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December 21, 2002
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Coffeehouse Chatter Grows Across the Nation!

The Associated Press reports that talking may actually be the best form of communication.  And it seems that coffeehouses have become regular hotbeds of gab.  Nobody is sure whether it's the setting or the stimulant but one thing's for sure, "open invitations to talk draw lawyers, housewives, even the homeless, to discuss anything from safe streets to war in Iraq."  Hmmmmm.  I'm a little skeptical - not that the observed phenomenon isn't real, just that it's anything to be particularly surprised about.  Have you ever met, a housewife or a bum that's afraid to speak their mind?  Most people have a hard time just getting them to shut up.  Then again, maybe I'm being a little hard on the housewives and the bums.

Jeff Goldthorp's Slightly Bizarre But True Current Events Site
The White House - Despite the occasional burst of "free and open communication" between Foggy Bottom and Arlington, the White House seems to be a model of controlled, inhibited communication.  Certainly not like anything we had grown accustomed to from the Clinton administration.  I think we should give them all bigger mugs for Christmas.  Or open another Starbucks on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Enron - These folks are REALLY tight-lipped.  Ken Lay hasn't had a word to say in pulic in months, and who can blame him.  It must be awkward having to assert your Fifth Amendment rights every time you open your mouth.  Good thing he's not alone.  He can always call Bernie Ebbers or Joe Nacchio.  Maybe these three could start their own Coffee Salon ala Vicki Robin - they could even hire her as a personal facilitator.  But there are probably plenty of Attorneys General waiting in line to do it for free.  And something tells me they're not going to be as gentle as Vicki.
Male Bonding in Seattle
This whole thing was started by a woman trying to sell a book after she couldn't get a TV deal.  The author, Vicki Robin, gushes "there's so much power that comes out of open dialogue."  I agree, as long as you don't say anything stupid.  And I'll be the judge of  what's stupid.  So shut up.  And get me a refill.

Here are some other words of wisdom from Ms. Robin:  "Whenever two people engage in conversation, it not only impacts the individuals ... the people change society."  I've got goosebumps.   

All this got me started thinking.  Where can you go these days just to be an obstinate, narrowminded bastard?  Or, to put it a little more tactfully, what sorts of environments squelch the very kind of free and open communication that Ms. Robin is trying to nurture?  Maybe if we identify them we can remedy the situation with a plentiful supply of java.  This has to be great marketing information for Starbucks - maybe I can finally start making some money off this stupid site.  Here goes:

Old News
The Catholic Church Leadership - Here's a quiet group.  It's taken them years to realize that what was going on was just plain wrong.  Now they're afraid to talk because something else bad might slip out.  And these are the guys that are telling us right from wrong.  Here's the solution:  women priests.  There's no way a woman would let this kind of crap go on.

Police Try to Trace Mystery Manilow Fan

In a redefinition of the meaning of "bag lady" British police appealed for help Friday in identifying a woman found in a church with a bagful of Barry Manilow records.  Lincolnshire Police have been unable to identify the woman, who is being held at a psychiatric unit in nearby Lincoln. Staff there say she will only answer to the name of Barry Manilow.

Anybody heard from Barry lately?