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Me: Ha-ha!

Kathleen: I am not a garbanzo fan.

Me: Let's just leave it right here.

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Me: I love your product, but I have a suggestion for improving your packaging. You know how, in the interest of transparency, your containers have the scientific names of the "live active cultures inside"? Now, I am sure they are very nice, pretty and well-behaved bacteria, but their names do not inspire confidence in the wholesome wonderfulness of your yogurt.

Ruth: I know! The scientific names are a little off-putting!

Me: "Bifidus" sounds like a dreadful birth disorder. "Bulgaricus" combines "vulgar" and "bulge," which is disgusting. "Rhamnosus" sounds like a fight to the death between two rhinoceroses, and "thermophilus" sounds like an ancient Greek battle famous for bravery, betrayal and the annihilation of 22,000 men from eating bad yogurt.


Me: OK, I made up the last part, but you get my point. How about losing those names?

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Ruth: I believe we're required by law to list them.

Me: Fine. Then bribe the scientific community and get them to change the names of your bacteria to Bunnynose, WhoopsieDaisy, Squeaky, the Dancing Ladybug and Toonces the Bacterium.

Ruth: I'll certainly pass it along, sir.

These interviews have been edited and condensed. "Kathleen" is a pseudonym we decided to use on account of "gritty dirt."


Gene Weingarten can be reached at Follow him on Twitter, @geneweingarten. Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon Eastern at

(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group


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