Web Hostess Live: The latest from the Web

Mar 13, 2014

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.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Apologies that our chat last week got cut off early -- the free wireless in the Columbus Airport betrayed me, and by the time if was working again, I had to get on a plane. If you had any brilliant points that I didn't get to see, please submit them again. We'll get started at 2 today.

For today:

Read this story about a man who is using Yelp reviews to piece together a digital memoir about the dissolution of his relationship.


Do you find the exercise...maudlin? Creepy? Lovely? An invasion of privacy? A lovely testament?


We'll talk about that and anything else you want to today.

I'm not a fan of this guy. I am very, very glad that faces aren't' included in the pics. Side issue- a lot of people on Reddit thought this was hilarious, but I imagine the response would have been harsh and swift if the pics were of women with "muffin-tops." Side-side issue- Am I the only one that finds it super weird to put a period inside the quotes when it's not a direct quotation, as in the sentence above?

I see a period outside the quotes in any circumstance and it makes me skin crawl, like a child has wandered out of the yard and needs to be corralled back in.


Now. Onto plumber butts. I agree it's in poor taste. That being said, the progression of this guy's increasingly anguished face as he encounters more and more exposed derriere's -- I have to admit that I laughed.

As for your point about the double-standards with women's muffin-tops -- is it the same thing? I don't know. One is showing photos of women whose flesh has spilled over her jeans. Not a "naughty" part of flesh, just skin. The only point of displaying these photos would be to mock the woman for her shape.

The plumber butt pictures, on the other hand -- is he mocking the fact that they're overweight, or just the fact that the naughty parts of their butts are spilling out?

Why was your chat not linked on the homepage nor in the weekly chat page until just recently?

Because it doesn't get linked until I build it every week, and today I forgot to build it until a few hours ago. Because I failed.

Are you a fan? Are you going to see the movie?

I'm a come-lately fan -- Only saw a handful of episodes when the show was actually on, but I blew through the whole series a few months ago. Am going to see the movie. Even though I don't think it will be very good, actually. I can't off-hand think of any television shows that have transitioned well to the big screen. Although the problem might be that the only TV-to-Movie productions I can currently think of are "Sex and the City" and "Dukes of Hazard."


And I'm deeply torn as to how I feel about fans ordering up their own entertainment, a la the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign, for reasons I can't yet articulate.


I'm not sure this is actually the right forum for this, but it's on the net, so here goes:

Hmm. You sent a link and I couldn't get it to work. Try again?

I can't remember a thought I had 7 minutes ago, what makes you think I can remember a thought I had 7 days ago? Now what was I going to say?

It's true. Who are all of you people?

And yet you had your book published in the UK, where this is standard usage.

I thought about boycotting the whole country, but I do like their chocolate.

Here goes again. If it doesn't work, it's a 30 foot cross stitch tapestry depicting the entire Star Wars saga! Probably you could google "the Courscant Tapestry".


I find it creepy. I understand that he is heartbroken and am not dismissing his feelings, but aren't these are the kind of entries best saved in a journal (perhaps to later be read at Mortified http://www.getmortified.com/ ?!?) rather than on Yelp? However, I do find this preferable to overemotional FB updates a la "That moment at Dean and Deluca when you realize your dream is being lived by someone else."

I find myself wondering if the fact that the brokenhearted man is an artist makes a difference. After all, poets and songwriters have been making livings off of failed relationships for centuries. We accept that as a respectable art.


But I agree that it's somewhat creepy to watch a stranger or casual acquaintance be overly demonstrative about a breakup online.


So I guess I'm trying to figure out which takes precedence: the author or the medium. On the one hand, this author is a writer. On the other hand, he's doing this on Yelp.

One of the many topics that reappears in my life is bacon, I don't know why, that is.I have tried to no longer discuss bacon. Yet each time I do so, someone like you comes along and states "we'll talk about anything" right after I learn something interesting about bacon. I heard on the radio that bacon tastes great baked in an oven. Now, I am a vegetarian and I don;t actually eat bacon, which is one of the reasons I find it weird I am always drawn into conversations about bacon. I have to admit I didn't know people did not cook in an oven, and now they do. Are there any' bacon cooked in oven' experts out there who could enlighten us?

Is this what happens when I say we can talk about everything? Bacon happens?


I'm a vegetarian too, but I was at a brunch the other week where the hostess cooked the bacon in the oven, and all the meat eaters seemed to like it.


I find it disturbing that anyone would be drawn to discussing bacon to such an extent that they would have to actively try to limit their bacon discussion.

I loved Firefly, but if you're not a Buffy or Sci-Fi fan it may not register. I thought The Adams Family movies were fun and in the spirit of the TV show.

The Addams Family movies -- I wonderif those worked in part because it was rebooting something that hadn't been on the air for 25 years at that point. It was a work of nostalgia as much as a work of art.

