Tag Archives: letters

The journey of the write

When was the last time you sent a letter to someone? I don’t mean a card, I don’t mean paying a bill, I mean a letter. Taking yoru time to write out something — or even print it out — and sticking it in an envelope and sending it out?

I’ve been sending out letters, from time to time, for ages.  Usually typed up, which does dampen the personality of the correspondence…  But there’s something about a letter in the mail that exceeds electronic correspondence – even if Email, instant messages, social network communication, and even a telephone call are more instantly gratifying.

You take the time, you take the effort, you take the energy to convey what you are thinking – maybe it’s business, maybe it’s personal… Heck, maybe it’s intimate (think about it, guys and girls).  It’s something we forget when we greedily rip open a letter and read it’s contents…  Unless the letter itself is long and winding.

But here’s another piece to think about with a letter: The actual journey.  Did you ever take the time to think about what your correspondence goes through, where it travels, on it’s way to its destination?

I’ve had envelopes sitting on my desk from time to time in the last few days and months…  They’ve looked rather monotonous with an address label and return address label stuck on them, the only distinguishing characteristic on them being a number I scrawled on the back of each.  I’ve had them all ready to go, and then it’s hit me: just what is in store for these things as they travel?  They weren’t just being sent locally or nationally, but overseas…

A little envelope, a folded and glued piece of paper, containing other pieces of paper,  due to travel some 5,000 miles or more.  How many lives touch it?  How many people see it?  What does it experience on it’s journey?  And just what does the recipient think or feel when it arrives?  How do they react?

This doesn’t tell the whole story of what I am thinking, but it does give some more of an idea what a letter in the mail goes through at sort facilities:

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Some things don't change

I have kept a memento album since sometime in the late 1990’s. Just a photo album with newspaper scraps, pictures of friends and loved ones, and letters/post cards from people that I’ve communicated with in the past. Not letters as in email print outs, but actual letters. You know, those that were hand written at one point in the distant past? Yeah, those things… Hard to believe we did stuff besides typing, isn’t it? Sentimentality is so over-rated…

But I went into this album today with the specific intention of taking out and tucking away a few pictures I’d taken close to ten years ago (within a year or two) and a handful of letters as well from that same time frame. I’ll just say that they were all of the same subject. That person has been chronicled here in vagueness and obtuseness.

But going through the letters — marred with the inconsistency of not knowing what I had originally sent (which had led to these response letters) as well as the letters themselves rambling in vagueness. I found one passage of one particular letter (written on loose leaf paper as they all were, and dated 8/06 and likely from 1998 ) that just left me smiling and nodding for all the wrong reasons:

Dear John —

Today is a day I shall always remember. I took a wonderful, if not so secret thing and brutally destroyed it. I’m disgusted. I have new understanding of several things Sorry so obtuse but I don’t wan to talk any more about it

Why do I take satisfaction in this? What kind of sick asshole am I to do such a thing? A ten+ year old letter, stated rather obtusely, about destroying something beautiful?

Answer: I hadn’t said it felt like someone died for nothing, people. This letter may be an echo of a person that I knew in the past, based on different events and different circumstances along with different consequences, but to me? It’s the only remorse that I will see in the present from that person.

We’ve all taken something beautiful and destroyed it – a keepsake, a plant, perhaps a relationship of the friendly or intimate variety — at one point or another in our lives. I know I’m guilty of this in the past with people and things, but I take some solace in knowing that at one point in time, there was expressed grief and remorse by certain people. Grief and remorse that I can’t quite see them express or have linger in their head or heart today over recent events.

