WASHINGTON -- I write "catsup."
I write "pyjamas."
I write "yoghurt."
I suppose I am contrarian by nature, or possibly just argumentative. I prefer these spellings not because they are charmingly archaic or because I think they are somehow more correct, but because of how you all react to them. You lecture me about how I am wrong.
I like ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- As an ardent feminist, I cannot tell you how happy I was to learn that Playboy magazine will no longer be publishing photographs of unclothed women. I cannot tell you because it would be a lie.
No, I seldom read Playboy, and yes, it has always been nakedly (haha) sexist, and sure, this news is an important anti-misogyny milestone....Read more
WASHINGTON -- Have you heard that CBS is moving forward with a new series about Jane Marple, Agatha Christie's busybody old-lady detective? Jane is a meaty role for an experienced actress: Over the years, she has been portrayed by such formidable talents as Helen Hayes, Geraldine McEwan, Margaret Rutherford, Joan Hickson and Angela Lansbury. ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Today I write about two people who are widely presumed to be infallible: Pope Francis I, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles; and Ta-Nehisi Coates, a writer for The Atlantic.
Francis' mantle of perfection was conferred, presumably, by God Himself, so who am I to complain? Mr. Coates' ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- As a member of the so-called "legacy media," I'm required to whine ineffectually from time to time about the lamentable business model for American journalism, which is collapsing like a Jenga stack in a moon bounce. That is why I recently found myself on the phone with Rob Clarke, publisher of Roland Park Living, a monthly ...Read more
Lose a bit of your belly each day by avoiding these 5 foods...
WASHINGTON -- Dave Barry has a longtime assistant named Judi. In less culturally sensitive times, Judi would have been described as Dave's "Gal Friday," but today she's probably on the books as a "multiplatform content-generation facilitator," because that's what all newspaper jobs sound like. The work, though, is pretty much unchanged: Dave ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- If you are like me, you are haunted by uncertainty over whether there is a difference in meaning between "aargh!" and "aaugh!"
OK, you are not like me. Fine. But the fact is there are many things in life that are almost alike, but not quite, and we need someone to bravely parse the distinctions.
Aargh vs. Aaugh
"Aargh" is...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Do you know the maxim "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"? It is a lie.
I know that because distributed around my home right now are 14 receptacles: soup bowls, jelly jars, drinking glasses, and a urine-specimen collecting cup I once borrowed from a doctor's office to hold soy sauce for a planned sushi picnic ...Read more
The Insiders: A ThrillerCraig Hickman
Thrill, suspense, conspiracy, mystery, corporate corruption, and more clash in this new brand of thriller by New York Times bestselling author Craig Hickman. Untainted by political, journalistic, or legal manipulation and uncorrupted by fear or threat of retribution, The Insiders enthralls ...
WASHINGTON -- It's jokes-retold-as-poems time again
For some this causes pleasure; others, pain.
Today, an added challenge for the skittish:
Pronunciation here is sometimes British.
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The Neighbor's Confession
In the style of a Shakespearean sonnet
"I've done a dreadful thing and must admit it,"
The email ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- This was not the column I was planning, but at the last minute, I received an urgent communique from a respected biblical historian asking me to help correct a religious misconception while simultaneously restoring the honor of the American media vis-a-vis their Russian counterparts. Thus, scholarship, patriotism and professional ...Read more
Adapted from a 2010 online discussion.
WASHINGTON -- I do not consider myself an elitist -- elitists tend to belong to that large subclass of people who are of lesser quality than I. But when it comes to social media, I have distinct preferences based on my assessments of humanity. I am an enthusiastic participant in Twitter, yet I find ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Have you heard about the movement in several red states to limit what sorts of items people can buy with their tax-funded welfare and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) "food-stamp" cards? Here are some of the things that state legislatures are considering putting off-limits, or already have done so: strip clubs, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Here's a simple quiz to determine your age:
Before the Internet, in the era of the typewriter, was there an @ key, and, if so, how was it used?
Wrong, you smug millennials. There was an @ key. It meant "at the per-piece price of," as in "24 thimbles @ $l.49."
Yes, typewriter manufacturers -- who were parsimonious in distributing...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Today, another installment in my continuing Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the plight of the beleaguered customer service representative.
Me: I've spent a lot of time on this, and I have determined that your product is an anagram for "stale rat's oil."
Tom: All right. And ... ?
Me: It sure would be a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- My friend Joe Martin, who draws the comic strip "Mr. Boffo," uses a recurring theme about people who are "Unclear on the Concept." In one strip, for example, a woman is looking at a police lineup, and one of the guys in the lineup is pointing at her excitedly, saying, "That's her! That's her! I'd recognize that purse anywhere!"