Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sick menu choice

Barguments Headquarters just received this press release at its paying job.:


Washington, DC (November 20, 2008) - With Thanksgiving and the holidays on the horizon, it's time to start thinking about food--- lots and lots of food. Each day, the imaginations of millions race, thinking about that ever-important question: "What do I want to eat?" The National Museum of Crime and Punishment has taken that question to the next level, asking guests: What if you knew that there would be no tomorrow and you had to make the choice of what your last meal would be? The peculiar answers have left many pondering over this grueling question.

With no limitations on food quantity or choice, over 500 guests selected a wide variety of combinations. Surprisingly, the most selected choice was that of notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy, even though guests could choose their own unique meal. Among the vast beverage choices, the top pick was Coca-Cola, although alcoholic beverages were also in the top three choices. As one individual from Holland deliberately expressed, "As a drink I would have nothing more than beer, beer and beer."

1. John Wayne Gacy's last meal (12 deep-fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe chicken from KFC, French fries, and a pound of strawberries)
2. Ice Cream
3. Steak
4. Pizza
5. Lobster
6. Hamburger
7. Spaghetti
8. Sushi
9. Crab
10. Potatoes

What would I pick? I don't know. I'm impressed crab is on the list. I'm baffled by spaghetti. How could that be? Potatoes? Not really. Who would pick that?

If I had to pick at this moment, it would be the churascao steak with blue cheese and au gratin potatoes at Berrie's down the street. The best part: I don't have to murder anyone to get it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Viewer Mail

I was just one with Steve and Miles, hosts of Seattle's The Mens Room radio show. They're Barguments fans... well, I think they are now. But before encountering Barguments, they had their own version that seemed to center around cereal. (Peanutbutter Cap'n Crunch: thumbs up or thumbs down?)

Soon after got this welcome email. Which raises this pressing question: Where can I get some Baconsalt?

Let me first start by saying Barguments is the coolest damn thing since Baconsalt. You are a genius in your own right. I heard you on The Mens Room in Seattle and I had to get online to your site and submit my own.... Submission? Yeah. Thank you sir for a future of entertaining, unanswerable bullshit that will keep me busy for hours. Best to you!

~Skyy Alexander

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hello Kansas City...

Just did a radio spot on afternoon drive time in Kansas City. Site is getting good traffic from it, and some pretty funny submissions. Two of my favorites: who would in a bar brawl with Spider-Man, Batman and a very drunk Superman? And you're in a gunfight. Who do you want as a sidekick from a Western: Val Kilmer, Clint Eastwood or Gene Wilder?

I pick Wilder. They'd never kill him off onscreen. (Ooh, but they might kill his no-name costar.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This list goes to 11-- of course

Yahoo has a list of the 11 best fake bands from Hollywood. Click here to read it. I don't think I could come up with six. Spinal Tap... who else?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Where's Rerun?

Gene Weingarten at the Washington Post takes the easy way out in his list of 30 best sitcom characters ever. He's picks Ed Norton from the Honeymooners as No. 1.

Weak choice. People seem to think TV was better in the 50s than it is now. Not true. Sam Malone much more entertaining character than Norton. Same with George Costanza (Weingarten's No. 2, to his credit). I'd put G.O.B. Bluth up there, and Charley Kelly up there too....

Weingarten's list is here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


This Verizon ad about cellular Dead Zones gets my vote for the best commercial on television. Add your contenders in the comments box.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A knife in the back...

Usually commercials need to involve hygeine products to disgust me as much as the one I saw last night. To the tune of a Jimi Hendrix guitar riff, the announcer declared aging Baby Boomers to be enjoying the "Summer of Life." Lots of archival footage of people doing twirly dances.

Then comes the product: a new "Just for Men" hair product. The brand name: "Touch of Gray."

Really? Is there no shame?
Jerry, of course, grayed gracefully. Shouldn't everyone?

The bargument:

True or False: Men should never dye their hair. (If you answer true, should women? At what age should they stop?)

Saturday, June 28, 2008 is suddenly hot in Asia. The site has gotten a few new bargument submissions from Singapore, and one from Japan. I pasted the latest one below. It verges too close to the "no buzz kill'' rule about barguments, so it doesn't make the cut for the site. But I post it here to demonstrate the growing barguments international sensation.

Speaking of which, Simon & Schuster just told me they sold the foreign rights to Barguments in Estonia. A no-brainer, of course, but encouraging news nonetheless.

New bargument:
Title: Would you rather regret something you did or regret something you did not do
Options:1. regret what you've done
2. regret what you've not done
User name: jerry yee heng jie
Location: singapore

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What about that chokey thing Vader does?

Another bargument that came from a listener during that North Carolina radio appearance:

Could you cut Superman with a light saber?

[This question apparently has divided the Sci-Fi universe. Find some research on this topic , doing stereotypes complete justice, here.]

That inspired another bargument later in the show:

If you could have a drink with any super-hero, who would it be?