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Everyone loves getting mail

Not one of my better poems, was written in a bit of a rush the other night when I had this thought on my mind… Inspired in part by The Lake House


I want to write you this letter
I want to spend time in thought and
Trying to figure out what I’d say to you
It’s great when you get a letter in the mail

And I’m thinking about writing a letter
It’s been a few weeks since we talked and
Right now you’re on my mind
Whether you like that idea or not

So it’s been a few weeks since we talked
The last time we did, we fought and
I let you walk all over me,
While you had good reason to be pissed

Yet I was all apologies
All in all is all we are
You never offered me the same
For you getting all angry and acting lame
I’d better not write you this letter after all

Why I better not write this letter
Because you just don’t respect me and
You got me tied around your little finger
And just twist and twist me tighter than a knot

Knots can be so cruel
They can be like feeling locked inside
Yeah, feelings can be knots too
Cinching tighter and restraining things

So I’m writing you this letter
I’m just a piece of twine twisted around
Your pinkie is red from this yarn
That we’ve both been spinning for ages

And it’s great getting letters in the mail
Last one I sent you was years ago
And I tap-tapity-tapped it up on my keyboard
My handwriting is a horror unto itself

The horror of my day
Realizing I still have feelings for you
And you’ve pretty clearly moved stage left
The lights are bright on Broadway
“The Producers” is better watched with an audience

And I don’t know if you care
Getting a letter in the mail from me
Letters in the mail are great but even better
When you don’t expect them
I’m the king of “don’t-expect’em”

And my wrist is getting
Writing out this yarned ramble
Ramble – what we know so well
What we loved, what we lived, what we did for hours

And I watched this movie
And it got me thinking that i ought to
Write you a letter
You could care less about the addressee
Your residence wasn’t hard to find

So I’m closing this letter off
Hoping to put things to rest even though it’s
Special to get a letter in the mail
And I want to share special with you again

All in all is all we are
Kurt Cobain is formally dead and
You can’t respect someone who kisses your ass
It just doesn’t work

So I watched this movie tonight
I wanted to write you a letter
I wanted to write you this letter
It’s great getting something in the mail

© John Fontana

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Will wonders never cease?

Well, Johnny wrote letters to the Clearwater City Councel along with Pam Iorio and Rick Baker (in seperate letters) discussing the possibility of a ferry link between cities….

Well? Gues what? Someone else thought that Tampa and St. Pete could be a great ferry route and are funding a study on it.

They are at least looking into it – not because of what I wrote but just because. I’m happy about that though.

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Contiunuing low visibility

It peeves me to look at the situation the United States and the Tampa Bay area are in right now and to see at least two groups that I have been involved with in the past no where in sight to take the opportunity to reach more people with their beliefs.

Lets take the Green Party for instance. The third-party on the left side of the spectrum with it’s conservation, alternative methods, environmentally friendly (on top of other stances on things), etc…. WIth the Democrats weak and everyone smarting from higher gas prices and doomsday scenerios with regards to world resources, the Greens seem missing-in-action. There are no news headlines, and the local party seems oblivious to speaking out on these touchy issues… Or set their sights too far left and stay off the touchy subjects that are dominating the media.

Another issue that coincides the higher fuel costs are mass transit options. Tampa Bay has increasingly bad roads and reports nationally are that our intersections routinely have a grade of D-. In Tampa Bay, there is no push for Mass Transit coming from David Piniero and Tampa Rail much bigger than the one that already exists with his site If anything he seems more oblivious to the broader need for rail and a stronger Mass Transit systme in Tampa Bay (and points his transit talk to Tampa and Tampa alone) and oblivious to trying to preach his cause and the cause of ocal commuters through the blogsphere and mass-media (why not post on Tampa Bay Blogs that talk about transit issues? Why not email the local newspapers with letters and such talking about the merrits of rail?)

Of course, in either case, the ass-backwards politics of America still reign supreme…. But with certain issues that the Left has dibs on, being priorities… Wouldn’t you think that groups such as Mass-Transit advocates and Progressive Envvironmentalists would speak out and try to gain support?

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Tampa Bay Bigotry

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Sometimes I hate it when I am right. For ego reasons, this time I am sorta pleased about it but at the same time, looking at the area I live in and their level of tolerance — I hate how I could predict the intolerance of others.

