Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you

Almost five years ago now, I started this blog with one of the [all-time worst entries in the history of Cup O' Joel,][1] a misguided attempt to bring a sassy look at the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission.My editor at the time, Mike Shields, took one look at it and rolled his eyes."Drivel," he sneered. Looking back on it, he was right. I almost gave it up right then and there, but something motivated me to keep trying.In any case, it soon became clear to me that nobody was coming to the then-revamped version of for snarky entries about obscure personages at City Hall. They were there for fun. So without asking permission of the people who had asked me to blog, I changed the mission. I would write about how much I loved to live in Lawrence.That's kind of been the core of it the whole time. Yes, there have been tangents into pop culture effluvia and media criticism - but the heart of Cup O' Joel has been about how much Lawrence means to me. I've grown from a kind of late adolescence (in my late twenties) to something resembling real adulthood here, and figured out along the way how to be the kind of man I want to be.My favorite part of blogging has been you. I am not an oracle; I never have believed that blogging was a way for me to deliver my wisdom, unquestioned, to the world. It's been a conversation the whole time, and that conversation has made this blog a sustainable endeavor; I've occasionally been accused of being a "comments whore" and, well, it's true. Leslie, Dotdot, OtherJoel, Misty, pissykitty, Jill and the rest of you regular commenters have made this gig one of my favorite things I've ever done. And the interaction with other Kansas bloggers - emaw, Josh Rosenau, John B., J_D and Paul Decelles, particularly - has made for a wonderful give-and-take beyond the cyber-walls of yeah: My now-wife read this blog while she was deciding whether or not to move to Lawrence, and she tells me it helped her decide to move here. We met by coincidence after she had been at KU a couple of years, but Cup O' Joel is at least partly responsible for the best thing that ever happened to me.I've been privileged by my interactions with all of you. For that, I thank Rob Curley - now a VP at the Washington Post, who first asked me to blog - and Phil Cauthon,'s honcho this entire time.Now, though, it's time to move on.I am leaving The World Company, which owns - and, with it, Cup O' Joel. That means that Rob Gillaspie remains the lone surviving blogger from the original stable; dammit, I'd wanted to outlast him. I should've known better.Don't worry: I am going on to good things. I'll be moderating and blogging for a new national political Web site that launches in early 2008. I'll put out more information when I know the company is ready for it to be out there.The fun thing is we'll get to stay in Lawrence. I'll be telecommuting, so the amount of hours I rack up at La Prima Tazza and The Bourgeois Pig will probably skyrocket.So I'll see you around. Thanks again. [1]:


Marcy McGuffie 14 years, 6 months ago

Liz -

Shhh. ;)

We still have to give him crap.

MyName 14 years, 6 months ago

Well it sounds like a really good gig (if you can get it).

Peace Out.

PatrickJoseph 14 years, 6 months ago

Joel, we'll miss you at here. Let us know where we can find your future musings.

DOTDOT 14 years, 6 months ago

Congratulations, and all the best in your new endeavour. But know this. I will NOT forsake the taste of Laphroig on the tip of my tongue until this mission is complete. You know what I'm talking about.

In the mean time, I will certainly miss the frequent opportunities to make an ass of myself. Pity those around me while I go through withdrawals.

DOTDOT 14 years, 6 months ago

Falling victim to a breaking wave of cyber weirdness, I choke back a tear.

Joel 14 years, 6 months ago

Dotdot: I'm still in Lawrence, so the Laphroig will still be available. I'm not dying, after all...

alm77 14 years, 6 months ago

Good luck, Joel!! Can't wait to see what you'll be writing for the new company. A political website huh? Sounds a bit surprising coming from the one who was known to not engage in political, religious or otherwise controversial issues. Are we going to see a side of Joel that has yet to be revealed?

Joel 14 years, 6 months ago


Yes and no. I'll be wearing my politics on my sleeve in the new venture. For the few days remaining in my tenure here, I'll continue to play it somewhat close to the vest. After that, watch out.


The idea of the Web site is to promote civil and thoughtful conversation on politics, rather than screaming harangues. Which is my preferred way of doing these things, anyway. So the job really fits me.

Mackadoo 14 years, 6 months ago

Well, this is hitting home with me today. I just turned my two week's notice into my employer today to go back to school in the spring, and it killed me. I'm leaving a great place to work and taking a huge leap of faith in myself.

As a long-time lurker and seldom poster, I will certainly miss your blog, for whatever that's worth. Best of luck with your endeavor on the internets.

Joel 14 years, 6 months ago

sceney-b: As I've said... just because somebody isn't as liberal as you doesn't mean they're not liberal. ; )

Mackadoo: Good luck in your new ventures. And thanks for lurking here all this time.

scary_manilow 14 years, 6 months ago

Yow! Has it really come down to just me? It feels like an Agatha Christie novel around here all of a sudden...

