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Reader Hates Neurotic Columnists

   We love getting feedback. Our readers inspire us to do better. Yesterday several of us received the following email from a reader:

    "I only read your magazine intermittently, and when I do, I'm just anticipating some breezy, light reading from your columnists Joel Achenbach, Jeanne Marie Laskas, and Gene Weingarten. This week, they all seem to be conveying the same message in their columns: "We're coming unglued! We hate our lives! Look at the pathetic people we've become!" Not sure why you chose that as a theme, but it certainly has me depressed: I want to help them,and yet I'm not a certified counselor, so how can I help them address their issues with life? I'm not sure how management at the Washington Post Magazine should address the problem of "All Our Columnists Are Losing It." I would suggest giving them more vacation time, but I think you tried that with Ms Laskans this year and she just ended up inflicting a column on us about how stressful she found her vacation (would she be able to keep that vacation home forever???? Whatif she couldn't????) Okay, so maybe vacation isn't the answer. Counseling could help. Also, you could ask your columnists to keep diaries that they keep all to themselves and don't inflict on the rest of us. (Mr Achenbach: I enjoyed you more before you shared with me you're inability to handle basic Activities of Daily Living. Mr Weingarten: your midlife crisis is not that interesting to other people.)"

   Dear Reader: Thank you for noticing our columns and for taking the time to share your thoughts. I must respectively disagree with your premise. We are not coming unglued. We do not hate our lives. We are simply more adept than most people at recognizing that life is fundamentally a drag. It is the journalistic duty of a columnist to report accurately and dispassionately on the grinding horror of modern American life. This is not neurosis; these are just the facts.

    My goal, when I write a column, is to have at least one or two sentences that are mildly amusing and which can momentarily obscure the extreme and irreversible degeneration of the writing abilities that were never very impressive to begin with. Some people reach for the stars; the rest of us try to slow our inevitable descent into the cold, clammy grave. At Jeanne's suggestion the magazine is going to have a special Self-Loathing Issue, in which even the furniture ads will be filled with self-hatred and neurosis. ("Now, a futon curled in the fetal position.")

   I know I speak for Gene and Jeanne when I say that we're pleased to know you hate us even more than we hate ourselves. What you've provided, unwittingly no doubt, is a kind of affirmation: Your verification that my sense of failure and worthlessness has made me a bad columnist makes me feel worse, momentarily, until I recognize that you are PROVING MY POINT, that I've been RIGHT ALL ALONG, which elevates my spirits to such extreme levels of gaiety that, even as I type this, I AM SINGING "SOUND OF MUSIC" SONGS OUT LOUD IN THE NEWSROOM.

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 19, 2005; 6:53 AM ET
 
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Comments

Why are there no comments here? It's making my self-doubt increase to unhealthy levels.

Posted by: Reader | October 19, 2005 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Well, anyway, this Reader doesn't "hate neurotic columnists"--au contraire, Joel, I find your recurrent "self-loathing" theme quite inspiring. The way I look at it, if someone as smart and successful as you are can think about feeling this way, it's acceptable for me to have the occasional twinge*, ordinary mortal that I am.

*http://readthinklive.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_readthinklive_archive.html (scroll down to "Self Loathing"

Posted by: Reader | October 19, 2005 12:26 PM | Report abuse

)

Posted by: YKW | October 19, 2005 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Concerned Reader lives, as I do, with a neurotic, depressed 12 year old girl. Kinda makes one long for wholesome, positive activities and statements.

Example:

Girl: I hate myself. Everybody else hates me, too.

Me: Nobody hates you. How about going on a bike ride?

Girl: No, really, everybody hates me. It's because I'm weird and dumb.

Me: You're not dumb. Nobody hates you. You're beautiful and smart, and you know it.

Girl: Mommy, I'm not STUPID. I know everybody hates me.

You see, I tear my hair out and tire of negativism. Just wait, though, she'll have to take care of me someday when I'm 80 and I'll be really depressed and depressing. So there!

Posted by: suecris | October 19, 2005 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I admire this guy's enthusiasm and industriousness. How many of us who actually *like* the columns -- and who read them religiously rather than just "intermittently" -- would take the time to put together such a well-thought-out e-mail and send it to the Magazine? It's funny -- or maybe just sad -- how the haters tend to have more of an emotional investment in their mission than the fans. If only these energies could be used for good instead of evil. (Well, OK, "evil" is a bit too strong a word -- but you know what I mean.)

