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September 4, 2012

11
A.M.

ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Total Responses: 56

About the hosts

About the host

Alexandra Petri

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost, a lighter take on the news and issues of the day, and she contributes to the Post editorial page. Her work has appeared in venues such as The Huffington Post, The Week, Newsweek.com, Businessweek.com, Collegehumor, and The Harvard Crimson. She has appeared on Jeopardy!, Showbiz Tonight and Canadian radio, and she has performed at Boston's Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection. She would love to be on your TV show, radio show, Daily Show, HBO special, or to be an honored guest (or regular guest) at your Bar Mitzvah. She is the author of two books (unpublished, but contact her!), two screenplays, three plays, one musical, and one memoir (Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.)

About the topic

Join us next Tuesday to laugh, cry, and dish about the moments that amused you, shocked you, or caused you to yell things that frightened the other people on the subway.

Past ComPost Live Chats

Connect on Twitter: @PostLive | @petridishes
Q.

Alexandra Petri :

I'm back from Tampa and full of answers, so I hope you have questions!

Q.

White House releases beer recipe

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-releases-its-beer-recipes-brewing-video/2012/09/01/0bf20a96-f475-11e1-892d-bc92fee603a7_story.html You go, girl!
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I am going to claim full credit for that recipe recovery! Never mind that the expert that the New York Times got to look at the recipe said it was "second-level beginner" in terms of ease. Which, ouch, I suppose.

– September 04, 2012 11:02 AM
Q.

Hoop skirts

Last weekend I went to a Civil War re-enactment, and I now have an appreciation of hoop skirts as practical garments you can adjust your underwear to suit the weather.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Yes, that's what hoop skirts were! Practical garments!

What battle?

– September 04, 2012 11:05 AM
Q.

Your advice, please

I have a problem, I ran a marathon in four hours but told people I ran it in under three hours. Is that wrong?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ooh, let's debate this.

In general, at least in the People Who Run community, the consensus seems to be that Marathon Time is right up there along with Names of Wife and Children on the list of Things That It Seems Ludicrous and Mortifying To Forget Even Once.

Of course it might be worth noting at some point that John Kerry said he'd run the Boston Marathon which, as someone put it, does not seem to be a thing that happened.

– September 04, 2012 11:12 AM
Q.

The chair

Has the chair shown up on Ebay yet?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I want that chair so much. I want that chair to show up everywhere from now on and offer its usual brand of audible-only-to-Clint-Eastwood off-color commentary.

– September 04, 2012 11:13 AM
Q.

White House Beer Recipe

Yeah, yeah, so they "claim" that is the official White House recipe. Why won't they show us the long form of the recipe?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ha! +10!

– September 04, 2012 11:14 AM
Q.

Not your mother, honest

Did I read you took a tour of Tampa strip clubs? I did not realize there were so many automobile repainting shops there.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Grandma?

Actually, if I had one takeaway, it would be that they all look like spaceships on the inside. There is one called 2001: A Nude Odyssey that looks like a spaceship on the outside as well. It was, apparently, founded by a guy after the Kubrick movie came out, concerning which one of the managers told me the thought process was that "Hey, that Kubrick movie was pretty cool. You know what would be cooler? A strip club."

– September 04, 2012 11:15 AM
Q.

Answering Eastwood

I heard on the news this morning that there is an online petition to have Betty White address the Democratic convention. Leaving aside the fact that I have no idea of Ms. White's politics, does this mean that people now think politics is merely another form of show business and not a very elevated one, at that?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Just now? Haven't these people heard the old adage that DC is just hollywood for ugly people?

But if there's one force equal and opposite to Clint + Chair, it's Betty White + anything.

– September 04, 2012 11:17 AM
Q.

Tampa

Your posts from Tampa were the first things that I wanted to read, but I felt it was my civic duty to first read the "most serious" account in the news section. I quickly realized that I had it backwards: ComPost placed the entire convection in proper context. When understood as a giant informercial, everything makes sense! Thank you. Also, Clint.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Thank you for reading! Yes, it's an infomercial. And, not to toot my own horn, if I have one area of expertise, it is in watching infomercials.

Also, CLINT/CHAIR 2012!

Tell me this bumper sticker already exists.

– September 04, 2012 11:19 AM
Q.

That's it

John Kerry versus Pau Ryan in a marathon. Winner takes all.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

You're sure you want to go all in on that?

– September 04, 2012 11:19 AM
Q.

Hoop Skirts

I tried wearing one once to the office and was told I had to wear pants like the other guys.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Try a hoop kilt next time.

– September 04, 2012 11:21 AM
Q.

Those terrorist bastiges!

