Byline: Gene Weingarten
* Formerly known as "Funny? You Should Ask ."
Gene Weingarten's controversial humor column, Below the Beltway , appears every Sunday in the Washington Post Magazine. He aspires to someday become a National Treasure, but is currently more of a National Gag Novelty Item, like rubber dog poo.
He is online, at any rate, each Tuesday, to take your questions and abuse.
He'll chat about anything.
This Week's Poll
Weingarten is the author of "The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life. And Death" and co-author of "I'm with Stupid," with feminist scholar Gina Barreca. "Below the Beltway" is now syndicated nationally by The Washington Post Writers Group .
The transcript follows.
Gene Weingarten: Good afternoon.
We begin with a moment of silence in honor of the passing of the World's Greatest Aptonym, His Holiness, Cardinal Sin of the Philippines.
Very well then. We shall try to go on.
Speaking of names, thank you to my friend Caitlin Gibson for discovering a pant-wettingly funny real moniker. It's not an aptonym, but it's fabulous. There is a dwarf in England who is apparently at the center of one of those dwarf-tossing controversies that rears up every once in a while. His name is "Manuel Wackenheim."
Also thank you to Gerry Desrosiers, who pointed me toward a story about a George Mason law school grad who sued GMU over a failed class. The dean of the school at the time of her lawsuit was Mark F. Grady.
Continuing on a word theme, my learned friend and colleague David Von Drehle asked me if there could possibly be a word in the English language any uglier than "blogosphere." I volunteered "ectoplasm." Anyone have any other nominations?
We have a deputy assistant Chatwoman today, Ms. Katie McLeod, who is taking over for our regular Chatwoman, Ms. Elizabeth Kelly, who is on vacation. Apparently, washpost.com only employs hot Irish babes.
In culture, poems can train us
(Philistinism is heinous)
If erudition's your goal
Try taking the poll
Don't sit idly there on your anus.
(I'll provide the correct answers midway through. Judging by your answers, sadly, they will come as a surprise.)
The Comic pick of the week is - whoa - Wednesday's Wizard of Id, for a really nice and edgy pun. The first runner-up is - WHOA - today's Prickly City, for finally coming up with an intelligent political joke. The runners up are as indicated.
And lastly, I received a couple of emails directing me to several recent B.C.'s in which Johnny Hart appears to be hiding messages in his grass line. He is! They seem cryptic and nearly indecipherable, which is no surprise. Katie will supply links shortly.
Okay, let's go.
washingtonpost.com: Comic Pick of the Week: The Wizard of Id , ( June 15 )
First Runner Up: Prickly City ( June 21 )
Other Runners Up: Pickles ( June 19 ), Pearls Before Swine ( June 18 )
Cast your vote in this week's poll (and please answer all three questions).
Los Angeles, Calif.: I thought your Sunday article was great, and your guest comic is hilarious. When I read the line about paging his old girlfriend, I laughed milk out my nose! Or I would have, if I had been drinking milk. And if I had a nose.
washingtonpost.com: Just Plane Funny: This Guy Never Bombs ( Post, June 19 )
Gene Weingarten: Little added behind-the-scenes inside-journalism fact: I took down his announcement verbatim, and then inquired who Alycia Oaklander was. It turns out he didn't make up the name: It WAS an ex-girlfriend. This created a problem for the Washington Post lawyers, who said that if I was going to use that item, I had to find Alycia and make sure she had no problem with this invasion of her privacy. I was very reluctant to allow a good line to live or die based upon the goodwill of someone's, um, ex-girlfriend.
Unfortunately, rules of journalism do not permit me to even slightly alter the name, since I was reporting it as a direct quote. I tried to rewrite the line using a [bracket for the name] and it took all the humor out of it.
So, cursing the lawyers, I actually had to swallow hard, track Ms. Oaklander down, and beg for her permission. Fortunately, she is a real sweetie with a sense of humor, and said sure. Clearly (and not surprisingly) my friend Dave George got the worst of that breakup.
Adams Morgan: Re: Nabakov's brilliance in a language other than his native tongue. Also Joseph Conrad. Polish. It's not fair!
Gene Weingarten: Yes, just this past weekend I met a man named Joseph Konrad, and made exactly the same observation about his sort-of namesake. Even worse: Ever read Conrad's poetry? It may be better than his prose.
