Re: Return to Sender

1

Cards in the US mail are mighty quaint for generation Twitter.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 8:58 PM
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Last year was the first year I didn't send out cards

The first year out of how many years?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:01 PM
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2 - I think since 1999, when I graduated from college.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:04 PM
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My mom sends cards for just about every possible holiday, including St. Patrick's Day and Halloween. eekbeat assures me I'm a lousy son for tossing them (after reading, of course) right on the trash heap.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:08 PM
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4: I agree with eekbeat. Save those, dude.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:10 PM
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We have well more than a cubic foot of condolence cards from my mother's, father's and brother's funerals. At some point when we move out of the family home we will have to get rid of them. Maybe we should have a ceremonial fire or something.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:17 PM
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I can't begin to imagine being the kind of person that would send out Christmas cards. I'd like to be that kind of person; it seems nice. I'm just totally not. Even knowing vaguely current contact information for my friends is pretty well beyond me. I have a lot of friends -- this is people I've been friends with for years, mind you -- whose last names I don't know, or at least can't remember.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:17 PM
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It's funny; I found a whole lot of odds and ends of holiday cards when I moved and was thinking I would send them this year rather than buying a new batch. I haven't sent any yet.

I can cheerfully send them well into January, though. That's the upside of a policy of only sending cards to people dear enough that they are always glad to hear from me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:19 PM
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I only send cards to elderly relations who don't have email accounts. Just because I'm lazy, and probably not a good person. Some aunts and cousins up in Canada, and also a 90-year old cousin in a remote corner of Co. Cork that nobody has ever heard of, who says things like, "If you don't get a card from me, sure, you'll know I'm under the sod," and also, and even more pointedly, "How much longer do you think I have?" Oh well, why not crank up that guilt-o-meter just another few notches or so, eh?...

I feel no guilt whatsoever about not sending cards to, well, just about everybody else on my potential list. They have my email address, and they know where to find me, if ever they needed to. Bad attitude, I know, but like I said, I'm lazy.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:19 PM
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Even knowing vaguely current contact information for my friends is pretty well beyond me.

Facebook, yo.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:20 PM
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Even knowing vaguely current contact information for my friends is pretty well beyond me.

Lo, this very fact caused some level of consternation and difficult among the last few weddings with which I was involved. "He's been your best friend for ten years!" yelps wife-to-be. "What do you mean you only have his cell stored in your cell?"

Get your address lists together early, folks. Especially if there are relatives on the groom's side who will be expecting to be included in pre-festivities-festitivities traditionally coordinated by the bride's side (aka showers).*

*Swap out genders as appropriate; I haven't been involved in any gay weddings.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:21 PM
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feeling really guilty when I got Christmas cards from someone and realizing it was too late to send them one in return before the holiday

In the rare event that I send cards, they're New Year's cards. That way they're non-denominational, secular, and not late until the end of January.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:22 PM
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not late until the end of January

Or later!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:24 PM
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I don't like getting Christmas cards. Always makes me feel guilty for (a) not sending any and (b) generally not keeping in touch sufficiently well with the sender. Luckily I don't think the people who usually send them to me know my new address.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:26 PM
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I agree with eekbeat. Save those, dude

I agree with Stanley. To the trash with them.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:26 PM
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10: yeah it's been a huge help, especially given the sorts of issues mentioned in 11.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:27 PM
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||

A man for our times.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:28 PM
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I send cards to people I would want to see if we were in the same place, but with whom I don't otherwise keep in touch. For me that ends up being a lot of Germany people (ones there as well as fellow Ausländer I met there who are now in other places) and scattered academics.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:29 PM
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have a lot of friends -- this is people I've been friends with for years, mind you -- whose last names I don't know

Way to blow your anonymity dude!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:30 PM
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I am mostly reconciled to the xmas letter if it's a) short and b) more newsy than boast-y, oh, and c) not filled with corny jokes that are by necessity aimed at the lowest common denominator of propriety and politics. Can't offend great aunt Betsy or Republican cousin Brad. (OK, so maybe I'm not so reconciled.)

But I can't effing stand it when that's all there is. No handwritten note that says "hi" or "hope you're well" or "have a happy Obama year" or some damn thing.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:31 PM
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Ah, what's the hurry with the cards? Christmas season lasts until February 2nd.

