Here's the Scoop: April 16, 2008


Keep those letters coming

Our new column here at the News, “A Catskill Catalog,” has been drawing plenty of praise in the form of letters and verbal comments. Oddly enough, the author of that fine piece of literature, Bill Birns, is my former high school English teacher. I’m happy to report that he sprinkles into his column some of the very same “vocab” words we were taught in ninth-grade English. I use a few myself: I guess these words really were useful.

Dr. Birns, as he is now known, focuses on local history in his writings. People (with the exception of some politicians) generally love history. It carries them back to days when life was seemingly easier. Maybe it was. One thing is for certain, there was much more time for work without the pesky interruptions of having to surf the Internet every few minutes to see if the world had changed.

Many readers are making known their appreciation for “A Catskill Catalog.” Glowing letters about that column have been numerous. I’m thinking that maybe there have been a few too many favorable reviews. Wink wink.

“Is Dr. Birns already looking for a raise in his column fee?” I asked the publisher/check-writer. 

No offense meant, but in these parts, “A Catskill Catalog” seems to be rivaling the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana phenomenon in the teen world.


But who’s counting

“Look, another bundle of letters from Dr. Birns’ relatives — I mean fans,” I sarcastically announced the other day when the mail was delivered. 

Naturally, such reactions on my part are childish and bring about charges of jealousy from my co-workers. 

“When you guys get done accusing me of being immature, maybe you could make some time to come and stare at my six (6) column-writing awards from the New York Press Association,” I offer sincerely.

Despite my denials, perhaps they’re right. It’s difficult for a seasoned veteran columnist to witness all the attention shift to the new kid. It’s much like the aging ballplayer in his twilight years watching a rookie take his playing time. Except that Dr. Birns is much, much older than I am. There’s some consolation in that fact.

The really nice thing is that, because of the nature of his column, the author of “A Catskill Catalog” cannot respond to my charges of mailbox-stuffing within the framework of his writings. 

I guess, of course, if Dr. Birns gets really upset about what I’ve written he can recall my days as an English student in his class. At this point, that’s ancient history. Let’s hope he doesn’t bring up my grades. To use a vocab word, that would be “virulent.”