Chatological Humor: Monthly with Moron

Feb 28, 2017

Gene Weingarten held his monthly chat with readers.

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.

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.

New to Chatological Humor? Read the FAQ.

Good afternoon.

To my delight, toilets are back in the news.  The Supreme Court about to take up the issue of whether schools can properly insist that transgender students use bathrooms designated for the sex that is indicated on their birth certificates.  In other words, if you think you are female, and identify as a girl, but you possess (or once possessed) a penis, can you go to the girls' potty?  (And vice versa, which is the case at hand involving a transgender teen named Gavin Grimm.   The Trump administration has rescinded the Obama administration's "yes" ruling on this question, and  the Justice Department will presumably argue that in court.  There are also broader implications for adult public toilet designations as well.

First, a quick and very simple insta-poll.  

Do you think that a transgender student should be allowed to use the restroom corresponding to the gender with which he or she identifies?

Yes

No

Not sure.

Okay, good.  Now let's discuss this just a bit.

Not surprisingly, I take the liberal view of this pressing issue, for a number of reasons.  The first is that this pressing issue is ridiculous.  Bathrooms are not a sexy-spot.  I may be an old man, but I retain a libido, and I enjoy the sight of a pretty woman just fine, but the last place I would want to go for a peek is a ladies room. I need not elaborate, I think. 

But even if I were a bathroom pervert (They exist. I once encountered a  website consisting entirely of videos secretly shot from inside a ladies' room toilet bowl) that's just not how bathrooms work.  You don't see penises in mens' rooms, usually -- you really have to be obnoxious to do it -- and you never see female stuff in ladies rooms, I have been reliably informed. 

So there is that.

But let's move on.  Though some of this debate seems to center around the issue of potentially predatory bathroom behavior once it is deemed okay for a "male" to be in a ladies room, that issue is bull. It just doesn't happen. 

Next, we have a simple test.  Ladies, do you want this guy coming into your ladies room, because he has to by law?  How about this guy?

Or, men do you want this lady in your men's room? Ladies, do you want this lady in your husband's men's room?

The whole point is that trans women look like women, and trans men look like men, and if no one is seeing anyone's parts, how on earth does this issue make sense in any way worthy of a Supreme Court showdown?  

Okay, it doesn't, but what it ultimately comes down to, is a feeling of ick.  Social conservatives don't love the idea of anyone getting jollies in unauthorized ways.  Bathrooms must be free of sex, and urges, and lust and such.  So, I have an Immodest Proposal.   

Lesbians should not be able to use conventional ladies rooms.  Gay men should not be able to use conventional men's rooms. That way there is no chance of anyone getting even a slight frisson, even accidentally.    

Now, I hear what you are saying.  You are saying, but if lesbians use men's rooms, some men in there might get that frisson.  To a man, a lady is a lady, and hubba. And you are right. Likewise, gay men cannot use the ladies rooms. Gay men can be really hot.

So what we need to do is create four sets of bathrooms:  Ladies, Mens, Lesbians and Gays.    Simple enough. 

Now I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking: What about the original problem?  Transgenders.

I have given this some thought. Transgender people look and dress like the gender they feel they are, but we have already established via Trump edict that they must use the wrong bathroom, meaning (as we have established) that they pose a visual incongruity, which could be alarming. So we need a transgender bathroom. 

But I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking , wait a minute, all transgender people are not alike.  There are transgender males who are attracted to men, and transgender women who are attracted to women, and transgender males who are attracted to women, and transgender women who are attracted to men!

And you are right.  So this requires some additional parsing to make sure no one is attracted to anyone else in a bathroom. 

Here's my new law.  Any public accommodation needs to offer the following accommodations:

Mens Room, Ladies Room, Gay Mens Room, Lesbians Room, Transgender Males Who Are Attracted to Men's Room, Transgender Women Who Are Attracted to Women's Room, Transgender Men Who Are Attracted to Ladies Room, and Transgender Ladies Who Are Attracted to Men's Room.