Most popular answer from the callers: Wonder Woman.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Next on American Bandstand, a young gentleman named...FIFTY Cent

I was on the Allan Handleman show in North Carolina last night promoting the book. This was my second time on the show, and his listeners called in with some pretty good barguments. I'll write more about the show in a later post, but wanted to quickly get this new bargument on the blog. I missed the guy's name who suggested it, but I think it's perfect. Need to fiddle with the wording before putting it on the site. The bargument, after my initial tinkering:

You can take one musical group or performer from the last 10 years back to 1958, where you'll be a struggling record producer. Who do you bring?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Barguments may have found its niche audience: soap opera fans. Someone on this soap opera message board liked the book and started posting barguments for fellow soap-heads to debate. It's become one of the liveliest bargument battles I've seen yet on the Internet (with the possible exception of Bob Marley v. Bruce Springsteen on

I was pretty pleased with the different opinions, and how pissed some people were that others even considered disagreeing with them. It does reveal one dud from the book though: Which is worse on a man: baldness or back hair. That really was a clunker-- of course back hair is worse. Should have been back hair or ear hair.

Oh well. Maybe for the second edition..

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Which hurts more: a phaser on stun or...

Click here to read a blog post about the Barguments book. The author doesn't really follow the rules when he cites an ongoing bargument with his friend about whether childhood scars get bigger as you age. There must be a right answer to that, making it an argument, even if you have it at a bar.

But others certainly qualify, especially the one about whether the Enterprise would beat a spaceship from Battlestar Gallactica.... I'm going to resist mentioning Romulan Ale here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Horrible choice

Another weekend, another great bargument from Commodore Buller:

If you had to choose one drink to have for the rest of your life, which would it be?

This was a tough one. I picked Miller Lite, figuring beer is probably the most versatile drink out there. Besides, what else are you going to have out on the boat?

Marc picked rum and Coke, but keep in mind he and his wife named their boat: Otro Cuba Libre.

Carrie, pictured here, picked champagne. Then she burped and passed gas. True.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Marc Buller, commodore at my favorite bar, offered this bargument the other day. It prompted quite a bargument at the time...

You've been signed to a Major League Baseball team. Which position do you want to play?

This quickly prompted the question: are you somehow an expert ballplayer, or are you stuck with your current abilities? The consensus seemed to be you're magically given the skills along with your MLB contract.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ripped off by today's headlines

A new Harvard poll -- yes, Harvard-- seeks to find the definitive answer to an actual bargument from the book:

Who's funnier: Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert?

You could read the results at the Harvard site, but there's lots of OTHER questions you'll have to sort through that's also in the poll (who likes Obama, who's white, who thinks what about immigration, blah blah blah).

Better just to click over to The Fix, a political blog at The Washington Post that does a great job covering the presidential race and really deserves a signed copy of the book.
(Oh, and the Harvard poll doesn't actually ask who is funnier. The polls asks young people their preference. That will NOT protect Harvard from a lawsuit from one bitter and under-selling author.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Why there's so much wire copy in newspapers

As deadline neared Friday at The Miami Herald, two fellow business reporters gathered around my desk and offered two new barguments.

Scott, who covers the economy, offered this one: What cocktail can a guy order and not look like an ass? (My wording.) Pretty easy to come up with some strike-worthy drinks: cosmopolitan, Long Island iced tea. But where does margarita fall?

Our small business reporter, Jim, came up with one: If you were traveling back in time 100 years, which invention would you bring with you? (Remember: there are no gas stations or electric outlets in 1904.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Shark jumping?

Not a great response to my Office spin-off bargument on the right, so I put up a different bargument on yesterday:

If Jim proposes to Pam, will it ruin "The Office?"

I say the scene alone where Jim says it's coming HAS IN FACT ruined the show. Those two bug me, anyway.

I sent a note to a blog devoted to the Office-- the Scranton Branch Office blog -- and they put a link up to This way we'll get some expert opinion.

Note: On the British version of the Office-- the original, and the funnier by an exponential increase-- when the Jim and Pam characters finally get together, they ended the series at that exact moment.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Just got this via the barguments submission button.... Bridget, our tech reporter and professional young person at the Herald, suggested this too. I'm on it (whatever it means)

New bargument: Title: How long before barguments will link into My.Yahoo,, etc via RSS or other Feeds?
1. Never- Webmaster is stuck in 1960
2. Soon, but not soon enough!
3. Already in the works for \'roll-out\' 3rd edition...

User name: Bill Gates
Location: Redmond, WA

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Just a quick post to show I haven't forgotten about the Barguments Blog. Beerfest was fun Saturday. The good news and the bad news: I drank about 26 beers. That's because they handed out beers in teeny little cups, about the size you usually only see in a Dixie box.

But lots of Paul and Young Ron listeners knew about Barguments. I printed a bunch of them up on little cards and passed them out to people in the VIP tent. A frequent response: "Oh, are you the Barguments Guy?"

On the way to Beer Fest, I got a text from Kent Island resident Danny "Ebert" Williams with this Eastern Shore-only Bargument:

What kind of pickles do you serve with steamed crabs: dill or bread-and-butter?

I think that's a pretty easy one, Ebert. I'll be interested to see what Shore food authority Johnny Scrappleseed says.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Paul and Young Ron, Part II

I'm scheduled to be on the Paul and Young Ron show Friday morning at 9. You can listen on Big 105.9 in the Miami area and Gater 98.7 if you live near Palm Beach.

We'll be talking about the Paul and Young Ron Presents the New Times Beerfest being held Saturday night in Fort Lauderdale. I'll be presiding over a Barguments Table. Not exactly sure what I'll be doing there. (Not selling books, unfortunately. Got too complicated trying to set that up with Simon & Schuster.)

