Chatological Humor update

Jul 18, 2017

You asked for it and you got it. Gene will now be holding weekly mini-chats, where he takes your questions about what's happening in the country -- and anything else you want to discuss.

Gene will still have regular monthly chats, for a fuller chat and poll experience. The next one is Tuesday July 25 at noon.

Good afternoon. 

I love that the Pubs lost their health care plan and may actually be forced to talk to their adversaries and maybe, just maybe, compromise for the public weal.  What a childish system it is within which they all work.  Scenarios like this are what make Communism seem momentarily attractive.  

It's noon.  Let's go. 


I'm worn out. Every week delivers 2-3 new stories that outrage me. I can't keep track of them. I'm close to tuning out. Nothing he does causes anyone with the power or wherewithal to stand up to go against him. I feel like I'm howling at the wind. No one hears and I'm about to give up. I don't expect to see Mitch or Ryan to stand up to him, but I'm hoping somewhere there are a few R's who will finally say "enough". Is this political suicide for them? I would think this would put them on track to be the new leaders of the real future GOP. Even my life-long R mother has had enough. And she's been calling me a socialist for years. Somewhere there's got to be a handful of low-level GOPers in their 30s or 40s who stand up? No?

I hope so.  But for the moment, consider this: 

The GOP failed in its attempt to destroy Obamacare and replace it with something horrible, cruel, and stupid.  WHY did they fail?  Because a few more GOP senators decided it wasn't horrible, cruel and stupid ENOUGH. 

Hi Gene, Serious question. Since Trump's decision to back out of the Paris climate accord, I have become even gloomier about the world's future due to global warming/climate change. It seems like we're f****d, no one in power cares, and even if they did it's too little/too late. Given this, if you were planning to have children at this point in history, would you? I don't mean that environmental impact of having children (which is high), I mean the worry that by having children now you're dooming them to a life in a dystopian hellscape (or at best, they'll live on a spaceship and be fat like the humans in Wall-E). I am a youngish married person who has always wanted kids, but I'm beginning to wonder if it would be an incredibly selfish thing to do.

Obviously, this is not just theoretical for me and my family.  Molly is pregnant.    

I think we must be optimistic.  I is the only way to be.  If you truly believe the world is headed inexorably for dystopia, it makes no sense to just not have children.  It makes sense to kill yourself. 

And I disagree with that.  I am optimistic because it is the only way to be. 

My this is a cheerful chat. 

shouldn't there be a link on this page to the LAST chat? So that while i'm waiting for this one, i could easily go read the last one?

I shall discuss this with Jess The Producer. 

...someone took you to task for allowing me to point out that I had voted against Clinton and would do so again. I'd just like to suggest that the chatter (chattist?) try to get a handle -- without belittling people who think differently than him or her -- on exactly how strong the "Never Clinton" sentiment is in The Real America. I understand why people voted for her, but I don't really think many on your side understand why a lot of us voted against her.

The people on my side are affected unduly by this:

It is not possible to have voted "against her."  Were it only that simple.   You voted FOR Trump (whether or not you actually pulled that lever.)   

I know, if you lived in certain non-combat states you technically cast no vote at all, but I think you see my point. 


I am distracted at work today, filled with a sense of concupiscence after sharing a Metro escalator with a particularly callipygian person this morning. What should I do?

Always keep a healthy dis'ance 

Between yo'sef and concupiscence. 

Have you ever heard of a comic book character named 'Syzygy Darklock'?

I have not.  Explain. 

I recently saw this adjective used to describe Judd Apatow, who is surely a successful and talented person but legendary??? Is this just an alternate to "iconic," another overused/abused descriptor? I'm curious whom you believes deserves to be called legendary and if there is maybe an age threshold -- can you become a legend before age 50, like good ol' Judd?

As an editor I always had a real problem with "legendary," and never allowed its use.  It's because its meaning is murky.  Technically -- inescapably, I think -- legendary means according to legend.  King Arthur is legendary.  Abe Lincoln is not.   I know the dic will provide alternatives, but I don't buy them. 