The St. Petersburg Times started running some feature stories on Scientology in downtown Clearwater, Florida on Sunday… This was part of a two part feature that completed on Monday.

…And I couldn’t help but know the St. Petersburg Times would be inundated with letters-to-the-editor denouncing Scientology and / or bashing them all together like it was today.

Oh, of course there was a little letter published that predicted this fiasco by some guy in Palm Harbor. Short, subtle and to the point:

Seeing a feature story on Scientology’s hold on Clearwater made me think of one thing and one thing alone last Sunday: How many letters will the newspaper publish in the coming days that border on bigotry?

Damnit, that guy is good :wink

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Denial and Dehumanization

Saturday, letters were published in the St. Petersburg Times trying to justify mistreatment of those detained at the Abu Ghraib prison. They tended to be immature, at best, and evidence of how Americans will see only what they want to see.

One letter writer thinks “I’ll take a leash without any close compared to” being dragged through the streets and hung and burned. Of course, everyone is going to chose humiliation over death, but the letter writer neglects to bring up the sodomy and other mistreatment of prisoners, nor the duration of how long these people were exposed to such treatments. Death over long term humiliation is a tougher choice to make. The fact an exact date hasn’t been put on photos showing also factors in.

Another letter writer also makes the comparison to security personnel being dragged and hung last month and then claims, “how easily people forget.” The problem is, no one forgot that happened. We, as Americans, are supposed to be better than what has been revealed at the Abu Ghraib prison. Can you so easily justify sinking to an unmoral level?

One last letter writer states that last month’s horrid events in Fallujah need to be placed in front of these horrid events in a time line sense. I believe this is to justify the attacks against prisoners as “an eye for an eye”. Well, L. Paul Bremer stated on Friday that he had heard of abuses in Abu Ghraib by American Soldiers beginning in January… January certainly comes before April.

Don’t try to justify what US Soldiers have done in Iraq. We’re supposed to be better than that as a country. If our soldiers and citizens can justify dehumanizing citizens of the world for selfish reasons, than I want to know what happened to the America I grew up in and the land that I love?

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Thoughts on Pat Tillman — former NFL player killed in Afghanistan

Pat Tillman, former NFL player who gave up the game and turned his back on millions from the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army Rangers after 9-11, was killed while involved in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. I know at the time he joined up and news was everywhere about it, I was a little put back by this — for political reasons, admittedly — but now I have such a new appreciation for him and I can’t fathom the amount of sacrifice this man has made for America.

I wrote a couple of “Letters to the Editor” at the St. Petersburg Times over this, and I won’t repost it entirely because I took jabs at Simeon Rice, Defensive End for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Defensive End for the Arizona Cardinals who put down Tillman in general in the media after he enlisted (and personally I like taking jabs at that pompous son of a bitch when I can get the chance) but I did make the statement that Tillman has made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and he is a prime example of why we here in America are able to enjoy the comforts we know and live a good life where we can do things like play a game for a living in the first place.

Tillman was fighting on the front that mattered IMHO… Someone attacks the US and you go find the source and deal with it… And to lose your life trying to stand up for your country… that just means a hell of a lot to me. That’s Patriotism, that’s what the government has distorted and perverted for Politics since 9-11 happened.

It further cements certain ideals in me… That Iraq was wrong (and costing us billions while costing US Soldiers their lives to fight for a rich man’s principles), that the War on Terrorism needs a new game plan, etc… Yet it gives me a better understanding of how and why we should appreciate the comforts we have…. Because these comforts were paid in the price of blood by many before us. It also makes me feel a monumental appreciation — that’s not even the right word, admiration might work better — for Tillman who gave it all up, who turned his back on MILLIONS to fight to protect his country. Fighting to protect makes me feel so much more for a war than fighting to spread an ideal. Vietnam was fighting to spread an ideal and it wasn’t the right thing to do. Iraq is fighting to spread an ideal and it’s spreading hatred instead and helping the forces we wanted to stop in Afghanistan It’s ironic I blasted Rice because I admire Defense so much more than Offense as these political statements make.