I am an infrequent card sender myself. Over time it means I get fewer cards too. I like getting cards. A quandry. I think I'll use Witt's method this year and send out the tag ends.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:33 PM
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Germany people

You know what I do love getting? Postcards! I think I've kept nearly every single one I've gotten. My roommate (currently in Europe) just sent one that said

Dear Roomates [sic],
FUCK.
THE.
STATES.

love, Jon


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:33 PM
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11: yet another reason to get married (if you want to at all) without telling anyone.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:34 PM
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23: too late!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:35 PM
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Way to blow your anonymity dude!

pshaw. He's not even the only one on this thread.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:36 PM
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Who's this anonymity dude guy soup's blowing anyway?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:37 PM
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11: Get your address lists together early, folks.

You mean early when and if you're planning a wedding? Not in general. Otherwise it seems awfully planful of a planning for a certain sort of life, one which will at some point include a wedding.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:39 PM
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24: fair enough, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Actually it's probably better to tell a few people (parents,siblings, whathaveyous) but you can tell them a few days/hours/minutes (depending how local) before the act, that way they can't say you didn't tell them, but they also can't show up.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:40 PM
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Always makes me feel guilty for (a) not sending any

I hereby decree that no one needs to feel guilty for not sending cards. So you're too busy or don't feel like it this year or just not a card sender? Reciprocity is not required.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:41 PM
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I really wish I was the kind of person to send holiday cards. I like getting them---though I don't keep them long---but it always seems like such a colossal, eckspensive hassle around the time I should be sending them.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:41 PM
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Stanley, I can't help suspecting you're reading too much into too many things. Well, just sayin'.

Or maybe it's just me? I dunno.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:42 PM
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Seriously: Down with the tyranny of the cards!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:43 PM
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27: Yeah, "folks" in that sentence was meant to connote "brides and grooms." Otherwise, you're right.

Although tearing apart the house to get proper contact info to notify people of an unexpected death (and do it in time for the memorial service) is severely un-fun, so there's something to be said for the plan-ful.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:44 PM
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Seriously: Down with the tyranny of the cards!
It's true. All cards say the same thing: "Here's something to remind everyone that I am better than you!"


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:45 PM
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cards/postcards/letters/notes/protestations of undying love/post-its/scribbles/wax sealed missives/secrets buried in old books/etc/etc/etc/

all good to send and receive . feeling guilty about not sending them? bullshit. SK is right--- reciprocity is not required.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:46 PM
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33.2: True. I should keep a separate address book of Real addresses, that doesn't include the random assortment of every damn person from here or there going back 15 years. In case someone else needs to use that Real address book on my behalf.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:49 PM
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I haven't managed to send out Christmas cards reliably yet. And I hate the Christmas letters, well, at least I would hate them if they were written about me. The ones from my parents' friends are entertaining for all of the wrong reasons, as they invariably do the boast-about-the-children thing and yet have one child who just doesn't live up, and then they have to dance around it ("Billy's divorce is now final, and he's loving the bohemian excitement of looking for a new place to live near his parole officer...")


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:52 PM
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The David Sedaris story in christmas-epistle form pretty much sums those up, for me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:54 PM
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11: Get your address lists together early, folks.

But not too early. For example, if you have your addresses five years in advance, because they are still around from your first wedding, pore over your database before you recycle it. People move.

For those of you planning, however, know that 237 invitees got me 153 attendees. (As my aunts said, "You get one.")


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 9:55 PM
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I like getting cards, and so don't mind sending them. Not feeling it this year, or very much holiday cheer. We'll all perk up Saturday when we get a tree, though.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:00 PM
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I do not approve of Christmas cards with resumes, however.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:01 PM
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37: if i weren't so lazy, i'd do a fake christmas letter full of nothing but that stuff. And I'd send it loads of people I don't really know.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:03 PM
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xmas cards with resumes? urk.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:04 PM
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|| so this girl I was sort of on a date with told me that her ex had published a "Modern Love". I got very excited and asked her which one, etc. But she refused to tell me because "it sounds like y'all like making fun of Modern Love".

She did say that when she read it she said to him "you sound like a really, ummm, sensitive guy" and he said no, the editor just made it look that way. "But then when I got to know him he really was sensitive in exactly that way. It wasn't the editor at all." ||>


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:04 PM
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45

I'm going to photoshop my year into lots of different people's Christmas letters.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:05 PM
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I do not approve of Christmas cards with resumes, however.

