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Here's a confession: The reason it sometimes takes me so long to reply to your emails is they sometimes get buried under the flood of other electronic messages I receive every day.

I can't speak to the state of your email inbox, but it's fair to say that mine is a rolling disaster, filled not just with your communications, complaints and compliments (and, yes, every so often, there is a compliment) but with hundreds of URGENT IMPORTANT messages sent every day from everyone who has come across my email address over the past three decades or so. 

The only saving grace is that the vast majority of these get deleted, unopened, in a matter of seconds. So, just this morning, it was a quick demise for these urgent and important subject lines: "Your clients will love you that you offer an additional form of payment!" or "Sexy Rainbow Love Spectrum briefs & jocks are here" or "News: Parking Experts Give Holiday Parking Tips."

Wait; that last one could be useful. Better give it a quick once-over.

If you have a short attention span (an affliction that is common in a daily newsroom), these emails offer hundreds of opportunities every day to get distracted. I know you're now thinking something like "this guy needs to find a better spam filter," and that might be true: Every so often, as I go through the emails that the filter has shunted out of my inbox, I discover things like emails from my boss that I should have responded to days before. I can only conclude that my spam filter has, for reasons known only to itself, decided to sabotage whatever remains of my career.

I digress. Didn't I just say in the last paragraph that I have a short attention span?

In any event, here are some of the other subject lines of actual emails I received last week that clogged up my inbox and delayed my response to your email note (spelling and punctuation are unchanged from the originals):

• "Unexpected ways back pain can ruin your holiday."

• "Holiday foods can lead to bad breath: Here's what to avoid." (I had to open this one just to see. The answers are alcohol, onion, garlic and cranberry sauce. No cranberry sauce? That's a holiday bummer.)

• "Guilty Pleasures: Favorite Daytime TV show by state." (The answer for Oregon: "TMZ Live," which I somehow doubt.)

• "Great Business Establishment Opportunity in World's Fastest Growing Economy — India!!"

• "Exercise Can Be Bad for Your Teeth: Here's Why."

• "Article: Do We Take Better Care of Our Cars Than Our Teeth?"

• "Meet the creator of the first luxury CBD skincare line, creator of fish Non-Cannabis CBD and a pit bull who takes CBD." (Let's hope they're not all the same entity.)

• "To a nation of snowflakes, Christmas has become another trigger word."

• "Should you leave your relationship in 2018? Relationship expert weighs in." (Better hurry, though; not much of 2018 remains.)

• "Why a national marijuana could come in 2019." (I almost had to click on this one to discover the missing word, but was distracted at the last second.)

• "What's new with Francesca?" (Could it be that she's decided to leave her relationship? We'll never know.)

In any event, keep your email messages coming. I'll get to them. Eventually. Even if I have to wrestle them out of the spam filter.

After I find out what's new with Francesca.

Holiday songs

Speaking of emails that I love receiving, here's a reminder that it's not too late to nominate your favorite holiday songs for inclusion into the Think Too Much Holiday Music Hall of Fame.

Last week's column went into detail about how the hall works, but here's a reminder: Every year, we choose two or so recordings of holiday favorites that are definitive — in other words, no other performer, not even Engelbert Humperdinck, could do a better job with the song. (Humperdinck's new Christmas album, by the way, was warmly reviewed in The New York Times.)

Last week's column included a list of the songs that we've enshrined thus far in the hall of fame. (The online version of this column also includes the list.)

Some of you already have responded to my call to submit this year's nominees, and those nominations already are displaying a remarkable variety — along with highly emotional reactions to a certain Wham! tune. 

It's not too late to nominate one of your favorite holiday songs, but all the nominations must be in by the end of the day on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Email nominations to are preferred, but you can phone me at 541-758-9502; if I'm not there, hum a few bars into the voicemail.

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Mike McInally is editor of the Democrat-Herald and the Gazette-Times. You can reach him at


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