Another reason to move to North Korea…


…is that Kim Jong-Il never has to pee or poop, thus sparing his citizens the controversy over whether the Pottygate photo is real or not. As we await the inevitable blog-driven tutorial on fonts and penmanship, take a look for yourself, and ponder the important questions: Who, if anybody, needs to go to the bathroom? And of course, Number One or Number Two?

NEXT: Right Man's Burden

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  1. Much ado about nothing. The Prez has to sit through a lot of meetings. At a certain age, the spirit's willing but the bladder's weak.

  2. Slow news day? While funny, this is pretty silly, did shit like this become a big deal before blogs? The only thing that struck me was that the person who wrote it (administration member, prankster, etc) wrote 'I think I may need a bathroom break' You think? How do you not know? Either you have to go or you don't.

  3. You think? How do you not know? Either you have to go or you don't.

    You sound like you are the parent of one or more toddlers. Did I guess right? If not, you'd probably be good with toddlers. I wouldn't know from personal experience, though, I'm just guessing that would be a good parental thing to say. (I don't have kids).

  4. I thought the same thing: Presidents also sometimes have to urinate. STOP THE PRESSES! If anyting, it looks like he was trying to get Condi to come up with a diplomatic way for him to excuse himself.

  5. Unctorious,

    It's not blogs that brought this to light, it was Reuters, part of the MSM.

  6. "I think I may need a bathroom break" is not a question. If I am to understand that a high-level administration official is misusing question marks, we're screwed, time to move to Canada, etc.

  7. Hey, LBJ had meetings with his advisors and cabinet secretaries while he was defecating, so George has a way to go before he can reach the pantheon of excretory Presidentiae.

  8. An answer for you:
    I do, and it's Number One.
    I will be right back.

  9. That's a little bit more information than I needed to know, but go right ahead.

  10. KERRY wouldn't have needed to do #1 or 2 during a meeting.

  11. Commenter: good one.
    Big monkey tail hangin out
    Time to lay cable.

  12. Who does Number Two work for?

  13. The grammer and improper punctuation is just what you'd expect from Mr. "Is our children learning?"

    And isn't block letter printing a bit...ummmm..retarded for a 60 year old man?

  14. The answer to the first question is the title of a children's book by Taro Gomi: Everyone Poops.

    I can picture Kim Jong-Il sitting on a toilet and singing, "I'm ronery, so ronery?"

  15. Doc, I hate to come to W's defense here, but what does shunning cursive handwriting for block letter printing have to do with anything in regard to intelligence?

    Do you truly judge people's intelligence on penmanship?

  16. T A-P, thanks for the first great chuckle I've had all week.

  17. "Do you truly judge people's intelligence on penmanship?"

    Good penmanship is the sign of an exalted soul.

  18. unctorious: Sure, you know if you have to _go_, but if you're wanting something _else_ on your "BATHROOM BREAK" (nose candy? "Minute Rice"?) you need to do some coalition building...

  19. Doc: It is spelled grammar.

    I'm sure my post will have at least one error in it, in keeping with the iron law of the internet that all spelling or grammar flames will contain some orthographic or syntactical sin, as will all responses, now and forever, amen.


  20. The president's doody doesn't stink. Sean Hannity says so...

  21. kevrob! You're back! 😀

    I was worried about you.



  22. Here ( is a sample of Bush's handwriting. Note the cursive capital 'I'. Now look at the news photo again. Look at the text he's actually writing, and compare it to the text at the top of the note, particularly the block capital 'I's.

    Someone passed him a note, and he's writing a response. I am very much afraid that you will all have to be satisfied with


  23. T.rev seems to have a point. Also, considering how precise the block printing is at the top, it's vaguely weird that the question mark looks more like a closing parenthesis.

    I kinda wonder whether he's writing a response to something like "When is the lunch break? (I had a big Evian on the drive over and by the time this guy finishes talking (over)" on one side and on the other side "I think I may need a bathroom break)".

