The Washington Post

ComPost Live: Your weekly digest with Alexandra Petri

Feb 04, 2011

The Compost, written by Dana Milbank and Alexandra Petri, offers a lighter take on the news and political in(s)anity of the day. If you believe life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it, this is the chat for you. Join us every Friday at 11:30 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.

Hi everyone! Happy Friday! I was going to ignite some controversy by using this chat to discourage kids from reading, but we could also use it to discuss exoplanets! As the economy said to the Republican majority in the House, you're in the driver's seat!

Also, can we talk about the Super Bowl commercials? Some people read Playboy for the articles. I watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. And from the looks of it, there's a good crop this year! Especially that Darth Vader commercial. As a lifelong Star Wars fan, one of the things I've always loved about the series is how all the characters have sold out to vast arrays of semi-related products. Keeps them relevant!

Let's roll!

I'm a planet, too. - Pluto

You're not an exoplanet, you're just an ex-planet!

The Obama administration is reportedly preparing a way for Hosni Mubarak to leave with dignity. Is there any possibility they'll offer him the 10 pm slot on NBC?

I think "with dignity" is the key phrase here. Although that is probably the only thing that could possibly make him less popular with TV viewers than he is currently after his supporters' decision to attack Anderson Cooper.

What's your favorite planet?

Uranus, because it's the butt of all those tasteless jokes and I feel bad for it.

Honestly, what could be funnier -- a prominent local person is cheesed off about his portrayal in a free alternative weekly, so he decides to sue, resulting in a massive traffic increase to said alternative weekly's website, thereby exposing more people from around the country to a three month old story. Hope I don't get sued over this!

Everything about this story is amazing. But really, is there any other way to make a devastating three-month-old story about you that no one read go away besides drawing huge amounts of attention to it with a massive lawsuit? I can't think of any.

I love every story about Dan Snyder because, based on the things he says and does, I have come to the conclusion that he is actually a cartoon character from the 1930s.

No Milbank: the only way he could keep his promise not to discuss you-know-who? Not that we mind, of course. Your "Uranus" joke was funny, subtle and tasteful. Who knows where the other guy would have gone with it?

Hey, thanks! Before this turns into a compliment party (which would be a fun party but probably get awkward after a few minutes) here's my first controversy of the day:

Recently EHarmony put out these lists of men and women's top Must-Haves and Can't-Stands. What do you think? I think it's intriguing that "racism" makes the list for women whereas men highlighted "excessively overweight."

I do feel sorry for Pluto. I mean, we keep discovering these new planets and it's like a big slap in the face to him. When his status as planet was downgraded to mere floating piece of rock he stopped getting invited to the best parties. Now it's like he doesn't even exist.

I feel awful for Pluto! I wonder if Charon still hangs out with him? I guess they're sort of stuck together.

Which one? The Joker or the Penguin? And where is Batman? Gotham, I mean the Redskins need to throw up the Bat Signal. Now.

In this analogy, who is Commissioner Gordon?

On behalf of Jews everywhere, I want to remind Egypt to take good care of their pyramids. We will NOT be rebuilding.

Take note!

But Danny is a narcissist and narcissists don't think about the world the way the rest of us do. He doesn't care if anyone thinks he's doing what is right, or what makes sense. He does care about a display of power.

And according to the DSM, narcissism isn't a personality disorder anymore! Then again, neither is anything else, I think, since they're moving to more of a holistic approach...

Charon is probably trying to figure out how to jump over to Neptune.

I don't blame it! It's like being Matthew Perry's trophy wife. At first you think you're going places, and then one morning you wake up and realize you're Matthew Perry's trophy wife.

As a man (and a 63 year old man, to boot) I hate to say this, but if you gathered, say, 1 million guys and asked them if they would like to date, for example, Mila Kunis, they would all say, "Yes." Then if you asked them if they would like to date Mila Kunis if they knew she was a neo-Nazi, 999,999 would say ":Yes" and the other one would say, after an appropriate pause, "I'm thinking...I'm thinking."

Is there any chance of the Post assigning you a permanent exoplanets beat? Perhaps as some sort of gossip columnist? Correspondent for Foreign Solar Affairs?

Unofficially, I think they already have! If you have planetary gossip, I'm your gal.

