Web Hostess Live: The latest from the Web

Feb 13, 2013

Note to readers: Due to deadlines, Monica moved this week's chat to Thursday, February 7 at 2 p.m. ET. She will resume her regular chat time, Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET, next week. Thank you!

A weekly chat about the best ways to kill time online. Our Web Hostess, Monica Hesse, sifts the Internet so you don't have to, searching for meaning, manners and the next great meme.

Afternoon, everyone, and thanks for stopping by.


I'm running a bit late today and haven't had the time to pull together our usual discussion polls. We'll start at 2, though, or as close to it as we can, unless I keel over from starvation and need to get a sandwich first. Topic ideas? Send them!

And one quick bit of housekeeping: Last week the chat had to move to Thursday to accomodate a Wednesday conflict. Several of you mentioned that you liked the Thursday time slot better, and I promised to bring it up again this week. Thoughts on a Thursday move?

Also: Tomorrow is Valentines Day. Who has seen something particularly spectacular online?

(Also, I have just noticed that the note at the bottom of the chat says we are chatting on Thursday. We are obviously not chatting on Thursday. Please ignore this note; it is only there to taunt you.)

HELP! I'm reading Wolf Hall right now, and I love it, but it's taking me forever to get through. I find myself only really able to concentrate on it while riding the subway (where, coincidentally, I can't get cell reception). I want to finish this book. Can your crew help me find the motivation to stop checking twitter and the internet and do this thing I want to do?

I need to tell you something very unfortunate. You have just asked assistance on how to stop wasting time on the Internet from a chat dedicated to wasting time on the Internet.

However. I will help you anyway. You must read in bed. You must leave your cell phone and laptop in the other room. You must make the lights a warm, dim color that translates as "snuggle." You must have a snack nearby. These are optimal reading conditions.

The message at the top of the February 13th chat reads, "Due to deadlines, Monica moved this week's chat to Thursday, February 7..." Shall we infer that you've mastered reverse time travel?

Correct. I moved this chat back to last week, so we've already done it once. Can anyone remember how it turned out?

I'll be staying off of Facebook tomorrow. I already had one person on my newsfeed post about the flowers "the best husband ever" sent. I have no need to see/read about what everyone's "best SO ever" got/did for them.

Maybe we should all offer some tips about how to behave, or not, on Valentines Day online.

I don't want anyone posting about the flowers the "best husband ever" sent, unless the flowers are dandelions. Then I would be amused.

Even without specially scheduled chats today (SOTU, E. Robinson rescheduled), there are still the regular Sietsema at 11, and Reliable Source, Cooking and Career Coach ALL at 12. On the other hand, without Celebritology any more, Thursday's comparatively empty. So if you move days, you'd be doing both yourself and us a favor. Please, Cupcake?

Yes, this was the most common pro-Thursday argument: Wednesday is just too good already.

And heartwarming, and delightful?  Years ago I attended the college pictured. Let's agree that I am cool by association.

I don't have time to get through this video, but I will take your word for the fact that it is heartwarming, and post it here for all to see.

Don't starve. Did you eat?

I ate three Farrar Rocher chocolates that were on the giveaway table. But after the chat I will eat soup.

When you're the Heart Attack Cafe and your spokesman dies of a heart attack outside your cafe, you're not having a good day, are you?

Well, he was the unofficial spokesman.

What is this "leave your cell phone and laptop in the other room"?

I know. It will be confusing at first.

A friend just posted this on facebook: l The comments are priceless -- several people thought Alaska was an island because of the way American maps are drawn.

This would be a totally reasonable assumption! I mean, one made by a seriously ill-informed person, but you could at least understand how they got there.


I was a disturbingly old age before I learned out to tell time on a clock with a dial. I thought the minute hand was random, and it was a game to figure out where it landed.


Topic! Who else can share some piece of basic knowledge that they did not acquire until later in life?

