Chatological Humor with Gene Weingarten

Oct 13, 2020

You asked for it and you got it. Gene holds weekly chats every Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET, where he takes your questions about what's happening in the country — and anything else you want to discuss.

Here is Gene's latest column.

Here is this week's poll.

Happy intro, good folks! It me (Manteuffel) again, but Gene swears he is back next week. Maybe that'll be what this country needs to truly get back to normal. 

We missed one symbolic opportunity when the President decided not to rip his shirt open after leaving the hospital, revealing not his presumably ripped and glistening torso but a Superman t-shirt. It would have been just like when Clark Kent ripped off his shirt and revealed he was wearing a Superman t-shirt underneath. 

I'm particularly sad we missed this moment because it would have taken  rehearsal and stagecraft.  A White House staffer would be sent to obtain a tear-open dress shirt from a stripper supply store. He would have done some muscle poses. It would be the modern day equivalent of Andrew Jackson beating his would-be assassin into submission with his cane and Davy Crockett. 

The virus would have been seriously weirded out, is the point, and at this point our national covid-fighting plan seems to be confusing it into making a mistake. 

Take the poll, please, and explain yourselves in the questions. We're back at noon. But first, a picture of Murphy smiling in her sleep. 

 

 

Many years ago, about 1976, I heard a talk by Arthur C. Clark. He's the sci-fi author who first introduced the idea of communication satellites, before there were satellites. During his talk he predicted that someday we would all mostly be working from home. And this was before anyone had a pc. I've been waiting for years for his prediction to come true but I didn't imagine it would happen because of a pandemic. I don't believe we will all go back to offices. On the other hand I once read a sci-fi story about kids who were amazed at the idea of going to school and thought that might be exciting instead of learning by computer at home since in this future school buildings were gone.

I'm still amazed by Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil. Check out the office scene. Sometime before 1985, they envisioned a room full of personal...TVs on top of typewriters. But so close! And all dudes, though that's probably an aesthetic choice. 

Please watch this video. It is in French with subtitles. Enjoy the playful antics of the butter master sharing the artisanal techniques of his delicious craft. Note the critical role SALT plays in the making of butter. Your unsalted butter snobbery is undone.

This is extremely important, but I must warn you the salt is very aggressive and there is a character called Fred the Masticator. 

There are a number of gems sprinkled through this, including "notorious before RBG" and "Well, perhaps they could plant flowers in the urinals"

Not to mention the Woody Report! 

I housesat once in a place with urinals in the basement, and the family did indeed plant poinsettias in them. 

Oh, based on the poll question today, this seems like a good forum -- I have my plane ticket back home (I live halfway across the country from my parents and other family - no spouse or children for me). However, I'm really hesitating on going. It would only be a short trip (4 days), and I would never forgive myself if I got my older parents sick. Also, I can guarantee there will be no masks when my extended family gets together, and I'm sure they're not great about masking anyway. (Pictures from a family wedding on Facebook this weekend showed no masks.) Most of my friends where I live now (and have for years) say "Yeah, makes sense" but they all live near their family. How are other people handling this?

There was a cool NPR story about a guy who rented an RV to drive to his parents', and then stayed in their driveway and waved at them from an appropriate distance. He locked his RV doors at night to make sure his mom wouldn't bust in and hug him. 

Why do the press and conservatives refer to Judge Barrett as Amy Coney Barrett, instead of merely Amy Barrett? On her questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee, she signed her name "Amy Barrett." When I attended Notre Dame Law School, she was always referred to as "Amy Barrett." Is this all an attempt to associate her with Ruth Bader Ginsburg by using all three names?

It does seem like a way of making someone with a rather common name Historical. 

We're going to have Justices Brett and Amy, then. 

I suspect that the answers to "Can you do your job remotely" are different here in the DC area. I work in a SCIF, so working from home is absolutely not an option. Heck, it's illegal for me to take my work home with me. I also can't take my cellphone in to work with me. I consider both of those things to be advantages of my current job. Not as big an advantage as the 15 minute commute, but definite nice to haves.

What's different since the pandemic, if you can say?

For Poll Question #1, I answered "Yes, with no troubles" but parts of my job are easier working from home, and parts are harder. I definitely have fewer interactions with coworkers which is both good (fewer interruptions or distractions) and bad (less collaboration, and a surprising amount of valuable exchange happens organically when you sit within earshot of each other.) My company sent us home mid-March but dragged us all back into the office in June (I live in GA), and although I resent them gambling with my health, I must admit that in-person is a better work environment for me personally, all things considered.

