Monday, January 3, 2011; 12:00 PM
Between the endless health-care debate, an unstoppable oil slick and the "Jersey Shore," it's a wonder that 2010 didn't kill us.
Dave Barry writes about the year's highs and lows in this weekend's Washington Post Magazine, to be released online Sunday. He took questions on Monday, January 3 at 12 p.m. ET.
Dave Barry: Hey, there, everybody. Thanks for joining this chat.
Fairfax, Va.: A recurring theme in your "year in review" piece seems to be how bad the year was. Not debating this, as there have been some ridiculously bad years this millennium. But I'm wondering what year (in recent memory) you think was a good year.
Dave Barry: I'm going with 1957.
Not Sure (I read Virginia text books): You say "I am not making this up" a lot.
Does that mean you DID make up the other stuff? 'Cause if you did, there are now some serious errors on Wikipedia.
Dave Barry: Yes. Or, to put it another way: no.
Pittsburgh. Pa.: I always wonder what it was like to have witnessed the first significant changes in society: my great grandfather telling me when they first built the factory and watching the cars come off the assembly line; my grandfather telling me about seeing an atomic bomb test; my father telling me about watching a man land on the moon. Well, I can I can look forward to telling my children about the historic event I witnessed, according to Time Magazine, when I found old high school friends on Facebook. I hope that they are similarly impressed. Where do you place Facebook in the history of 2010?
Dave Barry: I see it as a technological landmark as significant, in many ways, as the Slinky, and maybe even Silly Putty. But it is no Etch A Sketch.
Washington, D.C.: Do you have any pets now? Zippy and Earnest must have passed away long ago.
Dave Barry: I have a dog named Lucy. She's a very sweet dog who loves everybody. If men came to our house to kill us with weed whackers, she would be like, "Wow! Welcome! I'll go get my ball!"
Herndon, Va.: Mr. B: As the worldwide, best-known political commentator that you are, could you please advise us what the U.S. should do to resolve our relationships with Russia and China in 2010, AND are toilets still exploding?
Dave Barry: Our first step has to be to develop a working time machine. I'd like to see some kind of Task Force, headed by Joe Biden.
Dan in Williamsburg: Three things, Dave: 1) No love for my SF Giants winning the World Series? While I can appreciate that you called out the Yankees for not reaching the WS, I would hope you could mention the Giants' historic moment. 2) Can you give us a sneak preview of the 2011 Post Hunt? Last year was our first and we had a blast! 3) "Helmz 1" would make a good name for a rock band.
Dave Barry: I'm sorry, Dan, but for me the whole entire point of baseball is to cause pain to Yankees fans. Beyond that, I cannot concern myself with it.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Dave,
Reading this article, I'm wondering if you can tell us what role your personal politics play in shaping your columns. I've been a fan of yours for a while and my feeling is that generally you are more concerned about working in the phrase "weasel boogers" than about lampooning one specific political party or the other (you usually seem to hit both of them pretty hard). But given the necessarily political nature of this column, and that neither "weasel" nor "boogers" appears, I'm wondering: do your personal political convictions influence your humor writing at all?
Sorry if I'm taking you too seriously. That's probably the last thing you want your readers to do.
Happy New Year.
washingtonpost.com: Dave Barry's Year in Review: Why 2010 Made Us Sick (Post, Jan. 2)
Dave Barry: I mainly just try to be amusing. This fits pretty well with my personal political convictions, the gist of which is that the primary function of our federal government -- one that it performs admirably, under any administration, and any political climate -- is entertainment.
Thefunniestli, NE: the largest mass purchase of emergency replacement underwear in Wall Street history.
Dave Barry: Thank you.
Impertinence, Ark.: Dave, just how much funnier were you than Gene Weingarten last year, and how much funnier will you be than he this year?
Dave Barry: Gene is currently leading me two Pulitzers to one, so I am not about to get cocky.
Durham, N.C.: Dave, you failed to include Snooki and the stomach guy as causes of 2010 illness. What the face?
Dave Barry: Snooki was in there. You think I would write a review of 2010 and NOT INCLUDE SNOOKI??
Frederick, Md.: What did you and Gene do for Thanksgiving this year? Did you let Joel tag along?
Dave Barry: We did our usual routine: a triathlon in the morning, followed by religious services, followed by working with the disadvantaged, followed by a reading and discussion of some of the works of Marcel Proust. Then: heroin.
Machipongo, Va.: I heard a rumor that Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War (and what fun that was!) by having Texas secede from the Union again. Can this be true? And what part did Helmz 1 have in his decision?
Dave Barry: Hey, secession has worked out great for Miami.
Green Bay, Wis.: YOu missed the big story of 2010 of Brett Favre retiring...oops, sorry, mistake, that was the big story of 2009...sorry, again, I meant, 2008...oh, never mind.
Dave Barry: The NFL needs to hire a guy to follow Brett around with a tranquilizer dart gun.
Shelby, N.C.: Does Dave plan on running for president again in 2012?