Posted by: Tom fan | October 19, 2005 12:38 PM | Report abuse

You've got a killer scene there man

Posted by: mdmbkr | October 19, 2005 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I personally am compelled and enjoy reading about GW's midlife crisis and JA's in ability to handle life crisis. I don't currently read Ms. Laskis, but will now do so. I am ovbviously missing something fine.

If we cannot laugh at ourselves, we may as well be dead. I'd rather giggle and LIVE.

Posted by: dr | October 19, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

As some long-dead French existentialist once said, if you get paid to write a blog, you can't really be unhappy. Same goes double for me since I'm getting paid to write incoherent comments on a blog inbetween meetings. If your job sucks, and most do, just find joy in all the time you can steal from your employer surfing the web, reading blogs, planning your next vacation, reading entire books online (just google "project gutenberg"...I recommend any book with 'Barsoom' in the title) and so on.

Since everyone's asking me, I'll tell you my simple philosophy of being happy--find and do things you like whenever possible and keep perspective. If I have a lousy workday, but decide to go for a walk with my wife after work, and we see a really cool sunset, a lousy day can turn good just like that. As for the horror of everyday life, my daily life has no horror-like properties at all if I just compare it to life 1000 years ago, where very much unlike Disney's Robin Hood peasants worked their butts into the ground in the fields, were killed if they looked at a knight funny, had bad teeth, and died at 30. By comparison, the worst problem in my work day is if a customer's screaming that our offshore guys hosed their system again ('hosed' is a technical term for ucked fup). Hell, even 100 years ago people had to do things like churn butter, which I don't know much about but I'm pretty sure I would hate compared to going to the fridge and getting out the butter I bought at Giant.

Wow, this turned into a long comment and I forget what my original point was...I should really start blogging ;) Anyway, if you remember one thing from this post, remember there are millions of people out there, bored at work, who count on your blog for entertainment, enlightenment, and I dare say salvation from whatever it is they're supposed to be doing. So keep up the good work, and as the younger crowd would say, PH34R ACHENBLOG'S L33T SKILLZ!

Posted by: suguru | October 19, 2005 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I read JA and GW solely for the fact that merely by their existence and writings thereof, I feel less weird. Thanks for making me feel (more) normal guys. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | October 19, 2005 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Aha -- I think I just figured out the ")" post by YKW. (It's "You Know Who," right? Posting an SCC entry for the previous post? Am I right? Or am I right?)

Oh, I'm a quick one.

And now I have a new emoticon: A banana-nosed person with his/her hands raised slightly above the ears, waving his/her fingers madly. Or maybe it's a banana-nosed person with long eyelashes. Either way, I'm sure I'll find numerous uses for this new emoticon.

")"

[Or maybe it's an elephant. Sorry -- must have too much time on my hands today.]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 19, 2005 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Hate is one of the biggest influences in the course of human history, along with fear and stupidity. If it can motivate wars and genocides, I'm sure it can motivate an oddly punctuated letter to some magazine columnists.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 19, 2005 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Tom fan, that's what I took YKW as.

I'm still trying to figure out how the quotation marks are fingers waving madly...I get the banana nose, though.

Posted by: Sara | October 19, 2005 2:00 PM | Report abuse

You're right, Sara; the fingers-waving-madly thing is a bit of a stretch -- although I think it works in the sticking-out-the-tongue emoticon (","). Maybe we'd better stick with eyelashes.

[Proceeds to check self into Woodhaven.]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 19, 2005 2:11 PM | Report abuse

What is Achenbach up to? Posting multiple kits, or blogs, or whatever they are?? Is he trying to make the other columnists jealous with all the comments that he elicits? Driving them to fits of depression. He probably sells prozac on the side.

Posted by: LB | October 19, 2005 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I think this one-- "," -- looks like Rene Zellweger. She always looks like she's sucking on a lemon.

Posted by: Sara | October 19, 2005 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha, Sara! And I thought *I* had an active imagination. (It really does look like her, though. Poor Renee. And she probably gets even more hate mail than Joel does.)

Posted by: Tom fan | October 19, 2005 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Can I just say something. This is tween us and doesn't leave the blog. I have never used an emoticon. Indeed I object to them on deep philosophical grounds (in the same way that I claim to abjure italics, while actually using them promiscuously, due to a catastrophic lack of self-discipline). An emoticon should be unnecessary in almost every conceivable instance. If crafted correctly the meaning of a sentence is unambiguous.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 19, 2005 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Bonus Tangent Time:

National Coming Out Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, Columbus Day, and Yom Kippur all fall within a few weeks of each other.