Simple enough, right?  The real challenge will be to figure out what the symbols on the door will be.   I'll challenge you all to come up with some, and will publish good ones next chat.  Send them to me at gene (dot) weingarten @washpost.com.

--

Reader Curtis Edmonds found one of the greatest aptonyms in the history of aptonymetry, in this here court filing. A prisoner is alleging mistreatment at the hands of some of his guards.  One of the guards is named "Officer Deathrow."

If you haven't take the poll (on driverless cars over 37 years old and under) please do now.  

Chat starts at noon sharp.

How quickly did you solve last week's NYT Acrostic puzzle? Without spoiling it for others, it had to be a personal best, no?

It was even faster than you think.  I had been tipped off  ahead of time.  

Enough time has passed for me to safely discuss this but if you still plan to do the February 5 Times acrostic, please stop reading here.

 

Okay?  You have been warned.

 

The quote was from me, from the Fiddler in the Subway.   It was:

I learned from Dave Barry one principle that I stole from him shamelessly. When asked whether there are any good rules for writing humor, I say "Always try to put the funniest word at the end of your sentence underpants."

The constructors of the The Times acrostic, Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, are old friends of mine, and I had been noodging them for years to use me in the puzzle.  When they finally did, they did it with delightful mischief.  The very first clue is "Belabored bit of questionable wit." (Groaner.) The second clue, which is incredibly un-Times-like but absolutely perfectly attuned to me, is "ball protector used for batting."  The amazing answer is: (Eyelid.)

The fourth clue, addressing my fondness for anagrams, was "Swarthmore men's Ultimate Frisbee team, chosen for its anagram." (Answer: Earthworms.)

The sixth clue was "Emmy award winning player of a crusty newspaper editor." (Ed Asner)

The fourteenth clue was "Declaration of unsuitedness," and the answer was "No Trump," which I deem a reference to me and my politics.

And finally, the fifteenth clue was "three strikes in a row, in bowling." The answer is "turkey," which I also deem to be a personal reference to me.

I am indebted.

 

May I assume that your last question did *not* mean the scientific explanations that already exist for the experience of precognition? It is perfectly explicable, through the fallibility of memory (as in déjà vu) and instinctual confirmation bias, how we could be absolutely sure that we knew something was going to happen before it did.

Oh, I understand.  But that is not precognition!  It is self-deception. 

Regarding the great Warren Beatty snafu from the Oscars (actually, it was more of a great Faye Dunaway blunder -- both of them should have gone back to the wings to check, because something was obviously awry) -- Dave Barry just sent me a great Warren Beatty anecdote.  It's the last paragraph in this Lisa Rosman column.

And finally, speaking of Dave, two alert readers pointed out that my column on Sunday, about eating weasel poop coffee beans, was more than a little reminiscent of a column Dave wrote twenty years ago, about eating weasel poop coffee beans. 

I was already in Washington in 1997, and no longer editing Dave, and I have no specific recollection of having read this column.  But interestingly, Tom The Butcher was still in Miami in 1997 and editing Dave and he no doubt edited that column.  And, 20 years later, he edited my column, evidently never noticing the similarity.  This is not surprising.  Tom's brain is not retentive.   As I have written in a column you haven't seen yet, Tom frequently phones me, and by the time I answer he has forgotten why he called.

 

Any opinion on the WaPo's new motto? Whose idea was it anyway that you needed a motto?

I love the motto, with a small quibble. 

"Democracies Dies in Darkness" could be read with a certain unintended degree of darkess, as though we are currently dying in darkness.    I would change it to "In Darkness, Democracy Dies."   But "darkness" is a great word. 

Your reference to meeting with your compadres at National Harbor was a giveaway. Admit it: Dave blew the advance money on the craps tables at the new casino, causing the sponsors to pull back on any future commitments. Amirite?

Nope, Dave didn't gamble away all our money. 

CATHERINE OLSEN DID.  SHE BLEW TWENTY BUCKS. 

