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Premature Christmas Decorations at Starbucks

    Starbucks put up their Christmas decorations this morning. Excuse me: Isn't it still the middle of Autumn? Hiking season? Aren't people just now getting starting to rake leaves? Don't we still have that big Thanksgiving foofaraw to deal with before we get anywhere near Christmas? Even the squirrels have barely started to bury their acorns. We've had no frost. Only the most pathological football fans have used the phrase "major playoff implications." The goose is not yet fat. Santa's workshop has yet to add a second shift, much less a third. You get the drift. 

   We have enough problems with climate change, and the social disorientation that comes with it -- people still wearing white as late as Halloween, for example, or switching from long neckties to bow ties as early as President's Day -- and we don't need Corporate America confusing us further. The Starbucks people have done their Pavlovian studies, and they know that Americans see a wreath and a huge fake candy cane and immediately, almost in a panic, whip out the Master Card to buy something, anything -- a French press coffee maker, maybe, or this year's "burr grinder" that doesn't burn the beans the way a blade grinder might. Psychologists call it the shop-or-flight response.

    We feel rushed enough as it is. We don't need Christmas leapfrogging Thanksgiving, edging aside Veteran's Day, galloping past Halloween and doing a jig right in the face of Labor Day. Christmas is supposed to last 12 days, last anyone checked. The "holiday season" should last only from about 3 in the afternoon of the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to the first Monday after the New Year. That's how it has worked in Western Civilization since the time of Homer. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    But fyi, the coffee grinders were on sale.

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 10, 2005; 10:30 AM ET
 
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Comments

Caribou Coffee is keeping right up with Starbucks. Went into Caribou this morning only to hear Christmas Carols and to see and excess of holiday decor. Even the cups and napkins have snowflakes on them. Yikes.

On a different note (already going off kit): Have you seen the awesome graphic that accompanies today's story on the FCC? I couldn't resist clicking on "Interactive Graphic" right under a headline that said FCC Raises Indecency Bar.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/custom/2005/10/28/CU2005102800826.html

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I saw X-mas products and decorations up in Sears, JC Penney, Wal-Mart and Best Buy before Columbus Day. Hallmark stores have X-mas stuff up by the end of September IIRC.

The Holiday Season is when the retailers make their money, and the difference between a good one and a bad one can be the difference between being in the black and being in the red.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it.", is one point of view.

"Bigger is better." is a Very Capitalist American point of view.

bc

Posted by: bc | November 10, 2005 10:40 AM | Report abuse

PS: Happy Consumer Debt Season!

bc

Posted by: bc | November 10, 2005 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm so glad this was the topic of the Kit today! When I walked into my local Starbucks this morning I was overwhelmed not only by the Christmas decorations but also by the loud Christmas music that was playing. Ugh -- it's *way* too early. Call me a grinch, but I found the whole thing very unsettling and resorted to listening to my Walkman while drinking my coffee. I think I'm going to have to find an alternative morning hangout. Yep, that's it -- boycott Starbucks!

Posted by: Achenfan | November 10, 2005 10:42 AM | Report abuse

TBG, that is definitely a world-beater of a graphic. I may have to click on that many times today just to watch it unspool.

Posted by: Achenbach | November 10, 2005 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Can someone link me to the J. Miller farewell letter in the Times? Ooops! Is this a WaPo Blog?

Posted by: newkidontheblog | November 10, 2005 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and one more thing while I'm feeling cranky and umbrage-y:

They also had a big white sign on the door advertising their Christmas Day hours of business. Several customers seemed a little thrown by the sign, thinking it was telling them that the store was going to be late opening *today.*

Hmmphh. Bah. Humbug.

Posted by: Achenfan | November 10, 2005 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Achenfan,
As official historian of the Achenblog, I was curious if you might be able to help me get to the bottom of my bf conundrum. I am almost positive he has posted on here, possibly multiple times. In discussion with him last night (he is enjoying every minute of this, by the way) he made reference to the SAO-15 (although he called it the club of 13). When pressed as to his handle, he said something about a name that repeats itself. I thought of Moi Moi, but Moi Moi's conversational style does not fit. Are there any other handles with double names?

I am also going to do some research on my own to see if he may have engaged in debate with me at some point.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I can't really speak about Starbucks as I have never even tried coffee in my 40+ years. That's right, never.

However, I have spent a good portion of my life working in retail. To me, the Christmas season begins directly after Halloween. Why? Because you folks simply don't buy anything for Thanksgiving (except a lousy centerpiece and a disposable aluminum turkey roasting pan).

Despite the products and displays being put out, traditionally, the Christmas music is not supposed to start until black Friday.

The mad post-Halloween season has for years been my most hectic time of year. That is why Halloween is my most revered holiday...

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Wow, that's a great graphic.

I'm going to guess that Ms. Stanton may be familiar with the work of Edward Tufte.

bc

Posted by: bc | November 10, 2005 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Favorite retail window sign (from a former employer):

Open 24 Hours a Day
7 Days a Week*

* except Thursdays

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Hallmark is different. They sell collectible Christmas ornaments, and must get them out early so there are no stampedes on their stores. Perhaps its a case of OH&S protection for their employees? I will grant them a dispensation because I have been in that store with my mother when the search for the new collectible for the year is on. Nothing is like a group of stampeding ardent collectors.

All the other places, take note. If I have to hear Johnny Matthis sing a Christmas standard more than 1 time per year, I am going to lose it. I can ignore all the rest just please don't play the Johnny Matthis' Christmas over and over again.

Posted by: dr | November 10, 2005 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Do you remember the old Barney Miller show about the quirky cops? There was an episode where a man had gone berserk over seeing a sign in a store that said:

Up to 50% Off... and More!

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Hallmark has their 'kickoff' to release the ornaments. Collectors flock to the stores. From a marketing perspective I really admire two of the things they do.
First, they offer certain ormnaments in series to keep you coming back year after year.
Second, they only release about 80% of the new ornaments at kickoff. They hold some of the pieces to later in the season to get you back into the stores multiple times.

They have a really cool darth vader piece this year, er, so I've been told!

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 11:14 AM | Report abuse

TA:
Hmmmm. I might need some time for this one. A name that repeats itself. I do recall a "DD" and an "LL" -- maybe that sort of structure would fit into that definition? I don't think your boyfriend is "Moi Moi." I would also remind you of my theory (for what it's worth) that there is one individual here who posts under many different handles (and I'm not talking about me), sometimes accounting for half the comments in any given 'boodle. I hope that will not complicate your search. For example, it is my belief that "omodudu" is one of many handles used by one person, as are "clang" and "mike." And I do not believe that that individual is your boyfriend, i.e., I doubt that you were arguing with your boyfriend during your discussion with "omodudu" the other day.

It's also possible that your boyfriend is trying to create the impression of having posted here but has not in fact posted. At this early stage of the investigation we must consider all possibilities.

Leave it with me. I will keep my eyes open. The FBBI is on the case.

Posted by: Achen- and Tom fan | November 10, 2005 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Hallmark, I remember in high school one of my rival cheerleaders collecting these crappy china "Precious Moments" figurines. She and her mother talked so incessantly about how great they were that soon they had us all gifting them for various occasions. They even gave me one for my high school graduation. Those figurines are such sappy crap. I finally realized that it was okay to think so when I went to the girl's wedding and it was a Mickey Mouse them. They had mouse ears on the invitations, programs, candles, Mickey and Minnie on top of the wedding cake, music from Pirates of the Caribbean. It was horrendous.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 11:21 AM | Report abuse

SCC: theme

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Achenfan.

And I have considered that he is pulling my leg, trying to get me to believe he has posted. He certainly enjoyed me asking him about it. And he loves taking key phrases I might have uttered and throwing them back at me.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 11:27 AM | Report abuse

While there, you should know that Starbuck's makes a holiday blend that is ready for gift giving. Pick up at least one.

And now, the Word o' the Day, sponsored by Starbuck's -- where you can also pick up some cool CDs or a gift card or something and, shoot, you can probably do all of your holiday shopping there.

Main Entry: foo·fa·raw
Pronunciation: 'fü-f&-"ro
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
1 : frills and flashy finery
2 : a disturbance or to-do over a trifle : FUSS

Posted by: Bayou Self | November 10, 2005 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"Up to 50% Off... and More!"

