Web Hostess Live: The latest from the Web

Jul 25, 2013

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. We'll get started at 2.

In the meantime: the other day, the restaurant Chipotle experienced a Twitter hack that ultimately resulted in the company recieving 4,000 new Twitter followers a day, instead of its regular 250. And then, it was revealed that...the account was not hacked. Chipotle faked the hack in order to get more followers.

And also: I think we are going to have to talk about Anthony Weiner. Sexting. Again. I'll get the ball rolling by posting a piece I wrote two years ago when his first sexting scandal broke. Subtitled: Men, Please Don't Text Pictures of Your Package; It's Not Working For You.

Jura, Carolyn, Michelle and Monica all in one day today!!! This and the unbelievable weather....oh, joyous day! And long live women of the Post!!!!!!

Did y'all even bother to show up for this chat today? You could be forgive if you were pooped out from Carolyn's unpexpected guest appearance on a Thursday.

WHY would Weiner run for mayor, knowing the other stuff about him that could come out?

Because...well, first, what else could he do? The man's a politician. He feels compelled to politic. And also because there's gotta be a tie -- and people have explored this before, right? -- between whatever causes men to seek out adoration from women who are not their wives, and whatever causes them to seek out adoration from the voting public.

It's just hysterical... if your real name has weiner in it, I guess ANY online pseudonym used in your sexting scandal is superfluous, but still. I love it. I'm very interested in what mental disorder that guy has that makes him think that this is okay AND that he didn't think he would get caught. Can the Psych 101 students weigh in? Is he a nimrod or does he really have a screw loose? Also, for the last time, most girls do not get turned on by a picture of your twig and berries. Stop it.

True or false: The fact that he decided on Carlos Danger for his pseudonym is potentially the creepiest thing about this entire mess.

And speaking of pseudonyms: Anyone other than me go read JK Rowling's new book?

C'mon Cupcake - we wouldn't miss this. As of 2:01, there were already 45 people on the chat!

But usually we got more than a hundred at this point. I bet everyone's on vacation.

Impromptu chat topic: What are you saving up to read/watch/stream on vacation?

Related impromptu chat topic:

The other day, I finally started watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix. (And kept watching. And watching. This is a highly addicting show). I watched it on my laptop because it's an online show. And I wondered if the intimacy of the viewing experience is part of what allowed me to devour the show so easily. Do you notice any difference in your viewing behaviors depending on which medium you are consuming something?

What a doormat!

But she's educated and accomplished, and obviously not a doormat in any other aspect of her life. She's obviously getting something out of the relationship.

Dead Heading by Catherine Aird, her latest in the Sloan & Crosby series, and The File Connection by David W. Robinson, the first in his Sanford 3rd Age Club series. Robinson is a new author to me.

I haven't heard of either of these. So exciting!

I'm thinking I might finally read The Casual Vacancy.

On vacation? Well, I suppose its as good a time as any.

OK, so what about the rumor I keep hearing that, in fact, both Huma and Hillary are gay. This is why (a) they have spent so many years 'working' together, and (b) they don't really care about their creepy, weirdo husbands' sexual antics. They aren't - really - interersted in their husbands; it's all just for show.

The rumor you "keep hearing?" And you were able to hear it through the tin foil?

Just started watching last night, but streaming on vacation will be tricky. Too many kids/conservative in-laws around.

Can't you tell the starchy inlaws that you are watching a series of teachable moments about why you want to make sure you never, ever end up in prison?

I have binge watched probably somewhere between 15 and 20 shows in the last three years. Only ever on my laptop. Probably mostly because its mobile. I can take it from the basement for a workout to the kitchen for lunch to my bed for some up-too-late watching. I can't even really fathom binging at that level on a television set. Seems almost tedious. I mean, I can admit this here, its a safe place, I even sometimes take the laptop to the bathroom.

Hmm. The mobility factor is interesting -- you can watch in various areas of the house, which leads you to not get too bored of the same venue.