I've got some books to giveaway, though. In fact, the first complete stranger to come up to my table and mention the Barguments Blog will get a free book. I'll probably give the rest away to whoever comes up with the best new bargument.

If Barguments isn't a hit at a place called Beer Fest, I've got a problem.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Worms or Lures?

Sue Cocking, the Herald's outdoors writer, gave Barguments a plug in her blog and posed some specialized fishing barguments. (Including one I assume was designed to draw blood at the next marlin tournament: Who is the better South Florida sailfisherman -- captain Ray Rosher or captain John "Louie" Dudas?)
Check it out here.

I can't think of a better place for Barguments than in the hands of a fisherman staring out at four slack lines in the water, three hours into a long day out on the ocean. Beer, anyone?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Advocating for Barguments

A friend of a friend gave Barguments a very helpful plug yesterday on the vital website,

On the site's message board, Josh wrote:

My old roomate's, college buddy wrote this book about Barguments.Check it out, pretty funny stuff:

And the Beer Advocates did. Traffic shot up all day. And finally, the site discovered its target demographic. Among the responses to Josh's post:

Just spent 45 min's on the site; nice. -- gkatsoris

really addictive! -- Mr. Turtlehead

Just answered all the questions -- need more! -- Saltylime

Don't worry, Saltylime. Three new barguments were added to the site last night. Including one that I love but which seems headed to being one of the least popular on the site. It's the ringtone one. Check it out.

Monday, April 7, 2008

What about Gareth?!

NBC recently announced it would air a spin-off of The Office. Will it be a Joey or a Frasier?

The biggest factor, of course, will be casting. Which brings us to this bargument:

Which secondary Office character most deserves a spin-off?

You can argue for your nominee below OR you can vote on the poll you'll find nearby. I'm going to elimate the stars-- Michael, Dwight, Jim and Pam, because their departure would ruin the original.
I'll post this bargument on later in the week, but I thought I'd test it out here first to narrow it down to the most popular answers among the core barguments fans.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Somebody call Nicklelodeon

I was at the CGSC bar last night when I met the biggest Barguments fan in Miami, and his two friends. Median age: about 10.

Diego Ramon, 9, is on the right. His mom and dad, who are members of the sailing club, bought the book but Diego apparently keeps it by his bed. And he knows the book better than I do, rattling off barguments from the book one after the other.

A quote from Diego: "You should have a kids version, but instead of three beers, it's three Cokes." This could make for an awkward Book Report Day at the middle school.

His brother Jaime, 12, left, also liked the book, and their friend, Ignacio, 12, became an instant fan right there by the bar. And they were excellent at barguing.

I offered up one of the kid-friendly barguments from the book: Who would win in an underwater race between Superman and Aquaman? We were divided between them. (My thought: If Superman wins, what's the point of Aquaman?)

Also: Who would win in a fight between Darth Vader and Spider-Man. (They thought Vader. I thought Spider-Man.)

Jaime also just submitted to a fun super-hero bargument: Who would win in a race: the Flash or a cheetah? I would think the Flash, but don't forget the cheetah could pounce right away on him and get a head start. Good one Jaime!

We also had a very heated Flavor-Ice bargument Which is the best Flavor-Ice color? Which is the worst?

As you can see below, things got tense. As a matter of fact, these guys actually got kicked out of the bar (gently) minutes after this photo was taken. A proud moment for any parent. I'll have to make copies of this and send it along.

[Note: Tom Farmar first created this bargument during the great Barguments Happy Hour in Oxford last month. Don't forget the Flavor-Ice motto, coined by Brian Wheatley: "You'd be stupid not to buy them."]

But my favorite of the night came from Ignacio, who asked:
If you could buy one thing in the world, what would it be?

Key to this bargument are the rules:

1. You have to actually be able to buy it. You can't buy China, for instance. You could buy Microsoft.

2. You have only one check to write. That is, you go back to your normal spending power the moment after it clears. So if you buy a mansion with the check, you'll have to pay the property taxes with your salary.
Well done, kids! If any schools are interested in making bulk purchases of Barguments, contact me at

UPDATE: Just found where I had written down some other great barguments from the kids: Who would win in a fight: Dwyane Wade or Shaq? (No snickering, Johnny S.) Which is better: Chuck E. Cheese or Gameworks?
I think the Shaq fight will go on the site, too.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What about Satisfaction?!

A London music school claims to have answered this bargument:
Name the greatest guitar riff ever.
You can find that one in the book, tucked inside a group bargument that asks for the top riff, beer commercial, trick play and car chase.

Here's the list. I can't believe the Stones' Satisfaction isn't on it. That has to be one of the most memorable. And, of course, Dark Star gets a snub. Typical.

1. Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple (1973)
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana (1991)
3. Walk This Way - Aerosmith (1975)
4. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix (1967)
5. Sweet Child O Mine - Guns N' Roses (1987)
6. Paradise City - Guns N' Roses (1987)
7. Ace Of Spades - Motorhead (1980)
8. Enter Sandman - Metallica (1991)
9. Under The Bridge - Red Hot Chilli Peppers (1992)
10. Welcome To The Jungle - Guns N' Roses (1987)
11. Run To The Hills - Iron Maiden (1982)
12. Walk - Pantera (1992)
13. Johnny Be Goode - Chuck Berry (1958)
14. Back In Black - AC/DC (1980)
15. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin (1970)
16. Wake Up - Rage Against The Machine (1992)
17. Highway to Hell - AC/DC (1979)
18. My Generation - The Who (1965)
19. 7 Nation Army - The White Stripes (2003)
20. Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf (1968)
21. Give It Away - Red Hot Chilli Peppers (1991)
22. Paranoid - Black Sabbath (1970)
23. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix (1967)
24. Eye Of The Tiger - Survivor (1982)
25. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits (1984)

Friday, April 4, 2008 3.0

I reshuffled last night. Now the first four pages of the site will be a mix of new barguments and the most heated barguments on the site.

Starting on about Page Five, you'll find the older barguments roughly arranged from ones where the votes are closest to ones that (as Drew Hearon put it) we've found to be "resolved."

I have a feeling this bargument, which a user submitted yesterday, would quickly slip into the "resolved" part of the map.

Pick the superior band: The Rolling Stones or The Who?

But I'm working on a new concept bargument that I think I can wrap this into one that would work.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reduce. Reuse. Bargue.

I don't think anyone has doubted barguments' ability to prompt social change, but even I was surprised to see the National Resources Defense Council endorse Barguments as a key part of the anti-global warming movement.

A blog on the NRDC site by Rob Perks recommends Barguments, and seems to hint that Benjamin Franklin would too. From Rob's blog:

I’m a firm believer in Ben Franklin’s maxim: “Beer is living proof
that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” And I enjoy a lively debate as much
as anyone. So what do you get when you mix beer and arguments? Bar brawls maybe,
but I'm talking about a brilliant cocktail known as a “bargument.”
cheeky buzzword – defined by the
Urban Dictionary as “a debate on any subject
which takes place in a bar and is primarily caused by just the right amount of
booze” – is the subject of a clever new book, appropriately titled
Barguments. Who wouldn’t enjoy downing a couple-three micro-brews and pondering
such age-old questions as:
“Who wins a fight between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and
five angry Grizzly Bears?” (T-Rex)
“Could John and Ponch arrest the Duke
boys?” (Nope)
“Best ‘brothers’ band of all-time?” (Allman)

He then asks readers to start a bargument over global warming. And one did, asking:

What's the least carbon-intensive beer container - keg, bottle or can?

This technically violates the Barguments Rules on at least two fronts. For one, it's a buzz kill. (Global warming sort of brings you down.) Second, there probably is a right answer that could be proven mathematically.

On the other hand, I am very interested in Barguments getting a piece of the $300 million global warming campaign recently launched by Al Gore. So I posted it.

Whatever your answer, try not to feel guilty the next time you order a draft or pick up a six-pack.

(Postcript: The blog reader, JG3000, offered another bargument I'll be stealing for Who wins in a fight between a great white shark and a crocodile in an environment that favors neither animal?)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Twitchy Barguments

Just did nine minutes on the Twitch morning show on ZRock 103 in Lexington, KY.
He had two other hosts-- a guy and a girl. That's really the best set-up for a Barguments radio segment. They're used to arguing with each other, and just dive in. I always feel like an ass interupting the DJs, but at the same time, I figure they don't want me to (80s current events reference alert) "sit there like a potted palm."

I mentioned on the air that now is witnessing the most fierce bargument ever seen on the site. It's in response to this bargument:

Name the better songwriter: Bob Marley or Bruce Springsteen?

As I write this, Springsteen has a solid lead in the votes. But Marley is making a big comeback. The vote might have been skewed by me being on a radio show in North Carolina yesterday afternoon that seemed to draw a classic rock crowd.

But the real debate is raging in the Comments section of this bargument. There are 18 comments there at last count, easily a record.

This is all the more remarkable because the comments feature isn't very user-friendly: you can't tell if there are any comments for a particular bargument without checking, and once you comment it sends you back to the first page.

Some excerpts from the Springsteen vs. Marley bargument:

2008-04-01 11:29
Bruce completely stepped up to the plate after 9/11 with The Rising. Bob Marley was a bit of a one-trick pony.

2008-04-01 16:47
A one-trick pony? The fact that anyone outside of the Caribbean has even heard of reggae music is because of Bob Marley. Springsteen is barely a flicker on the rock radar screen. The ONLY song writer you could compare Marley to would be Bob Dylan, who represented a generational angst, but still not a people's oppression.

2008-04-01 17:00
Hmmmm, that's true, Bob Marley was oddly silent after 9/11...maybe because he had been DEAD FOR 20 YEARS!

2008-04-01 17:59
C'mon! Bob Marley was like a god. Did anyone ever try to assassinate The Boss because of his lyrics?

2008-04-01 18:52
What is wrong with you people?!

2008-04-01 19:14
You've got to give Springsteen credit just for the body of work. It's not Marley's fault he died young, but the fact is Springsteen has a much richer list of great songs.

2008-04-01 19:30
One worked to move towards a political, socioeconomic, and a philosophical change... the other was from New Jersey... WTF?

2008-04-02 03:36
To suggest Johnny Cougar could compete with Springsteen just weakens your argument against Springsteen.

2008-04-02 05:06
It's just little pink houses for you Springsteen voters...

2008-04-02 05:29
They have yet to use a Springsteen song for a TV commercial.