Dave Barry: I am always running for president. I am not the kind of wuss candidate who drops out of the race just because some so-called "electoral college" has failed to elect me. No, I continue to display leadership in the form of accepting contributions, ideally in the form of cash.
White Plains, N.Y.: Are your kids permitted to watch "Jersey Shore"?
Dave Barry: I think they may have been IN it.
Washington, D.C. : You missed an important historic event. Future historians will look back at 2010 and remember that this was the year that the comic strip "Barney and Clyde" first appeared. Of course, by then, it will have its own ride at Disney World, be serialized into several movies, be responsible for a TV series with two spin-offs, and have commemorative plates available on QVC. How did you miss that one?
Dave Barry: The Barney and Clyde juggernaut is already huge enough without my help. I realized this when Weingarten bought a fourth helicopter. For his DOG.
Anonymous: Are you going to talk about the obesity campaign in 2011?
Dave Barry: I think obesity could do really well in 2011. In fact, looking ahead to 2012, I think obesity has a real shot at winning.
Menifee, Calif.: What role do you see the vuvuzela playing in 2011?
Dave Barry: It will replace the waterboard.
San Francisco, Calif.: Hey, you forgot to mention the Giants.
Dave Barry: Are they the ones who won? As opposed to the Yankees?
Unfunny: When was the last time Dave Barry was actually funny? 1996?
Dave Barry: Yes! And yet you are still reading this!
Arlington, Va.: Loved it! I was laughing so hard while reading this that I was crying. Do you keep notes throughout the year to keep track, or do you just go through the headlines at the end of the year?
Dave Barry: I do it all at the end of the year in one horrible three-week burst. then: heroin.
Des Moines, Iowa: From the congressman who apologized to BP to the political candidate who wasn't aware the Constitution separates church and state, from the hijinks of Tiger Wood and Brett Favre to a whole lot of other examples, it seemed there was just a new level of insanity in America in 2010. Who do you anticipate will implode in the year ahead?
Dave Barry: This may be wishful thinking, but: Donald Trump.
NEWS FLASH, DC: "Australian floods now size of France, Germany".
I thought you should know.
Dave Barry: Sounds like a job for Joe Biden.
McLean, Va.: Only a fawning comment, please: I used your weekly columns from the back of the WaPo Magazine to teach my 9th grade English classes impeccable literary structure. We would take those things apart word by word. We found all sorts of literary conventions in them.
I recommend it to all English teachers.
Dave Barry: I have long found it alarming that my columns are used to teach anything. What's really scary is when teachers order their classes to read something I wrote, then order them to write me letters letting me know what they think of it. Often they think it sucks. "My teacher says you're a humor writer," they inform me, "but I don't think you're funny." I want to write these kids back and say, "Hey, *I* didn't tell you to read it, you little snot."
But seriously: You found literary conventions in there? Because I don't recall putting any in.
Kansas USA: I am absolutely shocked that you would compare the popularity of Congress to hemorrhoids. Hemorhoids, after all, serve a useful function of warning people about impending medical conditions. Aren't you concerned that you might get a citation for contempt of Congress - suitable for wall framing? And if you get one, can I have one, too?
Dave Barry: You're right. I apologize to the hemorrhoid community. And I would also like to take this opportunity to thank whoever invented the spellchecker, without which it would not be possible to spell "hemorrhoid."
Dave Barry: This seems like a good time to remind everyone that there is no need to refrigerate ketchup.
Hereaga, Ind.: Dave -- may I call you Dave? -- It seems like you do a year- in-review every 12 months or so. Why don't you do them more often?
Dave Barry: Tax reasons.
Waldorf, Md.: Politicians seem to always have amnesia as they run for office. What is your assessment on this terrible memory affliction? And why do half the population also seem afflicted with this as they ELECT these people?
Dave Barry: I don't remember the question.
Jersey, New Jersey: I take offense at the way our city's treasured drama has been portrayed.
Though we have built more air raid shelters in 2010 than any other year. We are not convinced that the proclamation by the Ohio Tea Party, that a "meter epicenter will be Jersey", is true.
Dave Barry: Huh?
Packwood, Wash.: Should we invest in tax free municipal bonds in 2011?
Dave Barry: I think more and more the smart money is flowing into jerky.
Burke, Va.: Dave:
If mankind's survival depended on you spending a weekend of forbidden lust with either (a) Snooki; or (b) a randomly selected graduate of Bryn Mawr College, who would you miss the most among your friends?
Dave Barry: You know what would be a great reality show? Enroll Snooki in Bryn Mawr.
Phoenix, Ari.: what the biggest technological advancement of 2010?
Dave Barry: Without question, it was when I got this one device I have to "sync" with this other device I have. Just the one time, and after that they both broke. But still, for a little while there, both devices were in "sync." It was comparable to the first lunar landing.
Ashburn, Va.: I submitted a writing sample today. Will you be able to read it?
Dave Barry: I loved it, and more important, Weingarten loved it. He has contacted his agent and you WILL have a book contract by sundown, or Weingarten is a lying wad of raccoon snot.
