Chatological Humor: Monthly with Moron (April)

Apr 29, 2014

Gene Weingarten held his monthly chat with readers.

Results of the pre-chat poll:

- Male version
- Female version

Gene Weingarten's humor column, Below the Beltway, appears every Sunday in The Washington Post magazine. It is syndicated nationally by the Washington Post Writers Group.

About this chat:
At one time or another, Below the Beltway has managed to offend persons of both sexes as well as individuals belonging to every religious, ethnic, regional, political and socioeconomic group. If you know of a group we have missed, please write in and the situation will be promptly rectified. "Rectified" is a funny word.

On one Tuesday each month, Gene is online to take your questions and abuse. 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.

Important, secret note to readers: The management of The Washington Post apparently does not know this chat exists, or it would have been shut down long ago. Please do not tell them. Thank you.

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Good afternoon. 

Dear Charles Krauthammer:

It's been too long since I last spanked you in this space.  It's time for another thrashing, but only because you deserve it. 

I'm writing in response to your column of a couple of weeks ago.   By way of summary, you accused liberals of being bullies for trying to close off debate on certain key issues by declaring them resolved.   One was climate change, the other gay marriage.  Your point was that this is a sort of intellectual totalitarianism, and an abridgment of free speech by the left-wing Thought Police.

Sounded reasonable, on the surface, until you think about it for just a few seconds.   Conservatives can be so amusing.

Charles, I am imagining that you had a great grandfather, Percival Krauthammer, who was a leading conservative voice in 1919, writing with just as much self righteousness about how all those city slickers were trying to close off debate on whether women deserved the vote, as though it were a dadgum settled issue or something.   Or your great-great-great- grandfather, Algernon Krauthammer, who was a leading conservative voice in 1858, harrumphing about how all these progressives were trying to close off debate about the merits of slavery, as though it was already somehow universally decided that this is an evil institution.  

Charles, it is the nature of civilization to make itself more civilized, and it does so by evolving in thinking --  closing off debates on certain issues that are, indeed, newly settled by evolving notions of morality, or equality, or emerging science.  That is what we do.  It is how we get better as a society.  Some things move out of the realm of legitimate debate, because they become no longer legitimately debatable.  It's not a bad thing that this happens.   It's not an abridgement of free speech.  If this didn't happen, you'd still see 1950s-flavor op-eds in newspapers like The Post, arguing that enforced racial segregation is good for society.  (I'm sure some people -- Donald Sterling? -- still believe this, but it's impermissible to make the argument because the argument is rude, and wrong, and any newspaper that gave voice to such thoughts would be rightfully hammered. )  

No serious scientists debate the human causes of global warming anymore, and when you did in your column a few weeks ago, it was patently ridiculous.  Don't know if you noticed, but The Post just this past weekend ran a hugely long letter to the editor taking you to task, point by point, on this issue.   It was pretty darned devastating; this is my view only, but I regard the decision to publish this unusual, column-length letter as The Post pretty much apologizing for your column.  

And you know what?  The case is closed on gay marriage, except where it isn't because of lingering prejudices; we're all pretty clear on that, even young conservatives.   It's the old grouches who are being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the modern, decent world on this.  

My point is, there must indeed come a time when it is no longer reasonable to raise certain issues.

Your most interesting point involves President Obama, who, as recently as 2008 was officially opposed to gay marriage.  You are right that this was absurd, but you draw the wrong conclusion about it.  You conclude that it is absurd to think that a position that just a few years ago was so mainstream that the president himself embraced it -- that such a position can suddenly be publicly unspeakable. 

That's not what was happening.  Obama was lying in 2008 -- do you seriously think a man of his politics EVER personally opposed gay marriage? -- because he felt he had to lie in order to remain a viable candidate.   That's because in too many places the public remained bigoted, and a candidate can't afford to gratuitously alienate whole sectors of the population on a still divisive issue.  You can reasonably conclude from this that Obama was being a hypocrite (I won't fight you on that) or you can conclude, as I do, that  politics forces exactly that sort of hypocrisy from time to time because politics tends to create oversimplified, litmus-test issues.   I suspect that not every president of the United States has firmly believed in a Sky Fairy.   But you won't see that admission anytime in your lifetime; going to church is one of the things you must do if you are to run for public office.  A small price to pay for being the most powerful person on the planet.

In 2008, the national tipping point had not yet been reached on gay marriage; but now it most assuredly has.  Judges and voters across the country are declaring the issue decided, to the general credit of our country.   We move on, proud to have put that nasty little episode to bed.  Or most of us do.


Some of you may remember that I am a murderer, having killed no fewer than four luminaries by mentioning them in my chats and/or columns.  I mention them, and then they up and die.      First was Teddy Kennedy, then Tim Russert, then Andy Rooney and finally, Bazooka Joe.   (Interestingly, if you google those four names, and nothing else, you get my column about the murders as the top hit.  These four people have nothing else in common, apparently, other than that I did them all in.)

As some of you observed, I did it again last week, with this column, killing Gabriel Garcia Marquez.    It came out after Marquez's death, but I wrote it three weeks earlier, when he wasn't even particularly sick.  


Finally, please take today's poll.  The results so far are really interesting.  


Male version
Female version

The poll was occasioned by a disturbing insight I had about myself.    I am an unrepentant wild-ass hippie liberal on virtually all social issues, and so I like to think of myself as someone who draws absolutely no moral judgments on people's sex lives, particularly women's sex lives.  Intellectually, I am solidly in this corner.  I am, for example, rabidly pro-choice, in part because I believe that many in the anti-abortion movement are really right-wing culture warriors outraged by sexual permissiveness.  So this whole issue is a big deal to me, and I will die defending someone's right to not be judged on his or her sexual choices.   

Except, the truth is, I am something of a prude.  Deep down.   I regard sex with awe, and see it as a deeply intimate thing, and a commitment.   On some level that I'm a little embarrassed by, I instinctively disapprove of sexual promiscuity.   It's not just that I never had a one-night stand; I can never IMAGINE having a one-night stand.   Sex is too important to treat casually, to me.