I wonder if part of it is also that we've been conditioned to view the television as a waste of time, while we still view laptops as something affiliated with "work." If we're watching something on the computer, it can't be as bad for us as something on the boob tube.

Google Reader junkie; switched to The Old Reader, and was happy UNTIL IT CRASHED SEVERAL DAYS AGO! They say they're working on the restore, but this is the longest period in years I've been without RSS reader access, I can't even REMEMBER all my feeds to check them individually, and I'm undergoing severe blog withdrawal symptoms. Can I cry it out here?

Go ahead. We're here for you.

Perhaps the decline in chatters is due to the paywall?

Nah. The paywall has been up for a month now, and chat numbers had been pretty steady until today. It's almost August. This is just part of the ritual late-summer slog.

Yourself, Tracee Hamilton, Michelle Singletary, and Carolyn Hax. Now THAT is hitting for the cycle. Methinks my favorite new topical meme at the moment is the one where newborn Prince George is replaced by a "Despicable Me 2" Minion.

I haven't seen that -- the George Costanza-related memes seem to be winning out on my feeds.

"Creepy, weirdo husbands"? Come on. The Clintons' marriage is unconventional - I don't think you'll find anyone who disagrees on that - but have you seen the way Bill and Hillary look at each other when they're together? Or the way Bill started derailing her campaign in 2008, to the extent that he had to basically be leashed by her staff, because he couldn't resist leaping to her public defense against Obama in embarrassing and counterproductive ways? Those two crazy kids still love and respect each other as human beings. Regardless of what else they need in their lives, they're mates for life. We can acknowledge that they're outside the "norm" without making it into a conspiracy theory of political machinations.


I found that Covert Affairs is available on Amazon Instant if you have Prime. So I'm binge watching with a Prime free trial as I start watching the new season. Shirtless Chris Gorham really does any day better!

I find Piper Perabo adorable in everything, for reasons I cannot quite explain.

I just finished up the last sookie stackhouse book - it was fun and a nice ending to the series. I also watched Red on my droid on the airplane. Great cast, fun movie. I hear Red 2 is not as much fun. As you can see, no heavy lifting for summer!

I completely support this.


I do wonder, though, when we decided that summer reading/viewing should be light, untaxing reading and winter reading should be heavy lifting for our brains. Wouldn't one think our brains deserved more of a break in February? Isn't that when we should be reading Sookie Stackhouse instead of, I don't know, plowing through Middlemarch while wrapped in an Afghan?

I watch almost everything that I stream on my TV, either through my Wii (Netflix) or hooking up the laptop to the computer (Hulu), so it doesn't feel any different to me than watching anything "on TV". For me, it's just ease - it's so easy to say "Just one more episode of The Shield before I watch the baseball game" or "just one more episode of Cheers before I head out" or whatever. And I don't even have to put a new DVD in - it's just like one button!

Netflix even has that "your next episode will begin in 15 seconds" feature. It doesn't even make you work for it. It basically just says, "Hey you. Unless you actively get up and walk away, I'm going to give you another episode. You don't even have to have hands."

The dropoff could be because people hit the max number of articles with the paywall - it is the end of the month. It'll be interesting to see if the numbers trend down as the month goes on, then jump back up at the beginning of months. Or it's just that the weather is super-nice today and why am I inside on the computer?

Why are any of us inside? The weather is obscenely nice. Let's all ask the teacher if we can have class outside today.

Oh come now. We can do better than this, surely.

I agree this makes no sense in the eBook age, but back in ye olde days of print media? Summer Reading: Light paperback that you can stuff in your tote bag and take to the beach, or fit in your carry-on luggage. Winter Reading: Take down the heavy volume of Proust from the bookshelf and lug it over to the fire. Curl up with blanket and mug of cocoa.

Maybe it's also just a hangover from when we were all in school. Fall/winter is when you're assigned White Fang. Summer is when you get to read all the Encyclopedia Brown books.

