Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Sep 13, 2011

Every Tuesday, Gene publishes weekly updates to his chats.

Gene's most recent chat: August 30

Submit your questions to Gene's next chat.

Lechery poll:
Males under 32
Males 32 or older
Females under 32
Females 32 or older

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

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.

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.

New to Chatological Humor? Read the FAQ.

Ed's Note: If composing your questions in Microsoft Word please turn off the Smart Quotes functionality or use WordPad. I haven't the time to edit them.

Greetings, update readers. I want to start by linking back to the results of last week's updated poll on sex and youth. The results, I thought, showed less lechery than expected among men. Nice going, guys. I have only two observations.

One, I think it is adorable how few men saw a problem with a relationship between a 17 year old male and a 26 year old female but were freaked by the reverse. Two, I was overjoyed, personally, to see that there are about five or six young women out there who can at least theoretically imagine themselves in a relationship with a doddering old person of my approximate age.


Let us remember that the 2nd and 3rd words in that Amendment are: WELL-REGULATED. (A well-regulated militia being...). it must be WELL_REGULATED!!!!!!

Here is the second amendment in toto:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

This is syntax hell.     Apart from the extra commas (which were actually deleted when this Amendment was passed by the states) it is a sentence that would be rejected by any middle school English teacher.

It's a run-on sentence with a dangling participle.  The first part has nothing to do with the second part.  Is it dependent on the first part?  Not clear.    Do we have a right to bear arms if there is no well-regulated militia?  Unclear.  

Another question:  IS a militia necessary to the security of a free state?   Doesn't seem to be; we haven't had "militias" since the war of 1812;  the closest we come today is probably paramilitary white supremacist groups that march in forests, like doofuses.

I think we should repeal the second amendment on grammatical grounds.

You said "Stealing hurts, and is dishonest. Sleeping with another's spouse can be seen as hurting another person, jeopardizing a marriage, and whatnot. It also, arguably, is dishonest because, you know, sleeping with someone is pleasurable -- it's being done FOR YOU. Taking a hit of a pipe that's offered to you just isn't dishonest. It doesn't hurt anyone. You're not doing it for self-pleasure, you're doing it to facilitate a story. " But... what if you would NOT enjoy it? What if you were not attracted to the spouse and had to grit your teeth and think of England (or the byline, or whatever)? Does THAT make it wrong? Does the situation change with gender? Is it wrong only if it's a male journalist sleeping with the female spouse for information or a female journalist sleeping with the male spouse for the story?

Interesting.    I'd fall back on the second element of my answer:   It's still hurting someone -- even if only by deceiving the person you are pretending to find attractive.    It's still a whole nother ballgame.

The other day at the park I heard a mother talking to her daughter, whose name was evidently Madison. Then she spoke to her son who, it turned out, was named Lincoln. I got quite a kick out of it. Is that acceptable terms to name your girl Madison?

My spouse and I were discussing controversial opinions and we came up with a few. We don't share the same opinions, but are comfortable enough to explain them to one another. Without saying which of us has each opinion (even though we're all anonymous here), I will share. First, although willing to be flexible on this position, is that gays shouldn't raise children (although we are both very socially liberal and fully support gay marriage). Second, one of us believes that corporal punishment can improve autistic children (I didn't say "cure.") But some spanking at the right moments would train autistic children to behave more acceptably in social situations. The argument is that as spanking lost favor, autism rates have increased (all along the "spectrum"). Finally, one of us believes in euthanizing the elderly and infirm. Not just mercy killings in what are obviously the last days of their lives, but around the time that full-time nursing care is required. Basically, nursing homes shouldn't exist. No idea how this would be carried out, but the old and sick are a drain on their families and society. So, are we terrible people? And is one of these your secret opinion?

None of these is my secret opinion, and I don't agree with any of them.   But thanks for sharing, you Nazis!

I assume I am at least the 800th person to bring this inaptonym (I hope) to your attention: VA official Kim Nazi established 'Blue Button' system to help veterans print or download their medical records

I tried to interview her for a column!   She declined.

Gene, My long time paramour is challenging my decision not to have children. I can't tell her the real reason, and so she finds reasons (rightfully) disingenuous. The real reason is that I am terrified of having a male child who would share my (unacted upon, mind you) attraction to younger girls. What if it's genetic? How could I live with myself if I brought a predator into the world? Or simply breed another man who lives an unfulfilled life desiring things that society says are beyond evil? I have been honest from the beginning about not wanting children, but now she is asking me to revisit the issue. I need to tell her something honest - she sees through my deception too easily, but the truth would shatter our relationship. She, like you, would be repulsed. Any ideas on how I can say something without destroying the relationship?

