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September 25, 2012

11
A.M.

ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Total Responses: 54

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 She is the author of two books (unpublished, but contact her!), two screenplays, three plays, one musical, and one memoir (Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.)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 :

How's it rolling? Any travel safety tips? 

Q.

I've got a theory

The Romney campaign is performance art. The whole point is to show that you can be a terrible candidate and still compete. You can insult half the country, never campaign, have no personality, never say anything specific, and change your mind half the time and still be within a few percentage points of winning! I find the campaign as art less scary than if this is really what our politics are...
A.
Alexandra Petri :

As Ann says, "Stop it. This is hard." Performance art is difficult, especially when people start to worry it's not performance art, or when the dancing squid get out of the tank (this is scheduled for later in the month.) Actually, this would be a fun explanation for all the zany horse business.

– September 25, 2012 11:05 AM
Q.

NFL refs

Alexandra, have any of your favorite NFL teams been screwed by the NFL replacement refs? (not literally, of course) I'm guessing some of them work part-time on Romney's campaign given the hug number of mistakes they've made.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Wait, so what happened? Twitter seems angry...

– September 25, 2012 11:06 AM
Q.

Terrible Lizard

Intellectually I'm all for raptor-chickens, but as a child of the 80's I'm having nostalgic issues. Big, heavy, cold-blooded lizards stomping their way across the Jurrassic terrain is WAY more fun.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I concur! Also, I can't believe that as a child I was playing with Scientifically Inaccurate Plastic Toys. If I wanted that, I would have owned a Barbie. 

– September 25, 2012 11:09 AM
Q.

Closed windows

While we're on the subject, why don't the windows on my 19th floor office open? I find it hard to believe that the building is pressurized, and that all the air would be sucked out if I opened a window. Maybe they're afraid I'll jump? Or do they think I'll toss pennies out and perhaps kill passersby? (I swear I wouldn't, except maybe on really slow Friday afternoons.)
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I think you may have answered your own question?

Why won't they let me pet the velociraptors, that's what I want to know. 

– September 25, 2012 11:11 AM
Q.

Don't even get me started on IRS regulations

Doesn't everyone giggle at tax codes? Years ago, when I read the section changing the depreciation rates on yachts made in America, I couldn't stop laughing for hours.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

"Call the wagon, Reba! That's not a natural laugh!"*

*anyone who can identify the origin of this quote wins points, more points if you convince me it wasn't Google

– September 25, 2012 11:12 AM
Q.

On time

You are on time today. No punishment for you today. Sorry. Not matter how much you beg, the ghost of Ayn Rand nor the billionaire will both refuse to do anything to you. Thank you for being on time.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Gee, I'll have to try this every week!

– September 25, 2012 11:12 AM
Q.

An alternative means of protest

You have insulted my narrow version of a deity. Members of my previously unknown religious institution are planning to protest in front of the Washington Post, that is, if it is not too hot, or too cold outside. We must warn you: if we see you in public you may expect a serious snubbing.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Venganza, what did I say?

– September 25, 2012 11:15 AM
Q.

How the new rules work

The problem is fans do not understand the new NFL rules. If a referee sees a hanging chad during a touchdown, then the touchdown does not count. If the referee sees both teams making touchdowns in the same quarter then the previous touchdown is negated. If the referee sees a touchdown by one team, he or she is allowed to award the touchdown to a team playing on the next field.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

It makes much more sense now. 

Also, if the referee sees the crowd doing the wave, the touchdown is -- not -- a -- particle?

(For some reason, I'm really into limp wave-particle duality jokes these days. So what I'm trying to say is: I'm really big into sports.)

– September 25, 2012 11:19 AM
Q.

You can pet the velociraptors.

But only once.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

True words.

– September 25, 2012 11:20 AM
Q.

Ann: Stop it. This is hard.

I'm just hoping when Ann Romney said, "Stop it. This is hard" she was really refering to Mitt's campaign and not trying to slip in a double entendre. Blog commentariat would have a field day with THAT, or would they be flat on their backs from laughter? Then again, that might be a good thing, or it could just be a stretch.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Well, speaking of stretches, did you see what Jill Biden accidentally let slip?

– September 25, 2012 11:21 AM
Q.

An alternative means of protest

We intend to protest your "Mrs. Jesus" drawing. Her name is "Ms. Jesus".
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ha!

– September 25, 2012 11:21 AM
Q.