Coincidence?

Don't get me started on Achtober...

bc

Posted by: bc | October 19, 2005 2:42 PM | Report abuse

JA, most of us here despise emoticons. I used one the other day in an instant message conversation and this stupid yellow smiley face showed up and immediately I typed, "I hate emoticons. I never use them, what were my fingers doing?"

I have a lot of emoticon-happy friends who end every sentence with the smile or a wink or an "angel face" or a bigger smile or a laughing face. And they also "lol" at just about everything they say. I want to say, "Are you seriously laughing out loud at what you just typed? No? I didn't think so. Stop it." But I don't. I'm outwardly nicer than that.

Posted by: Sara | October 19, 2005 2:46 PM | Report abuse

What did you mean by that last sentence Joel?

Posted by: LB | October 19, 2005 2:50 PM | Report abuse

hey - i like emoticons - ok, i secretly hate them but use them anyway... and i lol... mostly i just HAH! i mean, chatting is sposed to be like talking irl but via pc so if you were irl you'd have facial expressions and bouts of hilarity, non?

COMPLETELY OFF TOPIC! i was thinking about our last bph and i realized that not a single one of us smokes... don't you think that's a little interesting? so i got to thinking... how many of the boodlers smoke? (no, joel, cigars and wacky weed do not count)

Posted by: mo | October 19, 2005 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Achenbach -- sometimes a person just wants to make a subtle comment about another person who happens to have a banana nose and long eyelashes without having to spell it all out, which can get tedious. The ")" emoticon can be very handy in such situations. It's succinct. And think of all the time those column-haters could save if their e-mails consisted solely of the "","" emoticon.

{Hey! That one's got madly waving hands *and* long eyelashes!]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 19, 2005 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I'm afraid you may have just killed Achenfan this time.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 19, 2005 3:01 PM | Report abuse

last time I smoked was during Desert Storm. I gave it up for good when I got back home.

Posted by: LB | October 19, 2005 3:09 PM | Report abuse

SCC entry:
"[," not "{."

[Is that the most confusing SCC entry ever?]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 19, 2005 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Honestly I didn't mean to commit Achenfanicide. If it weren't for AchenTomDreamerFan this blog would be a symphony of typos and ungrammar-things. [insert appropriate emoticon]

Posted by: Achenbach | October 19, 2005 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm alive!!!!!

[What was I thinking? If a person with a handle like "Achenfan" can't be counted on to comment on a "Reader Hates Neurotic Columnists" Kit, then who can? So here is my belated comment:
I take extreme umbrage at that reader's e-mail. Hmmph.]

[And thanks for the flattering remarks, Achenbach.]

Posted by: Achenfan | October 19, 2005 3:32 PM | Report abuse

SCC entry:
Make that "flattering remark" -- mainly because it rhymes better.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 19, 2005 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, I haven't made it to either of the BPH sessions, but am hoping to attend the next one. And I do smoke full strength Pall Mall 100's.

Can you smoke in bars and restaurants in DC? Both of my grown children live in the area--one in DC and one in Bethesda, but they don't smoke, and I haven't been down to see them in over a year. Smoking in restaurants and bars has been totallly banned here in Connecticut.

Posted by: aroc | October 19, 2005 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Tom fan, please contact Achenfan regarding the use of FIVE exclamation points.

Achenfan, please contact Tom fan regarding Joel's feelings on emoticons.

While I wield English with all the finesse of a Medieval blacksmith pounding out his 200th horseshoe of the day, I would consider that the 'boodle would sound more cacophonous than symphonic without the gracious Ms. AchenTomfanDreamer.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 19, 2005 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I was in a WallyWorld (walmart) the other day and say where smokes cost like $39 a carton!!!! I used to buy them at the PX for like $8 or something

Posted by: LB | October 19, 2005 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't smoke.

Posted by: Sara | October 19, 2005 3:58 PM | Report abuse

saw

Posted by: LB | October 19, 2005 3:58 PM | Report abuse

aroc - i'm not a smoker but i think it's ok in bars and restaurants (smoking section)... yeah, it is in va - not sure about dc...

lb - that's nuttin - my ex up in nyc says packs are $8 - for a PACK! there's 10 in a carton right? $80 for a carton of smokes!! i usually bring him a cpl cartons from good ole v of a cuz they are cheaper at the costco...