Gene Weingarten: He was born Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. English was his THIRD language, after Polish and Russian. I hate him.
Right in your very own paper: ... was this aptonymic obit a few days ago:
Charles Alexander Trainum, 100, a former naval training officer who also had a general law practice, died June 8.
Gene Weingarten: Yes. A magical aptonym. This would go in the top-ten pantheon, possibly.
Voice Of Experience: Listen, Gene, this is --important--!
If you go for the sex change, make sure you tell your wife in advance. It makes for a really really lousy surprise.
If I had to do it over again ...
Gene Weingarten: Noted.
Well, you know, unlike men, women supposedly can CHOOSE to go over to the other team, so maybe it would work out okay.
Airline Hum, OR: Several years ago, Southwest Airlines allowed (and presumably encouraged) flight attendants to add their own humorous comments to the instructions. Some of the ones I remember:
"While we never anticipate a change in cabin pressure -- because, if we did, I certainly wouldn't have come in today -- should one occur ..."
"If you're traveling with a child, be sure to secure your mask before helping him. If you're traveling with two children, decide now which one you like more."
"If you're traveling with a child or someone else who needs special help, like your husband, ..."
"Tampering with or disabling bathroom smoke detectors is a federal crime, punishable by a fine of up to $500. And we all know that if you had that kind of money, you'd be flying Delta."
"We will dim the cabin lights, to improve the attractiveness of our flight attendants."
Sadly, such announcements stopped a few years ago. As a result, I no longer pay attention to the safety instructions, and I will probably die in a crash for not knowing my seat cushion could have been used as a floatation device.
Gene Weingarten: Flotation. (But I don't know why, perhaps Pthep can explain.)
These are all very good! Actually, they are Georgeworthy.
Alexandria, Va.: I just can't get over the quiz last week. No. 1, the lack of women was one thing. But, then when I started thinking about it, I got really riled. For one, Coco Chanel was left off the list. Coco was an extremely innovative designer who rescued women from corsets, and designed the woman's suit. (Men's suits were invented ~1814.) She also redefined beauty with the timeless Chanel No. 5 fragrance and more or less invented the tan for non-laborers. How could an icon like this be left off!
Also, I can't believe Elvis is not on the list. Rock and Roll is a major popular music form of the 20th century. No matter what you think of Elvis' artistry, he is the iconic figure of rock. Everyone who thinks the Beatles are is just plain wrong. Without Elvis's gyrating hips, would a bunch of longhairs from England have bothered to invade? Perhaps not. But, Elvis should be on the list!
Gene Weingarten: Both of your nominees are measures of impact, not of genius.
Baltimore, Md.: Since you're discussing limericks today, I thought you might be interested in the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form: http://www.oedilf.com/db/Lim.php
Gene Weingarten: This site is an amazing testament to someone's obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is almost unbelievable, and I would love it except so many of the limericks are gassy and lame.
Arlington, Va.: Gene, it's goiter man (from last week) again. I'm leaving work early for my ultrasound today, and I was looking closely at the radiology request my family doctor filled out. It's a generic form with boxes to check for the particular body part that needs to be inspected. On my form, she put a big X through "THYROID", but the mark is so big that it also covers "TRANS-RECTAL PROSTATE."
My thrifty side welcomes the notion of getting a two-for-one deal, but overall I have an atavistic notion that anything involving the term "Trans-Rectal" should probably be avoided.
For safety's sake, would it be a good idea for me to write "WRONG END" with a big marker on my behind? And given the obvious difficulties with doing so myself, on the way over there, would it be appropriate to ask the cab driver to help me?
Gene Weingarten: You have me laughing.
Yes, trans-rectal prostate biopsies are very bad. The only description I shall give is that they involve "rectums" and "spring-loaded needles."
NoFeelin, GS: Hi Gene,
Can you tell me if you have ever heard of this ... I have absolutely no feelings on the tops or bottoms of my feet. I don't even get a pins and needles sensation.
I have been to the doctor, but he doesn't know what it is. I am going for an MRI, but that won't be for a month.
Gene Weingarten: No numbness?
You are not a diabetic, are you?
What you have is diagnosed as a paresthesia, or loss of peripheral nerve sensation, but it usually presents as pins and needles. There are a lot of causes, some benign and some not, and these include the wonderfully named and decidedly not dental "Charcot-Marie-Tooth" disease.
