Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Apr 08, 2014

Gene's next monthly chat is Tuesday, April 29 at noon. You may submit questions here.

Although the weekly edition provides an update between live chats, 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.

 Just for the record, we have now reached the point where there seems to be no plausible scenario for what happened to the plane, and/or why it happened.  What's lacking, entirely, is motive.    So, to paraphrase Conan Doyle, and borrow from Occam (or Ockham -- there seems to be an intellectual debate on this)  all that's left is working from the assumption that the motive was precisely what was accomplished: Creation of an Enduring Mystery.  

Let's say one of the pilots was suicidal (or sick) and was amoral, and decided to go out by creating the most gigantic mystery in human history.  Or something.

Sorry, but that's all I got.   

Below I answer some leftover questions.

So as the expert on gender relations, language, and blowhard politicians, what are your thoughts on the Bob FitzSimmonds situation. I thought some of the media stories did him a disservice when they said only that he used an expletive that was a profane description of female genitalia. I assumed that meant the word that starts with a "C", and only later found that it's the one that sounds kind of like "twaddle". But I'm most disgusted that many of those condemning him are Republican politicians who voted for mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasound exams last year and then, when forced to explain their vote, said they didn't know what that meant. Surely voting for a bill that you don't understand is a much greater offense than posting a word on facebook that you don't understand.

There's a full discussion here.  It's clear from the context that he didn't know what the word meant, which is stupid but not bigoted.  

FYI: The British pronounce the word so it rhymes with "fat."

Hi Gene: Your recent essay on Google Voice ("Googe-dy gook") reminded me how much I hate its cousin Predictive Text, otherwise known as Auto Correct. This stupidly predicts what you are going to type. This changes "I'm dating someone" to "I'm eating someone". Or "I'm taking the kids to see Satan". It just keeps making missed steaks. Regards, John O'Byrne Dublin PS: It just auto corrected Weingarten to "We ingrates",

Hi, John.

"We ingrates" is great.   I have a column coming out about Autocorrect.   It's written entirely by readers.

Gene - Is there a name for the phenomenon for people who leave an inordinate amount of space between their car and the car in front of them while waiting for a light? Sometimes I see a half a car length, sometimes I see a full car length and it's not uncommon to see one and a half car lengths between cars. What are these people thinking? Often times they're in a turn lane so all that space causes the turn lane to become overfilled which pushes cars out into the travel lane which reduces traffic flow by 50 or 100%. Does this sickness have a name? Why do people do this? How can we make it stop?

I agree.  It is evil.   I think it is connected to the fact that in public people saunter and mosey, particularly when they are abreast, in groups so large they block the street.

I think it is an unconscious need to Take Up Space.

This is just anecdotal, but I can tell you that my husband, who has spent all of his young adulthood in the age of Internet porn, does ask me to try some things from it. I myself also enjoy watching it with him. We both seem to have a good grasp of when a certain porn has gone to just ridiculous extremes, when the activity is something we just laugh at because, come on, who would really enjoy that, when we appreciate it for creating a fun or titlliating fantasy (that we understand it purely fantasy), etc. I will say, however, I am officially not a fan of the normal porn ending. He did ask me to try it and, as someone who is willing to try most sexual activities between a woman and her consenting husband, I agreed to it. Let's just say it's one of the few things I have decided will NOT be repeated. Just awful. To my husband's credit, he has never again asked me to do it (and, I think, will admit it wasn't all that great). P.S. Boy am I glad this chat is anonymous!

I have alluded to this before.  It is the single worst thing about porn that I have seen.   And if you think about the impulse it must satisfy, it's even worse.

Love the first.  The second is a bit icky sweet, maybe.

I understand that, according to the Washington Post stylebook, you cannot print the last name of Pete, who was a 1B/OF for the Royals and Cubs in the 1970s and whose father was "Hollywood Squares" host Peter Marshall. He would be my nominee for worst baseball name, hitter division... unless we could find someone named Bobby Strikeout or Stan Weak Grounder.

