Chatological Humor: Monthly with Moron

Oct 31, 2017

Gene Weingarten held his monthly chat with readers.

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Good afternoon.

I have a theory.  It's a little odd and improbable, but I think it is right.  I think there is an unofficial conspiracy of silence, based on benign intent, to withhold a salient fact from the American people.  I think the co-conspirators include the Republican Party, the Democratic party, and the news media.   And I think, with this news from yesterday that got kicked below the fold by the indictments, it is getting even more manifest: It is now hard to refute that Russian meddling  with social media tipped the election for Trump.

Yes, obviously, we are reporting the news, and newsmakers are commenting on it.  But I haven't seen much that is conclusionary -- but I think that statisticians and pollsters, working together, would be able to essentially prove it.

One hundred and twenty six million Facebook users got Russian agitprop, most of it aimed at destabilizing our election in favor of Trump over Hillary Clinton.  Is it likely -- hell, is it even possible -- that this could not have flipped the results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania and Minnesota all of which went for Trump by 1.5 percent or less.  Any three of those five states would have given Clinton the win.  Or Florida and one other.   

Why is this not front and center in our national dialogue?  Because it won't accomplish anything -- what? we're going to hold a "do-over" election?  -- and would be hugely harmful to our national interests.   If we are that subject to manipulation, what other systemic weaknesses are yet to come out?  

Anyway, just a theory.  I hate it.


I was going to go on politically but the tenor of this introduction changed abruptly not long ago because of the hook of the World Series and a discussion that erupted yesterday among the Style Invitational Losers' nation.    In short, we need an Instapoll.  Here it is. 

From your memory, which of these four lines is correct?

Take me out to the ballgame / Take me out with the crowd,  / Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks / I don't care if I ever get back....

Take me out to the ballgame / Take me out with the crowd,  / Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack / I don't care if I ever get back....

Take me out to the ballgame / Take me out with the crowd,  / Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks / I don't care if I never get back....

Take me out to the ballgame / Take me out with the crowd,  / Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack / I don't care if I never get back....



Have you taken the instapoll? Don't read on unless you have.

The answer, to me, is astonishing.  The correct formulation -- the one in the original song, sung here in a scratchy Victrola, is the last formulation.  It's "Cracker Jack," not "Cracker Jacks," and it is never, not ever. 

Google suggests that the correct formulation is only slightly more common than the others.  Even the most famous popularizer of the song -- the great Cubs announcer Harry Caray -- gets the "never" line wrong.

But why the singular "Cracker Jack"?   Because that is the name of the candy.  To many of us -- particularly New Yorkers -- it just sounds wrong.   We don't buy "potato chip."   We don't buy "Raisinet."    However, we do buy "popcorn," which is not a perfect comparison, but will have to do. 


Finally, in these times of dramatic political turmoil, I must ask a troublingly trivial question.  I know nothing about the application of makeup.  I am a makeup idiot.  So my puzzlement might be erroneous.  But can anyone explain to me why Sarah Huck Sanders seems to have painted her eyelids black?  (I asked this on Twitter.  The two best answers: "To match her soul" and "camouflage to trick predators.")

Okay, let's go.  We start at noon sharp.


I chose "I dislike it, but am fine with it existing.", but really, I have a love/hate relationship with it. Without it, my texting and emails on my phone and ipad would be 50% garbled nonsense, but of course it's also turned perfectly correct words *into* nonsense, too. One thing I happily use it for is adding the inconveniently-located apostrophes to my contractions. It's remarkably good at determining the correct application of "its" vs. "it's", and it understands that I always mean "can't".

I hate it and wish it were dead.   It has caused me no end of embarrassment.  If I type a non-word, it is usually because I am TRYING to type a non-word.  Creativity, you know?  But it will turn "Trumpophilia" into "triumphantly."   The effect is especially bad when using voice-to-text, which I do all the time.  That's because it adds the idiocy of autocorrect to the idiocy of bad voice recognition.  I have had "oysters" become "Oyez stars." 

I hate it.   I want to see it die. I hate it because 95 percent of my apparent "misspellings" are deliberate.  I don't need a machine to change "Trumpohilia" to "triumphalism."   The situation is further aggravated by voice-to-text, which I use all the time.  The general autocorrect effect is exacerbated by the faulty voice recognition, generally in the mistaken direction of pop culture idiocy..  "Animatronic"  becomes "Animaniacs."

