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Friendships in Washington, etc.

Gene's column is very funny and so I'll let him carry the load this morning on the blog:

"My campaign to become a beloved National Treasure has hit a small snag, in that most people seem to hate me. I judge this from the letters I get, such as this one, which was written in Magic Marker across the top of a recent column of mine, and which I quote here verbatim: "You are an idot!!"

I am not. A major hallmark of idots is that they aren't smart enough to know when to seek professional help. But when I found out a local high school was going to host an adult-education seminar on "How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less," I signed right up.

The instructor was a cheerful woman named Nancy. Nancy is an expert in feng shui, which appears to be the ancient, mystical Chinese art of rearranging furniture."

Click here to read Gene's entire column.

In other news, here's yesterday's Rough Draft:

My friends know that I'm busy and that I sometimes will not speak to them for weeks, months, years or even decades at a stretch. That doesn't mean we're not close friends. It just means I can't keep track of every little detail of their lives, such as the births of children. Many times I've called up a dear friend, someone I've known since childhood, and said, "How are the kids, if you have any?"

It's also awkward when you ask about a spouse by name and learn that the person you are alluding to was two spouses ago. I've found that it's best, after a prolonged lack of contact, to say to a friend, "Give me all your relevant data, starting with your current sexual orientation."....

Click here to read the entire column.

And lastly and leastly, at 1 p.m. today I'm doing a chat on this site. Check it out at Live Online. They invited me to talk about the George Washington/Potomac book today, because it just came out in paperback. [Here's a nice summary of the book by Frank Grizzard.] [Here's a smart review that calls the book a "near miss." That's better than a "complete disaster," so I'll take it.] [Here, from the S&S website, is the entirety of Chapter Two. I think we used this chapter for the online excerpt because Chapter One was nearly 10,000 words. This second chapter is a bit chewy and lacks the narrative style of the bulk of the book, but it helps explain the premise.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 13, 2005; 8:46 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Fright and Flight
Next: Solving Our Iraq Problem


People who have to take classes on how to make people like them are already in trouble. I'd love to hear about everyone else in the class. I laughed out loud when I read the dog-thing, because I can't even count how many times I've done the same sort of thing. For example, the most recent:

ME: I had a really good time tonight.
HER: Yeah, me too, lucky thing I didn't have any plans yet when you called.
ME: Well, I had plans, but all my friends backed out at the last minute.
HER: ...
So, I was your BACK-UP?
ME: er...

Maybe I should contact Gene and get the information on that class.

Posted by: jw | June 13, 2005 9:08 AM | Report abuse

These advertizers are attached to your column/essay.
Do you choose them or do they choose you?

Featured Advertiser Links
o [24]Unlimited Calls to US & Canada $24.99/month
o [25]NASCAR Tickets on Sale Now
o [26]Lawyers: Birth Defects, [27]Faulty Defibrillators.
o [28]New Secret To Surviving A Heart Attack
o [29]Drink Less Water
o [30]$160,000 Mortgage for Under $785/Month!
o [31]Check out today for great deals!
o [32]For College Grads, Win an iPod
o [33]Find Loans at
o [34]Free Sona Laser Hair Removal Consultation

Posted by: Wondering | June 13, 2005 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The advertising links are totally deliberate. The 15 commentators on this blog are a bunch of hairy brutes with toenail fungus and various other birth defects.

Posted by: Achenfan | June 13, 2005 12:38 PM | Report abuse

That "Drink Less Water" ad is truly facinating. I recommend EVERYONE take the time to visit the website. It is an experience not unlike having a conversation with the guy hocking "Dianetics" from a mall kiosk (which is also something that I recommend everyone do, as long as you don't mind getting a book thrown at you).

Posted by: jw | June 13, 2005 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Is there a 12-step program for people who become addicted to posting comments on blogs?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2005 1:05 PM | Report abuse

To Achenfan:

I hope you read my response for the Half the nation in poverty. Your comment also includes you...right?

Posted by: fdg31 | June 13, 2005 1:35 PM | Report abuse


I about threw up when I read your description of Achenblog Inner Circle members... but the more I thought about it the more I realized that is really me in your description, complete with toenail fungus. Just that I'm not one of the 15.

Posted by: nottamember | June 13, 2005 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Well, if you're not gonna join us, I guess there's no need to add Pepto-Bismol to the list of advertised products. (Actually, how presumptuous of me to say "us"; who am I to assume I would be included in the select 15?)
And to fdg31: Yes, I just read your earlier post. Indeed, setting up Achenblog as my home page is the very least I could do.

Posted by: Achenfan | June 13, 2005 2:02 PM | Report abuse

sure, I'd like to join, just that I'm not good enough. I mean, the Select 15 is pretty special, plus Joel said, what was the criteria, "18 to 35 years old with LOTS of disposable income." I miss on both counts, and by rather wide margins.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2005 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I see -- you meant did my comments about the hairiness, etc. apply to me. Not any more; I had a Sona Laser Hair Removal Consultation and got some Lomasil for the toenail fungus.

Posted by: Achenfan | June 13, 2005 2:07 PM | Report abuse

oops, sorry, the above is signed "nottamember".

Posted by: nottamember | June 13, 2005 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I figured it was you. And I just realized I said Lomasil instead of Lamisil. I guess that advertising doesn't work very well.

Posted by: Achenfan | June 13, 2005 2:29 PM | Report abuse

whew, good catch Achenfan. Now I know what hair tonic to look for...

Posted by: nottamember | June 13, 2005 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, I don't want to brag, but I wish I can be in the selected 15 although I am between 18-35 but I don't have disposable income.
Am I consider a blog-comment-aholic?

Posted by: fdg31 | June 13, 2005 3:52 PM | Report abuse

maybe... were you the one looking for the 12-step blogaholic plan? Hopeless, except for when the internet crashes, and not one of them temporary blips... know any good hackers ?? (vis-a-vis, know any good doctors?)

Posted by: nottamember | June 13, 2005 4:01 PM | Report abuse

No, I wasn't that poster. Do they really exist. Don't know any hackers, I think. I know a good doctor, maybe she can help.

Posted by: fdg31 | June 13, 2005 4:25 PM | Report abuse

This blog is like Three Lonely Dudes at a Bar.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 13, 2005 6:53 PM | Report abuse

or just one....

Posted by: nottamember | June 13, 2005 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey Achenfan,

I don't see your a blog anywhere on the Iraq piece... whaddup !?!?!?

Posted by: nottamember | June 13, 2005 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for noticing, but I wouldn't touch that one with a ten-foot pole.

Posted by: Achenfan | June 14, 2005 9:32 AM | Report abuse

can't blame you...

Posted by: nottamember | June 14, 2005 9:43 AM | Report abuse

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