View Full Version : Might make you feel good . . .

05-22-2017, 03:05 PM
Writing an angry letter to the editor of the local paper is a fairly pointless exercise, but sometimes it feels good. I wrote two, years ago, to the Sports department of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, whose sports columnists never had anything good to say about the Seafair Unlimited races. This was in the '80s and '90s, after the U-boats had almost entirely gone to turbine power, and some old-time fans like me had lost most of our interest even though the modern hulls had incredible cornering ability, like slot-cars on water. Nevertheless, the races remained a well-attended annual event, even despite fans now having to buy tickets to it. It irritated me that two P.I. writers, Art Thiel and a New York transplant, Laura Vescey, always welcomed Seafair Week with derogatory columns about the hydros.

So, I wrote 'em a couple of nasty letters. Found my saved copies recently (of course the P.I. never printed them, but they were too long and I knew it). I thought maybe a few of you might share the good feeling of bashing those who bash us . . . .

This one's from the mid to late '80s, I think:

"When two P.I. sportswriters, Art Thiel and Laura Vescey, devote entire columns to suggest that we terminate the Seafair hydroplane races, some explanation is necessary. Not only manners but common sense is violated when a newspaper sports department trashes a sport enjoyed by at least fifty thousand local newspaper readers.

Why do sportswriters ignore or dislike hydroplane racing, and motorsports generally? Your typical sportswriter got his education in some college liberal arts department, possibly Journalism, the faux-scholarly analogue of those "Recreation Science" courses endowed by varsity sports programs to provide university degrees to barely-literate inner city high school jocks on full athletic scholarships (neat oxymoron, that). This is a person who wouldn't know which end of a screwdriver to use, who has to pay someone to change the oil in his car or sharpen his lawnmower blade. Such a person has no concept whatever of the technical skills and labor involved in creating, maintaining, and operating a racing boat, car, motorcycle, or airplane.

By contrast, your typical hydroplane fan, whose sport Thiel and Vescey wish to eliminate, is a Boeing engineer or assembler or toolmaker. He is a machinist for Kenworth, a welder for Todd Shipyards, a laminator at Heath Tecna, a mechanic at Metro. He is an airline pilot, a cement truck driver, a ferryboat engineer. A hydro fan spent his childhood building model airplanes, soapbox cars, ham radio kits. As an adult he probably has a well-equipped home workshop and good tools with which he does most of his own maintenance of house and car.

Seattle sportswriters are forever telling us that the Blue Angels were/are the only worthwhile part of Seafair Sunday, yet they have no more than a child's understanding of what they saw. But avid hydro fans can tell you at a glance whether the Angels are flying A-4s or F-14s or F-18s, can detail how to drill and chamfer rivet holes in an aircraft fuselage, or how to make a minimum-ceiling approach into Juneau.

That the Seattle sporting press provides only grudging coverage of hydroplaning on Seafair weekend, and nothing the rest of the year is no longer a surprise or disappointment to the fans. What can a stick-and-ball sportswriter say about motorsports anyway? Some melodrama about the drivers' longsuffering wives, or a temporary antagonism between rival camps that the writers can blow all out of proportion? Perhaps writers like Thiel and Vescey are a little uncomfortable that they have spent their working lives covering schoolboy sports played by men in their twenties and thirties, games that all of us played happily as kids with no adults needed. Motorsports are for grown-ups, and require hard-won technical knowledge and skilled craftsmanship, and may not be discussed intelligently by everybody with a junior high letterman's jacket in his attic.

A sportswriter's career goal, after too many years interviewing narrow, spoiled, inarticulate, monstrously-overpaid steroid junkies, is to write a restaurant review or recipes column, and spend afternoons pursuing his personal favorite sport: golf. By comparison, a hydro fan hopes for more time to restore an old Hudson, build a cedar-strip canoe, bracket-race his motorcycle at S.I.R., and learn to fly. Or, perhaps, to work on one of the hydros. Indeed, a surprising number of people in Seattle have done some kind of work on the Unlimiteds, something the P.I. ought to ponder. Sure, our sport has an amateurish quality at times; it is Seattle's citizen sport, and deserves respect as such. And if the newspaper wasn't always ignoring or scorning it, our sport would be more attractive to sponsors and could field more competitive boats.