Ha! Does such a card even actually exist? Oh, I guess that it does, and I concur with your sense of disapproval.

I haven't managed to send out Christmas cards reliably yet.

No guilt, Cala, and no shame either. Life's just too short. Also, most annual Christmas letters are just about godawful. Not naming names or anything, but jesus christ.

Also, am I the only commenter at unfogged to love The House Without a Christmas Tree, starring Jason Robards? Me and mes jolies soeurs used to watch it in reruns every year on the CBC, and we cried every single freakin' time. But I love a good Christmas special, I don't mind admitting...


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:15 PM
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The jazz combo at the wedding I attended last weekend was playing all the songs from the Charlie Brown Christmas special,* which made it feel nicely festive without tipping too far into carols or anything.

*Not that one they sing, "Christmastime is Here". We had to sing that in choir one year when I was in high school. Lame lame lame song.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:19 PM
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starring Jason Robards


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:21 PM
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49

I thought I was the only one who felt guilt over the failure to send out cards! Mostly because my friends and family seem to manage it without fail, and I'm the lone hold out.

I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of receiving Christmas cards either - unless it's a simple card and a handwritten note, they almost always feel like a form of bragging. Picture of you and your spouse? Yes, very good, I see you managed to marry. Picture of you and your family? Excellent, way to reproduce. Boasty letter about what you've been up to? Fabulous for you, so glad to know that you've actually done something this year!

Maybe I'm just a grinch.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:26 PM
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46 -- I will scan it and email it to you.

I'm not much for that movie, but I think I'll plan to watch Cable Hogue, also starring Jason Robards. His Butterfly Mornings duet with Stella Stevens is awfully sweet.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:26 PM
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48 is very christmas-y.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:30 PM
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51: We are God's yule log.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:32 PM
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What do you know?

Better in context, of course.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:32 PM
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Even though I'm mostly a lurker, and I can tell from the tone of this thread that delurking to say this will probably put me in people's mental categories as "totally lame" forever, I have to ask: is there anybody else besides me who likes the Christmas letter?

I confess that I send them out, but that's because (a) I love receiving them from people who I've only kept in tenuous contact with, but still like hearing what they're doing - even if it's boasty! (that just makes it funny); and (b) it seems more personal than a generic card with "happy holidays" scrawled on it. Yeah, I understand how it's also quite impersonal, but given that most of us don't have the time to actually write personal letters to all these people, it also seems like it is the best option available if you want to keep in touch. Speaking for myself only, I like doing it better than sending nothing, and also better than a generic card with one line of written greeting (particularly because I usually include a one-line personal greeting on my letters too).

I totally understand why people would not want to send them personally, and am in fact all in favor of the idea that nobody should ever feel obligated to send anything out: but where does hatred of receiving the letters come from?

Is it that it's very hard to write the things without sounding boasty? [I mean, if simply enclosing a picture (whatever the nature of the picture is) is boasty, I don't know how to avoid boasting.]

Okay, I'll nervously sign off now, convinced I've consigned myself to the dustbin of "lame commenters" forevermore.


Posted by: Forza | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:49 PM
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I like to know what people have been doing recently. If we don't actually stay in touch, Christmas is the time to find out what they've been doing. Forza is right...I don't understand why people are annoyed by the Christmas letter itself, rather than the boastfulness of a few people.

It's a cliched complaint akin to saying "What's the deal with fruitcake?", in my opinion.


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:54 PM
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I don't mind the letters either. People who think pictures of my family are boastful might want to recalibrate their meters a little.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 10:58 PM
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54:

I DO like letters from family. With the Christmas letters from friends, I've managed to stay fairly close with pretty much everyone who would send me one, and those few who do send one that I'm not aware of what they are doing are sort of spectacular examples. I also expect that some of this will change as I age and have less track to keep track of people.

On the balance, though I'm sure that most letters are not, in fact, boasty. The reason I whine about them has to do with my own perception, not the fault of the sender. I should have made more explicit the implicit suggestion that I'm feeling somewhat bitter about the holidays and being single at a time when everyone and their mother is busy getting married or having a kid. (Seriously, even my own mom got married this year). So, like I said, just a grinch. I also expect that some of this will change as I age and have less track to keep track of people.