Here you go:

Oh, but Harry is so not Scar. Harry is probably utterly relieved to have a safeguard which makes the chances very, very slim that he will ever have to be King. (Who would want to be King, when you can live in a palace for the rest of your life while having lessened public scruitiny?)

"Plowing through Middlemarch while wrapped in an afghan." My dream winter. [Middlemarch is AWESOME.]

1) How much hot chocolate is involved? 2) Are there also Scotcheroos? (My use of the word Scotcheroo is an attempt to figure out whether this is actually a dessert that exists in the outside world, or just something my family made up).

My theory is that it goes back to school days, when we all had to read the serious stuff all year, and summer was for hoovering up as many fun books as possible in the library's summer reading program.

And winning a free personal pan pizza if you got enough points. Least that's how it worked in my hometown.

I think Sarah Ferguson would tell you that being with the spare did not do much by way of lessened public scrutiny. Wuttamess.

Well. She also didn't do anything to stay out of the public eye. (Come to think of it, neither does Harry.)

Oooh, Catherine Aird had a great quotable line in one of her books: "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning."

This is excellent.

I've never heard of a Scotcheroo, but if it contains actual Scotch, I want one.

It doesn't. But you want one anyway, trust me.

I tend to save most books for vacations (regardless of season), because I prefer to dive in and finish the book within a couple of days, max. I'm not one who can read a book bits at a time over a series of days or even weeks. (If I'm interested, I need to know how it turns out as soon as possible, and if I'm not, then I'm likely to put it down and forget to pick it back up until I've forgotten what has happened so far.) That said, if I'm looking for something to kill time in an airport or someplace with frequent interruptions, I like the Dexter book series. (I love the TV series, but the plots and characters diverged from the books from the start -- even Dexter himself is not really the same character -- so nothing in one spoils the other.)

A long time ago, I decided I had to pledge allegiance to either the book series or the TV series, because the lack of continuity between the two was really bothering me. I chose the TV series and have not looked back, except occasionally.

I do agree with this. I think they should have switched Charles and Harry. Charles is so the Scar.

I actually await with great anticipation Charles's reign. If for no other reason than to see how he follows up the act of a woman who has been monarch for SIXTY years. And is his mother, no less.

I've got last month's and this month's book club books to read (The Aviator's Wife and A Year of Wonders, respectively). I'll be watching sunsets on the lake and two friends get married. Stream? No, a lake.

I'm not sure how I feel about all of these "The ____'s Wife" titles. I get it, but, you know, it would be cooler if the titles were, "A book about a woman who is totally worth reading about in her own right."

Your summer reading program made me remember how much I used to *love* devouring as many books as I could to win stuff. My son does not share my love of reading, but I haven't given up trying. If anyone else has a reluctant reader in elementary school, I highly suggest the "Justin Case" series by Rachel Vail. I got a lot of chuckles while reading it to my son, too.

Excellent. I've heard "Captain Underpants" as an oft-cited go-to recommendation for reluctant readers, too.

This brings up a good point. I haven't read Middlemarch, but I love Jane Austen and wouldn't consider her "heavy" reading, even though the books are considered classic. So I'm curious what other classic chatters once thought intimidating, but would now recommend?

Moby Dick. It's whale-sized, naturally, but it's so very very good.

So they sound like those little kangaroo shaped cookies, Dunkaroos? Only with these I'm assuming you get kangaroo cookies and dip them into scotch? Or okay, if there's no scotch involved then butterscotch, but that sounds less fun.

There -is- butterscotch involved.

YES! This was a common motivation for reading as a kid among my friends too. I wonder how many adults today can thank pizza for their reading habits (see: pizza can be good for you, mom).

Getting the free pizza always seemed like pulling one over on the man, for those of us who liked reading whether or not it came with pizza. It was like someone said, "Okay, here's the deal. You have to go to Disney World (sorry), but as a token for your troubles, we're also giving out ice cream sundaes."