For me, it's a question of personal autonomy weighed against the horror of road deaths. On the one hand, I fear that Wall-E was prescient, and we'll become ever more slaves to our computers. On the other hand, we are currently numb to the horror caused by cars on a daily basis - look at the anti-car cartoons from the 1920s to see them from the eyes of someone unused to the carnage they can cause. Also, this vague sense of personal autonomy has played a big role in the ways American cities went wrong in the 20th century. So, give us self-driving cars, but only as part of a larger overhaul of our transportation. If they lead to more fragmentation and long commutes, but on our screens, that's a failure.

I like to drive.  I consider myself a very competent driver.  I'd be loath to trust a machine, but maybe that's buddy-duddy thinking.   I probably would have kept my horse a lot longer than most people did.  

"Pees In Cars" "Penis Scare" "Space Siren" "Pain Recess" "Ace Snipers" "Panic Seers" ...and I'm sure there are others I haven't found

Thanks. 

I enjoy driving (and have been stick-shift only since 2002) and would be sad to give it up, but, if rigorous testing indicated that driverless cars were safer, I would recognize that the sacrifice was in my interests. (Also, even though I think of myself as a very good and careful driver, I did once very nearly cause an accident--we are all fallible.) In practice, though, it's going to take quite a long time--every computer-caused accident for decades will get huge press and be a cultural and political setback, even if there have been a million human-caused ones in between. I'll probably have to give up my stick-shift because internal-combustion engines are banned long before I would have to give it up because driverless cars are mandated.

Yeah, I agree with you totally. 

That wasn't me who asked, but I've felt the same way for a while. This weekly/monthly trifle used to be about the funny, and about mowing the lawn vs. scorched earth, and making fun of ourselves as well as the other guys...but for the last year or so, it's been basically a contest to prove the unprovable: that y'all can hate someone more than you hate GW Bush. Out here in The Real America (tm) we see the results of what Washington has been doing for the last 50 years, and all we wanted was for it to stop. Frankly, the Post itself has become a little boring, because if you aren't devoting copious resources to attacking the president, you're devoting copious resources to maligning melanin-challenged XY-chromosome heterosexuals like me. I'll still come around from time to time, but my goodness you people need to relax a little. Those of us who still believe in the Constitution know this will all end, probably sooner than later.

You expect impeachment?  I'm not so sure. 

I will not be needing a driverless car any time soon, no matter how safe they're statistically proven to be. This is because, in my head, there exist two basic classes of drivers: competent ones, and total idiots. You, your entire audience, and the AIs for driverless cars all fall into the latter group; the former consists solely of me. I am allowed to have a driver's license because I am a competent and responsible adult, and everybody else gets one too because, well, if the government denied licenses to everybody too stupid to have them, then our society probably wouldn't be able to function. This of course is nonsense. I have a lifetime of evidence demonstrating that I am a perfectly functional driver and that's it. That doesn't stop me from clenching and unclenching my right leg every time my wife is driving in heavy traffic because then we have the phantom brakes as a failsafe FOR WHEN SHE INEVITABLY FORGETS TO BRAKE [Ed. note: She has never done this once.] It's possible I'm underestimating you, but something tells me you might be the same way, and in 50 years when all cars are driverless, it's just gonna be guys like us (and I think it will mostly be guys), still toodling around unsafely because, basically, we're arrogant sacks of s***.

I am laughing. 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh resident here, submitting early because I won't be able to chat on Tuesday. I see lots of self-driving cars here because several companies have chosen Pittsburgh for development because of its geography and complicated street patterns. Based on what I've read about them in local news, they are not autonomous and the driver still has to pay attention. The driver-on-laptop scenario in the poll is probably much further away than the rest of the technology, which means the last two seconds realizing your death is the fault of a machine probably wouldn't be quite accurate. I do wonder if I am more comfortable with the idea of self-driving cars because I see them on a regular basis though. I wouldn't even have been able to imagine what the cars are like if I didn't live here.

But these are experimental prototypes, right?  I am assuming that the driver HAS to be more attentive.