What's your view on entering online contests? There are websites dedicated to ferreting out the amazing number of businesses giving stuff away. It's strangely addictive and cheaper than the lottery...

Noooooo. These companies are collecting all of your information so they can spam you to death when the Revolution comes. I don't trust it.

I work Thursday through Monday; I love my Wednesday chats so much that I do everything else on Tuesdays so I can peruse Tom Sietsema, Free Range on Food, Reliable Source, monthly Career Coach and, my favorite Wednesday chat, Web Hostess. Moving to Thursday, which would be my Monday, I would not be able to participate. Nooooooo, please! Your chat is the only one of all that simply *MUST* be read live! As for Valentine's Day, I love the JibJab card selection this year, even though I have no one to send them to (but that's okay, I am working anyway).

You are a Superchatter. Have we given you a cape yet?

You know what would be really neat: if taxis had either a donkey or an elephant plastered on it. That way tourists could have fun choosing which type of cab they wished to be in.Wouldn't that add to the fun of traveling to DC?

This chatter is referring to my piece in today's Post about the decision to make all DC taxi's a uniform color scheme.


Also, do you follow me on Twitter, or do we all just share the same brain? Because I made that exact same observation this morning.

Cabs are yellow. Isn't that some socially recognized thing? I have seen tourists standing in taxi lines resisting getting into non-yellow taxis in the belief why are gypsy cabs. That is because in some cities there are statements to only take yellow cabs to avoid getting a gypsy cab. (As an aside, I always wondered why a gypsy cab, since it is illegal anyway, don't just be painted yellow, unless there is some vicious street code that prevents that). Which leads to my question: Red?

No no no. I understand that the "cabs are always yellow" misconception. But it is just that -- a misconception. Cabs are only always yellow in New York. If you think they are yellow everywhere, it's because you have seen yellow cabs in movies. And the cabs are yellow in movies because so many movies are filmed...in New York. It is a fallacy.

Hey Cupcake - I too vote for Thursdays! It would brighten an otherwise 'meh' day. No offense to the GOGs and all, but there's not much fun at WashPo on Thursday, and Weds are pretty packed with Sietsema, Reliable Source, etc. Jes sayin'.


Of course everyone who joined you on Thursday thought it was a good idea, because they were free then! Let me chime in as someone who wasn't that you're much better to fill that mid-afternoon time on Wednesdays! Thanks!

Also noted.

The ewok winning the Dog Show reminds me of my friend who has a dog that reminds people of Chewbacca. He always jokes that his dog is "part Chewbacca". Anyway, they got a telephone call from their elementary school because his daughter gave an oral report on her family and told everyone she has a part Chewbacca pet. Kids do listen to what you say.

Oh my word. Do we also share the same brain? Because I ALSO compared the winning Westminster dog to an Ewok in my Twitter feed this morning.


I'm really getting worried that we've been spending too much time together, guys.

Didn't some outfit like the National Beef Association have that happen a few decades ago? No sooner had they appointed James Garner to be their spokesman on TV than he had to go in for bypass surgery. Happily he is still with us, though presumably not eating much steak.

You know, there are probably some things worth dying for. As a vegetarian, I wouldn't put steak on that list. But other food items? Sure, why not.

It's not your fault it's taking so long to read that book. It helps to know that "he" means Cromwell, even if he's not been mentioned in the chapter yet. Just like all rules, that is not always true, such as in the sentence [roughly] that "He took him from York to Chiswick, where he died." In which case no "he" is him, and the second "he" refers to "him" but not the first "he." There. All sorted out.

I have no idea what this post means, but I'm so excited to pass it on to someone who might find it useful. (We should all read this book, I guess?)

My wife thought sheep had the white wool and lambs had the black wool. She insisted upon this for the longest of time before seeing it in writing.


Dear Prudence's feelings are hurt.

