselves "An Even Bigger Telephone Company"? And what in the world is "Accenture"? This is a company that buys a lot of ads, the overall message of which seems to be: "Accenture — A Company That Buys a lot of Ads." I checked the Accenture Internet site, and here's what it says about the name: "Accenture is a coined word that connotes putting an accent or emphasis on the future." Swell! I am all for the future! But what does Accenture do? What if it sends me a bfll? Should I pay it? What if I don't, and it turns out that "Accenture" is the new name for the organization formerly known as "La Cosa Nostra?" My body parts would be found in nine separate Hefty bags. The police would shake their heads and say, "Looks like he didn't pay his Accenture bill." This brings me to my idea for how you can make big money You start by inventing a new, modern-sounding company name, such as "Paradil" or "Gerbadigm," which are coined words that connote a combination of "paradigm" and "gerbil." Then you print official-looking invoice forms for this company, and you send out a mass-mailing of bflls for, let's say, $20.38 apiece, to several million randomly selected people. You enclose an announcement with a perky corporate marketing state-. ment that is clearly a lie, and thus appears; totally realistic, such as: "We've changed our name to serve you better!" Granted, some consumers would thrpw. the bill away But a lot of them would pay- it, because they're used to companies sud-' denly mutating on them. You'd get rich! The only flaw in this plan is that the postal authorities might question its legality If they give you any trouble, refer them to me, OK? My name is now Enron P. Citi­ group. • Dave Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald. Write to him do The Miami Herald, One Herald Plaza, Miami,. FL 33132.

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