Yep, at my center I am a pathetic old fud !  Which is why we did this poll !

Oh, and just to be provocative, I should say that I would judge a promiscuous woman slightly more harshly than a promiscuous man.  Why?  Because it is simply a fact of our society that women set the sexual agendas.  Men try to score, and women decide when they will.   So I am slightly less judgmental of a guy who tries a lot, and gets lucky, because it's not really his decision.  He's doing what he's theoretically SUPPOSED to do.

I think of it this way: Virtually every woman knows that if she wants to have sex on a first date, she will have sex on a first date.   Virtually no man thinks this about himself, unless he is a rapist.   Or George Clooney.

Yay!  Have at me.  

We start at noon.


I think your definition of shanda for the goyim needs to be expanded. I think I'd rather this guy weren't Jewish than that Madoff weren't. Sterling's contributions to Jewish stereotyping will make my life worse, as a Jew living a regular life among regular people, in a way that Madoff's won't.

Well, I don't agree with you.   Sterling is horrible, horrible, horrible.   And as such, he embarrasses Jews, I am sure.   But you're missing an essential point about shanda-dom.   

To be a true shanda for the goyim you need to do something, as you suggest, that reinforces a negative stereotype about Jews.  What would that be, here?   Jews are not stereotypically considered racists or stuck-up elitists or old persons who date hot young things.  They MIGHT stereotypically be considered exploiters of the labors of others, but this guy pays his players millions. 

So though he has done something disgusting, and appears to be a disgusting person in general, I don't see this reinforcing any slanders against Jews.    Whereas Madoff, man.  Madoff is in Iscariot and Rosenberg territory, shanda-wise.

Plus, he destroyed lives.   He drove his own son to suicide.  Way worse. 


Okay, I have reconsidered this and now am prepared to call Sterling a shanda.   That is only because I want to publish this:


Donald T. Sterling

A Double-Dactyl

by Gene Weingarten


Higgledy piggledy,

Donald T. Sterling hates


(They just annoy him.)


Sadly, for people like

This correspondent,

Donald's a shanda for

All of you goyim.


I was telling a friend about this story from the 2006 Thanksgiving Day Post, which is probably my most favorite Post story ever! I am fascinated by the fact that there are no comments, no one ever remembers the story and I don't think you ever talked about it. Does no one read past the jump to the end of stories?

Holy, holy, holy crap.  I have never seen this before.  It is amazing.   I have to say that I never would have gotten to the end, because it seemed so ordinary atop.  

This is a totally remarkable story; I think it needed a hint somewhere -- maybe more of a hint in the headline, or possibly a coy tease near the top -- that there was a major surprise within. 

I think you should have a poll question on the western rancher - Bundy - who is grazing cattle of federal lands without paying fees. Right or wrong?

I was going to, but I don't think it is debatable, and wouldn't be debated in this format.  We all know he is a thief and an a-hole, no?

AND a racist.

Andy Warhol's art is generally good to pretty good, but his influence has lead to some really crappy crap. I don't know if somebody who didn't live through the 60s can really get him, but it seems like his newly discovered digital art that has been shared online thus far just stinks.

Andy Warhol is to art what the very first non-rhyming poet (anyone know who this was?) was to poetry.  All in all, a good thing, but it led to the disaster of everyone thinking he could be a poet / artist.    Billy Collins made this point in this column, which was one of my favorite interviews ever.  He is a really brilliant, funny man.

I think you're sweet.


Hi Gene, I am a hot 33-year-old woman who once couldn't imagine having a one-night stand either. But now I've had a bunch. And while I would agree that they are definitely inferior quality-wise to the sex you get in a long term relationship, otherwise I have no regrets at all. In fact, I'm kind of proud of them (since I was a very shy growing up and didn't lose my virginity until I was 21, I mentally high-five myself when I pick up a stranger in a bar). Anyway, my point is: you've never spent years single as an adult. If you had, you would definitely start contemplating one-night stands. And they are really not that bad. Relax.

Thank you.  

My girlfriend talked me into going to dinner and a movie with her. That's not a big deal but she talked me into going dressed as a girl. She says it'll be fun, I promised I'd do it but I'm starting to wonder if it's a BIG mistake.


Did she explain why she wanted this? 



Deep down, I am a complete libertine despite living a basically conservative upper middle class dream life (I've got 2.5 everything and it's all stable). I don't give a dog's crap about men or women slutting it up consensually even though I never did myself and never would. But I am also antiabortion and view it as a tragedy. I love people way too much to be able to think about babies or almost babies without getting sad. But despite that, I think it's safe to say that the morning after, you don't have a friggin baby yet! It's a failure of science that we don't know precisely where to draw the line between not alive and alive but until we do, it's an unsolvable tragedy, much like when the Nats play the Braves.

I'm publishing this mostly for your most excellent kicker. 

Several posts have made reference to a sex act that is the normal or typical last part of a porn film, but on one is giving enough clues. OK, would you please explain, in language that won't shut down the chat, that act? I am curious, as I can't think of anything "typical" that couldn't simply and perhaps with a literary flair, be described here. Help a girl out...there's no one else I can ask and it is itching my brain.

You could have researched this yourself by finding porn on the Web, but didn't, so I love you and will hereby try to help.  

Porn (to my knowledge and understanding) has never had sex acts end the way most sex acts actually end, which is with the man reaching his climax within the lady.  The reason is that this is supposedly not visually satisfying.  Viewers of porn want to see what is commonly called the "money shot," ie, the actual result of male orgasm.

I think porn over the years (I am not a habitue) has resolved this problem in different ways, but in the last decade or so there is a consensus fix.  What I hate about it is that it suggests men fantasize about something that can only be described as degrading.   The lady is seated or on her knees, looks up supplicating, wide-eyed and open-mouthed in wonder and gratitude,  as the man anoints her countenance.

I believe it is awful.   More important, Gina has told me that she hears from female students that this has become a real problem: Males in their early 20s grew up watching this and seem to think this is how matters are supposed to resolve.

I don't want to be prudish about this.  I don't consider any consensual sex to be dirty.  And I will leave open the possibility that ladies do NOT find this degrading. 

