Chatological Humor update

Jun 12, 2018

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.

Good afternoon. 

There is one moment I remember distinctly from the 2008 debates between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  It was the only moment in which I thought Hillary kicked his butt.  The question was something like: "Would you visit the leader of Cuba?" and Obama said he absolutely would, that conversation is always a good thing.   And Clinton said that that had been a seriously naive answer, that a visit from an American president was a precious commodity, that it conferred respect and respectability, and needed to be dispensed wisely and strategically, as a reward for some action of which we approved. 

I am not the first person to say this, but Kim won the summit before the parties ever met, whatever subsequently happened.  Our ignorant, impulsive president had given him a gigantic gift of stature -- a gift he didn't deserve -- and that stature holds.  You can see it in the coverage of the MSM, which by and large has been credulous, treating this as something it is not, some sort of significant diplomatic breakthrough.  It is a ceding of American morals and dignity. 

Kim is a true monster.  He has enslaved his people, imprisoned them by the tens of thousands, murdered them, raped them, and terrified them into tragicomic obeisance.  About the only thing he has been accused of that he probably didn't do is have his uncle fed, alive, to starving dogs.  That appears to be apocryphal.  He just had him murdered.

We gave him dignity on the world stage.  Trump, the fool, actually told George Stephanopoulos that Kim's people love him, something so credulous and naive and obscene that it defies belief.  And this was after he had savaged Justin Trudeau as some sort of evil, lying guy.

This was a disaster.  Trump got played like the bozo he is. And it's because he loves and admires and envies autocrats.

--

I had written a small tribute to Anthony Bourdain, with some lame reflection on what it meant, and then I read David Simon's tribute -- unlike me, Simon knew him well -- and killed my tribute with extreme prejudice.  Please read this.

And finally, another observation stolen from someone else.  DeNiro screwed up mightily.  He handed a weapon to the enemy.   As Dan Zak said on Twitter , this was a horror and all right-thinking Americans should be pissed as hell at DeNiro. 

Okay, we start at noon sharp.  

 

 

Rebecca Johnson sounds like an absolute hoot! Was she as fun to interview as she appears in your column? Her Web page says her grandfather invented double-sided tape.

It's in reference to this column. 

She was one of my favorite interviewees ever.   It is rare that someone so instantly gets what I am trying to do, and adapts perfectly to it, and does it with the perfect deadpan sense of humor. 

Billy Collins is another.

Fully agree about DeNiro. After the backlash on Samantha Bee, people should realize that things like that only strengthen his base.

Samantha Bee was somewhat unfairly maligned, but I agree with your point.  She had bandied the c-word before without significant blowback, and figured it was safe.  It was a coda.   But she should have reckoned with the political posse out there.  

I understand your point, and mostly agree with it, but what gets me the most is that Pres. Trump not only avoided any human rights point (as if he cares about other humans), but also failed to secure any sort of verification, defined steps, or oversight of denuclearization. Wasn't that the goal? If you're going to dole out this huge thing, shouldn't you at least achieve the goal?

Yeah, and in promising no more military exercises, he also dissed our principal ally in the area.  As he is wont to do.

Is there a word or term that describes an instance where antonyms can properly be used as synonyms? The example I'm thinking of is up/down. I can properly ask my friend, "Are you up for seeing a movie on Saturday?" just as I can ask him, "Are you down for seeing a moving on Saturday?" I fear that literally/figuratively have moved into this category as well.

Dunno.  But I am fascinated by words that can be used to mean opposite things:  Cleave it to your chest, cleave it in two.  Something that is sanctioned can be accepted, or punished. 

It's fine.  He's the buffoon president and has really ridiculous hair.   My biggest question is how that soft-looking mop could possibly function as a toilet brush. 