Seattle, Wash.: I am concerned about the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision that requires us all to have health insurance effective 2014. I find this unconstitutional, as did Judge Hudson of Virginia. It's not the specifics of the provision that bother me it's the removal of choice no matter how small the penalty. What are your thoughts on this matter?
Dave Barry: They are deep and coherent.
Centreville, Va.: Dave, Is this the year for a new bowl for your haircuts?
Dave Barry: You know, people often laugh at my hair, but when they finally see me in person, they often continue to laugh at my hair.
Annapolis, Md: Dave, about 10 years go I sent you a letter and you sent me back a hand-signed postcard with a joke on it. That was nice. Now that it's a decades-old "classic," what will it fetch me on E-Bay?
Dave Barry: A pretty penny. Literally.
Washington, D.C.: What 'isn't' a job for Joe Biden?
Dave Barry: True.
Van Winkle, N.Y.: There was a 2010?
According to the Mayan calendar, the world will sometime in 2011 or 2012. Will you be doing those years in advance?
Dave Barry: No, my strategy there would be to get PAID in advance.
Williamsburg, Va.: Dave, I have been a reader of your columns for many years, and this year-end review is, as expected, excellent. I'm just wondering why you didn't include any mention of John Boehner's crying over the thought of school children missing the chance to pursue the American dream...
Dave Barry: Here's what somebody needs to find out: Does John Boehner have a brother named Dick? And if not, WHY not?
You know what would be a great reality show? Enroll Snooki in Bryn Mawr: Heck, we already had rocker Tommy Lee at University of Nebraska (where he had a hard time making the Marching Band even). And if I were a betting sort, I'd lay money on a reality show about Bristol Palin enrolling in college in the Phoenix area (Arizona State?) now that she's bought a house there. So your proposal isn't so far-fetched after all. Alas.
Dave Barry: NOTHING is far-fetched any more. Everything is near-fetched.
Richmond, Va.: Explain the logic that I'm allowed to know who Snooki is, but also allowed to look down on my friends for knowing who Snooki is.
Dave Barry: You can only do that if you regularly state that you, quote, "never watch TV."
White Plains, N.Y.: How long does it take to make popcorn in those TSA scanners?
Dave Barry: Thirty seconds, provided that you carry it -- as the TSA recommends -- in your groin region.
Fairfax, Va.: What condiments do you like on your hot dog?
Dave Barry: I use mustard, and I would like to take this opportunity to note that there is no need to refrigerate it. There are those who use ketchup, which also -- it bears repeating -- need not be refrigerated. There are even those who use mayonnaise, which *should* be refrigerated, although my feeling is that anybody who puts mayonnaise on a hot dog deserves whatever medical trauma ensues.
Questi, ON: Do you always drive in reverse - or - Do you never drive in reverse and only turn right?
Dave Barry: Ha ha!
I don't get it.
Toronto, Canada: Dave, with the decline of the traditional newspaper, what do you believe will be the medium to broadcast booger jokes in the next decade?
Dave Barry: Snooki.
Seattle, Wash.: Is Snooki that girl from the HBO show True Blood? I saw a few episodes of the first season and it was good, but I can't image why all the hype.
Dave Barry: I believe you're thinking of Sookie. Although I never watch TV.
Fredericksburg, Va.: What do I do with my underwear and jeans that I just peed after reading your column?
Dave Barry: That sounds like a job for Joe Biden.
iPho,NE: Are you alarmed that iPhone alarms have not worked the past couple of days?
Dave Barry: I'm sure that's a special design feature that makes them even cooler than they already were.
That curve at the end of the Earth beyond which you fall off: Why do we care that the Mayans stopped making calendars at 2010? Our local publishing company stopped making calendar in 2008 and the world did not end.
Dave Barry: But what it if it DID end, and this is the afterlife, and we're all in hell? That would explain a lot of things. Snooki, for example.
Monday, Minn.: What are you doing on Monday nights now that 24 is gone?
Dave Barry: I am reading Marcel Proust.
Anonymous: I thought John was short for Johnson
Dave Barry: That would explain it.
Alexandria, Va.: Hi Dave! Thanks for another great review!
Do you ever hear from politicians you mention? Or from readers attempting to correct something you write?
Dave Barry: I almost never hear from politicians, because they are not *that* stupid. I regularly hear from readers correcting me. "Dear Mr. Barry," they say. "For your information, Franklin Roosevelt did NOT deliver the Gettysburg Address. You are thinking of Benjamin Franklin. Next time, DO YOUR RESEARCH!"
D.C.: Dave, do you deny the fact that you and Weingarten have never been photographed together because you are, in actuality, the same person?
In the alternative, approximately how many of this chat's questions were from Weingarten?
Dave Barry: We could not possibly be the same person, because there is no way I could eat the things he eats. If he sees something like "Snail Anus," on the menu, that is what he orders. And he wants it prepared rare.
Detroit, Mich.: Dave -- What was the 2011 New Year's celebration like in Miami?
Dave Barry: The usual: Horns, streamers, AK-47s.
Dave Barry: Time's up, folks. Thanks for stopping by. If I failed to answer your question, it was because of global climate change. Happy new year.
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