Web Hostess Live: The latest from the Web

Mar 27, 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.

I'm here! I'm here, I'm here! I was just operating off of a clock that apparently never changed for daylight savings, and didn't realize how late it was. Is anyone else still here? (Please say yes, and also come up with something to talk about.)

Did I miss a discussion last week? (*Your* discussion last week, that is ...) Not a snarky question; I'm so old now I can't remember if I read it or not, and I can't find it listed in the archives. Moochas gracias.

You did not. I had to do a last-minute cancellation because I was traveling in a dead, Internetless tundra of Ohio.

Its ok. We understand.

I DID NOT. I just forgot about the time.

Which one is your style

This is tremendously fascinating. I wonder what the government gets out of limiting hairstyle selection. Is it just that once people are allowed to choose their own hair, they'll just go hog wild and demand choice in other things, like jeans style and presidents?

I just saw that TWoP is being shut down--and no forums after May. I admit I'm rocked by this; I've been going there since the late 90s. So...suggestions for other fun places to discuss tv?

Chatters, other discussions for forums? In general, I'm most fond of the recaps on Vulture, but they don't have the participatory forums you're looking for.

At least you made it to Diane Rehm's Show on time yesterday, missy! You sound so sweet on the radio. I hope you'll read the next novel a I translate (or even the previous one).

Thank you! I also met Jimmy Carter, if by "met," you include, "He walked by me in the studio." And when it comes to heads of state, I really think being in the same room counts as "meeting." Almost.

I always feel like this chat is operating in another dimension, and only on rare and obscure occasions - the sunlight strikes a certain spot on a tree, an incantation is spoken by the seventh son of a seventh son - do our universes align and the gateway opens, revealing... I dunno, a small untidy pile of books in an armchair with a lazy tabby cat sleeping atop it. And Benedict Cumberbatch, because why not.

I think I should be tremendously offended by this description because it hints at my terrible organizational skills (come on -- before last week, it had been months since a cancellation). However, what a delightful description. You make it sound as if this chat is "The Lake House," starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. Which, now that I type that out, I'm realizing no one else will have seen.

And we should talk about how bereft we will all be when Television Without Pity goes away on April 4. I didn't participate much on the boards, but I found my tribe there and in the recaps. Recapping shows is one of those jobs that I wish I could do (for real, you know, instead of just among friends and coworkers and other people I like to annoy randomly by talking about the beautiful brutality of The Good Wife or religion in Battlestar Galactica.)

I'm sure Hank Stuever's chat has already been besieged with people sounding off on The Good Wife, or else I would take this opportunity to discuss how I hope Alicia ends up with anyone -- aaaaanyone -- besides her governor husband by the end of the show. Including Diane. I could really root for an Alicia/Diana romance.

The uselessness, and indeed the danger, of Daylight Saving Time in this day and age. Congress keeps moving it because it's the only sort of thing that Congress can be bipartisan about, other than declaring National Pickle Month.

Actually, I love daylight savings time and generally believe we should all be on it permanently. It's regular time that's the pits. (4 pm darkness? Ew.)

I guess it's the same principle as that psychological trick that parents use to keep their toddlers in line. You know, you don't ask "Which shirt do you want to wear today?" because they'll pick something inappropriate for the situation and then tantrum when they can't wear it, but instead, "Do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt?" You give them the feeling of making a choice without the downside of having to deal with the consequences if you don't like their choice.

Brilliant observation. 

And now I'm having a Mose Allison tune-cootie.

Tune-cootie? Is that another, more awesome, term for an earworm?

No, we haven't seen it, but we did read a synopsis on Movie Spoiler one time, so we sorta get what you mean.


In Gene Weingarten's recent discussion, he stated he doubted your belief that women are not aware when their low rider pants expose some derriere-crack yet he is willing to be convicted by you that they are not aware when this happens, since you are female and he is not. Do you have a statement to convince Gene on your position?

Only that women are very helpful beings to each other. We will go up to strange women on the subway and whisper, "Your bra strap is showing," or "You've got something on the seat of your pants," or, in this case, "Your pants. Your pants have fallen down." 


In all of my years of being a female and witnessing many, many exchanges like this, I have never once seen a woman say, "Cool, but it's on purpose." She always turns deep red, mouths a heartfelt "Thank you," and immediately pulls her pants up.

Do you ever look at one and think that could be me? I rode Metro behind a monk on his way to Catholic University and I remember thinking I am not giving up my Starbucks for a scratchy brown robe.