I don't understand why your MRI is being delayed. I would demand an earlier one. Really.
Candorville, Va.: Picking up on the earlier discussions about Vicente Fox's comments ("work even blacks won't do"), have you noticed that today's Candorville has changed its tune from earlier strips, and is now taking a Boondocks line?
Gene Weingarten: I DID notice this! I am still completely nonplussed by this thing.
Ugly Words, N.Y.: Phlegm. Sounds good, looks awful.
Gene Weingarten: Interesting point. Yes, it sounds as though you are discussing someone who is of a nation of great painters. Then you look at it.
Laurel, Md.: The list of Greatest Americans is boring. How about a list of Worst Americans? Let's start with Benedict Arnold, Richard M. Nixon, George W. Bush, John Mitchell, John Hathorne, Herman W. Mudget, and Ed Gein.
Gene Weingarten: I don't know who Mudget is. Hathorne, by the way, was a distant relation of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who changed his name so he would not be associated with a witch-burner.
Dressco, DE: Was Katie informed that she is not to be wearing pants today?
Gene Weingarten: There is still ample time for adjustments.
Harrisburg, Pa.: Re: Paul Lynde. Do you think he was funny? Personally, I remember him as a kid, and just his voice and demeanor were hysterical. It is interesting that, now that I am older, I realize I probably didn't even understand the double entendres that were in many of his jokes, yet there was something about just looking at him that made you want to laugh, and that is a talent onto itself.
Gene Weingarten: Richard Leiby has the same talent?
Paul Lynde was hilarious.
Of course, I also think Gilbert Gottfried is hilarious. There is a certain jerk-comin'-at-ya quality to both of them that I find really funny.
PBS: Is it just me, or is the crockydile-zeeba story line in Pearls really great? I find that I chuckle over every one. The speech pattern of the crockydiles is hilarious.
Gene Weingarten: I was wondering when you would lower yourself to participate in this chat again, Pastis. Please note I get SEVERAL anti-croc complaints a week.
But welcome, you ol' pooperoo.
Alexandria, Va.: What would you say if I told you that I'm reading your chat while using a breastpump AT THIS VERY MOMENT?? This is my second week back to work after four months of maternity leave, and I have found your chat to be the perfect accompaniment to my covert lactation.
Gene Weingarten: YOU ARE USING A BREAST PUMP AT WORK? AT YOUR COMPUTER? Are there any women who would like to comment on this?
washingtonpost.com: Read ... "B.C." by Johnny Hart
Gene Weingarten: I am informed by Katie that the B.C. website is not cooperating. So, when it does, check for yourself. Katie will give you the dates where this is most apparent.
Indianapolis, Ind.: Hi, Gene: My husband and I had a great party at my boss's beautiful house in Chevy Chase where we served lots of booze and Middle Eastern food, played great music and danced, and took a few minutes to get married in the backyard. Our wedding official was a beloved, shared literature professor from college who wrote a brief, personalized service. My friends and I drank, reminisced and made the food the day before. We encouraged people to bring a drink to the ceremony, I told the bridesmaids and groomsmen to wear something they already owned (one was actually disappointed that I wasn't assigning her an outfit), and the most common comment we received afterward was that it was all the fun of a wedding and reception without the awkward and boring parts. With my boss's outrageous generosity in offering her house, I managed to have a fantastic, beautiful wedding for just under $1000. My only regret is that you weren't there.
Gene Weingarten: I WAS there. That was me, passed out, under the punch bowl.
Great Poll!: I love the poll. You wrote all those limericks? I also like it because I can deal with it in one place -- I don't have to load up a bunch of pages where comics appear, read them, and then go back and forth between them to answer the questions. Nobody seems to agree with me, but I have a big problem with number 7 (which was my 2nd worst pick), because it relies on an awful misunderstanding, that schizophrenia is the same thing as multiple personalities. That's wrong, so any joke that relies on it goes down a big notch in quality, in my estimation.
Gene Weingarten: No, none of those limericks are mine.
