Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:
Joseph M. Truta, Owings Mills: I have never written you before, but I thought you might find Hardee's current burger promotion both strange and amusing.
If you go into the Hardee's near the corner of St. Paul and Baltimore streets and order three small burgers, it will cost you $1.00. The promotion lasts through April 13.
Yesterday, since I wasn't that hungry, I ordered two burgers. I was charged $1.24, including tax, for my two burgers.
Finding it unbelievable that I was being charged more for two than for three burgers, I reacted quickly, changing my order to 3 burgers rather than 2. The Hardee's cashier then proceeded to give me back 19 cents plus the third burger.
Believe me. Everything I just described is true.
Do your readers have any suggestions about what to do with the third burger when you only want to eat two?
COMMENT: Believe me, Joe, you don't want to hear what my readers would suggest you do with it.
... Richard Lyons, Chase: If you can't see the signs of mental illness in the governor, you are in a distinct minority.
Even the paper you write for shows signs of uneasiness about the mental stability of the governor. (If you haven't read The Sun recently I don't blame you -- it has become a very second-rate newspaper.)
When even the governor's political allies question his behavior and judgment, the average citizen must ask himself:
"Do I really trust this wacko to run the state?"
COMMENT: The way I read the Maryland Constitution, there is so little chance of removing anybody from office just because he has gone nuts, that I'm afraid you and other critics are just going to have to live with William Donald Schaefer for three more years.
But to help you through the trying times ahead, I suggest you repeat this to yourself at least twice a day:
"Well, he may be a wacko, but at least he's our wacko."
... James C. Lamanna Jr., Syracuse, New York: You're all wet in your lament about reporters being called traitors because they ask questions. It's not because they ask questions, it's because they ask stupid questions.
They are arrogant and distasteful and, above all, represent no one but themselves. They certainly do not represent me. I used to be a reporter. These days, I keep that a secret.
COMMENT: It is not my habit to defend all attacks on the press (if you think reporters are distasteful on the job, you should see them at the dinner table), but I will defend them on the charge that their questions were dumb during the gulf war.
I am often interviewed by high school and college journalists and I tell them not to worry about asking dumb questions.
Seemingly dumb questions often elicit the best replies. And reporters often ask questions that sound simple-minded, but actually are designed to ferret out one piece of information for a complex story.
Reporters should ask anything and everything, listen to the answer carefully and then ask a follow-up.
I thought the questions from the press during the gulf war were just fine. That's because I believe the old journalistic saying: The only dumb question is the one you don't ask.
... Norman and Cindy Breidenbaugh, Baltimore: I for one stop at the top of an escalator before the ride down, due to my health, and in no way should be beaten with a stickand in no way do we need others to suggest such a thing.
COMMENT: Actually, I was only criticizing people who stopped at the top of escalators on the way up. To stop there, for reasons of health or otherwise, is extremely dangerous to you and the people behind you. People who must stop in such cases should take the elevator instead of the escalator.
Suggesting that people be beaten with sticks is a matter of public demand. I have had one such category in each monthly Simon Says column for the last 13 years or so. And when I leave this item out, people complain.
"Hey," a reader told me the other day, "people who cut their fingernails on the bus should be beaten withsticks!"
I once tried suggesting that "people should be flogged with flounders," but it didn't have quite the same ring to it.
... Susan White-Bowden, Finksburg: What is it you can tell about a person by whether he or she likes milk chocolate or bittersweet chocolate?
You see, I like milk chocolate and Jack likes the dark chocolate. I'm fascinated by such a theory. The obvious answer for us is that milk chocolate eaters are fatter, but there's got to be more than that.
COMMENT: There certainly is, Susan. But first, congratulations to Jack on his new TV job in Washington, D.C. If some people can't currently get Washington stations on their sets, they should wrap their heads in aluminum foil and stand up on top of their TV sets with their arms stuck out (do not try this during thunderstorms) in order to watch Jack Bowden on Channel 7.
Now, to your question: The difference between people who eat milkchocolate and those who eat bittersweet is that one group is made up of better human beings than the other. I just keep forgetting which is which.
... Elizabeth Montanya, National Bowling Council, Washington, D.C.: More than 26.5 million women go bowling each year. The average woman bowler is younger, better educated and has a higher median household income than the average U.S. citizen.
COMMENT: And much better tattoos.