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Like Charlie Brown, Christmas depresses me on the whole. Perhaps because the build-up is so long and disappointment is practically guaranteed by the time the day arrives.

I confessed this sentiment last year and I still stand by it. I’m trying to get better – really. These days I’m sorely tempted to blog all depressing stuff but I really shouldn’t. We know everything is going to crap these days but I don’t need to rub anyone’s face in it. Instead, I’m going to try to find some funny stuff (although not necessarily Christmas stuff) and hope it makes you chuckle. Here’s my effort for today (the article title alone is great):

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Ginkgo-Lined D.C., Capital of the U.S., and Now P.U.

The bouquet of a ginkgo tree’s fruit has strong notes of unwashed feet and Diaper Genie, with noticeable hints of spoiled butter.

For the District government this winter, it is the smell of defeat.

This year, arborists working for the city tried a new solution for the stinky fruit, which has plagued residents for decades. They injected more than 1,000 ginkgo biloba trees with a chemical to stop them from producing the fruit.

Whoops.

The chemical didn’t work, for reasons that scientists still don’t understand. Now, instead of less ginkgo stink, Washington has its worst case in years — a bumper crop of nastiness that is studding sidewalks and sliming dress shoes from Capitol Hill to Kalorama.

“Uuuuugh. Uuuuugh,” said Christine Lombardi, working the front desk of the Hotel George near Union Station. Out front, a ginkgo had been dropping berries for days. “It’s just awful because people step on it outside, and then they bring it inside the hotel, and people think somebody got sick.”

I always knew that Washington stinks but I had no idea I should be blaming the ginkgo. Go figure.

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Robert Rauschenberg, Titan of American Art, Is Dead at 82 – New York Times

I know, why do I keep blogging obituaries? I only pick people I think are interesting or important to me. Rauschenberg is important — to me. His work has always fascinated and intrigued me and sometimes repelled me. Painter, printmaker, sculptor, and photographer – he did it all and combined it all. He broke rules right and left and I loved him for it. Break the boundries, blur the lines and accept accidents and inspirations.

“I usually work in a direction until I know how to do it, then I stop,” he said in an interview in the giant studio on Captiva in 2000. “At the time that I am bored or understand — I use those words interchangeably — another appetite has formed. A lot of people try to think up ideas. I’m not one. I’d rather accept the irresistible possibilities of what I can’t ignore.”

He added: “Anything you do will be an abuse of somebody else’s aesthetics. I think you’re born an artist or not. I couldn’t have learned it. And I hope I never do because knowing more only encourages your limitations.

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Film director Anthony Minghella has died, aged 54 – Times Online

This is so sad – Anthony Minghella is too young to be dead. He is responsible for two of my favorite films — Truly, Madly, Deeply and The English Patient. His film credits are not many but they reflect the quality he achieved. Such a loss. Here is a link to the London Times obituary.

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Newseum | Today’s Front Pages | The Burlington Free Press

This is a fun site where you can look up today’s front page from 526 newspapers in 48 countries. It changes daily and you can link to the specific paper’s website, too. It’s interesting to pan through a few pages to see what’s the top story in that region.

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Jon StewartPhoto of Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers Journal

I’m so lucky I read the paper today so I knew about this interview before it was aired instead of after the fact (my usual fate). It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Bill Moyers mentioned that he ended his day watching Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

This was the perfect week for Jon to be interviewed by Bill Moyers, as well. I caught the interview (or was it a talk-over match?) Jon had with John McCain earlier this week. What the hell was that? The interview made the news in it’s own right. By the end of that interview (as Bill Moyers noted) you could see McCain just shrivel up and babble. It was kind of sad.

Anyway, the interview was excellent and I recommend seeing it if it repeats. Here is a link to an exerpt: interview snippet.

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