The Wizard of Boz

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Like most men, I deeply impress myself with my knowledge of sports. I spend many hours in earnest philosophical debate with myself involving what-if scenarios and such. I recently decided to share these insights in an exchange of emails with one of the few people savvy enough to appreciate them, my colleague Tom Boswell, The ...Read more

Just a litter mistake

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- This is a column about being a columnist, and being a father, and being an idiot -- not necessarily in that order.

One recent Sunday I was two days late in writing my column and was still failing to arrange words together into a product that resembled something my editor, Tom the Butcher, would at least have called "bad." "Bad" is...Read more

Let them eat fish

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Have you ever had a restaurant meal for two that cost $150? I have, but only rarely.

Have you ever had a restaurant meal for two that cost $250? I have, but only very rarely, on very special occasions. Each time it vexed me a little, partly because of the wretched excess when others go hungry, but mostly on cost-benefit analysis. ...Read more

The Ultimate Swing Vote

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Don’t you think it’s time to look past the last presidential election and ahead to the next one? Me, too.

As history has taught us, presidencies are subject to the pendulum effect. The public tries someone, quickly sickens of him, and then swings in the opposite direction. Consider the election of John Quincy Adams, a member ...Read more

The Grim Writer

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- When Joan Rivers died suddenly a few years ago, I didn’t write about it. It was too painful for me. I liked and respected Joan, and, as it happens, I killed her.

Technically, Joan died from complications after throat surgery, but that was just what the public was told. Joan died because I had written about her just a few weeks ...Read more

Obviously a Major Dysfunction

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I am not much of an adult. I procrastinate childishly. I don’t make the common-sense connections that others do in order to efficiently navigate the world. I am like a dog or cat who simply accepts current reality as inevitable and immutable.

For five days last month, my hair -- always unruly -- seemed unusually greasy and dirty...Read more

Taking His Lumps

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- So how was your last month? Mine went like this:

While shaving, I discovered a lump on my throat. Not a “lump in my throat,” such as one gets when one watches, say, Bambi’s mommy getting shot. This was like a big old lump where, based on previous casual neck reconnaissance, I was pretty sure there should only be non-lumplike...Read more

Clothed for Repairs

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Dear Tom Cridland:

My inbox at The Washington Post is full of your “Dear Gene” emails. They all suggest that I write a story about you and your new line of expensive, sturdy, “sustainable” casual clothing guaranteed to last 30 years with free repair or replacement. These emails are somewhat intense. You’re angling for a ...Read more

A compete disaster

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I have always been a fiercely competitive person, in matters both large (success! awards!) and minuscule (Parcheesi!). In some ways, this has strengthened me. In some ways, it has poisoned me.

Every time I read of the death of someone famous who is younger than I am, the sadness is at least slightly tempered by a little ...Read more

Setting a Bad President

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I was having lunch the other day with Mary Ann, an old friend and colleague who once ran the legal department at The Washington Post. Back then, Mary Ann was always the adult in the room, the person whose judgment went unquestioned because everyone understood that she was always right, even if you knew her well enough to also know ...Read more

Bad Doggerel!

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Today, we return to “pokes,” jokes retold as poems.

The Magic Glute

A man who was a little dumb
And literal of mind
Has started going gluten-free
As a gift to his behind!
I asked him why, and he explained:
He wants to starve his glutes.
His butt feels like it’s just too big
...Read more

A Civets Lesson

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- My friend Rachel and I are about to sample some coffee. The beans from which this coffee was brewed were purchased by an American lawyer at a street market in Vietnam. They found their way to my home through a circuitous process I choose not to disclose.

The beans are packaged in an airtight container featuring Wicovalve ...Read more

Presidential Seal

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- One day late last month, right after the inauguration, I was driving with a friend. On the radio, an NPR correspondent was discussing some pending executive order by the new president -- I didn’t listen carefully, but I’m presuming it made it legal to give noogies to foreign-looking persons, or something.

Me: Whoa, he just ...Read more

Gene’s True Calling ... is Calling

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Today, another episode in my Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the plight of the beleaguered customer service representative.

Twin Tree Gardens rosemary

Me: I am concerned you will think I am a crank.

Donna: OK!

Me: So, I am looking at your bottle, and it identifies rosemary as a “premium spice.” That is blatantly ...Read more

Questionable Judgment

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Just questions today. No answers.

When they sell you eyeglasses, why do manufacturers still give away soft, hypoallergenic cloths and anti-static, sterile, non-silicone lens-cleaning solution when they know that after religiously using these products for as long as an entire week, 95 percent of us will revert to our shirttails and...Read more

One Order of ‘Thousand Year Old Eggs with Jellyfish,’ Please

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I am an adventurous eater. I customarily order the weirdest things on a menu for the same reason some people bungee jump. I have eaten snake meat and bull testicles and calves’ brains and alligator and sea urchin and the worm from a bottle of tequila. I once had warm milk right out of a cow’s teat. My most disturbing moment was...Read more


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