We can always print people's names.  He was Pete LaCock.

Woman here. I went all day yesterday with a giant hole under the armpit of one of my favorite shirts. You'd be surprised how much we miss.

Several answers like this.  Monica Hesse said a similar thing in a recent discussion.  I am shocked.

Did you hear about these guys that jumped off 1 World Trade Center and filmed it ? I immediately thought about those poor souls that jumped to their death on 9/11, I hope these guys pay heavily for doing that. I think it was sacrilegious.

Well, this is interesting.  The guys did it six months ago; it is not clear how the video surfaced, but they claim they did it for the big of it, not to get publicity.  The claim would seem disingenuous but for those silent six months.

Had they done it for the publicity, I agree with you completely.  Appalling bad taste.   If they did it as a private act of stunning daring, I'm not sure.  (It's also telling that they did it at night.  As you know, I believe that what happens in the brain and stays in the brain can't be a sin.   Here's a TV piece on it -- see what you think.)


Hi Gene - Your story about kids being left in hot cars has haunted me for years. I am guessing you might have seen the story about the homeless mom who left her 2 young kids in the car while she was on a job interview, and was subsequently arrested. Unlike the folks in your story, this was a conscious choice. But I can't imagine being in her situation either. I was wondering about your take on it. Here's a link to the story if you haven't heard about it.

This is awful, awful awful.   A desperate person in terrible straits doing something deeply unwise.   And, my lord, she lost her children. 

But what she did was deeply irresponsible.   Those children could easily have died.    In fact, they likely would have.   A passerby saved their lives.

In general, I am not opposed to bringing criminal charges in cases where the parent did it deliberately, and it is not a simple failure of memory, though this case stretches my sympathy.   Look at her mugshot.  It is heartbreaking.


I saw your inquiry about butt dialing. I once did something similar, yet the phone was in my front pocket. I did not have the heart to tell the person I accidentally dialed, yet, technically, I penis-dialed her.

Nor should you have.    He is referring to a tweet of mine wondering whether it is at least a little exciting for a guy to realize that a woman has butt dialed him.  The front-pocket development might raise the heat a little more.

This does remind me that when I was a kid -- thinking late 50s, early 60s, girls' pants seldom zipped up the front.  I remember zippers on the side or rear.   Why the heck was that?

I think what really gets me in this whole thing is that Snyder - in his obstinance - is turning down a real money making opportunity, which is really what owning a football team is all about. Sooner or later, Snyder will be forced to change the team name. If it isn't a court order, it'll be overwhelming public pressure. If he's forced to do it, he won't be able to change it on his terms and his timeline. But if he does it on his own, he can set the whole thing up to his advantage. Here's how: Announce that the Washington Redskins will be changing their team name NEXT season. Not this upcoming one, but the one after that. The fans will have one last full season of their team with the old name. Now start producing "last year" merchandise. Instantly, everything with the 'Skins logo and name is valuable, because there won't be any more. Every game will be the last time so-and-so face at home (or away). Fill up the stands! Where will you be the last time the 'Skins go against the Giants? And of course, every game will have its own merchandise set for purchase. Imagine how many fans will want a $20 cup for their beer that they bought the last time the Redskins faced off against the Cowboys at home! T-shirts, jerseys, hats, lanyards, programs! Sell things signed by famous Redskins! Sell things signed by the current team! Money, money, money! Now start the events. What would YOU name the team? Come to so-and-so event (tickets sold through Ticketmaster) and put your submission in the box! They'd sell merchandise at the events, of course. Snyder can run events for charity too, for the tax write-off. And there's no reason why he has to run with any suggestion from the crowd. The last season ends, and out comes a big coffee table photo book with the team's history from the start to the last season as the Redskins. Selling for $200 each of course. Signed copies are much more. Between the seasons, announce the final 5 team names and have public voting. They angle it so that it's funny by announcing some of the weirdest suggestions from the public, too. Gets the chatter going, and oh, here's some leftover stock with the old logo for sale! Then announce the new team name and show off the new logo! Big press conference, big news, big sales. The new merchandise goes for on sale. Don't you want to be the first on your block to get a Washington Somethings t-shirt? The new season of the new team name starts and it's the FIRST time the Washington Somethings face the Dallas Cowboys! Don't you want a commemorative cup? Only $20! I mean, Snyder, really. If you're going to be in it for the money, actually be in it for the money!