I know about the schizophrenia thing, but I have to say that in the realm of humor, schizophrenia-as-split-personality is a comic staple, and has achieved a legitimacy therein. Like certain ethnic groups assumed to be dumb, etc. So I accept it without penalty.
washingtonpost.com: Read ... "B.C." by Johnny Hart ... And see June 1, 6, 11, May 24 and May 21
Iowa: OOH, Worst Americans. Warren G. Harding. Tim McVeigh. Bull O'Connor. John Wilkes Booth.
Gene Weingarten: Harding does not belong on that list. He was merely an idiot, a coward, and an incompetent. He wasn't a bad guy. You also couldn't put Buchanan or Hoover on the list, for the same reason. You would need to be an ACTIVELY bad president, someone who is recognized to be awful not by what he failed to do, but by what he did. No name comes to mind at the moment, but probably one will....
PBS again: Guess what, I am definitely not Stephen!! Or his wife. I just
really like the zeebas.
Cross my heart and swear to die (someday).
Gene Weingarten: Okay, okay.
So does Stephan. There must be one or two others out there.
Mudget: I think the name was Henry Mudgett, and he was possibly America's first serial killer. Check out Devil in the White City - a book about the making of the Chicago World's Fair and the life of the heinous Dr. HH Holmes, aka Mudgett.
Gene Weingarten: Ohhhh, I actually know that guy. He had a murder house.
Baden, Switzerland: Hi Gene,
It seems like there are frequently 20-something women throwing their virtual panties at you in these chats. And not just any women, they seem to be interesting, funny, and not unskilled with the written word. Since apparently you don't get any marks for presentation, what do you think it is that attracts these girls so much? Some of us 20-something guys would appreciate any pointers to improve our game.
It also might interest you to know that near where I live in Switzerland there is a ski resort called Flims Laax Falera. In the local German dialect, the word for mountain peak is crap. At this resort, you can enjoy Crap coffee at the Crap bar.
Gene Weingarten: Excellent.
Yes, the trick to getting young, hot, smart, funny women to like you, at least if you are me, is to never let them see you in person. It works like a charm.
College Park, Md.: Ugly words - colonoscopy, enema, and - just so you don't think I'm too focused on bottoms - "Ambassador Bolton"
Gene Weingarten: Enema is a rather beautiful word! See, you are confusing form with function.
It is like "Osama bin Laden." A beautiful name. And you look at a picture of him, and he looks like a sweet guy, no?
Form and function.
The 'burgh, PA: Hi Gene! I was wondering if you ever have watched the show "Reno 911!" If so, what is your opinion on it, and do you have a favorite character? Thanks!
Gene Weingarten: I LOVE Reno 911. For those who haven't seen it, it is a comedy central spoof of cop shows, featuring a cast of stunning losers and arsewipes. You gotta love the captain, no?
By the way, have we all been watching Family Guy and American Dad? Absolutely amazing new levels of double and single entendre. The least kid-friendly cartoon in history. Well, after Fritz the Cat. They are great.
Bowie, Md.: I think meter is most important for a limerick, but it's not listed as one of the choices. Or is that covered under "Sophistication"?
Gene Weingarten: I would say meter and overall elegance is covered under sophistication, yes.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: Gene,
Can you say happy 21st birthday to my brother? He -hearts- you in whatever the man equivalent is (-handshakes- you?) and you signed a book I gave him at Olsson's in Arlington.
Happy Birthday Peter Pooper!
Gene Weingarten: Interesting, you call your brother Pooper. My daughter calls her brother Booger.
The male version of (hearting) another man is the noogie.
Happy birthday, pooper.
Concerned, ch: Gene:
Should he be concerned?
A friend's daughter (7 years old) wrote a book: "The adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl and the chicken."
p. 1. Shark boy met a chicken and said: "What's your name?"
p. 2. "Marion" said Marion. "Nice to meet you," said Sharkboy.
p. 3. Lavagirl came, and killed the chicken.
p. 4. They lived happily ever after.
Gene Weingarten: That's really very good. It has too many pages, though.
Ashburn, Va.: Recently, I have inherited a Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos clock (best approx. date is made in the 70's). But, the clock does not run, and I would like to get it repaired. I know you are THE clock guy, and wanted to ask if you had any recommendations about how to proceed. Any advice would be appreciated.
Love your chat , and your column .
Gene Weingarten: Ecker's Clock and Watch shop, Bethesda. Edward Compton, prop.