Apropos of absolutely nothing: if I move back to DC after a near 10 year abscence, where should I find an apartment?

This is too vague a question.  How old are you?  What things do you value, or not value?

For example, I would never live in D.C in any place that was not reasonably walkable to the Metro.  I do not regard buses as a serious transportation option, and I'd never want to rely on a set of wheels. 

How's Barnaby doing? Is he still pulling over bookcases and terrorizing the house?

His most recent feat is almost inexplicable.   I came home to find a fully-opened umbrella in the middle of the living room. 

I am one of your seven (or so) regular chat followers who subscribe to a religion. The article you linked from the woman who excoriated persons who offered religion-based condolences to her after her child passed away has been on my mind. Two things must be said: first, her loss was terrible and must be respected. Second, a perspective: I only offer religious-themed condolences (and other such messages - e.g., May God bless your marriage; may God help you find peace in your loss, I'm praying for you, etc.) to other persons who I know for a fact to subscribe to religious beliefs. I am of the view that all religious persons should be sensitive to this, and should refrain from expressing such views to those you know (or, for that matter, aren't sure) will not appreciate them. This is just common courtesy. To the extent that such sentiments have an undercurrent of evangelism, they are offensive (prolly this makes me a poor evangelist among my own people, but fair enough). But it is my experience that many, many people who offer such sentiments are sincere in them and are intent in expressing kindness and compassion. The origin of this is probably a little bit selfish, I'll grant you - THEY find peace in such things, and they want others to find peace and be comforted, blessed, whatever. So they express the sentiment. I found the woman's piece to be overly strident and regrettably angry, and here's why: we would have a happier society if we stopped looking for offense in every message. I know most of your chatters won't agree, but in my own personal experience, you have to understand that most people have good intentions and mean these expressions kindly. (I KNOW, I KNOW, road to hell paved with them, etc.). We would all be happier if we chill out and don't look for offense and anger ALL. THE. TIME. That's all. Be religious, don't, do what works for you (that sentiment also is problematic to my people, because I don't subscribe to the philosophy that ONLY MY RELIGION IS RIGHT. Religion is a spectrum, you know?--a lot of people looking at the same thing from different places.) But accept that people are trying to do the right thing and don't cut them off at the knees every single time. Sheesh. All the anger tires me out.

I agree with you a hundred percent, and will even go further (106 percent?)  You wrote: 

"The origin of this is probably a little bit selfish, I'll grant you - THEY find peace in such things, and they want others to find peace and be comforted, blessed, whatever. "  

I see no selfishness there.  

This is an interestingly greased slope.  There is a woman who has been writing to me for years, urging me to trust in the power of prayer.  Her emails are respectful, and, in the beginning, really moved me.  She is a devout Christian.  She believes prayer to Jesus works miracles.  She asked me if there were parts of my life that bring me pain, and I said, yes, and she said she was going to pray for me.  I thanked her.  She very strongly urged me to pray for me.  I said, no thanks -- my problems are quite secular. 

She has been writing to me nearly every month.  For years.  Wanting me to pray for myself, telling me she is praying for me.  

I think you can see where this is going.  There is a point at which all of this seems like hostility.  I believe that on the deepest level, she thinks she is doing me a favor.  I do not suspect her of evil intent.  In my better moments, I remain moved by her. 

But in my lesser moments?  

Well, you know.  


Gene, I've been thinking about police shootings since the last chat. Of course we all agree that it's a gut wrenching problem. However, I gotta disagree that there are no easy solutions. I'm writing this as a foreigner who loves the US, got lotsa friends there. You gotta look at other highly developed countries, why don't you try what works in other countries?? We surely don't have these problems. One thing is, you guys hardly ever try to learn from other countries. One chatter last week was exactly right: police work is NOT especially dangerous work, and if they build trust it would be even less risky. You gotta build trust, cops need to trust that a traffic stop is not dangerous to them. And the public needs the same! Police in other countries focus on deescalation. For instance, there's really no need for cops to carry a loaded gun on the hip when handling a traffic stop!! If the suspect for instance knows that the police would have to retrieve his service weapon in the car, he would be a lot less afraid that the cop will make an incorrect spur of the moment decision to shoot first and ask later. "Shoot first, ask later", that's how we in other countries view you guys at times. And that's just tragic cause the US really should be top ranked in every living condition index. You have everything, just stop shooting yourselves in the collective foot.