Hubert and Reba

The quote is from something called "HUbert and Reba" and there is no way anyone would know this except for the authors of"Hubert and REba"" without looking this up on Google. It may, though, appear on a future episode of TV's "Reba".
A.
Alexandra Petri :

This is not, in fact, correct! Any other guesses? I can offer another quote from the same source.

 

– September 25, 2012 11:23 AM
Q.

Also, if the referee sees the crowd doing the wave, the touchdown is -- not -- a -- particle?

No, it is a Kuiper Belt object.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

(laughs, loudly and at length, then looks nervously around the chat)

– September 25, 2012 11:24 AM
Q.

Why aren't there any fire axes on airplanes?

It would definitely help in many other situations, as well. Such as the person who keeps reclining his seat into my face, or the child kicking my seat.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

For me, this whole thing raised a larger question: I could have expected Mitt Romney wouldn't have seen "Snakes on a Plane," but not "Goldfinger" either?

– September 25, 2012 11:27 AM
Q.

Happy Birthday, Luke

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is 61 today. This seems so wrong.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Hey, when 61 years old you reach, look as good you -- probably will, actually. 

Happy birthday, sir!

– September 25, 2012 11:29 AM
Q.

Reba

It sounds like Garfield, but I'm only admitting it because this is anonymous.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

CORRECT!

Well, so much for my efforts to keep my appreciation of the comic art of Jim Davis off the record.

– September 25, 2012 11:30 AM
Q.

Call the wagon, Reba

Okay, I Googled this. I thought I knew a lot of random obscure stuff. But I bow before you. You are deeply, deeply weird.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Thank you, I think!

– September 25, 2012 11:31 AM
Q.

Open Door Policy

Whilst sitting in the bulkhead row, across from a jumpseat, I asked a stewardess if it's possible to open a door in midflight. I also prefaced that with "I know this is going to sound suspicious, and I can't figure out how to make it NOT sound that way, but I've always wanted to know..."
A.
Alexandra Petri :

There are so many questions like that. You want to know, but you hate to be the one to ask.

One of my friends has an epic story of trying to get through airport security with a package that needed to go to gate C4, which culminates in her tossing a strange package over a barrier and shouting "C4!" -- just as security came and tackled her.

– September 25, 2012 11:33 AM
Q.

Bingo!

"Call the wagon Reba" is from Garfield. I can prove I did not look this up on Google because it does not appear on Google. This appears on Bing. Plus one for Bing.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

The fact that this information would be instantly discoverable on Bing somehow makes perfect sense. 

– September 25, 2012 11:34 AM
Q.

What do these have in common?

Packers-Seahawks 'DWTS' Apple brawl 'Zombie bees' Beyonce They are all listed as In the News (above your chat information). This says that Washington Post readers have highly eclectic tastes.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Post readers love zombies, though. On any given day, even the slowest, there are anywhere from 70 people reading a piece I wrote about zombies and bath salts. Google that, and I come up pretty quickly. I think I've inadvertently lent credence to some sort of mass zombie conspiracy. So, er, you're welcome.

– September 25, 2012 11:36 AM
Q.

Mrs. Jesus and the toilet seat

Alexandra, if Jesus indeed had married, how did He and the missus solve the marriage-wrecking bathroom issues like whether to leave the toilet seat up or down, which direction the toilet paper rolls, etc.? I'd guess if They owned a cat at least the TP problem would be solved - leave it in the cabinet or vanity since cats always love to spin the TP off the rolls and play with the pile of paper. Maybe Their cat loved to flush the toilet constantly too (my previous one did now and then).
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I love how frequently the subject of correct TP-hanging etiquette manifests itself in the chat! (I'm all for under-the-back, but some cats consider this an invitation.)

More irksome would have been those times that Mrs. J came back to discover her husband walking on the bathtub or casting demons into the family cat. (Although it would certainly explain the cat's attitude towards the toilet paper.)

– September 25, 2012 11:43 AM
Q.

"Call the wagon Reba"...IS on Google.

I don't know which Google that other person is using, but the cartoon in question is the first result on MY Google.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

It's a tangled web of lies and deception!

– September 25, 2012 11:44 AM
Q.

Garfield

Garfield could be funny again, and the WaPo can help: drop the strip. The Fusco Brothers, The Flying McCoys, Shoe are all funnier now that The Post dropped them. Anges and Lio were funnier before the WaPo picked them up. I'm guessing Spiderman could be my laugh of the day, if only....
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I laugh every day reading Spiderman, but mostly because it has come all the way back around into Mark Trail-constan-barrel-of-unintentional-laughs territory. Has anyone else been following the Clown 9 storyline? Pure ironic comedy gold. His name is Hardy Laurel! And he just wants to make people laugh! With pratfalls and joy buzzers!