This is a very tricky clock to repair.
SF, CA: Concerning the topic of last week's poll , how about Carol Doda?
washingtonpost.com: Poll-ish Humor: ( June 14 )
Discussion Transcript ( June 14 )
Gene Weingarten: You thought I wouldn't know who Carol Doda is, didn't you? Listen, I was a teenager in the 60s.
Garfield: No mention of last Tuesday's Garfield ( http://home.uchicago.edu/~rschroll/ga050614.gif )? Jim Davis seems to have taken your criticisms to heart.
Gene Weingarten: DAvis has clearly begun to improve the strip. It's amazing.
Boston, Mass.: Hi Gene
I think I speak for all your readers when I say how disappointed I was that your son didn't publish the eagerly-awaited column, "Charlie the Pornography-Loving Giraffe" for Father's Day. Why not? Surely there is an audience for it.
Any word from our pregnant friend pretending to be on Flagyl? I have the opposite problem. I'm actually on Flagyl, but everyone thinks I'm really pregnant and just making it up (full disclosure: I've had two babies in the last three years, so it isn't an unreasonable assumption).
Gene Weingarten: Thank you. Dan is working with me on a different Major Project.
Just Wondering: Gene, How did you come up with the idea for Sunday's BtheB? Did the comic call you and say "Hi, remember me? Guess what I'm doing now"? Did another reader call to say, "You won't believe what they're doing at Dulles"? Or were you sitting there, waiting for a flight, and thinking "what the ...?
washingtonpost.com: Just Plane Funny: This Guy Never Bombs ( Post, June 19 )
Gene Weingarten: It was a chat-generated idea! A few weeks ago, someone wrote in complaining about hearing one of his announcements. This could lead someone, on this chat, to ask a certain savvy question. But probably no one will.
Ugly words: I'd say 'hemorrhoid' is uglier than 'blogosphere.'
Gene Weingarten: I can't remember who the comedian was who observed that, strictly speaking, shouldn't a "hemmorhoid" be called an "asteroid"?
Not Pastis: OK, even if that other person was Pastis, -I- like the crocodile and zeebra dialogue/dialect. The crocs crack me up.
Gene Weingarten: Okay. Well, good. Step. claims that the public, in general, loves em.
Child-produced art: My favorite example of child-produced art that combined words and pictures came from the daughter of some friends, when she was about five. She drew a picture of a woman in a fairylike outfit, put a box around the woman, and titled it "The Queen of the Night In an Elevator."
Gene Weingarten: Hahahahaha. You know, kids are wonderfully creative. We beat it out of most of them by the time they are eight.
"The Queen of the Night in an elevator" could be the caption on a New Yorker cartoon.
eewwww!, DC: please tell me that the woman pumping her breast at work is actually working from home. please, please, please! if i ever saw anyone doing that at work, i'd freak out. that's so gross.
Gene Weingarten: I do believe she said she was at work.
My favorite Limerick: But it only works if you say it -- if I wrote it out "correctly" it wouldn't scan.
There once was a guy from Peru, Who tried to speak just in Haiku, he
Gene Weingarten: Gimmicky.
Breast Pump: Um, yes, women do use breast pumps at work. Much better than bringing in a 4 month old.
I say this assuming she has a real office with a closed door, and not a cubical.
Gene Weingarten: Another view.
Pumping while chatting: Uhh - sure - I do it three times a day at work - but only once while reading your chat. Believe me, you need to distract your mind during that. It sucks. . .
Gene Weingarten: Hahahahaha.
Hullo, colym-nust neyba: Me love croc and zeeba.
But hate Jar-Jar Binks.
Gene Weingarten: Yes.
Also not Pastis or Pastis-affiliated: I absolutely love the Zeeba/Crocodile storyline in PBS. It's hysterical to me, and in a way, beautiful to watch. Nature rocks.
Gene Weingarten: I hate posting these, because Stephan will nyah-nyah me on the phone the instant the chat is over, but I am getting a lot of them.
College Park, Md.: So if the Independence Air guy was not getting any laughs at all, how would he articulate his feelings? He couldn't just get on the mike and say, "Man, I'm bombing." Although the ensuing paranoia would probably be priceless.
Gene Weingarten: Correct. He does not use that expression.
