‘Whiner’ gets mixed replies from readers

Ned Cantwell: State columnist

Thank you, reader, for letting me get that off my chest. I have spent the last couple of hours going over reader response e-mails and letters to the editor. I was shocked — be prepared, this is going to knock your socks off — to find not everyone thinks I am brilliant.
That would certainly include a Hobbs reader who responded to a column about Rush Limbaugh. “For a supposedly fair-minded, peace-loving liberal, your column … showed you to be anything but. Your attack against Rush Limbaugh only served to reveal your own bitter and whining nature. You also do not have your facts. Rush Limbaugh was not ‘fired’ by ESPN, he resigned.”
OK, first things first, Sharon. I am not bitter. Maybe I whine a little, but only when I don’t get my way, or my tummy aches.
Columnists can’t hide anymore. I made fun of Fern Penna, the New York guy who ran for president on the New Mexico Democratic primary ballot. My point was that frivolous campaigns waste the public’s time and money. This unsigned response from e-mail address ferns.star: “Hello Ned, I just read your little writing about Fern Penna. Very funny. Obnoxious, too. Obviously you didn’t have to work at age 15. Some people do, but of course you must doubt it very much, don’t you? Who’s the brat?”
Ouch. So far I have to admit to being a whining brat, but, by golly, I am not bitter.
I suspect the fern.star communication came from New York. Similarly, I have responses from Panama, Los Angeles, and the states of Virginia, Texas and Tennessee. And Gene Loveland, press secretary to U.S. Rep Tom Udall in Washington, says that office notices my columns. I don’t mean to whine, but it occurs that I need to be real careful what I say about Udall. Let me just state for the record: I like Tom.
Occasionally, the brat will write a column that is well received. Such was the case for the argument that both candidates for president need to stop beating up on one another and get some class. A Carlsbad reader thought that was a “bases loaded home run,” and Lovington’s Dorothy Runnels, widow of Harold “Mud” Runnels, said the column should be sent to Bush and Kerry. Another Lovington reader said of the column, “I’m Jackie Fuson and I approve this message.” Clever. Wish I would have thought of that.
My grammar is suspect. I wrote Ronny Cox “graduated Portales High.” That ruffled the feathers of Ruidoso’s Bruce MacKenzie who said it should be “graduated from Portales High,” or “Portales High graduated Ronny Cox.” Bruce said this grammar error is a pet peeve, and “I suspect that you know how to use ‘graduated’ correctly, and this instance was a senior moment.” No, Bruce, it wasn’t. I thought I used it correctly, and will await an e-mail from an English teacher to settle this once and for all.
Coaching is welcome. Meg Milligan in Carlsbad suggested the content of one column was “pretty lame,” and said: “You can do better — I’ve seen it. Quit settling.” Thanks, Meg. It’s a struggle. But you won’t catch me whining about it.

Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman living in Ruidoso. He will try harder. Contact him at:
ncantwell@charter.net