WASHINGTON -- This is an anatomy of two decisions recently made by a pitiful neurotic.
The first occurred on Feb. 22 at 3:10 a.m. in a dingy room in a dingy motel in Oakland, California. It was prompted by a nonstop, high-decibel, headboard-banging-on-the-wall session of sexual congress occurring in the room next to mine. I had to decide ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- As you may recall, I am an aggressively adventurous eater. I do not have a yuck factor. I am that guy who will ignore the English menu at an ethnic restaurant and order my meal by pointing at the people at the next table if they happen to be eating something that tantalizingly resembles, say, snouts in lymph sauce. And that is why ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I recently ran into trouble for pointing out a misspelling online. It surprised me because I've been doing that sort of thing for years without blowback -- mostly to mock conservatives bearing idiot signs. ("Respect Are Country: Speak English," "Obama Half-Breed Muslin," "1 Man + 1 Woman (equal sign) Marridge.") But last month, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I have a fairly uncommon last name, so as a media figure, I consider it part of my "brand." When I come across someone with the same name, especially when that person is in the public eye, I consider it a form of trademark infringement. I once asked teachers union president Randi Weingarten to retire and become an old-lady recluse ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- When residents of Hawaii recently endured a half-hour of believing they were going to be incinerated by an incoming ballistic missile, many of them spent the time telling friends and family members that they loved them. It was ennobling and heartwarming and uplifting to the human spirit, of course, but kind of predictable and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Did you hear about the social scientist who studied Google searches, particularly porn, to determine how people think? It was outlined in an article on Vox.com. The scientist reached certain conclusions, many of which are surprising:
1. Women are disproportionately worried their husbands are gay. Men are disproportionately worried...Read more
WASHINGTON -- This from a recent story in the New York Times:
"After days in which his very fitness for office was debated, Mr. Trump appeared intent on demonstrating that he could handle the presidency. He was in command of the meeting while inviting input. He did not berate anyone. He did not call anyone derogatory nicknames. He signaled that...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Today, again, I write for you a number of short "pokes,"
The term I coined for poems that retell some stale old jokes.
To those who say it's lowbrow stuff, I answer in defiance:
You'll find that every poke below is fully based on science.
Helix the Catty
What mean the letters "DNA"? I asked a science guy.
WASHINGTON -- Today is the latest episode in my Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative series on the plight of the beleaguered customer-service representative.
Me: Ma'am, I saw your product in a store. And I am frankly outraged.
Me: Look, I'm not a prude. I don't have any problem with this kind of product, but ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- This week marks the first anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump, which means you are going to face a barrage of tedious first anniversary stories. The media will be unkind to the president, but we will tend to use anodyne adjectives, such as "unconventional," for the same reason that we don't tend to publish photos of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- At exactly 4:44 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 4, unable to sleep after an anxiety nightmare featuring Donald Trump, I fired up my laptop, and the very first thing I saw was: "In a series of early-morning tweets, Mr. Trump ... " at which point I stopped reading and emailed my editor: "It is Begun."
He and I had recently discussed the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- To: Exalted Commandant and Plenipotentiary, Big Vegetable Inc.
Re: A business proposal
I want to congratulate you and your conglomerate for pulling off the marketing feat of modern times, and to suggest that we collaborate on a book. The book would be called "How to Get Rich by Cornering the Market on Goo." I ask that you contact...Read more
EDITORS: This column was originally published in 2006.
WASHINGTON -- I am a "word person." My vocabulary is extensive, my command of grammar and syntax almost without error. I can accurately conjugate most any verb, including "to lie," which gets pretty complex in the pluperfect. I understand the difference between epistemology and hermeneutics...Read more
WASHINGTON -- To: Administrators, the National Medal of Science
Re: My submission for your consideration
It is rare that this prestigious prize is awarded in the field of sociology. As a forensic sociologist, I am hoping you will review my findings below and act appropriately.
I believe I have identified a new language -- more specifically, a...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Editor's note: This is the sixth cat-related column Gene has written in 2017. As a service to our readers, he will be docked $7,000 in pay for each subsequent one.
"Herding cats" may be the most common term to describe an exasperating, nearly impossible job. I found a better one: "Herding cat."
Late in October, my daughter...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Wasn't it great when a disgruntled Twitter contractor, in what was presumably his or her final act on the job, deleted Donald Trump's account? Many people looked back with gratitude at the blessed 11 minutes of silence that ensued before the sedition was discovered and reversed. Me, I found myself looking ahead: What other ...Read more
This column is adapted from Gene's Nov. 14 online chat introduction.
WASHINGTON -- This column is about humor. But it is not funny.
If you read about Louis C.K.'s actions, and if you understand and care about standup comedy, you might well be aghast. What he said and did was particularly manipulative, and particularly insidious.
WASHINGTON -- Imagine a footprint in the snow left by a mosquito. That's roughly the size of the carbon footprint left on Earth by my friend Bruce Friedrich. Because he hates to burn hydrocarbons, Bruce bikes nearly everywhere -- 10 miles is a short hop for him. His shoes, his wallet, and everything else of his that could be leather, isn't. He ...Read more