Amen.  But I think the horses have already escaped.  We have a terribly violent society with waaay too many emotionally disturbed peopled armed with assault weapons.   I don't think you can disarm police officers. 

I'm wearing a pink shirt today, and my daughter is learning about idioms. So I tolk her that I'm in the pink! But then I wondered whether that particular saying is racist or not. Do you know the origin? Does the origin really matter when you're trying to decide whether something has a racist effect in the here and now?

Actual word derivations are of limited importance when they run afoul of gut-level reactions.  This was a lesson cruelly learned by the guy who got fired over "niggardly." 

Apparently, "in the pink" was initially used to describe a certain flower - the dianthus -- at the height of its health.  

I am old enough to remember the original Crayola 16-pack, which included "flesh," which was of course a pinkish hue. 

You know what would have been great?   If "flesh" had been some shade of brown.  Racists would have gone NUTS.   

Regarding the July 11 discussion about being handed a receipt with change on top of it, I don't think it has much to do with the receipt itself, because even at places that don't generally give receipts (e.g., I've only rarely been given a receipt when paying cash at a market stall or food cart), in giving change they almost always put the paper money in your hand first and the coins on top. This makes it easy to drop the coins, so is particularly frustrating at a drive-through window where you're already reaching somewhat awkwardly out of your car window.

Let's analyze this.  Cashiers have told me that it is almost universal, in giving change, to mentally do this:  

1. Count down the bills in an upward direction.   So if you have been given a $10 bill for a $7.26 purchase, the cashier initially says to you (or himself) "Eight-twenty six, nine twenty-six..." while giving you two singles.

2. Count down the change in an upward direction:  "seventy-six..." (giving you two quarters) "Eighty six, ninety six" (two dimes), "Ninety seven, ninety eight, ninety nine, ten dollars." (four pennies.)

Now if that is in fact the mental process, whether it is said aloud or not, it does explain (without intrusion of the receipt) why you'd be given bills, and then coins atop them.  

But  I have also been told by cashiers that the receipt is a pain in the ass, and they hate it when the customer just lets it flutter to the ground, leaving it for the cashier to deal with.  So I think it's just coincidence that the strategic laying down of receipt palm-wallpaper just happens to nicely dovetail with the process of cashiering. 

Speaking of which, why does "cashier," as a verb, mean "fire," as from a job?  I deliberately did not look this up, so one of you fine folks can instruct us all, and look smart. 



From the last chat, I agree that the recent video showed the police officer didn't intend harm, and he seemed genuinely scared and quickly panicked, but...he's a police officer, so isn't he trained to deal with high pressure situations? Surely "What if a suspect says he's armed?" is part of standard police training and drilled into cadets? Seems to me his immediate response to learning the driver had a gun should've been, "Ok, put both hands on top of the steering wheel", i.e., give the driver an unambiguous instruction to follow to reduce the threat, and from there cover him while deciding how to proceed. From memory, what the cop actually said was something like "Don't take it [the gun] out", which is too confusing in that a flustered driver may think they're complying if they reach for something other than the gun, e.g., their wallet. So while I don't think it was murder, manslaughter wouldn't have been unreasonable. Even if the officer is deemed innocent, the victim's family should get compensation, and that police department should review its training procedures. And do more shooting practice: the officer fired from a metre away and didn't hit the target with every round.

Metre!  This is now officially an international chat.  

Let's discuss manslaughter. 

The Wikipedia entry on manslaughter is remarkably good.  But it is also long and nuanced, so I am going to journalistically summarize and oversimplify. 

The term is defined differently in different jurisdictions, and it is possible to apply some of these definitions to this case, and come away with guilty.   But by and large, no.  