Gene Please tell me I'm wrong on this. The Mueller investigation has unlimited resources and can prosecute anything they find, even if it´s not relevant to Russian interference? Well, most of us have some skeletons in our closets, or at least some white lies. So if the Mueller team just keeps digging, of course they'll find some wrongdoing, but shouldn't it be limited to relevant wrongdoing? I'd love to lose/embarrass Trump and the people on his team, but it should be because they did collude with Russia. If not, his supporters will just say "the deep state took out an elected president on minor technicalities".

Yeah, I have a little problem with this, too.  Remember that Ken Starr's Lewinsky case arose out an investigation of Whitewater investments, and the death of Vince Foster.  Hard to get any further away from the original mission.

The Post has a source for an important story-- something that could bring about significant social or political change. The journalist developing on the story, who happens to be an attractive woman, has put a lot of time and effort into developing a professional rapport with the source. The source has given the Post some good information but you still need more from him in order to go forward with the story, plus you would prefer to have his ongoing cooperation. However, in the middle of all this, the source makes a highly inappropriate advance on the journalist (think exposing himself or offensive touching). What do you do? If you confront the source, you suspect he will be angered and no longer be a source. If you assign a male journalist to conduct future interviews, you suspect that the source will not provide as valuable information as he did when meeting with the female journalist and you will be sidelining the female journalist from her own story (which I'm guessing would be a big deal) when she did nothing wrong. If you take the easy way out, and leave it to the female journalist to decide what she is comfortable with, you will be forcing her to choose between her story/career and sexual harassment-- a choice no one should have to make. So, what do you do?

I can't answer this, on behalf of women.  Any women -- particularly journalists -- want to weigh in?

I asked one journo friend about this, and she said that every woman needs to weigh this on her own and make a decision on her own based on the circumstances, her willingness to withstand ick, etc., which seems reasonable but not.

I think a woman has a right to do whatever she is comfortable with -- and I wouldn't necessarily judge her if that includes sex.   Marguerite Higgins of the Herald Tribune was reputed  to have slept her way across the European theater of war, to get great stories.  She got great stories.  If the reports are true, who cares?  Men had other advantages they used -- like the mens' club atmosphere.  (I don't know if the stories are true, but biographies of Maggie Higgins generally go there. )She was the first woman to win the Pulitzer for foreign correspondence.

A question for you, and I think this might be the subject of a good poll. What do you think of the growing trend in bars, restaurants, liquor stores, etc., of demanding that anybody and EVERYBODY who wants to order an alcoholic beverage has to show an i.d.? (Sorry if this might have been covered in an earlier chat.) I won't say much about my feelings on this, except that I always thought that after you reach a certain age, there are some kinds of petty crap that you shouldn't have to put up with.

I am routinely asked.  it is insane.  Anyone from the industry have an explanation?

It's probably actually more of a charcoal color. But in any case, "smokey eye" is a distinctive makeup style intended to make your eyes look more dramatic and sexy. I bet she opted for it because she'll be broadcast on TV in HD which makes every skin imperfection glaringly obvious. And, let's face it, she knows that she'll get lots of criticism about her looks that Sean Spicer wouldn't have gotten. (Not that there wasn't quite a bit about his baggy suit, etc, but you know if one hair is out of place for Huckabee-Sanders, she is going to read or hear about it somewhere.) It's really more of an evening look, but I understand why she opted for it in daytime.

Okay, noted.  Some other women answered similarly.

I do this all the time. I have light brown eyes and painting the eyelids black makes the color of the eyes look lighter in contrast. However, I would never do this for a day-time look, only at night-it's much too harsh a look for the day.

Many women made this observation, too.

By the way, has anyone noticed that a diet of "Peanuts and Cracker Jack" is VERY peanut-heavy? 

No one has asked me about this so far -- I thought there'd be comments out the wazoo -- so I am just going to address it anyway.  

Yesterday, out of the blue, I tweeted this:  "Do you want to have sexual intercourse with me?  (This is an experiment; is this sexual harassment?)"  I have concluded it was not my finest tweet ever.    Many people understood it as I had intended it: If it goes out indiscriminately to EVERYONE, as this did, can an otherwise obviously harassing statement be harassment?  But many people did not get that particular all-too-subtle nuance and took it seriously, earnestly pointing out that the statement could be harassment, depending on whom it was directed to.    The troubling responses, though, and there were at least two dozen, were from women who found it offensive on its face, as though I were qustioning the validity of ALL harassment complaints.  Didn't mean that and don't feel that, but enough people saw it in there that I can only conclude it was a valid interpretation.  Apologies to anyone offended.

