Just Ask Greg! What's Going on at the White House?

This week Greg fields questions from the seventh grade class at San Mateo Middle School. They wanted to know about the renovated White House press room.

As you may have heard, the White House has temporarily displaced reporters from the press room while it undergoes renovations. Some are now saying this is only a ploy to get them out of the White House. What’s your take on that?
Billy, age 13

Billy, excellent question. And how you managed to type it out using a pencil attached to your forehead is an amazing feat.

I don’t blame reporters who assume this might be some kind of ploy. I wouldn’t put anything past George Bush. And that goes for his son, too.

But there are two words behind this story that no one is mentioning: Ann Compton. She is the national correspondent for ABC news radio. This renovation has almost nothing to do with the press corps as a whole, and everything to do with her.

According to Compton’s private physician, the reporter’s eyebrows are allergic to the current nylon fabrics used on the press room seats. Unlike cotton, nylon is produced chemically. Worse, what the White House uses to clean the seats is even more harmful—a synthetic surfactent that was often used on textiles in the form of sulfated castor oil way back in the late 1800s.

Ask Helen Thomas about it. She was there.

Anyway, when Ms. Compton is seated in the press room, in only a matter of seconds her eyebrows involuntarily arch upward at both ends, making her look like a feminine version of the great character actor Anthony Zerbe. Here is a picture I drew of Zerbe, back when I was in the hospital for the brief period in 2003. Now, compare it to this picture of Ann Compton.

It’s pretty chilling. So chilling, in fact, that I think just by bringing it up, I have completely canceled out the infinitesimal increase in global temperature brought about by our collective carbon footprint.

Sidenote: Zerbe was the villain in "The Omega Man," and a recurring bad guy in "Hawaii Five-O." Hawaii has six letters. Six plus five equals 11. On 9/11, Compton was the only broadcast reporter allowed to remain on Air Force One when President Bush couldn’t return to the White House. And so I am asking you this question, Billy, since so far you’ve been the only one asking questions here. Where was Anthony Zerbe on 9/11, if in fact Ann Compton was on “Air Force One?”

That’s right, Billy, you go home and cry. Who’s next?

Would you blame Bush if that was his intention anyway?
—Simon, age 14

Hello Simon. … It’s been a long time. Glad to see you’re up and around. Is that fiberglass?

To answer your question: Yes, I would blame Bush. Because I blame Bush for everything. I made a list, in fact, which I will read out to you right now. It’s called “Things I blame Bush for.” OK…

  • The cancellation of "Dharma and Greg."
  • My psoriasis.
  • You notice how real estate agents have pictures of themselves on their business cards? That’s Bush’s fault.
  • I threw out a full carton of milk today. It had gone bad. That probably wouldn’t have happened if Bush hadn’t rigged the elections.
  • I spent the entire morning looking for a chocolate croissant—and went to four cafes. Ended up coming home with a muffin. It had Bush and Cheney’s fingerprints all over it.
  • I have a third nipple. When I gain weight, it tends to expand. I can’t help but think this is due in part to Bush’s war in Iraq.
  • Yesterday I went to a gift shop to purchase a novelty coffee mug (I wanted one with a picture of Patsy Kensit saying “Pray for Mel”) but they didn’t have any. Interestingly, Karl Rove’s mother Reba Wood used to manage a gift shop. Rove’s reach is far and wide, and often around.

Reporters are upset they are being "kicked out," yet they have griped for years about the shabby appearance of the briefing room. Is there any way Bush can come out on top of this?
—Tamara, age 13

Tamara, this is an interesting question, and I congratulate you on the surgery. I also have a cleft palate, but—and you might find this odd—I wasn’t born with it. I had it added on my face because I am a big fan of Joaquin Phoenix.

For Bush to come out on top, he only has to do one thing to “break the ice”—and that is, bring some gifts.

For Don Gonyea and David Greene of NPR, Bush should give them a pair of knitted polyester shorts with fly front opening. They should look and feel like normal underwear, but be highly absorbent, with a stay dry lining that guards against odors, leaking and staining. Plus, the shorts should be reusable so Don and David will save money over the disposable pads.

Who do you think the extra-wide seats will best accommodate?

The extra wide seats are not for extra-wide people, as you might guess. They are for people who like to sit together. Specifically, Jennifer Loven of AP and Jessica Yellin of ABC. Seated that way, President Bush can address them as “Loven and Yellen.” Or “Yellen and Loven.” Either way, from Bush it will sound like a ZZ Top song. If Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner decides to marry Carl Cannon in a surprise same-sex wedding on the White House lawn, his last name would become Sammon-Cannon, which is something I actually invented three years ago to fire fish into my neighbor’s bedroom.

Next question. You, the girl with … what is that?

What color of carpet would you like to see them install in the press room?
Carla, age 14

Well, Carla, I have heard rumors. (One of which concerns you and a prehensile tail.) I initially heard that the carpet will match the skin tone of Tabassum Zakeria from Reuters. Many might assume this is racist, but in fact it was Zakeira who demanded it. Weird. My color preference, though, would be yellow. Just in case the diapers Bush purchased for the NPR reporters actually break.

Reporters will now have Internet access at every seat. Will that increase the quality of their reporting? With most of the White House press corps well "over the hill," doesn’t that seem kind of wasteful?

The problem with the White House press corps isn’t that they are “over the hill,” it’s that they are “under the hill,” in that they are actually dead and buried, and what we are actually seeing at press conferences are holograms created by Karl Rove. But I think having Internet access will be helpful for them. Because when they need to write an opening sentence on a Bush policy decision, all they have to do is Google “will have a chilling effect,” and then the story writes itself. Take stem cells. “Bush’s veto will have a chilling effect on scientists who saw stem cell research as potential weapon in fighting disease.”

Simply by pointing that out, I have likely created a chilling effect among reporters who use the phrase “chilling effect.” Whether this has a chilling effect on the rest of society is questionable—which is a “chilling effect” in itself.

Another thing: In order to get the Internet, you will have to get a computer. Has anyone told Helen Thomas this? I suppose she’ll try to get access to the Internet using her notepad, and after many fruitless tries she will defecate in the coffee urn.

In some countries, this is called a “dirty protest.”

For that matter, is any of this worth the expense to taxpayers?

Only if most the money is spent on Wallaway Love Seats with Touch II Motion. They have pillow arms and delightfully stitched cushions. More important, you can recline fully with just three inches of wall clearance. As a guy who has thrown a lot of make-out parties in his basement, I know this is exactly what you need to get Kelly O’Donnell to loosen up. Suzanne Malveaux, too. You can’t have that many vowels in your last name and not be a little wild.

When will the Daily Gut be applying for press credentials?

As soon as they get done with the bathroom—I mean background—checks. Not that I have anything to worry about. I mean, we’ve all done some crazy things in the past. And let’s just say during the years of 1994 and 1999 I was not really myself. In fact, I was someone else completely. But now I am back and the hormonal treatments have all but erased that brief period of experimentation. But I have yet to change the driver’s license, which is a major roadblock.

I see that my ankle bracelet is beeping, and I must go. I would like to thank you all for coming. And I would also like to thank the teacher’s aid Julio for graciously signing this entire session so the hearing-impaired could enjoy my opinions. Now go wait in the car.