The coverage by the MSM has ignored the enormity of the US Government treating Kim as anything other than a monster. My question -- seriously, I'm hoping you have some insight I can't see -- is why? I used to watch what was once the MacNeil/Lehrer Report with slavish devotion for something like 20 years beginning when I was in my teens, and I was frequently frustrated (especially after MacNeil retired) by the anchors' refusal to push back on answers from government officials that anyone paying the slightest attention knew were false. I understood that the NewsHour platform was considered a vehicle for officials to make their own best case, rather than a forum in which they'd have to defend themselves in a debate with an informed questioner. I understood the logic of that, although I wasn't sure I agreed with it. 3-4 years into the Bush II Administration I realized that this imperfect gentlemen's agreement only works at all as long as the officials don't abuse it by blatantly lying, so I stopped watching and I've never gone back (even though I thought Gwen Ifill tried very hard to make a dent). Now, we are in a reality in which the lying is so blatant that even the word "lying" doesn't do it justice, and I know the MSM is full of well-informed people who know this. Why are your colleagues still approaching Trump's actions with credulity? It's starting to seriously scare me,.

I think there are two answers and neither is good.

1. MSM is overly deferential to officialdom.  Has always been.  Perfect example is that the only time they tend to publish a profanity is if someone important and official says it.

2. MSM likes big important stories.  Making this a gigantic dipolomatic overture and analyzing its effects is more exciting than saying: Two douchebags don't do anything important.

I feel that if we have any hope of resolving the vast divide in this country, we have to build bridges instead of continuing to burn them. But among the lefty-liberals of my friends, I see continuing bridge-burning: vegans celebrating the death of Anthony Bourdain being a recent example, DiNiro's speech another. I see people of good intentions splitting themselves into non-communicative silos where their litmus tests for what is good and right shut out other people of good intentions who are not so far away from them. I personally have never been converted to a cause by someone yelling at me. How do we get by this?

it's really hard because we are so polarized, obviously.  And because, frankly, the guy in the White House is such a horror.  You can't ignore that and you are part of the problem if you do.

I had to put my dog down two weeks ago. Because she was aggressive. She was 95% good girl and 5% unpredictable. Her mother stopped feeding her when she was five weeks old. I got her when she was just under six weeks old and I was her third home. She was a good girl but she had an aggressive streak she had bitten me a few times and two weeks ago she attacked me. I walked her two hours or more every day off leash (I live in a mostly rural place and knew the areas we could safely go off leash)and we played ball on the house every day. But she never really got attached to me. She was so great with other dogs. I got so many texts every morning asking if my daughter could come play with their dog. But she was always skittish around the owners. After she attacked me two weeks ago my neighbors called the rescue squad because I was bleeding so much I had eight punctual and needed stitches. The next day I tried to rehome her. I called my veterinarian the SPCA and the dog warden and they all said my best Thing I could do was to put her down. And that is what I did. It’s still pains me

You had no choice.  There was something wrong with her.  Had she bitten someone else, you would have been in serious legal jeopardy because you demonstrably knew she could do this.

I had a nearly identical situation with a Great Pyrenees named Annie.   Identical.  She bit my wife severely.  She tried to kill Harry. We also tried to re-home her, with no luck because we had to be honest with potential adopters.    She had to go.  She went.

He was already on probation for backing a film that advocated the discredited blaming of autism on vaccines a couple of years ago, IIRC.

Yes, but in his defense, this was one of the best SNL skits of all time.  I love how he keeps a straight face.

I mean, what if Kim actually disarms his nukes, and what if there's actual peace in Korea and China's influence actually wanes? What if Iran's people take back their country from the jihadis? What if the new trade policies actually help bring production back to the US, or at least level the playing field? I'm as skeptical as the next guy, but what if all this works out? Your worst nightmare, right?

You are not as skeptical as the next guy.  You are being so openminded your brains are falling out. 

This man is attempting to dismantle the influence of world democracies.  He's an autocrat.  He is a kleptocrat.  He has the worst interests of humanity in mind.

Alexandria Petri will restart the Compost Live chat within a month. She has just quit the chat with no explanation. We miss her! And since she was scheduled for 11am it's not like she was interfering with your stellar chat.

As you can see, she is chatting right now. 

Alex tells me she was out of commission due to a combination of benign factors, among them that she had technical difficulties getting the chat software to work from a remote location.  She's baaaack.   Relax.