TBG, that's funny.

How about this one, seen at a sporting event.

"Ice cold beer. 34 degrees."

Posted by: Bayou Self | November 10, 2005 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Achen-/Tom fan:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

I am grateful for your presence here, and I'm sure many others feel the same way.

bc

Posted by: bc | November 10, 2005 11:38 AM | Report abuse

T.J. Maxx had its Christmas decorations
displayed in too early September.
Ummmm, What season is this?
Why, I can't really remember...

A few weeks later, Hurricane Rita passed to the east.
Here, the month was hotter than a beast.
Pine, cranberry, cinnamon, vanilla,
which candle scent for the holiday feast?

In October, little neighborhood kids on
our doorstep as ghouls, goblins, and ghosts.
"Honey, what package of bright Christmas
wrap do you really like the most?"

In November, I assemble giblets, bread, onions, celery,
to stuff the plump, juicy bird with great care.
With knowledge that pudgy-wudgy old St. Nick
will soon be in the malls--virtually everywhere!

In late December there arises on my rooftop
quite a loud, noisy, clattering clamor.
"Sweetie, do you think he'll like the house
festooned (for six weeks!) in glittering holiday glamour?"

For months, Madison Ave. has constantly bombarded me
with festive, jolly, ubiquitous ads.
So that by the time Christmas is truly over,
I'm honestly, truthfully, happily, thankfully--glad!

Posted by: Loomis | November 10, 2005 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I think you can scratch LL off your list. I think I used it one day as a shortcut, being my initials and all.

Posted by: Loomis | November 10, 2005 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, bc. If I can prevent just one 'boodler from engaging in a needlessly nonsensical discussion with a "fake" 'boodler, then I will feel that my efforts at the FBBI are worthwhile. (Of course, many 'boodlers proabably consider me to be a paranoid nitwit at this point. Personally, I'm not ready to eat my hat just yet.)

Posted by: Achen- and Tom fan | November 10, 2005 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Achen-/Tom fan:

By your criteria, I think your efforts have already borne fruit.

Hypothetically, though, if you were to eat a hat, which one would it be?

Yes, that's nonsense.

bc

Posted by: bc | November 10, 2005 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info on "LL," Linda. I will update my files accordingly. This is good -- the list of possibilities has grown smaller already. (Although I hope I would have recognized LL as you if I'd gone back to check out that post. You have a unique voice.)

Posted by: Tom fan | November 10, 2005 12:01 PM | Report abuse

You're very good at posing these needlessly nonsensical questions, bc. Might have to put you on my "Persons of Interest" list. ;) [joke tag]

Posted by: Tom fan | November 10, 2005 12:03 PM | Report abuse

If one must eat a hat, I would suggest a mushroom cap.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | November 10, 2005 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I HATE IT WHEN THEY PUT CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS UP BEFORE THANKSGIVING! *whew* sorry... i couldn't hold it back! and that whole Christmas in July crap? ARGGGHHHHHHHH! don't get me wrong... i love love love christmas - everyone is so warm and fuzzy and loving and i love the smells and getting just the right tree and so forth but that's because it's "special" - it's a "special" time of year - let's not whore it out for that extra buck!

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Or perhaps a turban squash.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | November 10, 2005 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I spent last weekend in Savannah, GA. Beautiful old downtown, wonderfully restored, and I gained a couple of pounds what with the restaurants and candy shops. But when I walked into an antique store and heard Nat Cole singing the Christmas Song I got a jumpstart on this year's bah-freakin'-humbug mode. (OTOH I did walk into another place and hear an album with a local trombone player, so that kind of made up for it. But it wasn't Christmas music.)

Posted by: Les | November 10, 2005 12:07 PM | Report abuse

achenfan - i know i'm not FBBI but imho i think omodudu is legit... just a hunch...

hey... bph anyone????? to celebrate Christmas? ummm... i mean...

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 12:07 PM | Report abuse

TA, that sounds like a tacky wedding!

At my house, the big thing is the Snow Village. We have enough pieces to fill a 4 foot by 8 foot table, which takes up half my sunroom. I don't mind that, but putting it up and taking it down wear me out. Last year it was up from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving till I had a fit at New Year's. My husband loves it, though. He's such a sentimental softy about Christmas.

Posted by: slyness | November 10, 2005 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm guilty of listening to Joan Baez' Christmas album (titled "Noel") off and on throughout the year. Oh the beauty of her rendition of O Holy Night in German. And how I miss the Christmas Eve Midnight Masses sung in Latin at Little Flower Catholic Cathedral in San Antonio.
This is sort of mean-spirited, but my sister and I used to watch the old Hit Parade (live tv show in the 50s) for no reason other than to ridicule the singers, Snooky Lanson, Russel Arms, Gisele McKenzie and Dorothy Collins and the hokey HP band. The kindest thing one could say is that they sang on key. One Christmas program, Dorothy muffed the lyrics and sang "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus, underneath his snow so beardy white". As she realized her mistake, a look of horror spread across her face and her eyes crossed. We literally fell off the sofa laughing. Live tv was so great

Posted by: Nani | November 10, 2005 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Christmas is nice, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It gets no credit, no kudos. But I think if it did, it might not be so special anymore.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post note: Dave Barry is having some fun today, pointing out that when you dream of someday being the subject of a headline in the Washington Post, you usually don't dream of being called "Toilet Man."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/09/AR2005110901588.html

Posted by: Bayou Self | November 10, 2005 12:15 PM | Report abuse

slyness:
About that Mickey Mouse wedding, my friend who went with me and I had so much fun making fun of all the Mickey Mouse details. And there were so many to make fun of! They even went to Disney World for the honeymoon.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Nani, and the other thing that makes the album "Noel" stand out is Peter Shickele's arrangements. (Yes, the P.D.Q. Bach discoverer, if you know of him.) They also collaborated on the soundtrack to the movie "Silent Running".

Posted by: Les | November 10, 2005 12:27 PM | Report abuse

OK.. I've gone into TypePad hell. I'm afraid my posts will appear a zillion times. Sorry if they do.

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 12:32 PM | Report abuse

PS: Aaron Neville's Soulful Christmas album is great too. He does some of the traditional carols, and a rolicking cajun boogie-woogie "Louisiana Christmas Day". (I taught the grandgirls how to jitterbug to that one) Now, if only his Ave Maria was on that album, it'd be perfecto!

Posted by: Nani | November 10, 2005 12:32 PM | Report abuse

One thing I like about Thanksgiving is that it's the pretty much the only holiday throughout the year where you can't offend anyone by saying "Have a great Thanksgiving!"

I'm all for a BPH.. how about Dec. 6th?

TBG

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I feel the need to way in on this whole christmas-too-early thing. I can understand a retailers' desire to get the merchandise early, but myself and everyone else I know tends to start avoiding major retail centers around this time of year. And, more and more, we just do our shopping via the internet anyway as to avoid the entire thing. Does this mean that perhaps sometime in the distant future the whole christmas-too-early thing may cease to be a problem, as retailers discover it drives consumers away more than it lures them in. Maybe this is just wishful thinking.

Posted by: LP | November 10, 2005 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Didn't someone post as Oim Oim before?
Or, was that Moi Moi being funny (or dyslexic, in a sidewards sort of way)?

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 12:40 PM | Report abuse

TA, to each her own, right? No special focus at my wedding, but, by golly, the invitation was right by Miss Manner's book! I hate gimmicky invitations. My girls won't dare to think about them, even.

Nani, that music sounds divine. Music makes Christmas for me, but my husband is fixated on Mannheim Steamroller. I like their stuff in moderation, but more than once or twice a week drives me crazy.

Posted by: slyness | November 10, 2005 12:41 PM | Report abuse

mo:
Legit? Ya think? I dunno -- my suspicions were raised when "omodudu" first posted to this blog on August 25, during a discussion of the demographic characteristics of attendees at the first Porching Hour (See "The Terrible Power of Fresh Eyes"):

"I guessed most of the SAO-15 would be white and I think it would be interesting to discuss why others also believed this. I for one am as black as can be but I also enjoy this boodle."

[If *that* was a legit comment, then I will indeed eat my hat.]

[And I'll shut up now. I could go on about this until the cows come home, but that wouldn't be very productive.]

