Nobel Sentiments: How Ambrose Bierce predicted the apocalypse

Humor / Below the Beltway /

Gene Weingarten is away. This column was originally published on Sept. 8, 2013.

WASHINGTON -- To the Nobel Prize committee:

I am writing to suggest that you make your first posthumous award in literature, and that it go to Ambrose Bierce, the 19th-century American satirist. I have always admired Bierce, but I do not write merely ...Read more

Deep Bloat

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- When I was a young reporter in Albany, N.Y., in the 1970s I used to fight with my sources about putting their quotes on the record. They wanted that. I didn't.

This was the heyday of the anonymous source, and deploying it became a key status marker of the investigative journalist. You obviously were a swashbuckler if, like ...Read more

Fifty shades of grey gray

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I am selling my house. Perhaps you have seen photos of it on a real estate website. It's the one that looks nothing like my house.

Before selling one's home these days, it is considered de rigueur to first move out and then hire "stagers," who are people you employ to inform you -- in words or substance -- that you have all the ...Read more

Brain Attack!

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- There's a great scene in a Charlie Chaplin movie where the Little Tramp finds himself in the bathroom of his doctor's office, where he is trying to pee into a cup. But he has a tremor in his hands, and when the cup is filled, he starts shaking like a paint-can mixer. The stuff starts sloshing everywhere -- on the floor, the walls, ...Read more

A Stand-up Guy: Gene draws a bead on comedy

Humor / Below the Beltway /

NOTE: This column was adapted from a feature piece that originally ran on September 14, 1999.

WASHINGTON -- Eighty-four percent of American males believe they are funnier than the average stand-up comic, and that if they ever got a shot at being one, they'd bring down the house.

I just made that statistic up, but truth is inessential to being ...Read more

Can you spot the fake news?

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I did a reader poll recently to test my theory that nothing our mercurial president might do or say -- however absurd or outrageous -- would be truly surprising. So I wrote that President Trump was planning to dismantle the Statue of Liberty -- or at least sandblast away Emma Lazarus' poem on the base -- on the grounds that we no ...Read more

Rhymes against humanity

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- It's time again to print some pokes,

Poems telling stale old jokes --

Today our theme may make you cringe

Since nothing really rhymes with "orange."

When Time Flies

So this man arrives in heaven, and walks up to Saint Peter

Behind whom are a million clocks, upon a giant wall.

"Can you tell me what they're for?" "Each ...Read more

The last word on last words

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I am writing this after attending a memorial service for a murdered colleague. Rob was a journalist who was killed for being a journalist. He was 59. I am going to try to make this funny.

The amazing thing about the service is that just about everyone who talked about Rob -- his friends, his siblings, his colleagues, his children,...Read more

Best served cold

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Most people seem to think that the proprietors of the Red Hen restaurant were wrong last month to refuse to serve dinner to presidential press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The question remains: Given their antipathy to the Trump administration, what should they have done? With a little help from my friends, I present some ...Read more

Trial by perjury

Humor / Below the Beltway /

Gene Weingarten is on assignment. This column originally appeared in 2012.

WASHINGTON -- It is said that everyone has a price, a sum of money large enough to corrupt his moral integrity. I always suspected that I might have a price, too, but was a little alarmed recently to discover it is $125.

That was the price of the speed-camera ...Read more

Nice Doggerel

Humor / Below the Beltway /

NOTE: This column originally ran on August 6, 2006, and is being rerun today in honor of Donald Hall, who passed away on June 23 at age 89.

WASHINGTON -- When I heard that the poet laureate of the United States was to be Donald Hall, the New Hampshire literary eminence, I was elated. The media accounts rightfully praised the beauty and ...Read more

Suit yourself

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- My earliest memory of the Miss America pageant was watching it on a black-and-white TV the size of a washing machine with a screen the size of an Etch A Sketch. I was 11 years old and, like all 11-year-old boys, I was a burgeoning sex maniac, and yet the one thing I remember clearly is that the swimsuits had all the raw steaminess ...Read more

Smile when you say that, pardoner!

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- On the day I am writing this, President Trump has just pardoned Dinesh D'Souza, the noted conservative provocateur, election-law felon and all-around rotter. People are speculating that the president has more blatantly political pardons up his sleeve, to hamstring the Russia probe (Paul Manafort? Mike Flynn?), to tip his hat to ...Read more

I make joke

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I am reporting today from a fortified underground bunker in a major world capital. This is the base of operations of a man whose name and nationality I have agreed to conceal in return for landing this interview. I will call him "John."

Me: "John," can you tell the readers what you do?

John: Is my job to be making American people...Read more

Triumph of the space cadet

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- To: Dan Zak, reporter, The Washington Post

Re: The last word on periods, period.

How are you doing, you insufferable twit?

It has been four years since I last wrote to you in this column about your public suggestion that I am mentally ill for using two spaces at the end of a sentence, an unbreakable habit from the era of manual ...Read more

Real fake news

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- President Trump says the media is always publishing "fake news" about him, which I contend is pure calumny, coming as it does from a man who drowns puppies.

If the president were smarter than he is (his IQ is 26), he would understand that he can make a credible case that newspapers publish "fake news," but that he's focusing on ...Read more

Letter rip!

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I bet you were just as shocked as I was to learn that Donald Trump himself had written that glowing letter signed by his doctor attesting to the overweight burger-gobbler's phenomenal, terrific, unprecedentedly presidential A++ state of personal health -- which is to say, not shocked at all.

Right. And no one seems to have cared ...Read more


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