June 13, 2012
I have met people who have met you and they say you are a delightful, charming woman. How come you never have a book signing or something where your fans can meet you? Some people think you are totally nuts and don’t know what you are talking about, but I am not one of those people. I work for PG&E and think you are just wonderful, you have helped me with many issues over the years and I think we could be good friends if I could just get to meet you.
Sincerely, Malcom Lincoln, Alleghany
What a very nice letter. Thank you for the compliments. It may surprise you that I have never written a book, although I have thought of it many times. The problem is; if I wrote a non-fiction book about things I know, it most likely would ruin some friendships and make people mad at me. I have tried to write fiction but have real problems with the names, if I make up a name of a character and then try to develop the story, for some reason the name starts to seem fake and then I get blocked. Of course the other reason is writing a book requires a great deal of thinking, and since you are a fan you realize how difficult thinking is for me. So if I ever have a column signing I will certainly advertise it, although law enforcement has advised me against appearing in public due to certain issues. Meanwhile I leave you with the reminder that I am single, you did not mention your status, and if you are single I would certainly hope you write again.
June 6, 2012
I just read some of your latest letters, actually, I read the
letters to you. It is so satisfying to read letters that are addressed
to other people. I read most of your answers, too. It feels like a
real conversation when one reads letters. I hope we can keep sending
setters through the United States Postal Service as well as on line. I
don't think that they open letters sent on paper but I always wonder
about letters in cyber space.
One of your letters was about college and the cost. I have a son who
is going to be paying until he is in his grave.... of course, he did
add a couple of degrees (collegiate). I must say he is not making much
money at all.
Oh, are you in charge of the SCP? I thought I caught a rumor to that
effect. You are one busy lady.
Why do hummingbirds fight when there is enough food and space for all? That's my question. It could have behavioral and moral implications.
What do you think?
Greta at the Golden Gate
At first, I tried to figure out why you would want to send setters through the mail wondering if it was a Red Setter, but I finally realized you had probably mistyped a letter and setter should have been letter. I am sorry about your son’s debt. He probably should get a second job. In charge? Why would you think that, I am just the answer lady. Meanwhile about hummingbirds. They are kind of like rattlesnakes and butterflies, they all do what they are supposed to do. I had no problem making my answer be evenly margined, I don’t know why your letter wouldn’t do that, it is very frustrating.
Jerusha #205Vol. IV
May 30, 2012
I’ve been concerned about student loans and my future. Do you think I should have to leave college with $60,000 plus in debt? I don’t understand why getting a college degree costs so much. How can I get an education if I don’t have the money?
I have read a lot in the media lately about student loans, and I am not sure why it costs so much. If you go to this site:
http://www.realonlinedegrees.com/education-costs-united-states-versus-the-world/ it gives the comparison cost of a four year degree between various countries but doesn’t say why it costs so much.
This is a difficult question. If one doesn’t go to college you pretty much will make middle or lower income, whereas with a 4 yr degree and higher education you may make much more money. I suppose it is like investing in oneself. However those who already have an advantage are more likely to continue that advantage because they have enough to pay for advantages. I don’t think I am helping you here. The decision is yours of course. Work your way through college or take out student loans and hope your education will help make enough to pay off the loans. Somehow this isn’t a subject made for humor.
Sincerely, JerushaJerusha #204
May 23, 2012
What are you doing for Memorial Day? I never seem to have any plans but my friends have barbeques and other things like going to the lake or somewhere. I am wondering what I could do this Memorial Day. Do you have any suggestions?
Do you realize that there is no nickname for Ralph? I suppose if you were a child you could be called Ralphie but I have never heard an adult named Ralph called anything but Ralph. After you say Ralph several times it begins to sound odd.
But anyway, Memorial Day is a special day it is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Once known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. Wikipedia is a good source of information.
Meanwhile you have not mentioned whether you are single or married, I imagine you are not married because certainly your wife would be making plans. Did you know that I am not married? Well, hope to hear from you again.
Sincerely, Jerusha Jerusha #203
May 16, 2012
I recently had a medical problem that resulted in my being unable to eat food for quite awhile. I noticed during this period that my focus seemed to be on food, any food, even food that I didn’t use to eat. For instance, I would gladly partake of chicken, which I never ate due to an unfortunate event in my childhood. I have always liked to eat but my focus on food when I couldn’t eat food just overwhelmed any other rational thought I might have, why is food so important?