- that would make a great band name, now that I think about it. Anyway- plumber butts: I am a lady who plays Magic and has done so at tournaments - albeit not with nearly this many people - and that series of photographs made me laugh very, very hard because it's true. It's oh so true, and the increased anguish made it even funnier. Yet I also found it sad because it confirms a stereotype of Magic players who are male: many are overweight, with poor sartorial awareness, and questionable hygiene choices. But (butt?), I like to think that if my rear end had ended up in that picture, I would have laughed, and immediately invested in a belt or pants that fit. - or, at least remembered to take a jacket with me next time to drape over the back of the chair.

Thank you for this insider explanation and reaction. Oddly, the series of photos mostly just made me wish that I played Magic, or some other elaboriate game for which I would have a reason to attend a big tournament. That looked like fun.

Yeah - not what I'm looking for when I'm trying to determine the quality of that sushi place I keep driving by. Also, seems a little too high-schooly to me. Maybe best on a Livejournal?

I don't know if it would work on LiveJournal. I'd imagine the success of a project like this would have to be its unexpectedness -- the fact that you would be trying to find a good peanut butter milkshake, and before you knew it you were reading about a small tidbit of a relationship. I don't know. I think in that setting it could be kind of moving, and you could wonder where and when you would stumble on the next piece.


In short: I don't know if the project works at all. But if it does, I think it has to work in that context, on Yelp, rather than on a site like LiveJournal.

Now, the Yelper! I do not find it charming, and I am a hopeless romantic. It reads a little creepy, like this guy can't let go of the relationship. If I were his ex, and read those Yelp posts, I would feel squicky as all get-out, because - to me - that's the sort of thing you keep to yourself, or write in a diary that you give to that person while you're dating. I mean, yeah, I have my moments with all sorts of food establishments for current and former SOs, but no one aside from me and them needs to know about those moments. Whew. OK, I'm pausing for a breath now...

 I'd like to see a series of response posts from the ex: "Actually, Todd, I wasn't gazing lovingly into your eyes at that Thai restaurant. I was gazing lovingly at the exit door behind you."

I don't believe the Yelp relationship guy is real. I think he's writing this generation's version of an epistolary novel. I'm not sure if it's better or worse if I'm wrong. If I am wrong, no one's trying to fool us into believing something that isn't true AGAIN, but some dude got his heart broken. :(

Oh, it's worse if you're wrong. I mean, if you think it's cringe-worthy and juvenile now, fine -- but at least you give the guy a bit of a break because his heart is broken. If it's just a fake literary exercise, then he doesn't have the real emotions in his corner.

Is he going backwards in time and writing these reviews? If so, I don't like it. Or, is he just going back to Yelp to get reviews that he wrote while in the relationship? If so, I guess it's okay. I'm thinking it's the former which is just weird. I don't want to read some love story when looking for a restaurant.

It was my impression that he was revisiting places that he'd visited in his relationship, and writing reviews based on the memories that the re-visits awoke in him. Sort of like Proust eating a Madeleine cookie and then getting lost for seven thousand pages.

It is time to point out that there is no St. Patricia, and that next Monday is in fact St. PaDDy's Day, not St. Patty's. http://paddynotpatty.com/

Thank you.

I always cook my bacon in the oven (unless it's the first step in a larger recipe), and it is the best way to go. I like to put it on a rack set over a cookie sheet and cook at 400 for 20-25 minutes (check it at the end). It tastes exactly the same as fried in a pan, but doesn't sit in the grease and makes the house stink a little less. The best part is you can do other things while the bacon is cooking. Being both lazy and a lover of bacon, it is the only way to cook it.

Okay, there are a surprising (not surprising) number of bacon responders, most of whom seem to parallel this person's becon experiences. I am posting this representative bacon experience, and we do not need to post any more. Agreed?

Since we're talking about Bacon, I'm morally obliged to draw attention to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09q04Dlh7r8 I guess it's time for us middle-aged folk to finally give in and start talking about how we walked to school up hill both ways in the snow when we were kids....

Don't worry, guys, I didn't break my "no more bacon" vow. This is KEVIN Bacon.

That's why ballerinas wear tutus, so you're not all hanging out.

Something tells me that if all of these men wore tutus, they would not look like ballerinas.

I don't have any problems with what he's doing, in theory, but reading the reviews is making my eyes roll so hard they hurt. I can't imagine how I'd react if I just wanted to know how the food was at a place.

I can't trust Yelp reviews anyway. They're too all over the place, with one person saying, "Five stars! There was a mouse in my food but whatever!" and another person saying, "I wish I could give this place zero stars. I didn't like the font on the menu."



As a, ahem, hefty guy, I wish suspenders didn't look so dorky. I live in constant fear of PB.

Suspenders are not dorky. Not unless you're wearing them ironically -- that's dorky. Suspenders worn functionally is fine. Or should be.

I don't know, I think the whole Joss Whedon MO works very well. You can enjoy "The Avengers" just as much for the Whedon style without having seen Buffy.