Good luck Joel-- See you around the neighborhood, I hope?

leslie 14 years, 6 months ago

I don't think you should get off so easy, you bastard. Most of us don't work for the company, and yet we are able to blog still. Hold fast, Joel!

I mean...what on earth am I going to do without my Cup o' Joel? Where will I get my book recommendations? Whose easy writing style will I envy now?

I'm crushed.

Chris Tackett 14 years, 6 months ago


sorry to hear you're taking off, but am looking forward to hearing about the new gig. congrats! a telecommuting gig is a good one. hang on to it whilst you can. my 'virtual' work w/ the rawstory has been awesomely convenient.

not to make you address something you may not have wanted to, but was blogging here going to be an issue w/ the new employer? or are you just wanting to focus all your time on that? just curious why you couldn't do both.

send me a link when you're ready and i'll write about the new site. or don't and i'll do it anyway when i find out about it. :)

bloozman 14 years, 6 months ago

Go get 'em, Joel. Sounds like quite a gig. Now please give me some advice: Whose blog should I bookmark instead of yours to lead me into the blogginess on which I've become dependent? DOTDOT would be my choice if he, you know, actually blogged.

lazz 14 years, 6 months ago

zounds. best o' luck, joel. (by the way, just cause you won't have an El Dot blog doesn't mean you have to stop being an El Dot blogger [one o' us] does it?)

Joel 14 years, 6 months ago

Scene: Yup. Don't worry, won't make a habit of it.

Lazz: Yeah, I'll prolly poke my head in here every now and again.

Will Babbit 14 years, 6 months ago

Good luck Joel, hopefully us Lawrencians that have left the nest will have a way to see where you're going!

JohnB 14 years, 6 months ago

Congratulations, sir. It's been a pleasure visiting here and reading and commenting--and meeting you and your wife in person that morning at Milton's.

I look forward to visiting you in your new venture.

But, you know: "I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes."

Josh_Rosenau 14 years, 6 months ago

Congrats, buddy. I look forward to your political rants.

Deb Townsend 14 years, 6 months ago

Ahh Joel....I have enjoyed lurking and reading. Best of luck to you and yours and Merry Christmas! It was good to see someone do something with their talents and j-school degree.

UKept 14 years, 6 months ago

Good run, Joel.

Hope the new gig works out.

OtherJoel 14 years, 6 months ago

Wow. This is definitely an end to an era. I started reading this blog in 2003 when I was looking into moving to the area. I typed "" into the browser to see what came up (like your wife -- but maybe we shouldn't dwell on that...). And there was this blog from a guy named Joel. So that seemed like a plus. Since then we've had several interesting online conversations, a bit of bowling, free schwag... Good times. But the new gig sounds like an awesome opportunity, and I look forward to reading the new blog.

Anyway, I guess that beer I was trying to mooch a while back is now for you with one or more extra. On me... You know what I'm trying to say... I thinks you need a proper send-off at your favorite watering hole (Bourgeois Pig?). Anyone else up for it?

DOTDOT 14 years, 6 months ago

I would cross the divide for such an event.

14 years, 6 months ago

Adios, Joel. Your insight and humor will be missed.

Joel 14 years, 6 months ago

OJ: Jill and Lazz were suggesting a proper drinkabout sometime soon, anyway. I'd be up for Saturday before Xmas, if it's a friends thing instead of a Joel thing.

OtherJoel 14 years, 6 months ago

That sounds cool, but unfortunately I'm going out of town that day. Sorry. But I definitely want to at least buy you a congratulatory beer at some point.

CafeSiren 14 years, 6 months ago

End of an era, indeed. Best of luck to you as you move on. Go, Joel!

Tim vonHolten 14 years, 6 months ago

i really wish you hadn't used the word "stable" in reference to yourself and gillaspie. now i'm going to have nasty dreams. real nasty.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 14 years, 6 months ago

Congrats on the new gig, but I'll miss you on here. Do you have any idea how enormous Rob's ego is going to get now?

Jill Ensley 14 years, 6 months ago

You rat bastard. Who the hell am I going to pick on now?

Seriously, I'm with Leslie on this. You don't have to give up the blog just because you no longer suckle at the teat of booming and ominous THE WORLD COMPANY. Also, ew.

And just throwing it out there. I suck and work from 4-midnight on Saturdays. Any other day I would be glad to imbibe respectable amounts of bourbon and/or get "shit-faced", as the kids say.

OtherJoel 14 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, I'm pretty open before next Saturday, with the exception of Wednesday (prior obligations). That is, unless you want to drive out to the recordBar in KC.

Marcy McGuffie 14 years, 6 months ago

Oh wow - congrats! And I thought Cup o' Joel would be around forever.

