Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Aug 05, 2014

Gene's next monthly chat is Tuesday, August 26 at noon. You may submit questions here.

Although this 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.

Greetings, update readers!

Today, I'm answering some leftover questions from last week's chat.  

What's up with the whole "Maryland Crab" (many of which are imported from Louisiana...) thing? Too much work for too little return. Now, if you want to talk Alaskan King Crab, I'm listenin' ....

Best crab value, in terms of succulence / cost: snow crabs.   

Used to be Florida stone crabs, but I have recently determined their quality has severely deteriorating.  An epicurean tragedy.

I was really struck by the commenter who said, " I grew this stupid beard because my wife likes it, and she's kept her beautiful long hair because I like it" -- my husband first noticed me because of the braid I wore down to my waist. Funny thing about getting older -- we can lose our hair. He still loves me -- the hair has nothing to do with it. (Never entirely sure exactly what he thinks about my beard; it was a van dyke when we met and he was definitely surprised when I grew out the full beard...)

I like how you crafted this post: The matter-of-fact, nothing-to-see-here tone. 

The only part of the medical mysteries column in the Post that I can't stand is that no one has the courage to name the incompetent doctors. The Post should either be confident in the story to present the facts with the names included or else just present it as a fictional story.

Oh, no no no no no.

Basically, our lawyers would never let us do that, and for good reason.   Doctors survive on their reputations.   Anything that might adversely affect their reputations could hurt them enormously.  Doctors have a lot of money to sue.   

These cases we write about are sometimes ambiguous; the doctor making the wrong call might have practiced due diligence -- he just might have been wrong, within the reasonable medical expectations.  A "bad result" doesn't always imply malpractice.   My knee-replacement surgery was pretty botched; I would never name the doctor, because I don't feel he committed malpractice.  I think he made a few moves that did not work out. 

The risks here for The Post are too great.   If we insisted on naming all the doctors who guessed wrong, our lawyers would end the Medical Mysteries feature.

Note: All of the previous, re the Post, is assumption by me based on 20-plus years as an editor.   I have no inside information on why the Post doesn't name the doctors, but I'm pretty damn sure I am right. 

Dave is a cad, but he also reminds me of that old tale that if you drop a frog into a boiling pot of water it will hop right out. Drop the frog in cold water and turn up the heat - the frog will stay in until it's boiling. If Dave had met Robin 30 years ago he would have had sex with her and would still be doing it now. He just wasn't willing to jump in after the water was boiling (or boiled!)

Interesting analogy.   By the way, the frog-water thing is not true.  For frogs and water.   Frogs are not idiots.  They will not stay in a pot of water that becomes uncomfortably hot.

Although I'm not, I could be the first poster of "Men, Bleh," I'm 47, single, reasonably attractive, etc. But I thought I had actually found someone that I enjoyed spending time with, had great conversations, FANTASTIC sex, etc. We met online, approximately 4 months ago. Fast forward to yesterday when I received an odd text from him. It read "How will I know you? What are you wearing?" immediately followed by "Sorry, wrong recipient! I'm selling object XYZ on craigslist, and I'm meeting the guy at Coffee Shop." I sent a jesting text back, taking it all lightly, saying it was totally understandable. But it just set off so many warning bells and flares. This, coupled with the fact that he's a professional entertainer, so our schedules don't work out so we can see each other more than about every 2 weeks make me wonder if he's not out trolling for something more. So, my question to you, Gene, is do I take his text-retraction at face value? Was it innocuous as he said? Or should I be listening to my gut reaction that he's dishonest and I should run? I know this is more of a Hax question, but Hax isn't a guy. I'd like to know what guys think/do. Is this the sort of thing a guy would ask if meeting someone for some sales transaction? And if the answer to that is that a guy might do that, maybe, but it is a bit odd...how would I find out the truth of the situation?

Maybe I'm naive but I'm not sure why you leapt to the conclusion this was an assignation.  His wording doesn't sound flirty to me.  


Whoops, hit submit too soon by mistake. I was going to say, I get that in today's easy hookup culture it's not uncommon for people to end up in bed before they know each other well. BUT -- if you are transitioning, and not yet transitioned, and you're out with someone who doesn't have reason to know this, shouldn't you take the extra step of revealing this BEFORE you take off your clothes? Out of respect for your prospective partner?

Well, I think that was one of the sub-themes of the trans writer who slammed the old man and his penis song.  She suggested that he was perpetuating a hurtful myth: That trans people try to fool their dates.   

I'm willing to stipulate that this is in fact seldom the case.  Why would it be?  You think a trans person wants to risk that kind of rejection?

But, as I said, I don't believe the song was suggesting that.   He made no mention of how he discovered the beautiful woman was trans.

Did there used to be a journalism code about how much of another source could be quoted under "fair use" rules? Seven lines or some such odd number?

Uh, no.

"A condom filled with walnuts" is plagiarism. 

The Style Invitational once had a contest to ruin a great line of writing by adding something to it.   One of the winners was "Jesus wept buckets."  It was by Elden Carnahan, of Laurel.   In terms of creativity, it is technically one word.   If I appropriated it without attribution, I would consider myself guilty of plagiarism.

I am not accusing these vapid people of that.   Possibly they independently came up with it, despite being morons.

Actually, I think I know what you were getting at with "fair use." There is a doctrine that you can quote a certain amount of a copyrighted work -- say, a song -- without having to pay royalties. But that is not about plagiarism. In that case, you will be attributing the song; the issue is can you USE it for free?

If Robin's weight had been the issue, presumably, they wouldn't have reached the "spend the weekend together" stage. The cruelty of Dave's evaluation of Robin lies in the fact that he cited factors that were completely out of her control.

I'm going to end with this one simply because it is provocative.   Just FYI, I think many people out there are bristling.  I think many people who are considered conventionally overweight would argue that their weight is not completely in their control.

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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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