They've stolen almost a million gallons of sweet sweet syrup from the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve! A million gallons! What could they possibly intend to do with this! Is Mrs Butterworth involved? What about the Log Cabin Republicans! A fearful nation demands answers!
A.
Alexandra Petri :

WAIT

So there's always one person whose questions are bizarre, surrealist prose poems, and I assumed that this was he or she. BUT THIS IS A REAL THING THAT HAPPENED. There is a Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve! And there was a heist!
That's it, all other news, you can go home, there is nothing more required.

I have this vision of a smiling, back-on-the-straight-and-narrow Walter White funneling syrup from a halted syrup tanker, but that's just me.

– September 04, 2012 11:24 AM
Q.

Beer recipe

Seems like if you're a beginner, it's smart to start with a simple recipe. I didn't start baking with French pastries either.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

That's fair, actually.

– September 04, 2012 11:25 AM
Q.

John Kerry versus Pau Ryan in a marathon?

No, Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney in a marathon.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Also, who is this Pau Ryan guy?

– September 04, 2012 11:26 AM
Q.

Clint the Democratic plant.

Which do you suppose better revealed Clint Eastwood as the Democratic mole in the GOP, the Chair Monologue or the Chrysler Commercial?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I'd say the Chrysler Commercial, because the Chair Monologue transcends party affiliation.

– September 04, 2012 11:27 AM
Q.

White House beer

My husband and I are planning an election night party. He's making one of the White House beers and we'll play a drinking game in which whenever a state is called for Obama, we'll drink beer; whenever a state is called for Romney, we'll drink Diet Coke. If Romney wins, we'll end the evening sober and very alert.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

HA! I like this game, if only because "sober and very alert" is a hilarious drinking game outcome.

– September 04, 2012 11:28 AM
Q.

Improving Eastwood's speech

The only thing that would have made it better would be if, at the end, he had drawn a total blank and said, "So I urge everyone to vote for Ron Paul for president." In fact, that would have been more logical than what actually happened.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Actually when you come right down to it, almost anything would have been more logical than what actually happened.

– September 04, 2012 11:29 AM
Q.

Remember Me?

Squirrel Bopper, and I'm back after a long hiatus. I work in a secure facility now, but I figured out how to get the WaPo discussions. And as long as the guards don't find out, I'm good to go. I missed you, Ms Petri.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

SQUIRREL BOPPER!

You haven't missed much. Only the Greatest Speech of All Time.

And hey, if you can figure out how to get the discussions, maybe I can figure out how to get them to close the open tag that makes them bold.

– September 04, 2012 11:31 AM
Q.

Pancake

The Defense Department has just doubled security at the Pancake Reserve facility.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Whoa, and leave our waffles undefended?

– September 04, 2012 11:32 AM
Q.

Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve!

This is like OPEC for maple syrup. These guys keep a warehouse of syrup in order to control world prices. Assuming the thieves are looking to sell the syrup on the black market it might lower syrup prices. Can't help but to wonder if IHOP is behind this.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Or Waffle House!
Gosh, what an anti-waffle bias you chatters have!

But yes, probably IHOP.

– September 04, 2012 11:32 AM
Q.

Halloween Hoop Skirt

I made my own hoop skirt out of hangers one year because I was dressing up as Scarlet O'Hara. I may have been a little too ambitious for a 13 year old. Also, now that I think about it, did they even wear hoop skirts during the Civil War? Jeez.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Nicely done!

I think there were hoop skirts in the Civil War.

My halloween costumes were always famously difficult to decipher, as has come up in the chat before. I dressed as John Adams, they assumed I was Mozart. I dressed as a hobbit, they assumed I was an elevator accident victim. No doubt if I'd had a hoop skirt they would have assumed I was the Michelin man.

– September 04, 2012 11:35 AM
Q.

Re: Also, who is this Pau Ryan guy?

T'Pau's twin brother. Obviously.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

HA! + 10!

– September 04, 2012 11:36 AM
Q.

Diet Coke for each state that Romney wins

Sorry, but no caffeine for you. Try warm milk instead.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

If Romney wins, you will be sober and SO READY FOR SLUMBER!

– September 04, 2012 11:36 AM
Q.

Bumper sticker

I'm as enthusiastic as the next person, but surely we have to wait a few years for legal purposes. CLINT/CHAIR 2016.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Fine, fine. Exuberance tempered.

– September 04, 2012 11:38 AM
Q.

Clint Eastwood and Not Me

Clint talking to that empty chair reminded me of those awful Family Circus cartoons that featured Not Me, the invisible hooligan Billy and Jeffy always blamed when they got into trouble.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Yes! Props for the print comics reference!

It reminded me of that old Civil War-era-I-think song that ran "We shall meet, but we shall miss him; there will be a vacant chair..."

– September 04, 2012 11:38 AM
Q.

Alexandra Petri :

Or "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" from Les Mis, naturally.

Q.

