Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Nov 20, 2012

Every Tuesday, Gene publishes weekly updates to his chats.

- Gene's latest chat

On one Tuesday each month, Gene is online to take your questions and abuse. He will chat about anything. Although this chat is sometimes updated between live shows, it is not and never will be a "blog," even though many persons keep making that mistake. One reason for the confusion is the Underpants Paradox: Blogs, like underpants, contain "threads," whereas this chat contains no "threads" but, like underpants, does sometimes get funky and inexcusable.

Greetings, update readers!   Next Tuesday we resume our normally scheduled Full Chat, with typically exciting developments.  You can submit questions to it right here.  

Meanwhile, we continue to write in the first personal plural for some reason.   Let's go.

Fox News' difficulty with Tuesday's election reminded me of 2001-2002 Afghanistan. Al Jazeera News pushed the position that the Afghans would repel the western invaders, and that the war was going well for the Taliban. I'm not referring to the fact that Al Jazeera gave coverage to Al Qaeda's positions and Osama bin Laden's press releases. What I'm talking about is that Al Jareeza's reporters actually seemed to think that the Taliban was winning the war. Eventually, reality trumped ideology, and I think since then Al Jazeera has tried to become more of a legitimate news gathering and reporting concern. The question is, whether this will happen for Fox.

Do you remember Baghdad Bob, the wonderful Iraqi information minister for Saddam Hussein, denying the U.S. had invaded, and predicting that the elite Republican Guard would repel the invaders -- even as we were racing across the desert to Baghdad?  He said these wonderfully colorful things, such as "God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis."    Then suddenly, he was ... gone.     Here's a collection of Baghdad Bob's greatest hits. 

Gene, how many times have you said "I told you so" since last Tuesday?

Two Tuesdays ago, now. In the final weeks, I worried about "landslide," which is the term I used all along.    But I think, given the electoral  demographics, it was close to being not at all close.  That's a semi-landslide. On election night, Obama never broke a sweat.  

My daughter emailed about a fundraiser the UMD Gymkana gymnastics troupe is having at Ledo's Pizza. My wife just attempted to make a short reply, "Ooh Ledo's Pizza!" on her Android phone. Its rabid "I know better than you do" function took over and came up with an exceedingly odd idea for a fundraiser. Can you guess it? "Pop Lesions Pizza!"

Very nice!   Pop Lesions is a good name, like Lance Boyle. 

I have the opposite problem as the hot-in-menswear woman from the chat update: I LOVE skirts and dresses, wear them almost exclusively, and always with heels (your friend Rears can vouch for me on that). You would not believe the amount of (poop) I get for this. Men assume I'm prissy and dependent; women want to lecture me on the damage I'm doing to my knees and ankles. I've had so many first dates where the guy asked, with an eyeroll, if I wear "stuff like that" all the time. New jobs where well-meaning coworkers assure me "we don't have to dress like that". Nights out with the girls prefaced with "can't you just wear jeans?" Do you have any suggestions for how to deal with this? I'm tired of having to defend myself over my clothes. (The hot-in-menswear woman and I would probably have a lot to talk about, come to think of it.) I wear what makes me feel most like myself. My dad has some suggestions on how I should reply to people who bring it up, but he is a retired cop. The words probably wouldn't have the same effect coming from my mouth as they would if I had his law enforcement 'stache and swagger.

I keep writing and erasing, because I want to ask a question, then worry it's sexist.    So: 

Do you have  great legs, or something?  

I'm just wondering what impels the eschewing of pants!  

Or wait.   Do you have a huge butt?  I guess a huge butt looks better in a skirt...

Okay, I'm in trouble in here and I know it, and I'm going to quit before HR comes for me and I have to clean out my desk. 

In answering a question about performance enhancing drug use last week, you claimed that there would be many who would take a drug even if it killed them by 45. It's even worse than that. There's a famous study conducted by Robert Goldman that asked Olympic athletes if they would take a drug that guaranteed them Olympic gold but would kill them in five years. Every time the question was asked (every other year from 1982 until the mid-90s), more than half of respondents said they would take it. If people take anything away from the Lance Armstrong thing, it should be a healthy dose of cynicism for modern sports performances in general (and maybe an appreciation for how a long string of negative test results can be meaningless if you're on something that isn't being tested).

I doubted this, but checked.  You're right.   What puzzled me is that this suggests some significant degree of self-doubt.  I never would have taken that deal for a Pulitzer, because I always figured I had a shot on my own.    

Even better than your ground rule double analogy is the nature of a baseball series itself. The World Series is a best-of-7 contest. You have to win 4 games before your opponent does. The number of runs you score in each game is irrelevant so long as you win more games, and you can easily score more total runs than the other team but lose the Series. (Eg Pirates-Yankees in 1960.) And of course this is true for any best-of format. You can win Wimbledon 7-6, 7-6, 0-6, 0-6, 7-5. Doesn't matter that the other guy won eight more games than you did. You won three sets to two. The obvious benefit, politically, is that the best-of format spreads the wealth around. No one region can monopolize - the coalitions so necessary for effective parliamentary systems are already built in to our system. Just as you can't win the World Series by winning one game 21-2, so too you can't win the White House simply by getting, say, every white person in the South to vote against the Kenyan Marxist.

Great analogy!  I haven't seen it before!  

You know, there IS one convincing argument against the electoral college:  I bet it keeps voting down in states that are not contested.  I bet voter turnout is smaller.   That's not particularly good for society. 

But I still think the benefits of the EC outweigh the flaws. 

You generally avoid writing about comics these days, but could you give us your reaction to this? (h/t BoingBoing)

This is nowhere near the worst strip out there; sometimes the jokes are quite good.  It is, however, the worst DRAWN strip out there.    I note he has repeated his jokes a few times, and believe me, I know how that can happen.  Dan and I will think up a joke, like it but not love it, tuck it away for a later date, only it turns out.... yow, we actually had it drawn.    We haven't yet completely duplicated a day (give us time; Barney and Clyde is only two and a half years old) but just the other day we had to do this.  

Not carried by my local rag, I'm reaching the end of my tolerance for the ads WaPo throws are me when I try to read there, so may be signing out as a loyal reader unless you have a reliable no-ads link.

Sure.  Go to gomics.com.    Very nice display, good comments. 

So, see you all next week. In the full chat.

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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.
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