This is the point I was trying to make, and it is proof that it is more important to Snyder to be a recalcitrant a-hole than to be as rich as he can be.

I was thinking about posting re: porn and all, until I read your misunderstanding about asparagus. I needed to act. It USED to be believed that everyone secrets smelly pee after eating asparagus. However, further research showed that this is not true. There is some sort of genetic link to being able to smell asparagus pee, and a DIFFERENT genetic link to being able to PRODUCE smelly asparagus pee (I skimmed this part just to verify that I was right). What is interesting about this is that it breaks people into four groups. Those that can smell their own smelly pee, those that do not produce smelly pee and can't smell others', people who can smell others' smelly pee but cannot produce their own, and people who produce smelly pee but cannot smell it. I have never smelled asparagus pee, but I without going around smelling other people's pee after they eat asparagus, I can never know which of the last three groups I am in! [Source]

This is quite remarkable.   It's also so boring it took me a long time to get through, but I do believe you are right.  There are four types.     And, like you, someone who does not produce asparagus pee is likely never to know for sure whether he can detect asparagus pee in others.    The only people who know for sure where they stand are producer-smellers, like me.

Suppose your husband/boyfriend watches the occasion porn. Nothing truly deviant, just basic sex. Do you have a specific reaction if he seemed to favor porn with women physically similar to you? or very different from you?

Good question !


A friend of a friend of mine once found some porn by accident on her father's computer, and was briefly horrified to realize that the young women kinda looked like her.   She felt relieved when she realized that there was a perfectly good and reassuring reason for that: She kinda looks like her ma.

you wrote "Maybe it's my training (journalists are strongly discouraged, at peril of our jobs) from ever doing anything deceptive in pursuit of a story -- but I find this trick of his deeply dishonest." I guess this doesn't include posing a a dying man's doctor - that is OK. Note: I have no problem with you saying that posing as someone else is unethical, but don't then turn around and say you've never done it.

Whoever this poster is keeps trying to get this in pixels, and I keep not doing it, and no doubt he or she keeps thinking I am skulking away from The Truth and what have you, so I will address it here, finally.

1.  I never "posed as a dying man's doctor."  I did something lesser, but also wrong.

2.  I never said such a thing was okay.  I specifically condemned it.

3. The thing you are referring to, which fell short of "posing as a dead man's doctor" is something I DISCLOSED to a room full of journalists at a public symposium two years ago, to much publicity, as a means of discussing a tactic I used at age 23.  No one had outed me because no one on Earth had known about it.  I revealed it about myself.   I took a vote -- everyone said it was unethical -- and then I said, good for you, of COURSE it is unethical.

4.  This is what I actually did; when I walked into a sick man's hospital room, he looked up and said "doctor?"   I walked up to him and instead of shaking his hand I took his pulse.  (Deceptive, manipulative, unethical.) Then I told him I was a reporter, and started asking him questions.  Because it was clear that his mind was foggy, I kept reminding him I was a reporter.   This man was the center of a corruption scandal, and he gave me information that wound up breaking the scandal wide open.   It was hugely in the public interest.   I have no ethical problem with my having interviewed him, but, as I said at the time, the little pulse-taking move was beyond the pale.  

5.  Dear relentless poster of this story: Do you believe me yet?  No?  Okay, fine.   Here is a complete transcript of my speech, made by the Nieman Storyboard people because it was so interesting.   The hospital anecdote is the second half.

We'll go out on that one. 

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.

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