  24. If you wanted to flash a note to somebody and have them read it quickly, you might use block lettering vs. your own personalizd cursive (I hate trying to interpret peoples swirls). But that pic is probably enhanced just a bit. Look how dark the "ink" is. Or maybe that's cuz its a presidential pencil. For $200 you can buy a pretty decent claw hammer, a toilet seat, or a really kick-ass pencil.

    And the kerning...

  25. "I think I need a bathroom break."

    Dear numbass, write back when you know and try not to shit yourself in the meantime as I'm certain that would interupt the flow of the meeting.

  26. bigbigslacker's right - no pencil writes that dark. Plus I think I see some pixel artifacts around the writing.

  27. Hey Doc, I block letter print period. It's so you can read my writing. Cursive invites sloppy writing style. Block letters are clear. Sort of like these ones right here on the blog. You can read them. Don't be dissin' the prez for block letters now.

  28. I wrote a response earlier, but the magnificent reason server apparently failed me, I wrote something along the lines of:

    You sound like you are the parent of one or more toddlers. Did I guess right? If not, you'd probably be good with toddlers.

    Nah, I'm only 21, but I mean, we're talking about adults here, they should know. If a toddler told me he thought he had to go I'd probably laugh and take him to the bathroom and let him find out for himself.

    Yes, I realize that the picture was from Reuters, but the following all came from a blog (but then I am also writing about this, I guess there is just something irresistible about potty humor):

    Ok, all joking aside (and this is funny)?

    Why does president Bush have to ask for permission to take a bathroom break?

    Update: From a MeFi comment:

    I don?t think anyone anticipated the levees breaking.

    SHENANIGANS!!! Retracted, read on: On closer analysis, I call bullshit on the Reuters caption. I have a huge problem with this: Handwriting changes after question mark, this was likely passed from Condi (she is mentioned, so that?s the most logical) someone to Bush and he was replying (style seems to switch, one is hard capitals and moves to lazy cursive).

    I have a feeling somebody?s gonna dig up the CSPAN video or whatever and nail Reuters to the wall (showing Bush never started a note pass or other such nonsense, I?m sure someone?s on that road already).

    Don?t forget there?s other samples of Bush?s handwriting availiable in photo format (this is called evidence, natch): Let freedom reign, handwriting GIS.

    How the caption should probably read:

    U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to replies to a note from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice whoever

    Again over at MeFi: kokogiak points out that neither looks like Rice?s handwriting either. Someone at Reuters may have either gotten punked by a photog or is just making up captions.

    Update (9/15): I?m trying to get confirmation from Reuters on who provided the caption, was it edited, etc. Here?s an email I sent to Stephen Naru, the media contact who was mentioned in this Editor & Publisher article:

    I am doing some investigating into the notorious Bush bathroom note and I was wondering if you could tell me who provided the caption. Was it printed verbatim as it was received from Wilking or was it edited by someone at Reuters before being sent across the wires?

    Is there a way to get ahold of Wilking? I?d like to ask him to confirm some details if that?s a possibility.

    Another Update: Snopes is on the case as well. It seems the truth is still getting its boots on.

    Update (9/15 evening): Photo District News got a chance to talk to Rick Wilking and Reuters photo editor Gary Hershorn about the photograph. Based on the interview, it would appear that Bush actually did write the note:

    The caption says that Bush was writing the note to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice; Hershorn says Wilking saw Bush write the note and hand the note to Rice.

    Hershorn says heads of state seldom attend Security Council meetings, and it?s possible that Bush was simply asking his secretary of state what the proper protocol was to be excused.

    I?d like to know whether Wilking saw him write the entire note (I?ll drop my shenanigans charge if he did), but I have a feeling there?s not going to be any more to this story.

    MEA CULPA!!!: I retract my shenanigans call. Editor & Publisher follows up (via Wonkette):

    The fact is, according to Reuters ? and this has not been widely reported ? President Bush did indeed take a bathroom break after passing the note to Rice.

    This apparently raised some eyebrows around the room, because American representatives (among others) have a reputation for suddenly bolting, though normally for a far different reason than this latest one. Fair or not, the European press has already had a field day with the photo, often centering on the notion that Bush had to ask Rice for permission.

