Garver's April Mailbag

It's time again for me to shut up and allow the readers to talk. Below are some of the responses I've gotten to recent columns:

In No Quick Pass To Security, I wrote about a proposal to have less screening of frequent travelers:

Jeff: "If someone like me, who travels very frequently, doesn't mind being x-rayed, screened or wanded, what gives someone who only travels once or twice a year the right to complain? I am willing to wait to ensure that no terrorists get on our flights (I'm looking at you, Grandma)! Remember: Patience is a virtue."

In Eavesdropping: Beyond Bad Manners, I discussed the Administration's policy of wiretapping without getting the proper warrants:

Tom: I think you have the situation all wrong. I realize that many people hate the president, probably you included, but to be against the president who is doing a good job of protecting the people of the United States is ludicrous ... If an attack can be prevented by listening to my phone calls, then so be it."

Linda: I am troubled by the fact that those who are defending the president's powers ... are OK with the fact of the law against domestic wiretapping without a warrant has been broken ... the U.S. public should not have to pay the price of having their privacy jeopardized or compromised because either the system is flawed or the thinking of those who support the system is flawed. Either way we deserve better than that."

Bob: "Your little make-believe scenario of the president talking to Harriet Miers, and then with Hillary, was not all that cute."

In the Real Magical Tale Behind Harry Potter, I confessed that I have never read a "Harry Potter" book and could never get into the fantasy genre or even cartoons:

Brian: "You articulated my feelings about Harry Potter and these fantasy sagas ... Don't feel bad, you're not the only one that can't relate. My 9-year-old stepson ain't too thrilled about Harry Potter either."

Frank: "Lloyd, your sentiments are more or less mine. I had the same reaction to cartoons as a kid as well ... at any rate, Harry Potter books have come under some attack from religious groups, and that's ridiculous, too."

Gordon: "OK, Garver, I'm glad to know there are at least two of us heathens that don't give a rat's rump about Harry Potter."

Daron: "I feel sorry for you."

In You Can't Make This Stuff Up, I talked about the revelation that the Pentagon was giving Iraqi newspapers fake news:

Malcom: "Bravo! What a wonderful column, and a wonderful departure from all the mendacity that has been foisted upon our citizens."

Rick And Amanda: "We feel as if we are being lied to or told twisted truths all the time by the media and certainly by this government. Are Americans waking up? I would like to think so especially about this war. Especially since our son decided to join the Army."

Robert: "Let Uncle Sam spread as much good news propaganda about the U.S. in the Middle East as they want. We have our own propaganda machine running in the U.S. which does the opposite."

In And A Merry New Year, I talked about the brouhaha surrounding President Bush's Christmas card omitting the word, "Christmas:"

Glenda: "I appreciated the broader perspective you provided on the Christmas card non-issue. Happy new year to you, too."

Al: "If you don't think there is a war on Christmas, you should talk with the people at the ACLU."

Robin: "I will continue to pray for you and all the other secular nonbelievers. I will pray for your deliverance and that one day the veil will be removed from your eyes and you will see what we see!!!"

In Knitting, Purling, And Scratching, I talked about how more and men are getting into knitting.

Nicole: "It looks like someone has already started knitting in a maximum-security prison. ... It would be great if you could publicize it so they could get more yarn."

Leo: "In some areas of the world, it is still the men who do the most complicated knitting — and each boy is expected to show his skill before he is counted a man."

In There She Was, Miss America, I discussed the recent Miss America pageant:

Bruce: "You've got to be kidding me! ... you actually want to see a group of decent young women scratching each other's eyes out by way of a hidden dressing room camera? That is shocking and explains why the high school dropout and young adult crime rates are on the rise ... You're joking, right?"

Coral: "Shame on you and your article. The Miss America pageant means a lot to many young ladies, and you should not be the one handling the reporting if you had such feelings about pageantry to begin with."

Willa: "The pageant is lame because judging a woman by her beauty is at its limit. There is nothing more contestants can do to their faces or figures to shine above the other contestants, let alone the rest of America. ... I chuckle to think that perhaps you wouldn't be so bored if it were you up there on stage in a scanty swimsuit with pairs of eyes judging your chest to see if you measure up. I wonder if while you are standing there you would wish like many women do, that you could be judged on the internal character you developed yourself over a lifetime."

In Let's Keep Pluto In The Family, I came out against the recent proposals to demote Pluto to a non-planet.

Jeff: "My scientific sources tell me Pluto and Neptune will collide in a few billion years anyway, so I'm not too worried."

Andrea: "I loved, loved, loved your column about keeping Pluto in the family. It's just wrong to take away its credentials just because it's made of ice. I mean, it's not Pluto's fault it's made of ice. It's all location, location, location, and Pluto just didn't get the luck of the draw like we did.

In TV Justice Has Changed, I talked about how most lawyer shows today favor the prosecution and will do anything to get a conviction:

Michael: You beautifully articulated something that has been bothering me lately with the way criminal justice is depicted on TV and how that influences attitudes. ... They think that having someone, anyone, pay for a crime is a kind of acceptable justice preferable to the loose ends of an unsolved case. Let's hope this is not a trend that continues."

Adam: "Where I'm from, lawyers in expensive shoes work very hard to get guilty clients free without making too many bribes. They try to keep down the costs. And these are the honest lawyers."

In To Italy, With Amore, I described the difficulties I was having with the immersion method of learning Italian:

Luca: "Don't worry, we are not like the French ... nobody but a small minority will see you as an ugly American, unless you are one."

So, I'm being told I should be ashamed of myself, readers feel sorry for me, and others are praying for me. I guess I must be doing something right.

Lloyd Garver writes a weekly column for, as well as some e-mail messages himself. He has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.

By Lloyd Garver