The 'Why?' Chromosome

Humor / Below the Beltway /

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

Read This You Stupid Idoits!

Humor / Below the Beltway /

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

Foul Language

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Every time I write a column kvetching about illiterate assaults on our language by the unwashed masses, as I did several weeks ago, I get disgruntled emails from many of you who feel I am elitist and nitpicking. English, you argue, is fluid and evolving, and we must make room for more liberal word usage ... except for this one ...Read more

The Booby Prize

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I am on the phone with Bob Mankoff, the renowned cartoon editor of The New Yorker. Bob is the man in charge not just of the magazine's famously effete single-panel cartoons, but also of its weekly caption contest, where it publishes a cartoon without a caption and readers submit their own.

Me: I enter your contest every once in a ...Read more

Grammarly School

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Dear Grammarly:

I recently bought a subscription to your extensively advertised online writing-enhancement tool, which promises both plagiarism detection and state-of-the-art proofreading for grammar, word usage and syntax. For several days now, your program has been reading my submissions and issuing instant reports on their ...Read more

Hep, Hep, Hooray!

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- This just in:

As a person living with hepatitis C you probably know all too well the stigma surrounding this disease. We at applaud your efforts to be open about your status. Because May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, we would like to invite you to share your voice by contributing a blog post on the topic...Read more

The Trite Stuff

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- In addition to nitpicking my column to death every week, Tom the Butcher also does freelance editing, so he sees a lot of manuscripts. Some of them are from elegant writers; some are, to put it mildly, not. Without naming names, Tom occasionally shares with me a particularly egregious paragraph or two from his inbox. A recent one, ...Read more

The Geezist: I Am a Cantankerous, Pedantic, Hidebound Old Geezer.

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Many years ago I somehow managed to get accepted by Harvard University into a prestigious fellowship for journalists at midcareer. Twice a week, all 20 of us snots would gather for a question-and-answer session with someone famous. One week, we had a special auxiliary guest, an elderly newspaperman we'd never heard of, who turned ...Read more

An Error of Comedies

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Regretfully, I must call today for my resignation.

I do not do this lightly. I am well aware that in these perilous economic times, I need my job. Moreover, I am loath to join the self-righteous Tsk Brigade, those self-appointed custodians of social propriety who demand blood every time someone in the public eye says or writes ...Read more

Gene and Gina Discuss the "Modern Delicate Flower Way of Life"

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I consider myself a feminist. In fact, I would proudly wear one of those "This is what a feminist looks like" T-shirts, except:

(1) I'm afraid it would deliver the unintended, unfortunate message that feminists are old, fat and slovenly.

(2) Women, being smart and savvy, no doubt understand that roughly 75 percent of all men ...Read more

You Havent Entered Senior Territory Until Your Dog Has Called You an Idiot

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I was in the kitchen staring suspiciously at two jars of peanut butter when my dog, Murphy, walked to the front door and sat facing it. She was telling me she had to pee. So I let her into the front yard and then went back to the kitchen, where the peanut butter awaited.

What had made me suspicious was that the Skippy jar and the ...Read more

Poetry Slammed

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I give you here more corny jokes / Retold by me in rhyme. / If these do not amuse you folks, / Not all that sorry, I'm. / So I ask that you just take a seat / And kindly quitcherbitchin'. / Or, if you cannot stanza heat, / Then just vacate the kitchen.

The Fisherman and the Voice

A man of simple mind went out to fish

And ...Read more

Getcha Gotcha Here!

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- As you know, political candidates have been complaining lately that we in the media are conducting so-called "gotcha" interviews, in which we ask unexpected, beside-the-point, ambush-type questions designed to throw them off balance, or at least off script. They claim these are "dirty tricks."

Of course they are. But I am very ...Read more

Jonesing on Jesting: Sometimes Gene Can't Help Himself

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- To be a good columnist, one must recognize one's weaknesses, particularly any tendency to return too often to subjects with which the columnist -- but not necessarily the reader -- is fascinated. For the columnist, this is like confronting an addiction: You have to exhibit self-control. My problem is that events keep occurring to ...Read more

No Guts, No Glory

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- The Brian Williams and Bill O'Reilly war-story-inflation brouhahas took me by surprise -- mostly because, in my experience, journalists seldom discuss their close calls, let alone exaggerate them. There's a reason, and it is not modesty. Believe me, I know.

On a few occasions, I faced danger while reporting. You're getting them ...Read more

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