Have you seen this? I cut this from an article, but I have seen it several times in print. Since you expressed an interest in the case I was wondering if you had any insight into why using the same hand was significant. >>> Jurors told prosecutor Chuck Boring on Monday that they >>> noticed something that even the state hadn’t seen: Harris >>> opened the car door with his left hand and then threw the >>> light bulbs in with the same hand. The significance of that >>> wasn’t immediately clear, but jurors apparently found it >>> suspicious. I read about the verdict in this trial the same day I read about the verdict in the case about the policeman that shoot the unarmed arthritic man - who was "running away", in the back. I expected this guy (Harris) to be found not guilty and I expected the police officer to be found guilty, but of course I was wrong. I absolutely could not believe either verdict. Please provide any future updates on the Harris appeal in your chats. The guy is not a nice human being, but I don't think he is guilty of murdering his son.

Not a clue.  I tend to do everything with my right hand, even when it would be more sensible to use both (like loading groceries from the cart onto the cashier's table, or emptying a dishwasher. 

Cars used to all have their gas caps behind the rear license plate (except for what was it, the 55 Buick that hid their gas cap behind the left tail light?) Why did we ever change?

I remember that.  I have a theory: That might have placed the gas tank in a too-vulnerable position for rear-end collisions. 

Hey, before I forget.  I'm going to be leaving the chat about 15 minutes early.  Doctor's appointment.  Apologies. 

Gene, look who runs the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit: http://www.usccu.us/

Wow! 

Have you seen this article? It's about Werner Herzog's son - he wrote a book about how Germans under the Nazi regime used humor. I found it fascinating! http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2011/06/whats-so-funny-about-the-nazis-rudolph-herzog

I'll read this after the chat.   Does it contain the two things I know about Nazi humor?

Thing one:  A woman was executed for telling a joke about Hitler and Goering on the top of a radio tower. (I think).  Hitler said he wanted to do something to really improve the morale of the German people.  And Goering said "Jump!"

Thing two: Hitler found it hilarious how Goering loved giving himself medals and new titles and he once joked that Goering had promoted his underpants to overpants.  Not bad!  

Conservative here, but like many others I can't stand Trump and didn't vote for him. Still, I'm surprised at the number of people on the left (yourself included) who ascribe nefarious motives to, it seems, nearly all Republican leaders. There are lots of people in your chats calling them evil. I think Trump is egotistical, selfish, and misguided on many things, but evil still seems a bit of a stretch. That label suggests he delights in seeing good people suffer, and I don't see the evidence for that. And I see it much less so for people like Mike Pence, Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney, all of whom progressives seem to routinely tag with the same adjective. I'm not saying these people are necessarily great, just that "evil" is a really strong word that ought be reserved for psychopaths, murderers, genocidal dictators, etc, not applied willy nilly to politicians that sometimes use slightly unsavory tactics to advance an agenda you disagree with. I didn't see this from my conservative friends during the Clinton or Obama years, but I'm saw it from most of my progressive friends during the Bush years and again during the short Trump presidency. I disagreed with much of what Clinton and Obama did, and often thought Obama's tactics were underhanded as well (executive orders and regulations vs. legislation), but I would never call them evil, just because they pushed through policies I feel are wrong or misguided. Seems like progressives see no room for reasonable people to disagree, and it strikes me as intolerance coming from the side that generally preaches tolerance. Leaving Trump side because he is a special case-if you think really hard about it, do you honestly think Rove, Cheney, Pence, et al are truly evil?? A final corollary to this line of thinking, I really don't understand why so many liberals say Pence is worse than Trump. Trump is highly reckless; Pence is merely highly conservative. It's kind of offensive to say that being conservative is worse than being reckless.

I don't think I've used the word evil about any of those people (Google me wrong, and I'll admit it.)  I do think that a number of these guys have not distinguished themselves, character-wise, during the interregnum and afterwards, particularly Ryan.  I would not call him evil.  I would call him spineless.

I don't think Trump is evil either.  He doesn't have enough self-awareness to be evil.   I think he is nasty, though.  Really nasty.   

I've run through every euphemism I know for each of those and still don't get it . . . .

