Soul Train

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[RE: News Feature, “Quiet the Trains,” Sept. 14-20] Transportation, industry and commerce—not to mention romance. What is there that doesn’t love a train? Only that which doesn’t have a soul. Ahem.

If a train wakes me as I sleep not far from the tracks in South San Jose, I smile and think to myself, "Oh good, the trains are running. All is right with the world. The trains are bringing fresh apples and oranges, good cold milk and toys to all the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain." Woo-hoo!

The sound of that lonesome whistle, the clank of the cars being coupled, the clickety clack of a train moving through the night—now, that’s music, that’s poetry. I mean, it sure beats being woken up by screeching car tires or obnoxious horns and alarms. How about booming bass speakers at 3 a.m.? Screaming police sirens? Gunshots?

By choice, I have always lived within earshot of trains across the country. And I don’t buy for a minute that our city planners give a hoot for how the poor folks in San Jo or Barelas living by the tracks sleep at night. Yeah, right; at least not as much as they do for all those nice loft and condo developers snapping up property in the Downtown corridor. I think if any folks truly bothered by trains even exist, they must be way more irritating than train sounds could ever be.

Please don’t take away my trains. Amen.

In G.w. We Trust

In a press conference call on Sept. 11, Sen. Pete Domenici said:

"It’s too bad that we have so much angst going against the president that almost anything can be used against him by people here in the United States that don’t like him and want to hurt him. It seems to me that’s a very, very dangerous situation to be playing when you’re in a war, to not care about destroying the presidency, knocking it off of its tracks."

If this statement was challenged by the reporters participating in the conference call, I didn’t see it reported.

What’s too bad is that after all these years Sen. Domenici evidently thinks we’re living in a monarchy, not a democracy, that those paying his and the president’s salary should be seen and not heard, and that any criticism is personal.

This situation was elevated by the president from what should have been an aggressive policing action to a "war" which will be with us for generations. Are we supposed to cancel for generations the idea that the government is ours?

I, too, would like to be able to trust the president at all times and go about my business; that’s the appeal of authoritarianism. Unfortunately, we can see where that attitude has gotten us, especially with this president.

So Not Funny

I have to say, I am not one to complain, and I have the weirdest sense of humor, but this “¡Ask a Mexican!" section you guys have I find to be not only racist, but so not funny!

If you are going to have a glossary of words to teach people a different language, can’t they be positive? Not something derogatory and demeaning. Why would anyone want to learn the word
joto ? You guys don’t think that is a little over the top?

I am all for free speech but not in an offensive manner. This might not mean anything, might mean a lot, but I really don’t agree with the some of the content of your magazine.

The Sh*T Moniker

This is in kind response to Rich Latta (can’t be his real name) [Letters, “Horse Pampers,” Sept. 7-13], who presupposes his letter being the last word about horse manure, which he describes utilizing the sh*t moniker. You see, Mr. Latta’s “final" word cannot be, because if you deposit a lot of horse sh*t on a hillside, will it be slippery?

Mr. Latta bemoans these horse apples as “being gross,” and its biodegradability or components notwithstanding are “still a pile of sh*t" and “should not be tolerated.”

Now then, would not the quality of a horse arena, or a rodeo, be somehow damaged without the requisite aroma of animal droppings? I think so, for we need these little horse apples, cow apples and all the other sorts of animal detritus.

I have read articles on how these little dumplings deposited on the range by the buffalo or cows or other large animals including deer help reforest and replant the range. This is a very useful component of horse cookies. And cow cookies, too.

I believe that responsible pet owners, especially the owners of large dogs, should do the proper thing and pooper-scoop after their dear rovers and spots.

But would Mr. Latta so encumber with diapers the eagles of the sky or even the little sparrows who decorate our windshields? How does he recommend this process commence? And how about the hummingbirds? Can a hummingbird fly with a diaper? And who would change these diapers?

Nah, Mr. Latta. We cannot diaper horsies or other animals so you never have to smell a stinking pile of sh*t ever again. These little piles of horse twinkies are good for the environment and the horsies in question cannot be trained to drop on the spot, like being potty-trained, like, for example, Rover.

True, in some instances–like, say for a horse carriage for traversing Old Town square–you do not want the cute little horsies littering the street over and over. This would be a public nuisance, and horse diapers are called for, but only in these little controlled environments.

Coming close to being the last word on horse biscuits cannot be diapers. It must be left to the Furies and stallions of the range to deposit their horse meatballs on the open terrain, and if you or I, or even Mr. Latta come across it, we can learn one of the best secrets of life. No matter where you go, no matter how far and wide you may roam, you are bound to find a pile of sh*t somewhere.

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.

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