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June 19, 2012

12:12
P.M.

Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Total Responses: 9

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Gene Weingarten

Gene Weingarten

Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

About the topic

Every Tuesday, Gene publishes weekly updates to his chats.

- Gene's latest chat
Q.

Gene Weingarten :

Have any of you ever lived with a hound?   They tend to have certain similar personality traits -- stubbornness among them -- but the truly astonishing thing about many of them (bloodhounds and Plott hounds in particular)  is their sense of smell, which is so powerful it allows some feats that seem incomprehensible to those species like ours with vastly inferior sniffers.  You realize that dog's world is very different: A tapestry not of sound and vision, but of smell.   Murphy can find tennis balls in the street, by smell.   She once found a tennis ball a few feet up, completely hidden in the branches of a tree.   If The Rib has left on a walk with Mattie the dog, and I follow a few minutes later with Murphy, Murphy, nose to the ground, will track them with 100 percent accuracy, and catch up.   Plotts were bred to follow boar and bear, and tree them.

In short, their ability to pick up the scent of wild animals is particularly accute -- hundreds of years of breeding.

Anyway, something utterly amazing happened the other day. It seemed appropriate to memorialize it in ... doggerel.

I took Ms. Murphy out to poo. 
It went as planned, till midway through
She nosed up to a sidewalk crack 
Then fev'rishly began to track:
And look't around, then, nose to ground,
She became a stalking hound --
Pulling me for half a mile
Without a hint or trace of smile
Whiffled she through tongue and jowl
And rooed a bit, and yipped a yowl
Fast we went, this way and that
Until I put my foot down, flat
And said we must return to home 
And, tho Murphy still desir'd to comb
The neighborhood, I dragged her back
No soon was front door ope'd a crack
She ran right through the house real hard
And scratched to go in the back yard 
Where quick she ran past tree and blossom 
To the spot that morn she'd seen a possum
Crouch in fear and try to hide 
Till I dragged Ms. Murphy back inside.
I think that she'd picked up its scent
Out in the street, where she'd done went 
Half mad in role of hunting hound
And thus did Murphy me astound

Q.

Rhy, ME

Oh, arbiter of all things poetic, which is the best rhyme for diverse -- curse, hearse or reverse?
A.
Gene Weingarten :

They're all fine, though reverse is slightly weaker since it is a little  more pleasing for rhyming words to have an unequal number of syllables. 

– June 19, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

Attractive males

I'm so thankful that egocentric men have very high standards for the attractiveness of their women -- it makes them easier for us normal women to avoid them. I wonder how much this changes over the years. Next time, can you break this down by age as well as self-determined level of attractiveness? I want to know if old arrogant men, as well as the young ones, demand hot women.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

I have said this before, but will say it again because it is SO self-serving:  I believe that the better looking the man, the less skill he feels he needs in the boudoir, and vice versa:  ergo, ladies, if you want a great lover, you want a homunculus.   

– June 19, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

Re: Gene's attractiveness

See, here's what I don't understand. You say you're flabby, have laughable hair and extremely unfashionable facial hair. Two of those items could be fixed in under an hour, yet you wear them like badges of pride. Why?
A.
Gene Weingarten :

I could write a book to answer this question.   I'll address the hair alone: I am embarrassed by my hair, but would be more embarrassed to be thought of as the kind of person who cares about what his hair looks like.

Insane?  Arguably, yes.   

– June 19, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

Ugliness poll

I suggested the poll (and included the link to Metafilter, by the way). But what I found far more interesting than the original question and discussion was the following comment. I still can't decide whether the writer has made the right decision in withholding a compliment that his wife is obviously desperate to hear but that he believes he cannot make honestly and that she would not accept. "My wife is ugly. She knows it and I know it, but we've never talked about it. It's that hard. Until I met her, fell in love with her, and married her, I never really understood what a burden ugliness is, especially for a woman. I've never told her that she's beautiful, something that I just said automatically and spontaneously to so many girlfriends. In a candid sad moment once she told me that no one told her she was beautiful on our wedding day. When we watch movies and someone tells a woman how beautiful she is I cringe inside, because it is a reminder of how huge and every present this myth of beauty is. It's what every woman is told she is supposed to be pretty much from the day she's born, and my wife just isn't that. She fails it utterly, and there are just constant reminders of it. So that's all very depressing, but I'm telling you this because I did fall in love with her and I did marry her, and we're very happy together, and we have two beautiful children (there's that word again, sorry). And in case it matters, I'm not ugly myself. I've been told that I'm attractive, and I went to a good college and have been reasonably successful in life. So I don't think she had to trade down to find someone to marry her. I didn't either, that's the thing. I'm writing this because all these other people are responding kind of telling you not to worry about it, but I'm not sure they really understand how hard it is for a woman to be ugly, with uneven droopy eyes and uneven lips and bad skin and the rest. It's hard and I feel for you. But I also wanted to write to assure that there's still hope, and there's still love out there for you. There was and is for my wife, so I know there can be for you too."
A.
Gene Weingarten :