    [?]?Rick had no idea what he was shooting, or what Bush was writing,? Hershorn said. ?If Rick knew what he was writing we?d have 25 pictures of this, not two.?

    [?]Gary Hershorn, news editor-photos for the Americas at Reuters, told E&P today that the photographer, Rick Wilking, informed him yesterday afternoon that he had observed Bush pass the note to Rice, and a little later, rise from his seat, leave the room, and then return.

    Ok, everyone, you can go back to making jokes about the presidential poo now (I can?t wait to see The Daily Show on this tonight).

  29. And smacky, if you'd like we can have children together, that'd be cool, we could raise them as libertarians, call them the liberbabies or the lil' libs, and they could be the 'mascots' of reason, and then we could write childrens' books in which market based solutions solve problems, ex. the local gov't wants to build a playground but nobody can agree on what should be on it, so a private company comes and builds one and the kids get to play and are happy, and we could advertise the books with poorly designed banner ads on, though i suppose if we raised kids as libertarians they would eventually rebel and become communists, anyway, i'm gonna go get another drink, l8r sk8rz!

  30. Kim Jong-Il: The constipation continues

  31. You think? How do you not know? Either you have to go or you don't.

    I think you misunderstand something. In addition to expressing literal uncertainty, "I think" is also commonly used to soften the introduction of topics or statements of a delicate or potentially offensive or upsetting nature. E.g.:

    - Not to be a Dubya Defender, but I think you are a little too eager to find evidence of his stupidity.

    - I think you missed the point entirely.

    - I think you are wrong.

    - I think I'm pregnant.

    - I think I just shit myself.

    - I think the elevator cable just broke.

    - I think your pubic hair is on fire.


    It is true, however, that despite the "uncertainty flag" of "I think," the sentence "I think I may need a bathroom break" is not a literal question, and therefore needs no question mark at the end.

    There is a guy I work with who does this all the time -- he puts questions at the end of "almost-questions" or "i think" statements, and leaves them off actual questions. A typical e-mail:

    stevo -- i got your draft. good start. i think its too long though? can we shorten it. lets discuss.

    Drives me slightly bonkers, although he is a smart and decent dude.

    Who, if anybody, needs to go to the bathroom? And of course, Number One or Number Two?

    I'll need to, shortly. Number Two. And not for the first time today, either! If I were a superhero, I'd be Peristalsis Man.

  32. You have quite a talent, Sphincter Boy.

  33. At least Bush didn't tell Condi he wanted to sneak off to do a "number three".

    The guys on this thread know what I'm talking about.. which is pretty much everybody..

  34. you know, if bill clinton had been a republican, we would have seen this whole "fucking hick motherfucker" schtick 8 years earlier.

    the whole thing is just another reason why voting is a waste of fucking time. either you support these assholes taking a potty break, or you support the assholes who think shit like this is some sort of point score rather than a pathetic waste of time.

  35. Just for the record, I am strongly pro-potty.

    Many of my most dazzling insights and creative ideas have occurred in the Tiled Chamber of Contemplations.

    Hey, maybe Bush just needed to go off and think! I would encourage this. For any politician.

  36. Daddy, what's a "number three"?

  37. I'm just f-ing with you, MNG. 🙂

  38. And smacky, if you'd like we can have children together, that'd be cool, we could raise them as libertarians

    Wow, unctorious, no one's ever wanted to reproduce with me before. I figured my genes would best be leaking out of the human gene pool rather than propigating them. I'm flattered.

    ...And on a thread about poop and romantic.

  39. Yes, they would definately be schooled in libertarianism by me. I don't care if that sounds authoritarian. It's good common sense. 🙂

  40. I had no idea the Kim Jong Il personality cult had gone *that* far. Interestingly, according to that book by Mao's personal physician, his personality cult took the opposite tack: it was a special privilege to be picked to don the rubber glove and dig out his constipated ass, and a chairmanly BM was greeted by "spontaneous demonstrations."

    Sean Hannity ought to know whether Bush's doody stinks--his nose is in exactly the right place.

  41. it was a special privilege to be picked to don the rubber glove

    There are things you read...that you cannot un-read.

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