/over-earnest explanation of a poor attempt at humor


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 11:07 PM
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Um, that should be time to keep track ...


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 11:07 PM
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And it probably shouldn't have been in two places in that comment. I give up.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 11:09 PM
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Okay, so some people like them - that's good to hear. I was starting to get paranoid that I'm inadvertently pissing off everybody on my Christmas list. Now, slightly less paranoid.

And DL: I do get what you're saying. I actually always have arguments with myself about whether I should send a letter (when I've had a pretty good year) to somebody that I know has had a bad year. (When I've had a bad year, it's easy, because I write a cynical, poking-fun-at-myself sort of letter, amplifying the crap bits for laughs, and everyone loves it). But I don't want to make The Friend Who Had a Bad Year (or The Friend With Low Self-Esteem) feel bad. On the other hand, since they know I send these letters out, then leaving them off the list would probably make them feel worse. I try to mitigate the damage by including an extra-nice personal greeting. I suspect this only assuages my own guilt feelings, but what can you do?


Posted by: Forza | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 11:15 PM
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I'm basically neutral about christmas letters. Maybe because I've never gotten one from somebody I was that curious about, or even knew very well.

Fruitcake's good, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 11:19 PM
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Forza, sounds like you're a magnificent friend. And really, I feel like hearing that your friends are doing well is probably almost always welcome news (unless the receiver is a terrible grump like myself and even then it's good).


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 11:19 PM
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I don't understand why people are annoyed by the Christmas letter itself, rather than the boastfulness of a few people.

There's a tone to them that's rather like the Modern Love columns, in that I'm sure everyone here writes a beautiful Christmas letter, but by and large, makes for very awkward reading.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 11:24 PM
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63: Ah. I sort of like awkward, squirmy reading, and (therefore, at least sometimes) Modern Love. I think it's because I'm nosy.

Hmm: is the set of people who like reading Christmas letters equivalent to the set of people who like Modern Love?


Posted by: Forza | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 11:40 PM
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NO NO GOD NO

The two things have nothing in common!

Unnecessarily personal and confessional and self-justifying...


versus trying to put the best face on everything and sound very likeable.


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 11:43 PM
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I keep all correspondence I receive that isn't obviously perfunctory (this includes birthday/holiday cards from family members that just say "happy birthday!" or the like).

Actually now that I think of it I may have lost some letters from the guy who occasionally comments here as clockzero from the first year of college. If that's true I've probably also lost some letters from my dad from summers in high school when I was away. Hopefully not!

Mostly I keep all my correspondence. I love receiving correspondence! I am even not a terrible correspondent myself, partly because I like the ritual of writing, sealing (depending on the particulars of the envelopes involved) and sending letters.

Naturally Christmas cards I have no particular use for.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-11-08 11:59 PM
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Also, am I the only commenter at unfogged to love The House Without a Christmas Tree, starring Jason Robards?

I seem to have picked up Czech Christmas watching habits.

So, it'll be Mrazik [which is Russian I think, with Czech dubbing] and Tři oříšky pro Popelku [someone has put a cheesy trailer on youtube together -- http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=HUMCqHbhq8k -- Libuše Šafránková really is rather lovely].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 1:09 AM
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What's that video of an English woman having dinner with her servant, that is Germany's most popular Christmas tradition, or something? Did I just dream that I read about that? (it sounded so unlikely, that maybe that's what happened)


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 1:13 AM
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re: 68

Dinner for One.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinner_for_one

[Tři oříšky pro Popelku [Cinderella] is also apparently quite a Christmas tradition in some countries -- dubbed into German, etc.]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 1:15 AM
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||

No more masturbating to Bettie Page. This might actually affect one or two people.

|>


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 3:12 AM
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I don't get too many Christmas letters. The best is from my Canadian cousin's wife - it's full of "we were blessed by a visit from X" sort of shit, but it's kind of redeemed by the fact that she really means it, in that sincerely *good* Canadian manner.

I like sending cards though. I'm sitting here at the moment having written a few for people I'm seeing today, and sorting out this year's list. The boy has written a pile for friends, two girls are making cards too.

I used to love writing letters, but I never bother these days, because of email. When I was at college, my dad sent me about 2 or 3 postcards a week, for 3 years. I loved that.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 3:20 AM
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I used to love writing letters, but I never bother these days, because of email.

