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

Gene Floats an Idea

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- This column is a treatise on the intersection of physiology, psychology and politics, with a valuable lesson for personally navigating these perilous times.

For most of my adult life, I have been bedeviled by “floaters,” those fuzzy, maddeningly out-of-focus shapes in the center of the eyeball that drift across your field of ...Read more

All Thumbs

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I’m on the phone with Julie Landis, an executive with Briotix Inc., an international company specializing in ergonomics. Julie also has a doctorate in physical therapy. I was thrilled to find her. She has the perfect skill set to solve a recent vexing dilemma of mine.

Me: So, I like oysters.

Julie: OK.

Me: To open an oyster, ...Read more

The Trump Card

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- As a public service, I am going to start the new year by making peace with a Donald Trump presidency, and by offering my fellow liberals an aggressive, three-pronged plan for how to do the same in the interests of national unity.


Step back. Accept the inevitable with grace. And most important, stop whining, particularly...Read more

Columbus and the Eggs Benedict

Humor / Below the Beltway /

This column originally appeared in the Miami Herald in 1988.

WASHINGTON -- Remember the apocryphal story of Columbus and the egg? Neither did anyone in my office, a cesspool of ignorance.

Everyone in Isabella’s court was telling Columbus that he was a hopeless dreamer, that what he wanted to do was impossible. Nonsense, Columbus...Read more

A Taxing Dilemma

Humor / Below the Beltway /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

WASHINGTON -- I have a story to tell you. It is relevant to the times, but you won’t know why until the end.

My father, Philip Weingarten, died 10 years ago. He was an IRS agent. He was a scrupulously honest man. One weekday in 1961 he came home in the middle of the day, which was unheard...Read more

Presidential Pokesman

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- As you now know, my humor column is written three weeks before you read it, meaning I am writing this one on the Friday after the election. It’s been challenging. First I tried to imagine what a Trump administration would look like. Would there be a “Department of Taunting Hispanics”? Would the White House press corps ...Read more

Cultural Confucian

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- When I was 11 years old, I teamed up with my cousin Margaret to enter a school traffic-safety contest. The challenge was to create a poster for a citywide campaign. Margaret was a talented artist, so she did the illustration. I was a talented smart aleck, so I wrote the words.

What we came up with was a stereotypical image ...Read more

A Case of Boomer Bust

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Dear millennials:

I've been reading articles about how we baby boomers suck. And how your generation is going to fix everything mine screwed up.

If you Google "baby boomers are bad," you get hundreds of hits, including these: "Baby boomers ruined America." "'Disgusting, Selfish, Immature': 10 reasons baby boomers are the ...Read more


Humor / Below the Beltway /

EDITORS -- A photo is available to accompany this column and can be downloaded from If the photo cannot accompany the column, please change the penultimate graf to: "After Barnaby had just finished breakfast on this dreadful morning, full of himself and ...Read more

This Bland is Our Bland

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- So here we are, the Sunday before Election Day, a difficult time for most news editors because we are now forced to enter the Land of the Bland. There is no hard rule about it, but we generally conspire not to run partisan stories or explosive exposes during the 48 hours before the election. Our goal is to be scrupulously balanced ...Read more

Sitting Atop a Picket Fence. Ow.

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- With the election just over a week away, people are talking once again about the allegedly puzzling phenomenon of the ubiquitous Non-Voter. Even for a hotly contested presidential election like this one, barely more than half of eligible Americans will likely drag themselves to the polls.

Many years ago, I proposed that some ...Read more


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