Joe's U-haul toad away

Use tow chains. Detroit is car stealing capitol of the Great Lakes region. Ripping off Uncle Sam is a bad idea.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

See, this is the sort of question I initially thought the Maple Syrup Heist story was.

– September 04, 2012 11:39 AM
Q.

Or Waffle House

They aren't International like IHOP. They can't cross sovereign borders to commandeer syrup.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Fair point.

– September 04, 2012 11:40 AM
Q.

Empty chair in political history

The empty chair has a long political history. One of my favorite empty chair political stories (and believe me, I have several) involved Richardson Dilworth running for Governor of Pennsylvania in 1962. William Scranton declined to debate him so Dilworth stated at a press conference that he was prepared to debate an empty chair. What Dilworth did not realize was that Scranton psyched him out. Moments before the live televised debate, Scranton showed up. Dilworth was so flabbergasted and unprepared for a real debate that most analysts state Scranton won the debate. Scranton went on to win the election. One debates an empty chair at great political risk.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

As someone funnier than I quipped on Twitter, Newt Gingrich has already challenged the empty chair to a series of eight Lincoln-Douglas-style debates.

– September 04, 2012 11:41 AM
Q.

Really Now

When was the last time you saw maple syrup in an IHOP? It was around the time hoop skirts were in vogue. As opposed to in Vogue, which will write about anything to fill the space between ads.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I saw maple syrup there the last time I was there! Yes, it was in the company of those ersatz strawberry and raspberry and mixed berry syrups they also have, but it was there, doing its best in the venue it had booked. I felt for it. I poured it liberally over my pigs in a blanket.

– September 04, 2012 11:42 AM
Q.

To "Halloween Hoop Skirt I made my own hoop skirt out of hangers one year"

But did you repurpose your family's curtains for your dress?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I'LL NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN

– September 04, 2012 11:44 AM
Q.

Method acting and the GOP

Do you get the feeling that his chair prop was something he learned in a method acting class?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

"Are you talking to me? You talking to me? No? Then who the **** you talking to?" -- the chair, during all this

– September 04, 2012 11:46 AM
Q.

Waffle House bias

It's because too many of us are from the Northeast, where Waffle Houses rarely tread. If there were a Strategic Coffee Reserve, and people talked about Starbucks, rabid New Englanders would accuse them of anti-Dunkin Donuts bias. Personally, I cherish every dram of regionalism that remains in our McWalMarted nation.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

REGIONALISM! SPORTS! ACCENTS! ACCENT CHAIRS! CHAIRS!

Apologies, I seem to be playing 6 Degrees of Chairs today.

– September 04, 2012 11:49 AM
Q.

Maple syrup

"I saw maple syrup there the last time I was there!" No, you saw maple flavored sugar water (albeit thick). You did NOT see pure real maple syrup. There is a difference.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Fair, fair. Apologies for any maple syrup I may have incidentally defamed by comparison.

– September 04, 2012 11:50 AM
Q.

Write in "Clint/Chair" in 2012

Of course, one should use an unsharpened pencil to try and do this.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Naturally!

– September 04, 2012 11:52 AM
Q.

Don't feel bad...

I once dressed for Halloween as Supreme Court Chief Justice Morrison Waite, and not a single person guessed correctly.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

For shame!

– September 04, 2012 11:53 AM
Q.

Not from the Democratic National Committee, honest

OK,so we have Joe Biden debate an empty chair, and we rig the chair so it debates back. Will this be good TV?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I'd watch it! 

So given my taste in television, it's probably not good tv.

– September 04, 2012 11:54 AM
Q.

No, Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney in a marathon.

How about a game of Horse?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

A game of horse? Like dressage?

Oh. Oh I see.

– September 04, 2012 11:55 AM
Q.

Defenders of Trees

OK, so you drink tree sap, take tree bark for your election evening headaches, and turn trees into empty chairs. You are all monsters, monsters, I tell you.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Treebeard? How are you typing this?

– September 04, 2012 11:55 AM
Q.

Of course they had hoop skirts during the Civil War

Haven't you seen any photographs of Mary Todd Lincoln or Clara Barton? How Clara did any nursing in that skirt is beyond me.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Now my vision of how the nursing went is just a lot of nurses trying to approach the beds and failing and saying, "Sorry. Whoops. Skirt, you know. Sorry" a lot.

– September 04, 2012 11:57 AM
Q.

Of course it might be worth noting at some point that John Kerry said he'd run the Boston Marathon which, as someone put it, does not seem to be a thing that happened.

He's still alive, so technically he didn't lie. He still might run it.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Sorry, apostrophe confusion: said he had, not said he would.

– September 04, 2012 11:58 AM
Q.

Another chair heard from

"The blues... is a chair, not a design for a chair or a better chair or a bigger chair or a chair with leather or with design. It is the first chair, it's chairs for sitting on, not chairs for looking at or being appreciated. You *sit* on that music." John Lennon said this in 1970. Somehow from him it makes sense.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

True.