Have there been any outbreaks? How safe do you feel?

. . . third straight week for such an explanation. What's up? If he's really sick, all the best to him and hope he gets up and running. I was really hoping that he would be answering questions because I had a couple of good ones about our old favorite federal inmate for life: Jeffrey MacDonald. Oh well.

Not sick! Just still working on the story. I am confident he will be back next week. At the very least I will put on a mustache and do a better him impression. 

I don't like them, so I won't be visiting.

Good!

I've read many books and stories by Arthur C. Clark, and I've seen "Brazil." It's very important to note that these are works of FICTION. Science fiction and fantasy. The real world--the real working world--is different from sci-fi and fantasy. In the real world, we should be working from offices, with people, and not at home. It's that simple.

Brazil depicts an office that could not be recreated virtually.

My brother-in-law has one in his workshop. A wife and five daughters drove him to build both.

That's great! 

The house I was in had two urinals. I think they must have thrown a lot of parties. 

I have sort of a reverse take on the last question. I live a suburban dream right now - big yard, low cost of living, cute small town, can be in downtown DC in under an hour. But the career options here are limited and a daily commute to the city would be miserable, so it's always in the back of my mind that we might have to move one day. I'd be thrilled if telework became common and we could stay here forever. So maybe the lesson from all the "I wouldn't move" answers isn't that people love the city, but that they just really hate moving.

Rural broadband investment might change the equation for people, too. 

...has a lot of extraneous letters in his name. Listening to him dodge and spin on the radio this morning it makes me wonder why Nebraskans would vote for such a tepid and ineffectual poseur.

The first and last letters, I am thinking you mean. 

I wasn't able to attend the last live chat and poll but read it after the fact. Both my husband's and my first reaction to that video is it appeared to be a deep fake. From the words, tone, facial expressions... none seemed like the Trump we all know. I think (with no proof) that he was much sicker than the administration wanted to let on. Any chance this was a deep fake?

As I understand it there are ways of telling deep fakes, so we'd know by now. And he's been more his old self since then. 

I work for a federal agency where we interact with people across the country and around the world. A year ago, I would have said we couldn't do our work remotely, but the last 6 months have shown that we can adapt effectively to this new situation. We have carried out our agency's mission and made progress on many projects without going into the office or holding in person meetings. At the same time, however, I think the lack of person-to-person interaction is a hindrance. Much gets conveyed when people are meeting in a room together, especially during breaks and in hallways, that helps build a rapport, personal alliances, and other useful dynamics that you can't get from web meetings when you only see one face at a time. Working from home is very comfortable, but I hope it doesn't become the predominant model when the pandemic subsides. We will lose some very important benefits of human connection if we all stop going to the office.

There are office friends I never see anymore, and I feel utterly disconnected from every department other than the sliver of mine that has meetings. But we have some Zoom happy hours at which I met my colleagues who live in Mexico City for the first time. 

But how he did it is stranger than fiction. I do like the foreshadowing in "He was not, in fact, divorced from his wife at that time."

Yes, at that time! Also having to go to the Danish consulate to find out if you were divorced without your knowledge. 

The death of Whitey Ford, the legendary Yankee pitcher, brought back a childhood memory as only baseball can. It was 1950 and my favorite team, the NY Yankees, was in the World Series against the “whiz kids” of the upstart Philadelphia Phillies. My aunt worked for a company that had seats for the Series and so my uncle and I were able to attend the fourth and, what turned out to be, the final game.

The Yankees had won the first game 1-0 in Philadelphia as Vic Raschi, one of the Yankee magnificent pitching triumvirate, pitched a masterful two hitter. The Yankees won the second game 2-1 as their fire-balling ace Allie Reynolds outpitched Phillie star Robin Roberts. Both pitched complete games, a rarity today. The Yankees won the third game 3-2 behind cagey left-hander Ed Lopat who had a wide variety of pitches none of which would match the speed of a high school player today. Still, Lopat pitched eight innings in that victory.

So, my uncle and I had the good fortune to be in box seats near the left field foul pole for game four. The Yankee pitcher was their young rookie phenom Whitey Ford, a small but crafty pitcher who had come up to the majors in mid-season and racked up nine straight wins. In his long career he would go on to become the winningest pitcher in World Series history. Anyway, Ford was in good form that day and the Yankees jumped out to an early lead. He pitched a shutout into the ninth inning and the score was 5-0.