Posted by: mo | October 19, 2005 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh, such flattery today. Thanks, bc.

"the finesse of a Medieval blacksmith pounding out his 200th horseshoe of the day"!

Ha!!!!! :)
LOL!!!!

Posted by: Achenfan | October 19, 2005 4:06 PM | Report abuse

you can kill yourself for a lot less in Oklahoma. My posts keep getting directed to a TypePad error page. what the heck is going on?

Posted by: LB | October 19, 2005 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Arrest Warrent Issued for DeLay!
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/10/19/delay.indictment.ap/index.html

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | October 19, 2005 4:11 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome, m'lady Achenfan.

mo, that's an interesting Observation.
I don't smoke cigarettes either, never have.

I'll occasionally partake in a nice cigar under appropriate social conditions (e.g. outside), but that's all.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 19, 2005 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I chewed some tobacco once right before gtting on a C-130. Boy howdy was that a mistake. I was as green as my uniform.

Posted by: LB | October 19, 2005 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I am currently battling the addiction, mo, and trying to quit. Just got myself some patches - i'm waiting until friday to start, since I'd rather not be a raving lunatic at work.

Soon! I will be a non-smoker. It will happen! argh.

Posted by: LP | October 19, 2005 4:25 PM | Report abuse

if it helps i'll be pulling for you here LP!! i have friends that have tried to quit so i sorta have an understanding of how hard it is. i've heard they are more addictive than cocaine? *shrug* i've tried cigs but they never did anything for me but burn the heck outta my lungs... 'twod seem tho that not a lot of boodlers smoke... hmmmm...

Posted by: mo | October 19, 2005 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I quit four times. Fourth time was a charm. Gained some weight, but part of that is due to age. Much as I enjoyed smoking, I've found I enjoy breathing much better.

My city passed a total ban on smoking, including bars. Bars in surrounding cities and towns are doing a booming business.

Posted by: CowTown | October 19, 2005 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Keep at it, LP. It's a good thing you're doing. You'll thank yourself 10 and 20 years from now. You'll fall off the wagon on occasion. Just get back on.

Posted by: CowTown | October 19, 2005 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I smoke Camels (filters, after smoking non-filters for years), stupid, self-destructive, increasingly expensive habit. Sigh!

Posted by: Bob S. | October 19, 2005 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, guys. Your thoughts are very much appreciated. I've been wanting to quit for a long time, and finally got myself off the pack-a-day habit to just 2 packs a week, but it's been really hard to go the last leg and give them up entirely. So my man-friend finally gave me an ultimatum; if i manage to give up the rest of it, he'll take me on vacation. I need a vacation! so here, but by the grace of God, go I....

Posted by: LP | October 19, 2005 4:38 PM | Report abuse

the longer you smoke Camels, the harder it is to walk a mile for one.

Posted by: LB | October 19, 2005 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Well I smoke, too, so there goes the neighborhood...you can still smoke in most DC bars, although a few (Saint Ex, Pilar) have recently implemented no-smoking-before-10pm policies, which I find odd...I say commit or don't commit, doing things halfway tends to get complicated & ugly...

Posted by: C8 | October 19, 2005 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm really allergic to cigarette smoke (and I think cigars smell yuck), so I need to be upwind at all times.

I was just remarking to a (still) smoker today on the phone that I really don't know anyone (outside of him and his working associate) who smokes. Well, there's the teenage niece of a friend who is doing some extreme acting out (and I mean EXTREME) and smoking is part of it. When I remarked to her about that wonderful bumper sticker from years ago (Kissing a Smoker is Like Licking Out a Dirty Ashtray), she shrugged and went outside for another one (at least she went outside).

It seems that Peter Jennings' passing (among others) hasn't made much of an impact, although I do recognize in the struggle the element of addiction.

Swedes still smoke a lot, although there are fewer smokers than there used to be, and none of my friends over there smoke. Nor in other worldly places. Maybe that's why I'm startled when someone actually lights up in my presence. Holding my breath in the Madrid airport was an adventure. . . .southern Europe is worse than the north in that regard.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 19, 2005 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I was told before going to Paris that all Parisians smoked like trains. True, a lot of them smoke, but not THAT much. Paris is like most U.S. cities were maybe 15 - 20 years ago, when a lot of people smoked - everywhere, like in trains, elevators, restaurants, in airline flights. And it's for that reason that they seem to smoke a lot. There were no smoking sections in some of the bars, so times are changing there as well.