I'm being irresponsibly glib here, but implicit in most manslaughter charges is an element of intent -- not the intent to kill, but the intent to hurt, or commit violence.  That's not present here; the cop had reason to believe his life might be in jeopardy. 

Some manslaughter definitions, however, would apply here if the cop was being wildly hot-headed, recklessly endangering another's life through sheer incompetence, emotional instability, paranoia.   That's where you go for a conviction here, but it's a pretty high hurdle. We're back to the initial point, that jurors really sympathize with police and buy that there is no such thing as "a routine stop."

In short, I dunno.  I am a major-league liberal.  I think there is a terrible problem in this country with unacceptable violence by police, particularly where racial bias is or might be a factor. I am absolutely certain that in this case, an innocent man was killed for no good reason. If I am sitting on a civil jury, I do not hesitate to award millions to his family.  I think the police officer was grossly incompetent.  I think he should never again be allowed to carry a gun.

But I don't think I'm sending him to prison for ten years. Intent, intent, intent.  


I get that many people were voting against Clinton and not FOR Trump, but the problem is that those people apparently and inexplicably decided that he was the lesser of two evils. How could people come to that conclusion? That's what boggles the mind of so many.

Yes, that was my point.  And people on our side can never comes to grips with this.   Absolutely everything our Commander in Tweet has done, absolutely everything, was predictable.  Right down to being unable to muster legislative majorites for anything. 

Do you people on the right honestly believe Clinton would have been WORSE?

Hey, read Gene Robinson today. 

Have you ever encountered a situation where there are two awful adults who have a child, and even though you hate the parents, you don't take it out on the child (and even try to care for the child) because the parents' behavior is not the child's fault? I really hope that other world leaders look at American citizens that way.

They won't, I think.  Because we ARE responsible.   

But that question compels me to link you to Louis CK, in this magnificent riff on a terrible kid, Jizanthepus.  (Louis DOES blame the parents. 

She's near the end of that greasy slope, in which people claim that they "love gays too much to let them go to Hell" so they harangue them about their sins.


v. "dismiss," 1590s, from Middle Dutch casseren, kaseeren "to cast off, discharge," from French casser "to discharge, annul," from Late Latin cassare "annul," from Latin cassus "void, empty" (see caste (n.)). Related: Cashiered; cashiering.

Thank you. 

I am old enough to remember a single-panel Mad Magazine cartoon that I still treasure: a cashier at a drugstore calls back to his manager that "these people all want flesh-colored bandages" -- "these people" being a crowd of assorted Vikings, Pacific Islanders, Frenchmen (berets and striped shirts), Native get the picture.

Was that Don Martin? 

Wait. Why? We're all gonna die, and we all know it. Why should I deprive myself of what joy and pleasure I can find now just because I know for a certainty it will end? Do you have to have children and grandchildren yourself to care about the future?

But it's not just that it will end:  It will end in a mad rush to the bottom, to life as a hell on Earth.  That's dystopian. 

Understand, I do not believe this.  I think we always muddle through. 

Not to discount climate change, but this planet has survived multiple plagues, wars, etc. and the human race continues. Have the damn kid.


You're talking about police killings, religion and cashiers making change. Alex Petrie is talking about eclipses and pies. Amber Phillips is deep into explaining the nuances of the failure of Ver. 4 of the Republican health care bill/boondoggle. Thanks to the Wa Po for the great chats.

Alex and Amber and I should declare a coup, separate from The Post, and become zillionaires.  Surely, you'd all be willing to pay, right? 

I'm agnostic. I have a friend who prays for me. She believes it helps. It's well-intentioned. I like it.

I agree.  That is the the situation I am in, with this reader.  You see that, right? 

Sorry, but those of you who voted "against Hillary" need to do some soul-searching. Trump has every negative quality she has, and then some, with a fraction of the intelligence or experience.

Interesting observation.  Which negative qualities do you think Trump and Clinton share? 