Dick Tater. 

Hi Gene, By the time of this chat, the Trump administration will be a few days older than that of William Henry Harrison. My question is: A month in, whose administration has turned out worse, Harrison or Trump?

Harrison did great by comparison.  My memory is that his first and only official act as president was to purchase a cow for the White House lawn. 

Normally I find conspiracy theories to be, well, ridiculous. But I woke up in the middle of the night with this terrible thought. What if the Congressional Republicans are not as big a bunch of spineless pu$$ies as we think? What if they are indeed plotting a strategy to get rid of Trump? Outwardly, they are "going along," but privately in the back rooms, they are working on it. There are so few of these people that really support Trump. Trump is, after all, not a "real" Republican and not even remotely religious. But....if Pence becomes President, the McConnell's, Ryan's and their ilk will get to have everything they ever wanted: Gut all the regulations, gut the social safety net, gut Medicare & Medicaid, repeal but don't really replace ACA, lower taxes on the rich and corporations, get rid of legal abortion, get rid of LGBT rights, get rid of all civil rights for that matter, make federal laws governing voter ID... the list goes on and on. The entire country will turn into Kansas or Louisiana. And to make matters worse, Republican voters nationwide will be delighted, even though the majority of them are getting screwed. How else do you explain Kansas & Louisiana? The governors and legislatures of both those state put them in the toilet and they got re-elected! So, Pence will get elected in 2020. After considering this doomsday scenario, I think I'm willing to keep Trump with R's & D's semi-uniting to limit the damage and hope for something better in 2020. I need to take my medication now.

I can't quarrel with you much!  It's possible!  And is it possible that Trump is better for progressives than what would come after?

Possible.  But ... (there's a big but in the room, as it were.)  fear Trump in crisis.   Look what he's done so far, without crisis.   I think that is the fly in the ointment of your "plan." 

Do you realize that the scene in "Splash" where Daryl Hannah chooses the name Madison and Tom Hanks tries to explain that it's not actually a woman's name, makes no sense anymore? The legions of little Madisons, if they see the movie now, will wonder what that's all about!

Yes, I once wrote about this. 

It's worse than that.   Splash actually CREATED the name Madison, for girls.  The social security name database is very clear on that. 

Sorry for that delay.  I was trying to find my column on Madison, and I did, but my computer is not giving me a functioning link.  You can find it by googling my name and "Madisonness."

I know a well-educated Trump voter. We went to grad school together. She's smart, she's worked on Wall Street, started her own business, she's not a troll. We disagree on pretty much everything, politically. Her explanation for voting for Trump was nothing enlightening - it was the usual talking points about Hillary's emails and Benghazi (seriously), but it was also about how Trump was the kind of candidate that could shake things up in Washington. Plot twist: She's a Mormon. I think a lot of Trump voters get their "news" and "facts" from Fox. If that's their perspective, it's pretty understandable why they vote the way they do. Have you watched Fox News for a day or a week? It's an alternate reality.

Regarding unvarnished reality, Fox News is C-Span when compared to right-wing radio.   I sometimes listen for an hour just for the laughs.  They LOVE Trump.  Obama was the worst president in American history. 

I keep reading people who say that they hope (or half-hope,if they're feeling generous) that the Trump supporters get what they deserve--no healthcare, no jobs, misery. But that seems to presuppose that those supporters would actually blame Trump for their trouble. They will not. This is team sports and they aren't going to fault their team for the loss. This election and aftermath have really driven home a thing that's been slowly dawning on me as I crest middle age and head down the other side--most people are not smart. Average intelligence is not that clever and a fair chunk of the population falls below it. And, increasingly, they're *proud* of it. I'm stumped as to what to do. I know the anti-intellectual streak is an American classic, but it feels different now, somehow.

 Yeah, they wouldn't blame Trump.  

