Congratulations, you’ve found the Froggy Bottom Cafe & Lounge! You’re probably wondering what kind of place this is and why it’s prominently displayed on the front page. Answering that question is going to take a little while, so why don’t you have a seat and order something to eat and drink:
To understand this place you first have to understand the name. It’s a play on the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington DC where the State Department is located, but it’s also a nod to Darwin the Frog.
From March 2005 to April 2019, this community went by the name of Booman Tribune. When I established Booman Tribune in 2005, I chose a frog in handcuffs as the mascot, and Darwin is the name this blogging community gave to the frog. The mascot was inspired by Ambassador Joe Wilson’s expressed desire that Karl Rove be “frog-marched” out of the White House for his role in outing his wife Valerie Plame as a covert CIA officer.
The motto of Booman Tribune was “We won’t rest until they’re frog-marched out,” and some people (raise your hands!) still have t-shirts and coffee mugs with the logo and motto printed on them.
Before there was a Cafe & Lounge, there was a Welcome Wagon. The Welcome Wagon was the invention of Diane Eller (known as Diane101) who sadly passed away in September of 2018. I wrote an homage to her here that explained her tremendous influence and importance in shaping the friendly culture of this community. Her basic insight was that people who were coming to the site for the first time needed some way to understand where they had arrived, how the site worked, how to post a comment or a video or a picture, and what kind of behavior was permitted or discouraged. Sure, people could read the FAQ, but they’d learn better and more quickly by socializing with other members. At first, Diane kept a watch out for new commenters and would invite them to come to the Welcome Wagon and make some friends.
Before long, the Welcome Wagon became a place for people to talk about things other than the war in Iraq or the latest outrages from the Bush/Cheney White House. It was really a kind of proto-social media environment where people talked about their children and pets and recipes and hobbies. The first Cafe grew out of the Welcome Wagon, and although much of the history is lost in the mists of time (or hiding in the archives), I imagine that someone offered a thirsty traveler a drink 🍺 and a bite to eat 🥪, and the idea for the Cafe sprung from there.
At first, the Cafe was so busy that the comments would quickly reach into the hundreds after a few hours, and new threads would be created several times a day. The first Lounge was undoubtedly created when a new Cafe was needed at a time of day more suited to nightclubbing 💃🏻 than sipping coffee ☕ under an umbrella ⛱️.
The next step was people booking events in the Cafe. There might be a book club where people discussed their favorite novels, or a movie or music-themed thread. Two of the most popular offshoots were the Friday Foto Flogging stories and the painting diaries of user boran2. These traditions have been retained for Progress Pond.
The Cafe operates from 6am to 6pm (Eastern Time). Feel free to eat-in 🍔 or take-out 🥡. The lounge is open from 6pm to 6am. It serves wine 🍷 and spirits 🍹, although don’t forget to eat something 🌭 or you might pass out.
Every Friday, the space converts in the Foto Flog 📸, which is a place to share your favorite photographs and enjoy the photos submitted by other users. On Saturdays, the Cafe is often operated by longtime user boran2, who shares his progress with his latest paintings 🎨. You can enter the Froggy Bottom Cafe by clicking on the front-page icon, but remember that heavy political discussion is generally discouraged; frivolity is more the order of the day.
You can find the FAQ on the front page, but you’ll also find it here in the Cafe and Lounge. As soon as I’ve prepared a User Handbook, that will also be available in every Cafe. If you want help with something, put your question in a comment in the latest Cafe and someone will steer you in the right direction.
And, now, in keeping with the frivolous priorities of Cafe culture, let’s get the party started!