Regarding the Roseanne vs. Samantha Bee dust ups, there is no comparison here. I work in Corporate America, have to go through all these training sessions on behavior in the workplace. I tend to view the political & social outrages through that lens: would this be a firing offense at my place of business? Believe it or not, foul language is not a firing offense, nor is it considered something that creates a hostile work environment, at least according to the HR professionals that have trained us. Its not considered good form or professional conduct. You'd probably get "counseled" by your manager, but you wouldn't get fired over it (unless it became a seriously chronic problem). The racist comment? Firing offense! Its pretty much that simple. Now, if you want proper equivalency, Joy Reid on MSNBC has got to go. All of her stuff, homophobic comments, then trying to lie her way out of it, have no idea why NBC is tolerating that.

Well, yeah, this is kinda obvious.   But it does remind me of a rule I figured out as a young reporter.   Never use profanity in an argument, because if you do, you lose the argument regardless of how right you were.   The entire analysis of who is right devolves to whether profanity was used.

Me:  Wally said it is okay to pistol-whip your sources to get information! 

Wally:  Gene said f---. 

HR:  Gene, you need six months of sensitivity training.  Case dismissed. 

Does Molly get training on how to have these conversations with pet owners? We're currently on that treadmill with an elderly cat, and I'm struggling to get my view across. It's not just one vet. We've seen multiple vets in a large practice, emergency vets, and several specialists. Every time I go in determined to to hold the line as her quality of life declines, but then they rattle off a bewildering number of options. Clinging to shreds of hope, I agree to one more specialist, one more test, one more medication. I guess I wish someone would give me permission, or at least include it in the list of options. I just don't understand why as each treatment fails the list of possible treatments doesn't get any shorter.

I don't think you are seeing vets with anyone's best interests in mind but theirs.

Molly was always really compassionate and understanding of the practical questions involved, and of the issue of quality of life.

OK, so obviously, you've seen this:  I just have to give Mr. Wootson a virtual hi-five for this sentence: "It was a rare instance in which a man hiding in bushes taking photos of someone defecating became a neighborhood hero." Well done, sir.

It's really spectacular.  I love that the mad pooper had the presence of mind to just pull up his pants, smile, wave, and move on.    Nothing to see here.  Move right along. 

Exactly. To talk about bridge-building with these horrors is to normalize the abnormality they represent.

Yes, and yet:

The rancor is also part of the problem.

Even the Post. I accused the Post of being a propaganda machine for Bush and his run-up to invading Iraq and I still believe that was true. Whatever happened to the Post of Watergate was my thought then. All except NY Times seemed to accept everything Bush admin said as true with no digging for the facts. And the op-eds run then were 3 to 1 supportive of Bush. At least now the Post is publishing many op-eds exposing Trump for what he is.

Um, the Times was not blameless.  They ran LOTS of rah-rah stories by Judy Miller that proved to be garbage.

Which word is funnier: poo or poop? Thank you, sir.

Poo is funnier.  I am frankly surprised you had to ask.

The Supreme Court, by a 7-2 decision, upheld the rights of a baker to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The fact that it was a 7-2 decision means it was not just the arch-conservatives voting for the decision, but the moderates as well. I find this exceedingly troubling because of what it implies about the current makeup of the court in light of probable upcoming decisions they may be called upon to make. Do you agree this is an ominous sign?

I do not. 

It was a very limited decision, and it suggested that had the court ruling been less obviously religiously discriminatory, it might have been upheld.

I'm not the original poster, but we probably have similar reasons for disliking if not hating dogs. • Dogs are too high maintenance. I can never relax around a dog. Either I’m pushing it off me or trying to keep it from doing something it shouldn’t - running away, eating things not meant to be eaten, destroying things, jumping up, etc…. What’s that you say? A well-trained dog won’t do those things? Refer to the first sentence in this paragraph. • One has to be constantly attentive their toileting requirements. I don’t want to arrange my schedule around a dog’s potty needs. • Licking (come on, they eat their own poop). • Dogs stink. Even clean dogs have that funky dog smell. • Barking • Snarling, lunging, biting, chasing.