– September 25, 2012 11:49 AM
Q.

You have to be careful which gospels you let into the canon

If you allow a bathroom gospel, you should also let in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas where as a lad Jesus animates clay birds, kills a boy, and blinds his parents. I think it was a dispute over not sharing a toy.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I remember that! We had to read it for New Testament class in high school, and you came out of that gospel thinking, "Wow, Infancy Gospel of Thomas Jesus was a real twerp."

– September 25, 2012 11:50 AM
Q.

coming soon to your TV

"Mr. and Mrs. J," the story of a messiah and wife and the wacky hijinks that ensue when they move into a liberal neighborhood. Or, if you prefer those 70s PI series, "Jesus and Wife"
A.
Alexandra Petri :

And don't forget the pet velociraptor! Hijinks! Reba, call the farm! 

– September 25, 2012 11:53 AM
Q.

Speaking of miracles

In the office yesterday (avoiding work) we were trying to come up with the stupidest use for a time machine. Assuming you could only use it once and return, I would go back yesterday and add bananas to my grocery list.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

As a sidenote, if we ever invented time machines, it would be a major job creator, if only for people to protect hated historical figures from time-traveling assassins.

The first pointless thing that springs to mind is to travel back to 1830 and take an hour-long nap, then return. Although that's pretty much cribbing from All Summer In A Day. 

– September 25, 2012 12:00 PM
Q.

JK Rowling

Sex near unicorns? Really?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

It's just NOT DONE! The unicorns find it disrespectful. Or they get way too interested and it's creepy for everyone involved. 

Now velociraptors...

– September 25, 2012 12:01 PM
Q.

Convinced me, you have

Sep 19 (Talk Like a Pirate Day) has come and gone, but maybe we need "Talk Like Yoda Day." Popular, it would be.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Good ideas, you have. If survive so long, Talk Like William Shatner Day can, then surely for Yoda room there is. 

– September 25, 2012 12:02 PM
Q.

Toilet Seat Law

Whether you're a man or woman, toilet seats should be down and with the cover on so things don't fall into there. If there is no cover, then the seat shall remain up for the obvious reason that it's easier to lower a seat, than it is to raise it. Women will forever be inferior to men due to their inability to use gravity to their advantage.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

"Women will forever be inferior to men due to their inability to use gravity to their advantage"?

Stand next to me near an open plane window and say that...

– September 25, 2012 12:05 PM
Q.

Most pointless use of a time machine

I would go back one second in time.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

That is, indeed, pointless.

– September 25, 2012 12:05 PM
Q.

Your google, my google

I assume this is "smart searching" at work. That person who didn't get the hit on Google clearly uses it only to look up accurate science like wave particle theory, and uses Bing only for recondite pop culture references. And maybe porn.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Yeergh. See, no matter how long it thrives, Bing will always sound like a grandfather name to me, so the latter use just sounds uncomfortable.

– September 25, 2012 12:06 PM
Q.

Stupid use of time machines

Actually, in one of Michael Crichton's last books a group of archaeologists were using a time machine to make their rebuilding of a medieval castle more historically accurate.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ha!

Well played, Crichton.

– September 25, 2012 12:07 PM
Q.

Stupidest use for a time machine.

The stupidest use for a time machine is to use it to dry your clothes on.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Or leave it out in the driveway to rust. 

"Oh, it got terrible YPG. You couldn't travel more than 6 decades without refueling!"

– September 25, 2012 12:08 PM
Q.

For a really good time...

No, we need a "Sing Like William Shatner Day".
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Concurred, enthusiastically

– September 25, 2012 12:09 PM
Q.

Talk Like William Shatner

I always wanted to do responsive reading like William Shatner. That would wake up the congregation. Also zombie bees.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

William Shatner and the Zombie Bees just climbed past Mrs. Jesus and the Dinosaurs in my list of Desirable Band Names. 

– September 25, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

Bing and porn

I immediately thought of several jokes based on this juxtaposition, but exactly zero of them are appropriate for this family-friendly venue. Thanks for the (unshareable) laughs.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Unshareable laughs are the best kind!

– September 25, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

More time machines

There's also a series by Connie Willis about Oxford grad students using time travel to observe historical events (everyone is conveniently studying European/American history of course, so no worries about being a white girl in the middle of the pre-colonial Mexico). It all goes horribly wrong, naturally.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Naturally!

