Lessons in the deal of the art

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Did you catch the latest contretemps over funding for the arts?

It happened so fast you might have missed it: The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities briefly announced that to receive grants this year, artists and writers would have to agree not to be lewd or political or sexist. This condition was rescinded almost ...Read more

Parenting to the Max: An old man's guide

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Like all conscientious parents, my wife and I childproofed our home when the kids were little. Of course, the standards for conscientiousness were different back then. Childproofing mainly consisted of keeping an eye on the little ones and yelling at them when necessary: "DROP THAT CAT POOP RIGHT NOW, YOUNG LADY!" "STOP SUCKING ON ...Read more


Humor / Below the Beltway /

This column was originally published on Nov. 30, 2013.

WASHINGTON -- You know those "Five Myths About ... " feature stories that have been proliferating in the media for years? My newspaper was among the pioneers of the genre and remains one of its most illustrious practitioners. Are you sick of them yet? No? Good! Here's one more.

...Read more

Cover story: Plus a pointless subtitle

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- For the past five years, I have been researching and writing a book. It is almost finished, and now it is time for me and my publisher to agree on a title. It has not gone smoothly.

The book is about a single day in American history, a date chosen at random by drawing numbers out of a hat. My thesis is that there is no such thing ...Read more

Rhymes Against Humanity

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- We now present a few more "pokes,"

Poems wrought from stand-up jokes.

Today's assortment are all loaners

(Each is old ... and all are groaners.)

A Dirty Tale

Chicanery I have detected

And it's just as I suspected:

My neighbor has been adding loam

To the garden at my home

In short, my pulse, it races, quickens.

...Read more

Searching for the audacity of nope

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- As many of you know, I am the originator and curator of "Googlenopes," phrases that, when entered between quotes into the Google search engine, return no hits. In a way, Googlenopes represent the elusive frontier of thought -- places that the human mind hasn't yet dared to go.

My job is bittersweet. Each time I publish a ...Read more

Gene takes the Fifth ... and the pills, too.

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I want to thank the Senate Judiciary Committee for permitting me to testify in support of my impending appointment to the United States Supreme Court. I await your questions. My life is an open book.

Senator: Mr. Weingarten, we have reports that while in high school and college, you experimented with drugs. Is there any truth to ...Read more

Lincoln and Trump, separated at birth?

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- There is a meme spreading earnestly across the right aisle of the Internet contending that Donald Trump is such a great president that the only predecessor he can be fairly compared to is ... Abraham Lincoln. This thesis was cemented into public consciousness by the latest film from noted far-far-right history-warping conservative ...Read more

Fugitive from the thought police

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- One of the few rules I live by, and repeat in print ad nauseam, is that there is no such thing as a thought crime. I codify this to: If What Happens in the Brain Stays in the Brain, No Sin Has Occurred, However Awful the Thought. I recently began to reconsider the wisdom of this rule. It happened during the Supreme Court ...Read more

Ticketed off: In which Gene goes parking mad

Humor / Below the Beltway /

This column was originally published on July 17, 2011.

WASHINGTON -- Stored in my cellphone are photographs that are important to me: snapshots of friends, of family, of a stern "KEEP DOGS OFF LAWN" sign beside which my dog is pooping. Among all these treasured images are a few of my car, taken after I parked in spots so tight that my ...Read more

Gene's true calling

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Today is the latest episode in my Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative series on the plight of the beleaguered customer-service representative.

Keebler Club Crackers

Me: Does your product cause hypercalcemia, which can lead to brittle bones, kidney stones, frequent urination, and confusion that can get so severe you might ...Read more

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


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