There were two outs in the ninth when a fly ball was hit to Yankee left fielder Gene Woodling who was positioned just about fifty feet in front of us. He lost the ball in the sun and dropped it allowing two runs to score. (World Series games were still played in the daytime back then). I think I remember all of this because of what happened next. Yankee Manager Casey Stengel immediately came out of the dugout and removed Ford, who had pitched magnificently, from the game. Up three games to none and ahead 5-2 with two outs in the ninth, Stengel was not going to take any chances. He brought in Allie Reynolds, who had pitched 10 innings just a couple of days before, to end the game. I believe that Reynolds blew away the batter on three straight fastballs, and that was that.

People thought that Casey Stengel was crazy and he certainly could say crazy things in a crazy manner but no one has ever matched his success as a manager. He was unorthodox but many of his seemingly strange strategies soon became the new orthodoxy. Looking back on that game now, I wonder if Stengel was motivated by more than winning the game and the World Series. He took Ford out after he had pitched brilliantly and should have won but for Woodling's mishap.

The rookie left hander left the game and no blame or shame could be placed on him. He went on to a great Hall of Fame career. * The announcement of Ford's death at the age of 91 coincided with the elimination of the NY Yankees from the playoffs in this pandemic shortened season. Once again, the teams's ace closer gave up a game losing home run on a 100 mph fastball, a velocity Ford could never have come close to. Still I believe that Ford would have handled that batter easily.

From Weingarten: Ford was a "crafty little lefty," as per French Connection II.    He would have smoked the guy with an inside curve, 82 miles an hour, that fell off the table. 

Should there be college or pro football during a virus pandemic? There have been virus outbreaks at both levels. And, generally--this is stupid. STUPID.

I think so too. There's still so much we don't know. 

"Sometime before 1985, they envisioned a room full of personal...TVs on top of typewriters. But so close!" And this is how we know it's Manteuffel doing this chat, not Gene. Newsrooms, among other places, have looked like that since the late '70s. As Weingarten is old enough to remember and you are not.

There were screens? I did some research, honest, and found a personal computer with a screen that could show images would have been the equivalent of $25k in 1983. Also the screens seem to all show the same thing. I'm sure Gilliam had seen pictures but didn't get what computers actually do. 

Don't know about the other folks, but I've read books by Arthur C. ClarkE.

How does he compare?

Fauteuils yo this whole... scene? But posit that a fake Gene rocks harder than a real Petri

Except that Petri would know why you said fauteuils, and would be able to make an appropriate rocks/petrification pun. 

My God, sir. Have you seen the new Mark Trail? This may require legislative correction. I shudder to think of the weekend edition. Traditionally yours, Steve

Wow. Whatever cave hermit they had drawing and writing Mark Trail is out, and this person who knows about undercuts is in. There is an explicit reference to Mark Trail having a personality. This is very unsettling. I'll reserve judgment until I see the new way of rendering the enormous monster squirrel who haunts Lost Forest.

 

His profession is actor. Here's a link to his IMDB bio,

Ideal!

I would have had 3 questions for Amy Coney Barrett:

(1) If you knew then what you know now about the Rose Garden ceremony announcing your nomination -- where 150 people gathered in close quarters without masks, violating both federal guidelines and the regulations governing the District of Columbia, and which became a "super spreader" event resulting in at least 37 cases of coronavirus -- would you have participated?

(2) Why didn't you know then what you know now?

(3) Tell us again how your decisions will not be driven by political considerations or the opinions of powerful men?

That's a very shrewd way to put it. Susan Collins would have to consider that very carefully. 

I'm a retired Teamster. So many jobs in the increasingly service-based economy cannot be done remotely. One thing people have been doing for tens of thousands of years, if not longer, is moving things from where they are to where they are needed (or wanted). That cannot be done by people working remotely, yet, although the robots are getting better. The pandemic won't drive that change.

Getting food to people, also irreducibly local. What are some other things?

"Do you think the concept of going to a workplace will survive the pandemic?" and "[W]ill businesses keep spending enormous amounts of money on office real estate?" are completely different questions. Big businesses, like Google and Amazon, will spend, because they have to be in city centers to get the employees they want in a competitive elite hiring market, at least for the next several years (which is about how long I think the pandemic will be a factor, but that's another post). But large manufacturing (e.g., Boeing) won't, they'll go to cheaper real estate and cheaper employees elsewhere, and so will a lot of medium-sized companies, because they will have to, or else because they've gone belly-up in large numbers.