Here's what it is: Sex is both beautiful and brutish.  We should cherish the beauty and try to deny the brutishness.  It's like with language --I love T.S. Eliot and hate Dan Brown.   They both use words to communicate things, but Dan Brown reminds me of the worst of us, and Eliot of the best.   Dan Brown is the new money shot. 

Er. Wow. Is this as quietly obscene as I think it is? Or do I just have a dirty mind?

I have been unable to find a marginally obscene Sunday Agnes recently.  Please specify which.

Think it's any good, Gene?  "He won't regret missing his own funeral but offered us the following in advance, titled "My Obituary": Higgeldy Piggeldy Biology's Siegel - Lectured genetics and Frequently joked. Studied some ciliates, Tackled conidia Learning and signals in flies And then croaked!

Well, it's the right attitude, and is mostly in the correct meter.   He has two flaws.   A true dactyl needs one line that is a single double-dactylic word.  ("Anthropologically," for example.)   But you can give him a pass on that.  The bigger problem is that "Biology's Seigel" is not remotely a double dactyl.   It's an odd error for a guy who clearly gets the form.  It could have been "Siegel, biologist."   We'll make that correction posthumously, and declare it a gem. 

Did you know that in 2011 Detroit acquired Doug Fister from the Seattle Mariners for Charlie Furbush? Baseball Reference

I did know this.  I am also in receipt of an email from Jeff Bird, reporting the following:

"On May 29, 1978 in Kansas City, Peter LaCock faced Richard "Dick" Pole for the first and only time in their careers.  In the bottom of the first, LaCock flew out to left (an anticlimax?), and then the rest of the Royals knocked Pole out of the game before LaCock's next turn at bat.
"My friends and I consider this the single greatest at-bat in baseball history, and every May 29 we celebrate Pole-LaCock Day."

Gene - Several weeks ago I was walking around Eastern Market and happened to walk past you while you appeared to be in the middle of an affectionate conversation with a dog (yours or someone else's, I'm not sure). I did a double- or triple-take in the process of recognizing you and then debating whether to say hello, which resulted in my wordlessly staring at you for several seconds, even after you made eye contact. I'm not sure what I would've said if I'd decided to speak to you! Anyway, I'd like to hereby apologize for my awkwardness and ask whether you often have these sorts of interactions with readers in public, or if others are less socially clumsy than I.

I do not recall this, so apparently it was not awkward.    The strangest thing that happens to me with some frequency is that I ask the stranger in the street who they are, and the immediate response is not their name but "Oh, I'm nobody."

I don't think there's a history. She said she'd thought about it with previous boyfriends but none were interested enough to try. Frankly, I'd rather do this than, say, skydive.

It sounds interesting.  Will she dress you? 

Would you be a good looking woman?

Not just or primarily because of this incident, but a previous record that includes multiple lawsuits over his discrimination and general slum-lordiness in managing apartment buildings AND this: "Despite the fact that he was one of the N.B.A.'s richest owners at the time, having just paid a then impressive $13.5 million to acquire the erstwhile Buffalo Braves, Sterling was genuinely concerned about annual hosiery expenses that likely amounted to less than he paid for some dinners. "It was like that all the time," Silas would recall years later."It was all about trying to save money." 

Okay, but there is nothing about cheapness in his current debacle.  It's not ABOUT that.

I'm sure this will be old news by the time you chat again, but have you ever seen such an obvious overreaction to a joke as the tweet from ComedyCentral's @ColbertReport twitter handle? Yes, maybe it was a little over the top. But it was so clearly so ridiculous, with so many markers in there to signify "this is being said in the character of a stupid person saying stupid-person words" and so clearly making fun of racists rather than being racist -- how could anyone honestly get upset by it? And was Colbert right to immediately respond by saying "I share your rage"? And ... wasn't it kind of funny? Please respond, oh Wizard of Guffaws.

Nobody looked good in this fiasco, including Colbert.  There was NOTHING wrong with the original piece, which was clearly satirical and in no way seriously offensive to Asians --  and for Colbert to have initially reacted with solidarity to the complainers was beyond disingenuous.

The problem was only that tweets are short.  Taken out of context, the tweet seemed bizarrely insensitive:  "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."

Colbert's immediate disavowal of that suggested he'd never said such a thing, but, in fact, it was a direct quote from the show.  It was also used, clearly, in its original context, as a parody of racism.  He should have said that.  He didn't.  he also tried to distance himself from the poster, pointing out that he used a completely different Twitter handle (@Stephenathome) but it WAS an official Comedy Central blog site, and he knew or should have known that.

So, yech on everyone, especially all the FIRE COLBERT tweeters who hadn't seen the original segment.  


Hi Gene! It is my 30th birthday today (April 29). I'm a non-hedge-trimming woman who drives a stick shift, and my husband and I are proud owners of a framed $1 bill signed by you. We also forced all of our friends to buy and read your book "Fiddler in the Subway" for our book club. Here's my question: a female co-worker of mine flushes the toilet *before* she uses it and then again afterwards. Every. Single. Time (as far as I can tell without toilet-stalking her). What is the deal with that?

I am reliably informed this was a running gag on Ally McBeal.  And that it was never adequately explained there, either.   I should also mention that though you technically misspelled coworker, your misspelling solves a problem for me.   Whenever I see "coworker" I read it as "cow orker."  I don't believe cows should be orked.

Okay, I just heard from a woman to whom I put your question, and she has an intriguing explanation.   Some persons, she says, are plagued by the dreaded "sit-fart," which is to say that gas escapes habitually when first seated on the loo.   Men would just let it happen, but ladies my flush to disguise the noise.   This might be the case!


What if this friend in question was having sex with their boss(who solely owns the business) instead of their landlord. They receive a 15k bonus every year based on the sex. I think the poll would judge much more harshly; but how different is the exchange really? Landlord somehow makes it more sympathetic. Most people know paying rent is unpleasant and pine for lower rent. Boss does not evoke sympathy.

I made it a landlord precisely because the morality is less clear.   Among other things, the employer is clearly committing a serious ethical breach.  An actionable on, actually.