Savvy questi, ON: You're using this chat to come up with all your column ideas! Weddings were a big topic on one of the chats a while ago, and then you came out with that wedding column. You're just using us, aren't you?!
Gene Weingarten: Yes. I have admitted that many times.
Odenton, Md.: Was Dave George the chatter who complained about himself?
Gene Weingarten: Very good, yes. A very very shrewd move. I was mad at him, a little, until I caught his act and realize, hey, this is a free column, written by someone else.
St. John's, NL: I am meloncholic, today. This is my last chat in Eastern Time. We are moving to Newfoundland, and, yes, there is the internet - it just won't be the same.
I do, however, need advice and/or assistance. When told where we are moving, most people say "I'm sorry!" But, St. John's is a vibrant, if small, city, and I am NOT sorry. What can I say in response, that is cutting but subtle?
Gene Weingarten: I have been there. It's cool. The most amazing thing about Newfoundland is how the locals pronounce it: Newfin-LAND. With that accent.
In northeastern Canada, Newfies are looked down upon as hicks. But you knew that, right, Gomer?
Laurel, MD: The CPOW and the runner ups are terrible! Did you lose another bet with Dave Barry?
Gene Weingarten: They are not. They are good. Even Prickly city, which is very clever and subtle.
Medford, MA: Gene,
Have you looked over the AFI list of quotes for tonight's 100 Movie Quotes broadcast? Do the best funny lines from Mel Brooks movies (Furher was a terrific dancer) or Airplane! (I am serious, and please don't call me Shirley) have a chance?
What's your pick for the funniest line from a movie?
Gene Weingarten: Wow. I have to think about it. It would probably be from Dr. Strangelove. Or this, from Body Heat: "You're not very bright. I like that in a man."
Worst President: Franklin Pierce. The only president not to be renominated for the next election when he wanted to be. He repealed the Missouri Compromise, failed to stop the Civil War, and ran over a woman with his buggy when driving while drunk. Can't get much worse than that, can it?
Gene Weingarten: Yes, he is my candidate, too.
We MAY have a new candidate soon. Too early to tell, but the possibilities are exciting.
Ugly word: "Infarcted"
An area of dead tissue caused by collaspe or blockage.
When read aloud, the word could pass for Teutonic profanity.
Not to mention the fact it kinda sounds like fart.
Gene Weingarten: Yes, that is a bad one.
Bethesda, Md.: Gene -- looked for you at the AFI's showing of THE ARISTOCRATS on Saturday night. Did you go? I thought the movie was the knock-down funniest thing I've seen on screen since the South Park movie. Maybe too much analysis, not enough joke-telling. Provenza's Q and A afterward was pretty good too, but by the time we all got up Gilbert Gottfried had escaped. I hope this movie gets the audience it deserves. The movie was so good even the Mime was hilarious.
Gene Weingarten: Sadly, actual adult responsibilities intervened and I could not go. I will be first in line when it returns.
Gene Weingarten: Okay, the poll. First of all, you are ALL wrong. The Tit for Tat limerick is by far the worst. It stretches out of all proportion. Tat is not a name. The last line is totally predictable. It's bad. Lewdness does not make a good limerick.
You know what does make a good limerick? Class. Sophistication. It is such an unsophisticated form of poetry that when one transcends the form, it is a substantial achievement. Thus, the best is number one. British humor.
(I also love the dahlia one; it loses points only because, for it to work, one must pronounce dahlia in an odd way.)
Most of these are quite good, by the way.
Albuquerque, NM: "Anecdote". It falls on the ear like a chest of drawers slipping from your grasp in the stairwell and taking the last few steps by itself.
Gene Weingarten: Good one. Several people also mentioned "crotch," which, indeed, has little going for it.
Question for Tucson: The dog has no nose? How does he smell?
Gene Weingarten: Terrible!
Pottstown, Pa.: This is in reference to "Bathroom Games" from last week, and "hitting the cycle." I have a similar game that I play which results in a "hat trick," or, if I am having a REALLY good day, a "Texas hat trick." (And I affectionately refer to one particularly difficult stall to hit as the "penalty box," or Penny, for short, but I am also completely bugsh-t insane.) As far as I know, I am the Gretzky of the First Floor. (Don't let anybody tell you that women don't care about the NHL lockout.)