We're in a big gaping knowledge hole for me. Was Firefly a movie or a TV series? I thought I knew but now am confused.

Too bad the photographer wasn't a fan of Community, or The Butt Crack Bandit might have made a comeback!

Or maybe it's a really excellent thing that the photographer wasnt' a fan of community.

I am so grateful to have a day off work *AND* also to have remembered my tablet. I have soooo missed this chat! Thank you.

Oh, excellent work, you!

There are (used to be?) women's jeans specially designed to give women that feminine "plumber's butt" effect. (Does that even sound right? Yet you know what I mean, right: Same result, but on purpose.) Now, plumbers often state their effect is not intentional. They have a lot of weight on their tool belts. Yet, what do we think when the effect is an intentional part of fashion?

Trust me. No women's jeans were ever -- EVER -- supposed to give the plumbers butt effect (PBE). Low-rise jeans were supposed to show off the curve of hips, and maybe expose some skin between the top and the pants. If you ever saw PBE on a woman, it was an error that she would have been deeply embarrassed by, had she been aware of it.

Firefly - quickly canceled Whedon sci-fi TV show (11 eps, I think) Serenity - feature movie based on the It is a really good show if you like Whedon or sci-fi. Easy to burn through the whole thing in a few days. It's good. Seriously, watch it.

Thank you to the many people who immediately wrote in to give me both a description of Firefly and a defense of why it is the best show in the world.

why don't we laugh at whale-tail like we do at PB?

Because that actually *is* intentional sometimes.

No, there was definitely a butt cleavage trend in women's jeans. Wikipedia says so, too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buttock_cleavage

I stand firm that 99% of the practitioners of butt cleavage had no idea they were participating in this trend, and would have been mortified by it.

It certainly worked for Adele. But Taylor Swift has the potential to kill the genre.

Eh, I was thinking more like Shakespeare.

I'm probably a little late to the discussion today, but I was wondering what people thought about crowd-sourcing the search for MH 370 using Tomnod. I tried it out during lunch and probably only identified a bunch of waves. It was a pretty interesting exercise. I feel terrible for those people and their families, and hope that we have news (hopefully good) soon.

Here's an article describing what this poster is talking about.

I think this is the equivalent of all of the people who turn up to donate blood after tragedies, even when the Red Cross doesn't need anymore. We just want to feel useful. And the authorities probably don't mind because it keeps everyone out of their hair. They'd much rather we be scanning Tomnod at home alone than calling them and saying, "I had a psychic vision that the plane is off the coast of the Seychelles."

Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter) did one of her most hilarious trademark rants against Plumber Butt on "Designing Women."

I went looking for it on YouTube just now and instead came back with this list -- the first list being Julia's fantastic take-down of a beauty queen.

A fb friend once posted that belts should NEVER be used to actually hold up your pants. I was suprised by how many people agreed with her! Isn't holding up pants the point of belts?

No idea. I think I own only one belt, and it's decorative. But yes, in general, that is the point of belts. No?

Agreed that Yelp reviews are all over the place. I once read a three- or four-star review of one of my city's best and most expensive restaurants, and the reviewer noted that the food was delicious, the room was gorgeous, and the perks (free chocolates! waitstaff who bid farewell to you by name!) were fantastic. Why not five stars? Well, because the reviewer was miffed that for THAT kind of money, the food still tasted like normal-people food rather than the transcendental heavenly experience she had been expecting it to be, and she couldn't summon up the exact taste a week later. FAIL!

Poor soul. That sounds like a personality destined to be constantly disappointed.

Oooh, if it turns up off the coast of the Seychelles...

Do you think I should call the FAA and let them know it's a possibility?

Holding up one's pants is not the only point of a belt. I have a waist that's a ridiculous ten inches less than my hips, and use belts to hold my pants TO my waist. Otherwise, there's enough room to shove an entire fruit basket down the back.

What about a bacon basket?

It can't be Donne.

I'm not sure whether we're getting really funny here, or really sad.

Peter Mayle, of "A Year in Provence" fame, once wrote a piece on such a restaurant, fantastically expensive, populated by the richest people around, and said that he'd never in his life seen so many disappointed-looking people. He said the restaurant, to him, was all it was cracked up to be, but these millionaires were so used to having everything be perfect for them that they were alert to the tiniest missing detail.


If a person is paying 5-star prices at a restaurant, the food had better not taste like over-priced 3-star food.

What I'd want to know is whether the reviewer had experience eating at 5 star restaurants. If they did, and this place wasn't up to snuff when it came to food, then fine, give it three stars. But it sounded to me like the poster in question didn't have  5-star dining experience, and was just rating the restaurant because it didn't match up to her imagination, which might have been totally unrealistic.

Is this chat not about the web any more? I have some great bacon stories. And one great Bacon story.

Unfortunately. It is time to go. I don't know what happened this week. We went completely out of control.

Be back again next week, although I might be chatting from an airport again, in which case we'll have to brave the whims of the wireless signal again. GSTQ.

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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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