Are we going to see anymore indictments? I have a friend in the intelligence community who says there's no there there. Other than Manafort which everyone knew about.

I suspect these indictments were intended to generate more information from people suddenly scared about what Papadopoulos told them.

So you're talking about LBJ, right? His threats and manipulation of the press weren't as widely known then as they are now, but his was the epitome (and the last) of the imperial presidency.

Except he was not, remotely, the darling of the left. The Vietnam was made that impossible.  Young people HATED him.  (And yes, on civil rights he was civil, and right.)

Saw a pic on Facebook yesterday of a wedding invitation that said "Horse Ovaries at 5 p.m." and everyone was assuming it was an autocorrect fail. I don't understand how it could have been anything other than a family joke that was deliberately put on the invitation, do you?

Hors d'oeuvres?  Wow.

One of the topics on Petri’s preceding chat was men’s positions while peeing (sitting or standing.) Initially, I thought it was a good warmup for YOUR chat. But now I’m just . . . drained.


Bigger question - when will she give Lisa Simpson her necklace back?

Jess the Producer notes that in virtually every photo of her, she is wearing the same pearls.  Doesn't bother me that much; it's a signature.   Also, if she were a man we wouldn't all be discussing this.  I get the double standard and don't like it, even if I caused it here.

Clinton won it. (Apologies if I'm the 10th or 30th or 50th person to point this out.)

Ah.  Rats.  Point still stands, if slightly more shakily.

Not true. There are only about 3.5 peanuts in a box of Cracker Jack. Seriously.

Thank God.   Though I have to say, peanuts in CJ don't bother me.   It's the chocolate that quarrels.

I'm one of your readers and fans who doesn't fit squarely in either a Democratic or Republican party, so maybe I'm not the best judge; but, Jennifer Rubin's columns about Trump and his staff and his actions and his inactions are things of genius. She's a conservative who is APPALLED by the orange guy. She cuts through his vitriol with a sharp knife. The WP does a great job of having all sides of issues represented on his editorial staff. I wish there were more conservatives like her -- the world would be a better place!

I think she has really risen to this.  But I also don't think she is alone.  The majority of conservative pundits I have read are appalled by Trump.  George Will, Michael Gerson, David Brooks, and others.

Published without comment.

I'm told that it's because of zealous police enforcement that routinely sends in childish-looking thirty-something cops and then pounces when they don't get asked or ID.

But I could not plausibly be 30.  Or 40.  Or maybe even 50.

Also, if a cop was 30, and didn't get carded, I think her being 30 is a perfect defense.  How you APPEAR is irrelevant.  No crime committed.

I am part of group that sings the National Anthem and a few other songs (including Take Me Out to the Ballgame) for the Bethesda Big Train team once a year. We have to remind ourselves about the singular Cracker Jack every year. The "never get back" seems to stick in the brain from year to year more easily.

Of course "never" and "ever" are interchangeable there.  Both make sense and are correct.

Did you read the article from the former CEO of NPR? He did not just a safari to places that tend to vote Republican, but spent long periods of time there. In his article he realized just how much of a bubble he and most national reporters live in and that this greatly influenced which topics are covered and how they are covered. Any thoughts?

Yep.  I do not question that Trump has way more support than seems logical to us east and west coasters.  BUT there are some objective truths about this guy.  We can't forget this and assume it is all about valid opinions.

I am so backed up now that I can't even pee properly. And I'm pretty sure I had some sort of poop yesterday morning. It didn't feel complete, but it was something. I'm considering going for a colonoscopy (I'm overdue, so I need to do it eventually) just to know I am completely cleaned out. You live a charmed life.

Essentially never.  I feel a sense of guilt about this.   However I also have peripheral neuropathy, so count your blessings.

What age of death do you consider that someone has no right to complain. I really wished my father had had a few more decades of life when he died at 70. But I also see lots of people my age (50) that seem to have really bad luck with cancer or heart attacks. But then there are all those 18 year old people drafted into the Vietnam war that didn't make it home. Am I right to feel cheated if somehow my colonoscopy results next week comes back positive for stage 4 cancer at the age of 50.

I am 66.  I'd like to live to 75.  After that, eh.  I'm not going to be a particularly healthy 75, if I make it that far.

Hyphens are SO important.

Have you ever had one of your tweets from years ago suddenly start getting likes and retweets seemingly out-of-the-blue? It is a little bit spooky, in a good way.