Gene Weingarten: I have to say, I have received a half dozen communiques from people -- all women, naturally -- who report playing this same game. I am thunderstruck. You guys are easily entertained!
Huh?: If the chatter didn't like the airport guy, why is he reading you?
Gene Weingarten: It's true. Dave's sense of humor and mine are pretty similar.
Baden, Switzerland: I'm not a fan of Pearls Before Swine . I started reading it online cause of you, but it just seems like it's the same couple jokes all the time. Rat is mean to Pig, or the crocs want to eat the zebra, or Pig is a moron. Even the meta-comics have gotten old.
Since you seem to like the meta-comics, what's your opinion of Overboard, by Chip Dunham? He makes references to himself every once in a while, and it's funny in and of itself, not just cause he references something outside the comic world. For example, the June 15 strip. Also, it's about pirates, and 95% of guys think pirates are cool. Yarrrrrr!
Gene Weingarten: I am a fan of Pearls. I am also a fan of Overboard. I recommended that the Post pick it up, but no one ever listens to me.
Ashburn, Va: Can't call Benedict Arnold a Worst American since he never was one. He ended up being a Great Crownsman.
Gene Weingarten: Very true. The Rosenbergs were arguably bad Americans.
washingtonpost.com: Pearls Before Swine
Brea, ST: Oh, I'm glad women pump at their desks. There was a woman in our office bathroom pumping and I had to use the facilities. But I felt rude doing it while she was preparing lunch. So I held it.
Use your office. Don't make me go through that.
Gene Weingarten: This may be more than I want to know.
Silver Spring, Md.: Re: today's poll . Ugh. Am I the only one that thinks limericks belong in the same bin as knock-knock jokes and Milton Berle. They always seem like so-so jokes wedged into some random format. Is there some fabulous back story that will help me appreciate limericks?
While you're at it, can you help me with Marmaduke?
Gene Weingarten: Oh, clearly it is possible to be quite elegant within the form, no? Some of these are.
Alexandria, Va.: Ugliest word: flaccid. (Shudder)
Gene Weingarten: You must be a man. Or, I suppose you could be a woman. You're definitely one or the other.
Beirut, Lebanon: In a recent issue of GQ, a poll of semi-famous Brits discuss movies that have made them cry. Boris Johnson, a conservative MP offered the following about the film Jaws:
"I was very sad when they blew up that poor fish. Why did they kill such a beautiful creature? It was only trying to eat people."
Is this the funniest a politician has ever been on purpose?
Gene Weingarten: This is pretty good. Especially for a politician. I am surprised he didn't follow it up by saying, "... though we must acknowledge, of course, that the eating of humans is a bad thing and must not be condoned and ...") Or did he?
Comparis, ON: How does limerick 1 differ from limerick 8, then (both being meta-)?
Gene Weingarten: Limerick one is more elegant.
Virgin Pollster: Yay!!
For the very first time since the inception of the poll I was right!!
I think I am going to stop taking them now.
Gene Weingarten: You got em all? You may be the only one. Buy yourself a drink.
Another word: "Moist" -shudder-
Gene Weingarten: Moist is too funny sounding to be bad.
About Marmaduke: Dogs that don't have secret human lives aren't funny enough for a daily comic.
Howard Huge in Parade is drawn weekly and good for about a laugh a month.
Gene Weingarten: Yeah, those comics in Parade are interesting: They combine the best art with the worst ideas. They compete with Baldo in that category.
Crofton, Md.: Please explain BC
Gene Weingarten: Which BC?
Lansing, Mich.: Re Limericks and Ugly Words: Yes, it's possible for limericks to be elegant. I've seen you craft a couple that were masterful. For the most part, though, they're pretty lame - too much reliance on the sexual or scatalogical, not enough on the meter.
And rectory is among the ugliest words I can think of.
Gene Weingarten: What's wrong with "rectory"? i don't see it.
Boston, Mass.: I do not see a pun in the CPOW. A little help?
Gene Weingarten: Huh? The CPOW should show a guy on the gallows talking to his lawyer and saying, "Your idea of a suspended sentence is not the same as mine."
Re: Movie Quotes: Here's the link for the nominees: (it's near the bottom of the page)
Dr. Strangelove's nominee: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room."