Sometimes I am very jealous of nuns. All the nuns I know are righteous, hip people.

One of the more frustrating things I find about the Web is when a page (say, AOL) has a link to a story that when you click it, takes you to a page that ALSO has a link to the story (but not the story itself), which you then have to click (and if you're lucky) to get the story. I guess I'm complaining about "poor linksman(person)ship"?

Often the issue is that AOL (or whomever) is trying to promote their own content. So, say you're reading an AOL story about "The Lake House," a romantic comedy starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. And you click on a link because you want to learn more about "The Lake House." But it doesn't take you to someplace useful; instead, it takes you to another AOL article about lake houses in general. Because that way it gets more clicks.


It is exceedingly frustrating, and "poor linksmanship" is an excellent descriptor.

Did he look at you? If so I would definitely count that.

He gazed in the general direction above my shoulder.

I like the AV Club - while it's not the forum experience, there's lots of snark, and chatter after a show's recap. Although they did just cancel their recaps of Blacklist.


Ahh, but that's the beauty of it! I would guess that a fair percentage of the bookish and thoughtful chatters who show up here are of a similar temperament. There's something very Tolkienesque about it. We're all just sort of sporadically wandering into a wonderful land of exploration and adventures.

I mean, really, most of the time I show up and then one of -you- aren't here. And I notice. I definitely notice.

Would think that a comparison of this chat to the Lake House is a compliment. Of course, the same could be said about trying to compare this chat to anything starring Keanu Reeves in a non-ironic and/or unintentionally humorous role....

Speed is a brilliant movie. I'll still watch a few minutes of it every time it's on TBS.

Seriously, I haven't missed it since NBC Universal bought it and made it a mouthpiece for Bravo. In fact, I'm sure if I tried, I think I could probably trace the devolution of Bravo into the Andy Cohen-engineered staged reality mess that it is. But I digress. Seriously, no tears from this guy, who also blames the NBC/Uni purchase for the demise of the utterly brilliant Fametracker, which was run by the same folks that originated TVWoP and, as a result of a non-compete agreement, was subsumed in the sale and put on "permanent hiatus."


Case in point: The Period Code, where if another woman asks you for sanitary supplies while out and about, even if she's your worst enemy, you MUST give her a spare. It's this ironclad code of honor that cannot be violated, and we all know it and abide by it.

Yes. Obviously.

That's because women slut-shame one another. There's no bro code that bros enforce.

Yeah, I know where you're trying to go with this, but there's a distinct and palpable difference between a woman trying to slutshame another woman and a woman trying to be helpful. And there's a distinct and palpable difference between a woman who feels she has been slutshamed and a woman who is genuinely grateful that someone else told her that her pants were falling down.

What does this have to do with how women view nuns?

Because the poster was a man, and he has feelings abount monks, so he wondered how women felt about nuns? I have no idea. This chat is a weird place.

I'd wear a warm brown robe forever rather than set foot in a Starbucks. Also, there are friars and nuns out there who dress just like you & me, so it seems to me that you have vastly oversimplified the issue.

Well, and also, nuns and monks can go to Starbucks.

I "met" Donny Osmond in the same manner in which you met former President Carter. It counts. In other news, I once shared an elevator with former Secretary of State Warren Christopher. That was quite exciting. He did the "somewhere over my left shoulder" thing as well. Maybe they're trained?

I think all famous politicians probably get very good at seeming very polite while not giving you the time of day.

OOH! OOH! Can we use this as an excuse to talk about Suor Cristina, the peppy young Sicilian nun who just rocked the Italian version of "The Voice" with an Alicia Keys rendition? I've watched this video about a hundred times this past weekend because the looks on the faces of the judges when they turn around and see the source of that soulful voice are AMAZING. And J-Ax, the tattooed rapper, who refers to a Catholic upbringing, is moved to tears by her. You can just see his faith in the entire world being restored on the spot, and he's happy like a little kid when she chooses him as her team captain. I'm not even Christian and I'm obsessed with this entire story. 

This is the greatest video.

Actually, I think it's less of a seventh son/planetary alignment thing, and more of a Gandalf "speak friend and enter" situation. It may seem very mysterious, but sometimes we're just making it out to be more complicated than it is.

Making things more mysterious and complicated than they are is half the fun.

I'm not too upset that there won't be new content, or even about the forums, but I am VERY sad the old recaps won't remain up. Some of us are slow and haven't finished watching Veronica Mars (for example) yet. I need those! For new recaps, I like AV Club, too. Thanks for letting me share my feelings about this.