Posted by: Tom fan | November 10, 2005 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Kind of reminds me of a favorite commmercila from my youth. The Libby's canned-good company had a short lived mascot. On one commercial, he said:

"I'm Libby the Kid. That's 'Billy the Kid' spelled sidewards!"

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 12:43 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I think I created a new word when I tried to type 'commercial'.

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 12:46 PM | Report abuse

tom fan - she DID say yesterday that she's a black female... like i said, just a hunch...

i can do dec. 6th - but i thought we were going to rethink the tues thing???

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 12:51 PM | Report abuse

tom fan - she DID say yesterday that she's a black female... like i said, just a hunch...

i can do dec. 6th - but i thought we were going to rethink the tues thing???

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I think the recent CapOne credit card commercial with the family trying to cram every holiday into one visit to the grandparents is entirely too realistic in this day and age...

Perhaps we should just preemptively make Christmas a 365-day event and save the energy normally expended switching "holiday mode" on and off.

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 10, 2005 12:53 PM | Report abuse

oops - just stepped in typepad - how do i get it off my shoes?

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Mo,

I'm glad (sorry?) to see some company here in TypePad hell.

Wed, Dec 7, would work too. I have to work the next week so that's not good for me (that's why I've missed the other BPHs).

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey, hey! I think some a youse people need a serious attytude adjustment regarding Xmas. Fortunately, I have the solution: a little judicious editing and re-writing. Here's what we do.

First, we make it the 12 Weeks of Christmas, instead of the 12 Days. That legitimately backs us up to about the second week of October (I'm ending at New Year's). Then we rewrite that damned--I mean wonderful--song, "One the first week of Christmas, my true love gave to me...yadda yadda.

Then we change Shakespeare's 12th Night to 12th Week. Hey, there's discrepancies in the folios, right? Who's to say my version isn't historically accurate? I mean, who reads that guy anyway?

Third, we gotta do some rewriting and editing to some of the Gospels. I know this might be a wee bit controversial for some of you, but stick with me on this. We know the Wise Men saw the star and set out for Bethlehem, right? So we insert just a little bitty phrase that says they started out EXACTLY 12 weeks before Dec. 25. I mean, it's only one small phrase. Jeez, ligthen up. Some people are so literal-minded.

Finally, we need to create an event that marks the Official Start of the 12 Weeks of Christmas. Since Christmas is a worldwide event, not just an American one, I suggest we pick an internationally accepted date and event as the Officially Sanctioned Start Date. I'm referring, of course, to Week Five of the NFL season, something dignified and tasteful like, say, the halftime of the Carolina/Arizona game. We could have those two former Carolina cheerleaders come bursting out of the ladies room, followed by other cheerleaders dressed as Wise Men, Joseph and Mary, etc. I mean, what's not to like?

Additional thoughts always welcome.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 10, 2005 12:58 PM | Report abuse

mo:
I could say I was a 90-year-old man from Fiji. It wouldn't be the truth, but there'd be nothing stopping me saying it. :)

That is all.

Posted by: Tom fan | November 10, 2005 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Nani,
I'll second you on the Aaron Neville "Soulful Christmas" CD. The boogie-woogie number is my fav. I have a nice one of soft Ecuadorian pan flute Xmas music, and others of Cajun and Bahama Christmas music. I like different!

But one of my best holiday memories is sitting out in our bathing suits under a wide bowl of sky with many twinkling stars, in a hot tub in Sedona, Arizona, on New Year's, sipping champagne. The rare and exquisite experience. Mmmm...

But I have to say, the Alvin and the Chipmunks stuff is more tiresome than Nat.

Posted by: Loomis | November 10, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

You all have got to hear 'David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall' where he describes learning about the Dutch Santa Claus traditions. It is hilarious.

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Either of those days works for me.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Curmudgeon, I sat down and read Twelfth Night this week...saw Shakespeare in Love over the weekend and was inspired to check it out...but I like your suggestions. They make sense, especially the Carolina cheerleaders. That way, we wouldn't be exhausted by all the activities of the (short) Christmas season...

Posted by: slyness | November 10, 2005 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Curmudgeon, you're really in re-write mode today.

First you rewrote history and geology on the last Kit.

Now you want to rewrite a holiday AND the Bard?

Then, the Scriptures? Holy Cow!

Next thing, you know, you'll want to move the international date line to the North Pole!

If we're all so tired of the old cliches, why not just wipe the slate clean and invent an entirely new holiday?

Posted by: Loomis | November 10, 2005 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Linda,
Festivus!

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 1:09 PM | Report abuse

If I had to choose one artist that represents Christmas, I would have to go traditional and say that, for me, I could not have the holiday without Bing Crosby.

And Curmudgeon, I particularly liked the addition of "yadda, yadda". Isn't that Yiddish?

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I see lot of silly thing here. Wot yous doing all that for huh?

Posted by: wabbed | November 10, 2005 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Astute observation, esskay. Yes, "yadda yadda" is indeed Yiddish; I thought it added a little ecumenical flavor to the discussion.

BTW, well done to TA: "Festivus" made me snort my coffee. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 10, 2005 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Way late in the day to be mentioning it, but:

line 3: "getting starting"

Posted by: Reader | November 10, 2005 1:23 PM | Report abuse

And I thought I would say I only weighed in with a nitpick to start with so there would be no doubt as to my identity.

I know I'm not the only one who feels guilty any time accusations are going around. I hate those electronic sensors in stores and libraries, although I would *never* steal, especially not a book!! But I always flinch going through them. My daughter is the same way--I passed it on to her.

I've used various names on the blog but usually just make the name fit the comment if I want to be "anonymous."

Really, Achen/Tom Fan, I think you are wrong about it only being one or two people who play the "troll" on this site.

And I don't know how to say it exactly, but I have a strange feeling about you as a person, especially having seen your photo--you and I are like twins from different mothers. I don't mean that we look alike, exactly; what I mean is that we ARE alike. It kind of freaks me out.

Posted by: Reader | November 10, 2005 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Achen Tom fan,
I wonder why you don't think I'm legit? I really wasn't trying to stir TA's goat the other day it was just a discussion that interested me. And yes I did imagine the SAO 15 to be white before mo took the pictures. Why isn't that a legit comment. Maybe I have to show up at the next porching hour just so I can see you eat your hat.

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 1:32 PM | Report abuse

By the way "omodudu" means black child in Yoruba. And I made up the name the first time I used the handle because I was talking about the fact that the SAO 15 were mostly white.
Tom fan, I repeat I am AMAZED at your memory and I say that in an admiring non- sarcastic tone (limitations of writing).

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Omodudu:

Do it!!! I'll buy a round of drinks if you do! Charge it to Affirmative Action.

Posted by: Reader | November 10, 2005 1:34 PM | Report abuse

TA:
This is just a guess, not backed up by solid data, but one possibility for your boyfriend's alleged handle is "AT" (your initials backwards, which could be defined as "a name that repeats itself," I suppose). Here is a sample comment:

"I always thought it was Daniel Stern in Diner who made his girlfriend take the Colts quiz, not Steve Guttenberg.
Posted by: AT | Oct 20, 2005 4:44:45 PM"

Does that sound like him?

(My apologies to AT if you are not in fact TA's boyfriend. Just trying to think outside the box here.)

Posted by: Tom fan | November 10, 2005 1:36 PM | Report abuse

YEAH omodudu! do it! that would make me RIGHT! (i love being right - happens so rarely!)

so shall we continue the tradition and keep it on a tues? thus making the 3rd Official Boodle Porching Hour Dec 6th?

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Omodudu,
We welcome you at the next BPH!

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 1:40 PM | Report abuse

OK.. Dec 6 is great. Now the question is where? I like the downtown idea (seems fair and central to everyone), but how 'bout someplace a little less pricey.

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm starting to feel like a troll with my multiple posting but I AM NOT. I read regularly but post irregularly, I only post when I feel really compelled by the discussion and I have some downtime at work. I'm kind of hurt that you think I'm a troll Achenfan, I don't think my comments are that bad. Maybe it's because I only post when I'm heated up about something. If I'm only mildly interested I just chuckle to myself and keep reading. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it to the porching hour. I'm a working mother who has to go home to her wonderful 2 yr old at the end of the day and I work in VA so it's not like I can make a quick stop. Plus I like the idea of my identity not being revealed anyway.
BUT I'M NOT A TROLL!!!!