I like the _idea_ of writing letters [the heavy paper, nice fountain pen, elegant copperplate writing, pithy epigrams and the like, rolling like it's 1785, etc.] but I find I am far too lazy.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 3:24 AM
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I get angry with my aunt who sends random cards but often doesn't remember to send me a card (or call) on my birthday. Has anyone seen nice New Year's cards. One of my cousins whom I just saw after many years is Jewish, and I'd like to send her and the kids something. I suppose that I could send a Channukah card, but I'd rather be able to delay it a bit.

In terms of Christmas cards, I prefer the truly religious, because you can usually find a Renaissance or medieval paininting, but I'm not sure what the equivalent is for New Year's. I want to buy a box of cards, not individual ones for each person.

(My aunt does have me beat in this respect. Her cards are generally her own watercolors.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 5:38 AM
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Look for cards sold by vaguely lefty organizations. They will often have a totally non-denominational option with winter nature imagery on it, which you can call whatever you like.

I don't send Christmas cards but feel guilty about it, and I like Christmas letters.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 5:58 AM
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One thing I love about England is that they seem to have a central location where all the charities in a town or village (at least they did in Oxford) sell their cards.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 6:05 AM
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non-denominational option with winter nature imagery
Northern hemispherical imperialist!


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 6:17 AM
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Seems there's a bit of a cultural difference either side of the water. Here, you send and get cards within limits, and you put the ones you get on the mantlepiece, or the side table with the nuts or whatever, as part of the Xmas decorations, just like the tree or the lanterns.

(Caveat: obviously you don't if you're Muslim or Jewish, but you do if you're typically English "Don't-give-a-shite-if-there's-a-god-or-not-ish")

We usually look for non-religious cards supporting a cause we like, but I'm not obsessively secular - last year we sent paintings from a mediaeval Book of Hours, technically illustrating a prayer book, but in fact just showing a lot of people pigging out.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 6:34 AM
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People who think pictures of my family are boastful might want to recalibrate their meters a little.

I don't think this at all! Cards and letters with photos are great (but, as noted upthread, email has all but killed off letter-writing ... blogs too, I guess: lots of people now keep friends and family up to date through blogs). But there's a certain type of annual Christmas letter, which affects a certain tone, which I find irritating.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 6:41 AM
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But there's a certain type of annual Christmas letter, which affects a certain tone, which I find irritating.

My granddaughter X is studying in Antarctica, but my 11 other grandchildren are in England, which is nice because I can see them...

From Xmas letter received yesterday


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 6:48 AM
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I have never received a Christmas letter, much less sent one. These are the newsletter things people write about their families, right? I agree with the Sedaris love mentioned above, but the experience of receiving such a thing is completely alien to me.

I tried to be a card sender for a while but it flopped due to time and laziness and I said fuck it and no longer have any interest at all. Rah still wants to be a card sender but doesn't have time. I like receiving cards but I am definitely the sort who reads any card over the trash can.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 7:40 AM
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Rah still wants to be a card sender but doesn't have time.

Cards should be written at a table in the pub, thereby taking no extra time at all.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 7:46 AM
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my in-laws christmas letter, which they sent to my family as well, once included the news that a friend of theirs was struggling with impotence. the mind reels.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 7:52 AM
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82: Indeed, the mind does reel!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 8:05 AM
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To a person, every friend I have who includes a Xmas letter is the sort to write all about how the Lord blessed them with this that or the other and how they are seeking the Lord's guidance on this that or the other challenge He has given them and how they sincerely hope I (and whoever else is getting said letter) will remember The Reason for the Season.

Every year I think to myself, this year I will send cards. Never do. Always feel guilty.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 9:28 AM
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I'm sending out christmas cards this year for the first time (with my girlfriend, who has been doing so for several years). Normally I wouldn't feel guilty about not sending cards, but now we've got the cards and started the list and have to actually get through the process, which is a bit guilt-inducing.