""Absolutely everything our Commander in Tweet has done, absolutely everything, was predictable"" Did you read the article that hypothesized that the only really big difference between a Trump Presidency and Clinton Presidency would really be the judicial nominations. Neither Trump nor Clinton are/would get much done with this Congress. But flipping the judiciary and Supreme Court are huge for many voters.

Nonsense.   The United States' standing in the world has been enormously diminished under Trump.  Clinton is widely admired on the international stage. 

Know how to play this game? I was thinking that watching the Repub collapse in the Senate.

It's startling. 

I love that McConnell is actually talking about killing Ocare outright, then starting a long process to replace it. 

Never.  Never will happen.  It's like they've all lost their minds AND spines and genitalia. 

I actually HOPE that evangelicals will spend lots of time praying for me, because it's utterly futile, plus it keeps them from proselytizing folks who might be susceptible to conversion.

I am not as angry as you are.  Seriously. Relax. 


This is a response to the chatter from last week who wondered whether cops were trained to shoot in the knee or the arm to "disable" - the answer is no, absolutely not. The reason is twofold: 1) shots to the extremities aren't as effective when it comes to IMMEDIATELY DISABLING an assailant, and more importantly 2) shots to the extremities can absolutely be fatal just like shots to the chest; outside of movies there's really no such thing as a "shot to disable." In fact, whether you're a police officer OR a civilian, shooting to disable rather than to kill is a great way to get yourself in a boatload of legal trouble, because if you weren't willing to kill your assailant, clearly you didn't fear for your life enough, which means you shouldn't have drawn your firearm in the first place. That might seem heartless but it's actually for the protection of civilians as well as officers - the idea being that "shooting to disable" would allow for the use of their weapons in situations that didn't really merit it. Removing that option from the table entirely, at least in theory, helps ensure that police will only use their weapons in the most serious life-or-death situations. Obviously it does not always work that way in practice.

Several people have made this point.  Police instruct their officers that if a gunshot is warranted, you aim for the core of the body, to inflict maximum stopping power.   If a police officer shoots, she is supposed to be in immediate fear for her life.  You don't get fancy and "wing" someone.   

Remember the old westerns, where the good guys involved in a shootout always got "winged"?   Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, it was a flesh wound to the shoulder.   "I'm fine, he just winged me."

Do you have any idea how massive would be the injury caused by a bullet to the rotator cuff? 

Not that it excuses it, but staffing enough people at a call center so that someone's always there to answer the phone within 5 minutes and trained to be friendly is extremely expensive. A big chunk of that expense is now you get a ton of creepy guys that start calling in, looking for a female voice to harass or at best, just start a never ending conversation that good customer service reps are trained to try to still be nice through. At random large company A that I worked at with a top JD Power customer service score, the cost of those "high frequency callers" hit an all time high close to $100k a minute once we started pushing for top level customer service. The creepers came out of the woodwork.

A hundred thou a minute?   Really?   That is hard to fathom. 

This is an interesting post, though.  You are literally saying that when it becomes known a company has responsive and friendly customer service, the pathetic and perverted start coming out of the woodwork to talk to them? 

Do we have any customer service specialists within the reach of these pixels who can confirm / comment?  

I can tell you that 90 percent of my frustration with corporations is how badly they treat us on the phone. 

By the way, can anyone explain why so many companies are willing to openly lie to you?  No, not "your call is very important to us."  That's such an obvious lie it's really not a lie.  It's reflex-arc, like saying "Bless you" to a sneezer.  I am talking about "Please listen carefully because our menu options have recently changed."   I contend this is never literally true.  I know one company where that line has not been altered in at least ten years. 

I want to shave my butt.

I've been told that one of the great tools against the heat, for men, is to take a tip from the ladies and shave your pits.  I have never been able to bring myself to do that. 

Why hasn't Trump Jr. been arrested yet? Weren't those emails enough to put a warrant out? It's basically an admission to treason, isn't it?