If remote work really works, though, Google and Amazon can hire people who live anywhere. Which means people can live someplace cheap and Google and Amazon can pay them less. I'm paying a premium for proximity to public transportation, museums, theater, my workplace--all of which are pretty much canceled for two years or so. This might end up being great for the urban/rural divide, who knows!

Is it me, or does she sound like a kid? Like, comically so. To me, she sounds like a Peanuts character. I gotta think her voice is going to grate against everyone against this appointment, every time she speaks, for her entire tenure.

I wonder if the Vocal Fry guys will write to her about it. "Justice, let me give you some advice that will help people take you seriously and further your career."

Supreme Court nominees generally refuse to talk about their views. Given that, shouldn't the questioning from Democrats focus on the fact they're having this hearing instead of, say, focusing on the 7 million people who have had COVID, the millions of Americans who have had their lives and businesses disrupted because of the shutdown, protecting our elections from outside interference, and so on? And basically have Barrett admit that yes, Congress and the country have bigger priorities they should be focusing on than her getting a promotion?

Somehow I don't think she would admit it. 

Hey, her last time speaking before Congress went like this. Which of these two would you imagine would have a better career arc?

3: Businesses will continue to spend money on offices where they need to, but functions that can be done remotely will go overseas and be done more cheaply.

4: We've been hiding in the mountains since March, and functioning almost completely remotely, so nothing will change if we can help it.

Hm. Are there any downsides, as long as the pandemic continues?

I want so badly to see my parents and siblings at Christmas - I miss them, my kids miss them, and I know they miss my kids terribly (and maybe even me, the bringer of grandkids!). I've been doing the best I can with Covid-protections (masks, working from home as much as possible, keeping the kids in virtual school, not going out, etc.). We didn't do our usual summer get together. Part of me thinks it might be fine to risk a Christmas visit. But I know I'll never forgive myself if I end up killing my parents or getting them sick. So yeah, I just hate all of this.

Sounds about right. 

Trump knows we don’t really believe in Superman, right? 4 or 5 is the age limit on that, I think.

He might think he is Superman. 

Decisions are not final, but it seems as though we are trying to find a way to make it work so that my 79 y.o. widowed, live-alone in PA, Trumper-who-doesnt-take-quarantining-distancing-seriously- but-thinks-she-does mother will keep up with her tradition of alternating t'giving and xmas visits between my family in MD and my Brother's in the desert S.W. We have no idea how to get her to seriously quarantine in the weeks in advance so as to minimize her infecting us. And we're not at all comfortable with risking infecting her (only 1 in our household of 3 goes out for any reason and only then to a socially distanced workplace). She will still want hugs and kisses and won't wear a mask in the house. We're trying to find a way to make the visit short (maybe even go get her in the morning and bring her back to PA after dinner). Relations are not peaches and cream in non-COVID times - this just adds a soft-stool compote to a turd sandwich. What would you do?

I like your last line and hope someone here can advise. 

Maybe I’m not super-representative here, but children do complicate the picture a bit. Once I’m taking the kids to school/day care in the morning and picking them up again in the evening, there’s not a huge logistical difference between spending the intervening hours at home and spending them in an office building.

A good point. 

I was already working from home before the pandemic hit, so working from home is obviously possible with my job (publishing, FWIW). But we moved to our current location because of my husband's job: He's a hospice chaplain, so needless to say his job cannot be done (well) remotely. Covid has required him and his colleagues to change how they interact with patients and their families (mostly via phone or Face Time), but that is not ideal. Frightened, dying people would like a personal presence, and folks with dementia sometimes can't process phone or video calls. So once this crisis is over (either through effective treatments, vaccine, or both), we will likely stay where we are, at least for a while.

Ultimately, we would like to move someplace with a lower cost of living and closer to our family, but that's likely several years from now. As for whether I think employers will go back to having offices, for the most part, I think yes. Not because it's necessary, but most businesses operate out of a fear-based management system: Managers fear that if they can't watch you, you aren't working, or aren't working hard enough, even though data shows that workers are more productive when they work remotely.

