Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Oct 18, 2011

Every Tuesday, Gene publishes weekly updates to his chats.

Gene's most recent chat: Sept. 27

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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.

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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.

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Greetings, update readers.

Listen to Southern politicians when they are on the national stage.Look at the way Rick Perry dresses and acts in Texas. It's not uncommon. It's pandering - it's what politicians do.

In a CNN segment yesterday on Cain and his "nine-nine-nine" plan, they had a quick-cut sequence of his saying just the phrase.   It was startling!  Most of the time he said nyne-nyne-nyne, but a few times it came out nahn-nahn-nahn.    I wonder if he tailored those for southern and/or black audiences. 

I remember the time Jimmy Carter gave a major energy speech.   The poor man had tried to be schooled, clearly, because he started out saying "oy-il" but by the end of the speech he was back to "awl." 

Ooh, here it is!   The Cain 999 Thing.

I think you've stated that you don't like tattoos and do not understand why people permanently mark up their bodies. The other day I was discussing things with my hair stylist and we both agreed that when we visit new towns or have moved to new places, or are just somewhere we haven't been before, we feel far more comfortable if there are lots of people with tattoos around. For example, I am a shy person who just started taking some classes. When I noticed that most of the students have quarter sleeves of tattoos, or tattoos on their wrists, necks, feet, etc. I immediately felt safer than I had before. It doesn't make a lot of sense but it still works for me. So do you, as a person who doesn't like tattoos, feel less comfortable around tattooed folk?

Sometimes, yes.   At other times, no.

Without realizing it, I just conducted a 45 minute job interview with a rather large piece of chicken from a chicken salad sandwich on my shirt. The person I was interviewing never mentioned it once. I kind of don't want to hire him now, because I feel like he should have said something. Is that fair?

This question made me laugh, both because I am completely capable of having done what you did, and because I would also feel as you did.   I think your interviewee actually disclosed something about himself: he is risk averse.    Judge that in whatever way it strikes you. 

I love moments like this.   There is a nice line in "Moneyball" where coaches are discussing which players to draft, and a named is mentioned, and someone says "he has an ugly girlfriend."    There is a moment's pause, and they guy then elaborates:  "Means he lacks self-confidence."

So as a lifelong Yankee fan, are you getting more into the Nationals lately? This is gonna be a reeeeeally good team. I was at the home finale, and it's obvious these guys are enjoying the ride -- fans AND players. It says something to me when even the role players are already talking about how much they want to be back here next year.

I have decided to start following the team next year.   I have been waiting until I felt my heart would not be crushed. 

This may sound awful to most of you "true fans," but I believe I am a more worthy life form than you.    Here is my explanation:

I am not a baseball fan.   I am a Yankees fan.    I follow the season avidly -- really avidly -- all year, unless and until the Yanks are our of it, at which point it becomes dead to me.  Dead.   I am not following this postseason anymore. 

I know, this is a sick and disgraceful attitude, but it is what I am and what I have always been.     I CARE more than many of you; I invest my being in the fortunes of the team for whom I root. 

Ergo, I will not do so if I feel I am doomed to despair.  I have deliberately not yet embraced The Nats.   That changes, next year, and probably for the remainder of what passes for my life.

I have a son with a severe allergy to peanuts. He literally can't breathe if he eats anything containing peanuts. I used to enjoy peanuts before he was born. Now the very smell of them makes me nauseous and anxious. I think your reaction of the fish breakfast was simply human.

I decided ten years was ample penance.   That, and writing it out loud.   I had a fish breakfast just last week.   No planes into buildings.  The curse is broken.

Last week you commented on how the rightwingers shorten the second amendment by removing a key clause. They also want to shorten the first amendment to "Congress shall make no law."

I like that!

I must confess to thinking the Krauthammer tweet was a joke. I had no idea he really was paralyzed.

You thought I would "joke" about someone being a quadriplegic?