Are so really a dessert! Way better than those marshmallow fluff rice Krispy things. Peanut butter and butterscotch and chocolate and rice krispies. And always double the chocolate topping!

Correct!! This recipe must have been on the back of a Rice Krispies box at some point, and it is so good.

The Onion: best royal baby coverage or BEST royal baby coverage:

What makes this good is that, were it not for the illustration, one would never realize anything at all was amiss with this article. It's written totally straight.

We Scotcheroo ignoramuses should all state our personal mental image of a dessert called a Scotcheroo, with the rule being that butterscotch must be an ingredient. Mine: Some sort of spongy ladyfinger, dipped in butterscotch.

Oh, heavens no. That would just be a sad tiramisu, (tiramisu already being the world's most overrated dessert, except for perhaps apple pie, as discussed last week).

The only thing that seems to be working is this chat! No email, no calendar, no weather report, nuthin'.

I am glad we got to give you a small measure of comfort.

Shout to all my young bookworm homies who got audited by the prize people because nobody believed they'd actually read that many books in a week.

What did they do, take you into a back room and grill you on plot points of Little House on the Prairie?

Is this the thing made from butterscotch chips and cornflakes?! If so, it's real!! If not, I guess we have the same name for different things?

Not that! But that also sounds delicious.

I can only watch show-length videos on the television. I can never get comfortable holding a tablet or laptop for that long, and if I set it on the table, I wind up hunching over. We cut cable last yer for a Roku/Xbox setup, so it's easy to binge-watch from the sofa.

You don't do the reclining belly rest?

but was too late, and am probably too late again, but can you all recommend gateway games to get into computer games w/ my boyfriend. He plays military type strategy games (described to me as kinda choose-you-own-adventure but with strategy), and some other stuff, and has expressed an interest that we "share" this hobby..... But I never even had a nintendo as a kid, so don't know where to start.

I think the best person to ask would be your boyfriend, no? If he wants you to be involved in a particular type of game, then he might have thoughts on what other types of games would be a natural precursor to that. Plus -- he shouldn't expect you to do a bunch of independent research to get up to speed to be an equal partner in his hobby. If he's smart, he'll go with you to GameStop and the two of you will talk to a salesman about what kinds of things interest you, and what games might complement those interests.

Hey! I was just looking for that recipe but because I didn't know what they were called I couldn't find it. My googling came up with some interesting variations, though. I ended up making one with half rice krispies, half coco crispies, marshmallow, caramel, and mini rollos mixed in. My kids loved it, but I thought it was a bit rich.

No no no no no. This recipe might be delicious, but it entirely wrong. The only ingredients in a Scotcheroo should be the following: Rice Krispies, peanut butter, vegetable oil (for the bottom). Chocolate chips, butterscotch chips (melted and stirred together for the top). Whatever you were making was a tasty abomination.

I used to live in a small village near a Hersey's chocolate factory. Hersey's offered gigantic (and I mean GIGANTIC) candy bars to the local libraries as prizes. The girl who won one year read over 500 books but she lived way out in the country and had to wait a couple of weeks before her parents drove her in to the library to pick up her prize. That's no way to treat a kid.

I like that you tell this story as if this indignity was well known around town: The Tale Of The Sad Girl Who Had To Wait For Her Chocolate.

I am your young bookworm homie, and yes, my reading was audited by the librarian. To her credit, she was not the one who saw me check out those stacks of books every week, but I had to invoke high moral outrage when she challenged me.

Well done.


This looks almost right. But the sugar is completely unnecessary. Corn syrup is basically liquid sugar anyway. And Cocoa Krispies? Heavens, no.

It's one of my favorite books. I read it more than once a year! i'm so jealous you and your book club get to read it for the first time. It's so good!

This book looks marvelous. I'm going to add it to my own summer reading list. And I hope you get a new virgin reading experience very soon.

I do have to leave on time today, so we'll reconvene next week, same time and place. The week after that I'm on vacation, so be sure to come next time or it will be weeeeks before we all meet again.


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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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