You have to give the bargument so far to the Marley fans, but the votes are the votes. (Hope none of these Marley people buy the book, in which I posed the bargument: Who's the better songwriter: Bob Marley or Jimmy Buffett?)
UPDATE: 11:07 PM WED, APRIL 2nd....

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Barguments in the Carolinas

I was on the Allan Handleman show today out of North Carolina. And as Allan put it, the phone lines "were lighting up." His listeners latched on to the bargument: If you could implant one song in your enemies' heads, which would it be?"

Before we get to the answers, let me expand on this bargument. You shouldn't assume that the song, once implanted, will play forever. You simply have the ability to implant that song for a small amount of time. You must choose the song that then will be both annoying and addicting -- one that you just can't get out of your head.

One candidate most people don't consider but is actually pretty good at embedding itself in your brain: We Are the World.

Here are some of the better nominees from Allan's show: I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight, She Drives Me Crazy, Muskrat Love, Never Going to Give You Up, Afternoon Delight.

They also offered lots of suggestions for Best TV Theme Song. One candidate: the Simon & Simon theme. I loved that show, but can't think of the song. I'll post it here once I find it.

Allan also asked listeners to share their own barguments. Three stood out:

1. Who would win in a chess match between Slingblade and Forrest Gump?
This came from a caller who didn't make it on the air, but the producer told it to me. I'll put that one on

2. Who would win in a fight between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and five angry grizzly bears?
How perfect is that? Look for that on the site soon, but I might save it.

3. Who was the coolest movie character of all time?
This came from Owen in Durham. His candidate: Wooderson from Dazed and Confused. (The Matthew McConaughey character.) Hard to argue. Remember this scene?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Why was Hanson snubbed?

Drew Hearon, the most prolific submitter to, sent me this email today

we had a card game friday night......we hit a lull in conversation, and at
Midnight, one of my friends said "Dude, I just got your friends Barguments book,
throw some of them out to Liven this conversation up!"
We spent the next 2
hours doing exactly'd have been blown away.

We also came up with this bargument...

What is the best Brothers Band of All time?" ie..ACDC, Allman Brothers,
etc. etc.

Good one, Poker People. I'd add the Jackson Five, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Bee Gees. Oh, and the Thompson Twins.

Let me know who I've forgotten in the comments section.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

They get it

The Washington Post declared Barguments "buzz worthy" today in a write-up in their Sunday Source section. That's the new section where Post writers tell you how to enjoy yourself.

Amy Orndorff notes that everyone has barroom arguments but "unlike most of us, Hanks remembered them in the morning and wrote them down."

She calls me a "guru" (a first!) and declares that I'm not "preachy" in the book since I'm offering questions, not answers. Compliment taken, Amy.

My favorite: the final line.

Amy writes the book "makes a handy coaster."

Can't bargue with that...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Best Friend or Breakfast?

These fun people from the Coconut Grove Sailing Club offered me a new bargument last night.

You're sailing across the ocean with just your dog when you get stranded on a deserted island. How long does the dog last?

They voted 2 to 1 for "until it dies of natural causes." Can you guess who voted to eat the loyal pet?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Joe Six Pack Endorses Barguments

Joe Sixpack, who writes a column for the Philadelphia Daily News and whose official title is "Daily News Beer Reporter," has come out in favor of Barguments

In a column out today, he calls Barguments "a fun little book called "Barguments" (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, $9.99) from Doug Hanks, a reporter with the Miami Herald who, like me, apparently managed to convince his editors that his weekly bar tab is a legitimate business expense."

I wish, Joe. But I do hope to convince the IRS of that very soon.

Read the column here. It also mentions another book, "He Said Beer, She Said Wine" (DK Publishing, $25), where the authors bicker over whether you should pair food with beer or wine.

From Joe:

On what goes better with cheese:
She says, "There are no more perfect
partners in the realm of food and beverage pairing than wine and cheese."
says, "What do you drink with pizza when your friends come over to watch the
game? I'll give you a hint: it isn't wine."
On pairing with kung pao chicken
or jambalaya:
She says, "Light, off-dry whites calm the flames, while
aromatic reds can provide a complex counterpoint to layered flavors and
He says, "The carbonation, maltiness and alcohol content of
beer makes it the perfect partner for even the spiciest dishes. To be fair,
though, I once used a Riesling to put out a grease-fire."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Barguments article

Ryan Cormier, the pop writer at the News Journal in Wilmington, Del., wrote a well-reported article about Barguments. Granted, the reporting involved him going to bars. But good reporting nonetheless. He does both Barguments and bars justice in the story.

You can read it here.

For the story, he had asked me my answers on a few barguments, including "Name the three best guitar players in history." I'm glad he didn't print the answers, because my response was lame: Jerry Garcia (easy), Jimi Hendrix (lame) and Eric Clapton (lamer).

I just write the questions. I don't come up with smart answers.

But since we're asking, what IS the answer to that one?

(UPDATE: I just saw the sidebar in which Ryan DID publish my answers. I'll never show my face in Delaware again.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

To be sure you're right, test your answer

Here are some barguments submitted during the big Barguments Happy Hour in Oxford last weekend.

If you could sleep with one of your spouse's best friends without anyone ever knowing, who would it be?

Which liquor is the worst to throw up? (from my cousin, Peter Hanks)

The bar at your wedding can only stock five liquors and three beers. Which ones do you want?