I could go on about political beliefs here and thoughts on war but this should be Pat Tillman’s post… because Tillman’s sacrifice can’t be dismissed.

Rest in peace, Pat Tillman. And let honor ring around your name as it rings around the names of those who have fallen before you to protect the nation and the world.

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The lone bright spot after a week of Insomnia

Look at the time this is getting published. I am not a happy camper…

And at the saem time… Indeed I am a happy camper. I got m’self published again in the local rag…:

Rays’ LaMar must go
Letters to the Editor
Published December 21, 2003

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Infighting on the Left

In the last few days, I’ve been taken for another political roller coaster from the left side of the political spectrum. I happen to be a liberal/progressive and that makes me vote Democrat / Green and support those candidates.

My regular readers should know this, my friends should be aware of this… Same with my allegiance to Howard Dean – it’s no secret.

What is a secret, or is something that I have touched on before but haven’t ranted about here on the Stonegauge, is that I am also in this crossroads politically. I have been there this summer after an incident with the local Green Party and I am there again because of national and local Democrats as well as the local Green Party.

Lets go back to Monday and Tuesday and Howard Dean getting an endorsement from former Veep Al Gore. This was a huge blow to others participating in the Democratic Primaries coming up, and none of them could muster enough nerve, during a debate Tuesday night, to actually raise their hand when Ted Koppel asked the group if Dean could beat George W. Bush.

Sour grapes, that is understandable for the most part – but it’s a continuing trend.

I have read today in the St. Petersburg Times Ed/Op – Letters To the Editor section that Gore’s endorsement should be considered “the Kiss of Death” for Howard Dean. I have seen others complain of Gore’s “betrayal” of Joe Lieberman… Forget the fact that Lieberman hasn’t won anyone over and just comes off as a nice guy for the most part – but hardly someone you want to lead you into a battle.

For some reason, these smallish grudges – Lieberman being snubbed by Gore, other candidates not believing in Dean because they hadn’t gotten major endorsements, etc — all just mystified the Democratic party to me. Why so much disdain for one another when everyone in the party is supposed to be working for the common goal of trying to improve America?

OK, lets take this to the local front now. The St. Petersburg Times letter section today probably put me in a defensive mood to begin with (though most letters were positive about the Dean / Gore endorsement). It put me on the defensive specifically because someone had brought up (as I mentioned above) the infighting among Democrats. I came online to check my email and got to read a local democrat putting down local Greens / Kurt Gratzol’s “tree Hugger” house party that he hosts every couple of weeks. The email in question talked about how Kurt and others at his parties (usual Greens) were just there to be brought back to the Democratic Party and actually using the term “Tree Hugger” wasn’t going to help their (Democrats) cause of trying to lure people back to the Democratic Party.

This ticked me off because, for the second time, I witnessed someone who was too concerned with the Democratic party give a care if he insulted another progressive/liberal. The email writer also didn’t / doesn’t seem to grasp the point that there is a difference between the Democratic Party and the Green Party and that the Democratic Party’s own actions is most likely the reason any Green has “broken off” away from the Dems in the first place.

A Green is still a liberal.

A Green is still a progressive.

A Green is an ally – not someone that needs to be “brought back” to the Democratic Party. You can go to them and vote for them just as much as they will probably vote Dem. in a general election where a Green candidate isn’t running. Why, in gods name, do you have to make a case for “bringing them back” into the fold? Or have to post an insult with regards to their politics in making your case that you are lobbying to get these people “back” to the Democratic party?

So where do I sit now? I don’t know. I am a leftist-progressive. I believe in the best in people… Yet it seems every opportunity the Left has to further make me feel comfortable, or make me feel tied to one party or another on the left, they screw it up in some way or another.