Apparently your focus on food hasn’t diminished any, do you realize you said the word food seven times and if I count the word chicken as a food it would be eight times. If I was going to dwell on food I think it would be lemons, as I love anything lemon, of course lemons are yellow and my favorite color is yellow. Lemon cake, lemon frosting, lemon yogurt, I even think there is a recipe for lemon chicken, however being a vegetarian I wouldn’t eat chicken. Sometimes I wonder about lemons and other vegetables. I have heard that trees feel pain and react when other trees are being cut down around them and even houseplants react to what is happening to other nearby plants. This makes me wonder about atoms and molecules and how everything is connected and then one gets into the ripples. But I digress; your question was why is food so important. Well, other than being sustenance for our bodies I suppose it is the touch, the feel the fabric of our …. Oh wait that is about cotton. Well you know why, it tastes good.
Jerusha #202Vol. IV
May 9, 2012
Why do you think people don’t appreciate or understand what they have until they have almost lost it? It appears this
happens frequently in life and I don’t understand why we don’t appreciate all we have, people, friends, and loved ones
until they are almost lost?
Dr. Tom Dolittle
Dear Dr. Tom,
You do realize that you used the word “understand” twice and you also brought up “thinking”. I feel if you read my
column regularly you might know that I have always had difficulty with the thinking thing and understanding is part
of the thinking. I don’t like to think a lot as I find it very taxing, however I will tell you what I think about this. I
think it is because nearly losing someone brings the certainty of feelings to the forefront and then we tend to appreciate
what we have and don’t want to lose it. It is part of what life is all about and why we want to live as long as we can, so
that we can continue enjoying love, friendships and the fun of being alive and also we get to see what happens next,
whereas if we lose what we treasure we are at a loss. I think that is what I understand. I had to use the work “think”
six times in this answer and I find that overwhelming thinks.
Sincerely, JerushaJerusha #201 Vol. IV May 2, 2012 Dear Jerusha, Lately I have been spending more and more time with my computer, checking my email and checking out the Internet. I think that I have become addicted to my computer. Can you tell me if there is any organizations, which help computer addicts, break the habit? Nick Graphic Loyalton Dear Nick, Seems like you wrote in the nick of time. Sorry, just couldn't resist using that pun. Is that a pun? I'm not sure it seems that puns are a play on words and your name is Nick and there is the saying "in the nick of time", it just kind of popped into my head and I had to mention it. Meanwhile as long as you are getting plenty of sleep and lots of physical exercise and your daily dose of sunlight you should be okay. You do need to read books, newspapers and cereal boxes in addition to the computer, and reading them online doesn't count. The tactile feel of paper is important to your quality of life. Try some self discipline first and then if you need an organization but can't find one then you could begin your own, possibly call it GUPPY for Geeks Unite... hmmm I can't think of anything for PPY... work on that and let me know how it goes. Are you reading this on a computer? Sincerely, Jerusha
April 25, 2012
I need some advice and was hoping I could turn to you.
See, I have this problem. I live in a very small town, and have many friends. However, one of my friends (I am very fond of her even if she does walk around in her pajamas) is always making passes at my boyfriend. One time she even kissed him! Should I tell her to back off? Or should I break up with my boyfriend and let her have him? I can't ask for advice from anyone in town, because the rumor pool will begin. Please offer your advice!
The girl next door
So are you saying your boyfriend enjoys the attention from your friend? I am thinking you need to either get a new friend or a new boyfriend or maybe both. It seems like the problem here is not necessarily that you should let your friend have your boyfriend but it is possible there are other women out there that would like your boyfriend and then your friend would be taught a lesson too, because however he treats you he will treat your friend, this sentence is getting very confusing to me, if you read my column regularly you know I get confused easily. Does your boyfriend read my column? If he does than he probably knows that I am single. Just saying. By the way your signature is very odd, next door to whom?
April 18, 2012
There is a woman who borrowed my camera to take a picture of someone. The next day she called me and said she would be at the bank at 9:05 a.m. and I should meet her there so she could return the camera. Well it never happened. She did not appear at the bank at 9:05 and I can’t decide if I should be mad or just assume she forgot. But then, why would she forget, when she was the one who made the plan? What should I do?
Wow, I am so impressed with you. There are so many problems and difficulties in the world and yet you seem to have only one important enough to write to me for help. How far did you have to travel to get to the bank? I think if it was a long way you may have a point. However if you live nearby you do not. I suggest that you give your camera to the woman, buy her a new one or don’t loan your camera again if you ever get it back. I am so pleased that you otherwise appear to be carefree.
April 4, 2012
I hear you have a friend who is in the hospital. I just want you to know that we wish him the very best, and he is in our thoughts and prayers.
Mary Lou Schof
Dear Mary Lou,
Thank you so much for your kind words. My friend Tom is doing much better and we expect he will have a full recovery. His family and I are so very grateful for all the prayers and well wishes for Tom. Thank you.