A (male) friend of mine actually did this for a while. When I found out, I did think less of him. Then we got to talking and I realized that he really did lay it all on the table with his partners; there was no leading them on. The one time I was there when he picked up a partner it was pretty clear that he wasn't leading her on. I can assume they knew it was just going to be one night. Thought about it, decided it really didn't change my feelings about him. The lack of deception is a critical point. But then I think about what if any of my female friends did the same. I don't lose respect for them when/if they do have one-night stands. Things happen. But planning on it? Making it your lifestyle? I don't think it's hugely wrong, so long as she isn't leading anyone on either, but I would wonder if my friend had a deeper problem that this is a symptom of and maybe talk to her about it. I never considered that with my male friend. I just figured he was sowing his wild oats, and as long as he wasn't being deceptive it just wasn't a big deal. I know it's terribly sexist. I'm female, a feminist, and yet I can't shake the feeling that what's good for the gander isn't as good for the goose.

As I said, I feel the same way and do not feel good about feeling the same way.  It is sexist.   And I do consider myself an ardent feminist.  So.  Maybe we are ardent hypocrites.

They are both transactions -- services for goods -- and I'm okay with that provided you have a willing buyer and a willing seller. That doesn't mean it's for ME, but I don't see how it's hugely different from bartering a skilled trade.

In theory I agree, though I should note several readers see it as an exploitation of the woman.     I can see that, too.  Yes, she is doing it voluntarily, but she may feel she HAS to.   I'd like to hear from women about this.

I think I was fooling myself when I answered the last question. I wanted to think that I would answer the same way as I did in private, however, after I answered it saying I would answer exactly the same way, I really think I should have said that I was being less judgmental in private. Peer pressure or having to explain your feeling to other people can make us be not so honest.

Clearly, there is a significant disparity in how people would answer this question publicly and privately.

Literally, while walking in Capital Hill on Saturday around 1230. I tripped and went flying landing right on my face. My face was bloodied and covered with dirt. It was as painful and embarrassing. Several people came to my aid. A couple of young men doing road work offered me water and paper towels to clean up, another couple came to my aid with a bag of ice and more paper towels. A young lady who was out jogging and saw me fall even gave me a ride home all the way to Alexandria. I look like I've been in a brawl, but I'll heal. I just wanted to post here in the hope that some of those people read your chat. I want them to know how thankful I am for their kindness. Mel

I so seldom get to post something this sweet.  

Are you the female Mel who was a helpful resource for the Old Dogs book? 

In your April 8th update, someone wrote: "Is there a name for the phenomenon for people who leave an inordinate amount of space between their car and the car in front of them while waiting for a light?" You agreed that this is an annoying phenomenon. When I learned to drive (mid-90s), we were taught that when stopped in traffic, you should always leave enough space in front of your car to be able to pull out of the lane, if necessary. For example, if a truck came barreling at you from behind, the space would allow you to move out the way. I agree that not much space is required for this, but there is a legitimate safety reason for the extra space. I actually needed to use it once when a box truck was coming at me from the rear and obviously not stopping - so glad that I was able to pull off to the side of the road!

Your explanation seems reasonable.  I am currently re-examining my entire worldview.

Since you were kind enough to explain it to me, I have thought a bit more and think they do it because it is the one act they could not fake. An end in a normal way would be easy to fake. Women fake orgasm in the most unreal ways in porn. But ejaculation is real. Or used to be.

But it remains degrading.  I don't care WHY they do it. 

The people in the next apartment have started having all night events. Every Night. I haven't slept a full night in weeks. They're not loud parties; they sound more like all night card games: there's a lot of talk, then a few moments of silence, then some talk and laughter, then a few minutes of silence... This goes on for hours, from, say, 1am to 4am although hours vary. I'm not sure what to do. The talking doesn't sound English.

Uh, talk to them?

You said, "the actual result of male orgasm" AKA "Number 3" You already know what numbers 1 & 2 are.

But if that is Number Three, what is puking?  I thought puking was Going Number Three.

Why do people who have a public place to express their thoughts and views feel the need to state that they have stories, opinions, ideas that can't be reveled? Yet, they tell their "listeners" that these things exist. Radio host will start telling a story only to, part way though, stop and state that " this story is great but I have to stop now" or when speaking with a person live say that they will now have finish this discussion in private. This is probably stream of thought and can't be caught until it's too late. I think this is just radio people, whose job requires them to not stop talking, running their mouth at full speed, then having to pull the emergency brake as their brain catches them. Why do chat hosts take the time to type out the beginning of a thought about something that can't be discussed? You do this, It's not that big a deal but I wonder if there is some fun for the host to play this game. It seems like a waste of time to even type it into your computer. As a listener if it is a tease, there has to be a payoff. Otherwise I get turned off by the event. I want to understand the thoughts of the host. Are they are typing/talking live at such a pace that it just happens. I don't think this way and don't understand it. I'd be a bad host with lots of dead air.

I agree with you entirely.   I particularly hate it when radio stations tease the news, as in, "A beloved local celebrity has died..."  and then get back to it after commercials.   I change the station when that happens. 

I don't think I am routinely guilty of this.  I have done it, I believe, only in one context -- the social / political opinion that I have that I cannot publicly express.   I confess I do this mostly as a game.  (Only one person has correctly guessed, and he doesn't know it because I never responded or aired his guess.)  Have I done this with any other thing?  Tell me if I have.  It's a bad habit, in general. 

Hey Gene, Just wanted you to know your article about the baby left in the car was making its rounds on the new-baby-forums I frequent. It was a PSA about being cautious, and they linked directly to your work! Such a sad story, but beautifully written. Many thanks.

I'm glad the story still has currency, and, at the same time, sorry the story still has currency.   I had naively hoped that that story would go a long way to ending the phenomenon. 


The wiki says that before his first cartoon he was "Don Coyote".

I really like "Don Coyote"!

"What would that be, here? Jews are not stereotypically considered racists...." Um, what? I'm Jewish, and my older NYC relatives all hate "the schwartza". Huge shanda.