As someone who read Skywriting By Word of Mouth in its entirety, hoping that it would make sense, I can vouch that if John Lennon had said any of it aloud, it would have, but if you just read it on the page you sighed and muttered to yourself about needing to abuse more substances.

– September 04, 2012 11:59 AM
Q.

Clint's chair

Gosh, I sure hope it wasn't made out of Petri-fied wood.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Hey, I used to write a comic strip for my high school humor magazine called Petrified Wood! It was exactly as bad as you'd expect.

– September 04, 2012 12:01 PM
Q.

Treebeard

I have people, you know.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

You and Squirrel Bopper should talk.

– September 04, 2012 12:02 PM
Q.

that faux maple syrup at IHOP

I would be really surprised if the stuff they have at IHOP is real maple syrup. At their prices, it's probably 'pancake syrup' - no claim to a maple in sight.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

It's nauga syrup, probably.

– September 04, 2012 12:02 PM
Q.

Observation

Isn't it interesting that we are more focused on the marathon comment Paul Ryan made, and less on the matters that involve policy, such as stating the plant closed in his home town under Obama when it actually closed before Obama became President. This is just an observation, but we seem to find the inaccuracies that do not involve partisan political discussions more appropriate for comment.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

You must dwell on some blessed isle where no one has been focusing on the plant closure comment. I certainly haven't noticed that.

This being said, I think you make an interesting point. There's a whole subgenre of non-political political chatter (Romney dog, Romney horse, Obama dog, Obama beer) that people fill pages with, and the glib explanation would be that  secretly no one wants to talk about policy if there is the slightest opportunity to talk about something else. So instead of having that Big Picture Policy Debate that everyone expected for about six seconds after the Ryan nomination, we're calling him out on his marathon times.

– September 04, 2012 12:10 PM
Q.

Treebeard

Before I meet this "Squirrel Bopper", I need to know. Does he bop squirrels, in which case I believe we can be friends. Or is this a squirrel that bops, in which case, we may wish to keep our distance.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

The former.

– September 04, 2012 12:10 PM
Q.

Waffle Bias?

What about French toast? Get it? French, as in foreign conspiracy.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I think you mean Freedom Toast.

– September 04, 2012 12:11 PM
Q.

Sorry, apostrophe confusion: said he had, not said he would.

Apostrophe confusion. The new excuse for lying about things you said you did, but did not do.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Hey, worth a shot. It all comes down to grammar and punctuation, and nobody has neither now'adays.

– September 04, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

Isn't it interesting that we are more focused on the marathon comment

We're in a humor chat. If you want to talk about stuff that matters you're just going to depress everyone.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

And also that!

– September 04, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

iHop

It would be very suspicious if iHop suddenly had real maple syrup...
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Indeed, indeed. Delicious, however.

– September 04, 2012 12:16 PM
Q.

I was going to comment today, but

after reading some of the Qs and As, I became a bit chary about participating
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Which oddly makes you only the second-most chairy participant in this conversation.

– September 04, 2012 12:18 PM
Q.

capital confusion

"I helped my Uncle Jack off a horse" as opposed to "I helped my uncle jack off a horse."
A.
Alexandra Petri :

This remains one of my favorite confusions!

– September 04, 2012 12:21 PM
Q.

What do you get when you spill maple syrup on Clint's chair?

Sweet Chairity.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Yes, a round of chair and/or syrup jokes 'ere we part! Send 'em!

– September 04, 2012 12:22 PM
Q.

Treebeard

I love that I find fans in all kinds of places. I always hear my name shouted out at Lynrd Synard concerts.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ha!

– September 04, 2012 12:22 PM
Q.

Just wondering

Senator Schumer stated there are going to be 15 to 20 Koch brothers in 2020. Wow. What does Mrs. Koch have to say about these plans?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Well, it's not a chair joke, but I chuckled.

– September 04, 2012 12:25 PM
Q.

The return of Mayor Bono

We need a hologram of the late Mayor Sonny Bono to appear on stage with an empty chair. Think about it for a minute....OK...got it...Sonny and Chair....Still don't get it?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Heyo!

– September 04, 2012 12:25 PM
Q.

Skynyrd

They're shouting "Free Beer," Treebeard, sorry.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

<<<:-(<<|=  <--- supposed to be an emoticon of a distraught Treebeard

– September 04, 2012 12:29 PM
Q.

Alexandra Petri :

And on that note, thank you for a delightful chair chat!

Feel free but unobligated to follow me on Twitter (especially if you really enjoy it when people live-tweet convention speeches, or if you will benignly tolerate it when people live-tweet convention speeches) and keep reading the Compost, where I'm about to settle whether we were better off four years ago or not.

Q.

 

A.
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