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
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
Solutions: The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Made SimpleDr. Samer Mohd Faruq Muala
Terrorism is spreading across the world like never before. In this book, the roots of Islamic radicalization are linked to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and practical solutions to end the conflict are presented in an easy to read manner. Solving the issue is no longer and Israeli or ...
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!"
WASHINGTON -- As a user of Gmail, and a person who has been known to sometimes "shoot from the hip" or "go off half-cocked," I was delighted to learn that the popular email service has instituted an "undo" feature, a tool that permits you to recall a message within 30 seconds of hitting "Send."
To: Tom the Butcher Subj: Apology
WASHINGTON -- Did you read about how European countries are trying to create a post-gender society by eliminating traditional male-female distinctions?
Some countries are substituting gender-neutral pronouns for "his" and "her." Others have outlawed public events with stereotypical heterosexual roles -- for example, a campy, age-old Bavaria ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- When the news media mentions a congressperson, we generally do so with a parenthetical that includes his or her state.
You are probably thinking: "But, wait! That's really misleading because unlike a U.S. senator, a congressperson represents only a portion of his or her state! Something must be done about this immediately!"...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I love art, but I don't always "get" it. I'm a bit of a linear thinker. I'm the kind of guy who spends an hour at the National Gallery and comes away wondering whether fig leaves have some sort of Velcro-like property.
So, I was a little wary when my neighbor Cissy asked me to judge a local art contest. I warned her that I don't ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Dear Caitlyn Jenner:
Congratulations on having transitioned from man to woman. Like most bleeding-heart liberals in the fawning mainstream media, I'm solidly in your corner. Finding and facing up to one's true self is admirable, and doing it as publicly as you did might well give solace and strength to others in similar straits. ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I think I am a pretty witty guy. So it rankles me just a little that on Twitter -- which I see as the international competitive marketplace for wit -- I have only a modest following compared with, say, British biologist Richard Dawkins, who, like me, is also a liberal-leaning writer known for unapologetic atheism. Really, what does...Read more