That's overstating it, I think.   It might qualify as a conspiracy to attempt to commit treason, but you know what?  I don't want to see anything as nebulous as that.  I don't know how to say this more plainly: We do not want any feeling that this is a witch hunt.  We need the crimes to be palpable -- something that would convince any reasonably fair-minded person, including a sizeable proportion of Trumpies.   This country, right now, is a powderkeg. It's terrifying. 

Is it pronounced like "you"?

It should be, but no.   

Gene, please help or reassure: my husband and I are moving to a new house within the next month and we have an 8-year-old pup I am worried about. I keep thinking of your essay Why Old Dogs are the Best Dogs, and the moment you knew Harry became an old dog. I have no intention of leaving our dog in an empty house but I'm still concerned. We recently renovated our kitchen and she was pretty wary of all the ins and outs involved with that, so I worry that moving all the furniture might scare her even more. Advice? Thank you in advance.

There is nothing to do about dogs' elemental fears because they are illogical.  Murphy is pretty smart, so when the atmospheric pressure  starts dropping -- often hours before the first thunderclap -- she totally loses her s---.   Now, that's pretty intelligent: remembering past situations, applying them here, etc.   The problem is that her memory goes only so far. She doesn't seem to remember that the last 1,097 times it thundered, she remained alive.  

Your best bet maybe is to get your sweetie to stay for a day with a neighbor?

I get the not-having-kids part and disagree with Gene's suicide suggestion. While I'm not optimistic about the future at all (see not having kids), I imagine there's some positive impact I could make while I'm here.


(This is how jobs get lost via Twitter insanity.)

Tropical Storm Don is "small" and "not well organized".

I hear it sounds just like a runaway freight train.  Also it has dainty hands. 

Say a fatality, not the driver's fault, happened while the driver was texting? What's the appropriate punishment then? Some studies show making that choice to text while driving is similar to choosing to drink 4 beers.

So the driver was texting but the accident was definitely not her fault?  If the texting was not contributory at all?   Not sure how you would know that, but let's pretend you do. 

She should get whatever penalty usually given for texting while driving, when no damage is caused.  

Okay, no.  You'd have to add something, but not much. 

How long before American voters get fed up with all the Republican machinations re health insurance, and elect a Democrat as President, and majority Democratic Senate and House that passes single-payer?

Depends on the events of the next two years. As you know.  My secret fear is that if the economy stays strong, no one will care about anything else. Gah. 

I felt that way until the flood of cities, states, and major corporations proclaiming that they intended to abide by the Paris Accord. There may be hope after all.

I DO think there is hope.  I wish the Pubs were showing more spine. 

Who voted against Clinton and would do so again: Can you please explain your sense of "The Real America" and what that includes? How did you come to a point where you felt certain areas/people/however you define it, should be considered such and others should not be? I'm not trying to be rude or start an argument, but am really interested in the use of the term and your perceptions of what that means. Thanks!

Many chatters have focused on that Real America line.  I ignored it, because please. 

Shooting to disable doesn't really exist in this world other than in the movies. Shooting an arm or a leg is really hard (since they're smaller and they move) and doesn't always disable a person who's really out to get you. Also, it's pretty easy to kill someone by shooting them in the arm or leg. Think about all those veins and vessels that are in there and how quickly a person can bleed out if a bullet hits one. Police are trained that when they draw their weapon, they shoot at the biggest target, the center of mass. The training part should be so that they know when it's appropriate to draw their weapon, not changing where they aim.

Yes, exactly. 

For those of us that lived through George H.W. Bush, William Clinton, George W. Bush, we wanted anyone who was not named Clinton or Bush. But even I supported Hillary 100% when she was compared with Trump, who daily told us how bad of a person he was on the campaign trail. Compared to Trump, there was no excuse not to hold your nose and vote for Hillary.

I distrust Hitler comparisons, in virtually all cases, and I do not mean this to be directly parallel.  Trump is not Hitler.  But  Trump showed what he was as transparently as Hitler had shown Germany by 1932.   And many people supported both of them on the theory that they were just saying what they were saying to get elected -- and that afterward, they would calm down and get real. 