For instance, this summer when I was “forced out” of the local Green Party… I was called a “rubber spined…coward” for backing Howard Dean and believing the 2004 election was too important to vote for Principled Idealism. I had already grown disillusioned with local Greens because there was too much loony-left rhetoric, along with them lobbying for a Green presidential candidate (2004 is TOO IMPORTANT to the nation to have a split left vote again!)… This was the last straw when I was called a coward for not standing up to some ideal value of a candidate…

So I was no longer a Green.

I embrace Howard Dean and have met some very cool people through the Dean campaign so far, and will likely meet more as things continue to move ahead… But at the same time, I had posted about my Dean/Green incident and that inspired at least one nutcase to go and give me some grief for ever having been tied to the Green Party. Why? He was still pissed off over 2000 and just had to take a pock-shot at someone that actually voted for Ralph Nader.

Instead of welcoming a new supporter, or trying to make someone feel comfortable in political surroundings, this guy wants to coddle his own insecurities and ego by attacking and making snide remarks. GREAT way to win support :rolleyes

The infighting among the left can and will become the cause of defeat in 2004 unless the Democrats stop being such weak-willed cowards, stop being such infighting fools and start uniting for greater purpose. Stop trying to tear down the other guy because he doesn’t fit your ideal or doesn’t follow your beat in every step and start thinking about the bigger picture.

The bigger picture is what’s at stake — the very beacon of hope that the United States used to be. Why make a fuss over such petty things in politics and not just UNITE and CONQUER for the greater good of every citizen in the US and the world?

It’s not like this Ad does anything to stop my concerns about the Left vs. the Left either


Filed under Politics

Letters make up words

Opinion: Dean’s outreach

Dean’s outreach
Letters to the Editor
Published November 16, 2003

Re: Howard Dean and the Confederate flag.

The Nov. 13 letter writers who were critical of Howard Dean and his Confederate flag comments are missing the point of the statement that Dean made. He was not blessing bigotry, nor was he showcasing a need to push for racial insensitivity.

Gov. Dean is looking to bring back the Southern voter who traditionally votes Republican. The Confederate flag comment was a poor way to describe whom he is trying to reach, but it was painfully obvious that poor white Southerners were his targeted group. Maybe that can be looked at as a stereotype (that all Southerners drive pickups and have the Confederate flag somewhere), but how often do you see the stereotype that a Southern citizen has to vote Republican
The issue isn’t about bigotry or racism with Dean’s comments. It is about trying to reach out to a voting segment and show that he isn’t turning a blind eye toward them, as Republicans have traditionally done once elected.

— John Fontana, Palm Harbor

Oooh, oooh! Look! I’m famoous! :smile

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I'm Ranting on Ranting and non-fiction!

I don’t get it. I honestly don’t fucking get this.

How come an opinionated asshole like myself has written dozens of rants on topics from local roads to Dubya and had them published as letters to the editor in the newspaper, has had thousands of rants (be they sports related and or political related or music related or what) posted on message boards across the Internet, and yet I don’t feel comfortable at all writing out this non fiction assignment?!? UGH!

I mean, you do a search on Google for me + the St. Petersburg Times and the following is just some of what will show up (you’ll have to scroll down for each of these letters most of the time:

Abolish the DH

Super Bowl Broadcast sucked

Light Rail should be Joint Venture

Rail Transit Plans have some big holes in them

Point crossroads needs Overpass"
– only one of several letter’s I’ve
written with regard to US 19

Transit Could work if Counties combined efforts"

"Self Serving Voters"

"What if views had been conservative?"

"We Didn’t Deserve the Olympics"

Scientology and Anti-semitism displayed in St. Pete Times letters section

Elian Gonzales

That’s just a brief glimpse of stuff I’ve ranted about. Plus those who know my journal know full well I have ranted on and on about other things and other concerns of mine in here… I already made mention of that in a recent entry into this journal.

It drives me friggin’ INSANE knowing I can write all these short quips about things that concern me but now that I have to write 1000 words on them I’m shit out of nerve to do it. Someone pinch me, someone cuddle with me and someone re-assure before smacking me and telling me to snap out of it and get with it, that this is no big thing and I’m making a mountain out of a molehill.

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