You lost me at "it."

How do I write a great feature article in a feature writing contest? From the title down to the conclusion pls. Help me out mr. Gene

You find a really great story, and then you write it great. 

Also, you NEVER set as your goal the winning of a prize.  That is madness.  And self-defeating.

Dear Gene, You can type as many spaces between sentences as you want. Two, three, four. Browsers will strip extra white space beyond one space worth. So, I'm afraid your fight is lost.

Oh, definitely.   This is, at this point, an academic discussion only.

And yet brain-damaged human beings who murder can be exempted from the death penalty precisely on account of mental illness.

And if there were mental institutions for dogs, we would have sent her there.

Yes, Un is a monster. But has avoiding despots ever actually worked? Isn't it better to make peace with a horrible leader rather than shunning them?

Make peace with?  Maybe, though it didn't work so great for Neville Chamberlain.   But what you DON'T do is lionize.  Give them legitimacy. 

Holy crap. That was GREAT writing. " Or even further afield, he was hours to the west at an Opelousas campground boucherie where keepers of the Cajun cultural flame battled through a 98-degree day to disassemble an entire pig at fifteen separate stations and make all of it disappear in gastronomic ways that no Royal Street restauranteur could ever fathom." wow.

It was long but utterly brilliant and painful and so obviously heartfelt.

It's all downhill from here.

I contend it is only an opposite if misused.  Uphill from here means bad.  Downhill from here means good. 

Things were going downhill is a different usage.

But what Bee said is not just a swear word. Its a horrifically misogynistic word. Yes, I know she's used it before, and she's not otherwise a misogynist, but I dont think that gives her an out. I think calling a woman a c___ would get people fired in many workplaces

I think she felt immunized, with some reason. She ain't no misogynist.   A good analogy is that black people can use the n-word without penalty.  Nobody else can. 

But it was still politically idiotic.

When you start with Trump is a horror...don't you lose half of those who could start to see your point of view? A lot of people voted for Trump...saying that the country needed someone to disrupt the way things have been done (since the way things have been done has produced negative effects for them). Isn't Trump doing the disrupting they voted for? Doesn't it sound elitist to dismiss all of them in one fell swoop? Wasn't part of the vote for Trump a vote against elitism?

I didn't say the people who voted for him were horrors.

I said he has turned out to be a horror.   You want to debate that, fine.

Do you think you are the only person who believes his opinions are 100% correct?

That is a "beat your wife" question.   Like, exactly.   I don't do that, either.

How do I translate a sonnet from another language into English and still preserve the rhyme scheme? I can either do an eloquent blank verse rendition, or I can produce doggerel that rhymes, but not both. Any suggestions, since you seem able to rhyme so readily?

Oh, that is one of the hardest things in literature to do.  You have to be a poet in both languages.  I am always amazed when it is done well.   Can anyone come up with a great example?

I'm just spitballing. What if it *does* work? it could. It probably won't, but it could. Assuming it can't isn't accomplishing anything but making you feel superior.

What if a monkey accidentally paints a great piece of art? 

In this frighteningly chaotic political clusterfx currently swirling through the headlines, I find that I get more and more comfort from my elderly cat sleeping on my lap. So, how's Barnaby? Has he calmed down enough to provide calming lap-snoozes? Or is he still swinging from the chandeliers?

He is a complete monster and a-hole.   He does bite less.   I love him profoundly.

Is it wrong for me to giggle about the fact that one of the Caps is named Christian Djoos? Apparently the last name is actually pronounced something like "juice," but one of the announcers kept pronouncing it "Jews" throughout an entire game and my humor bar is, I now realize, very low. Never mind.

Well, the real question, then, is what is "Christian Juice"?  If it is Episcopalian, it would be coffee.   But in general, red wine, right?

I'm sure you've seen your share of non-traditional obituaries, but this aptonym could be the lowest of Dehmlow

I have some conflicted feelings here.  I generally applaud publishing things that are jaw dropping.  "Hey, Edna stories" I call them.   But it's mighty mean, and as some of the comments point out, there has to be more to the story.    I am actually surprised it was published.   Most newspapers would quail at this, for the above reason. 

