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From Smokers To "Smoking Mad"

Hubertus, Prince of Saxony Coburg and Gotha, right, leads his American wife Kelly Rondestvedt out of St. Moriz church in Coburg, Germany, following their church wedding ceremony, Saturday, May 23, 2009. About 400 guests attended the wedding of the hereditary prince and the 34-year-old Kelly from Pensacola, Fla. (AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz)
AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz
Once again, it's "Your Turn" time here. Below you'll find some readers' responses to my recent columns. As always, I encourage you to send me your comments, not just so you'll have a chance to have them printed here, but because I really care what you think. It's also the only way I can tell if anyone's reading my column.

In my column, SEEING THROUGH THE SMOKE, I talked about how our society has come to treat smokers as pariahs, banishing them to huddle in front of office buildings and restaurants. Some of the responses:

ACTORNAUGHT: "A fine next step is to ban smoking around kids, and the sooner the better."

LAWANDORDER66: "I got news for all of you. There are a lot of things that you are around every day that are going to kill you faster than secondhand smoke."

DALLISON7: "We are told we should be tolerant of a man who puffs on another man's wiener, but not tolerant of a man who puffs on a cigar!!"

Unwittingly, I dealt with another "freedom" issue in NEW HAMPSHIRE, JOIN THE REST OF US. I was hoping that the "Live Free or Die" state would join the rest of the 50 states in making seatbelt use mandatory.

JOHN: "The only reason I don't wear a seatbelt is because in New York it's mandatory. The same with headlights.... I am sick of the nanny state our government has become."

CREEPER00: "I believe in seatbelts passionately and use them religiously. I also believe it's a human being's right to risk his life in any way he sees fit."

TODDPW01: "Natural selection will eliminate the people who weren't wearing seat belts when they really should have."

LADYDIANE63: "As someone who has survived a rollover car accident because I was wearing my seatbelt, I would like to impress upon the people of New Hampshire the importance of wearing them at all times. I was less than a mile from home when my accident occurred and if I had not had it on, I would not be here today."

In IS 60 THE NEW 40 OR IS 40 THE NEW 60? I talked about the ridiculousness of ageism in an age when people are living longer and longer.

JEGIBBONS: "... today at 62+ I'm a better and smarter person than I've ever been. What care I, what some young airhead twit, his mind corrupted by an MP3 player, might think about my bald pate?"

BILLIGIRl: "As a 53-year-old, I realize... that who I am has very little to do with the work that I do. It has a lot to do with who I am inside. I may not look so hot in a bathing suit now but I don't care! Well, just a little!"

OUTSOURCING GONE WILD discussed the fact that an American tutoring company hired teachers in India to tutor American students over the phone in various subjects – including English.

MARIA: "I hate when I call an entity and the person with whom I talk is not in the USA. I refuse to go on with the conversation."

JARROD: "India is the third largest English-speaking nation in the world.... More Indians speak English at home than do Australians or Canadians. Therefore, it shouldn't be surprising that they can provide grammar lessons, especially when they hold an M.A. or Ph.D. in English or literature."

LILVINNYB: "It's very simple: Refuse to do business with companies that outsource."

PARDON LIBBY? PARDON ME was written after Libby was sentenced, but before the President commuted his sentence.

ED: (contrasting him to Paris Hilton) "Scooter Libby likely will get off with a judicial slap on the wrist, or a pardon, and he is guilty of a lot more than poor taste or neglecting his underwear."

MBCSMITH: "Clinton pardoned some of the WORST thieves and tax dodgers in history. His list of pardons SMELLED of graft and money in his pockets."

SCLAIRES: "If GW Bush even tries to pardon Libby, that is the time for immediate impeachment proceedings to begin. Libby broke the cover of an undercover CIA agent which is more than against the law. It's against all humanity to do that."

In one column, I asked the question, WHY IS EVERYBODY SO ANGRY these days?

BRIAN: "If people are rude to you in traffic, move here to Texas. World's most polite drivers. Concealed-carry pistol permits have improved everyone's behavior."

MIKE: "The explanation is easy. Everyone has been raised in the last two generations to expect to get exactly what we want and when we want it!!"

JACK: "I think the use of computers and other tech devices is psychologically conditioning us like Pavlov and his dogs. Over time, using these devices feeds our desire to have things our way, to be in control."

BILL: "I decided a long time ago to turn down the stress where I can. I make it a point to get up 20 minutes earlier than needed so I can spend at least 15 minutes talking to and rubbing the ears and nose of my 95 lb lab (dog) ... So just remember, if you get uptight use my solution: 'You have to stop and rub the noses.'"

I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, listen to Bill and stop and rub the noses.

Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier."

By Lloyd Garver