I read a series like this, but it was a magical treehouse, not a time machine, and they definitely were not graduate students. 

Man, time tourism. That's the industry of the future. Or the past, I guess. 

– September 25, 2012 12:15 PM
Q.

Toilet Paper Rolls

Why aren't these things bigger? Does anyone stop using TP? Why do I have to buy it so often? I look to my left and there's the toilet roll attached to the wall, and a lot of blank wall space. But there should be a massive wheel of toilet paper taking up the entire wall. It should be almost like the big wheel they spin on The Price is Right. I want to buy a wheel of TP once a year and that's it.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Let's Kickstarter this. 

– September 25, 2012 12:19 PM
Q.

Bing

To me, it always sounded a little dirty, for example as in, "Hey, I just Binged that girl you're dating."
A.
Alexandra Petri :

To be fair, Googled sounds little better.

– September 25, 2012 12:19 PM
Q.

Why it can't be done

There are two reasons one can never have sex in front of a unicorn: 1. Unicorns are a symbol of virginity, and more important, 2. There are no such things as unicorns.

A.
Alexandra Petri :

Also true words.

– September 25, 2012 12:20 PM
Q.

How About Talk Like Bobcat Goldthwait Day?

I was pleasantly surprised to hear he's still alive.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I know people always make a big fuss about celebrity deaths, but just once I want to have a day celebrating all the people you're startled are still here. Carol Channing! Lindsay Lohan!

– September 25, 2012 12:23 PM
Q.

The great Stephen Fry

wrote a time travel novel ("Making History") about going back in time to stop Hitler from being born. Believe it or not, this turns out not to be a good thing. He's a great plotter (Fry, not Hitler)
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Duly noted! I tell you, Hitler Bodyguarding is the growth industry of the time traveling future. 

– September 25, 2012 12:24 PM
Q.

Time Machines WIll Never Exist

If these things were to ever exist, we would have known about it for thousands of years because people from the future would be visiting the past all the time. And if anyone ever does show up with a time machine, I'm going to kick their ass for not stopping 9-11.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Although, as I understand it, the only real theoretical objection to time travel is the difficulty of making a time machine. Once you have one, you're set.

– September 25, 2012 12:26 PM
Q.

Mitt Romney

Kinda likes unicorns.
Q.

Time machines

I remember reading a story about the first time traveler to visit Shakespeare. The Bard is totally jaded, because he has already met thousands of travelers who visited him in his past, but they all come from the time traveler's future. I can't find the citation, but I am pretty sure I remember reading it in the past... or possibly the future.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ha! 

That does explain the plot of Winter's Tale, though.

– September 25, 2012 12:27 PM
Q.

Stupidest use for a Time Machine.

An episode of Big Bang Theory which doesn't travel back to the Big Bang.
Q.

Good use for a time machine

I would go back last year and pick the players to win all my fantasy football games.
Q.

Time Machine

I'd go back and get a unicorn and ask JK to sit on it.
Q.

Well, if you had a time machine ...

... you could go back and change that toilet paper roll.
Q.

Spiderman Warning

Dear villains: Do not pick on Mary Jane Parker. Learn from the mistakes of past villains.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Villains never seem to learn. 

The real tragedy of most villains is that their deep and passionate love of explaining diabolical plots is fundamentally incompatible with their chosen line of work.

– September 25, 2012 12:29 PM
Q.

I don't understand this chat

Do you provide translation services?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Would it help if all the text were entirely bold for no reason?

– September 25, 2012 12:30 PM
Q.

One celebrity surprise

I am always impressed every day that Keith Richards is still alive.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I've been less surprised since his autobiography came out. You can't generate that much fanfare for a posthumous autobiography unless you're Mark Twain.

– September 25, 2012 12:31 PM
Q.

The real tragedy of most villains is that their deep and passionate love of explaining diabolical plots is fundamentally incompatible with their chosen line of work.

Why, why do none of them ever read Peter's Evil Overlord Rules? http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html
A.
Alexandra Petri :

True words.

– September 25, 2012 12:31 PM
Q.

No speaking

Who says we haven't already been visited by lots of time travelers? The first rule of Time Travelers Club is no one speaks of Time Travelers Club.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

On that note, I should probably skedaddle off into the future!

Thank you for traveling in time with me! Keep reading the Compost and feel free but unobligated to follow me on Twitter! Enjoy the rest of the week, or wherever your travels may take you!

– September 25, 2012 12:34 PM
Q.

 

A.
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