Click on the picture above the article for a good aptonym 

That is excellent.  

It also makes me want to link you to my friend Eric Brace's band's (Last Train Home) great song, Donut Girl.

Eric has not confirmed this, but I believe that "glazed look" is double entendre.

Serious question about the arrest last week of a SSCI former staffer who was providing information to several reporters. Quite a few articles have been written about FBI overreach in seizing one reporters phone and emails. However, this reporter was also engaged in an intimate relationship with the same staffer. The information from the staffer presumably was key to the reporter’s rapid rise in journalism and early breaking of stories. Considering all of this, what are your thoughts on the FBI action and whether the reporter acted ethically? Frankly, there are some who question whether she traded sex for access...it doesn’t help that she was substantially younger than the staffer. I don’t think it’s that simple, but the whole situation makes it hard to just have her back as I normally would for a journalist in this situation.

Honestly, I don't know enough about this case to comment intelligently, but I will say you are on very touchy grounds when you suggest a woman "traded sex" for anything.  It's an easy, sexist charge, and is seldom true.  People have relationships.

To stand up in front of an adoring crowd of liberal, theatrical New Yorkers and say what he said, with such understated eloquence? That's a real man. Now I want to see his bravery in front of, say, a Rotary Club luncheon in Shawnee Mission, Kansas or maybe a VFW chapter in South Carolina. Then he should call Scorsese and see if he can be in a watchable movie for a change.

Yes, exactly.

I've been surprised (in a good way) but how widely his death is being mourned. He had fans across the spectrum and throughout the world. Part of it was him, obviously, but I also wonder if his subject -food -had something to do with it. Although I can't think of another chef we'd feel similarly about.

I think part of it is an element of fear.

This is a man who had the best job in the world.  I bet Obama envied Bourdain's job.   And he had, pardon the pun, bitten off a huge chunk of life.   And he was clearly a humanitarian, so he had to feel noble. 

How does this man kill himself?  If he can, anyone can.  You can.  

I think that was part of it.

Remember when Obama was laughing and having a good time at the ballgame with Castro?

Not to make too fine a point of it, but Castro was not Kim. 

If you were Episcopalian, it would be gin.

Noted.

It's a shame he never got to go on an eating spree with Calvin Trillin when Mr. Trillin was in his prime. That would have been awesome!

Yep, good point.

Edward FitzGerald, who first translated the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam into English, is said to have made it better literature. It was not well-regarded by the Persians or the Arabs, although that might have had something to do with the occasionally racy and irreligious subject matter.

I'll take your word for it.   I seem to remember that Joseph Conrad, who spoke fluent and elegant Polish and English, I think, did some amazing translations.   Also Nabokov. 

Doesn't it cause more mistrust of the media when members of the media have relationships with members of the government....given that many say the White House Correspondents Dinner shows the press and those they cover being too friendly?

Honestly, it's a tricky area.  You are definitely not supposed to sleep with your sources, and people have gotten into deep trouble for it.  But what if the relationship pre-dated the sourcedom?

I'm reading "It's Even Worse Than You Think" by David Cay Johnston. It's a devastating catalog, subject by subject, of the impact of Trump and his administration. (Scott Pruitt's demolition of environmental regulations at the behest of his enablers matters way more than his cheap rent.) What should the media have done differently in 2016? Trump's thinking and behavior were well-documented through 40 years of fraud, corruption and sleaze. Why wasn't reporting more aggressive when it might have counted?

Don't know.   But here's a story:

When I got my big journo break -- a job at the Detroit Free Press in 1977 -- it was Johnston's job.  He had just been hired away by the NYT.

So my dad is going to be putting his dog down in the next couple months. Would Old Dogs be an appropriate birthday gift for him BEFORE the fact? Or too emotional?

I would say afterwards, by at least a month.

