How much is too much to ask for?
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jul 04, 2013 | 835 views | 0 0 comments | 225 225 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
Back in early February, Fast Talk commented on just who are using the U.S. mail these days.

After the first month of the year, this scribe reported having received nearly one solicitation mail piece a day requesting financial contributions.

The requests haven’t slowed a bit. In fact, the Postal Service should count its blessings that these mostly non-profit organizations are paying big bucks to wangle funding from the likes of you and me.

So here’s my six-month report as promised.

At the top of the list are the cancer people. All of us certainly support the efforts of the medical people in their battle to come up with cancer cures. I know I certainly do.

But they’ve gone a little overboard; far too overboard.

No fewer than 18 request letters for cancer funding have arrived at our house in the past 26 weeks. Just think of it – an average of one every 10 days. And think also of the cost of those mailings.

These came from three difference cancer organizations: the American Cancer Society (9), the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (5), and the National Foundation for Cancer Research (4). The foundation also enclosed four sets of personalized mailing labels in its packets.

In the past, I have contributed to two of the above three, but my mind is now in reconsideration mode. Just what percentage of their contribution receipts goes for seeking further contributions? I truly would like to know.

But the cancer people aren’t alone. In the first six months of 2013, we have received no fewer than 84 requests for money brought to our door by the letter carriers. They came from 39 different organizations. Advertising solicitations from businesses are not included in these totals.

Tied for first place with the American Cancer Society, with nine mailings, is the Alzheimer’s Disease Research. I’ll give the latter group the edge because one set of mailing labels, another of cards for personal use, and even a nickel were enclosed to coax me to donate.

I have my own reasons for supporting the battle against Alzheimer’s, but am torn between sending money to the above organization or to Alzheimer’s Association, which also sent me a couple of letters. I just wish the two would combine their efforts against this ghastly disease.

Once, every four years, I send a few bucks to the U.S. Olympic Committee, but maybe now I’ll cease and desist. Already this year, I’ve received six solicitations in the mail, two of them with note pads and two with mailing stickers.

The most unusual request for money arrived recently from Hillsdale College (???). It contained a crisp $1 bill, which was displayed in an envelope panel. On the envelope was a printed warning that it is unlawful for anyone but the addressee to open the material. That was me, and I did.

But say a little prayer for these 39 organizations. For without them, imagine the additional financial problems of the Postal Service.


Is it just me, or are others also troubled our U.S. Supreme Court on its frequent 5-4 decisions about our constitutional rights? That seems to be a mighty slim margin of opinion about our laws of the land. If a 9-0 vote is out of the question, how about 6-3 or even 7-2 on some issues? I, for one, would feel much better about the latter.

I hope you haven’t been missing the beautiful sunsets over the last few weeks. The setting sun sharply outlining the clouds over our western hills has been truly fabulous.

Now I’ve heard it all – hopefully! Hearing aids whose volume your cell phone may control. Cells won’t soon be controlling mine! What they won’t think of next.

The American flag, and long pole stolen Flag Day from the Boy Scouts from in front of a Highway 33 business, was spotted flying grandly from the back of a red pickup driving through the downtown area. At least it’s being used.

The Scouts will be putting the flags out again on the 4th of July, so keep a watchful eye for thieves.

By the way, my mention last week of going to summer camp with the Boy Scouts brought one reader’s question: When will I stop going to camp with the boys? Let me explain that I was a late starter, being 43 when I first attended a week of camp with scouts in 1980. They included both Kevin Nelson and Mike Sierra. I’ve missed several years but this summer was my 25th. The decision about retiring, I’m leaving up to higher powers.

Also, slow traffic signals at Patterson intersections were mentioned last week. Omitted was the light allowing Walker Parkway traffic to turn onto Sperry Avenue. You can sometimes take a nap waiting for it to turn green.

What’s the most common error in grammar in the English language? I vote for the use of an apostrophe denoting singular and plural before and after the ‘S’. It’s wrong far too often. An example: Veterans’ (plural and correct) Memorial Park in downtown Patterson. “Veteran’s” would imply only one veteran.

That recent Saturday afternoon car show in downtown Patterson was a fun event and drew no less than 120 visitors to our local museum in about two-and-a-half hours. Some browsed for over an hour. The car show could develop into quite an annual attraction and warrants the backing of the community.

Kudos to whoever cut the weeds around the former Del Puerto Hospital building. Hope you got paid by someone, but somehow doubt it.

The old depot property and land that formerly accommodated Thompson’s used car lot along Highway 33 has been purchased from the railroad people. Watch for plans of a major development, and remember where you read it first.

When Edward Snowden recently spilled the beans to the press that our government has been using means to spy on its citizens, I didn’t fault him 100 percent. After all, what he released was startling information that affects the freedom of everyone. However, when he holed up at the Moscow airport, of all places, he quickly began to lose me. Goes to show I grew up in the Cold War era and have a good memory.


As this column is being written (on Sunday), our favorite and slumping Giants have lost more road games than any MLB team, tied with … the Marlins! Sob!


Stay out of the sun this week. We have enough cooked brains running around town.

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