In December 2011 I tweeted:  "Woman walks into a bar, says "Give me an entendre.  Make it a double."  So the bartender gives it to her."  

This is still being retweeted.

Your last question, about autocratic rule, is obviously written with Trump in mind. At least, I answered it with Trump in mind. I wonder if the results would have been so hard over if, hypothetically, Trump were a Democrat. Our deposition to show favoritism to our party is well-established. Prior to Trump's election, for example, a majority of self-declared Republicans overwhelmingly considered Russia an enemy. Democrats overwhelmingly polled the other way. Following the election, Democrats considered Russia an enemy, Republicans did not. The point is, people embody the ideas of the party as much as the party embodies the ideas of the people. With the liberal leanings of members of this chat, I doubt we'd get such a strong response to your last poll question if a liberal with autocratic tendencies was in the White House.

It pains me and embarrasses me to admit this, but I am with the smallest minority in this poll question.  I might -- not sure, but I think -- support the bastard.   Getting three-to-four liberal justices over eight years might make it worthwhile to me.  And I recognize the hypocrisy in this!  And, am I really different from Trump supporters?  Many of them feel the same way.


No.  Near as I can tell, he isn't even Jewish.   Plus, his sin is not something commonly attributed to Jews, which is a key factor in being a shanda.  Note spelling.

You cannot run afoul of the law for carding someone. You can only run afoul of the law for NOT carding someone. I may lose some customers if I card everyone, but that's better than losing my liquor license.

But we are talking about ME.   Sixty-six.

"Cracker Jack" is the brand name. You buy a box of Cracker Jack, just like you buy a case of Pepsi.

Nah, Pepsi is not made of discrete little objects.

and without exception, they are refusing to see that it's their side that led inexorably to Trump, and that it was their previous writings that paved the way. So their appallment now is pretty disingenuous. Or at least unconvincing.

I'm not sure I buy that.  How are they responsible for Trump? They might have been responsible for Rubio or Cruz...

But was Jennifer actually very conservative before Trump, or just a conservative at the Post? A conservative at the Post is like a Massachusetts Republican governor. Romney implemented Obamacare in his state before it was called Obamacare.

Jen was conservative.  I think a somewhat doctrinaire conservative.

I'm casting my mind back to before we all knew that Trump is the human equivalent of a garbage bag of chowder in the mid-August sun. And you know what? Still a really ugly man. And it's not just the sheen of creepy over-compensater oozing from his pores, it's also his ski-slope nest hair, his squinty, desaturated eyes, his smacked-ass pursed lips, his melted wax clown jowls, and his lurching, marble-between-the-butt-cheeks posture. I have spoken to no women who ever thought "would do" of any version of Trump. So what gives, Gene? What Caravaggio face are you seeing in this late-Picasso composition?

Well, I'm just thinking that a lot of 70 year old men look worse than he does -- older, mostly.  But I will admit error.

When we were watching the Nats in the playoffs, my husband pointed out that the Nats logo looks suspiciously like the logo for Walgreens. Put them side by side, he is right. After that, he kept calling them the Washington Walgreens.

It does.  I have noticed this. 

Even more bizarre is that it has turned up in several movies so old they predate the Nationals, such as here in the original Karate Kid.   That's because it was the logo of the last, lousiest Washington Senators team in the 1970s.

I seem to remember from several years ago that the logo turned up in a VERY old movie that predated even the 1970s Senators.  Couldn't find it -- can anyone?  To the best of my recollection, the explanation was that it had belonged to either a Senators farm team or a Negro-league team.

When the hell are you gonna be done with your book, already?

This summer, according to contract.

Carrie L. Hitt, 42, of Junction City, Oregon, died after her Ford Bronco left the road on Territorial Highway and rolled on Oct. 4. Hitt was ejected from her car and then struck by a second vehicle, driven by Nadine M. Killmaster, 32, of Yakima, Washington. Oregon State Police told The Register-Guard they believe Hitt was using a mobile phone just before the crash. [Register-Guard, 10/6/2017]

This is too serious to make a joke about.  Shame on you. 