And, finally, a wholesome bargument from KC Bridges: Which is the better Girl Scout cookie: Thin Mints or Samoas?

Monday, March 17, 2008

First look at the big Barguments Happy Hour

The Barguments Blog is still feeling the effects of the Oxford Barguments Blow Out at Latitude 38 on Saturday night.

About 100 friends and family gathered at the bar that started it all. Owners Wendy and Gretchen were generous, patient, fun, and enthusiastic hosts. Gena Levy baked a wedding-quality Barguments cake. KC Bridges handled the decorations, including a portrait of the Barguments cover. The Latitudes crew printed up some photos of me from the old Masthead/Latitudes Halloween parties. (Including me as Bill Clinton, which prompted some Hanks for President! signs outside the bar.)

Harrison Street Books packed up their cash register and set up a table at the party. By six o'clock, the crew had drank Latitudes out of Bud 10-ounce, Miller Lite bottles and all the draft beer. The taps were dry. But the Bud longnecks survived, as did a good chunk of the party into the late evening. (It started at 3.)

Katie Southworth sent these photos. I've got some on my camera as well, but I'm having trouble uploading them. The 10 ouncers might be to blame...

Here's famed barguer Eric Abell and Colin Kelly, who recently added an impartial review of the book on You know it's early in the day. Not because of the sunlight, but because of what they're both drinking.

Steve Lewis, Tom Farmar (who got the prize for buying the most books) Andrew Southworth and Matt "Cheeks" Harrison. There was a box in the bar for people to submit their own barguments. One of the entries: "What the f*** is wrong with Steve Lewis?"
A group shot. This reminds me I was supposed to get all the guys together for Katie (third from left) to take a similar picture, and never did. Sorry, Katie. Below that picture is the amazing cake Gena baked. In a possible nod to Miami, I think the filling was dulce de leche.

The two top contributors to this blog: Farmar and Mike Valliant.

The Barguments Guys. Fairly late in the evening...

What a party. Thanks, Katie, for the pictures, and thanks to anyone reading this who was there. It couldn't have gone better.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Barguments Shore Tour

Here's the sign for the big book signing in Easton, MD., Saturday. I did one of these in Miami and it was marked by long periods of staring out from a small table with a large stack of books. Hopefully the home-town advantage -- plus an excellent Star-Democrat write up with a nod to one of the greatest barguments on the Chesapeake Bay, which I will post as soon as I can find it on -- will help. Can't complain about the in-store promotion.

Then it's off to the Barguments Happy Hour at Latitude 38 in Oxford from 3 to 7. Here's KC, official Barguments Spirit Chair, working on some games for the Latitudes event.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Barguments Shelf Placement Report, II

From the Borders in Coral Gables. They put it face up, not me.

But you can't ask for better placement than what Books & Books in Coral Gables did for Barguments. They had me sign a few dozen books there. I hope that pile is smaller by now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Well said!

Here's a partial transcript from a segment on Cosmopolitan magazine's Sirius Radio channel. The show: Cocktails with Patrick.

Patrick: "This book should be on your coffee table."

Patrick: "This is a good book to have if you're trying to decide if you should start a relationship."

Patrick: "This is going to be one of those ideas where you're going to wish you thought of it. But Doug Hanks did."

The original bargument

Veteran blogger and early barguer Michael Valliant points out in his blog today that even before lion v. bear, there was man v. car. This all started at one of the Oxford bars (I think Schooner's) when we were trying to decide if it would be quicker to swim across the Tred Avon River or drive around it.

Valliant was at the time drinking coffee and training for the Marines (might have been the Army) and volunteered to test the premise. He dove into the Tred Avon, while I proceeded to drive from Oxford to Bellevue. You'll have to click on his excellent account to find out what happened...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Would you still pick Kramer after the...incident?

Lots of comments on the blog item below about the best TV theme song. That spun-off a bargument on about the hottest TV mom from the 80s. And that spin-off also spawned a mini bargument on TV sidekicks that now brings me to this spin-off three times removed:

Pick a neighbor from television to move in next door.

This person has to qualify as a true TV neighbor-- that is, someone cast in that familiar role to orbit around a show's main characters. Larry from Three's Company, Ned Flanders from The Simpons, and yes -- of course-- Kramer.
Update: I did put a version of this bargument on the site,

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bargument event today!

I forgot to post for loyal Barguments Blog fans that I'll be doing a signing today at the Bookstore in the Grove from 4 to 7 (targeting Happy Hour Readers) then heading down the hill to the Coconut Grove Sailing Club for a special Barguments Night party.

It's technically an invitation-only party, but everyone reading this blog will be considered my invited guest.

The Coconut Grove Grapevine blog did a little item on the event. Click here to read it. You have to scroll way down.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Barguments shelf placement report

Longtime barguer Chris Nosher sent in this report from the Barnes & Noble in Tysons Corner, VA. Johnny Hart must be happy..

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gone fast with a girl named Bo...

Barguments fan and Doug Hanks cousin Michael Valliant first nominated this for Best TV Theme Song. I agree. Competitive hot-dog eater and sports writer Will Champman sent me the video today.

Update on

Wanted to make sure this was high up for anyone who might be annoyed with the site.

The good guys at Absolute Web Services just tweaked the site to allow multiple users from the same IP address. Now you're limited to one vote on each bargument per computer.