Am I wrong?   Calling out to goyim here:  Do you hear Jews being disproportionately considered racists?  Is that a common stereotype?     

I gotta think it's due to concern over splash back. The longer the water sits, the more fetid with bacteria it becomes, so if the lady flushes it before beginning, the deleterious affects from splash back are mitigated.

Ah.   Okay, makes some sense, in an OCD sort of way, I guess.

Homer or Hesiod. Rhyming is not universally prized like meter.

Thank you

She'll do everything, although we'll shop for clothes together (and that makes me pretty nervous too, but I'm not sure why). I don't know how I'll look yet. I think I'll look OK but I won't worry about walking past a construction site at lunchtime.

Please tell us how this went.  In fact, we want pictures.  I'll publish them here.

I'm still curious, and you still haven't answered, WHY she wants this.  

So, panties too?????????  Or just what shows?

*Your* double-dactyl about Sterling doesn't have one line that is a single double-dactylic word. (And "This correspondent" is missing a beat as well, but I'll overlook it.)

The beats of the rhyming lines are off, to accommodate ending on goy-im, which is inherently non dactylic.

But I do have a single dactylic line:  Afro-Americans.   Doesn't have to be in the second stanza.

No. Absolutely not. They probably average about the same as gentile white people in their racism, which cancels the shanda aspect.

I always felt that Jews were somewhat less racist, because they felt the sting of being Othered.   In the early days of the civil rights movement, the only group that stood solid with black people were Jews.  Many of the early civil-rights lawyers were Jewish. 

Ah ! 

I've heard older relatives use the term Schwartza, though not for a long time. But is that disproportionate from non Jews? Have gentiles never heard a relative say use a racist term? But we Jews are sensitive to anything negative because there's been a history of people blaming us for lots of things we have nothing to do with. For example, I doubt there is a disproportionately high number of Jewish serial killers, still didn't it bother you when you found out the Son of Sam's last name was Berkowitz?

Yes, exactly.  I have made that point.  David Berkowitz was not really a shanda.  Nor was Monica Lewinsky: In a way, she HELPED the image.

Marilyn vos Savant commented recently that one should drop from their vocabulary the expression "that begs the question." She states "...if you use it correctly, almost no one will understand you, and if you explain, you'll sound pedantic." I use the phrase; do you? I have no problem being understood, although do stray towards pedantry at times. This is demonstrated by the fact that a coworker clipped her column for me without explanation.

I think she's right, but I just hate the idea of banishing a good word because dopes won't understand it.  Feel the same way about "niggardly."   Better not to use it, but, boy, what a reason.

All she said is "fun." If it's not, she'll not repeat it. If it is, um, I might be out again. She said everything. I guess that includes panties. I told her I'd let her do what she wants, short of piercing my ears (or anything else).

You are a good boyfriend.

We want pictures.

As long as it's a consenting adult cow, what's the problem?

If you don't understand, I can't explain.

There's a Fairfax County web forum on which several posters recently disparaged the Great Zucchini. Others defended him, and he actually responded twice under his real name. One post included links to your profile of him and your discussion about it. Do you keep in touch with TGZ? He sounds like his business is still doing well, but his personal life hasn't changed much. Any updates? 

Eric and I stay in touch some.  A bit.  I continue to like him a lot, and he continues to be pretty much the same 'ol Eric.  The pettiness in this thread is amazing.   I especially love the  parent who won't let his/her child be taught by anyone who smokes, because it endangers the child's health.

Also, what kind of an a-hole will call someone an alcoholic, in an anonymous thread?  For the record, to my knowledge, Eric drinks only in moderation.  I, for example, drank him under the table.   And yes, his general look is Hung Over.     It comes naturally.

At one point does a columnist cross a line into active political advertisement that the Post shouldn't print as opinion? As I recall Krauthammer predicted Romney would win when anyone looking at the polls state by state could get Mitt up to 270. Now Krauthammer may feel that Romney would be better for the country, which is fair, but to make such a prediction had at its core trying to make sure Romney voter turned out to the polls and at least keep it close, which to me, seems to have crossed a line. Plus, he doesn't seem like a nice person.

I think some columnists see themselves as players in the political process -- more as politicians than commentators.   And of course, some are so influential it is actually true.

this really bugs me, considering that I live here in drought-plagued northern california. The only reason I can fathom why women flush before doing their business is if there is something that didn't go down from the previous user & the woman is checking to make sure the toilet isn't actually broken. Either that or its some form of squeamishness, like whatever's down there could come up and bite her in the butt.

Yeah, but this is apparently habitual.  I think the previous post nailed it: A feeling that the standing water is fetid.

CDO. I like my disorders in alphabetical order.


One of my favorite Gilbert Gottfried jokes: "Just once I want to hear a black person say 'today I got into an elevator with a Jew...and I was SO scared..." For the record, I'm Jewish and my older relatives talk about "the schwartza" as well. But then, so do my goyim friends' older relatives. Just not in Yiddish.

That's a good Gottfried line.

Gilbert Gottfried is one of my guilty pleasures.  I think he is very funny.

I like what you did with that last rhyme. Normally I would not elide "annoy him" but I did in reading this because it scans that way.

Thank you.   

However, I actually did mess up the This correspondent line.

I also have a thought about this and am kind of surprised you don't get annoyed at this being a stick shift driver. You've never had the car in front of you keep inching forward while at a light? If there's any sort of incline simply taking your foot off the brake in a stick shift won't move you forward like it will in an automatic. It drives me absolutely crazy and I refuse to keep moving forward because it's a pain. Clutch in, put car in gear, move forward. Stop, take car out of gear. Oh, the guy in front of me moved forward again? Repeat over and over. Could I just there with the clutch in? Sure. But I spend an hour in stop and go traffic twice a day. My leg gets tired. But all that should really have been said in the past tense. I just sold my stick shift sports car for a responsible grown up car. I couldn't get the options I wanted without getting an automatic. I'm pretty sad not to be in "hot chick driving a stick shift" club anymore.

And I am sad for you, and for us.   We have lost a valuable member of the tribe.