So controversy #2: is there intelligent life in the cosmos? Actually? And if so does it pull its toilet paper over the top or up from the bottom of the dispenser? (I hear this was the biggest controversy in the history of Ann Landers' long-running advice column!)

and, of course, by "date" they would mean "shag." who was it who said that women always know their fantasies about, say, Sean Connery, are fantasies, whereas men are always convinced that the only reason they are not, er, "dating" Mila Kunis is that they don't have her phone number. oh, sorry, thought this was Gene W's chat.


I don't think my fantasy about George Lucas is a fantasy, but that's because I'm literally sitting outside his house in an unmarked van, which accounts for the slow and furtive nature of this chat today.

Offer him ownership of the Redskins. Gets Mubarak away from Egypt and Snyder away from my team. Two birds, one stone.

I like this solution! And it would probably lead to some interesting concessions...

I'm sorry but this chat is Not Funny...

Any particular reason why "Not Funny" is capitalized? Does it make it funnier?

I think it is capitalized because it is accurate. Today, this chat has all the humor and vibrance of a gently used buick. Quite frankly, MTV Wondershowzen - Funny/Not Funny, I agree with you. If this were any less funny, it would be Jay Leno's 10 PM show on NBC.

Actually, Neptune currently has basically only one moon, Triton, which is itself larger than Pluto and thought to have once been a similar object that was captured by Neptune and in the process destroyed or drove off all of the planet's other moons. So if Charon wants to horn in on its territory, be prepared for a serious catfight.

I like the idea of a two-moon catfight. If Twilight: New Moon had been about that, I would have seen it multiple times in theaters. As it was, I only saw it once, as a double feature with Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, which is probably the greatest title any movie has ever had or ever will have.

why is this chat always so slow?

Today it's my Internet! Apologies!

What did everyone think of the Kenneth Cole tweet yesterday? It certainly managed to Anger the Internet. It violated the first law of Internet Angering, which can be summed up: "If this had been a parody, it would be hilarious, but somehow it's not."

I'm glad my habit of borrowing my gf's clothing isn't a "breaker." Just in case I put on a little weight and have to find someone with dresses in my size.

Mutual interests are essential to any relationship!

Why is Rush Limbaugh so popular in this Country? He makes false and/or ridiculous statements regularly. His latest was yesterday before learning two Fox "News" reporters had been beaten and hospitalized following detention in Egypt. Initially the story was about two NY Times Reporters, and Rush said he didn't "feel any outrage over it" or "any anger over this." Rush also said “Do we feel happy? Well -- uh -- do we feel kind of going like, "neh-neh-neh-neh"? After he learned what happened to the two Fox reporters, Rush said he was joking about the NY Times reporters. According to the ratings, Limbaugh maintains a huge listening audience. Has Rush amassed the pool of US supporters/listeners who are unable to exercise freedom of thought and who believe anything that Limbaugh congers up? Or is there another explanation?

Speaking of Rush Limbaugh and freedom of thought, was anyone else startled to learn that he'd been planning to name his child Charles Krauthammer? I feel like, as a rule of thumb, naming kids for lightning-rod conservative columnists is sort of discouraged, like calling your cat Ford Madox Ford or your dog something weird and genderless like Jayden Foxxla. But then again this is Rush Limbaugh we're talking about.

Hey boyfriend, if that is a crack about my recent weight gain I am not going to let you try my dresses on anymore. Try finding another girl as tolerant as me.

Catfight! Catfight! Please tell me you are both moons, and my fantasy will be complete!

Now that's funny!

Thanks! And I apologize to anyone who wandered into this chat under the mistaken impression that it was the user agreement for a program you just downloaded, based on the humor level of its content and the number of people who have actually read it.

Is pluto a he or a she? How can you tell? You refer to Pluto as a he, but I thought most planets, and even explanets were referred to as females. I've looked, and can't tell the difference.

I know Gliese 581 G is also called Zarmina. I actually don't like most of the colorful she-names; I picture the planets defiantly shouting "MY NAME IS KEPLER 10B! MY NAME IS KEPLER 10B!"

There's an old crack in the navy that ships are she's because it's so hard to keep one in paint and powder. So I'd venture that planets are men because if they're really hot they aren't able to support you.

So, it's that time again! Based on the overwhelming volume of responses, I don't think I need to tell you this conversation is over! Next week will be better, I promise! I'm going to go atone by doing the most unpleasant thing I can imagine: actually making conversation with anyone who makes persistent eye contact with me in Starbucks.

Please keep reading the Compost! And thanks for tuning in!

In This Chat
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,,, 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.)
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