I only had one set of relatives who sent out a christmas letter. It was already somewhat self-mocking, and had a format to match; paired items of "good news"/"bad news" about the same person or subject. Contra Di, it wasn't a Lord-blesses-you thing - to my knowledge, my family doesn't have any of those, for which I am grateful to the relevant non-deities.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 9:40 AM
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Hmm. "This year we're hoping the Lord blesses us by keeping [spouse's sister] and [spouse's father] both alive through the holidays. The kids are all doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, and we're sure that, with appropriate support and psychiatric treatment, they'll be fine eventually."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 10:14 AM
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We used to get a Christmas letter from one batch of U.S. relatives, together with a seasonal photo of them all together. Like many of your customs it always seemed somehow exotic plus dorkily sincere at the same time. In fairness they were pretty close to my parents, they lived in Ireland for a year once and we saw a lot of them then. Nowadays they send an email.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 10:17 AM
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P.S. They weren't much for any "the Lord blessed us" stuff but then they were Catholic. I think this also made them unusual in South Carolina.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 10:19 AM
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My wife not only saves the Xmas cards received, she then trots them out every year for display. She binds one year's grouping with one of the loose snap rings, and puts the assembled multitude in a silver bowl on the coffee table. Actually, it is fun to look and see how little Maryjane Rottencrotch has grown through the years. What was her mother thinking in 1985? That outfit was terrible!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 11:05 AM
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78,79: Exactly. I don't mind the photos. I like photos.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 11:46 AM
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I have never received a Christmas letter.

I put all of the Christmas cards up on the mantelpiece, just like OFE. Is that not the normal American tradition?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 11:54 AM
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Speaking of winter holidays, I can't believe it's nearly Hanukkah and I don't have any christian baby blood!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 12:07 PM
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93

How will you make the latkes?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 12:07 PM
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Most people think it's just necessary for making matzo, but they're wrong.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 12:09 PM
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95

I know!!!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 12:09 PM
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96

Germany's most popular Christmas tradition

It's broadcast on NYE.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 1:48 PM
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97

Those Germans never could get their schedules right.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 1:48 PM
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98

What's NYE?


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 1:50 PM
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98: some crazy dude who calls himself "The Science Guy".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 1:52 PM
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Prohibitively expensive mail-order Wobegon lefse for Christmas
. They also sell lefse-making equipment.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 1:56 PM
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I don't have any christian baby blood

At what point do they age out? Because maybe we could work out some bartering.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:18 PM
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Baby blood for bacon?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:25 PM
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Wow, the idea in 89 is a bit crazy, but mostly interesting/clever/cute.

AB saves cards with interesting art for possible future crafting.

4: I agree with eekbeat. Save those, dude.

At least a fair sampling.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:26 PM
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Actually, it is fun to look and see how little Maryjane Rottencrotch has grown through the years.

I'll never understand WASP names.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:28 PM
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a


Posted by: sameer | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:30 PM
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Not that one they sing, "Christmastime is Here". We had to sing that in choir one year when I was in high school. Lame lame lame song.

If it makes you feel any better, the lyrics were put together in like 10 minutes by the show's producer.

That said, I find them poignant. It's mostly from the music - if they were sung cheerfully they'd be cheesy as shit - but the lyricist was writing to the music, so it's not as if he didn't know what he was doing.

A chorus of children singing "Christmastime is here/happiness and cheer" in (I think) a minor key is a pretty good evocation of the emotional ambivalence of the season, is it not?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:36 PM
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Charles Krauthammer has a permanent place in psychiatric history as one of those who first described "secondary mania".

The punchline writes itself.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:37 PM
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I did cards most years starting when I was in college, but it's never been every year. Since we've had kids, AB and I have tried to do it every year, mostly so that people can see pictures of them (we don't do a posed pic, and we're never in it, but it usually is seasonal). Most people we know are not checking our Flickr page regularly.

Also, it's nice to have an actual nice picture of a friend's kid, even if you see them a lot. We just got one today - people among our 5 closest friends, mind you - and I commented on how the younger son looks. Sort of seeing him with fresh eyes.

Then there's the family that sends really inappropriate pics of the kids - last year it was the 7-y.o. daughter dressed as a Wild West whore in a sepia-toned portrait; this year she's in an off-the-shoulder dress. WTF, people.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:42 PM
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i send e-cards usually
b/c i receive not many cards i tend to keep them


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:51 PM
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Cards should be written at a table in the pub

That's actually an excellent idea. I just may send a few cards this year.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:57 PM
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I keep all attractive cards as potential bookmarks, so eventually they get shabby or lost, but I get to look at them a couple times again. Also, when overthinking things, I can choose a bookmark that relates to the book.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:57 PM
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i didn't find sameer's previous comment
now i'm like puzzled what a means
when in Japan i got once photographed in kimono, nice experience, i wonder where one can have photos taken wearing some old European style dresses, if authentic, but i suspect in the museums, for example, old clothes look like of smaller sizes, won't fit maybe to actual people living now


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 2:59 PM
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May I suggest, read, that you don't try on the historic clothes at museums?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 3:02 PM
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i won't, but i suppose there are the historic clothes that could be tried, just interesting


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 3:08 PM
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Has anyone seen nice New Year's cards.

