Monday, June 21, 2004


Dear Ms. Pickler:

I read with great interest your recent piece, “Kerry Vacations With Wealthy in Nantucket.”. I do, however, have some observations.

You call President Bush’s residence in Crawford, Texas, a “ranch.” By my dictionary’s definition, a ranch is: “1. A large farm, esp. one on which cattle, sheep, or horses are raised. 2. A large farm on which a particular crop or kind of animal is raised.” I do not believe that President Bush raises any livestock or crops on his land. This would seem to preclude his residence from properly being called a ranch. Rather, it is a nice house with a very large yard.

You also refer to President Bush “clearing brush” on his “ranch.” While he certainly does like to clear brush, it, again, is not a ranch. Rather, he is clearing brush from his yard. Further, while “clearing brush” has a certain ring of frontier romanticism, he’s really just cleaning his yard, correct? In fact, you might even say that he is engaging in simple gardening. As a question of the economy of language, “President Bush enjoys clearing brush on his ranch” certainly takes more time to write and takes up more space than “President Bush enjoys gardening.” If I may be so bold, I’d suggest that you start using the latter, merely as a matter of saving time.

Finally, you quote President Bush: “’Most Americans don't sit in Martha's Vineyard, swilling white wine,’ he said at the ranch two years ago.” This is certainly true. On the other hand, you fail to mention that most Americans don’t get to spend an inordinate amount of time gardening in very large yards, either. In fact, many Americans don’t have any yard to speak of, much less one so large as to be confused with a ranch. I, in fact, have neither swilled white wine on Martha’s Vineyard NOR cleared brush (i.e., gardened) on a “ranch.” Can you believe it?! And I was born in the United States!

(Found via Pandagon. Story also available (for the time being) here.)

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