No no, Dear Prudence is just as good if you read it three or four days late. Whereas if I go back and try to read this chat after it's over, it makes no sense at all. The nonsensicalness of this chat is my largest proof that bodysnatchers exist, because sometimes I think they snatch my body in the middle of the chat and take over.

I was really upset by the Twitter leaks that ruined the surprise ending that Lady Sybil dies at the end of the State of the Union address.


There are two running jokes about this sort of thing in my family. The first: my mom's epiphany at age 16... birthday...day of your birth! And then me, very DC-centric: I was learning to drive and my family decided we would take advantage of our desire to go into the city to see the monuments as an opportunity to practice my highway driving. As soon as I get off 495 and merge onto the GW Parkway, my mom turns to me and says "So what did you think of the Beltway?" I immediately white-knuckle and shrieked "That was the Beltway?!?!?!" I had no idea that the Beltway and 495 were one and the same and it became a retroactively terrifying experience.

Bonus points for yours being DC centric.

I guess it's settled, then. You'll be chatting on both days, right?

Basically, we're all going to buy those creepy Google goggles so we can be attached at all times.

Believe it or not, you can win stuff from online/mail sweepstakes. My father is addicted to it and enters all of us in various contests. I've won a 42" TV, a trip to Atlanta, digital cameras, etc. My uncle has won many TVs and cruises, primarily from online sweepstakes. The key is to have a junk email address set up. I don't get a ton of junk mail at home.

If someone would like to win free vacation on my behalf, I'm totally down with that.

Until age 30 something, I thought the insect was spelled B-E-A-T-L-E. Yes, for the reason you're thinking of.

When you learned the truth, did you think the Beatles were cooler or more lame than you previously had?

You want taxis to easily stand out from the sea of other vehicles on the roads, that way you know which ones you need to watch out for when you're crossing the road.

Yes. But other colors would also work: Neon orange, electric blue, lime green.

How the greats fall: Muskie cries. Ford trips. Dukakis tanks. Dean yells. Rubio drinks water.

Aww, at least the guy had a good sense of humor about it.

I felt for him. Here he is, giving his speech, and you just know that suddenly he needed a drink of water. And once that thought crosses your mind, there is no going back. It  must be heeded.

Would be amazing. Best city ever.

Truly, I felt we should just go completely all out and have bedazzled, glittery faces of the presidents on all of our taxis. I'd like to hail a Chester Arthur.

Happy valentines day to you and the chatters! Let us fill up FB with cool, non-treacly messages of affection.

"You are all powerful independent people, whether or not you are in a relationship."

Without taxis being yellow, Joni Mitchell's song "Big Yellow Taxi" -- with the line, "They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot" -- would make no sense!

This is...fecetious, right? Because the song has nothing to do with the taxi color.

... what "BOLO" actually means. YEARS of TV watching and my D-I-L never knew it stood for "Be On The Lookout"...

I did not know this. I did not know that BOLO meant "Be on the lookout." Is this actually common knowledge?

Saturday Night Live says "Thank you."

Now the question is whether they actually do something smart with it, or whether they just have a guy drinking for an interminably long time.

Up until high school or so, I thought Alzheimer's was "Old Timers' Disease" and that Oil of Olay was "Oil of Old Lady."

The first one. Me, too.

Problem with that is that some fire departments already use vehicles that color for highest visibility. It would get confusing if cabs were the same color.

Really? I don't think so. Plenty of cars are red, and we don't confuse the red cars with the red fire trucks. Mostly because they're not barrelling down the road, emitting a wailing siren, with a giant ladder on the top and men wearing flame-proof suits.

I'm married, and I can't stand the firehose of treacle that sprays itself across FB every February 14. Seriously - the more gackworthy comments you make about your perfect boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/boinkbuddy, the more it just seems like overcompensation. I feel like there should be a special Facebook holiday six months later when we find out how many of those couples broke up.