Heh. Cup o' Joel is also responsible for the best thing that's happened to me - meeting my fantabulous hubby! Thanks, again. :)

It really is the end of a era. I have to agree w/Leslie and Jill, though...but, the decision has been made and we respect that.

Best of luck!

cutny 14 years, 6 months ago of luck, but I guess I don't see why you have to give this up because you are leaving the LJ world, either...In other news...Lazz, do you have blog? Where is it? Thanks for your posts Joel.

savagepigbarn 14 years, 6 months ago

Goodbye and good work, but the love fest needs to end some time. The World Company Media Monopoly doesn't need any more stooges. Maybe your independent voice could actually provide some information about the mysterious company that continues to rip us off at every turn under the guise of things little league and "local". For such a "tech-savvy" company, there's stark information about them on the Internet. God willing, the Company's death grip will be pried open by pending federal legislation concerning those who own both the access to and the content of several media outlets in one very small community.

savagepigbarn 14 years, 6 months ago

Goodbye and good work, but the love fest needs to end some time. The World Company Media Monopoly doesn't need any more stooges. Maybe your independent voice could actually provide some information about the mysterious company that continues to rip us off at every turn under the guise of things little league and "local". For such a "tech-savvy" company, there's starkly little information about them on the Internet. God willing, the Company's death grip will be pried open by pending federal legislation concerning those who own both the access to and the content of several media outlets in one very small community.

liz 14 years, 6 months ago

Although it is true that some people who blog here don't work for the World Co., I don't think any of the of the non-World Co.affiliated bloggers are employed by other news organizations. Assuming that this new job is backed by another news organization, I think it makes perfect sense that Joel would stop writing for this one --- especially when you consider that blogging here does not pay.

Blogging for free for your old employer, when your new job is blogging for pay for a national website, doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Congratulations, Joel. Your gain is this company's loss.

Aileen Dingus 14 years, 6 months ago

Yikes! Not you too! I just found out my favorite columnist from my former life has left the biz, now this?


Yes- lump me in with the "I was looking at moving here and stumbled upon Cup o' Joel." It was the blog about the cat at Love Garden that got me.

Keep me informed on the get-together. I'm pretty much open.

DOTDOT 14 years, 6 months ago

He once was a journal world stooge but now the frontiers are just...huge exchanging the pap for political crap gratuitous rhyme - Moulin Rouge

Joel 14 years, 6 months ago

Hi folks, "stooge" here:

If anybody thinks I'll be badmouthing the people who signed my paychecks every two weeks for the last eight years, well ... no. I won't say the Journal-World is perfect, or that I've agreed 100 percent with everything that's happened here over the years. Because, well, that's work and that's life.

Yes, The World Company is the big media player in town. Look around at any other city of 80,000 to 100,000 people and see how often you'll find, say, multiple daily newspapers. Almost never, that's how often. And take a look at those similar-sized towns and their papers, and see if any of them approach the quality of the Journal-World - almost never. The Simons family - whatever you think of their politics - has taken taken a lower profit margin on the paper than is the industry standard BECAUSE they wanted to keep more money in having a larger reporting staff, bringing more local news, than just about any similar-sized paper in the United States. The Simons family is serious about wanting to provide the best possible news service to the community. I really believe that.

That's not to say the Journal-World is beyond critque or reproach. When a misstep is made, we (and I still feel the "we"-ness of things) should be corrected, and correct ourselves. Last time I checked, though, there's never been a lack of dissenting or competing voices in town - KLWN, Larryville, River City Talk, The Lawrencian, and any publication where Tim Miller's writing has appeared over the years all come to mind. Hell, we're critiqued within our own products anymore: witness the glorious comments section of most LJW articles. Some of those voices are valuable, and some - I'm leaving, so I'll just say out loud that I'm thinking here of Chris Merrill - are demagogic and obnoxious. But that's the way the market of ideas works, doesn't it?

More in the next comment.

Joel 14 years, 6 months ago

All of that said:

Thanks to all of you who have said nice things. It's kind of stunning when people tell you that your writing has affected them, and even more incredible when they tell you it's affected them in a good way. It's humbling, and I've tried to take seriously the fact of having a public forum while hopefully never, ever taking myself too seriously. So again, thank you.

It's true that I don't require an affiliation with The World Company to keep blogging here. But the stuff I'll be writing/blogging/commenting about for Scripps - now THERE'S a media conglomerate, and that's who I'll be working for - will involve politics, culture and even faith: All things that I'd be writing about here. Since Scripps will be picking up the tab, and is giving me one of the most wonderful professional opportunities I've ever had, I feel that I owe them (and myself) my best shot.

I'll still be hanging around the comments sections of these blogs, though. Lawrence is burned into my heart, and I'll not forsake this community ... even, should the time should come, if I leave it.