You know, I think his is a failure of imagination, and of  language.  There are ways of telling a conventionally unattractive person that she is beautiful without lying.

Just for the record, I find this guy's line "I've been told that I'm attractive" to be revealing, in a not so great way.     

– June 19, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

Cute but not "hot"

I am definitely a cute girl, but I am not hot (I have only been described as hot once, and it was while nude with an ex boyfriend--so I'll take it). I have twice found myself being really close friends with extremely attractive guys. Like, the guys were/are so hot I couldn't believe we were friends (I think this stems from being a serious nerd and dork in high school, but I have always thought I was a really cool person--it just took me a really long time to come out of my awkward-looking phase). I am certain that if I were conventionally hot, these guys and I would have had something. I mean, it kinda sucks, but I totally know it's their loss and they have weird hangups (since I was close with them and talk about relationship stuff and know what types of girls they are attracted to, I am quite familiar with the hangups). Luckily my self esteem is pretty high and this doesn't really bother me and they're obviously idiots... but it's just interesting how I have had crushes on guys of all shapes and sizes--I would definitely say the more attractive guys are, the pickier they get. I dunno. This is just from my experience. I often see very, very attractive women with quasimodos, and I very VERY seldom see really attractive men with less attractive women.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Gina has a line in "I'm With Stupid" that addresses exactly this.   She says that the best proof that men are shallow is that gay men tend to dress and groom themselves well, whereas gay women will go for the easiest-to-manage haircut.   This is because, she says, gay men are dressing for men, and gay women are dressing for women.   

If I were single and looking, I would not be particularly afraid of trying to court a gorgeous woman.  I would know I might have a shot, even though I am basically an amorphous blob of protoplasm with unattractive facial hair.   That is because women are better and look deeper.  

– June 19, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

Poll for the neurotic female

I think there should have been an option like, "I am female and don't consider myself unattractive, nor would I ever use the word 'plain' to describe myself, but at the same time, don't really feel I can choose 'consider myself physically attractive,' which seems to imply some level of hotness I'm not sure I have." Without that, I just sat frozen trying to decide how to proceed.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Okay, this made me laff. 

– June 19, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

The Republican Mug

Gene, I know you're fascinated by the Republican Mug (from Fishs Eddy). Did you know there's an equally artistic Democratic Mug as well? My husband and I own the matched set. :) We use them to hold our toothbrushes, alternating based on how scummy they get.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

No!  Whoa, here it is!   Man, this is not NEARLY as satisfying a choice.    Not a real douchebag among em.  Should have had, for example, Wilbur Mills.     Clearly these mugs were designed by a liberal.   

– June 19, 2012 12:14 PM
Q.

Baby Alarm

It's funny you mention this because I live in the town as one of the people you profile. And I was thinking the other day -- I remember how hard it was to get the great Commonwealth of Virginia to make seatbelts mandatory (and even blaze orange for hunters). I remember the auto industry saying it was too expensive for air bags -- and something like the Cincinnati guy's invention would NOT bankrupt car makers to install. The excuses the auto industry gives for not doing more is just plain lame.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Janette Fennel, the woman who runs Kids In Cars, spent ten years trying to get automakers to put a lock-release pull-chain in the trunk of every new car.   Every step of the way she was opposed by the auto industry, which claimed it was prohibitively expensive.   It's now in all cars, at a cost of about a nickel. 

– June 19, 2012 12:14 PM
Q.

Hero Question

Evidently there were a lot of Nazi Heroes if you proscribe to this thinking.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

You mean "subscribe."

But yes, there WERE a lot of Nazi "heroes."   Under my definition, if you fight and die for your country, you are a hero. The better question is who are they a hero to?  They were a hero to Germans.   

– June 19, 2012 12:14 PM
Q.

Gene Weingarten :

Hope to see you next Tuesday for our full chat, in which I will lay out a political thesis so brilliant it will change the way America thinks of its presidential elections.

You can begin submitting questions now

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