The difference about this anti-intellctual streak is that it is being led by the president, through example.   W Bush had that, too, but not to this degree.  And he seemed engaged, at least.  Trump's TWEETS alone are so simplistic it really makes you wonder about his intellectual resources.    I mentioned last week that it is questionable about whether the man can read easily; a reader points out that there are several video depositions of him out there, and that people under deposition are frequently asked to read.

Has anyone seen one where he effortlessly reads a substantial portion of text?  I'd really like to believe he can read with sufficient skill. 

I love how only the right is allowed to claim that the left lives in a bubble. Remember that stupid quiz on NPR (last year?) that allegedly determined how much of a bubble you're in? Well they're in their own bubble too, and an arguably less informed one. How about a similar quiz for them? Instead of questions about sports, NASCAR, and country music, it would have questions about say, stamps in your passport, global warming, and evolution. FTR: According to their quiz, I was not in a bubble, but then I have very diverse interests and read everything and am in no way a "less-educated white."

My favorite such poll, because it plays to my prejudices, was one by Pew that showed the most knowledgeable group about comparative religion was ... atheists.    Jews came in second, as I recall.   Roman Catholics did not do well. 

The selling of the all your stocks is a terrible idea, I agree. However, maybe a slowdown of buying things might be interesting. Obviously, a bad economy hurts friends and enemies alike, but a weakening economy - say a lower GDP for a year or two - would look bad under Cheat-Oh's watch. Planning on a buying a car? Don't. Updating your wardrobe? Wait a few months. Sure, you can go to your favorite restaurant, but order less, and tip more. I wonder if this would have its intended effect if, say, 10,000 people did it. How about 100,000?

If three people do it,  three, can you imagine, three people doing it and walking out? They may think it's an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in and doing it and walking out? And friends, they may thinks it's a movement.  And that's what it is, a movement! 

(That was a joke that will be understood by about six of you, all of whom are sixty-plus years old.)

He returned to the US the day after the court denied the DOJ request for a stay of the injunction. The family is faced with a serious dilemma. They have a child who is a freshman in high school. Do they disrupt their child's life now and move to another country? Or, do they take the chance that at some time in the next four years they will have to move suddenly because the father is no longer able to return to the country? I honestly do not know what, or even if they have decided. As you can imagine, I have not wanted to intrude so soon after his return. I can tell you they feel betrayed. Between them these people have personally experienced the Shah, the Iranian Revolution, and a divided Germany. They believed for good reason America was a sanctuary against the kind of diabolocracies they've experienced and escaped from. I think of that high school freshman and I feel an intense shame that I just can not shake.

Would they be willing to talk to The Post? Ask em, then contact me at gene dot weingarten @washpost.com

Hi Gene. (I love saying that, haha) Since you are a noted language expert, I turn to you and ask about how pre-fixes are used. Is it just me, or are the words, "de-plane" and "de-train" awkward sounding? What happened to simply saying, "As you exit.." And how can one "pre-register" for an event? Does one give information prior to the registration? Isn't the act of registering actually signing up? "Pre-heat" is another that comes to mind. Why not just say, "heat the oven" for example? And finally, last year before the blizzard the Post mentioned that many flights were "pre-cancelled". Huh?

Usually, I would be on your side.  But all these examples are proposing longer expressions to replace shorter ones.  That's not great.   Also, I think in general the pre-  clarifies.   Pre-heat means heat the oven to hot before putting something in there.  Pre-register means register before you arrive, pre-cancelled means the flights were cancelled enough in advance so you didn't have to go to the airport.  

I find these fine. 

I was inspired by the January chat, and got two sets of buttons made up . One set says "Impeach President Bannon", the other says "Truck Fump." I wear them (with my pink pussyhat) and have gotten a lot of support, so I've been giving them away. I've also gotten a few stinkeyes, which I just ignore. Let me know if you want some.

Excellent.   I might send a pair to Pat Myers at the Post.  Pat is the Empress of the Style Invitational, and she might use those as prizes. 

You're going to have to explain this one. It's been gnawing at my brain ever since I read it and I just don't get it. Rod Yam? Johnson Spud? Dick Ta.. dangit, just got it.

There ya go. 