March 21, 2012
I like this girl very much. She is very nice and seems to be smart and kind too. I want to ask her out, but I am not sure if she likes me. How can I tell if she likes me, should I just ask her out? Maybe I should talk to her first. What do you think? I am an adult man and have my own business. I think any girl would be honored to go out with me, and yet I don’t seem to have a lot of dates. So what would you do?
Gadzooks, if you are an adult man, why in heaven’s name are you thinking about asking a girl out? I would think it would be much more apropos if you asked a woman out to dinner. You make me think of men who refer to their wives, as “the wife” as if the woman they are married to is an object. Obviously you have pushed one of my buttons. I would hope you are intelligent enough to not be thinking it is okay for an adult man to date a girl. This is almost as offensive to me as people on the radio or television thanking their host by saying. “thanks for having me”. Why don’t they say, “thanks for inviting me” it sounds so much better. I’ve been meaning to bring this up for a long time. So I thank you for the opportunity. Meanwhile, just so you know, I am a single woman.
March 14, 2012
Today is a Wednesday and it is the middle of the week. I always think it couldn’t really be the middle of the week because there are seven days in a week so how can Wednesday be the middle? Seven is an odd number shouldn’t it be an even number for the week? How did it get to be seven days in a week anyhow? Thank you for answering my letter.
I almost didn’t answer your letter, as it seemed quite obvious why Wednesday is the middle of the week. But you thanked me for answering so I felt obligated. If you write the days of the week down across a sheet of paper; Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday then you will see that Wednesday is in the middle of seven days, and even if you take off the weekends Sunday and Saturday, Wednesday would still be in the middle of a five day work week, unless you have a job that makes you work on weekends and then it wouldn’t be a five day… well it could be if you didn’t work one of the other week days, but anyhow this is getting confusing so I think you get the idea. But meanwhile in answering the question about why it is seven days will take a little more research, I will go look on Wikipedia and see what it says.
March 7, 2012
Sometimes I lose a sock, perhaps a grey one, and so I have one good sock without a mate. Another time I may lose a tan sock, leaving a good tan one without a mate. Is it okay to wear the good tan sock with the good grey sock? Would they get along together do you think?
Well the easiest answer is go ahead and wear them. If someone notices then what you tell them is it was a test of their observational skills and fortunately they passed.
The next answer is; what kind of dumb question is that? Socks are inanimate objects; you can do anything you like with them. Ask your wife what to do; she is probably losing them just to annoy you as you sound as though you might be annoying. Oh, you say you’re not married..... surprise, surprise… surprise…
February 29, 2012
I was wondering if you have TV and if so which satellite TV service you would recommend? I don't have any TV but I'm thinking of getting one although I'm not sure why. There doesn't seem to be many interesting programs on and the news is always depressing. Maybe I shouldn't get a TV, summer will be here soon and I won't be inside much anyway. What do you think?
Your question is so interesting as it has many facets. I do have a TV and I use Direct TV as my service provider. They seem to do a fine job but I have no comparison as I have always used them and never had a different satellite provider. There are lots of interesting programs actually. For mindless entertainment there are some very funny sitcoms like Modern Family, 30 Rock and The Office, and there are dramas like Parenthood, Law and Order, The Good Wife. There are good news programs and you can get weather reports. You can do almost anything on the computer, but I don’t like sitting in front of the computer to watch a show. I prefer a bigger screen while sitting in my easy chair. The cats like that too, they can lie on my lap and watch with me. I don’t find the news depressing, it is what it is. I think it is good to be outside in the summer and in the winter too as long as you are dressed warmly. I think television can be a source of conflict in a marriage or it could be a welcome diversion. A television is like any other object, it’s nice to have when you want it and it only works when you use it. Would you watch it too much is the question. I have a few favorite shows that I hate to miss, but I record them and can fast forward through commercials. But I really like some of the commercials. My favorite is the couple in a restaurant where he is trying to watch the game surreptitiously on his IPhone and she keeps catching him, his expressions make me laugh. Well, hope I have helped
February 22, 2012
Yesterday I was walking near Sierraville and I noticed there were not many other people walking along the road. I was surprised because it is so beautiful in the Sierra Valley and you would think more people would be out walking.
The Sierra Valley is a beautiful place and I think the lack of walkers along the road might be because there are so many trails all over Sierra County to walk on. Also it has been cold and icy and people may worry about walking on ice and slipping and falling. There is less chance of that on a trail. Of course on a trail you could run into rattlesnakes or mountain lion. Well, you really don’t have to worry about rattlesnakes this time of year. And you could run into rattlesnakes on the road actually. But you could run into a mountain lion if it is early morning or at dusk or darktime. Better take a dog with you. Or if you don’t have a dog someone who doesn’t run as fast as you. Anyhow enjoy your walks; you realize of course you didn’t really ask me any question.