There is currently floating about in management lore the myth of the Spontaneous Interaction which leads, magically, to the Next Great Breakthrough. It's based on some of the folk tales told by cutting-edge tech companies (many of whom no longer exist) of how Bob from Marketing was having coffee with Arun from Programming and they formed the idea for the Wonder Widget, a device/app/marketing campaign that Turned Around The Fortunes of The Company. As an anthropologist I can appreciate a good urban legend as much as the next person, but as someone who has worked for a large corporation for 25+ years, I have survived similar rounds of Finding My Cheese, Sharpening My Saw, Defining My Personal Mission Statement, and exploring the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I've even attended a Kanban and received a Lean/SixSigma belt. So I treat this with all of the reverence it deserves.

At the end of the book do you figure out who moved the guy's cheese?

I have been working at home since mid-March - we know we're not going back until next June, at the earliest, and no one knows what's going to happen in summer and fall 2021. (I am staff at a university that's gone almost completely online.)

In response to the poll, I said I can do my work remotely "with some troubles." Those troubles are the difficulty in collaborating and working together. We're social science researchers and sure, we can work from home no technology problem, but I think the work itself plus the strategic direction of our research group is really suffering from being unable to just pop into someone's office to discuss something. That fundamental aspect of working in an office can't be replicated by phone or Zoom, and I fear what it means for the future, especially as we're also dealing with financial pressures like every other university. 

I worry that, even if we go to a few days in the office and a few at home, we're going to be packing so many meetings into those office days that we still won't have time for this informal discussion time, which has led to a number of projects or staff or student opportunities. I'm a complete introvert but this is something my (and I'm sure many other) workplaces need and may be missing for the foreseeable future.

I haven't seen a good solution to this yet, but it looks like it's a problem everywhere. 

Really? He should have gone with an "Ubermensch" shirt to really fire up his base.

Next time!

I mean Murphy, not Gene.

She's happy, is most important. 

(He is not happy.)

Isn't that just Hobby Lobby? I mean, glitter, tassels, whatever.

Velcro, in this case. 

I’m retired, so I said I could do most things by internet connections. I have spoken to my distant family by ZOOM, participated in lectures, plan to join an online book club. Shop online frequently. I need things to be captioned, so that’s a constraint; some platforms do it better than others. So for me, I picked the second choice, “can do most things with some complications.”

Google Meet has got simultaneous captioning down pretty well. 

My answer to the question about moving if you can work remotely wasn't a clear yes/no. I had already thought I would move after retirement (5-10 years out), but remote work might move up that timetable.

Where are you planning to move? 

Can everyone please stop complaining about the chat links already? Just go to live.washingtonpost.com. And you don't need to add a bookmark for it if you can't handle having two for WaPo. After the first time, you just need to type "live" in the address bar and the full link will pop up. This isn't rocket science.

As of 10:56 am, Tuesday the 13th, no one has complained about finding the chat from the Post homepage. The complainer is you!

Were...were the urinals still plumbed in, or were they freestanding junk?

I did not check. 

I had the same thought, but I was afraid it was sexist to say so. Most adult professional women that I know don't speak like that, at least not in formal settings.

Are there male politicians with unprofessional voices? 

not "smiling" just gas.

But the smell makes her so happy. 

Gene, I took your advice and tried the NYT crossword puzzles online with autocheck. Did all of last week's, with Saturday clocking in at 43 minutes. It's a way of thinking. Now to cut down on the time. Thanks for the advice.

Welcome. 

My cat has figured out that when I get on the phone, if she is in reach I will absentmindedly pet her. She now comes up every time she hears me on the phone. FWIW, she loves to sit on/near me when I'm petting her, but is not really interested in sitting next to me if no pets are forthcoming. Am I the Glassbowl here, or is she? (Also, could we get a chat with that topic? AITG?)

Please! ESH. A cat is always the glassbowl, but so is a person expecting them not to be. 

Do you still need to keep posting comments from people complaining about trouble getting to the chat? I think a lot of comments don’t make it for this reason since there is just so much time. I use Firefox and book mark Gene’s page. I click on the link and it’s there! What is wrong with you people?

This week I'm going for overcorrection of last week. 

Living in Florida, I have already seen how eager many (stupid) employers are to return to using their concrete and glass palaces. My wife's company, operating successfully for 6 months with a fully remote workforce, is requiring employees who don't want to return to the office in a couple weeks to get a note from their doctor stating they are at high risk from Covid complications. Meanwhile, no one knows the long term consequences Covid may have, but lets cram people back together!