I generally don't read the comics page but I really liked The Far Side, which was almost always a single panel. Is something like that considered to be a comic strip or a cartoon? And do such distinctions really matter? I don't remember if The Far Side was originally published with the comics or somewhere else in the paper. I also really like the panels that accompany your and Hax's columns but are those considered to be illustrations or cartoons or comics? Although they are based on the material in the columns, many of them can be read on their own. Btw, one of the reasons I don't like comic strips is because I find the "handwritten" lettering incredibly hard to read. It's like listening to a song on the radio when there's a lot of static. Even B&C, which has relatively clean print, has letters that are different sizes and that break up the words.

The Far Side and Speed Bump etc. are single panel cartoons.  A strip must be in a strip form, like Barney & Clyde.

There are two schools of thought on lettering.  You clearly belong to school two, which doesn't mind machine-generated lettering, because it is "clear," like typeface.  School One prefers a more human touch, where you can actually get some extra emotion into the lettering.  David Clark, who draws B&C, is an excellent letterer; he was a good friend of the late, great Richard Thompson, who was also an excellent letterer.    They actually are pretty similar. 

I've been feeling vaguely bummed out whenever I thought about you for a while now. I was thinking about it the other day and I realized that the feeling started when the news about Louis CK broke. I thought some more and realized that it's probably because I've always felt like you two had similar perspectives on a lot of things, although your humor style is pretty different from his. I used to watch Louis CK's routines and read your chats for the same reason. They both felt like getting a little dose of sanity, which is a pretty high compliment, even though, you know, you're not as funny as he is. Anyway, apparently you two are wrapped up inextricably in my head, and you're kind of guilty by association, so please let me be the first one to say: I am so disappointed in you for what you did, Gene Weingarten.

I will try to earn back your trust.

Obviously you aren't going. I bet Trump wishes it was for him and he'd be doing something to be part of it if he were here. After all OPM is saying “The White House is encouraging Federal agencies to grant employees in the Washington, D.C. area two hours of administrative leave between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to attend the parade.” Really? I can't remember getting any leave for anything besides our scheduled federal holidays, really bad weather and the death of a president. But a parade for a sports team? Glad to see I haven't gotten anything from DHHS or NIH. On the other hand I'm glad to see that the zamboni drivers get to be part of the parade. As a former figure skater I think they don't get enough credit for their work.

I'd go to a Nats parade in a heartbeat.  I'd stay away from a Redskins parade with a passion bordering on hatred.  But Caps -- eh.   I lack the same gene for hockey that I lack for celebrities.  

I have said this before and I promise never to say it again, but: I have been to hockey games.  I have watched many on TV, and the element of what seems to be luck and pure brute force seems so high to me to make it a valid sport.

Yes, I know, I am wrong.   I am a Philistine.  I am horribly ignorant.  It is a ballet masquerading as a brawl.  I know, I know. 

But I also know that I have seen scrums of fighting men, sticks flying randomly roaring toward a goal when the puck somehow squirts out and finds a corner of the net, propelled not by one guy but a gaggle of sticks whapping at it wildly.

I know.  I am an idiot and I must hate Washington not to get joy in this moment.   I am, but I don't.  But being thrilled for the joy of the city I love because of hockey would be like reveling in the splendor of the cherry blossom festival when I find cherry blossoms ugly and frou-frou. 

just put in Robert in Google now and his name fills right in. Comments?

Well, he's in the news.

Doesn't that make the source (or the journo) inherently unreliable though?

Depends on the nature of the story.

This is complicated.  Or can be.

Let's say I have a secret girlfriend.   If I write a complimentary profile of her, that is obviously wildly unethical.   But what if she leaks me secret papers about a government ripoff, having nothing to do with her?

I can't write that story?  Why?  What is the ethical violation?

Like Gene said, you did the right thing. I'm sorry. I don't know if this helps at all, but it sounds like you gave her an AWESOME time that she wouldn't otherwise have had before she went.

Yep.

Don't you feel proud that our Presidon't stood up to those mean-ol' Canadians, bravely tweeting from his departing plane about how awful Trudeau was and reneging on signing the closing agreement? Boy, I sure do.