I thought number 3 was number 1 plus number 2.

We really need to get to the bottom of this.   Also what the bases are.  I think I will write a column about it.

Is a person's shanda potential affected by his efforts to conceal the fact that he's Jewish? Columnist David Souissa in the Jewish Journal of Greater L.A., in pointing out that Sterling had changed his name from Tokowitz to seem less Jewish, wrote: How’s that for delicious irony? By selfishly worrying about his own reputation, he ended up protecting—somewhat-- his own people’s reputation. We can only wish that Bernie Madoff had done the same and changed his name to Bernie Madsen.

This reminds me that Gene Robinson, today, explained the seemingly inexplicable:  Why did this guy care, even in his deluded worldview, whether his girlfriend was photographed with black people?

It turns out she is half black, but doesn't look it.   I think this ahole was basically concerned that by appearing with black people, she would remind the world that he was dating a black woman.

Don't think you addressed this previously. Wonder what you thought of Rachel's piece and this article's response. Did you ever talk to Rachel about this episode?

Not sure I know which piece?  The one about Yesterday?  I think it was characteristically brilliant, and spot-on right, and nakedly, joyfully provocative, and didn't take itself too seriously.   Vintage Manteuffel.

Yes, we discussed it as she was writing it.   I loved the outraged reaction from boomers, completely proving her point.    In case it wasn't clear, by the way, she is an admirer of Lennon / McCartney. 

Caitlin Gibson and I came to the realization that many of Rachel's essays end with the thought:  "And in conclusion, f--- you."

I had trouble answering the poll, because in both scenarios, the situation would not make me like or respect my friend less, but I also wouldn't feel the same way about her or him. Instead, I would be worried about my friend's wellbeing. In the first scenario, I would be worried that the tenant has financial difficulties and is vulnerable to being exploited. In the second scenario, I would be worried (especially for the woman) that she would encounter someone violent. Neither of these worries is captured by the choice of responses.

Sure it is.  You wouldn't think less of your friend, or judge him/her any more harshly.  That would have been the right answer.

I am female. I would judge my female friend with the arrangement a tiny bit more harshly because I think it lacks a strong enough sense of self-preservation. Presumably, if she has a uterus and ovaries and no known infertility, she could end up in a situation that greatly impacts her life and/or finances. She is no more or less moral than a man in this situation. I just want my friends--especially my female friends--to aggressively protect their interests. To be fair, someone could reasonably argue that she is protecting her financial interests. For some reason, I don't feel this concern with a female friend who regularly sleeps with relative strangers. Presumably she is at least attracted to the guy, which is not the case with the landlord.The friend in the second scenario is also taking risks with her health and potential pregnancy, but I want her to do it because she's motivated by desire, not economic pressures. I hate myself for holding a double standard, and it doesn't sit right with me. Ultimately I'd file all decisions under "Her/His Choice, Not Mine." I do not consider any of these choices to be morally imperfect, though. I'd like us to remove the idea of morality from all scenarios that do not involve children, the coerced, or the impaired.

Well said.

I'm almost 50, and what I found myself thinking is that it wouldn't matter to me whether the promiscuous friend was male or female but it would matter to me if s/he was my age or in his/her 20s. I don't think casual sex is immoral as long as it's what both partners want, although it holds no appeal to me personally. (I have to feel an emotional connection to enjoy myself, and I have always felt that way.) But I'd probably think a person in his/her 40s or older having 5+ one night stands per month is emotionally stunted, whereas someone in his/her 20s may just still need to finish growing up. The guy/gal sleeping with the landlord to pay the rent is a prostitute, at any age.

Interesting.  Makes sense.

I haven't been able to read his columns for years; makes me too angry. It's good to know you're reading him so I don't have to.

I've said this before: I respect his ability, and more than once his take has caused me to gulp and reconsider mine.  But there are certain times where I want to.... well, do what I did today.

Gene, I did not like your answers because you so closely linked immoral behavior with judging the person. I would think that what these people was doing was immoral and that the sin was going to lead them to regret. I would not think less of them. it really is a hate the sin, love the sinner context for me.

I call shenanigans.  

If you think their choice is "immoral," you are judging them.  You might tell yourself you are not, but of course you are.  You might still LOVE them the same, but you are judging them.  They are falling in your estimation.

This is not true in my current relationship. I would like to have sex with my husband every night if he would let me. We probably have sex 2-3 times a week, if that. (Note: I don't actually "try" every night, but he knows that he could have it if he merely looked at me a certain way.) This is the first time in my life this has happened; before him my drive was a lot less. He's just really good. To be honest, it's bad for my psyche. I'm used to being the one to set the agenda and say no. Now that he says no, I feel inadequate... like maybe something is wrong with me and that's why he's not trying every night. Do guys feel this way when women say no?

Yes, we do.

You are great.

Everyone knows what these are. Frist is kissing, second is above the waist, etc. Unless you're describing them in Base 2 and not Base 10.

No, there is extreme disagreement over third base.  Extreme.  It has played out in this chat. 

It amazes me that someone who went to medical school and practiced psychiatry can be such a science-denying fool. I can't decide if his lastname is unfortunate or should have been the name of a 1940s patriotic comics superhero.

Manteuffel, a German-American, once wrote that she was offended by his name.

My understanding of the situation is that part of the Jewish stereotype amongst some African-Americans is that they are particularly exploitative of African Americans. You can find references to this in some hip-hops songs. It's why the ADL flipped out regarding the depiction of Jewish nightclub owners in Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues. Also, at one point in the tapes Donald Sterling justifies his request by pointing out how racist Israel is. The implication being," hey I'm Jewish. We're racist; I can't help it.



that takes months, not minutes. The flush is to cover noise, pure and simple, from farts to other slpurts to opening tampons.

This has a ring of authority.  I accept it.


You're right - this is a fantastic little story. If you click through to the "print" version of the story, you'll see that there *was*, in fact, a little hint in the subhead (or dek, or whatever), which presumably appeared in the actual paper: "At Loudoun's Hill High Country Store, Cherished Pies May Taste Familiar"

Needed something slightly stronger.  The problem is, the top was so familiar, I never would have read to the end.