Assuming this is true -- and I assume it is -- I don't think you are being honest about your real fear. I think your real fear is not having a boy, it's having a girl. Don't have children. I don't see why you need a more elaborate explanation than "I don't want children."

I think I remember it. You don't care for large breasts. This came up in a chat once and you actually deleted the relevant question and answer from the chat archive so as not to offend.



Ooh, this is interesting.   Another chatter guessed the real one.    And he or she will probably know by the simple fact that it was a smart guess and I am not going to publish it.

I just read "I'm With Stupid" -- how did I miss it before now? -- and the chapter on bathrooms got me thinking. Women use their feet to flush because the handle is covered in filth, right? Well, after I flush, the very next thing I do is wash my hands, and I figure that will take care of any handle filth. Why don't women think handwashing will do the same? Surely women do wash their hands, don't they? Don't they?

This was the big news element in that book:  The discovery by 98 percent of men that women flush public toilets with their feet.   And the discovery, by women, to their horror, that 98 percent of men use their hands. 

Toilets break in ladies rooms more than in men's rooms, because of the added abuse.

Hey, Gene: As a noted local expert on antique clocks, I was wondering if I could hit you up for a little information. I have a very old Ansonia mantle clock that has been in my family for a few generations and would like to have it appraised. It works and keeps pretty good time, but I also might want them look into cleaning it and giving it a "tune up" or whatever. Can you recommend anyone in the DC area? I live in Rockville. I figure you probably have pretty good knowledge of those in the local community who handle old clocks. On another subject, I had reason to take my pet rabbit to the Veterinary Referral Associates clinic in G'burg on Sunday. Noticed that your daughter works there now, although she was not the vet who handled us. Although we ended up having to have the bunny put to sleep, we found the overall experience at that hospital very positive. The vet we dealt with was efficient, informative, and very caring and sympathetic. Nice place. nice to know that they have 24x7 emergency care. Hope Molly likes it there.

It is a nice place! 

If you want to send me a photo of your clock, I can give you an idea of what it's worth, probably.    The guy to take it to is Edward Compton at Ecker's Clock and Watch Shoppe in Bethesda.       My email is weingarten@washpost.com

Do they go together? I have a friend from college (hey Bible Belt Missouri person--she lives there and we went to school there) who is a super nice person and I adored her in school. Well, we are friends on facebook, and she is very active in a pregnancy crisis center, which, as you know, is just a center that tries to prevent abortions. I think these centers are pretty nasty--they have two separate websites, one for "supporters" and one for "lives in crisis" that tout very different messages, so they lure these women in and then give them the hard sell on why abortion is so wrong, etc. I have some very fundamental problems with them and the work they do. so my friend is now posting all their links, including website updates, fundraisers, articles, etc. on her facebook page. I am tempted to defriend her, but I know she'd notice so I feel like I have to justify it. do I say, I admire your work in something you believe in, but don't want your propaganda all over my wall and I don't support this? ugh, I don't want to be preachy back, but these pregnancy crisis centers (all religiously funded) really piss me off.

I would just unfriend her, and if she ever figures out that you have done so,  and asks why,  explain. 

I have a better friend than her:  My friend Libby volunteers at Planned Parenthood clinics.   She's the lady who walks terrified young women  from their cars to the clinic as vicious scum scream "murderer" at them.   Libby is fearless.

This is a different poster but I've often thought that people bring up the idea of adoption without knowing a lot of the negatives. My parents adopted my younger brother and sister and they are a true blessing in our family but it's been eyeopening. The adoption process itself was long, expensive, and difficult, full of disappointments. My siblings have had separation anxiety, abandonment issues and the need to succeed/overachieve. They are tremendously conflicted about their birth families and the unknowns from medical history to "what if we weren't Americans". We as a family have faced unbelievable rude comments about adopting from overseas and the morality of "buying" children. Adoption comes up particularly during the abortion debate and people mention it as a panacea. It's not. I'm a huge supporter of adoption and I believe it has enriched my life immeasurably but it has positives and negatives. Sometimes the negatives need to be mentioned.

Thanks.  I appreciate this. 

But aren't the negatives actually relative positives?   In other words:  Aren't your adopted sibs almost certainly better off than if they had not been adopted?

I don't think anyone thinks of adoption as a panacea; it just sure seems like a great alternative, though.

In explaining how he came to be convinced of MacDonald's guilt, he wrote: "Four stoned hippies can't organize a trip to the bathroom, much less a mass murder" (or something very close to that). I have come SO close to saying that in so many inappropriate settings!

I like McGinniss.   I think he took seriously undeserved fire for "Fatal Vision."   It was a terrific book. 