Trump is famously cowardly.  He never criticizes people to their face.   He tweets, after the fact.

Gene, what are your thoughts on MFAs? I'm a few years short of 50 and finally feeling like academic rigors would be helpful. I would need to produce new work to apply, though I have some writing I think is ready. My goal is a fully funded program so that I don't go into debt. Mostly I want to do it for the deadlines and the support. I have no kids or spouse, just a very portable 4 lb chihuahua.

I know nothing about MFAs.   I generally do not respect advanced degrees; I more value work in the field.  But I am speaking from ignorance.   If it will help you financially, that is a reasonable impetus.

Check out the English translation of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal by Norman Shapiro. Baudelaire wrote in strict Alexandrine meter, so Shapiro had to translate the meaning, keep the rhyme scheme, and maintain the meter and mid-verse caesurae.

This is becoming a HIGHLY sophisticated chat.  I will check.

Didn't Samantha also get into incest territory with her comments?

Yeah, to me that was a bigger problem.   I don't think, however, she was implying incest.  She was commenting on Trump's own statements of how attractive he finds Ivanka.  She wasn't suggesting they've Done It.

Did you ever read the late formerly great Nora Ephron's piece on Daniel Schorr trying to incriminate Aaron Latham for something Schorr did? It always poisoned Schorr's big First Amendment act for me.

Never read that.  Not sure I've ever heard of that.  Can you summarize?

I'm really shocked. Genuinely and deeply shocked. I've known a couple dozen Pyranees because my cousin had a small kennel, and they were all the sweetest -- and smartest -- dogs I've ever known. Could have done without the summertime drooling, but never once did I ever feel threatened by ANY of them. Unannounced visitors were certain that they were going to be eaten alive, which really cut down on the visiting salesmen, but the dogs were, bar none, deeply devoted to their family and to any vouched-for friends that showed up. What the heck was wrong with poor Annie?

She was literally brain damaged.  We bought her from an unscrupulous breeder.  Last breeder purchase we ever made.  This wasn't her fault and we wept at putting her down.

I have always loved hockey and have had season's tickets to the Caps but I am not there because I hate parades.

Noted.

Humans are drawn to different people. Never understood the appeal of the guy. My sister, an awesome person I love, thought he was great.

If you have not read David Simon's piece, you should.  It makes you love the guy.

He's the Deer Hunter and the Taxi Driver. Any other language would be inauthentic. Note that Trump isn't attacking him.

Oh, Trump probably doesn't mind.   He's happy.

DeNiro helped him enormously.   This is fodder for his re-election ads.

I have complicated, conflicting feelings about this sort of thing. No, I don't think what he said was particularly productive. (Maybe, in some small, limited way, it energized some people on our side.) But I also don't think it will be harmful; it seems to have been forgotten already. Setting that aside, though, what does our side get by taking the high road? There's a time and place for dignified, non-violent protest, of course. But when you're in a life-or-death fight, and the other side is fighting dirty, what do you get by sticking to Marquess of Queensberry rules?

Wait until the campaign, and see how the Bad Guys use that moment.  Then we'll talk again.

Who will be the person who takes down Donald Trump, the way that Joseph Welch and Murrow (among others) did Joe McCarthy? It seems it would need to be a Republican, although among celebs only Tom Hanks seems to possess the combination of massive public love and gravitas to pull it off.

Well it won't be any elected politician.  They've all already forfeited their spines.

But if the reporter is in a relationship with her source, isn't she supposed to disclose that, rather than keeping the source secret? WaPo columnist Katrina Vanden Heuvel is forever getting (figuratively) whacked for not bothering to mention when she uses something from her husband that he's actually her husband. You can usually come back an hour or two later to see the note that's been added to her column by the staff, identifying the relationship.

Only if the "source" is being named.

Seriously, do you think someone needs to write that the documents she is disclosing were leaked to her by her boyfriend?  He is serving as an anonymous source.

For Episcopalians Christian Juice would be high quality bourbon.

Well, wait.  What is it, gin or bourbon? 

Okay, I have to end this three minutes early.  A pleasure, folks.  See you next week.

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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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