So, here's an easy test to figure out whether or not your behavior with the woman on the train was OK. Would you have approached a man in the same way? Meaning, sitting down next to him, asking his name, etc... I'm guessing the answer is NO, because the guy would (understandably) think you were hitting on him. It would make him uncomfortable. If you wouldn't have approached a man in the same way, then yes, your behavior toward the woman was out of line. It's predicated on your "reveal" at the end that you weren't just being a creep, which means that initially you were.

Wow, people are really exercised about this.  

Sorry but I DEFINITELY would have approached a man.  Far more readily.  I was reluctant because she was a woman.  And I understood the dynamic.  

You know there is one factor here I didn't mention, and it may make a difference.   There was nothing threatening in my demeanor.  I was smiling, as though a big joke was coming.  Yes, yes, I know, creeps come in all demeanors. 

Gene - two threads came together for me while reading your latest chat. First, there was the person who feared Trump would have the NSA listen to everything that anybody in America said. Second, there was the implication that Oswald didn't kill Kennedy - and we all know the leading contender is the CIA. One implied the NSA was a mindless drone that would do whatever the president wants. The other implied that the CIA was a mindless drone that would do whatever the opponents of the president want. Of course, neither is true. Speaking of these organization as if they were single entities is as silly as treating The Media as if it were a single entity. I have it on good authority that, just like those in the media, those in these three-letter agencies are struggling with how to respond to the unpresidented threat of this president. (Sorry about that.) Some are just keeping their heads down and doing their time. Some are getting out of the game. Some are trying to tame the beast in the hopes that, eventually, he will grow into his job. And some are just keeping their eyes open and waiting. These individuals, I assert, are not willing to in any way subvert the oath all have taken, but certainly aren't going to give this man the least benefit of the doubt. A lot of this is based on a profoundly elitist attitude. Sure, Trump and his minions might have been elected. But those who elected him do not run the world. And those who do run the world are not going to let him destroy it without a fight. They just aren't sure what approach would be best. So, naturally, they look to you.

I am in secret communication with all of them.  They take marching orders well. 

 

 

 

Based on your definition of precognition being "the ability to foresee events in the future," you do not have the correct answer in your poll. Everybody can already do that. If I drop an apple from a height above the Earth, I can foresee exactly what will happen. It will fall. Using well-known math/physics, I can even figure out how long it will take to fall, how fast it will be falling at any given point, as well as a number of other observable quantities associated with the apple falling. Is that precognition? I am guessing that you mean to define precognition more as some mystical ability for humans to be able to predict future events better than a machine, i.e., a self-driving car. I would still argue that people already have this ability for certain situations. Humans are generally far better than computers at gauging other humans and knowing how they will react to certain situations. Do you have a more specific definition of precognition? Because everyone else who took the poll seems to understand what you were talking about, since most people answered slim/none.

Uh.   I think I explained it fairly well.  The ability to foresee the future.  Woo-woo stuff

My federal agency has blocked the link to the poll in this chat. That's never happened before today, and I've been taking the polls for this chat for about nine years. I've been putting up with a lot lately, but this may be where I draw the line.

Thanks, Trump. 

Alice's Restaurant

Indeed. 

"And all you have to do to join is to sing it, the next time it comes around on the guitar....with feeling."

Thank you.  I once saw Arlo perform it in Saratoga Springs.  One of the rare times he did, in the 1980s.

. . . failed to consult high- end couch makers and etiquette professionals regarding KAC's shoes and knees on the WH couch. And failed to identify where the couch was manufactured (USA or China?)

Boy is that a non story. 

It looked to me as though the bottoms of her shoes were not even on the fabric.    Gimme a break. 

We are going to need longer hallways because you completely overlooked the danger of bi-sexual people getting jollies under your 8 bathroom solution. I think we need another 4 rest rooms with some technology to discern which way the bi-people are leaning at the moment.

Yeah, I considered that, but there's no real solution.  Bi people would be turned on in a bi people restroom. 