Instead of banishing hydroplanes from Lake Washington, how about banishing Thiel and Vescey from the Sports desk and move them to the Food section where they will be happier in any case."

Out of time. I'll post the other letter (shorter) tomorrow.


Ron Hill
05-22-2017, 06:38 PM
In high school English class, our teacher had us make complaint letter to some company we wanted to complain about their product. 1960, this sounded like a was of effort, but, oh wait, she had us write the company's President.

In really no time at all, **** started happening. Jiffy Pop Popcorn had just come out and it worked like ****. Usually BURNED THE POPCORN. BUT pWHEN THE COMPANY PRESIDENT SENT A FELLOW STUDENT 50 JIFFY POP BAGS WE THOUGHT THIS WAS COOL. People got all kinds of stuff.

I complained to Post that my raisin bran had stems and I pointed out Kellogg's didn't. I got a month's supply of Post mini cereal boxes.

For my 1973 New Years resolution, I resolved to write a letter of complaint each month for a year.

In January, I wrote Carl's Junior and chewed their *** out because of the way they controlled their order lines. I said, "Look, I'm in line behind a dude this is ordering 87 burgers, and the seven people who came in after me are eating and I haven't given my order. Carl sent me a personal, letter, said they were changing their lines, and they follow that today, and gave me 12 free Carl's Jr. burgers and fries coupons.

In February, I complained to the city of Garden Grove about motorhomes being parked on the street.

In March, the city council made me citizen of the month and Jack Youngblood of the Rams and I were celerity Marshall for the Strawberry Festival Parade.

I didn't write anymore letter, I figured I'd caused enough trouble.

05-23-2017, 07:24 PM
So here's the other letter. As I vaguely recall it, Laura Vescey was sister of a Peter Vescey who was a big New York sports columnist, and I suppose she had to come out here to little old Seattle to get a start in the business before moving back to the First World. Anyway . . . .

(from the early oughts)(??):

"A few years ago Laura Vescey was telling us that the Seafair hydroplane races were no longer worthy of our aspiring world-class major-league city, and should be terminated. Having failed to banish the U-boats, Ms. Vescey now magnanimously concedes that our "sport" (her punctuation) may continue as a quaint rite of local tradition, with the understanding that it lacks any other merit than as a target for her snickers and sighs.

The failure of your "writer" (my punctuation) to comprehend the appeal of the hydros is largely a matter of social class or caste. The core of supporters, whether hands-on or vicarious, for any motorsport is comprised of gear-heads, i.e., professional and amateur mechanics, machinists, welders, electricians, sellers of parts and tools, manufacturers, and do-it-yourselfers. A woman who spends her day in front of a keyboard in an office or pressbox and who imagines that manufactured products appear on store shelves by some process of immaculate conception has little in common with the men who build and repair these products, and is not qualified to talk knowledgably about a sport based on machinery. She is therefore unlikely to observe that a "runaway" victory of eight boat-lengths amounts to, at Unlimited straightaway speeds, about one second, and she probably isn't aware that the G-forces endured by the drivers exceed those experienced by the between-heats airshow pilots. Ms. Vescey might at least have noticed that the numerous local and maybe obscure small businesses which sponsor and lend their names to most of the boats, names recited with indulgent mirth by sundry P.I. staffers, also advertise in your newspaper, helping insure that she won't have to find work that gets dirt under her nails.

Blue-collar professionals have little enough to cheer about these days. While their $17/hour jobs are shipped overseas with little objection from your editorial staff, they are taxed to build stadiums for the $2000-an-inning steroid giants fawned over by Ms. Vescey. So, perhaps in a spirit of sympathy, if not understanding, you could spare us gear-heads and other hydro fans the condescensions of your carpetbagging columnist next Seafair by giving her a ticket to some more completely major-league city . . . one-way."


Original Looper 1
05-24-2017, 10:15 AM
Wow Smitty !

You are so right here ,

40 years of Gangster capitalism have robbed our country of our once the envy of the World private sector middle class !

Most of these Elite *** holes never had to work and survive in a real job making things as you put it that set

on store shelves for their easy picking !

