It seems to me that including a means for readers to communicate directly with me by e-mail opens the door for both pleasant and as well as, shall we say, “not so pleasant” comments.
Long-time readers understand I write on topics that folks hereabouts are likely interested in and as a result I appreciate the resulting feedback and dialogue — if for no other reason that it indicates someone is actually reading this stuff. Anyway, I thought I would share some recent readers’ comments. I got a very rapid response to my recent “gardening update” column in which I described my dilemma with squirrels eating my green tomatoes and how I didn’t have a solution to the problem.
Well, I was very quickly informed there is a product that will deter squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and all kinds of other munchers from tomatoes, vegetables, fruit, and flowers from our gardens. It’s called “Hot Pepper Wax Spray” and is locally available at a garden center on Far Hills. The effective ingredient is cayenne pepper in a wax base which is sprayed onto the affected vegetation such as tomatoes with the wax providing a coating to keep the pepper on the plant. If a voracious varmint tries to take a bite of a tomato, the hot pepper is so repellent that a single bite is too much.
The morning after I made the first application I saw a couple of small tomatoes with tooth marks only. No real bites, no chunks missing. Since then I have seen no evidence of marauding munchers. Oh, by the way, this is an all-natural product that is harmless to humans and the tomatoes are still edible — simply wash the wax off. Well, I’ll keep on spraying my few remaining tomatoes and report back, but I’m afraid it’s a case of too little and too late. Maybe next year.
OK, moving on.
Not long ago I lamented the plight of millions of TV viewers over the temporary loss of “soap operas” because the virus has prohibited new episodes from being taped. I noted how these programs have become an integral part of the daily lives of their fans who view the characters in these shows as “family”. Well, I sure hit a soft spot for some folks — enough so they shared their enthusiasm for the ongoing stories about imaginary folks in imaginary settings — including in a non-existence city. One reader told me watching “their” soap was a multi-generational activity and a guy admitted he had scheduled his days around the time his soap was on. One opinion that is apparently shared is the the decision to rerun old episodes until they figure out how to do new ones has not been well-received, but it’s better than nothing and dedicated fans are looking forward to early resumption of the series. Hope does spring eternal, right?
My commentary on “True Believers” also generated feedback. One reader commented that I had “hit the nail right on the head” in that he had been trying to figure out some context for what he was witnessing going on in this country. My very condensed summary of the True Believer concept — as in the so extremely well and easily understood work by Eric Hoffer — gave him a framework into which events apparently fit. Glad to have helped. Of some interest, however, were comments not about the True Believer concept, but about how True Believer activities are financed, that is, where the funds to organize and pay the wherewithal involved with supporting the demonstrations, violent confrontations, and such are coming from. One question was whether these folks have jobs or not. I admit to having no answers.
I don’t want to give the impression that all feedback is complimentary because it most certainly is not. Some use words such as “racist” and “pathetic” to describe my observations, but that is to be expected. When I first signed on to write a weekly opinion column many years ago I was cautioned by my editor to expect not everyone would agree with my ideas and judgement calls. She has proved to be absolutely correct, but that goes with the territory. Anyway, I figure I can handle most critical words thrown at me — with the possible exception of one that is becoming increasing in use as a penalty for someone whose ideas are counter to the prevailing political correctness concepts. The word? It’s “cancel” meaning “to discontinue, delete, drop, or otherwise cease an activity.”
That would be tough to take.
At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a regular contributing columnist and local area resident, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.