Letters to the Editor

(September 26, 2005)


[Ed. As a reminder to Letter writers: If you want your letters to be published, you must include your first and last names and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]


Progress, eh? Gilles d'Aymery's Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery can rave and rant against the Amazons and Wal*Marts of this world to his heart's content. He can commiserate with the small family businesses and landmark bookstores and shed crocodile tears at the disappearance of an obsolete way of life, but consumers will vote with their wallets. Why should they spend their hard-earned cash in local stores when they can save 20 or 30 percent through the Internet, or from the big super-stores by driving a few miles? For a lot of consumers these savings are a necessity. By shopping locally you drastically limit consumers' choice. They can only buy what the locals offer, which is close to zero selection.

Communities keep changing. From what I understand, the place where he lives has gone through several transformations -- lumber, sheep raising, fruit orchards, and now vineyards. What's wrong with this picture? This is America. Things change. We adapt. Perhaps the author, coming from France, brought with him an Old European mentality, but we Americans, did not leave Europe to recreate the same paradigm. We created a new reality, instead. That's why we are the most powerful nation in the world. We create; we move on; we are doers. Those who can't adapt are destined to the dustbins of history.

I can picture Mr. d'Aymery driving his 2005 PC Toyota Prius to the local stores to buy a few items and spend thousands of dollars on exotic trip around the world, when he's not typing his morsel on his latest P-IV computer. Actually, I'd dare him -- putting his obvious elitist liberalism aside -- to tell his readers, including myself, what his "real" agenda is.

Progress will not pause because of the likes of Mr. d'Aymery. We know better.

Respectfully submitted,

Brian Brown
Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - September 19, 2005
Gilles d'Aymery responds: The definition of "Progress" would require more space and time that I presently have. My "real" agenda is primarily about putting together a bi-weekly Swans edition (a small collective -- and personal -- perspective). Secondarily, I'm trying, however poorly and with little resources, to alert people to the dangers of the "Americanization" of the world -- something Mr. Brown finds, I suspect, exhilarating (I do not). Thirdly, in my wildest dreams, and far away from the "Old European" paradigm, France included, I strive for the "Cubanization" of the world (or, as of recent happenings, the "Venezualazation" of the world...and I could add many more names of people who have consistently put people first, far, far, before consumers...). I dream of a just and egalitarian world based on solidarity and fraternity, not a Darwinian construct based on religiosity, consumerism, and death in the name of liberty for the happy few.

The car I drive is a September 1986 Toyota small pick-up truck, or most rarely, a Toyota Land Cruiser (also from September 1986). They have, respectively, close to 150,000 and 90,000 miles on their odometers. I bought the pick-up from a former neighbor, Steve Mader, in April 2004. It had 148,000 miles on it. I bought the Land Cruiser in 1991 from a San Rafael (California) dealer. It had 38,000 miles. That's should give Mr. Brown an idea of how much I drive to go get a bargain... My computer is a 1999 P-III machine (I feel quite ahead of most of the world on this one! Though I would easily admit that the power-supply fan has become quite noisy and distracting. Would Mr. Brown send a contribution to relieve the annoyance?)

There is no bargain to be found when shopping at the mega-stores, whatever the discounts in relation to local stores. The reason? Purchases on impulse, which have been well documented over the years... You go in and end up buying more than what you need. Check your garage and closets... Ever give a second thought to the low wages and lack of benefits that Wal*Mart offers its employees so that you can enjoy their low prices? And driving "a few miles" has consequences: not just gasoline or diesel fuels, but tires, wear and tear, roads maintenance, global warming, etc... -- and ultimately wars over resources and hurricanes...

How many brands of milk does one need?

Finally, in my book, people and "consumers" are not synonyms. I have yet to reconcile myself with the commodification of human beings.


Parallels: Gerard Donnelly Smith's The Insurgent Word: Suicide

Read the article by Gerard Donnelly Smith with interest.

After reading the article and seeing an inner part of his life, i.e., the loss of a brother to suicide and breaking with the Church, this somewhat parallels that of my wife of over 57 years and myself.

Our oldest son spent two years and 18 consecutive days in that Hell Hole of Viet Nam as a BAMC trained medic. Spent two years and 15 days in the 35/4th Inf Div in some of the roughest fighting, and then was sent to the 71st Evac Hosp Gristmill for 10 months. Then sent home to his mother, younger sister, brother and me in April 1970 with a less-than-honorable discharge as; "a designated drug addict." What drug? Of course amphetamines. We did not know him when he returned. It would have been better for his family had he been killed over there.

A long story but we have not seen him in over 21 years. Within two years he tries to kill his once loving sister and then on Christmas Eve 1984 it had to be him or me. He never had a day AWOL and I have it in writing, "Gordon cannot even get an 'aspirin' out of the VA." Some 450,000 troopers were given less-than-honorable discharges during the 1964-1973 era from VN alone.

In this I have just recently completed a 90,000-word, 298-page manuscript. My present publisher has it on a six-month campaign to be a best-seller. I turned down McFarland Publishing and the largest Literacy Agency.


Willard D. Gray
Sumner, Illinois, USA - September 12, 2005


The inconceivable duly conceived: Philip Greenspan's The Declining Sole Superpower
To the Editor:

For some answers, I suggest Philip Greenspan get a copy of Proof of a Conspiracy by John Robison AM 1797. Beautiful prose. Perhaps he may be somewhat illuminated.


John Cameron
"G.W. Bush Regime whereby the inconceivable is duly conceived."
Sydney, NSW, Australia - September 14, 2005


Apparel for wealthy dogs Running on Fumes
Dear Editor:

I've just read your "Running on Fumes" article and am intrigued by the following Footnote (which I've copied and pasted):

"Angela Tyler-Rockstroh is a Broadcast Designer/Animator working with major Networks such as Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, HBO Family, PBS, etc. She also creates satirical graphics for Phil Rockstroh and has recently worked with Flickerlab on the opening animation of the new Michael Moore documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. When life does not squeeze too much out of her, she finds time to produce and design a high-end line of coats and party dresses for small dogs."

I would appreciate it if you would let me know if this last sentence (which I've highlighted) is meant to be a joke? Or, does Angela Tyler-Rockstroh REALLY design coats and dresses for small dogs?


Martha Ireland
Dublin, Ireland - September 10, 2005
[ed. It's not a joke. Angela does design coats and dresses for small dogs. Go figure!]


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Published September 26, 2005
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