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 1:45 PM | Report abuse

omodudu, I hope you *do* show up at the Porching Hour, even if it does mean I have to eat my hat. If you do show up, I'll buy you a drink. Actually, I'll buy *all* your drinks.

[To borrow a phrase from Reader, I'm feeling all deja-vu-y.]

Posted by: Tom fan | November 10, 2005 1:45 PM | Report abuse

hey - remember achenbach offered to foot the bill? i say we make it MORE pricey if he does!

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Tom fan,
AT's comment doesn't really seem like a comment he would make, or even the way he would make it. He's very long-winded and would likely say something in a more flamboyant way than that. He is also rather opinionated, if I hadn't already conveyed that.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 1:45 PM | Report abuse

When is JA going to show up at the BPH?

bc, when will our bet be settled? I feel a little bad that you're so likely to lose, but I think you're the one who proposed the wager.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Reader said -
Do it!!! I'll buy a round of drinks if you do! Charge it to Affirmative Action.
_______________________________________
I'm not quite sure I read you here reader????

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 1:58 PM | Report abuse

*pst* omodudu - i believe ya...
and i've said it many times before - i'm not white so you can see the boodle is indeed multi-racial - tho haven't seen cassandra for a bit huh?

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Mo I know that but that was way back then and I was just agreeing with someone else who said something about it. That was a one time comment if my memory serves me right

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Tom fan says "I could say I was a 90 year old man from Fiji, wouldn't be the truth..."

Nani says "I wish I could truthfully say I was a 'horsey person in jodhpurs'."

What is it about the horse that makes me yearn to caress its long face, to gaze in its eyes and throw my arms about its neck and bury my face in its mane with the same passion and love I feel for family?

THE WHITE HORSE
The youth walks up to the white horse, to put its halter on and the horse looks at him in silence.

They are so silent, they are in another world.
DH Lawrence

Posted by: Nani | November 10, 2005 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I think the "Achenbach" who offered to pay for the boodledrinks may have been a troll.

But I definitely don't think omodudu is a troll. Never have. She's always been pretty forthcoming.

I just hope Mike didn't keep Cassandra away. I miss her. Hope she's OK.

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Thank you mo and TBG.

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I hate to rain on the parade, but I think Achenbach said he'd expense the BPHs when/if the Achenblog ever got an expense account. He was joking. He is a joke maker.

Of course, I'd love to be wrong on this one.

Posted by: Achenfan | November 10, 2005 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I went into Bath and Body Works last week to buy some hand soup for my house and was completely overwhelmed by the gigantic Christmas decorations, the "new" Christmas scents and the blaring Christmas music overhead. As I was purchasing my selection I made a comment about the fact that it was way to early for any mention of Christmas. The overly perky sales clerk informed me that it "almost the middle of November" and I should "really consider getting a head start so that I could relax and enjoy the holidays season." I was completely confused, the middle of November? I looked at the date on my cell phone and it clearly read "November 1, 2005." Does the retail industry use a different calendar than the rest of the country?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 10, 2005 2:18 PM | Report abuse

soap- not soup

Posted by: Anonymous | November 10, 2005 2:19 PM | Report abuse

ok - off the subject of race before mike jumps back in!

Reader - i always get all weirded out when a cop follows me even if i'm not speeding, doing anything wrong and have all the current stickers...

as for christmas - i worked across from a tobacco store one christmas when i was a teenager - now tobacco store smells always remind me of christmas - and we had this one LP (can't remember who) that we played every single christmas since i was a baby - tried finding it on DVD but it's a little different which really sux cuz the LP is worn out...

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I'd be careful about throwing around the T-word here. Some of you may recall that I expressed some misgivings about "Dorothy from Columbus" here one day and Jo-el sent me to bed without any supper. (But D from C and her exclamation points have not been heard from since, so maybe it was worth it.)

Posted by: kurosawaguy | November 10, 2005 2:21 PM | Report abuse

my apologies for a kit-related posting.
i can't claim credit for this nor can i remember to whom it belongs - someone WaPo related (Achenbach, Weingarten and Fisher come to mind). it was suggested that the best way to combat premature christmasation is to complain about the woeful lacking of easter merchandise. i've gotten a couple of blank-faced stares, but no witty retorts. yet.

Posted by: ghettoMuppet | November 10, 2005 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Joel thinks I'm a troll........

Okay, enough of that. I'll make a blog related comment. My first Christmas in the US was such a miserable one. I was seventeen and away from home during Christmas for the first time in my life. I had imagined enjoying a winter wonderland having come from a much warmer climate but could not believe how commercialized Christmas is over here. I'm used to it now but I do remember being struck by how Christmas seemed to be more about shopping than Christmas.

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I must say I strenuously object to the prospect of hat-eating at the Porching Hour, or any hour for that matter. Such conduct could lead to wagers involving bug eating, goldfish swallowing, or eating oysters on a dare. Before you know it, you're engaging in knife-throwing contests, drinking games, or even making prank phone calls. It's a slippery slope to Perdition. Please only eat allegories. That's my opinion. Thank you for your kind attention.

Posted by: CowTown | November 10, 2005 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm in for a BPH on the 6th. Yay!

TA, I didn't forget about our bet. I have the little yellow sticky note on my office calendar as a reminder, and I look at it every single day. I don't know exactly when Time has their POTY issue, but if it's before we go to the BPH and I lose the bet, I will make good on it.

Re. Festivus - I'm always into The Airing of Grievances. If I have enough to drink, I might foolishly consider a Feat of Strength.

bc

Posted by: bc | November 10, 2005 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I mentioned Bing before but there is another artist that brings me back to the season as well. My parents are from rural heritage despite landing in suburbia. The country-western roots were ever-present. Although I am no fan of country music, I cannot have a Christmas without Charlie Pride.

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 2:30 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy:
I didn't think Joel was referring to you that day. I thought he was referring to "temecula," who had made some uncalled-for comments about LindaLoo.

Posted by: Tom fan | November 10, 2005 2:33 PM | Report abuse

CowTown:
Thank you for your concern, but I'm pretty confident that I will not be eating my hat. I don't make these hat-eating offers lightly.

Posted by: Tom fan | November 10, 2005 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Being a 'newbie', someone please explain the SAO-15 to me. I assumed it was the original boodlers. However, in looking at early archives I do not see many familiar names. Those names come a bit later and frankly, my attention span did not allow for in-depth analysis.

And, because I was unaware of the crime involved, I will turn myself in to the FBBI (again, please explain that one as well).
On several occasions I have quite innocently posted as someone other than 'esskay'. I thought I disclosed this at the time of posting but would like to be sure. So, here are other identities that I have used:
kayess - when discussing dyslexia
yaksse - when writing backwards
Geddy Lee - when making an obscure RUSH reference.
Chucky Heston - OK, I have no real excuse for that one!

No connection to tA here (but i am sure that she knows that!).

Posted by: Anonymous | November 10, 2005 2:38 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, a fair amount of raw oysters were consumed at the last BPH, no bets needed.

My Christmas season isn't complete without watching "A Christmas Story", the original TV version of "Grinch", and listening to "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics".

Tom fan, I'd always like to think that I'm always a Person of Interest. Ha!

bc

Posted by: bc | November 10, 2005 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Dan Froomkin writes today: "Tonight, Rove is the dinner speaker at the Federalist Society's annual convention." We can expect that this time he will not only accuse "liberals" of wanting only to offer therapy to terrorists, but also backrubs, mudpacks, and free tickets to Disney World.

Posted by: CowTown | November 10, 2005 2:43 PM | Report abuse

In my humble opinion, the term "SAO-15" is obsolete. We are now "The Kaboodle," which is far more egalitarian and inclusive. Less exclusionary. Less elitist. Less of everything else we Kaboodlers have been accused of. These days, I find it kind of weird when someone uses the term "SAO-15."

Posted by: Tom fan | November 10, 2005 2:43 PM | Report abuse

From today's WaPo story by Guy Gugliotta on that comet crashing into earth:

"By year's end it was clear that the 1,000-foot-wide space rock, originally designated 2004 MN4 but now named 99942 Apophis, will miss -- but by only 22,600 miles. If it gets exactly the right kind of gravity boost from the 2029 encounter, it will smack into Earth seven years later with enough force to obliterate Texas or a couple of European countries."