But as a result, it resets the tracking so that you'll need to vote again on the barguments to see the results.

Sorry the for the trouble!

P.S. I'll post some photos tonight from the big Barguments Launch night. They sold out of books quickly at Books & Books, but did not run out of beer at The Bar.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Barguments Day at the Miami Herald

Thanks to Ina and Niala -- early Barguments fans and pioneer Barguments contributors -- for thinking of me on the big Barguments Launch Day. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Change at

The good guys at Absolute Web Services fixed a lingering flub with Now votes will be limited to one per computer, not one per IP address. But the transition means that your computer will be reset, meaning you can vote on all the barguments again.

Sorry for the inconvenience. But at least you'll have the chance to rethink your decisions. Is Rock Me Amadeus really more annoying than Milkshake?

UPDATED UPDATE at 9:23 a.m. Wednesday: Problem seems to be fixed. You do have to vote on all the questions again to see the results. Sorry for that!

UPDATE AT 12:02 PM on Tuesday: There seems to be a problem with the site, in that it's not recognizing previous votes. The tallies are all there, but you can keep voting again and again. Not a bad time to launch your big pro-Lost campaign, but annoying for visitors. The AWS guys are on it. Check back for updates. For now, if you leave open on a browser on your deskstop, nothing will reset. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

Time to sell the books

It's 2:50 a.m. on Barguments Launch Day and I'm on the radio in Minneapolis.

UPDATE: It's 3:01 a.m. The media blitz is over. I'm going back to bed.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Dave Barry and Barguments

When you google "Barguments,'' Dave Barry's blog pops up first most of the time. Not a bad thing. His post on my interview with him and his wife, Michelle Kaufman, got more than 50 comments from readers. (Don't get too excited: the photo above got 222 comments at last count.)

Click here to read the post.

My favorite:

Bear v. Lion?
Depends on the bear. If we're talking a Grizzly, they weigh up
to 1800 lbs! They would just stomp a lion to death.
A Polar Bear would just
wait until the lion froze.
A Koala Bear would get its butt kicked by a lion,
that's pretty certain!
A Panda would cute the lion to death!
Posted by: Moon 12:14 AM on March 2, 2008

Barguments on local cable tv

Here's a pretty long segment on Barguments that ran on Plum TV. Don't know what's going on with my hair in this, but hopefully that won't hurt the Barguments Amazon ranking.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Paul and Young Ron

Barguments Blog news update: I'm booked for an in-studio appearance on the Paul and Young Ron radio show Monday morning at 7:20. Good thing I behaved myself today and didn't go sailing. I need be fresh and chipper for my Morning Zoo debut.

Barguments Night in Coral Gables

This Tuesday, March 4, Barguments officially launches. I'm having a reading that night at Books & Books in Coral Gables (265 Aragon Ave.), followed by Barguments Night at The Bar (172 Giralda Ave.).

Should be fun. I've got some books to give away, and I'm trying to arrange for beer at the reading. But I think Books & Books has a bar (a sign of a good bookstore) so we should be fine.

How do you give a reading of Barguments? I have 15 minutes to speak. I could almost read the entire book by then. Let's hope it's a fun crowd.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Barguing with Dave Barry

Dave Barry, who works hard at making humor writing look easy, was nice enough to join me at a the JohnMartin's Irish Pub recently for a barguing session.

His wife, Michelle Kaufman, came too and she turned out to be a crucial addition because (a) she's a sportswriter and took my side in a sports bargument and (b) she was funny.

Click here to read my Miami Herald story on the encounter.

But since space is never infinite in a newspaper, some good stuff got left out of that article. I'm posting some of that here, exclusive to Barguments Blog readers.

Among the lost tidbits:

1. This exchange on the bargument: You’ve been kidnapped, and the characters from one television show can make a rescue attempt. Who gets the call?

Dave: The A-Team. They come in the van, kick your ass, you know? Mr. T—I’d like to meet Mr. T.
Michelle: How about Tubbs and Crockett?
Dave: No, they would come in and one of them would be really depressed about a girlfriend. And they wouldn’t actually save you. You’d probably get killed.
Because that would make it more poignant. They would have a better song to play.

2. For the bargument "You've been sentenced to prison for 30 years and can subscribe to one magazine. Which do you pick" Dave said quickly: The Economist.
I laughed but he wasn't kidding.
"I love the Economist. It covers the whole world. I wouldn't pick the Atlantic because that's monthly."
Moral: You have to be well-informed to be funny.

3. Asked to name his Top 5 sitcoms, Dave reluctantly chose six: Family Guy, The Simpsons, Cheers, Seinfeld, South Park and Extras. Extras and Seinfeld were his top picks, and he called Extras "the most brilliant sitcom ever."

Disagree? Watch this:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I took Barguments to Plum TV today. That's the cable channel that covers Miami Beach. Very fun. This is a picture I took while the hosts were introducing my segment. (I was nervous, and as a result, I can't remember either of their names.) She asked him if he would rather run naked through an office party or a family holiday dinner. He picked office party. So did she.
The cast and crew said they'd been throwing out barguments from the book all day.
I'll post a link to the segment once it airs next week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A discovery at Barnes & Noble today in Coral Gables

Interestingly, Barguments fits all three categories.