Woof. Erm. What's in it for the employers? And do they really think McConnell is going to indemnify them for infecting people? 

The whole working from home thing is tough. My partner can work 100% remote, she's a school administrator. I work at a university, and can do much of my work from home, but the critical parts of the job require my actual presence on campus. Not for meetings and such, but for content creation (hate that phrase.) So on the one hand, I don't need an office on campus anymore. I spent July totally renovating our basement from a TV room to an office/studio. Great. Love the space. Love having lunch with my partner. Love sitting on the porch to answer emails. But dang it, I am torn between "love working at home, never want to go back" and "I really miss seeing my colleagues in person." As much as the whole Big Office Building thing is a sustainability disaster (the building itself, HVAC, pollution from commuting), there is something about having people who work together be *together* in a way that Zoom can never achieve. It's considered trite to talk about the "synergy of hallway conversations," but that is a real thing. Being able to pop my head into someone's office and ask about a project gets much better results than trying to get a response to a multipoint email. (Of course, I am getting infinitely more work done at home without all those interruptions of people sticking their head in MY door to ask about a project, so there is that.) Not sure what my question is. Maybe it's, "When can I retire, again?"

And could you do it from a houseboat?

So you guys now have ads with auto-play audio. Big, prominent ads. I subscribe to the electronic edition of the Post, but now I feel like installing an ad-blocker for you. Please stop this!

Fine, I will. 

What should Biden's answer to this court-packing question be? Presume he wants to keep it as an option open to Democrats because a 6-3 GOP court is untenable.

From Weingarten: He's doing it right.   If he says no, he surrenders strategic advantage.   If he answers yes, he delivers Repubs a talking point.  Weaseling is the correct response. 

Why bother, since how much further can one go after reaching the Supreme Court?

Yes.

You're much too young to remember the first TV Superman, George Reeves. He was not, shall we say, ripped. Thinking of the porcine, Cheeto faux-superhero emerging in a Superman t-shirt brings him to mind

George Takei was the first man to have abs. 

Tell the truth: Does Gene have Trump's taxes? His medical records? The pee tape? The obscene outtakes from 14 years of "Apprentice?" It must be big.

Probably best if I just tell you now. 

what struck me about that post was name, I thought for a minute he was going to opine about the mobster Whitey Bulger. Anyone know where the name/nickname Whitey comes from? Seems like its one of those names that no kids are given anymore.

Something bad seems to have happened to the name Whitey. 

I wonder what happened to all the Babes. 

I work for a commercial construction company that builds office buildings and retail space. Both of those markets have dried up, drastically. Our office is in an industrial park, and the parking lots around here are 90 - 95% empty. Companies are realizing they don't need to pay rent and utility bills for office space when many people can work from home. It won't be coming back anytime soon.

It's going to be a massive shift, I think. 

Do you think the winner of the NFC East finishes with a record of better or worse than 6-10? The Giants and Washington are beyond terrible. The Cowboys lost their starting QB. And who knows with the Eagles.

From Weingarten: The Eagles will go 7-9 and win the division.  It's the most pathetic division in NFL history. 

Was talking to my mom yesterday and she said, apologetically, "so, I guess we're not going to be able to do Christmas this year." To which I replied, "doesn't seem likely. You're going to have to send me grandma's cookie recipes." And then we talked a little about where I should go to try to find weird ingredients for family holiday recipes from the Old Country. And that was that. Sucks but means we'll all still be here NEXT Christmas.

A good way of thinking about it. I imagine trying to explain to my grandmother, in the afterlife, what was so important I needed to risk my life for it.

This is also how I stopped myself from texting and driving. 

I had a HORRIBLE experience with this -- I went to the Post site and, in almost no time at all .... I found it. Now I have to listen to all this crap about cats and urinals.

We're fixing this issue, thanks!

Well, my family lives in Canada, and I'm not allowed across the border. Thanks, Superman.

Welp. 

Where is the chat today, October 13?! I can't find it!! Thank you!

I DON'T KNOW!

It's amazing how much we get wrong, and how certain we are. Like the Concorde - it was supposed to revolutionize air travel, but sputtered. Or self-driving cars.

And the Segway!

Has Gene? Hope so.

No, thanks for the push. 

As far as work goes, not much has really changed. We wear masks in common areas and are more aware of everyone's health. A lot of classified work could be dispersed out of the DC area if anyone (in Congress) cared to force the issue. Stuff that's top secret, but not necessarily SAP/SAR, could be in a SCIF in Des Moines where the cost of living is lower.