My question is, do we get to vote on which target it hits? 'Cause I'm kind of fond of most parts of Europe.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 10, 2005 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh, N.B. to Loomis: you might want to start thinking about relocating.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 10, 2005 2:50 PM | Report abuse

embarrasing story about soup=soap

went to panama when i was 12 to see family - mom thought it would be "cute" to send me to the little store on the corner to buy some soap (i spoke little to no spanish back then and she was getting annoyed cuz i kept asking her what everyone was saying)... so i go in and ask for soap - they keep pointing me to the soup. I keep saying "no, soap, SOAP" and they kept pointing me to the soup. finally i did the charades "i'm washing myself" to explain what i wanted - they burst out laughing and finally handed me some soap - i was perfectly humiliated and almost in tears when i got back to my grandmother's house where they proceeded to laugh when i described what happened. turns out soup in spanish is sopa
soap in spanish? jabon (pronounced habon)

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Tom Fan: I'm happy with dropping the SA0-15 moniker. It sounded like a new drug awaiting FDA approval (and, since I joined later anyway...)

esskay: You're welcome to the Boodle regardless of your handle. I'm glad to know whom Chucky Heston was. But "Geddy Lee?" I don't get that one.

Posted by: CowTown | November 10, 2005 2:51 PM | Report abuse

SAO 15 is definitely obsolete, like I said to mo that was ages ago. Tomfan I can't believe you still think I'm a troll. How on earth do my postings even begin to resemble mike's for example? Are my postings that extreme? With the exception of my discourse with TA and maybe today I have not rambled that much on the blog. I don't have the time or the skill to manage different handles. My log on name is typically the same everywhere but I changed it here for the anonymity and for reasons I already described. I don't know why it bothers me that you think i'm a troll but it really does. I really don't know why I'm defending myself with people I don't even know but this really bothers me.

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 2:52 PM | Report abuse

omodudu, I do the same thing! I'm not using my regular logon name here, although anyone who really knows me could certainly figure out who I am. As I mentioned yesterday, my son recognized not only my handle, but my story as well. :)

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 2:59 PM | Report abuse

omodudu - i think it bothers you cuz you (like myself) kinda feel like everyone here in the boodle has become a friend even tho we don't, for the most part, know each other's real identities. i really miss the boodle when i can't check in and i feel a warm fuzzy when someone wonders where i am...
achenfan (or should i refer to tom fan - she's more snarky)is just trying to protect the boodle...

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Nothing quite says Christmas like the Boston Pops in full "Sleigh Ride" mode, complete with glockenspiel...

And I also put eggnog in my coffee, but I get the strangest looks...

(is also completely fine with the Geddy Lee reference)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 10, 2005 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Protect the boodle from me? I guess that's what bothers me. What is it about my posting that makes her think she needs to protect the boodle from me?

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I thought that Geddy Lee name was a Rush reference, but I thought, nah...

Holy advertising link at the bottom of the page, Batman. Its a Christmas add for a "Gemmy inflatable Christams decor".

Posted by: dr | November 10, 2005 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I'd gladly relocate from Texas to just about anywhere (apologies to Nani and kurosawaguy) in a Washington minute! The prospect of being crushed to death by a giant space rock isn't too appealing, but at least it'd be quick--and a newsmaker!

Hubby has small plot of undeveloped property in NW Arkansas--on a hillside--I've never seen it. I like Connecticut--for obvious reasons, but only really spent the month of May there.

I've got my retirement sights set on Oregon. Wouldn't it be weird if that giant space rock decided to fall into Crater Lake--like a baseball into a mitt? Wonder if Oregon has any infield fly rules?

As for Time mag's POTY--I really think it boils down, at this point, to two subjects. George Bush and the stormy tempest of his failed first year of his second term...

or all the weather phenoms--87,000 people lost in Pakistan's earthquake alone, the Gulf-originating hurricanes, especially N'awlins, the tsunami, not to mention palm trees growing in Greenland.

Posted by: Loomis | November 10, 2005 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Favorite Thanksgiving film is Planes, Trains and Automobiles. John Candy, shower curtain ring salesman ("Best on the market")is sooooooooo sweet! And I love it when Steve Martin loses it with the jolly, rosy-cheeked rental car clerk. Best Christmas film - Bells of St. Mary's with Ingrid B. and Bing. Aside - every year at Ursuline Academy I tried out for the part of Mary in the Christmas play. But Reverend Mother always gave that role to Olga Quiroga, a petite sloe-eyed beauty; me? tall, skinny, buster brown haircut, I always had to be Joseph.

Posted by: Nani | November 10, 2005 3:10 PM | Report abuse

HAHAHAHA dr - good catch on that one - i woulda never seen it!

nah omodudu - from the 'loper whom she mistakenly (right tom fan you snarky imp?) thought could be your handle as well - you handle does have dudu in it - while now i know is a real word in another language, did make me giggle every time i typed it... "he he he - i said dudu"... the 'loper tends to have poop and sexual references to his handle and says some rather nasty things to us - which i don't believe you've done (have to check the fbbi on that one)

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I get that we are dropping SAO-15 but, no one has really explained it to me yet...

Cow Town - yesterday (I think) there was much talk of robots and their negative effect on TypePad. So, I put in an obscure lyric from an old RUSH album. This was a theme album set in the future and its title was 2112. Although it was based on the writings of Ayn Rand (anti-communisn), it still seemed appropriate towards robots. Geddy Lee is the lead singer of RUSH.

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 3:14 PM | Report abuse

dudu - oh that's funny. I didn't really think about that when making up the name!

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Honestly dudu does mean black in Yoruba! For those who may not know Yoruba is a West African language.

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - but I really like exclamation points.

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 3:16 PM | Report abuse

omodudu: It's the trolls who have created the suspicion of infrequent posters. I think you had posted a comment at about the same time a troll (or gremlin?) was tormenting the Boodle, and we hadn't heard from you for a while. So, you may have been tagged for guilt by association. Just stick with us. Keep posting.

And, mo: You've got the funniest stories ever. I'm extremely envious of the BPH participants who get to hang with you.

Posted by: CowTown | November 10, 2005 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Nani: Funny, you don't look Joeish.

Loomis: There's bad news and good news. First, the bad news (and as Dave Barry says, I swear I'm not making this up): Bush cut funding for the nuclear powered spacecraft needed to stop the meteor. The good news: he appointed a close friend to head up the anti-meteor project, some guy named "Brownie." (OK, that part I made up.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 10, 2005 3:19 PM | Report abuse

esskay

SAO-15 means Selected Audience Of fifthteen I thik. I also think it cames from a blog Joel posted while in Mexico City while modeling the ideal blog and its audience.

Posted by: ChiquitaBanana | November 10, 2005 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank you! How about FBBI?

Curmudgeon, I think I will take up coffee drinking today so that I may spit it out at the screen...'Joeish', too funny!

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

SCC: lots of mistakes, sorry, really sleepy today.

Posted by: ChiquitaBanana | November 10, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't and won't hang Christmas decorations until after I have unfurled my grandfather's flag on Veteran's Day.

Complications from WWI mustard gas exposure took a long time to finally get him.

A flag from a coffin hangs differently from a regular flag. The mechanics of flying an 8 foot long flag are different from your typical 5 footer. You have to plan ahead to make sure it doesn't touch the ground when you install the pole on the side of your house or porch.

The 48 stars on Grampa's flag make a statement. We're Old Patriots. Not to take anything away from the folks flying 50 stars on their family's flag. Or the oddball 49.

At the end of the day, when I come home from work a little after twilight's last gleam, I'll bring my grandfather's flag in from the pole. My oldest son -- named after the grandfather I never met and my uncle who landed at Inchon -- will help me to fold the flag in a triangle with the 48 stars in a blue field covering any hint of red and white stripes.

And on Saturday, I'll get the Christmas lights out. It just doesn't feel right to have the flag and the lights up at the same time.

Posted by: Dave R | November 10, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

omodudu,
I, for one, am really glad you're here. The more the merrier...how's that for holiday cheer?