February 15, 2012
Some people really liked Valentine’s Day and others made disparaging remarks. Do you like Valentine’s Day? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.
Do you like St. Patrick’s Day? I think that is the next holiday.
I was going to call you Jim, but then JJ seemed so much more appropriate as your letter seemed to be very personal and I found it so interesting. You didn’t mention that you were giving or receiving any Valentines so I assume you are most likely single. Did you know that I am single? Liking a holiday often involves if there is someone to share it with. Are you Irish? St Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday. I am not Irish, but that won’t be a problem will it? Thank you for writing; I am looking forward to hearing from you again.
February 8, 2012
Why is everything that we experience, think or feel connected with something going on in our heads? Why must our awareness be connected to our bodies? Why can't we be disembodied conscious spirits observing our world without being connected to a body? I know that you are a smart person and nobody else can answer my question. I look forward to your reply.
R. E. Sperry
I’m assuming your name is Ralph, as you did not give me a clue other than your question, which is irritating. Why would you ask me a question like that? How would I know? My body’s not dead yet. You’ll find out when your body no longer works. Most of my consciousness has nothing to do with my body anyway.
February 1, 2012
During the last week the mornings have been so cold I didn't want to get out of bed. How do you keep warm when it is so cold?
Turn the heat up.
January 25, 2012
A friend of mine doesn’t want to say “under God” when the Pledge of Allegiance is said during our meeting. Do you think that is disrespectful? I know someone else who made a disparaging comment about the flag just being a piece of cloth and then my sister got really angry about it. Why do so many people have to argue about stuff like this?
Well, I have a theory about that. First we live in America and we have free speech so we are able to say what we think out loud. The flag is actually just a symbol for the things we Americans cherish. When someone is saying the pledge of allegiance although they say “to the flag of the United States of America” they are actually pledging alliance to the country not to the piece of cloth, yes the cloth can seem to be important but even if the flag totally disappeared, the idea of allegiance to the values of our country would never die as long as our values reflect the ideology of a government of, by and for the people and our freedoms to think and speak and to practice or not practice a religion of our choice remain in the forefront and we the people don’t forget everyone has the right to these freedoms.
January 18, 2012
We heard that it is going to snow this weekend. Is it true? We have been very worried about the weather and the snow. Without snow, the snowmobilers have no place to snowmobile and that is concerning to me as when Ralph goes snowmobiling I get to shop or watch television or maybe go to a movie. When Ralph is home he never wants to do any of those things. He is getting older and not going to be able to continue going snowmobiling much longer so I really hope he gets to this year. Thank you for your help.
Sincerely, Irma Limbeck, Sierra City
This certainly is an odd question to ask me. You would probably get a much more informational answer from the weather channel on your TV or even just watching the news which often covers the weather too. I see you live in Sierra City where there is a chance of snow if it snows. I certainly hope it snows, as we need snow for the water content in the summer. My dog likes to frolic in the snow too. Probably Ralph’s love of snowmobiling is akin to my dog loving the snow. So let’s all hope it snows.
January 11, 2012
Sometimes your columns are very short and other times they are very wordy. Does it matter whether it is a male or female writer. I think you may write longer responses to men. Why is that?
Sincerely, Elaine Wilkersen, Verdi
I don’t know.
January 4, 2012
Well, here we are in the year 2012. I am surprised that we have been around for so long and still seem to not have found the answers to so many things. You would think after 2000 years we would have discovered many things that we still haven’t. For instance on my television I can record programs and play them later, or if I miss something in a program I am watching I can just quickly rewind to see what I didn’t understand. This has caused a problem because when I am in my car and listening to NPR if I get interrupted or don’t quite hear something accurately I reach for the knob to replay or rewind and of course there is no such amenity on my car radio. Why hasn’t someone figured out how to do this? It would make so much sense, and with all the other things we can do with media, why can’t we hit rewind on the radio. It would probably be easy for an inventor to do this. Do you know any?
Margaret Withers, Sierra City
You know, this is so strange as I have been having the same problem. I agree it should be a simple thing to do and why haven’t they developed this technology. I ask my son when I need help with the computer or television setup so I certainly don’t have a lot of ideas as to how to accomplish this goal. It may be possible someone who has the skills will fix this problem so we won’t miss programs we are listening too. Going into the grocery store means missing an important part of an interview. People often wonder why my dog and me are just sitting in the car staring out the window. Well we are listening to NPR.