Are you going to watch Trump tonight? I confess I can't abide his voice for more than a minute at a time. He finishes all his sentences as if he's straining on the john. Ick.

Turn the sound down and watch his (small) hand movements.  They're prett great. 

The PwC guy was tweeting, which distracted him. Beatty looked and was confused but said nothing. Dunaway barely glanced and just saw/read the title. They were all wrong in different ways.

Well, at least Beatty realized something was wrong.  He should have simply gone back to the wings to check.  Dunaway was a real dope. 

Also, I am 36!

Wow!  How'd you do that, then?

I can't remember the third thing ("Oops") but Germans used to joke that the Aryan ideal was as blond as Hitler, as fit as Goering (who was fat) and as something as Goebbels.

Probably tall.  Goebbels was a shrimp. 

Right now there are two kinds of drivers - IDIOTS and MANIACS. The Idiots are the ones driving slower than me and the maniacs are the ones driving faster. I like the maniacs more because they tend to attract law enforcement attention...away from me. Can't stand the idiots. What would I call the new class of driverless cars?

Made me laugh.   I am a maniac, by the way. 

If the ACA is repealed, 43,000 people a year will die from diseases that could otherwise have been treated. Abandoning refugees in war-torn countries leaves them vulnerable to terrorists. The death penalty is used to kill innocent people. The water in Flint, Michigan is LITERALLY poisoning children. And on and on and on. Why does "evil" not apply?

Because they think they are doing what is necessary to "save" the United States.  

I know it seems like every day there is a new outrage, but today's may be the worst for me. 45 yapping on "Fox and Friends" about the Yemen raid and basically saying "Yeah, that was Obama's mission, not mine..." I'm paraphrasing, but good GOD man, take some responsibility. I really hope this is one of the last straws, since the soldier's dad is calling for an investigation too, and refused to meet with 45.

I saw that.  I liked that. 

What IS it with these whiny defensive melanin-challenged XY-chromosome heterosexuals for whom everything is a zero-sum game? And it's not "maligning" you types to point out that you elected the loathsome orange man-child who thinks the Oscars flub happened because of him (yes, he said that).

Agreed. 

Wait, you like anagrams and "ball protector used for batting" but you don't like cryptic crosswords. What's the difference?

I am coming around.  Sunday's cryptic was excellent.  I think it depends entirely by the constructors.  Sunday's, as I recall, was Cox-Rathvon. 

Gene: I'm totally with you on the bathroom issue. Transgender persons in a stall are unseen and not an issue. Where I differ is the issue you did not address: locker rooms. Again, if they have individual shower and changing stalls, not a problem. But many don't, and requiring facilities such as schools to be retrofitted is a very expensive solution to address an issue that involves a very small portion of the population. It would seem a reasonable and cost effective accommodation would be single occupancy facilities. But many transgendered persons don't want to use these (such as Gavin in the NC case), because they feel there is some sort of stigma attached to them. I honestly feel for these individuals, who are obviously dealing with a very difficult situation. But ultimately, there has to be a balance between their feelings and the many people who don't want to be subjected to this. I have 9 and 12 year old daughters, and the claim that I am intolerant because I don't want them in an open locker room with transgendered people (as Chris Cuomo said this week) is unfair. How would you have felt when Molly was that age?

Does the current case extend to locker rooms?  

I agree, that's a little different.  You know, I don't think ANYONE is comfortable standing around nekkid in front of others.  I think retrofitting is a good idea. 

Okay, folks, sorry about having to take a powder here.  I'll be back next week.  Again, a hemorrage of questions.  I'll answer the best in next week's chat. 

In This Chat
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.

Weingarten is also the author of "The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life. And Death," co-author of "I'm with Stupid," with feminist scholar Gina Barreca and "Old Dogs: Are the Best Dogs," with photographer Michael S. Williamson.

His most recent book, "The Fiddler In The Subway," is a collection of his full-length stories. He is working on a new book, called "One Day," about the events of December 28, 1986, a date chosen at random by drawing numbers from a hat.

Gene's latest columns, chats and more.
Recent Chats
  • Next: