Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17, 2013

Protest needed

In a town where many Olympic quality athletes live and train it would be nice to see them organizing a protest against the Olympic Committee’s banning of Rainbow Colors at the Russian Winter Olympics. These colors signify the freedom to express one’s sexual orientation.

Russia’s going backwards; let’s keep going forward.

Al Brown

Hood River

Avoid sarcasm

Recently the Hood River News published guidelines for letter writers. While they were mostly about length and content, I would suggest one more thing: tone. In particular, sarcasm.

Whereas I feel sarcasm should be avoided in most writing, I am not opposed to it per se. It can be used effectively to make a point or to add humor to a serious debate. It is at its best, however, when it is delivered subtly, with a smile, to a friend or acquaintance, and in person.

Many of the clues for detecting sarcasm come from the speaker’s intonation and even body language. Both of which are lost to the reader. In writing it often comes across as mean-spirited and heavy-handed.

While this may be amusing to the writer and to those who share his views, it will often anger the opposing side and perhaps confuse the undecided. If the intent of a letter is to persuade and/or inform, the writer has failed at both.

I can think of some wonderful examples of sharp wit in writing; Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker to name a few. In writing, I think sarcasm is best left to the professionals.

Dennis Kindig

The Dalles

Above and beyond

While traveling on Highway 35 with his lights on was a county deputy parked, picking up a big pile of trash spread out on the road. I don’t think he was on work release (lol) but was doing it because it was the right thing to do.

Thanks to the deputy.

Jim Burdick


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Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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