For Veronica Mars -- someone (was it on this chat? I can't remember) sent me a link to a guy who was blogging his belated watching of the entire series, and it was marvelous. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

Is a Buddhist nun (yeah, who knew?) and she totally kicks butt. And doesn't carry a ruler/yardstick. So I'm compeltely with you on the nun jealousy, based on my admittedly miniscule sample size.

Thank you.

Maybe AV Club? And EW for some shows.

EW's recaps are serviceable but not illuminating. But sometimes thats what you want, you know?

Nos that it runs for almost 8 months of the year (early March though late October), shouldn't Daylight Savings Time become Standard Time, and then we can rename Standard Time to, I don't know, maybe Enforced Artificial Darkness Time?

I've been saying this for years. Daylight Savings should be Real Time and Standard Time should be Sad Time.

I don't know why we haven't done it already, except that I suspect it has something to do with legislators being strangely discomfited by the concept of randomly losing an entire hour and never finding it again.

I'm thinking it's kind of ominous, but that's because I remember the last nun to have a to-40 hit, that Belgian (I think) Soeur Sourire, with her "Dominique" single. She ended up leaving the convent. (Debbie Reynolds played her in the movie.)

But every time nuns leave convents (The Sound of Music, Sister Act), the other sisters are very supportive to her for finding her true calling.

Not to mention about 85% of human nature....


But where does that impulse come from in the first place? I know that whenever I see a girl trotting home alone in a mini-dress and heels in freezing weather and my internal reaction is to feel judgmental - and I always feel so guilty a second later because I know how wrong that reaction is - part of that impulse is just coming from, "I hope she stays safe for the rest of the night." We all grow up hearing horror stories about what happens to girls who "act the wrong way," and what seems like jealous hostility is sometimes just internalization of that horrible "lesson." Certainly, if I were in the walker's place and needed some kind of emergency assistance, I'd still feel safer approaching a disapproving woman than a very approving man.

What kind of judgmental do you feel? I feel a little eye-rolly, but not because I find her clothing inappropriate. Only because I'm thinking, "However good you look, it cannot possibly be worth however cold you must feel."

If you genuinely look at a woman dressed like that and judge her for wearing clothes that are too "slutty" -- hmmm. I'm not sure if that would be the typical reaction for women to have toward other women, or not. It certainly wouldn't be my reaction. Other women on the chat? Feedback?

Ha! I can beat that. When I uSed to hang out at WNYC's studios, F. W. de Klerk was flogging an autobiography and shook hands with and smiled at everyone. Classic politician move. But, then, it wasn't Jimmy Carter. OK. You win anyway.

I'm going to admit something. I had to Google "F.W. de Klerk," because I wasn't sure if he was a former president of South Africa, or if he maybe had something to do with Germany.

It's needing a candy bar from the vending machine and all you have - all you have - is 95 cents (the penny collection doesn't count). I've scrounged my desk drawers, my purse, my wallet, the floor. That's it. I just need a nickel. I guess there's consolation that I'm not so desperate that I'll use my debit card. Yet.

Get thee to a colleague. Don't you have anyone who can loan you a nickel? Neely Tucker and I have been loaning each other the same 20 bucks for going on three years now.

I think the ones on TV.com (for a few select shows) are pretty good.


My parents told me that during WW II they had double Daylight Savings Time part of the year (i.e., clocks set ahead 2 hours), at least in California, where they were living.


In the movies, yes. Did you ever read "The Real Maria," by Baroness von Trapp? She was kind of pissed off that the nuns made her leave and marry that nice guy.

Even after he sang Edelweiss and they made up the Cuckoo dance?

I graduated from a mid-sized Midwestern university. In the past week, they are the ONLY ones who have called me. At all. But they have become stalker-ish, basically calling me every evening. I recognize the number, and don't answer, because I have little desire to talk to an undergraduate and explain to them that - no, I do not wish to donate $ to my alma mater. Relatedly, my alma mater is a big basketball school, but did not make it into any tournaments this year. However, this brackets interests me FAR more than any sports-related one. Not a big fan of gluten winning, though, as I know too many celiacs for whom the stuff is purely dangerous. 

1) You need to pick up and flat out tell them you are not going to donate, or else their incessent calling is only going to get even more annoying.


2) I know gluten allergies are a real thing for some people with celiac disease. But I am going to predict, here and now, that in 5 years, 90% of the "gluten-free" advertising will have completely dropped off. The same way that "fat-free," trickled away in the late nineties and "carb-free" is finally beginning to wane.