Posted by: CowTown | October 19, 2005 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I used to smoke a pack-and-a-half a day but suddenly quit on April 1, 1981 (before Sara was born?). I Smoked for five years before I quit and have never smoked another. However, I am a previous lurker who is a newcomer to these posts, so I don't think I count in the survey...

P.S. I was 18 when I quit.

Posted by: esskay | October 19, 2005 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Cartons were $5.00 when I quit. Packs were 75 cents from the machine in the lobby of the Twinbrook Bowling Alley (that is how a 13-year-old gots smokes back then!).

Posted by: esskay | October 19, 2005 5:24 PM | Report abuse

esskay - EVERYONE counts - besides, it's quite the informal survey - with some interesting results!!

i'm not allergic to smoke but it does kinda bother me when it's blown in my face. in my business (IT) being a woman in the biz is almost as rare as being a non-smoker - for some reason a LOT of IT people smoke! i guess we can use the boodle as a smoke break?

i haven't been to paris in a long while but in man, in italy they smoke like crazy! EVERYONE smokes! and they have no concept of personal space so they tend to smoke right in your face!

Posted by: mo | October 19, 2005 5:51 PM | Report abuse

and i definetly won't preach to the smokers so don't worry - i was just curious! (i think i always misspell definetly - is it misspelled?) i would prolly be a smoker if i could stand the smoke in my lungs - i'd prolly be thinner too, but ah well... i have plenty of self-destructive habits, among them drinking wine and that gosh darned achenblog!!!

Posted by: mo | October 19, 2005 5:55 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* boodlebloghoggin has led to boodlecide...

Posted by: mo | October 19, 2005 6:10 PM | Report abuse

You didn't kill the 'boodle, mo. Here, I have some stories:

I recall going into a bank in Rome to get some travelers' checks cashed, and all the tellers were smoking on the job. I didn't mind that so much as the fact that the customers didn't organize themselves into lines -- they just hovered around the tellers in an impatient mob, and the ones who were best able to push themselves to the front were the ones who got served first. (I probably would have been there all day if my much-pushier husband hadn't been with me.)

I noticed something of an opposite phenomenon in Germany and Austria: If you stand still for long enough -- maybe to look in a shop window -- people will start forming a queue behind you. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating -- but they do often stop and stand very close to you to see what you're looking at.

[But, as has been said before on this blog, "No offense!" I loved visiting all three of the countries I've mentioned here.]

Posted by: Achenfan | October 19, 2005 6:13 PM | Report abuse

mo:
Since you asked:

definitely

(But I don't have a we-are-weird equivalent for "definitely," unfortunately. Sorry.)

Posted by: Tom fan | October 19, 2005 6:18 PM | Report abuse

jeez! i really misspelled it huh? i swear i'm a college graduate! *grumble grumble* yeah, a college grad who can't spell weird or definitely! for shame!

see that's what i love about traveling - all the subtle and not-so-subtle customs people have...

Posted by: mo | October 19, 2005 6:22 PM | Report abuse

LP, just save up all your smokin cash to get something really really nice for yourself. I have a friend who went on a cruise with her hubby when they quit. They saved up the money in under a year.

I don't smoke. I tried when I was young and foolish, desperately trying to be cool. Even in my teenage silliness, I knew cool was not what happened when I tried to inhale. There are some things way, way more embarrassing than trying to be cool to a 13 year old. On other stuff to smoke, I went to a party once where the air was blue and I breathed in really deep. Does this count as smoking of the second kind?

Posted by: dr | October 19, 2005 6:23 PM | Report abuse

LB you made me laugh with that comment about dippin' before you got onto a C-130.

I used to play a lot of softball in some DC and Mont Co. leagues. A friend of mine talked me into (I'll admit I'd tried it a little in High School) some Red Man during a game. Everything was fine for me (at shortstop) for a couple of innings, until a guy hit a really sharp line drive to my left. At the crack of the bat I *swallowed*, sprinted and snagged the ball on the hot first hop , and threw as hard as I could to first for the put out.

I stopped running, but noticed that everything still seemed to be moving around me, and I noticed a burning in my chest that got stroNGER VERY QUICKLY.

Everything in my stomach came up before I could reel off the field. No beer for me after the game, I had the spins for a couple of hours afterward.