I have so got you hooked up, B-Girl.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 3:08 PM
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Um, wow, I don't really know what to make of the "Happy New Year/Just Get Used to It" legend on that last card in the link in 115.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 3:34 PM
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116: You have to send something to the Republican side of the family -- why not gloat, in the spirit of the season?

Though I think that card soft-peddles it. Why not go with the full baby Barack in the manger scene? Or a nice wintry picture with "May all your Christmases be white."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 3:47 PM
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Soft-pedal.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 4:01 PM
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Damn, busted by w-lfs-n.

I've been making those sort of mistakes when I type. I never, for example, write the incorrect there/they're/their, but when I'm typing quickly, I'll sometimes type the wrong one and not notice it until a few words later. Is it the internet? The aging of my brain? The Texas heat?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 4:10 PM
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What is the etymology of the term "soft pedal"? Is it like, you're "soft pedaling" an issue by playing it with the damper pedal on? Because now that I think of it, I think I may have thought it was "soft peddling," i.e., the opposite of a "hard sell."


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 4:18 PM
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120: iirc, it comes from the piano pedal hat damps strings giving a softer sound (ok technically that's not quite right, but it's the rough idea behind the etymology)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 4:23 PM
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119: I type as if I were taking dictation from myself -- I screw up homonyms all the time and have to fix them. This doesn't happen writing, I don't know if it's a different mechanism or just speed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 4:26 PM
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122: I do this all the time too, and suspect it's mostly speed. I type about the same speed as I talk, but write slowly.

It's a trade off though, legible with typos/homonyms/etc, or illegible with better spelling.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 4:30 PM
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I used to think I typed and spelled fine, until I started posting on Unfogged.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 4:32 PM
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But I'm not bitter.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 4:32 PM
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122, 123: I now find myself occasionally making "typos" when I write - evidently bad habits from too much blog commenting at high speed. Back when I used to write a lot, I would write 2 page essays in a single draft, without ever having to correct (only exception - occasionally skipping a letter, as my writing fell behind my thought). But now I might make a there/their-type mistake on a simple notecard. Ugh.

121 astonishes me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 4:34 PM
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I make ten times as many typos as I used to. I seem to have subroutines in my fingers that automatically make words plural, or turn "an" into "and" before a vowel, or substitute completely different unrelated words for the one I want. It's like my brain has an inaccurate Autofill.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 5:03 PM
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I seem to have subroutines in my fingers

It's gotta be something like this. The fingers are used to typing a certain pattern and bypass the brain altogether.

There was a phenomenon I experienced in piano playing whereby something I'd memorized I absolutely could not play if I actually looked at my fingers. (Similarly, I'd find my fingers twitching out a piece as I fell asleep. This happens on occasion now as though I'm typing out a word. I assumed that being a touch-typer made it more likely.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 6:07 PM
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119, this happens to me too. I catch myself killing theyretheirthere twice a day. I suspect decrepitude.

I like the "Just get used to it" card.

Goal is to have thankyoucards written for all received gifts prior to the wedding, except for people who bought honeymoon gifts, who get postcards. T minus eight days. That'll do for holiday cards.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 7:01 PM
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119, 122, 123 Yeah, I do this too! Once I was thinking "wouldn't" but typed "wooden" (or something along those lines) - the sort of thing that would never happen when actually writing.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 7:10 PM
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Are you sure that this is a good idea?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 8:41 PM
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47: Magpie Tivo'd the Charlie Brown Xmas special, so I saw it for the first time ever this year. Jesus Christ was it depressing... made me want to open a vein. Plus it brought back a feeling of "you are very much not part of the dominant culture" I hadn't felt in years.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 8:57 PM
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Plus it brought back a feeling of "you are very much not part of the dominant culture" I hadn't felt in years.

On the other hand, this particular feeling can be really cheering sometimes.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-12-08 9:13 PM
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