As a 52 year old woman I have experienced nearly a lifetime of "Me Too" moments, ranging from 4th to 1st degree. I am honestly not sure if I am more shocked by the number of those moments, or by how okay/normal I thought they were at the time. My heart aches for my younger self. I thought I had gathered them all together and dealt with them until I read the post from the woman who had gone to see a doctor, a trusted one, for poison ivy. Her story reminded me of this: I was 17 years old and taking lessons for my pilot's license. One of the requirements was a physical by a FAA approved doctor. My flight instructor told me it was barely an exam, the doctor just needed to sign off on my eyesight and hearing, and gave me a list of approved physicians. I made an appointment with the first on the list. The doctor checked my sight, hearing, blood pressure, and then told me he I had to have a pelvic exam and to strip from the waist down. I refused, told him I had recently had that particular exam by my gynecologist and he could get whatever information he needed to approve my vagina for flight from my doctor. He turned nasty, told me I was an immature little girl and obviously not capable of flying a plane if I couldn't handle a simple exam. I left his office in tears. At the time I was living with my Dad and, while I told him what had happened, it was an awkward conversation and neither of us reported him, which I very much regret. I later went to the next doctor on the list and was cleared to fly - without a pelvic exam. That it took one of your chatters to remind me of this fairly horrible experience (how could I not have remembered this??) seems like a good way to remind men, in general, that you all have absolutely no idea of what women deal with on a daily basis. That aside, I don't think you did a damn thing wrong with Metro Lady. It makes me sad to think that every interaction somehow becomes an assault. The solution seems simple to me - go ahead and approach me on the train, but if I shut you down, accept it and go away. Done.

I know a woman who had her wisdom teeth removed when she was 18, under anesthesia.   The dentist had her remove her clothes and wear a hospital gown.   Until she told the story to me 30 years later, as a curiosity, she did not really reflect on what had probably happened.   You just don't want to think that way. 

The previous chatter has it backwards. Zealous law enforcement routinely sends in <21 aged agents who look older. When they are served a crime has actually been committed. Carding everyone protects against that. As a management policy it also protects against servers who just don't want to card people, providing them cause for discipline before something illegal happens. Sure, it's dumb. Especially at the margins. Then again, so is the notion of a drinking age at all.

Hm.  I am a major league lefty, and I have no problem with a drinking age -- so long as it is at least as low as the age for inscription into the armed forces.

If you actually are shooting for 75 and not much more, is that affecting your life decisions? Do you have a bucket list? Are you chatting from Tibet or Patagonia or some such place?l Are you spending down your IRA? Etc.

No.  With some exceptions, I am doing what I want to be doing.

Gene - this took a while for me to write up. After the 2nd round of cancer in less than 12 months we euthanized our 12 year old Labrador this summer. He was my first puppy taught me patience and unconditional love, but was even better as an old dog. He was trustworthy, loved everyone, and would always find a pillow to lay his head on. We'll miss him forever. The 9 week old puppy currently in my house proves we are a touch crazy, but also that he was such a good dog we'll do this again. Thank you for all you've written about Old Dogs and how special they really are.

Did you find your dear guy -- or a similar dog -- in Old Dogs? One of the comments I get most frequently is some variation of: "That sweet dog on page 53 is EXACTLY what my Buffy was like..."

In discussing the intellectual exercise from the last poll (Trump v. Putin) with my dad, I was trying to provide some context of who you are. After referencing your Pulitzers, I told my father, "he's not exactly a flaming liberal, more like a nuclear liberal." Hope you don't mind the turn of phrase.

That's fine.  I have said on more than one occasion:  "I am so liberal I should be tried for treason and executed."

Um. yes you can! And public figures are libeled all the time, especially since the rise of Faux News. (I know you didn't say this, Gene, but you didn't correct the OP either.) First, the only difference between libel and slander is that libel is published in writing and slander is "published" by being stated out loud to at least one other person. The components are otherwise the same: a false statement of fact that causes harm to the victim's reputation. Second, the difference for public figures is that the victim has to prove that the libeler acted knowingly and maliciously -- that s/he both knew the statement was false and intended to cause reputational harm -- as well as that the libel or slander actually did damage the person's reputation. As a practical matter this is nearly impossible to prove and the resulting publicity makes the reputational damage worse, so public figures don't sue even when the evidence is overwhelmingly in their favor. But, for example, half of what comes out of Rush Limbaugh's mouth is libelous. (The other half is revolting statements of opinion, but opinion can't be libel.) His defense, if he were ever sued, would be that everyone knows he's being hyperbolic so no one believes his false factual statements. I doubt that's true though.

Isn't Limbaugh about 95 percent opinion?

The actual standards for libel of a public figure are a little different from what you state.   You can be found guilty if you published what you knew to be untrue and defamatory, OR if you published it with "reckless disregard" for whether it was true.   That term is defined as "actual malice." That last one is not easy to prove, but it can be proven, sometimes.