The problem with turning DST into standard time is that on December 21 while the sun would set at 5:50 p.m., it wouldn't rise until 8:23 a.m., and all the little kiddies would be waiting for school buses in pitch darkness. The answer would be to split the difference: This fall, instead of falling back an hour, fallback 30 minutes -- so on December 21 sunrise would be 7:53 a.m. and sunset 5:20 p.m.

I say this as an American who has lived in America her entire life: Our country is not equipped to handle time changes happening in 30 minute increments. We just simply could not deal.

(By the way, yes, I will stay on later this chat, since we didnt' start until 2:15).

I will admit to having seen "The Lake House." Then again, I am cloaked in the anonymity of a chat poster. (It wasn't terrible -- Keanu and Sandra are both likable enough, and it was charming enough, as long as you didn't think too hard about it. I did wait for it on either DVD or cable, though.)

The main reason to watch "The Lake House" is to watch the actual lake house and be jealous of the architecture. 

Nonononono, definitely not. It's more like, "Oh, honey, was it really worth skipping the coat just so you could look cute ALL night?"


Did you know that many of the pictures that Google returns from a search on your name are pictures of Gwenyth Paltrow?

That's probably a temporary thing. I was just last week nominated for a James Beard award because of a piece I wrote on Gwyneth. Probably skewed the search results.

the name de Klerk is of Dutch origin, not German.

Yeah. I wasn't saying I thought the name was German. I was saying I genuinely thought the man was a figure in Germany.

I went to Catholic University and some of my favorite professors and instructors were monks and nuns. Not all brothers wear the brown robes and they can be quite fun people. Back in the day, there would be some priests at parties.


YES THIS IS TRUE! I once stayed at the Von Trapp Family Lodge on a ski trip, and went to a Q&A session given by the granddaughter of the Captain and Maria. The kids loved Maria so much that they started dropping hints about, "Do you like our father?", and when she said "Of course I do, he's a very nice man!", they ran to their father and "OKAY, SHE WANTS TO MARRY YOU, ASK HER." She was blindsided by the proposal - like, to the extent that she dropped a valuable heirloom she was cleaning at the time and it smashed - and she ran back to the convent in tears. The nuns prayed over it and said that it was God's will that she marry the Captain. She was indeed pissed off on her wedding day, but thankfully came to love the guy for real.

Wow. Wowwww. 

I've found as I get older that when I see a young woman dressed so inappropriately that my mind can't stop from going there, I just want to pull her aside and say "Honey, honey, what are you doing dressed like that?" I have to say this impulse only arises when said young woman would be unaware of what she looks like from another's point of view. I know the difference between that and young women who KNOW how they're dressed.

It's so difficult to know how to dress when you're that age. I see lots of intern types in DC go to their desk jobs wearing clothes more appropriate for clubbing. They know they're not supposed to wear jeans to work, and these are the only other clothes they have. They're missing an entire business-appropriate wardrobe.

It helps build character. Besides, pervert strangers don't get up that early.

The kids in Alaska go to school in the dark six months out of the year.

I had a colleague who was a former nun (joined at age 14, back when that was still allowed), and another friend who'd considered joining. Both said that the thing that they realized they couldn't deal with was the Obedience vow.

Except that most of the nuns I know don't seem very obedient at all. There's such diversity in convent experience.

Is there a written or unwritten rule that all WaPo authors must read books by other WaPo authors? Are you going to read Shulte's book, "Overwhelmed," that has gotten So. Much. Press.?

I'm not a mom and I think the target audience fur Brigid's book is women with a lot more on their plate than I have. But the article it was based on was great, and I fully support all of you buying it.

Is that when you mislay your marriage, like car keys?

We shan't mock Gwyneth. Not in this chat.

but I did hear you on Diane Rehm's show. way to go! Any sharable inside info about her show?

Diane Rehm is the most stylish dresser you can imagine, with fantastic accessories and very high heeled shoes. She's the epitome of elegance.

Smart recaps and commenting with minimal "I will, never, ever, ever watch this show again" statements. No forum though.


I realize it's only for a small number of admittedly testosterone-fueled shows, but I find the recaps on Grantland for shows like Walking Dead and Justified to be incredibly edifying.


Does that mean we can no longer use the adjective "insouciant" when referring to her?

If Hamlet say a young woman dressed inappropriately, would he say, "Get thee to a nunnery."?

I think of Goop. When I think of Goop, I think of you.

We've reached the limits of reason here. Next week I'm going to remember what time it is and see you all back here next Thursday. GSTQ.

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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