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Novelty coffee and tea mugs, however, are perfectly all right. . .

Here's one of my "novelty mugs," featuring a likeness of Prussia's Frederick II, aka Frederick the Great.  This afternoon, it holds some sugary North German tea, purchased during June 2009 when my wife and I were last in Bremen, Germany.

For all of my railing against novelty clothing and accessories in the previous post, coffee and tea mugs are one area where it's safe to indulge in this kind of lunacy, advertising one's affiliation with various institutions and support of favorite teams.  My novelty mugs include the one featured above plus a red and white one from the University of Wisconsin and a mustard yellow one, that my wife mostly uses these days, from the University of Minnesota, where, coincidentally, we met as graduate students right about 13 years ago.  

Unless you're attending the big Homecoming game and showing your team spirit, however, I still maintain that it's best to leave the novelty neckwear buried deeply at the back of your closet.  But, a few less public items of memorabilia to enliven one's workspace or office at home are just fine.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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