Other honorable mentions include Blazing Saddles, "Excuse me while I whip this out" -- Young Frankenstein, "What hump?" and Duck Soup, "Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did."
Gene Weingarten: I love that last one.
Santa Rosa: Yo Gene Gene the Dancing Machine...
Yeah, I'd say the crocs are favored by a 20 to 1 ratio in my email. The person who doesn't like it tends to be someone who's been reading Pearls from the very beginning and wants to see more Rat and Pig. It's a tough balance. I try to limit them to about 5 or 6 strips a month in future months.
And by the way, wait 'til you see next week's strips. There are no crocs, but there are plenty of characters from another strip.
Gene Weingarten: I believe I know about your new ones, Stephan, but I dasn't say how. They are great.
Okay, so you are keeping the crocs. Even though the only certified Humor Arbiter has informed you they don't work. That is your privilege.
Bowie: The subject of Parade's cartoons came up once before. It's the funniest completely inoffensive humor I know. Acutally, Bob and Ray (yeah, I'm dating myself) were funny and bland at the same time.
Another thing about Parade -- why are they the only ones who can get me to read celebrity gossip?
Gene Weingarten: Well, their celeb gossip column is written by the same guy who has just written the unfair hit job book on Hillary. As I learned from Ann Gerhart's excellent story today.
Baden, Switzerland: Some interesting facts about Newfoundland, which I'm sure Gene knows but possibly not the rest of you Yanks:
It has it's own time zone, half an hour ahead of the rest of the Atlantic provinces. That's right, half an hour. Can you blame the rest of Canada for considering them a little bit ... different?
Their favourite (not favorite) brand of hooch is called screech. Also, the big thing to do at parties is hang out in the kitchen. Weird.
However, the pseudo-irish accent can be sexy. Although, one time I had a boss who was a newfie, and he would call us on the radio and tell us to do stuff, but we could never understand what the heck he was saying. It was great.
Gene Weingarten: Understood.
Worst Li, ST: Ooh, ooh, I just finished a masters thesis on Holmes! You'd love him, Gene. He went by a whole bunch of different names, but mostly "Dr. H.H. Holmes". He had the murder house in Chicago, but was finally caught when he--get this--decided to murder his partner, tried to collect the insurance, but in the three months between when the insurance was given out and when he was investigated, he killed three of the guy's children at different places in the Midwest, and almost killed his wife and other kids. Holmes was a serial bigamist--he had three wives at the same time, and the first day of his murder trial, he fired his defense and conducted a lot of the trial himself, royally screwing it all up. He wrote his memoirs before the trial, and confessed afterwards. The guy was nuts.
Gene Weingarten: Oh, yeah. Ed Gein was pretty nuts, too. Oh, and that guy who killed and ate little girls: Fish. Fish used to take the cotton from aspirin bottles, soak it in lighterfluid, stick it between his nether cheeks and light it. He was quoted saying it was "exhilarating, ecept for the pain."
Frederick, MD: Gene,
Why don't you update on Mondays?
Gene Weingarten: Beause if I did, then this chat would become a Blog, and I refuse, on moral grounds, to have a Blog.
Help, ME: My head is a mute lump of snot; I haven't been able to breathe in days and my neck feels like a wet noodle. My lymph nodes feel like squash balls under my skin, so I look like a frog. When I open my mouth a thick yellow cow-gum is pressed out of my nose, so I've given up speaking. I can barely hear anyway. What do I do, Gene, What?
Gene Weingarten: If you haven't been able to breathe in days, you;re not going to be smelling too good right about now, either.
Hilary's book: Oh, it isn't an unfair hit job, it is a book of rehashed rumors they are trying to sell for a few bucks. When even O'Reiley knocks it, you know it is just a bunch of recylced stuff.
Gene Weingarten: Well, isn't publishing a bunch of unconfirmed, recycled rumors a hit job?
Okay, thank you all. In Liz's absence, and no doubt because of Katie's energy and diligence, we topped the previous record for the number of queries to this chat. Congrats to all of you. And me. And Katie.
Next week, same time.
Wrong, CPOW: You must be linking to the wrong one if we're supposed to see a guy in gallows, because the Wizard of Id that is linked now is entirely unpunny.
washingtonpost.com: You can use the drop down box on the page to view June 15: The Wizard of Id
Gene Weingarten: Ahhhh.
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