Many years ago, when I was 25, I was sued by a county attorney in Albany who claimed, as proof of actual malice, not that what I wrote was wrong or in reckless disregard for the truth, but that I was maliciously dead set against him.  This was such a dangerous potential precedent that my little newspaper hired the country's top First Amendment lawyer, Floyd Abrams, to argue it.   It got thrown out of court.   Ooh, here is the appellate court ruling.  

Talk to Monica Hesse. In the #MeToo postings, she had a good story that was, if I recall, pretty close to this situation. She posted on her FB.

Can anyone link to this?  Jess? 

I work ar a Walgreens in a tiny town with bored police. They will get the oldest looking 17 year old from juvenile hall and have him/her try to buy alcohol or cigarettes. If we sell them without ID, even though they really do look older them 21, the store is fined. I would be personally fined. And I would lose my job.


Age is not the issue; state of health is. I'd rather die at 60 if I had serious ailments that ruined my quality of life than live to 90 with those ailments.

I will not be 90 without ailments.

Ducking autocorrect always makes me say things I don't Nintendo.

Cait Gibson once had "superintendent" changed to "Super Nintendo."

... is however a shanda for the gay-im

Ooh, nice.

You know, with your last chat on the "me too" stories, I was thinking, wow, I don't know if I could imagine what my life would be if I always had to be on guard to one degree or another. Then I thought back. I'm sure it's not the same, but I remember when I went with my friend to a Boston pride parade a few years back (I'm a straight guy. I went mainly because my friend didn't want to go alone) and in a 30 minute span had my butt squeezed twice. I spent the rest of the time watching from further away with my back against a wall. I didn't feel threatened, just uncomfortable like I didn't belong or some weird feeling I still have trouble placing, but it would definitely suck if that was my reality every day. And even that was in my privileged version where I knew that it wouldn't get any worst than that.

Your last point is critical.

Today at work, we were discussing the distractions of cellphones and Twitter. One guy commented that, notwithstanding the contents of his tweets, Trump was taking good advantage of communication techniques by using Twitter. Several others snorted in response. That led to this exchange: Guy: "No, really, a sharp President uses the tools available to him to reach out to the public. Trump won't be the last President to use Twitter." Me: "Unless he's the last President."


I think using Twitter is fine, for a president.   I just think it should not be used in a petty, vindictive adolescent illiterate way.

I follow a lot of them on twitter, like Tom Nichols, Rick Wilson, Ana Navarro. Bill Maher has been having a lot of them, like people who worked in the Bush White Houses, on his show for a while and it's crazy how rational and substantive the debates have gotten. And you know something they all have in common? They are smart and funny. Every last one of them can make and take a joke. I'm convinced that, not political affiliation, is our true divide as a nation.

I never noticed that during the Geo W. Bush years.

Speaking of Bush and sexual harassment, I am really uncomfortable with the recent criticism of George H.W. Bush.  A person clearly suffering from some degree of dementia should be off limits.  Just common decency.  Yes, he did a yucky thing, but gimme a break.

Spare me any tears for any tribulations Sanders may face. Putting aside the obvious glee she takes in spewing lies, her appearance would get less scrutiny if she word simple dark suits instead of the garish sofa slipcovers she favors. And please remember the grief her predecessor Spicey, nominally a man, got for the baggy suit he wore for his first day on the job.

Spicey didn't take that much grief for his CLOTHING. 

Essentially the plot of the 1933 movie "Gabriel Over the White House" with Walter Huston. FDR liked it, supposedly.

FDR would have liked it!

Hello? Remember Willie Horton, the lovechild of Lee Atwater and G.H.W. Cop-A-Feel? Remember St. Reagan railing against those (black) Welfare queens riding in Cadillacs? Or Righteous McCain, the genius who propelled Sarah Palin into the national spotlight? Not to mention the craven liars who gave Pat Robertson and his slimy brethren a seat at the table.

I'm not seeing these disreputable things as blameworthy antecedents to Trump, though.

I'm so immature. I actually giggled audibly at the line "speaking of Bush and sexual harassment."

Are you serious?! Sarah Palin is THE antecedent to Trump.


"Cracker Jacks" doesn't rhyme with "ever get back" so why all the confusion?! Should it be "ever get backs"?? More importantly, the plural of Cracker Jack is clearly Cracker Jack. If we were singing about deer would we call them "deers"?

