The Corner

Derb Catches Up

OK, I have just–four days after returning from a one-week trip away from

home–caught up with all my e-mail. Many, many thanks to readers who wrote

in. Just to get through it all, I had to abandon my usual reply algorithm.*

Everything got read, though (everything ALWAYS gets read, unless from

obvious lunatics or the really tedious sort of lefties), and I appreciate

the trouble people go to to write me. An extraordinary number of people got

pleasure from my “Dispatches from a Real War on Terror” piece

last week & emailed in to tell me how much they liked it–way, way

outnumbering the half dozen readers who e-mailed in to tell me I was crazy

as a coot.** Thanks to all. I promise to take the syllogismobile on

another trip sometime.

* Which is: (1) Always reply to a reader who has bought one of my books.

(2) Time then permitting, reply to any reader who identifies him/herself as

an NRODT or DNRODT subscriber. (3) Time still permitting, reply to any

reader who asks a serious question to which I know, or can quickly find, the

answer. (4) Time still permitting, reply gratefully to all flattery. (5)

Time still permitting, reply at will to any non-abusive e-mail that takes my

fancy.

** The coot turns up in two common English similes: “Crazy as a coot,” and

“Bald as a coot.” Considering that no more than 0.01 percent of the

population of the English-speaking world has ever actually seen a coot, I

think this is amazing. Does any other animal occur in more than one simile?

What is it about coots? What the heck are they, anyway? Other than bald

and crazy, I mean.

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