Yes! This can only be a good thing for cab companies. People will take cabs even when they don't need one just to add to their "collection." Personally, every time I move, I get irrationally excited about the possiblity of getting the Nevada "Alien" U-Haul truck, which I have never managed. Once the franchise I went to had one, but it was two sizes bigger than I needed. I seriously debated getting it anyway.

I am really bummed I didn't think to suggest this to the commission when working on the story. Aside from the fact that it's completely impractical, you're absolutely right. We would all clamor to ride in every single one of the presidents. And/or first ladies. (THE BETTY FORD).

I always thought Bolo was a kind of tie.

I think that's a YOLO.

I don't know if this fits, but when I was a kid I thought you needed a Spanish phone to make a call in Spanish, a Chinese phone to make a call in Chinese and so on....

Well, this is just adorable.

No one has ever used BOLO as short for "be on the lookout." This is something that only that person's family uses. How often do we have to say "be on the lookout" anyway? Does it really need to be shortened?

This is what I was thinking. Unless it's something used a lot on cop shows, as an abbreviation.

it took me forever to figure out why baseball fans yelled "O" during the national anthem in Baltimore but not elsewhere. I am so glad this chat is anonymous.

If you were writing in from Chicago, you would be confessing that you were in your 20s before you realized that the lyrics to Take Me Out to the Ball Game did not go, "Root, root, root for the Cubbies."

You must not watch enough cop shows! It's usually accompanied by "put out an APB"...

APB, I know.

It's true. I work in law enforcement and we get BOLO reports all the time.

Thank you.

There was a Post video of you and I noticed among the You Tube recommended offerings there is a video of a 17 year old named Monica Hesse delivering an excellent and humorous analysis of what it is like to be...uhhh...even from the video I am not certain what the correct term is,,,let's say below average in physical stature? Is that you, filmed what I guess would be about three years ago? Is so, you should please link to it so we may all see it. It really is good.

I think I know what you're talking about. This is a weird story.

When I was in high school, I was pretty tiny (I'm still pretty tiny, but I was really Olive Oyl tiny), and as part of a creative writing prompt, I wrote moderately funny essay about it (But it's not funny, it's really bad).

After I graduated, somehow this essay was placed on the Internet. Where people began to find it. And use it as an audition monologue for shows. I don't know how this happened, or who put it up there, because it definitely was not me. But every few months I'll get an email from someone in Australia or Oklahoma asking where they can get a copy of the play that the monologue came from. They can't. Because it doesn't exist. It's just a stupid creative writing exercise written by a teenager more than a decade ago.

I tried yelling "R" during the national anthem at a Ravens game. It didn't go over well.

They just thought you were prending to be a pirate.

Under-rated website: www.acronymfinder.com. Comes in handy.

What a fabulous find!

How about the 13-year-old's "newborn" photos? So sweet.

I cannot tell you how horrifying I find this. God bless this child -- God give this child a winning lottery ticket and a gorgeous prom date and a new car -- for putting up with this completely mortifying exercise.

I'm single but I LIVE for this stuff! Rather than make me feel bad, it makes me feel very, very lucky that I didn't end up with a poster of such gackworthy comments.


But it only saves two syllables over the original phrase... what exactly is the point?

It saves you threeee syllables.

Have you been watching The Americans? Great so far but the pace is not sustainable. So much has been packed into 2 episodes! Reminds me of other shows like Homeland and I always assume the writers are going all out in season 1 in hopes of getting renewed but then they're somewhat painted into a corner...

Yes, I fear shows that are that good and that action packed in the beginning. They always seem to fizzle by mid-season.

All right. We have officially accomplished nothing today, except learned new acronyms. I think this was an hour well-spent. See you back here, same time next week?

And FWIW, it does seem that the majority of you would prefer a Thursday chat, so I'm going to talk to the chat producer about that possibility. And then throw myself in abject misery at the feet of those for whom Thursday won't work. You can totally email me all day long on Wednesday.

In This Chat
Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

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