This really gets into tough territory. In the news biz, I've interviewed everyone from a mildly mentally retarded man named "Walkin' Jack," also known as Tahoe's Mobile Landmark, to an Academy Award winner. Each of us has a story. And I myself feel badly when we criticize how a person spells, particularly if the person hasn't had the opportunity of a higher education. And there will be opinions expressed on the Boodle that may be hard for others to swallow or digest. And, yes, Mike has a really tough story--with his large family, medical problems, and very, very long workweeks.

But sometimes, if you don't like what the person says or their posts, maybe the best thing to do is keep on scrollin'--or try to draw them out...? It makes me tempted (but I won't, too busy...and I need to move off the Boodle shortly) to post a short piece I wrote a couple of years ago that I titled, "A Christmas Gift of Silence for Wendy Gramm" (Sen. Phil Gramm's wife).

But all should feel welcome here. The kit is richer and stronger for its many points of view. Joel's rules are so simple: no hate and no vulgarity. I was most tempted to post a reply yesterday to the "tup" comment, but backed out--didn't want to push on any boundaries. I guess the question is what to do when someone expresses hate or prejudice...other than use that "e-mail to report offensive comments."

Posted by: Loomis | November 10, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

mmm what about like the FBI but just add blog, not sure but seems like an option.

Posted by: ChiquitaBanana | November 10, 2005 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy the boodle and will keep posting. I am still waiting for Tomfan as the unofficial leader of the boodle to welcome me as a non-trolling boodler. I've grown to like my handle so there's no changing it dudu reference or not. And not to be gross but isn't the poop related spelling doodoo??

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Blog? Makes sense. Maybe 'boodle'...

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Ever occur to anyone that the retailers are trying to get the cash before the heating bills start rolling in?

Posted by: no#putts | November 10, 2005 3:29 PM | Report abuse

sure, can be either of them.

Posted by: ChiquitaBanana | November 10, 2005 3:30 PM | Report abuse

omodudu:

My comment ("Just do it!!") was flippant and light-hearted, an attempt at friendly encouragement. I'm too far away to attend the porching hour, but if you show up at the next one, I'll call in and give the manager my credit card number so I can sponsor a round in honor of your participation. Viva diversity! If the boodlers were all white, or all rich, or all female or all from inside the Beltway, or all computer geeks or whatever, it wouldn't be as much fun.

Posted by: Reader | November 10, 2005 3:30 PM | Report abuse

and mo, try asking, when you're 21 years old, in the middle of the night, for tampons on a Swedish cruise ship heading for Finland when the woman behind the counter speaks no English.

Drawing--or gesturing--as a communication tools are wonderful devices. So, who invented Pictionary anyhoo?

Posted by: Loomis | November 10, 2005 3:32 PM | Report abuse

it's cool Reader, I guess I'm kinda sensitive today what with being accused of trolling at all.
Warning to the boodle - my husband has often rightly accused me of whining so I apologise for my whining about the troll accusation but it just may continue to come up in my postings till the end of the day.

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 3:32 PM | Report abuse

omodudu wins the spelling bee!

Posted by: Loomis | November 10, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey omodudu, I know how to say "thank you" in Yoruba, but I'm not sure of the spelling.

"Oshay" means "thank you" and "oshay atupay" means a stronger "thank you" and "oshay popo" means an out of the ballpark "thank you." Am I right?

As for the xmas stuff all around, I'm just startled that it's almost mid-November already -- jeez, guys, what happened to the millennium? We're going waaayyyy too fast. Although, the sooner the current administration (such as it is) is outta there (and here), the better.

I really, really hate my computer right now, so I gotta go do some serious threatening so I can do some work.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | November 10, 2005 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe all the insiderish loser posters on here. Weird. This must be the place where all the village idiots gather.

Posted by: AnneT | November 10, 2005 3:46 PM | Report abuse

firsttimeblogger I must say I'm impressed. It is actually spelt "ose" but it's pronounced as you wrote it. "Ose pupo" means thank you very much. "atupay" I've never heard of. Maybe if you pronounce it for me. Cool! I never imagined I'd be teaching Yoruba online.

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 3:48 PM | Report abuse

What luck - I posted right after a mean post. Please don't associate me with AnneT.

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Coming into the boodle late so pardon me if I retrace a little here.

I knew Christmas decorations would go up as soon as all the Breast Cancer Awareness Month decorations came down. When did that become a major shopping event?

esskay,
There are way more over-priced drinks at Starbucks than just coffee and highly caffeinated milkshakes. They have non-caffeinated milkshakes, teas (black and green) and (my wife's current favorite) hot cinnamon apple cider. So, you can pay way too much for a beverage regardless of your caffeine delivery preference or lack thereof.

I have often wanted to convert to Greek Orthodox so as to save money by shopping for Epiphany gifts after Christmas.

Finally, on the internet, no one knows you're a dog.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 10, 2005 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I have to admit, it is not the first time I have been called the village idiot.

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Anne T's initials would be AT...hmmm

Posted by: esskay | November 10, 2005 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Uh, sorry Nani, but the best Christmas film is not "Bells" or "It's a Wonderful Life". The best Christmas film without question is 1983's "A Christmas Story" with Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon. "I've won, I've won, I've won! A major prize! A major prize! A major prize!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | November 10, 2005 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks omodudu. Very nice to be able to spell it properly. I actually learn a lot of languages from cab drivers. While I normally would be inclined to take the Metro, the fact that I can never count on the escalators working on a regular basis compels me to take alternative transportation. My awful, awful knees balk at climbing stairs (up or down or anything else for that matter -- and the elevators generally smell so awful that I refuse to go in them. So, I get to exchange pleasantries and learn new languages from cab drivers.

Anne T. -- please grow up. If you truly want to be the center of attention, I'm sure that there are blog sites just set up for 13 year olds.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | November 10, 2005 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe AnneT means "village idiots" in a nice way.

Posted by: Bayou Self | November 10, 2005 4:25 PM | Report abuse

esskay,
Nice response to Anne T.

Omodudu, are you from Nigeria? I was in Togo (Peace Corps) for 2 years.
Anyway, you are welcome here. Tom fan is just on interloper patrol because they have frequently appropriated her handle. It used to happen a lot, but it's been a while, as far as I know.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Christmas Story is a classic, but a new family favorite is Mixed Nuts with Steve Martin, Rita Wilson, and oh I forget her name but she is wonderful. She died a couple of years ago...oh yeah, Madeline Kahn.

It's a Wonderful Life always makes me cry, and I rarely cry in movies.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 4:31 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy, I've never seen A Christmas Story, and have only seen Melinda Dillon in Encounters 3rd Kind and in some old Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes. I did see A Christmas Story presentation on television in the late 70s I think, Truman Capote's holiday memories of his elderly country aunt. His Christmas gift for her was a kite made out of old newspapers. The aunt was played by the actress who did Trip to Bountiful. Now what was her name?

Have a good safe holiday everyone. Cassandra, hey girl, what's up?

Posted by: Nani | November 10, 2005 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes I grew up in Nigeria. Togo's our next door neighbor although I'm ashamed to say I never ventured outside of Nigeria to visit other African countries. You're probably not interested in soccer TA but Togo made it to the World Cup - I think it's the first time ever!

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I live in an unincorporated town, so I suppose that makes me an unincorporated town idiot. But I feel kinda flattered being lumped as an "insider" with the rest of youse loser guys (non-gender-specifically speaking), being something of a newbie here.

The Achenblog: Home of the Finest Insider Loser Conversation Since 2004.

(Seriously doubt she knows the infield fly rule.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 10, 2005 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I am interested! Oh wow, that's fantastic! My bf is going to the World Cup, so he will have to root for them!

I was there during the '98 World Cup and they were so proud and excited about Nigeria going. (At least, I think they went.) It was such a big deal to them, any recognition for Africa, so they must be blown away by Togo actually going.

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh wait, maybe it was Cameroon that went to the World Cup in '98?

Posted by: TA | November 10, 2005 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Nigeria was in the World cup in 98. In fact this is the first time in a long time that we haven't made it to the World Cup and we're as bummed as ever about it. But we'll be rooting for Togo especially since their coach is Nigerian. I can't believe your bf is going to the World Cup - my husband would be so jealous. Wow - this boodle is great, I can't believe I'm meeting people who can speak Yoruba (however limited) and are interested in soccer. Amazing!

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 4:46 PM | Report abuse

FBBI - if i'm not mistaken - is Federal Bureau of Boodle Investigations.

one of my ex's is nigerian! but he was raised in a bording school in england so maybe he doesn't count... great accent tho!