For the commenter hoping for a Democratic Senate, the election map is very tough for Democrats in 2018. Many red states that have Democratic Senators. In order for Dems to flip the senate, things will need to get very bad. In a normal year, this would likely be a big pickup for Republicans.

Right.  It's almost unpatriotic to root for the Senate to flip.  It will mean we are in a handbasket. 

Thank you. That phrase is divisive as "Support Our Troops." Look, people, EVERYONE SUPPORTS THE TROOPS. No one in the U.S. wishes them harm. This is a deflecting tactic that is loathsome.

Yep.  And everyone is "pro-life."  I am, strongly.  But I am also strongly in favor of abortion rights. 

I think Trump has put humanity hurtling down the road to doom. I'm oldish (or old) and I've been a devoted environmentalist since from at least when Nixon was President. I don't have children, so don't worry about the future for my non-existing descendants. My next door neighbors are Evangelicals. They have 9 children, who all marry very young and reproduce. In last November's election, there were 10 voters (parents, children over 18, children-in-law) registered at their address who all voted for Trump. (I am NOT making that up. They have an enormous house.) So why should I care anymore? I've stopped recycling because of them. I just put my recyclables in the trash now.

For some reason, this made me laugh out loud. 

It also reminded me of something:  Like most people, I have several prejudices, only one of which embarrasses me a little, because I cannot defend it logically.   People who choose to have very large families.  I am sorry, People Who Choose to Have Very Large Families.   I judge you, and I shouldn't. that it can quickly lead to noticeable tumescence.

It's a slant rhyme but I'll accept it.  


I also realized for the first time today that the refrain in "Fire and Rain" is NOT sloppy rhyming !   It's A-B-B-A.  

As a former cashier, I found it easier to count up than down. "That'll be $7.86. Out of $10? [Give 14 cents] That's eight dollars [count out two ones], nine, and ten. Have a nice day." It makes more sense even, at least to my mind. No reason to put the coins on top of the bills. None! I decree it!

And I love you. 

Did that once on a whim in my early or mid-20s ... used shave gel, but still experienced terrible razor burn afterwards. Had to run errands afterwards, so only way to get relief was to walk around the store alternating between holding arms akimbo and straight up in the air as if I was practicing the YMCA. That's your public service announcement for the day.

Thank you. 

..because you think you know our menus, even though most of you dont, and when you flail around with invalid choices you just get more angry when you finally reach a human being even though it's your own damned fault. But that's too long to say and it's rude.

But I do not believe that a patent lie is the solution. 

That's easy. For anybody, "Real America" is people who think like me. "The Other America" is everybody else. I, for example, see the "Real America" as those bi-coastal regions with progressive governments and enlightened electorates, and "The Other" as those benighted regions that are still fighting the Civil War, and who collect more in federal payments than they contribute in federal taxes while they decry the evil, awful guv'mint."


You know what?  I make the same division, but on some bad days I think of those others as The Real America. 

Leaving their obvious hypocrisy aside, when all those "faith leaders" met with Trump and laid hands on him, they missed a perfect opportunity to perform an exorcism. Tragic!

Someone should have honked his boob, on the theory that rich people will let you do anything. 

True, she would've had a Congress that wouldn't do anything she asked. But she also wouldn't appoint Cabinet members who actively work against what their departments are supposed to do (EPA, Education, etc.) and would've been more successful in filling jobs.

I don't think it is a legitimate question about whether Clinton would have been a better president.  I don't think a serious person could make a serious argument that she would have been worse than the sack of stuff we now have. 

I'm sensitive to the idea that being authentically pro-life involves instituting policies and changing the culture towards care for the baby and mother before and after birth- it's why I'm no longer Republican- but, please. Favoring policies that have resulted in the deaths of 60 million unborn children since Roe v. Wade isn't "pro-life".

Oh, it certainly can be.  By embracing moral, humanistic positions across all facets of life.  It certainly can be. 

Okay, we're done for the day.  Thanks all.  See you next week. 

I made the comments about Hillary that caused you to compare Trump with Hitler. I apologize if you lose your job because of this. Good luck.


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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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