OK, I give-I have never heard this word before. What does it mean? (and a follow-up to the Civil Rights note re. Jews supporting Blacks...I think Quakers/Friends were also right there, too, from my understanding. I'm amazed that Martin Luther King Day actually means something at my son's (Friends) school, it's nice to see it's not just "another holiday." (but then again, maybe this is different at different Friends' schools...)

Schwartze literally just means "black" in Yiddish.   But it was used in a derogatory manner when I was growing up in the Bronx.  

I actually have a friend that I like and respect whose sex life is a combination of weekly one-offs acquired via Craigslist, and a number of more regular partners acquired via Craiglist but kept due to mutual liking and appreciation. All of his partners know about each other before any sexual contact. He gets regularly tested and offers the results to the women before any sexual contact. He's a nice, friendly, happy guy and treats everyone well. Honestly, I think of this as his hobby. The only thing I find amusing is that most of the women, who are perfectly fine with all of this because they too like varied sexual partners, usually lie about it to other men...because other men tend to assume they now have a license to be degrading and disrespectful to the women, because... whores? Used goods? Who knows. I'm a female and wouldn't join the harem for a million dollars, because I'm one of those people who mates for life. But my friend and his friends don't threaten me or my relationship. I'm glad we've all found the right people for us, you know?

Good, then!

During the recent Olympics I noticed that while the female skaters had elaborate, flashy customes, they all wore plain, white skates. I had a new iPhone, so I asked Siri "Why do female skaters all wear white skates?" Her interpretation? "Why does my vagina smell like fish?" I have never asked Siri another question.


Okay, I don't have a smartphone, let alone one with Siri, so I must crowdsource: Has anyone ever gotten this or anything similar from Siri?"

Not gonna lie: I really like this statue, and this story

Me, too.   Very provocative, but legitimate.   I also love the first comment by Cat Hat. 

Public art, in general, is a good idea, but because it is public -- approved by committees and whatnot --  it is so often pablum.    This ain't.

Also I like anything that reminds me of this song.  I really like this song.


I'm fairly confident I haven't been having a stroke for the last several years, but what's the next worst possible thing I could fret about being the cause of my minor but slowly progressing asymmetrical eyelid drooping?

Well, as you probably know, drooping eyelid is almost always benign, though you might someday need surgery.   However if you insist on being alarmed, it can be caused by a brain tumor... specifically impinging on the oculomotor cranial nerve.   However, if it's been progressive for the last several years, it's probably not a tumor.  You'd be dead by now.

Pete LaCock is the son of Peter Marshall (yes, THAT Peter Marshall), which makes him Pete LaCock Jr.!

That is correct.   So you are saying that Peter Marshall of game show fame was actually Peter LaCock?  

Third base is Graig Nettles.


I changed religions and bought an automatic transmission (which, however, comes with a manual override for emergencies) when I started having to attend inter-agency meetings that involved my driving on the worst quadrant of the Capital Beltway at least once a week. My left knee was killing me. Stop and go for sometimes as long as two hours.

For some reason this has never bothered me.  Even stop and go.

This heroin dealer claiming he never intended anybody to die from using his product: he makes me think of gun manufacturers swearing up and down that their products are only for recreation and hunting, and certainly it's not THEIR fault if some misguided individual chooses to use a gun to kill humans with. Jail 'em all, I say.

This is in reference to the last update, which contained a poll on whether a drug dealer was over-sentenced at 30 years.  People died from the heroin he sold, but there was no intent to kill anyone -- it was just strong stuff. 

I have to say that your answer confirms exactly why I (and the majority of you alls, in the poll) felt the sentence was draconian.   The thinking you express here is the sort of thinking that controls crime and punishment in religiously totalitarian countries.  You want to end theivery?  Cut off their hands.   Adultery?  Capital offense.  Hey, it works.  

There should be a basic element of proportion, linked to intent.     The victims made their own choices, and presumably knew the risks.  

I am virulently pro gun control, but I don't think we should be prosecuting the makers of the product.   

Sending this guy away for 30 years makes us feel we are doing something about narcotics abuse.  It's nonsense.   I don't really blame the judge -- she felt she had to approach the maximum sentence for dealing heroin, since three people died.  But the maximum sentence is too high, IMO.

There's another point I wish I'd made.  The next poster makes it.

The final question hit on what I was thinking the whole time - and I appear to be in the minority so far. I'm far less judgmental than I would be in public. I don't care what people do, and am not going to judge them for it. The only question I judged at all (I'm female) was the guy sleeping around a lot - and only because I allowed every stereotype to play in, assuming the women were more likely to become attached and get hurt, and the man was more likely to be dishonest to get them into bed. Anyway, in public I'll play along and have everyone's standards and morals, but personally I don't care. I'd sleep around if I knew I wouldn't get caught and therefore hurt my husband (but never have, because I could, and it would). I don't care what people do, as long as they're not being pressured or hurt. Live and let live, I say. But society is weird, so I pretend to be "moral" like the rest of 'em.

And I am exactly the opposite.    Publicly, I am Mr. If It Feels Good Do It.  

Privately, I am Prudence McPrude.



I'm totally with you on this. My husband is circumcised and if he were any more "sensitive", sex would be over before it started!

This is in reference to this column from last week.

Something interesting happened afterwards.  I heard from Glen Callender, and he was not happy.   He felt I had created an incorrect impression with his answer to the first question.   The answer was as he said it, but the question wasn't verbatim what I had asked him.  Inasmuch as he had apparently taped our conversation, and transcribed it, he provided proof.     The difference is subtle, but I see his point.     (In these conversations, I am furiously taking notes and working without a solid script, trying to get it right but sometimes approximating.)  

What I asked him was:  "I would have thought the leader of your movement would be men who are angry at what was done to them. I have heard such men on TV, and I’ve read their writings, and if I may be blunt, some of them seem to have other sensitive issues, as it were."


The published version was:  "I would have thought the leaders of your movement would be men who are angry at what was done to them as infants. I have heard such men on TV and read their Internet manifestos, and, if I may be blunt, some of them seem to be a little puzzlingly … intense."