Most are pot heads that were shipped off to the Eastern Babysitter Colleges by their useless parent's to receive their rubber stamp

fake prestigious and useless degrees.

The Wall Street Rich get Richer, and the poor that produce more poor don't work and get mostly everything free.

And to pay for it all you either raise taxes and fees, along with more Government debt and printing press money with inflation,


Somebody ends up being the slave to pay for it all,because there is no free lunch !

In my opinion This Country has went to hell because of the Rich, aka global corporations,the public unions , and the permanent, lifelong welfare class !

Throw in the Trail Lawyers and racketeers of America !

Administered by American Criminal Lawyers United !

Remember our Motto if it Moves tax it, if it boos sue it

And if it aint a Rich Billionaire it cannot Bitch and goes no were in the Elite owned Media and Congress !



PS !

Terror Distracts from Traitors Within

May 24, 2017

What do the Protocols of
Zion say about terror?


"Our fight is your fight," Bibi

Terror is mentioned about a dozen times in the Protocols of Zion as a way of ensuring total submission to Masonic Jewish world government.

"The GOYIM are a flock of sheep, and we are their wolves. And you know what happens when the wolves get hold of the flock? " Protocols of Zion, 24-4
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Master Oil Racing Team
05-24-2017, 07:19 PM
Those were very well written words Smitty, and were concise and exactly to the point. The only problem as you mentioned was that they were too long for the Letter to the Editors department. Had you condensed them to about 250 words and been able to make the point, they would have been printed. What you wrote in both of those, especially the first, were excellent editorials. Editors are on a tight deadline and probably skimmed and trashed those instead of trying to condense them. Remember, they no nothing about boats or racing, so they cannot digest what you wrote and shrink it down to where they may or may not seem like idiots. They will not do that. They present themselves as no-it-alls to begin with, so they will not put themselves in a spot where people will figure out that they are no smarter than the rest of us.

If you had set your articles up as a column for an opinion in the OP/ED pages where length is important to get your point across, I think they may have printed both. However, timing is important. You would have had an excellent chance in the 70's and early 80's. Seattle in the late 80's and 90's I'm not so sure.

05-25-2017, 10:51 AM
Oh, I know, Wayne, and knew it when I wrote the letters. I actually spent a year in the School of Communications, Editorial Journalism, at the U of Washington when I first got there in the Sixties (so my dissing of Journalism grads, though excessive, has some small basis in personal experience). My hope was that the two writers, and maybe others in the Sports department, would read the letters, and I didn't care that they wouldn't get into print.

Writing a really good SHORT letter or essay is HARD, and in fact readers of newspapers and news magazines should at least appreciate the space and time restrictions under which journalists and their editors labor. It's easy for us to express opinions or report things on a site like this; reporting and writing for publication in a big city paper is a whole 'nother thing. As with every kind of paying work I've heard of, down to the lowliest entry-level jobs, there's always a lot more to it than an outsider would guess. My gripes with the two sports opinionators at the paper had nothing to do with their professionalism; both were good writers.

05-27-2017, 08:57 AM
I'm really not trying to do a political thread here, Paul.


05-27-2017, 09:44 AM
That's right. It's a literary thread. I'll do my part; here's a haiku:

come here, old friend, and look, see
your psychotic child.

Original Looper 1
05-27-2017, 11:09 AM
Oh my, old Mother of life'
the political reality of some is the living father of all,
Literality !


05-27-2017, 12:09 PM
Or more to the point:

The red Marchetti
Hits a wake and rises
To pirouette like a ballerina

Master Oil Racing Team
05-27-2017, 07:46 PM
I don't know Haiku Steve, but I remember some Zen I read on the way to DeLake in 1972. "The moon at the window....the thief left it behind". So now I will try my version of Zen/Haiku.

Normal was
A field of loopers
two men in a boat water flying all around
why did I not pay more attention
(why do my senses miss noise and smell)

So now one for the original thread.

Socialist media
pretended to hear
now that we know
They're irrational with fear
now dreaming
they make up they news
They want

05-28-2017, 10:42 AM
'Yer a natural, Wayne, and you just created a new style: Texas Haiku. But back to the Indy 500.