The Post has finagled something to make our laptops secure from various places. I think. 

I solve the chitchat issue with regular texts and facetiming with colleagues. It's great to be able to text during a boring meeting without anyone knowing that I'm doing it. I love working from home.

I love the cameos from children and pets. 

No, I won't stop complaining about them, but thanks for asking. Anyone in this chat knows how to get here. That's not the point. Many of us are concerned that, with the latest site redesign, the live chat box was deliberately removed, meaning new readers won't happen on them. This, combined with many chats being terminated, seems part of a drive to eliminate them. Which I don't understand, since I thought clicks were like currency, and chats like this and Hax's bring in tons of clicks.

They got us fancy new chat software, so they're probably not going to be eliminated. 

Have you guys ever been to a séance? If so, what happened? By the way--seances are scams. They use hidden people, sound effects, fog and smoke machines, lights, tape recorders, specially-built tables, animatronics, videos, literal magic tricks, hidden strings and wires, and other special effects!! It's basically a huge scam.

You heard it here first, folks. 

That decision will be made by managers. Managers are almost universally extroverts. So, yes, obviously.

Hmm!

They'd be easier to water. And I could always go outside to pee.

There's something green about it. 

C'mon, Rachel, where is my obnoxious comment about Gene and The Green Peppers? (Like that's not an acid rock-group already.)

Readers, this person loves green peppers on pizza. 

(Not really. I am misrespresenting them because I can.)

Playing football during a virus pandemic is indeed stupid. Baylor University has 28--that's twenty-eight--football players and 14--that's fourteen--staff members with the virus. That's 42 people with the virus who in turn will probably affect who knows how many other people. This is stupid. 

It does indeed seem stupid. 

And yet he still has time to s--tpost on twitter multiple times per day?

It's amazing, isn't it?

For government folks using government initials--please spell out the initials!! Not all of us are government workers, and not all of us know what these initials stand for! TYVM (Thank you very much!).

It's a lil secret room. 

DO TELL? My suburban town 45 minutes from DC is expensive as crap.

Chatter? 

Jeff Sessions

Haha. 

Using x-ray machines to help fit children's shoes. Ay-yi-yi! 

There were, like, children's books with radium illustrations. 

Did you guys see the naked Mom make a cameo during a school Zoom class? The Mom's reaction is classic, the kids' blasé reaction is classic, and the teacher's reaction is classic: "TAYVION, PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAMERA!"

No one should google this. 

I think it's interesting -- the amount of time otherwise engaged, competent people spend tweeting and replying to others' tweets. The draw of potentially going viral with a witticism or observation must be strong, indeed.

It's kind of like what we're missing by not working from an office. 

"From Weingarten: The Eagles will go 7-9 and win the division. It's the most pathetic division in NFL history." That's actually impossible given that the Eagles have already tied a game... On the working remotely/moving part, we were considering a move within the next 3-5 years as our house was going to be too small for our needs. Like many others I'm sure, we decided to accelerate our move because it looks like we'll be working from home for the foreseeable future -- perhaps permanently (just from the SE side of Capitol Hill to a slightly larger place in NE).

Sports content! 

"This morphine stuff will cure opium addiction!" "This heroin stuff will cure morphine addiction!"

Progress marches on. 

Haha we are down in Charles County MD, to the southeast. I should add the caveat that we are only an hour away on the weekends - thanks to our lack of public transportation, during rush hour it might as well be on the moon.

Aha. 

I have worked from home since early March. My company is in lousy shape now and is looking at all kinds of ways to cut costs. And one of those is, selling off a lot of office space, since we have been able to pull off teleworking pretty well. Just yesterday Ibwnt and cleared out all my personal stuff from my office space - I had taken l my computer stuff in June. Our 20-year-old son is in the Navy on the opposite side of the country from us. We will see him at Christmas somehow if the Navy lets us. We will follow every rule they set.

Awwww. 

 

People are dying from COVID. You are not obliged to have more compassion for your mother than she has for everyone else.

A solution. 

A team with a losing record should never get to go to the playoffs. Discuss

No! 

That's it, everyone. Back next week with 100% more Weingarten. 

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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. He was awarded the 2008 and 2010 Pulitzer Prizes for Feature Writing.

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Rachel Manteuffel
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