(I can't verify this difference, but will accept his word.)

He believes the two questions, while similar, address a slightly different point, and that if I'd asked the second question he would have said that their intensity was understandable, given what was done to them.    But that in reeferencing "other sensitive issues," he assumed I meant things not directly related to circumcision.

I see his point.  



What's your feeling on how the Congressional elections fall? Is the next two years of stalemate between the House and the Senate, or between both houses and the President?

Until today, I would have said Senate and House.  Now I don't know.  

I'm a woman, and I think I judge the promiscuous men harsher than the women. I'm impressed by--and a bit envious of--women who manage to cast off society's hypocritical stance on sex and enjoy their sexuality. Of course, that may be skewed by the fact that the women I know wouldn't be seeking validation from these encounters, just some mutual good times, like going to a club and dancing with someone you may not see again. On the other hand, the men who I know are skirt chasers tend to have at least a small hangup about women. They're a means to an end, an Other, a conquest, or assigned to one side of the Virgin/[Prostitute] system. Of course, this is all very broad-brush, hetero-normative, and unfairly stereotypes, but that's how the questions were posed, I believe.

I understand this answer.  I think it is completely valid.  And I think the poll shows you are hardly alone among women in feeling this way.

I hadn't thought about this for years, but I do remember when women's pants had zippers on the side or back. When women started wearing pants as office clothing, they were made like skirts, which had the zipper on the side or back. I assume the skirt makers avoided putting the zipper in front because it would interfere with the lines or patterns. So now that I'm thinking about it, why would women want their zippers in the front? On the side makes a lot more sense.


One added bit of outrage that I'll throw in: The prosecution made quite a show of the beautiful young lives that were ended. What if they hadn't been so beautiful or so young? What if they were middle-aged, long-term addicts with rap sheets as long as their needle-scarred arms? What if they were homeless? Prostitutes? Thieves who stole to support their habit? It seems like the defendant is being sentenced because his customers happened to be "marketable." There is a truly disgusting element of hypocrisy there. Do you really want to stop this kind of tragedy? Legalize it enough to regulate the purity and other aspects of distribution. I don't mean sell it at the local 7-11, but let addicts get it from clinics. Take away the profit and start treating the addiction like the medical condition that it is.


Just sayin'. Watching this conversation has been a little surreal.

Ha!  I am guessing she is not Jewish.  

Dear God, I must be some sort of Neanderthal. I rip away in dead silence - in more ways than one - and think absolutely nothing of it. A couple of times that rip of paper has led to me lending a spare tampon to a comrade in need, who would otherwise have been in a bit of a jam had I not been so flagrant with my noise-making.

You are a good woman.  

Again, I fail to understand my own gender. It's a fart, ladies! (Or a tampon opening, or whatever it is you're covering up in the bathroom.) You go to the bathroom to do those things. It's perfectly appropriate! Dang, I consider it downright feminine when I don't trick my husband into walking into the fart cloud in front of company.

I think we have established over many years in these chats that you and the previous woman are outliers. 

Yes that is a HUGE stereotype, particularly about the Hasidim. You don't even need to go all the way back to Crown Heights in the 90s. Its still a stereotype that you hear often.

Okay, I accept that.

On questions 3 and 4 - I found when I honestly looked at my opinions on how to judge the serial 1 night stand I found I judged a male who chose to more harshly than a woman. Because, like you, I am a prude, and I equate sex with commitment and intimacy. A woman who chooses to have a series of one night stands is having a fling, or finding herself, or test-driving that intimacy, where a man is avoiding it. And I'm a 40+ male btw.

Also interesting !

As someone who has shown unequivocal support for gay marriage and has roundly condemned those that would oppose it, I am curious as to your take on the forced resignation of Mozzilla CEO Brendan Eich when it became public he donated $1,000 to the Prop 8 campaign in California. Many in the gay community, like Andrew Sullivan, have decried what happened, calling it a campaign of demonization and intimidation. I think that's going a bit far. But where should the line be drawn between one's personal political speech and one's professional reputation?

I don't like when the Internet is used for bullying.  

We don't know where to draw the line on alive or not because there really isn't a line. Radio Lab on NPR did a bit on this a couple of weekends ago. Premature care is getting better and better and is pushing forward how early we can save a premature birth. There's a consensus of viability around 24-28 weeks, but sometimes it can be earlier. And they raised a point that actually made me stop and think: what does it mean if we ever invent a synthetic womb?

Yeah, I have pondered that, too.   We will have that capability some day.  Should that outlaw all abortions?

You can't put useful pockets in flattering pants with a side zipper. You can do that while making the pants only slightly less flattering, if the zipper is in the front.

Okay !

Peter Marshall's real name was Ralph Pierre LaCock. So Pete wasn't a Jr., strictly, speaking. But still.

Thank you.  I learn a lot from this chat.

I think part of Donald Sterling's problem is that he has something of a black/cuckolding fetish, which may be part of, or stem from, his racism. He dates a girl who is half-black, and says he has no problem with her being with black men, but not to post pictures of it so he doesn't get calls about it (i.e., so his white friends don't find out). He also (allegedly) used to take his girlfriends into the locker room showers and say things like "Look at those beautiful black bodies." I think he has a fear/fascination with black men, and employs that with his girlfriends, such that they are encouraged to go out with black men and cuckold him, but not to be too public about it so people don't find out.

This is completely irresponsible speculation and I will not dignify it here !

I am the poster who got the fishy response from Siri. My husband has had similar difficulties making himself understood to Siri, but without such a bizarre result. Both of us are native English speaker - one East Coast raised; one Midwest raised.

It's quite remarkable !

I giggle. Because a fart is the funniest joke ever told.

It is certainly the first joke ever told. 

It also seems to be the first WRITTEN joke ever told.  It's etched into some old document.  I vaguely remember this, but it's some observation like "Never has there been a woman who did not fart in her husband's lap."

Okay, we'll call it a day.

This was a frisky chat.   Thanks for all the sex.   See you in the updates !

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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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