I also think I'm going to really like the new Doonesbury series on his book.

Could you launch a campaign -- since you DO have a bully pulpit here! -- to persuade airlines to replace their reclining seats, at least in coach? Thanks!

There's a problem here.  It makes sense for planes to have reclining seats: If there's no one behind you, reclining is acceptable and helps relieve the awful claustrophobia of coach.  

All that is necessary is for an airline to ask people not to recline if someone is behind them.   That's all.   An announcement at the start of the flight, when chairs are in their upright position.    And then to enforce it when anyone complains about a recliner. 

But they won't do that, because they don't want to be police.    They'd rather we all suffer.

I recently had an experience that I felt I should share for all of those who would disagree with Gene's aversion to seat reclining on an airplane. I am not terribly tall myself 5'8", but on a recent flight I actually became stuck because the person in front of me reclined his seat. I had put my head down on my tray table to nap. When he reclined the seat went back so far that I could not physically sit back up. There was not enough room for me to manouver my shoulders far enough back for me to lift my head and sit up. I tried to ask him to sit up, but he had headphones on and could not hear me. So I started banging on the sides of the seat. This got him agitated and he turned around to yell at me not realizing or caring that I was stuck. Luckily the nice woman sitting across the isle from me pointed out to him that I was stuck, to which the man replied "that's his own damn fault." Fortunately he put his seat up long enough for me to get free, although he returned it to the reclined position as soon as I sat up. I never got any type of apology from this guy either.

With enormous, profound, and abject apologies, I must report this made me laugh.

Gene, loved you interview with Rep. Chaffetz (RRRRRRRRRRRRRR-I Hate DC). How do we get you to come out and bring some humor to the DC rights movement? I'm bored of the same talking heads at every event!

In politics, there are only two issues about which I cannot even see (from a distance) any arguable merit in the other side.    The first is gay marriage.   The second is D.C. voting rights.   And I know I would feel that even if I lived in Utah.

You cannot oppose gay marriage without being a bigot.  There is no "reasonable" opposition.    It's just impossible.

You cannot oppose D.C. voting rights without being, at some level, a political opportunist.    One can certainly argue that The Constitution doesn't permit it, but plenty of Constitutional deficiencies have been addressed not by amendment but by reasonable legislation that no one challenged.   It's the way D.C. got home rule, I believe.

I pay the same taxes everyone else does.   Yet unlike everyone else in the United States except my neighbors, I have no voice in Congress.     Can anyone, anywhere, argue this is fair?  That this is how it is SUPPOSED to be?

Today, many acknowledge the Vietnam memorial as the best on the Mall. However, I seem to remember that the memorial was denounced by many when it was first revealed. I never hear anyone talk about the WWII memorial. I don't think about art much, but this makes me think that there is more value to art which provokes strong emotion (positive and negative) than there is to middling, calculated pieces which aim to please all.

I agree with that.   And yes, the Vietnam Memorial, as I recall, was initially criticized for being "cold" by people who didn't understand the warmth of names. 

The problem with the MLK memorial is that it is WRONG.   It is idiocy, a false quote, implying precisely the opposite of what Martin Luther King was trying to say.  It must be changed, and will be.   We need to get enough people worked up about it. 

Once again:  In his "drum major" sermon, he was crying out against hubris, against braggadocio.   He never claimed to be a drum major.    He saw drum majory to be part bombast. 

The truncated quote on the stone -- edited not by a historian or a word person, but by an architect concerned with space --  makes King look like a bombastic egotist.   It cannot stand.

The best license plate I've seen was a few years ago in the Commonwealth: "GR8 RL6." (Virginia is, after all, for lovers!)


(Subject line could be a good password, it sounds like.) In an infinite universe, wouldn't you have to take it as coincidence if an alien came to Earth already practicing Judaism? (Also, wouldn't it *have* to be a trick if he did? What kind of son travels all the way through the cold stretches of space, leaving his mother to worry in another galaxy?) Anyhow, yes. It'd be hard not to read a lot into an alien race practicing one of the religions we have here on Earth. But coincidences aren't proof of God, right?

I've been thinking about this.  It's interesting.  But I'm not sure it's even logical.    Christianity and Islam, for example, are based upon specific individuals -- Earthlings.   They are Earth-based religions.

So what would an alien version of Christianity be?  A religion founded by a Christ-like figure who also preached love of one another, pacifism, charity for the poor and whatnot?   That wouldn't be all that inconsistent with the notion of a human-inspired deity to help us cope.

Not sure about Judaism.   I guess if the alien wore a yarmulke and had long hair at the temples and such....

I promise to think more about this for the next time we speak.   That's it for today.

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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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