Jacks and back are fine as song rhymes.

was forced on the team by MLB, who owned them at the time. It was their link to the old Senators, even though it matched nothing else on the rest of the uniform at the time. Walgreen's first used their red curly W, not as a standalone, but as part of the wordmark Walgreen's, in 1951. The Senators did not adopt the Curly W until 1961.

Okay.  Hey, the Nats should have been the Greys.  Bad naming mistake.

I do see Sarah Palin as a precedent for Trump. It's bread and circuses: one entertains and seduces the audience into wanting more of the same, rather than treating an election as a serious referendum on what we want our country to be, and represent.

Yes, true.

I was reading a Hax chat form a few weeks ago and decided to Google your cover story about going to Isreal and how they cope with fear and fallout of violence and bombs. Do NOT google Weingarten Israel.

Oh, definitely do not.  a big mistake.

Seven of the top ten have chocolate and peanuts.  I grieve for the nation's palates.

Not sure if you saw this article in today's (10/25/17) Post, but there is a great quote in the article where the researcher says "That suggests to me that there may be more people who get it,” she said. “They either aren't taken seriously by their doctors, or they hide it because it's stigmatized.” Of course they're "stigmatized"! They are literally suffering from stigmata! I love etymology :)

Yes.  Good observation.

I don't think you are wrong but you're not right either. I hate Milky Way bars. But I also hate Reese's PB Cups. Too much PB. But Goobers? Love them! But the thing is, I don't like many nuts outside of cashews and peanuts, and I don't like nuts in other foods, ie brownies, cakes, salads.

yes, on PB cups.   I think the problem is the delivery of a mouthful of mediocre peanut butter.

I love cashews and walnuts.  Almonds, but less so raw.  I like Amaretto.

I am eating walnuts right now.   They taste good for a while, then start tasting bitter.  Not sure what that is about.

I was molested as a young child, which as done long term damage to me in a variety of ways. I say I'm a "survivor" because that's the generally preferred terminology, but I've always secretly felt like... what's wrong with "victim"? It's supposedly a choice about reclaiming the agency, which I guess I get because it is helpful to think about how hard I've fought and overcome so much, and therefore don't judge other women for preferring, but... I like victim. Victim makes it clear, to me, that something terrible and criminal was done to me without my consent. I was a victim, it wasn't my fault. Why is that so bad?

I have no issue with that, but I think others would say that "victim" is a word that connotes helplessness and haplessness.   That if "victim" is your continuing state, you have not moved past it.  It's subtle, maybe too subtle.

"Martha Stewart, the global home-decorating authority, set up a pair of Home Depot horse skeletons on her farm in Bedford, N.Y., for Halloween last year. Her real horses shied away as she rode past them, she said. Her five dogs are also scared of them. 'The neigh is really frightening,' she says. "Ms. Stewart has collected skeletons 'for years' and scatters about 20 human ones outdoors each Halloween. She enjoys their versatility, lounging them on patio chairs, cross-legged around light fixtures and perched in trees with their arms outstretched."

Molly owns a human head skeleton.  Real.

Was accused of having an affair. Both denied it. Now with his groping, giving him the benefit of the doubt seems generous.

I have some inside information here.  I know two newspapers that tried mightily to prove the affair, and failed.  Not sure it was real. 

Please, there are PLENTY of grounds to substantively criticize Sanders. Don't go after her appearance, it just makes you look petty. (This is reference to the "garish slipcover" comment.) Similarly, picking up on your comment previously, one wonders how WH officials will end up looking after the (radioactive) dust settles from this administration. John Kelly's recent factually incorrect attacks on Rep Wilson and that the "lack of ability to compromise" resulted in the Civil War come to mind. I was optimistic about him before, but not so much now that we've heard more from him.

I think it is interesting that there are TWO Sanderses very much in the news.  On opposite sides of the spectrum.

Presumably, that rule also applies to, say, deer and tears, or hot and pots? Would you care to write a poem confirming this rightness?

No, because there is a difference between a poem -- I don't cut rhyming corners -- and a song, which can be helped by inflection and such.  Some of Dylan's rhymes look terrible on paper, but work when sung.

Is Gen. Kelly an ignoramus or a bigot. or both? Sad.


Does that mean that New Yorkers tend to be incapable of reading the words "Cracker Jack" on the package?