There's a great bargument over bars going on at Sam Sessa's nightlife blog on

The topic: Name the five best TV bars of all time. You'll recall Sessa held some official barguments from the book last week. Now he's come up with one I wish was in the book.

Among the contenders on his blog, Midnight Sun:

The Lido Deck on the Love Boat *

Paddy's Pub from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia *

The Regal Beagle, Three's Company

Moe's Tavern, The Simpsons

Boar's Nest, Dukes of Hazzard *
Cheers (ok-- a gimme)
The Still (M*A*S*H) *

Stay tuned for updates.
(*= secretly submitted by me)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Herald sports columnist Dan Le Batard gave Barguments a great plug on his afternoon radio show today on 790 The Ticket. Lebatard and co-host Stugotz threw out two barguments from the book: If you could implant one song in your enemies' heads, which would it be? And, pick a house from television to live in.

The phones lit up after that. Among the answers I heard:

The Brady Bunch theme song

The Clampett mansion (so he could sneak into Elly May's room)

Jetsons house

Wayne Manor

The Batman song

YMCA by the Village People

The Barney song

I Dream of Jeannie Song

I'll think of more and post them.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Barking Christmas carols, typos and President Pullman

Sam Sessa's Barguments contest on his nightlife blog on is over and the winner declared. Congratulations JTK, whoever you are. Lots of funny responses to the barguments Sam posed. Here's the post that set up the contest, followed by JTK's winning entry.

Fab Five Friday
Thanks again for all of
your bargument suggestions.
In case you're just tuning in
(and slightly mentally challenged), a 'bargument' is an argument best hashed out
in a corner bar.
I thumbed through the book Barguments by Doug Hanks and
picked out my five favorites.
1) Choose one of these rules to obey for the
next 14 days: Going for a hug every time someone offers you a handshake or
ending all telephone conversations with "Love ya."
2) You suddenly have the
ability to implant a song in your enemies' heads. Which one do you pick?
If you could instantly become five times better at doing one thing, what would
you choose?
4) If you had to tap a president from film or television to run
the country, who would get the nod?
5) Would you rather drink a glass of
melted butter or eat a small bowl of mayonnaise?
I'll post my answers to
these barguments in a little bit.
And I'll mail a free copy of the book to
the commenter with the funniest answers.

Posted by: JTK
22, 2008 9:32 AM

1.) Hugs! Everyone loves hugs!
2.) Barking Dogs'
Jingle Bells
3.) Speeling words
4.) Bill Pullman - He saved the
world from aliens by flying a fighter plane! Plus he was Lonestar. End of
5.) I once had a friend who was dared to eat a small jar of
gourmet honey mustard while drunk. He had one spoonful and tears started to
stream down his face, he responded: "It's so good when it hit your lips." Tried
to get down another spoonful, started to gag, then proceeded to leave via a
closet. We don't have barguments regarding food stuffs anymore.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Barguments Ink (or at least HTML Code)

Barguments got attention from two major newspapers this week.

As already mentioned, Sam Sessa, the Baltimore Sun's nightlife columnist, wrote about Barguments on his blog. He's actually had three Barguments postings. The last was him soliciting answers to five of his favorites from the book.

He's giving a free book to the funniest posting. No winner is announced yet, so you can compete (and save yourself $9.99) by clicking here. I'll post more about the answers later this weekend.

The other big Barguments mention came from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Columnist Angus Lind (a born columnist name if I've ever seen one) wrote about the book under the headline "Tipsy Topics."

Read it here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Don't girls like robots?

This blog's new best friend, the Suburban Kamikaze, just left a post on the Barguments Blog that shouldn't be missed. It's posted below. Enjoy.

(If you're an editor from Simon & Schuster, do NOT click over to her blog and sign her on for a Barguments sequel. I can target the female demographic just as well. For instance: Which Sex and the City character would win in a bar brawl with all the others?)

The post:

Suburban Kamikaze said...
Dougie, baby,You're missing half your audience here with your television robots and your beer in a can. It's time to get started on the sequel, Barguments for Women. (Chardon-Nay or Yea?)Let me get you started.
1. You only have enough money for groceries or new shoes. Do you go with flats or heels?
2. An indecent proposal: Your husband agrees to a deal in which you will have sex with a charming and stunningly handsome Robert Redford-type mogul for $1 million. How will you raise the money?
3. And the classic: lipstick or mascara?I'm just saying,

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Well, I've found the perfect bar for a Barguments launch party: The Bar. Local readers know that's a good joint in Coral Gables -- a place not known for joints.

I was there tonight setting up a destination for a pub crawl after my March 4 reading at Books & Books. Basically, there will be drink specials and loud music. I'll probably give away some books to bewildered bar patrons.

Sitting there drinking my beer, it occured to me The Bar qualifies as a great bar. Among the reasons:

1. Juke box. Got to have one.
2. There's a glass beer yard hanging on a rack above the bar. Fun.
3. Heavy pours on the mixed drinks. (Hope no one gets fired for that.)
4. Foot rests on the bar. HUGE! Nothing worse than feeling like you're going to fall off your stool because there's no place to brace yourself down there. Of course, a foot rest can't save you past your sixth or seventh round...
5. A big stack of plastic cups by the door. Gotta love a bar that endorses to-go beers.
A final note: the bar photographed in this post isn't The Bar. It's too bright to be perfect. I couldn't find a photo of The Bar online. I don't think it has a website. How perfect.