Mea culpa, mea culpa – apologies

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My apologies all around.

Having so often inspired readers to try something or go someplace new, I’ve pledged to myself that I’ll respond to your comments if I can.

But The Citizen’s recent makeover confused me and I didn’t know how to reach you when you’ve posted remarks online anonymously. In fact, I didn’t even know there were comments until somebody told me I had been savaged for my column on public transportation and how badly needed it is, especially to citizens of a certain age.

So herewith, I’ll try to answer questions – and there were many – and address my detractors. Unsigned comments don’t deserve response, so those I’ll do or not, depending on how much they tick me off.

A reader very helpfully explained how to clean the inside of a computer tower, and how not to do it with a vacuum cleaner. He/she seemed to be more concerned about shorting something out with static electricity.

I was careful to recommend using a really miniscule, low-powered vacuuming implement, and my Detail Review Commissioner (a.k.a. Dave) says such a thing has already been invented. Good.

A woman wrote me a single paragraph telling the story of a man who was arrested at the Atlanta Airport trying to take a plane to Tel Aviv. I have no idea why she wrote me that. The column was about peaches and antique airplanes near Hollonville.

Another reader responded via snail mail to the same subject, asking for more complete directions to The Barnstormers’ Grill. She wrote later that the food is excellent.

The winning column for inciting responses was the one about public transportation, with 32 comments. Only one – from Claude Paquin – was signed, so I don’t feel any particular responsibility for bringing the others into the light.

Interestingly, very few were opposed to the transportation options I mentioned. The vast majority were in response to other blog posters, for and against, and not to the article itself. And all those who wrote me, both for and against, were civil. The only uncivil responses were among the comment posters themselves.

Mr. Paquin wrote: “Many of those who express opposition to public transportation see MARTA ‘as it is’ today with all its flaws, rather than as it could be. Having had the opportunity to ride the Washington D.C. subway system, and also the trains and streetcars of Portland, Oregon, I came back with a favorable impression of ‘what could be’ in the Atlanta area. It takes a sense of optimism to accomplish anything.”

Frankie Jane Shinneman thanked me for my “moving description” of life with Parkinson’s disease, and referred me to a Website offering information about PD speech and physical therapy. I haven’t checked it out yet; I’ll share it with you if I find it helpful.

I figured out Kim Miller’s name even though she didn’t sign her comment. She’s had PD for about 10 years and, basing her estimates on her late father’s experience, wonders if she has 10 good years ahead of her.

She wrote: “They say when you share your sadness, it cuts it in half, and when you share your joy, it doubles it…. Know that this stranger’s thoughts and prayers are with you.”

When I wrote about plans to visit daughter Mary in Germany last year, a reader wrote to ask if Mary had become a German citizen.

No, but laws are similar there – you get the equivalent of our “green card” if you have a specialization that a German citizen does not. In Mary’s case, that would be opera pianist and voice coach, and she’s so good at it that directors call her. Her skills and flexibility are valued.

Interestingly, she does pay taxes to both governments, and may vote in local German elections (equivalent to our county, city, school board, judgeships, and local issues).

Another reader thanked me for writing about genealogy and family history. Why anyone else would be interested in my nattering on about families that don’t link with ours, I do not know. I’ve got to get back into the gene pool and try a few laps – I’ve not touched it in years.

A reader made fun of my traffic accident, but another, LOL almost audibly, confessed she has used “That little old lady [on her way to church] thingy, too.” In my case, it was true – honest it was.

And there was a note correcting my faulty geography. I made a couple of egregious errors when chronicling our visit to the Baltic countries. They are Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. Bosnia is a Balkan nation.

That’s why newspapers have editors. Where was mine?

Mea culpa, indeed.