"cracker jacks" is simply how we grew up pronouncing it.  Hey, don't get me started on "sliding ponds"

In DC proper, a bar is in violation of DC law it they sell to someone without an ID regardless of age. (the idea is to eliminate the "I thought they looked 21 defense") So they are carding to avoid being fined for that specific part of the law, not whether you are old enough. I haven't looked under 21 since I was 15, so I typically get a quick cursory check acknowledging that I have one with me.

Is this true?  They are required to card a septuagenarian?  Well, that explains it.

A couple years back when I was working on a book, I had to interview a guy who had important information for me. He was the only person who had that information--there was no colleague of his I could talk to instead, and the information was completely necessary for my book. Anyway, he was gross. He made gross comments all through the interview. He talked about my butt. He promised to drive me back to my car and instead drove me to a restaurant and said, "this is the only way I'll get you to go on a date with me." (Did I mention both of us were married? Did I mention he was 35 years older than me?) I asked him to stop, repeatedly, then force-laughed my way through all of it. Because I needed his story, and I didn't want him to refuse to cooperate, and this project was so deeply important to me. This is not a way I ever, ever would have imagined reacting. I talk back to catcallers, regularly. I approach men on the subway and tell them to leave the girls they are bothering alone. I am brave. But in this instance I did nothing, because this was my career, and it is an integral part of who I am. I shocked the hell out of myself with my own inaction. Later when I re-hashed the day with some male friends I normally consider really woke, one of the first comments someone had was, "Well, why were you ever in the car alone with him?" Anyway, those are my thoughts on Harvey Weinstein. I'm so sorry for anyone who ever had to work with that disgusting excuse for a creative mind.

Well put, and I totally get this.

I chose the way I use products/don't conserve in your poll - I'm appalled at how much trash I make every day. Lately I'm struck how bizarre it is I live in a stone tower and eat lettuce I buy in plastic bag. Mostly, every day I nearly come to tears realizing how much we humans have trashed the place. It's like we've managed to preserve our favorite brands for the generations to come, but not the elephants, not the ocean, not the humans...

And you are the BEST of us.  

I read an interesting article (in the Post, maybe?) about how Trump got to power by bypassing the parties, for the most part. Because of Twitter, he was able to go directly to the people. It's a smart move, really.

It won it for him.  That, and the Russians.

I grew up in the DC area. In my 65 years, it has always been Crack Jack, NEVER Crack Jacks. Clearly, when it comes to Cracker Jack, you don't know jack.


There are landmine-sniffing rats. Seriously. They've deployed them in Mozambique, Cambodia, and other places to great effect. Apparently they can be trained, they're tenacious buggers that aren't easily tired, and--here's the kicker--they're too light to set off the bombs. True story.

Last night, behind my house, I saw a rat the size of a Jack Russell terrier.

I agree that there should be more discussion about whether the election was flipped. But I'd also like to discuss the deeper detail of how 150k people (more or less) can be flipped by the media they are exposed to. Is it basically "bubble-creation"; i.e., you bombard millions of people in a geographic region with biased or fake news and opinions and the net result is a kind of collective acceptance of questionable reportage and commentary?

Yes.  Well, it's partially confirmation bias, but not entirely. 

"Getting three-to-four liberal justices over eight years might make it worthwhile to me. And I recognize the hypocrisy in this! And, am I really different from Trump supporters?" No, you are the same as the women's movement, which sat totally silent during the Lewinski scandal because Bill Clinton was pro-abortion.

I think that's a very broad brush you are using their.  No pun intended. 

When's the last time you heard someone request some/a box of "Tic Tac"?

Or potato chip.  Or peanut.

The Lewinsky case was not in any way related to the Foster case/coverup. Seriously, you suck at facts.


Yes, the Lewinsky case grew out of Starr's initial case, which was Whitewater and Foster.  No?  He also moved to Paula Jones.

Higgledy-piggledy George Papadopoulos Danced with the Russians but Caught, copped a plea. Since then he's dropped the dime enthusiastically. Hillary, I hope you're Watching with glee!

Good.  Almost perfect.  Great dactylic name. clearly losing it, and that's sad. If I were subjected to his "joke," I would just grin and bear it. My real question, though: is it possible that the butt grab is in service of the joke, not the other way around?


...doesn't have chocolate in it. What on earth are you talking about?

That's what I am saying.  I don't mind Cracker Jack, even tho it has peanuts, because it doesn't also have chocolate.

As a former acquisitions editor, allow me to ask -- so when will you ACTUALLY be done with your book?

The summer, I hope.

Okay, we are done.  Thanks much everyone.  Next week, 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.

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.

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