Charles very seldom mentions it, and it clearly is irrelevant to virtually everything he writes; he mentions it when it is relevant, such as if he is discussing stem cell research.    He was paralyzed in a college diving accident.  

I am still unusure of whether that tweet was in bad taste.  I know I read that column of his and felt particularly moved by it; by the way he was describing these physical acts with an appreciation and admiration bordering on worship.  

I disagree with Charles about everything and I think his column can seem really jaundiced.  But I respect him, and it.    I think he is a fiercely intelligent man.

Like you and others at the Post, I was outraged by the "drum major" quote on the MLK memorial. Not only is the misquote absolutely horrid, but it is also personally insulting . I was the the drum major for my high school marching band, and I am simply astonished that MLK would assault my dignity. I was proud to wear a two-foot tall fur hat with its matching foot-long blue plume, and my white buck shoes, and my scarlet breastplate with its four dozen brass buttons, all while carrying a 5-foot long chrome stick and running around bent over backwards like Olga Korbut so that I could direct such sophisitcated musical classics as "The Theme From Hawaii 5-0." I demand an apology.

Indeed, I hope you all saw The Colbert Report take on this. 

I think the inscription is going to be changed.  I predict that in the end, Manteuffel wins this.    

You know, I'm 60 years old, but I never did anything as spectacular in my journo career as getting the words on a national monument substantively changed, for reasons of history and literature and truth.   Man.

Don't know if we're still talking about this topic, but I'm curious if you can pinpoint when you no longer felt tempted by the wiles of teenage girls. Presumably when you were in high school that was not the case, but when did they cross into your automatic "not interested" zone? My guess it was fatherhood that was the trigger, making the high school girls more like children to be protected (even from themselves) rather than women to be ogled. Plus, studies show that testosterone drops with fatherhood.  I'm also betting the 33-year old man who quit teaching high school because of the unbearable temptation was not a father.

I think it was when I was the father of a teenage girl.    What happens is that you see your daughter's friends, and because they're the same age as your daughter, you see them as children.   Foetal.    Needy.  Vulnerable.   Even when they are, like, 16.

Gene, I have a question about airplane etiquette/safety that I know you can answer. More than once, I've had someone next to me using a portable electronic device well after the flight attendant has announced they must be turned off. The most recent incident was last month when taking off from San Francisco. The man next to me had his iPod on. He told the flight attendant it was off when she asked, but it was not--I could hear the music coming out of the earbuds. On one hand, I'm terrified of flying and the thought that something could go wrong because of some selfish jerkface is distressing. On the other hand, what are the chances an iPod will actually cause my plane to crash? I don't want to be a tattletale (and stuck next to the person I tattled on for a 5 hour flight). But I want to feel safe and like other people respect the rules enough to turn off the music for 10 minutes. What say you?

Yeah, I have wondered about this myself: Are we really entrusting our lives to a system so fragile it can be brought down by one doof on an Iphone?

I just did some checking: The airlines won't come out and say that these handheld devices actually pose a threat to their circuitry because they have no science to back that up.    But they also have no science to positively rule that out, either, ergo, the rule.   

What is clear is that WE don't know all of the above, and take it pretty seriously.    On a recent flight a passenger punched out a teenager who wouldn't turn off his i-phone.

I am an atheist. I have thousands of reasons for being one, but one of the most profound, I think, is poop. So we were created in the image of some god. Why on earth wouldn't this god make us slightly better? Why do we spend so much of our time pooping? Why do we get indigestion, tummy troubles, loose stools? You think god was just sitting on the can one day, feeling kind of sorry for himself and said, "Hey! I should make some little people who will have to poop too!"? Do you have any bizarrely over thought reasons for your atheism?

The poop paradox!!   I have not heard of this before. 

No, this is my main reason for atheism, expressed four years ago in a chat.   Make sure you click on the accompanying chart, too. 

And with that we are gone for the day.    Next Tuesday is a real full chat.   See You Next Tuesday.   Please submit your questions there.

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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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