Jim King 2017

Things got a little hectic around the Review office this week, so here’s a column I wrote in 2012 that still yanks my chain today.

We get lots of emails at the Review, and in the end about 10 percent of them prove helpful in some way.

The best, of course, are the emails you send us. We get pictures via email, sometimes expected, but more often just out of the blue. We always try to find a way to use those.

You will submit letters to the editor or other articles by email. Those are, mostly a no-brainer, and find their way to these pages or our website if the timing is right.

Sometimes your emails are just a note or question or idea, but we always love those too.

Some other emails are helpful as well. We'll get regular updates from state and federal agencies or politicians. We have a few resources who feed us interesting material we use or adapt, like our Nascar page in the Weekender.

And then there's everything else. I'm of a mind that it's our lot in life to wade through useless email because I'd hate to overlook a nugget of a good story idea. And it's easy enough to skim past inoffensive but uninteresting content.

But then ...

Then there are the idiots that just have you shaking your head with an emotion that pingpongs between anger, sadness and incredulity.

Three of those popped in to news@hampshirereview.com in about a 30-minute period recently.

First came one from KernCommunications.com trying to capitalize on the Olympics.

"It’s been suggested that Michael Phelps's ADHD, having been diagnosed at age 9, may have played a role in his failure to attain an Olympic win this past weekend," Michelle Barbara wrote. "This is a hot button position that Dr. Kevin would love to connect with you to weigh in on ..."

Let's do a reality check here. Raise your hand if you were arguing with someone over whether Michael Phelps' ADHD hurt his Olympic performance. Or even if you had heard about the issue.

Anyone? Anyone? Class? Ferris?

That's what I thought.

People who try to make connections that just aren't there bug the bejeebers out of me.

And who gets called "Dr. Kevin" anyway? How much faith do you have in a cut-rate Dr. Oz fishing for recognition via spurious emails?

If the faux ADHD "hot-button issue" of Michael Phelps was a stretch, the email that followed shortly afterward was a downright insult.

This one was peddling outrage under the headline "Nasty Tricks Your Employer May Be Playing on Your Work Computer."

The sender wanted me to be upset about the FDA spying on its own scientists (which apparently ranks in my personal awareness right up there with the Phelps-ADHD controversy). Even more, this email wanted me to be scared or infuriated because my employer might be doing the same thing to me.

That's right, my employer could have the audacity to say that I cannot use the computer he gave me for work, nor his internet connection, nor his time to use for my personal files, social networking, web surfing or private email.

"In short, every keystroke you make can be logged and analyzed by the people you work for. And you have no recourse," I was warned.

To which I say, that's right and what's the point of contention here? It's HIS stuff, for pete's sake. I'm supposed to be doing what HE wants with it .

I was still fuming over those when the statistics folks from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Charleston office came calling with the 2011 production totals for the apple and peach crops in this state.

That was interesting to me, living here in the heart of apple and peach country, even if it did feel like that had taken their sweet time coming up with the 2011 numbers.

I read with more interest than I should admit about how many tons of peaches were produced in West Virginia, the yield per acre and average prices.

Then I had to grab my calculator when I got to paragraph two, which had the same information, only about apples. And only in a completely different way of measuring than the same federal agency had used for peaches.

Their thoughtlessness made comparing, well, apples and peaches, a maddening exercise. I don't care if the apple people didn't like their crop totals reported the same way the peach people did. Folks who are trying to make a living communicating information ought to do it in a way that actually communicates information.

Maybe I'm getting frustrated more easily as I age.

Those emails made me feel somewhere around 83.

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