End of my flirtation with chewing tobacco, I guess that's a level of sexiness I'll never attain.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 19, 2005 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Writers survived for centuries without emoticons. The secret is not to write like you speak. When you speak, you use tone and body language to communicate subtleties. In writing you have to use words. Forgive the pendantic nature of this, but I just spent several hours trying to communicate this very point to my teenage son. Tone and body language were involved.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 19, 2005 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I started smoking when I was in high school, and continued until about five years ago. My sister was a heavy smoker and she died suddenly, I quit. I am now in my 50's, so I smoked a long time. I quit cold turkey. No chewing gum, no patches, none of that stuff. Just prayed, went out and bought a pack of cigarettes, just in case, and never even opened them. Prayer is powerful.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 19, 2005 8:56 PM | Report abuse

What's up with the font in today's (first) Kit? Am I the only one seeing it?

No indictments yet...tap, tap, tap...

I don't use emoticons often, although sometimes I do because I'm afraid my humor won't come through. Uh oh, I just realized I should use lots more smileys! :)

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 19, 2005 10:09 PM | Report abuse

mo, I smoked for about 10 years - during my college years and beyond. I got a really bad cold and at first thought the cough was due to smoking. I was so sick I couldn't smoke, and after I got better, cigarettes tasted funny to me - so I took the opportunity to quit. It was several years till I didn't have the craving, especially at parties and such.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 19, 2005 10:15 PM | Report abuse

A late night roll here. I think it won't matter 'cuz every one will have moved on to another Kit & 'Boodle.

RD makes an observation worth considering. I've tried to be more careful about it myself as the on-line age has progressed.
It used to be that written communication was mostly formal and not particularly open to misunderstanding, or undertaken between parties who knew each other sufficiently well that inside jokes and wry/dry humor were understood to be mutually understood.
The ease of e-stuff has vastly increased the amount of informal written traffic between folk who don't know each other particularly well. This has lead to the need for introduction of emoticons as a shortcut to expression of subtle and/or informal inflections that might have been tacitly understood or just plain inappropriate in days of yore. They are, however, merely shortcuts, and more thoughtful phasing can often accomplish the same thing more artfully. (I, on the other hand, have a tendency to cheat by using parenthetical comments and tangential asides to flesh out my meaning. Perhaps emoticons would be more efficient, eh?)

Posted by: Bob S. | October 20, 2005 12:19 AM | Report abuse

"More thoughtful phRasing", that would be. That wasn't especially thoughtful or artful, was it now?

Posted by: Bob S. | October 20, 2005 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Bob S.

Someone is still reading this. I thought your comments about "ease of e-stuff" and "informal written traffic" are right-on. I like the idea of tangential asides. I can never figure out how to configure the emoticons but marvel at TomFan's creativity in manufacturing them. Glad you explain them, TomFan.

mo: (if you read this) I gave up smoking in the early sixties when the Surgeon General made the point smoking could kill you. That was long before warnings on packages. I thought it more important to be alive. I've never regreted it. Go for it, LP.

They care out where I live. It will be the White Sox and the Astros.

bdl

Posted by: boondocklurker | October 20, 2005 3:35 AM | Report abuse

yes i'm still reading this boodle - interesting comments about smoking! i admire the ppl that stopped!! cold turkey has to be, wow, just TUFF!!! i'm an instant messaging writer, for better or for worse, so don't hate me cuz i used shortcuts, improper capitalization and punctuation, emoticons, im speak and excessive exclamation points... i'm merely a product of my generation...
so there! :p

Posted by: mo | October 20, 2005 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Mo, I'm not sure if you saw my final'Civic Center' post on the other 'boodle yesterday:

Mo - The house I grew up in is about a mile from the Civic Center. A few of my anscestors are buried in the St.Mary's cemetery there on old Baltimore Road.

One of the things that I absolutely miss about living down there is sledding on the Civic Center hill. You will have to try it one night (don't hit any snipes). On a good night, we used to have 200 people there sledding. I once fell into the creek and had to walk the mile home in sub-zero temperatures.

I will tell my ghost story at a later time. I do not necessarily believe in ghosts, but there was no other explanation that night (including mind-altering natural or chemical substanes!).
Posted by: esskay | Oct 19, 2005 1:42:23 PM

Posted by: esskay | October 20, 2005 10:54 AM | Report abuse

This is cool, you have to try it. I guessed 51438, and this game guessed it! See it here - http://www.funbrain.com/guess/

Posted by: Allison Trump | May 23, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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