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 4:46 PM | Report abuse

It's a mad house. A mad house.

Posted by: Chucky Heston | November 10, 2005 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Mo a lot of Nigerians go to school in England. There are so many Nigerians in London you can't walk a mile without bumping into one.

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 4:49 PM | Report abuse

One of my neighbors had his Christmas decorations up before Halloween---bleah! It was pretty funny when I took the kids trick-or-treating, and they broke into "Jingle Bells" on the way to his door!

Posted by: Laura | November 10, 2005 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Funny that you say that about all the Nigerians in London. When I taught my class in Uganda, my students (4 from Uganda, 1 from Zambia, 1 from Tanzania and 2 from Kenya), said "those Nigerians -- they're *everywhere*!"

That's really funny.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | November 10, 2005 4:54 PM | Report abuse

It's actually nice being a loser, because there's just less pressure in life. You want to set a baseline for yourself that's very low, so that even minor accomplishments seem heroic. This blog has made it clear from the get-go that it has standards, and they are very, very low.

I noted this in the Gugliotta story about the Apophis asteroid:

"Mary L. Cleave, NASA's associate administrator for science, outlined a potential response to Apophis. The critical task, she said, is to ensure that the asteroid does not pass through a 2,000-foot "keyhole" in space during its 2029 near-miss.

Schweickart explained that Earth's gravity at close quarters will slingshot Apophis into a wider orbit, putting it in "resonance" with Earth -- the two bodies will meet up every sixth Apophis orbit and every seventh Earth orbit. If Apophis hits the keyhole in 2029, the result will be impact in 2036."

Question for someone out there: What's a "keyhole" in space?

Posted by: Achenbach | November 10, 2005 4:56 PM | Report abuse

SAO-15 clarification: for the first month or two or more of the blog, JA referred to his on-line readership as the select audience of 15, the presumed maximum audience of elite readers who would trouble themselves to read what he had written. He claimed to aspire to the Zen purity of a readerless blog, a blog that exists only in the mind of its creator, a blog so esoteric and advanced in form and content that no actual reader could comprehend it, expressing the author's thoughts without a ripple in the cultural zeitgeist, yadda-yadda ... You know, humorous self-loathing, a faux-tough guy cry for love. And all that.

But when did the term "Boodle" come into being? The "Comments" function had been turned on for a while before I noticed the term popping up one day, after irregularly reading the comments beforehand.

Posted by: Tim | November 10, 2005 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The radio station in Ann Arbor MI kicked off their 24/7 Christmas music programming a few days before Halloween. I couldn't believe it....

Posted by: Sam | November 10, 2005 5:01 PM | Report abuse

My favorite comment on early Christmas decorations comes from John Madden. When asked about this phenomenon during a Thanksgiving Day football broadcast, he replied, "Render unto Thanksgiving the things that are Thanksgiving's." This is now my standard response when my husband threatens to put up Christmas lights immediately after Labor Day.

Posted by: Susan | November 10, 2005 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Memo to self: In 2029, check to make sure Brownie has plugged 2,000-foot keyhole-in-space problem.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 10, 2005 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Just saw this on Chris Cillizza's new blog: Biden is definitely running in '08. I have liked Biden since he came to campus when I was a freshperson -- he was funny, self-deprecating, not at all pompous. And if he runs, he has Delaware's electoral votes LOCKED UP.

See: http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/thefix/2005/11/biden_im_runnin.html

Posted by: Achenbach | November 10, 2005 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Joel - who says "freshperson", that is just so PC ;-) (I know how much you hate emoticons)

Posted by: omodudu | November 10, 2005 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey yellojkt,

I AM Greek Orthodox and, although we celebrate Christmas on December 25 here, we do get a great break on Easter candy, since ours is usually anywhere from a week to a month later than Westerners celebrate it (different calendar).

We call Western Easter "heathen Easter" (just joking.. don't want to start anything).

Isn't it amazing that omodudu first thought she didn't have anything in common with the rest of the boodle?

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Putting on my science hat...

I've never seen a technical definition for the term "keyhole" (I doubt that one exists) but I think I can infer its meaning pretty exactly. It suggest that there is a small but finite region in cis-lunar space that would give Apophis a gravity assist if it passes through it. A gravity assist does more than bend the direction of the orbit, it transfers some momentum and energy between the little body (the asteroid) and the big body(ies) -- in this case, Earth and Moon. Since the article mentions Apophis "swinging wide" after passing through the keyhole, I guess Apophis would pick up a little kinetic energy from Earth. For an explanation that actually states clearly which body is gaining energy, which is losing, and the probability of it being a problem, you want to contact Brian Marsden (I'm sure you can find him, Joel) or, locally, the Small Bodies Node of the Planetary Data System at the University of Maryland, College Park.

A 2000-foot keyhole is pretty damned small. Let's see, that's ... one 631,000th of the Earth-Moon distance. However, the total distance between Earth and Moon is not availabel to Apophis on its current orbit. Presumably, what makes it so worrisome is that the trajectory already is very near the "keyhole" region.

Myself, if the observing opportunities before 2029 suggest things are looking bad for 2036, I think I'll buy a small RV about 2028, preferably diesel-fueled so it can burn practically any oil in a pinch (for a while). Take some auto mechanics and outdoorsmanship classes. Stock up on freeze-dried foods, spare parts, and bow-hunting equipment, and go do the survivalist thing with my family somewhere reasonably far from the expected impact latitude through calendar year 2036.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 10, 2005 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Tim, as you recall, for the first few months there were no Comments. This is because Hal the Schemer wasn't sure it would be a good idea to turn on the Comments function. People might...say stuff. Or robots might show up. Heck might break loose. To me, personally, it just seemed a little too democratic. My idea of a perfect blog is on the Soviet model. I speak; others listen. Those who do not applaud are taken away in the night.

But sometime in April or so, I forget when perzackly, I turned on the Comments on impulse, and then people started showing up and posting and talking to one another and largely ignoring me. Which was fine. I think it was mid-Summer sometime when in passing I acknowledged the bifurcation of the blog: I write a Kit and everyone else writes the Kaboodle. I think all blogs ought to have Boodles. That is the perfect word for what this is, I dare say. A Boodle full of boodlers. Who are not losers, by the way. Now I will go away again.

Posted by: Achenbach | November 10, 2005 5:28 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, great explanation, and thanks for the intriguing reference to the "Small Bodies Node of the Planetary Data System at the University of Maryland." I had been acquainted only with the Large Bodies Node.

Posted by: Achenbach | November 10, 2005 5:31 PM | Report abuse

My colleagues -- well, one colleague -- often accuses me of writing with too many "Soviet words."

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 10, 2005 5:32 PM | Report abuse

not only does this blog have low standards - we also have the Official Boodle Porching Hour where we proceed to drink copious amounts of alchol and eat yummy food (for the newbies - joel is fond of hanging out on his porch drinking wine and kitting - so we have turned porching into a verb... the boodle porching hour is our happy hour - tho' to be honest it is actually hourS)

Posted by: mo | November 10, 2005 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Another busy day at work, but I was able to keep up with this boodle, and I read the 379 posts boodle as well. At this rate I should be all caught up by Thanksgiving.

And I'm up for a Dec. 6th BPH.

Posted by: omnigood | November 10, 2005 5:42 PM | Report abuse

If it goes through the keyhole in space, that lines it up to head for the doorway in space. And once it gets in the door ...

Posted by: Bayou Self | November 10, 2005 6:33 PM | Report abuse

You know, Joel has "porch presence" in "The Grand Idea." It's called the piazza. And such a piazza GW had!

Posted by: Loomis | November 10, 2005 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday to the Marine Corps! 230 years old and I am stuck at work until midnight. By the time I get a chance to toast the Corps it will be tomorrow. What a drag.

Posted by: LB | November 10, 2005 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Ha! the Marine Corps! That was the trivia question at Caribou Coffee this morning: What organization is celebrating its birthday today? I didn't know it, but now I do, thanks to LB.

That brings me full circle to my first post today. Good night.

Posted by: TBG | November 10, 2005 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Good Night

Posted by: LB | November 10, 2005 8:28 PM | Report abuse

From the Halls of Montazuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country's battles
In the air on land and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean
We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.