Second stab at Pigging: The Friday night after Christmas? Would people still be around? I know I'll be.

DOTDOT 14 years, 6 months ago

Former Stooge,

FWIW, ALL of the protest against the world company that I have heard since I moved here has been delivered to me via a world company product.

The questionable practice of a newspaper owner using his editorial page to ramrod his opinions is offset by allowing comments so the community can tell him what an idiot he is.

Personally, I love it.

savagepigbarn 14 years, 6 months ago

Yes, yes, you're all right, and apologies for 'stooge' reference, I'm still angry about my SB deposit I guess. The whole thing is obviously not approaching Clear Channel proportions or anything, and WC I suppose should be commended for giving some good bloggers a nice local audience, but it's not necessarily the LJWorld and its editorial practices that disturb me. It is, as you said Joel, what one should expect in this sort of community. It is also true that Simons is not wringing the LJW for every penny he can. His real bread and butter is the SB cable company. If you have roommates and want high speed Internet or Cable, you have to go through them and the rates are outrageous. Compare prices with other markets, even markets smaller than Lawrence's, and the difference is undeniable. Bandwidth charges, exhorbinant (re)connection fees, bad service (12-14 weeks to get your deposit back, and even then, after having to call repeatedly to remind them to send it, they still can't figure out what's going on! Doesn't sound especially "local", especially in comparison with Lawrence Utility, who is generally very prompt with its deposits. Also, LU charges $8 to reconnect your water, and they have to send someone to your house twice. Compare to Sunflower's $40, and all they have to do is flip a switch.), and high rental charges. It's a practice that preys on college students who don't know any better (or are subsidized) and leaves the rest of us wondering why no one makes a fuss. I work on campus and there is certainly a palpable sentiment there, among people who have lived all over the country, that SB's work is nothing more than highway robery. Most of the people I talk to use AT&T, but they generally are operating on only one computer and don't have cable (I don't either. One of my favorite SB "deals" involves paying 10 extra dollars if you want Internet but not cable.) Ironically, the only public place to discuss such problems is a corner curated by the provider himself. Here I am, using his Internet to post on his newspaper's newspaper's website to complain about his cable....Turning the system against the system! Hell yes! But, seriously, where else is there?

Anyway, I'll get off the horse and say all the best. I especially enjoyed reading your posts about literature. Always good to know that people continue to enjoy reading and recommending good books...

emawkc 14 years, 6 months ago

Joel, I'd say congrats but I don't want to be redundant. I'd say you'll be missed, but we'll all be checking you out in the new digs anyway.

So I guess all that's left is Merry Holidays and we'll see you when you get there.

Jill Ensley 14 years, 6 months ago

Friday after X-mas Pigging = good. Gron! Gron!

OtherJoel 14 years, 6 months ago

I'm a solid maybe; a possible probably -- my return date from tha big bad Balto is yet to be determined. I am a planner!

Plus big midwestern boys are routinely killed and eaten around those parts, and I'm still carrying a little extra Thanksgiving weight.

Joel 14 years, 6 months ago

Jill: I'm can't do that, I'm afraid. I've got an evening flight back from Denver; I don't know when, precisely, I'll be getting back to town...

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 14 years, 6 months ago

I plan to drop by and get a new bag (those veterinary-supply safety pins just aren't holding the new one together anymore, sadly) at the Pig sale, so I'll see you there, Jill.

As for the Friday after Christmas, that sounds fabulous. I'll don something pretty and distribute tipsy hugs to all.

OtherJoel 14 years, 6 months ago

I might pop by the One Mango Tree sale. I think someone on my list might dig one of Lucy's handbags.

The Friday after is looking better. I've almost set a return date...

Terry Bush 14 years, 6 months ago

Late to game Joel (new job for me = less time for fun for me). I am glad you are not leaving town, sad you won't have a blog on this forum (maybe you CAN have one as a "mere" citizen, like most on this forum?), and will try to make the pig thingy (but am in rehearsals - as asst. director - for the annual MLK celebration's may not be able to sneak out!). Meanwhile, thanks for being the other "goody-two-shoes" with some positive spin on almost all topics. I wish you the very best in your new endeavor and stay in touch, ya hear~!?

OtherJoel 14 years, 6 months ago

Sorry I missed the Pig Party. Couldn't make it back in time. Do you still have my email? I do want to make good on my beverage offer at some point.

Congrats again, man.

Joel 14 years, 6 months ago

Well... I might've forgotten entirely. Jill: Did you go to the Pig? Are you still speaking to me?

Worst thing is, I'm pretty sure I spent that evening sitting in my living room chair. Must.Get. Out.

bloozman 14 years, 6 months ago

In cased you missed this, too, Joel: 2008 is here, as of Tuesday.

And KU won the Orange Bowl.

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