Posted by: LB | November 10, 2005 8:32 PM | Report abuse

And I for got to add, good night Chesty, where ever you are.

Posted by: LB | November 10, 2005 8:51 PM | Report abuse

forgot

Posted by: LB | November 10, 2005 8:52 PM | Report abuse

RE: Biden

Didn't he announce he was going to run months ago, and even set up an exploratory committee? or did I only dream it?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 10, 2005 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget to wish good night to Gen. Smedley Butler, winner of two Congressional Medal of Honors, and author of the 1935 book, "War is a Racket." The opening paragraphs:

"WAR is a racket. It always has been.

"It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

"A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

Ah, Smedley. What a guy. Happy Birthday, Marines.

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | November 10, 2005 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I bet if Smedley were in charge, those Christmas decorations wouldn't go up until the day after Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | November 10, 2005 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Achenbach: It's actually nice being a loser, because there's just less pressure in life.

When I was in high school, I was a super-over-achiever because my entire goal in life was to get out of high school and go to a good college far away. But one of my best friends had a very different outlook--his philosophy was, never try, because then you can't fail. He had an awful home life. His mother was mentally challenged and his father was gone. He worked grownup jobs all year round and paid the bills for his family. But in school, he thought he couldn't excel and he didn't want to prove that he wasn't smart, so he stayed in the underachiever track.

Today, however, he is vice president of a bank. (Actually, 10 years ago he was vice president. Maybe by now, he's president.)

I'm not making any point here. Joel's comment just reminded me of my old friend so I'm posting a tribute to him.

Posted by: Reader | November 10, 2005 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Kguy, I love It's a Wonderful Life too - and since you are such a discriminating connosieur of movies, I'm glad to hear you speak highly of it. Jimmy Stewart is my small Pennsylvania hometown's claim to fame. A few years ago my sister and I went to a restaurant there, which had a menu that referred to Bert and Ernie, HeeHaw, and Hotdog! She was offended, because she has never seen It's a Wonderful Life, and didn't understand that those are references to it, not Sesame Street, HeeHaw the TV show, etc. Cracked me up. Anyway, I have to watch the movie at least once before Christmas, while drinking eggnog.

I have tried not to put up a Christmas tree for a couple of years now - one year we made it till Christmas Eve with just a balsam fir bough. I keep Christmas in my heart. I just don't have enough room in my tiny house.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 10, 2005 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I've never posted here before but felt like it tonight.

American in Siam, I think you're a poet. (!?.)

Are all the schools doing Veteran's Day really intensively this year? My 7th grader is bringing in all sorts of things for the USO tomorrow, along with money. 4 out of their 7 hours in school tomorrow are going to be devoted to veteran/G.I.'s issues and special events. Is this a trend?

The kids have noticed that they can scarcely turn around at school these days without bumping into a collection bucket for [tsunami /Katrina /Rita /Pakistan /veterans]. And I think this is all so good. The old faithful Christmas baskets for the poor, food drives before Thanksgiving - still humming along. The 5th graders are, as usual, knitting scarves for the homeless. I lost my husband 2-1/2 years ago, and decided to move my family to a new area (in the same town). I think I picked a good area.

Posted by: Cat Keeper | November 10, 2005 11:18 PM | Report abuse

I meant my husband died 2-1/2 years ago - re-read and it sounded strange. Must be specific.

Posted by: Cat Keeper | November 10, 2005 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Cat Keeper - nice to have some company here late at night.

I think it's good that the schools are paying attention to Veterans Day and helping others. There have been so many disasters this year. And it's nice to hear that 5th graders are knitting. I made a couple of baby blankets last month as part of a "blanket making marathon" for Katrina survivors. Every little bit helps. And I'm trying to make a couple of things in time for Christmas...

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 10, 2005 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Hi mostlylurking -

That's what I've liked about reading this blog - everyone seems to be so kind. Of course, some of them seem to be super-intellectual, too, but all seem to try to be kind. I moved into the one reasonably-priced subdivision in the best school district in the state, and I guess it's true that the rich feel noblesse oblige. There are more fundraisers and charitable drives at this school in one month than we'd see in a year at the old school. I really like it. I'm just trying to keep up. This weekend we're going to fill shoe boxes with toys and pencils/crayons/paper for a Christian thing. Don't share the Christian views but it's so tempting to fill up a shoebox with cool toys and things for a kid, say, in an AIDs hospital in Africa, that it's worth the Christian rhetoric.

Posted by: Cat Keeper | November 11, 2005 12:03 AM | Report abuse

When I was a teen, I was lucky enough to be part of a student exchange settled in the Ottawa area.

In front of the Pariliament building in Ottawa is a huge square, covered in white stone, and at the centre of the square is the War Memorial dedicated to all the soldiers who have fought and died in service to our nation. I don't remember what it says on the base of it, I have absolutely no concept of how long we were there.

What I do remember was that from the moment I stepped in that square, I heard nothing, no sound, felt no breeze, was absolutely unaware of anything around me. No sounds of cars in the middle of a very busy city, no sounds of a bus full of teens intruded. I was only aware of the sacrifices made for me in places far away. Full of the weight of the sacrifices they made for the man standing next to them, full of the sorrow of those who came home and left them behind, full of all the voices of the families who missed them, and the voices of the children they never had.

My small duty in return is that I will remember.

Posted by: dr | November 11, 2005 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Yes,dr, we have to remember. I'm glad people are paying more attention; it's a good trend. I'm not a veteran, but both my parents were. My mother was a WAC during WWII and my dad was in the Army artillery during WWI. He had orders for France when the war ended. Recently, the older members of my church have shared their war experiences with the rest of us. One gentleman was in the Air Force and shot down over Budapest. He was tortured and spent time in a POW camp. When it became evident that the Germans were losing, their guards marched them west (in February, no less) and abandoned them in the cold. When he got to a hospital in Lyon, he weighed 84 pounds and his brother didn't recognize him. his story would make a fabulous movie. We can't lose these stories. They are too important because they tell us who we are and what has been accomplished for us.

Posted by: Slyness | November 11, 2005 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Veteran's Day reminds me of this quote:

"He'd actually heard the Lincoln broadcast, but he had the impression that I'd said over the air that the Gettysburg Address was 'bad for children.' Not true. I told him I'd said I thought it was a bad speech for children to have to memorize in school. He also had the impression I'd said it was a dishonest speech. I told him I'd said that 51,112 men were casualties at Gettysburg, and that if someone had to speak at the anniversary of the event, he should simply have come forward and shaken his fist at his audience and then walked off--that is, if the speaker was an absolutely honest man."

--J.D. Salinger, Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters

Posted by: Reader | November 11, 2005 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I used to be a Salinger junkie in college and really loved Roofbeams. I'm sure I still have that book somewhere. It bears burrowing around for it and plopping it on my nightstand full of books, the stack looking more and more like the Tower of Pisa everyday.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | November 11, 2005 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Like omodudu, I can assure whatshisname that I am one person who occasionally posts here - I know Achenbach will be bitterly disappointed (that's an example of what foreigners call irony) but in fact I dont actually have time to read everyday nor to post regularly. It is quite insulting to be accused of... of ... of what? Of being part of a multiple personality because ... well, because why? Why would I even bother. I have a busy life. Of not being LEGIT??? Huh? You will find that pretty much wherever I go I go under the name clang - It's a contraction of my full name which is Christine Langtree. I am an Australian writer and musician. Google me, baby.

Posted by: clang | November 11, 2005 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Looks like somebody already *has* Googled you, baby. Oh yes, there's been a lotta Googling going on here. Gotta love Google.

[And get some sleep -- it must be some ungodly hour of the morning in Australia right now.]

Posted by: Tom fan | November 11, 2005 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm out here in the Netherlands and they just started putting up the decorations the other day. That said, the Dutch celebrate the coming of SinterKlaus, which occurs on Decemeber 5.

Posted by: Lou | November 11, 2005 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Actually Starbucks just announced that this year' red cups are to promote Xmas 2006. Last year's red cups (circa 11/04) were to promote this year's holiday season.

Posted by: londoninkspot.com | November 15, 2005 7:30 AM | Report abuse

James Watson, greatest rider of coat tails in scientific history. GG.

Posted by: morelikefranklin | November 16, 2005 12:46 PM | Report abuse

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